Help Us Help Others

Help Us Help Others
Chaplaincy Clark County

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I’ve got nothing

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I’ve got nothing.

You ever have one of those days when you’ve just got nothing?

It’s not a particularly bad day.

It’s not a particularly good day.

I would call it a normal day.

I got up this morning and had my quiet time.

No big revelations there.

I took a shower, the water cascading over my head, waiting for something.

Nothing.

I drove to the YMCA, waiting.

Nothing.

I took my aqua aerobics class.

Nothing.

I talk a lot about living in the mystery.

Living in the mystery is living your life in such a way that you take the day as it comes. Instead of trying to figure out what God is up to, you wait instead. You wait for Him to show you what he wants you to do.
Often times this means we wait.

We wait for him to direct our actions.

Now I am not saying that we do nothing. I am not saying that at all.

We still live our life. We still go through the day being His hands and feet.

What I am saying is, “Don’t push God.”

Don’t try and push Him to give you something special to do, or say.

He will do this in His perfect timing.

It’s ok to say, “I’ve got nothing.”

It’s ok to wait.

Lord, I wait. I wait for You. I am doing my best to do Your will, not my will. Help me to do Your will. In the words of Isaiah, “Here am I Lord send me.” Father, I am only human. It is hard to wait, but I am waiting. Forgive my impatience, forgive my nagging. It is hard to wait. I love you Lord. Amen.

Blessings,

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The cat’s in the cradle and a silver spoon

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

The cat’s in the cradle and a silver spoon.

I was contemplating my bike the other day. An old Cat Stevens song came to mind. As I sang the song in my head, the lyrics changed to:

My bike died just the other day.
It left the world in the usual way.
A Blown engine, too much to repair.
They sold the bike while I was away.
And the cat’s in the cradle and a silver spoon.
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
When we going riding, I don’t know when.
But we’ll have a good time then, yea.
You know we’ll have a good time then.

As I hummed this to myself, I could not help but daydream of rides to come.

Then my mind came back to the original song by Cat Stevens. A song that is quite sad really.

You know the song is about a father who is so busy, consumed really, with the things that he thinks are important. Trivial things really, but all consuming to someone who lives their life worried about the future. Never realizing that what is right in front of them, in the moment, is what is truly important. The father recounts how the little boy would say; when I grow up, I want to be just like you. You can hear the pride in the father’s voice when he sings this. Then the little boy grows up and the father finds out that his son had grown up just like him, too busy for the father and he is left all alone, wanting the only thing that he cannot have; time with his son.

As I sat contemplating this, another visual came to mind. It was the movie “Hook.” In the scene Robin Williams, who plays a father consumed with climbing the ladder and making money is standing at the window. His wife has put his children to bed. His wife walks in and says, “Peter, you are not paying attention. Your children are growing up and you are missing it.”

My bike died the just other day.
It left the world in the usual way.
A Blown engine, too much to repair.
They sold the bike while I was away.
And the cat’s in the cradle and a silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
When we going riding, I don’t know when.
But we’ll have a good time then, yea.
You know we’ll have a good time then.

Brother Lawrence:

Brother Lawrence was a Carmelite monk in the 1600’s. He was not well schooled, and became a monk at an older age than most. In fact, the other monks thought him not up to the task of “high spirituality.” He had been relegated to kitchen duty. He would shop for the food, prepare the food, cleanup after the meals. He did this so that the other monks would not have to take their focus off their devotions.

As Brother Lawrence went through his day, he started practicing the presence of God. When he went to the market, he was buying food as if he was going to use it to feed God. When he prepared the meal, it was a meal for God. When he washed the dishes, he washed dishes for God.

The funny thing is, we do not study the other monks. We study “Practicing the Presence of God.” We study Brother Lawrence. The other monks who spent their time in the sanctuary, we do not know. Brother Lawrence, who spent much less time in the sanctuary, and much more time serving, we do know.

It is good to contemplate the things of God. It is good to daydream of Heaven and being in relationship with Him. Christ never meant for us to be so focused on Him that we let the world and those around us go to hell.

I know that Christ is focused on me; He is not standing with His back to me looking out a window, contemplating the future. He is not so consumed with the future that He says, “Not now.” when I want to talk with him.

Let us take Christ’s example and use it to shape our lives.

Lord, don’t let me become the father in, “The cat’s in the cradle.” Please remind me when I am not being present to the things you want me to be present too. Teach me not to be a monk, but Brother Lawrence. Put people in front of me Lord, so that they may get a glimpse of you, as I am in you and you are in me. Amen.

Blessings,

Monday, July 29, 2013

Have you ever had a nudge?

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

Have you ever had a nudge?

I got home from my trip to Duluth a few days ago. When I tell people that I used my vacation to go to Duluth people look at me kind of funny. I guess they look at me kind of funny anyway.

While I was on the ride Sandy, from Lone Wolf Harley, emailed me and asked if I could send the title to my bike. One of the technicians is going to buy the bike, as a project, and put it back together. I was on my ride and had not responded yet. I was going to simply mail them the title, with a note, and call it good.

Then I got a nudge.

As I sat there looking at the river behind my house a still small voice said, “Roger, I want you to call Lone Wolf Harley and check on them.”

I do not make a habit of calling Harley dealerships.

I definitely do not make a habit of calling Harley dealerships just to check on them.

I called.

I talked with Sandy.

I told Sandy that I was going to send her the title.

I thanked her once again for everything, how they helped me during a time of need.

She told me how they had never seen anyone respond to a problem they way that I did. How they talked about Chuck and I for days after we left. She talked about how we changed the way they look at things.

Then she said something I was not expecting to hear.

She said, “Can you talk to Sasha. One of her friends, an elderly gentleman, had a heart attack and is not expected to make it.” I told her, “Absolutely.” Sandy tried to find Sasha, but could not. Sandy took my cell number and said that she will give it to Sasha.

A few minutes later my phone rings. It is Sasha.

Sasha is in distress.

She is not doing well, and needs someone to listen.

I listen.

As she talks I can hear sniffling, Sasha is crying.

