The man sat on the bench in front of the Wal-Mart checkout lanes. I thought he was waiting on someone, but he wasn’t. He was just sitting and watching for a minute.
He was obviously a working man, about 65ish, and had a day-old shave. He was a bit chubby, but not flat out fat. He had draped a couple of plastic bags of items he just bought over his blue jeans. He wore work cowboy boots and a free blood donation T-shirt.
His face was confident, like he knew he could pretty much handle anything that happened on the outside. His eyes, however, looked like his heart had been, or maybe still was, wounded. His eyes looked like muddy, shallow puddles instead of a deep, free flowing fresh water wells.
He got up and started for the exit limping with a distinct, weathered limp. Who knows why, but I suspect his limp was from a rugged injury such as a car accident, oilfield work injury, or getting his leg pinned against a chute while dealing with cows. Continue reading Help Wanted
When the heart’s tap root hits pain, angels cry. Do you feel it? Do you feel them, something, somewhere, swirling, moving, circling the soul as the root draws up pain watering the heart making it swarthy and bruised?
Some people, some personalities cannot get away from the pain. It’s not that they don’t deal with their own. They do. It’s that some can’t get away from other’s pain.
Sometimes out of the blue it can hit you, in the store, watching TV, hearing a story, understanding what has happened. The person’s pain, both shown, and even more intense, the hidden pain, grabs hold with a dry ice-cold grip burning the very beats of one’s own heart.
It can’t be explained with words, for words don’t express it. Letters can’t convey it, and the alphabet becomes nothing more than scissors on the tongue. You can’t get out what has gone in. Continue reading No More Angel Tears
When Jesus healed ten people, only one returned to Him to say thank you. (Luke 17:11-19) Jesus even asked where the other nine were. They were all blessed. They were all miraculously healed. They all gained life over a slow excruciating death, yet only one even bothered to come back and say thank you.
That’s horrible! It’s wrong on so many levels! But then I cringe when I realize I’m not in the 10% of people who are truly grateful. I don’t always go back and say thank you. I’m ashamed of that.
I once read it’s impossible for an ungrateful person to truly be happy. Makes sense! A lot of sense! Continue reading 10% Thankful
I, like you, feel deep compassion for the people of Santa Fe, and every other school, movie theatre, club, church and public location that has experienced a mass murder.
What to do? What do we do?
Well meaning people are now looking to, in fact, clamoring for the government to “fix” the problem and solve the dilemma. People are demanding legislation for sentences for “hate crimes”, creating programs to treat mental illness, gun control restrictions and regulating behaviors.
In my simple mind, it’s a paradox. It seems common sense that after planting plum trees, you get plums. You get the fruit of what you plant.
Stay with me.
Continue reading It’s Always Been About The Heart
We saw the toddler boy with his parents waiting to board a tour of Mayan ruins in Mexico. That’s not normally where you’d take a toddler on vacation, but he was too little to care. Besides, it was his parent’s vacation.
The toddler was clinging to his parents, no one else. The mother even told a well-meaning worker trying to help them off the bus that he never, ever went to strangers.
Two hours later, standing a distance from the Chichen Izu ruins, the toddler pitter patted away from his parents right up to my wife, Janet. He looked up at her and held up his arms to be picked up.
She simply said, “Awe”, reached down and scooped him up in her arms. The little boy looked at her closely, then laid his head on her shoulder in peaceful contentment. Continue reading A Child’s Wisdom
(This is based on a true story told to me by a Chief Juvenile Probation Officer.)
~~He knelt down on his knees, looked up at Jesus on the cross, and shook his fist. “I hate you”, he said loudly, “I hate you.” He said it over and over. Soon he was screaming with every fiber of his being. Louder and louder, with more and more pent-up emotions streaming out of his voice. “I hate you! I HATE you! I HATE YOU!”~~
The boy had suffered emotional and verbal abuse from his mother since his birth. When his father was around, which wasn’t a lot, it was always the same song, second verse. He could count on one hand the times a physical beating for some slight or imagined offense hadn’t followed a visit with his father. Continue reading I Hate You, But Not Really
Sometimes pictures get me. It sounds silly. Maybe it is. But sometimes, a picture hits me in my core, cutting, ripping, tearing away at soul and sinew.
Some pictures, some stories haunt me as assuredly as a ghost in a graveyard. I can’t sleep without it popping into my dreams. I can’t concentrate without it popping into conscious thought.
This picture sticks with me like a chain around the heart:
Continue reading Help This Boy
It was sad, really. She has no one. Maybe it was a conscience choice a long time ago. Maybe it was a forced decision that she didn’t want. Either way, the results are the same.
She lives alone in a nice neighborhood that we’ve driven through a thousand times. Her hedges are rarely trimmed and there are plants growing in the gutters. The yard is always green, but the grass always looks like it’s half grown, half mowed, somehow suspended in animation just enough to give the yard sort of a kept, but not maintained look.
She has a big sprawling house that is dark and uninviting, almost like where a horror movie could be filmed. In the four plus years of driving through that neighborhood, I’ve never once seen anyone outside, and the garage door is always closed. Occasionally, but not very often, there may be a light on at night somewhere in the house, but it would only be one, if any.
We were driving home through that neighborhood coming home from a symphony at 10:30 PM at night. Janet, my wife, told me we had just passed an old woman sitting in the grass by a mailbox waving for help. I turned around and there she sat. I left the car running with the headlights on to light the area as we checked on her. Continue reading Hermit House
The lady blurted out to the Walmart Customer Service worker, “I’m the one you called a few minutes ago about the purse!”
I was waiting in line and glanced at her. The worker asked her to describe the purse. She did, and was told to wait just a minute while the worker went to the back office.
She was casually dressed in blue jeans, flip flops and a bright, pink Fight Breast Cancer t-shirt. Her hair was about half an inch long over her entire head. In fact, I wasn’t sure if she was being treated for cancer, or just wearing her hair short. She waited with an anxious, lip chewing expression on her face. A minute later, the Walmart worker came out holding a small red change purse.
Continue reading Little or Lot Faithful
There used to be an old tire store up Main Street surrounded by properties that have all seen better days. Years ago it was a full-service gas station built in the late 40s or early 50s out of cinder blocks and mortar.
For the most part, however, the old building was insignificant. If it hadn’t been for the man outside, I would’ve never even noticed the place.
Years ago the tire store was painted white, but oil, grease and dirt make a dark entourage at the base of the walls up to a chalky, white at the top. The concrete around it was patchy and dark, stained with layers on layers of grease, dripped motor oil and a host of other dried automotive blood. Continue reading The Waving Man