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I had lived in Portland for twenty years. Many parts of town are familiar to me. But, there are pockets that I don’t know at all. Of course my eleven appointments on this trip are nearly all in these unfamiliar parts of town. In addition to that my schedule would bring me to half of these locations at night.
Before I left for this journey I pulled out a well worn Portland map. The index was helpful and I plotted the general location of these meetings. Then, I turned to the computer and called up map program. Roughly, I tried to get a mental picture of where I would be driving. But, the twists and turns were already getting me dizzy.
When I landed at the Airport, I went straight to pick up my rental car. I noticed that special feature right away. There in the middle of the counsel, next to the sound system was a flashing screen. For the first time in a rental car I had GPS, Global Positioning Satellite assistance!
I was geeked! The user-friendliness of this unit was welcoming. Instructions were simple and easy to follow. My first destination was the slowest entry of my entire trip. Soon I caught on to the process.
A pleasant voice gave me directions. Whenever I veered off course, she never got nervous. She just paused momentarily and announced, “Calculating route.” Calmly she redirected me back on course.
Soon I picked up her pattern. She would give me a two mile warning when a turn was coming. Closer to the manuever, she would tell me that the turn was soon approaching. Right at the turn she would ring a bell announcing that it was time to turn.
A quick glance down at the screen would give me a visual of the upcoming turn and the name of the street that would be my next path of travel. Once successfully en route, she would show me an arrow representing my car and a highlighted route on a map. In one corner was the countdown in miles to my final destination. Next to that read out was the distance to the next manuever and the countdown in time to my final destination.
With a little practice and a learned-faith I began to trust her. It is not at all unlike trusting God to lead each day of our lives. The most excitement that you hear in her voice is, “You have arrived!” Yeah, GPS, you have arrived!
Family holidays are really fun. These are great times for photos, telling new jokes, telling old jokes, and recounting humorous events that change and grow with each retelling. All of us live very busy lives so this is a time to kick back and enjoy the life that we share together.
For me there are books to read, pictures to take, errands to run, toilets to clear, restaurants to try and shopping to do. It’s really not that long of a list, but it is long enough to keep me busy for at least a day. After that I struggle with the scourge of not knowing what to do. I just don’t know how to do nothing.
My son introduced me to blogging. It has been a great outlet to put ideas into written words. When these musings and observations of life are posted for the public to peruse, I have discovered an amazing sense of accomplishment.
So for the first time on our last Thanksgiving vacation, I brought my laptop computer to write during my down times. I was really looking forward to it. Once we arrived at my daughter and son-in-law’s home three states away, I had a terrible realization. I forgot to bring the power cord for my computer.
At best I had about two hours of working time on battery power. None of my family members had a power cord that was adaptable. Would God multiply the battery life like He did with five loaves and two fish?
My son-in-law suggested that we go into town and pick one up at an office supply store. The store we chose had one power cord available for my computer. As I recall, the last time that I experienced sticker shock like that was when I was buying a new car five years ago.
I told the salesman that I only wanted one cord not an entire case. He didn’t like my joke. When I suggested that I rent it for a mere ten percent of the purchase price and bring it back in two days, he saw even less humor.
My sigh was deep. It was like a cleansing breath before diving underwater for a long stint. I pulled out my wallet and muttered, “Don’t ever forget that stupid power cord again. This blog is your only connection to very loyal readers.” Thanks you guys, for reading my blog! I appreciate you!
What could possibly disengage such momentous memory making? Wasn’t God only interested in heaping blessing upon blessing? Then there was a mishap.
The toilet in the guest bathroom stopped up. It was so embarrassing. What can you do? Calling for others to help just doesn’t seem Kosher. Even with family as close as ours, there are limits to what we can do together, see together . . . smell together.
I was left in the bathroom to fend for myself. My only compainon was the plumber’s helper. It was a plunger that was very different from the style that I was used to using. It took a while to get the hang of it. No matter what I tried, there was no break through in the clog.
It was already late. Since it was the night before a major holiday I couldn’t even think of a hardware store being opened that late, no matter how much I wished that I had my own plumbing tools. Hours passed and my arms were getting tired of plunging.
I tried every technique that I could. Rapid short waves, angled swirls, and long sustained thrusts were all a part of my repertoire. Nothing worked not even desperate prayers. I surrendered until morning.
An early morning phone call gave me hope. One store was opened. My visit was brief. I knew the equipment that I needed. I picked up a toilet snake and a plumber’s helper with a rubberized head that was designed with a flange opening.
Armed with very good tools, I reentered that bathroom with resolve. Two applications of the snake and there was a rapid drop in the water level. My hopes soared.
The now familiar plunger did its work. Powerful blasts of water shot through the drain with my rapid pumping. Finally, the water was beginning to drain. I would not let up.
The snake made one more pass and the plunger was forcing clean water through the system. Finally, it was like the blockage had been successfully breached. Thank you, Lord!
In dirty times, in embarrassing times the best news is to announce to the family, bathroom is now in service! The family dancing stopped and turned into a stampede for the bathroom door.
Recently, I re-watched the Emperor’s Club starring Kevin Kline. I have a penchant for movies that feature effective teachers impacting the lives of students, influencing them forever. When I watch a teacher engage students, I can relate, I get inspired, I learn.
At the outset of the story Mr. Hundert identifies one of the maxims that distills his life. It is a quote that I added to my notes in my PDA: “A man’s character is his fate.”
How one’s character is molded at the beginning, forecasts a predetermined conclusion. This truism is not absolute but it is most often true. Certainly, this is true enough that we who are wise should pay attention to it in our own lives and in the lives of those whom we teach.
When a man has a flaw in his character, his life will break down wherever that blemish exists. If honor is absent, then pressure will force inevitable compromises in his life. Such a life will cheat, lie or steal.
Integrity is never based upon circumstance. Rather, a person’s life must first embrace the values of truth, virtue and trust. This kind of life will be faithful to his promises, vows, his word.
I am an ordained minister. One of the great privileges of being a pastor is the thrill of officiating a wedding ceremony. Young couples madly in love exchange vows and plan on a lifetime together. Yet, character determines an eventual future.
Some time ago I retired from performing marriages. The burden of failed vows has been one of my greatest points of sadness in my life. It seems that 9 out of 10 times it is the failing of the husband. Something in him convinced him that he could compromise his promises. By choice he becomes an adulterer.
I have looked into the eyes of such a despicable person. At the moment of confrontation, I heard him try to convince me that his immoral choice could be explained. He assured me that he wasn’t trying to justify his sin just explain it. It was nothing more than a twisted hodgepodge of words that were meaningless.
While I have retired from performing wedding ceremonies, I still have many lives to reflect on that are doing well. Those men who are faithful to their wives after years of life behind them, I salute, I applaud, I rejoice in them. God will reward them for their honorable character both now and forever.