She tells me that he had come in to see her only a couple of days ago. How they had a nice conversation. How he left and she did not say, “I love you.” To him.

Sasha is chained to the “mirror of regret.”

“If only I knew.” Is what she said.

After a bit she became quiet.

I asked her if she wanted to hear a story?

She says, “Yes.”

I will share the story that I told Sasha. It goes like this:
Good Morning,
I pray that the day is finding you well.

We had a retirement party for a very good friend of mine, Ken V. and his wife Rachel. I was asked to M.C. the event.
I joined the Navy in 1983.

I was in navigator school down in Florida during the winter months of 1983. Coming from the high plains portion of the United States, I was not used to having 80+ degree weather in November. To me it was just plain hot. I never did get used to having my glasses fog over every time I walked outside. School was fun, and even though I had been to college, this was a very different environment and I missed my family. I would call home weekly just to hear their voices and to find out what was going on. I usually did this on Saturday evenings. Those were the days before cell phones; pay phones were the only option at the time. I had a choice, I either could line up a bunch of quarters on the little metal shelf in the phone booth, and every two minutes or so be interrupted by the operator, telling me to insert another $2.00, or call collect.

I opted to call collect.

One Saturday evening I called home, my grandfather answered. We called him Boppa. I do not know why we called him Boppa, we called our other grandfather Grampa. I never understand why we give things the names that we do, I try not to think about it, when I do think about it I end up with a headache. I do not like headaches, hence the “I try not to think about it” part.

Boppa was a cool grampa.

He taught me how to hunt.

He taught me how to weld; he was a welder by trade.

Boppa accepted my call after giving the operator a hard time about never hearing of anyone by the name of Roger. Me yelling into the phone, “Just accept the call.” Him keeping up the gag, and just when the operator is about to hang up, Boppa accepts the call. Boppa was quite the character and always told wonderful stories. Nobody else was home so Boppa and I had a great conversation. As the conversation started to wind down, Boppa told me that he was proud of me. I had an almost uncontrollable urge to tell him that I loved him, but I did not. We weren’t that kind of a family. The guys would tell the girls that they loved them and the girls in the family would tell the guys that they loved them, but the guys didn’t tell the guys that they loved each other, I could give a thousand conjectures why, but we just didn’t.

Boppa and I hung up the phone.

Two days later, I get a message from the Red Cross.

The message simple read, “Your grandfather, Boppa died.

Call home.

I have been fairly lucky in life. I do not have a lot of regrets. The one regret I do have is not telling Boppa that I loved him when I had the chance. I know that he knew that I love him; at least that is what I keep telling myself.

When I called home that day, my actions changed.

Not only did I tell my mother and sisters that I loved them, I told my father too.

I M.C.’d Ken and Rachel’s retirement celebration Sunday afternoon. As I talked, Boppa came to mind. I mentioned that so often we wait until it is too late to tell someone how much he or she means to us. How many times we let the moment pass without saying those words. I asked everyone to not let this moment pass without telling Ken and Rachel how much they love and appreciate them.

Ken and Rachel know that I appreciate and love them very much.

My family knows that I appreciate them and love them very much.

The people in my life know that I appreciate them and love them very much.

How important is it to know that a person is loved?

God tells us the following:
Better is open rebuke
than hidden love. (Proverbs 27:5)

It was the last lesson Boppa taught me.

After I told Sasha this story, she said thank you…sat quietly for a moment…then said, “Roger’ I love you.” I said, “I love you too Sasha.”

She thanked me for the call. She thanked me for listening. She is going through the grieving process. I told her she can call anytime, and talk, yell, cry, scream. I told her that I draw the line at hitting; you cannot hit the chaplain.

She laughed and said she would.

My prayer is that we do not miss any more opportunities to let those that we love how much they mean to us.

Blessings,

Saturday, July 27, 2013

God provides

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I went to Holy Yoga yesterday.

Holy Yoga is a class at our YMCA. It is a class where you are led through a series of stretches and poses while at the same time the instructor reads scripture verses, prays for you, and gives you things of God to meditate on. It is held from noon to 1pm. The class is a wonderful way to reframe and refocus your day. Every class begins and ends in prayer.

As I sat on my mat holding a pose in yesterday's class I was meditating on the phrase, "God will provide."

The word provide comes from the Latin word "providēre" which literally means, "to see ahead". Pro meaning "forward" and vidēre "to see".

God will provide.

Many times, in our western sense of things, when we hear this this our minds go to monetary things. We hear, "God will provide" and we say to ourselves, "Is God going to give me a new house or is God going to give me a new car?" Maybe He will, maybe He won't.

I really don't think God is all that interested in cars.

I really don't think that God is all that interested in houses.

What I do think is that God is interested in you, in me, in us.

God does want the best for us.

Life is full of ups and downs.

Times of happiness and times of great sadness.

There will be times when we feel in control.

There will be times when we feel that life is too big and we have little or no control.

God will provide.

I was talking with a friend yesterday. During our conversation I said to her, "I have been living in the mystery so long that life would be boring without it."

As we talked we started recounting how God has been there for us in our lives to:

Provide comfort in times of need.

Provide people that would help us during times of distress.

God has used our painful times as a way to relate to people that are going are going through painful times themselves.

God provides people for us to minister to.

God provides opportunities to show people a glimpse of Him.

God provides.

My prayer this morning is, "Father, give me eyes to see what it is that you are providing. You know what I want you to provide. Not my will Father, but your will be done. Amen."

Laurie and I are going to a wedding today. I can't wait to see how God provides.

Blessings,

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Home again

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I'm back at the river lodge.

I arrived home yesterday afternoon. Chuck dropped me off. We unloaded my gear from the bike, and said our goodbyes. He headed home and I kissed my wife hello.

It is good to be home.

Chuck said, "It is good to get away, but great to come home. In the end we are both home buddies.

It was an amazing trip, filled with amazing things.

We had good days.

We had bad days.

We had great days.

We had a terrible day.

Looking back our trip really was a microcosm of life.

My bike blew up.

This could have been a flat tire experience. Instead God used it to bring a person to Christ. Someone else will be helped from the proceeds, and hopefully a group of people will look at life through a different lens. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Lone Wolf Harley and the people there.

Thank you again Paul, Sasha, Sandy and especially Beth. Love you lots.

Riding two up on a bike has taught me many things. I learned what it is to be a second seater.

We rode through some of the most beautiful country we had ever seen.

We stayed in hotels. We stayed with family.

It was my pleasure to introduce Chuck to my family.

We saw a number of YMCA's. Our favorite was the Mankato YMCA, it truly is a special place.

I was able to see what my sister does, feeding those in need.

These were great days.

In Rapid City, Chuck needed a new tire. He had not expected to do this.

It was a bad day.

Christ used the down time, as we waited for Chuck's tire to be replaced He brought Charity into our lives. She now reads the Breads.

In Baker City, God brought me another very hurt person to talk with and show her a bit of Christ.

I am home now, and it feels great.

Laurie and I call our home the river lodge. It sits on the bank of a river nestled in the Cascade Range. In fact, as I was writing this two black tail deer came out of the woods and crossed the river right in front of me.

At our old house, before we moved to Washington from Oregon, we had a pond in our yard that looked like a river. It was the brainchild of our middle son Levi. We loved our pond. When we moved here Chuck said, "You built a river at your old house and loved it. God gave you one of His to love."

I like that.

I am home now.

I wonder what God has in store for me today.

May The Lord bless you, and keep you. May His face shine upon you always.

Blessings,

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Another day in the old west

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

Chuck and I are in Baker City, Oregon, almost home.

We left Burley, Idaho yesterday. It was a beautiful run through some of the hottest weather we had experienced. Since we had decided to do the run two-up, we had to really consolidate our things. This meant that I had to wear my leather jacket. There was no place to store it. The teeshirts that I packed for the trip were all long sleeve. Keeping the sun off my arms when riding all day keeps me from feeling poorly at the end of the day. So I have been riding in the backseat wearing a long-sleeve teeshirt and a leather jacket.

We rolled into Baker City, an old mining town (gold was king a hundred years ago), and checked into the hotel. Our rooms were not ready yet. We had forgotten that we gained an hour from Idaho to Oregon and arrived an hour earlier than we anticipated.

I was rung out. I was vastly overheated. I needed water.

The only place open was the lounge.

Chuck and I sauntered into the bar. Country music filled the air. A song about a girl dancing on top of a green tractor hit my ears. I am glad we will be home soon. I miss my wife.

Chuck and I bellied up to the bar (I am picking up on the country lingo in Baker City).

Kate, the barkeep, said, "howdy boys, what will it be?"

This is when my sophistication shines.

I screamed, " Water! Give me water."

My mind went to thoughts of the movie "Wild Hogs."

Kate just looked at me.

I said again, "Bring me water, and keep it coming!" (Since I was in an Old-West town, I added, "And bring a water to everyone in the bar...on me!")

There were only two other old greasers in the bar. They didn't even have the courtesy to say, "Thanks long rider."

So much for western hospitality.

Chuck and I sat there sipping our water. We had already had guzzled four glasses, which evoked Kate, the barkeep, to say, "Slow'r on down there, cowboy, or you're going to find trouble in this here town."

We were sitting there when the saloon girl (a saloon girl is a waitress in an Old-West town...any old western movie will tell you that!) came up to Kate and said, "I have to go home, I can't take it anymore."

The girl looked distraught. Kate looked worried.

They looked in my direction.

I summoned the saloon girl.

She walked over.

I pulled up one of my Breads on my iPhone and asked her to read it.

She sat down, read the Bread, then paused, staring forward.

After a minute she said, "Can we talk?"

I say, "Okay." Let's call her Jeannie.

We went to a table and she sat down in a chair.

Anyone who has experienced sitting in a chair talking with me knows what is about to happen.

I sat and listened to Jeannie. She is a young girl deeply troubled.

After listening to Jeannie tell me her story I said, "Jeannie, usually I have more time to work with someone. Our time is short so with your permission I will be a bit blunt."

Jeannie said, "Okay."

I went right to the heart of her "flat tire experience."

She began to cry.

Over the next several minutes, I gave her tools to fix her flat tire.

Kate, a good friend to Jeannie, sat at a nearby table, not really trusting this water guzzling cowboy.

After Jeannie left, Kate came up to me and said, "That was amazing. I have never seen anything like that before. Thank you for helping."

I told Kate, "I don't know how much help I was. I just tried to give her some tools to help her cope.

God is funny. He doesn't care if you are on vacation or not.

A friend once said you cannot fire pastors. You can quit paying them, but you can't stop them from doing their job. I guess God knows that I feel retired. Since I am retired, every day is a vacation.

My prayer everyday is that He puts people in front of me so that I can give them a little glimpse of Him and His love for us.

God did not care that I was thirsty, tired, and weary.

I am reminded of something John tells us:

"Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 'Give me a drink.' (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, 'How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?' (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, "Give me a drink," you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.' The woman said to him, 'Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.' Jesus said to her, 'Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.' The woman said to him, 'Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water'” (John 4:1-3, 5-15 ESV).

Jesus is the great teacher, healer, He is God incarnate.

If I am to be the hands and feet of Christ, I must be ready for any circumstance that comes my way.

Blessings

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hurt people, hurt people

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

Hurt people, hurt people.

We spent the night in Buffalo, Wyoming two nights ago.

We spent last night in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

We left Buffalo and entered the Big Horn mountain range. If you have never seen the Big Horn mountains you must add them to your bucket list. They are some of the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen.

Coming out of the Big Horns we entered a town named Worland. There is nothing spectacular about Worland, but Worland did remind me of someone I knew in college.

I remember my first day playing college football. The head coach sat all us freshman down and said, "I have a wife and three daughters. If I don't produce, I'm gone. If you don't produce you're gone. I will tell you when you are tired. I will tell you when you are sick. I will tell you when you are hurt. Don't worry about going to the book store to get your books. We have people doing that for you. Here is your class schedule and your football schedule." My immediate thought was, "I should have been having more fun in high school. This is a job." I did not know at the time just how accurate that thought was.

I played half a season on a broken ankle. They just taped it up into a cast.

I dislocated my shoulder. They taped that up as well.

One game, right before half time, three seconds left in the half, the other team threw a bomb. I intercepted it in the end zone. This presented a dilemma. I could either run it back for a touchdown or kneel down and get a stat. I choose to run it back.

The field opened up before me. At the 50-yard line a hole opened up. I ran into the hole flat out. Just then the other team's center filled the hole. We hit like two bighorn sheep. The kinetic energy was enormous. The impact did a lot of things that I did not notice at first. What I did notice was that it sent me flying through the air with the greatest of ease. As I was flying through the air I kept my head up still looking for the end zone. I landed on my feet, my body still going forward, I put my left hand on the ground to maintain my balance. Just as I did this I got hit on the elbow, which at that particular time was locked.

My elbow dislocated.

I went to the ground.

I got a stat.

I started to notice other unforeseen implications from the impact. Water-packed helmets had just come out and I was wearing one. The force of the collision broke the water pack and the hard plastic came down and broke my nose at the bridge. The combination of my head wound and the water made me look like I had ruptured an artery.

Blood was everywhere.

The impact also broke the rivets on my shoulder pads and the tie string that secures the pads to my chest.

I stood up.

My parents were at the game and they thought I was dead. I looked like I was bleeding out, both shoulders looked dislocated (they weren't), my elbow was going off in the wrong direction.

I was a mess.

During halftime the equipment people and the trainers went to work on me like a NASCAR pit crew. The equipment people fixed my gear. The trainers fixed my nose and relocated my elbow. They taped me up. Put an elbow brace on me and pronounced me ready to go for the second half. The secondary coach came up to me and said. "Put your arms above your head." I did. One arm was touching my helmet because of the brace. The other arm was where it should have been. The coach said, "Can you intercept a pass this way?" I said, "No." Then he told the trainers to take it off. You should have seen the look on my parents faces when I started the second half.

Even this did not stop me from playing football.

A few games later we were playing a team that had an all-American wide receiver. I was put one-on-one with him. By the end of the third quarter he had no receptions and we were winning 14-7. At the twelve minute mark of the 4th quarter I was speared. The player got up saying, "I got him, coach, I got him!" He was kicked out of the game. I spent the next week in the hospital. The receiver went on to catch four touchdown passes in 12-minutes and they won the game. I guess strategically for them it was a good play.

That ended my career.

The doctors told me if I took one more hit like that at best I would have one kidney, at worst I would be on dialysis the rest of my life.

And my life changed.

Even after the doctors told this bit of news I was cleared to play again for the next season,

My last game was the alumni game that spring. I had the opportunity to intercept a pass, instead I simply took out the receiver. That is when I knew I was done.

That fall Oklahoma State called. They heard I wasn't playing and they needed a free safety and wanted to know if I was interested?

I cordially declined.

People were upset that I did not take them up on their offer. When Wyoming called I relented to the pressure.

I knew I couldn't play but went anyway.

This is where I met the girl from Worland.

She was a great person.

I was a butt.

She would ask me, "Do you love me?" I would say, "No." I just could not go there. After a while she got tired of me. She got tired of being treated badly. She deserved better. She deserved the best and that was not me.

After she broke up with me she would watch me from a distance. I would catch glimpses of her just standing there looking at me.

She would have a sad look on her face.

I was a mess. I hurt this person and I am sorry for doing so.

After my great healing I think about her from time to time and when I do I pray, "Father, my prayer is that her life is better than she could have ever imagined. That she is happy and whole and strong."

I want to tell her that I am sorry. Perhaps I'll get the chance some day.

Hurt people hurt people.

Jesus heals people...and healed people heal people.

I pray my healing will continue to bring healing to others.

I pray the same for you.

"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us" (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4, NLT).

Blessings,

Monday, July 22, 2013

The flat tire on the road trip of life

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

A friend of mine contacted me asking how I ended up being a pastor/chaplain?

I started thinking about her question.

I started thinking about what I like to call, "The flat tire on the road trip of life."

As a chaplain I get the opportunity to work with many different people who have many different hurts. Most of the time we can walk though their issues fairly quickly.

There are those whose hurts run deeper.

There are some in whom their hurts have stymied them altogether and they are stuck. They cannot make any forward progress because they cannot get past their pain. With these people I have the chance to teach them how to move forward, giving them the tools they will need to get past this hurt. I call this their flat tire.

I want to tell you a little of my story.

When I was young I played football. I was okay at it. Good enough to win some accolades. Good enough to get scholarships and offers to play in college. I had lots of friends and a girlfriend that I was pretty fond of.

I went on to play football in college. I got hurt playing football in college.

One day I called my girlfriend to wish her happy birthday. She answered the phone and said, "I don't love you. I never did love you. You were nothing more than a status symbol for me."

This did more than just break my heart. I started looking around and came to the conclusion that many of my friends were not friends at all. They were what we would call, "Hangers-on"...people that just hang around because of what you can give them.

I began to feel alone. I began to feel unworthy. I felt unlovable.

I could not shake this. I was stuck.

I was experiencing a flat tire that I did not know how to fix.

I stayed there by the side of the road with my flat tire for some time.

I did not know how to fix this. I was a mess.

It took time but with the help of some very good and loving people I healed.


One thing that I have found is that God will, if you let Him, use your hurts to help others.

I work with giving people the tools to fix their flat tires on the road trip of life so the flat tire no longer defines them but merely becomes a story in their life.

It isn't fun being stuck on the side of the road, watching life pass you by, wondering if someone will stop and help you.

I know now that my girlfriend never really meant to hurt me. She wanted to move on and did not have the words to tell me, she used the words she knew.

I forgave her years ago and pray that life has been good to her and that Christ is the center of her life.

If you are experiencing a flat-tire experience, find someone who will teach you how to change the tire so you can continue on your trip.

God means for us to live life to the fullest for His glory. He does not want us to stand by the side of the road as life goes by.

Blessings,

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Just because I'm paranoid desn't mean they aren't out to get me

Good morning, I pray the day is finding you well.

I am talking with you from Buffalo, Wyoming.

We arrived last night to this little town on the western plains.

It is a quiet place.

After checking in and putting our stuff in our room we went to eat at a Subway. While the Subway girls were making our sandwiches, they started talking to us.

They talked about how there is nothing to do here.

They talked about how when they graduate high school they are leaving to go to a place that is more fun.

I listened to their complaints.

I listened to them dream.

I told them that someday they will grow to appreciate their home and how they grew up.

They looked at me and said, "How do you know?"

I simply replied, "Oh, I know."

It reminded me of my little town.

There are times when I really miss it.

Just getting to Buffalo was a bit of an adventure.

Chuck took his bike to the Rapid City Harley shop for an oil change. That was when he discovered that he also needed a new tire. It took about 3 hours to get everything done. They gave us a ride to a truck stop so we could have breakfast.

At breakfast we met Charity. She was our server. She seated us at a booth and took our order. It was then that I noticed another booth that had an outlet. I was on my way to the restroom when I saw Charity. I asked her if we could move so I could charge my iPad. She said, "No problem." I asked her if she could do me a favor. I said, "Can you go up to my friend and say, move, move now!"

We had a good laugh.

As Chuck and I sat there eating breakfast, he began to tell me how he was sure that the Harley shop was going to try and up-sell him. How they put a special sticker on his bike that he was sure meant that they were going to get a lot of money out of him.

I said, "Sounds kind of paranoid to me."

Chuck replied, "Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get me."

I often wonder what this world would look like if we took the focus off of ourselves and put it on others? What if I could place all my focus on helping others, knowing all the time that others were putting their focus on me, helping me? How cool would it be to not have to watch your back because everyone else was watching it for you, giving you the opportunity to watch everyone else's back.

It feels as if it would be a fearless life.

A life full of good. A life full of love.

I know this sounds crazy.

I know it sounds undoable.

There was a little town in New York during the Second Great Awakening that disbanded its police force. They did not need it anymore.

As I rode through South Dakota, I ruminated on "The hands and feet of Christ."

I began to contemplate something Paul said to a group of people in Colossae, Greece.

This is what he said:

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all." (Colossians 3:1-8, 10, 11 ESV)

I often wonder what the world would be like if we actually followed this teaching?

Blessings,

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Katie, Kim, Ruth Mark, Beverly and a full belly

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

Chuck and I are in Rapid City South Dakota.

I ran out of time yesterday morning so I did not get the chance to talk with you.

The day before yesterday...I guess that's two days ago...we woke up to a wonderful breakfast and amazing coffee. Thank you, Sandy!

I went outside into Jim and Sandy's back yard to relax for a bit, but it did not exactly turn out to be as relaxing as I hoped it would be. I was sitting there contemplating their cottonwood tree that is almost two-hundred years old, and very big. I began to wonder if there was a bee-hive somewhere in the midst of the tree, or worse yet, a hornet's nest.

Just then as I was taking another sip from my coffee cup, a lone hornet, the size of a humming bird, decided to say hello. I have found that the only way to get rid of a hornet is to do the go-away-hornet indian dance. The hornet came right up to my nose, so I didn't waste any time. I jumped up, with my coffee cup still in my hand, and started doing the go-away-hornet indian dance.

To begin with, I was never a very good dancer, and this particular dance has many intricate moves and gyrations to it. I knocked over the chair, spilled my coffee, and finally gave up and ran into the house. I don't think I was doing the right dance. The hornet liked the dance and was dancing with me. In retrospect I think I confused the go-away-hornet indian dance with the very dangerous and invitational dance, come-thou-hither-thine-wonderful-hornet indian dance. The hornet continued to buzz around my head until I was in the house. Sandy said, "Do you need more coffee?" I replied, "No, there is a hornet out there." She said, "yes, we have hornets." I said, "I know."

After a bit we packed up to go. We met dad at the Mankato YMCA and took a tour. It is an amazing YMCA. John Kind, the executive director is an amazing guy and they are doing many wonderful things. Cheryl, the program director for Social Responsibility and I had a great conversation. We will be talking more once I get home.

Our next stop was to see my sister and brother, Katie and Kim. They recently downsized to a nice home in Sioux Falls South, Dakota. Kim is Katie's husband and not my biological brother. I just didn't want anyone to get the wrong idea and think we drove straight through to Arkansas.

We got there just in time for me to go work at the mobile food pantry that Katie directs. I met many wonderful people that are having a hard time feeding their families. I met Mark and Beverly. I carried a box of groceries to their house and sat with Mark and Beverly for a while. I prayed for them and gave a blessing before I went back to the pantry. Back at the pantry I met Ruth. Ruth is an elderly lady who is taking care of her granddaughters.

Ruth is a hoot.

I got into trouble with Ruth.

Ruth and I were shopping.

The food pantry is arranged in a horseshoe configuration.

All the food is set on the table and you walk through getting your food.

Ruth and I were holding up the entire line as we shopped. Picture nobody in front of us and a pile of people stacked up behind us as we debate the different kinds of onions Ruth would like.

Katie finally came up and said, "Let's get a move on!"

I said, "Backer on down a minute missy, Ruth and I are shopping."

"Backer on down" is an old Kansas saying. Well I guess "missy" is an old saying as well. I was pretty proud of myself for combining the two old-Kansas sayings." Katie did not seem as amused. Hmmm...wonder why?

The food pantry has cakes donated to it...wonderful cakes! Katie said, "If a kid is having a birthday, give them a cake."

Well, I do not know how it happened, but every kid I helped that day was having a birthday!

I'm not saying that as we got to the pastry table I made up a story about the kid having a birthday or anything like that. I would never do that... :)

By the end of the night I am not sure I was as much help as Katie thought I would be. That is what you get when you ask your brother to come see what you do.

I am very proud of Katie, she is being the hands and feet of Christ in her community.

Good job, sis!

Kim wanted to give me his Harley for the ride home and thought he could come get it later. It was a wonderful, very generous, offer. We did not take him up on it.

I love you, Kim! I hope this isn't too touchy-feely for you.

We left Sioux Falls around 11am yesterday morning. I called Katie from our first gas stop and found out I that I left my pocket Bible at the house. I will not see it again until I get home. I'm kind of bummed about that.

As we made our way to Rapid City, South Dakota, I started ruminating about Ruth, Katie, Kim and Christ.

I started thinking about the apostle Paul.

How he tells us to take care of widows and children.

I was watching this in action at the food pantry.

It is always fun, and if I am to be honest, very humbling to watch Christ in action.

I will ruminate on, "The hands and feet of Christ today."

Blessings,

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The best stop ever!

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

"This is the best stop ever!"

The words of my friend Chuck after he found out that the Harley Shop that we stopped at had everything he needed to fix his bike:
A new headlight.
An allen wrench that he could borrow to get the cover off the motor and adjust the ignition.
A bolt for his air-cleaner cover to replace the one he lost on the road.
He has "a vintage" 1993 Harley with an S&S motor, so most places don't have these things.

"This is the best stop ever!"

We had ridden from Duluth, Minnesota to Mankato, Minnesota. It was a hot day and humid. I was pretty rung out by the time we got to Mankato. Chuck had no idea just how good the stop was going to get.

After we fixed the bike, we rode over to Jim and Sandy's house. Jim and Sandy are my brother and sister. Actually, Jim is married to Sandy and they are my brother- and sister in-law, which means that Jim is my wife's brother. I consider them my brother and sister, not my brother- and sister in-law. Having an in-law would suggest that somewhere you have an out-law. I am not much into having an out-law, so why would I like having an in-law?

I have family: mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters, grandson and granddaughter.

When we got to the house, my father and mother were there...same mindset. I will let you figure out the details.

My dad, Jim, is an amazing guy. I will write about him one of these days. Today I am focusing on "the best stop ever."

We got to the house and Sandy met us at the door. She gave me a hug, even though I was sweaty and dirty from a long day's ride. Family will still hug you even when you are sweaty and dirty. Dad and Bea were already at the house and we settled in. I tried to help Sandy make the guest bed. She was gracious, but I was more in the way than helping...so she asked me not to help her anymore.

We had a nice dinner, a dinner that was more balanced than Chuck and I have been used to on this ride. If you are wondering what I am talking about, read my post, "I have been to Helena and Back."

Dad and Bea went home. Chuck and I got into the pool. Yes, Jim and Sandy have a pool. We stayed in the pool until we were well shriveled.

We ended the night with a great conversation, sitting on these amazing leather couches that recline with a push of the button.

This morning I am sitting in the backyard looking at a 150-year-old Cottonwood tree. There are three squirrels running around the tree, doing what squirrels do. I guess they were squirreling around. One squirrel is lying on the top of the fence with its legs on either side, head flat on the rail, tail lazily off to one side. I have never seen a squirrel that relaxed before. Pretty cool.

Sandy left for a meeting and we ran out of coffee. She had made us a pot of coffee before she left. There we were, three men: Jim, Chuck, and me...staring at an empty coffee carafe. "We are grown men," we thought. "We can figure this out."

I hate to admit that it took three men to figure out how to make one pot of coffee. I made sure that the mess was cleaned up before Sandy got home.

When Sandy returned home, she asked, "Who made the coffee?"

"We did," we said.

She asked, "Ok, who cleaned up the mess."

We said, "We did."

How did she know we would make a mess? Girls...men never will figure them out.

It really has been the best stop ever. I am completely decompressed and relaxed.

It is good to be with people that love you and care about you.

I will think about this stop for a long time.

Blessings,

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Okie Dokie and You Betcha

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

Okie Dokie and You Betcha.

We made it to Duluth Minnesota.

We left Fargo yesterday morning and within five minutes we were in the middle of construction gridlock. As I sat there looking at all the people headed in the same direction at the speed of nothing, I could not help but think about lemmings. Lemmings are an interesting creature that once every few years all head out together in a mass and end up jumping off a cliff. I thought about how we all looked like a bunch of lemmings. A massive sea of vehicles and people. I hoped there wasn't a cliff at the end.

I often wonder about lemmings.

Do the ones in the middle of the lemming gridlock know there is a cliff at the end? Or are they just going along with the flow with a great big surprise at the end.

Somehow I do not think there is a big a difference between us and lemmings.

After a bit traffic opened up. There wasn't a cliff after all. Before we knew it, we were in Minnesota.

You know you are in the North Woods when you see a wolverine on the side of the road. I know you are asking yourself, "Wolverine! I wonder how many wolverines it takes to make Roger nervous?"

The answer is just one.

One wolverine is all it takes to make me think, "Hey, there is a wolverine on the side of the road and my leg is hanging out right there for him/her to chomp on."

We didn't have wolverines in Kansas, but we did have badgers.

Once a badger made a nice little home near our house in Kansas. I learned that it takes more than one cup of coffee in the morning for a badger to get rid of the morning grumps. It would come out of its hole when I would walk by, kind of like a bullet, and do its waddle-run. (If you had ever seen a badger run, you would know what I am talking about.) Of course, this would make me run and I would be yelling over my shoulder, "Stop badgering me!"

I am convinced that is where the saying came from.

Wolverines and badgers.

Don't mess with them.

We passed the wolverine. I am sure I was quite the sight, Chuck in front, me in the back with my legs over my head. Chuck never saw the wolverine. Good thing, it is hard to drive a motorcycle with your legs over your head.

Minnesota is a beautiful state, we rode along driving past towns like Baxter, Brainard, Deer Lodge...

We came over the top of a hill and all of a sudden there is Lake Superior.

Chuck says, "It looks like the ocean."

I reply, "I told you so."

When Chuck had mentioned that he had never been to the Great Lakes I said, "It looks like the ocean."

Chuck said, "Really?"

I said, "Really, it does."

Somehow it feels good to say, "I told you so." Must be my humanness coming out.

We checked into our room and went for a walk. We stopped by the YMCA that was close to us and took a tour. It's a "Y" thing. We "Y'rs" tend to tour other "Y's" when we see them. I guess it makes us feel more at home somehow.

I told them that I work for the "Y" in Washington and they said they needed to check to see if it was true. It made me think, "Do a lot of people come to their "Y" and say, "Hey, I work for the Y, let me in."

They checked on me, found out that I was a chaplain at YMCA. They were curious as to how that worked out. They had the typical concerns about inclusiveness and not being pigeonholed. We had a great conversation about not beating people over their heads with a Bible and how chaplaincy is about right relationships and being there for people during times of need. When I shared what chaplaincy is all about, it made them wish they had a faith component too.

The YMCA in Duluth is a great place, doing many great things.

After our tour I could not help but think of my YMCA. I called my home "Y" just to make sure that everything was okay. When I left for the trip we had a elderly woman in ICU. A lifeguard saved her life when she had a stroke in our pool. A family worried about their mother. We also have people with no place to live, people out of work...our "Y" helps lots of people.

Later Chuck and I took a walk on the boardwalk. As we walked along, a woman came up and asked if I had any spare change. I reached into my pocket and gave her some change. A person walking behind us, more Lemming visuals, came up and asked, "Why did you give her money?" I said, "I did for one what I wished I could do for all."

That baffled him.

Sometimes, when Christ nudges me to something, it doesn't make sense to people right away. Maybe this person will get it someday.

Or maybe, he will be like a wolverine, trying to chomp on a leg when it presents itself.

I don't want to be a wolverine.

I know I don't want to be a lemming.

Lemmings and wolverines: two creatures that are wonderful in their own right...but not for me.

Blessings,

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Why did you put him in the chipper?

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

"Why did you put him in the chipper?"

That's right, Chuck and I are in Fargo, North Dakota.

Did I mention that my wife is a travel agent? She has many beautiful and wonderful qualities. I have found on this particular trip that her being a travel agent is just another quality on that list. I simply tell her where I plan to be at the end of the day and she has a hotel room waiting for us. This is much better than getting to a town and hoping for a place to rest my head. This is much better than my spending time searching for hotels during the day as we ride.

It's one thing I do not have to worry about.

We left Helena on Sunday.

We rode out Highway 12, a beautiful Montana road filled with old towns, pickup trucks and cowboy hats.

Did you ever watch the movie "Dumb and Dumber?"

Being an old rider and being used to riding my own bike, I was feeling a bit like the scene in the movie where they are riding a mini-bike two-up. I was in the middle of this self-loathing when I see something I have never seen before. We were just outside of Sulfur Springs, Montana when we passed a minibike with two full-grow men on it. I could not believe my eyes. We stopped in Sulfur Springs for gas and they pulled up shortly thereafter. Two young guys from Fremantle Australia were going around the country. They had been hitch-hiking when someone gave them a minibike, which they are now they riding.

I did not feel so bad about being a passenger on an Ultra Classic anymore.

We rolled into Miles City, Montana, that evening. Miles City is a pleasant town out on the Montana prairie. We pulled in to the hotel that Laurie had reserved for us and settled in. Just outside the hotel was a pasture, complete with cattle.

Chuck grew up in San Diego, California, a city boy.

I had grown up in St. Francis, Kansas, a country kid.

We walked outside and the cattle intrigued Chuck.

I said, "Just go up to the fence and call them."

Chuck looked at me and says, "really?"

I said, "Really, all you have to do is go; Moo Cow, Moo Cow, Here Cow, Moo Cow, and they will come running."

I couldn't hold it together. I broke a smile.

Chuck says, "You're making this up."

In the words of Tom Swayer, I thought, "Huck knew I was joshing him."

I said, "Yes."

I did preface it with you never know it might work.

Chuck, never one to miss an opportunity said, "I'll give it a try."

There is nothing funnier to a country kid than watching a city boy stand at a fence calling, "Moo Cow, Moo Cow, Here Cow, Moo Cow."

The cattle never came. One old cow did lift her head and give Chuck a look before going back to her meal of grass.

The next morning we loaded our gear and headed to Fargo.

There is a lot to learn about being the passenger on a motorcycle.

Just getting on in the back seat took me a while to master. Other things I learned the first time. One thing is to make sure that you are out of the way when the driver forgets you are there and clears a sinus.

I learned that one on the first try.

Kind of like when I was a kid and my dad got me to pee on an electric fence. He got me to do that over forty years ago and to this day I stay clear of electric fences.

North Dakota has a lot of interesting country to it and a lot of interesting people.

As I sit there riding along looking at the country rolling under us, I do a lot of thinking.

I think about all the blessings that God has given me.

I think about the work that He has called me to do.

Yes, life can and does throw curve balls at me.

I am reminded of the parable:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 ESV)

I think to myself, "Lord, today is a good day. I do not know what tomorrow will bring, but today is a good day."

As I go through life I know that I will have some pretty bad days. I know some days will be horrific, almost unbearable.

I also know that God is with me everyday.

He will never leave me or forsake me.

This is one thing that this country kid will never forget.

Blessings,

Monday, July 15, 2013

I have been to Helena and back

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I have been to Helena and back.

After my bike blew up, Chuck and I had some decisions to make. We decided to go two-up on his bike, which meant that we had to scale down and ship all the items that we deemed unnecessary home. Lone Wolf Harley graciously agreed to do this for us. I was very grateful for this, but it still meant that we had decisions to make.

Do we just go home?

Do we continue on?

If we continue on where do we go?

Our trip was up in the air.

We decided to go to Missoula, Montana, stay the night, and decide whether to continue beyond that. In all honesty we were thinking we would ride down through Idaho, a ride that we have down before, hit the southern end of Idaho, and then ride home.

A much shorter ride, but a ride nonetheless.

We took off for Missoula.

When we got to Missoula we went to a hotel to check in, but...they were booked up.

We quickly found out that there were no rooms available anywhere.

In fact, we quickly found out that there were no rooms available anywhere in the area for 100 miles.

There was a marathon going on in Missoula, a big event that filled all the rooms even in the surrounding towns.

There was a "Testicle Festival" going on in Butte, Montana, which filled up every room in Butte and the surrounding towns. I am giving Butte the benefit of the doubt, thinking that it has something to do with cattle and the leavings of the neutering process that turns bulls into steers. I am hoping that is what it is. I do not know for sure. Either way, a Testicle Festival does not intrigue me, and for the life of me I do not know why it would be such a big draw that all Butte's hotel rooms would be filled up because of it. To be honest it sounds a little off-putting.

We finally found a hotel room in Helena, Montana. We booked the room and headed for Helena.
It was 6:40 pm when we left Missoula. I was still grieving the loss of my bike, I was emotionally drained. Chuck was tired. It had been a full day already.

On the ride to Helena, a pickup truck went passed us and kicked up a rock, which broke out the headlight on Chuck's bike. This was the cherry on the cake of our day.

Needless to say Chuck was not happy.

There we were on the side of the highway. I was looking at the broken headlight and Chuck was doing an indian dance and chanting.

I am not sure what he was chanting, I do not speak indian. Chuck is not Native American, but I am assuming it was an indian headlight dance he was doing. His face was really red at the time.

We rolled into Helena around 8:30 pm.

We were tired, frustrated, and pretty rung out.

I checked in.

This is when I find out that there was a State championship softball tournament going on, a rodeo, and an antique auto show going on.

When I called the hotel from Missoula, I got the second-to-the-last room available in the whole town.

Was our luck changing?

We put our stuff in our room and went to dinner at the hotel's restaurant.

We sat down and looked over the menu.

Everything was fine at this point.

We both ordered the chicken fried steak meal with baked potato. The meal comes with a choice of salad or soup. Our waitress suggested their taco soup saying, "It is really good." We followed her advice.

Then Chuck asked an innocent question, "How about an appetizer?"

It had been a day and evidently we were stress eating. I said, "Sure."

Chuck order the Jalapeño poppers and I ordered the chicken wings.

This was our mistake.
The meal went like this:

First came a bread plate, with hot bread and a huge bowl of celery and carrots.

We ate the bread and veggies.

Then came the poppers.

We ate the poppers.

Then came the wings.

We ate wings.

Then came the taco soup (complete with Frito chips in the soup).

We ate the soup.

Then came the platter-size plate of Chicken Fried steak, baked potato, and corn.

Not to be deterred, we dug into our platters.

I got halfway through my plate when I hit the wall. My stomach looked like I was hiding a basketball. My temperature started to rise. I began to feel bad.

I was in Helena.

The cook came out to see us. He had never had anyone order that much food from him before and he was concerned, and a little amused.

I went back to the room and laid down. Needless to say, I did not sleep well that night.

The next morning I felt much better and was in a much better place.

Chuck looked at me and said, "We are halfway through Montana, why not go to Duluth?"

I said, "Why not?"

We are on our way to see Lake Superior, two up on a bike. Seeing country we have not seen, meeting people we never would have met. I get to see more of God's creation and spend more time listening to Him.

We never would have made this decision if we would have found a room in Missoula.

We never would have made this decision if there had not been a marathon, rodeo...and Testicle Festival...going on. These things forced us to go farther than we had planned just to put a roof over our heads for a night.

I am starting to decompress.

I am starting to relax.

I am starting to fill up again.

As I go through the road trip of life, I cannot see God's plan as I look through the windshield of life. It is only when I glance in the rearview mirror that I get to see a glimpse of what He is doing. I cannot spend a lot of time looking in the mirror without risking running into a tree, so I am forced to look forward and live in the mystery of what He is up to.

I am glad I have a rearview mirror. It gives me moments of perspective.

I am in Him and He is in me.

It is a good place to be.

Blessings,




Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Zipper Broke

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

My zipper broke.

Every year my friend Chuck and I take a motorcycle trip. We block out two weeks every summer to ride our bikes...going to new places and going to places we have been before. We tend to have our phones off and go places that do not have reception. We do all this to force ourselves to detach, giving us the opportunity to decompress. We load our bikes up with everything that we will need to be out on the road for the duration: tents, sleeping bags, clothing...needless to say we take a lot of stuff.

The course of the year takes a toll on us. Chuck has a high pressure job and my work takes a toll on me in terms of emotional availability. We look forward to this time away as it affords us time to heal, contemplate life at a deeper level, and return to our work presenting our best selves. For me, this time allows me to spend copious amounts of time with God. I spend much more time listening to Him than talking to Him. I always come back rested, at peace, and with a renewed sense of calling.

It is amazing what God shows me during my trips.

My zipper broke.

My zipper broke on my saddle bag that holds many things that I thought I would need for this ride. It broke as I was making my last pre-departure check right before I left the house. It forced me to rearrange a few things. I came up with a temporary solution and was ready to go.

Chuck and his wife Dianne spent the night before the ride at our house and the last thing we did was come together and pray over our ride. I kissed Laurie goodbye, told her how much I loved her and we were off.

It was at our first stop that I realized that I had forgotten a couple of things. With the zipper breaking I had broken my pre-ride routine and left some things at the house. Oh well...that is life.

Chuck and I were just pulling into the gas station in Sprague Washington when our ride took a turn that neither of us saw coming. There is an old saying: "Life is what happens while you are busy planning for life." I did remember to bring my pocket Bible It was in its usual place in my back pocket.

My engine made a very bad sound, a very bad sound.

I called for a tow to the nearest Harley shop, which was in Spokane Washington.

The driver showed up about an hour later. He was not in a good mood, and did not look very happy. We got the bike loaded up on to the truck and I rode with him. Chuck followed us.

The driver's name was Brian. He noticed my Bible and said, "At least you have the Good Book with you."

I was not in a good place mentally, I just looked at him and smiled.

He started asking about Christ and God.

He talked about how he wants to believe, but TV evangelists do not seem authentic to him and while the words they say sound good they seem like salesmen.

He said that he tried to read the Bible a few times but never got through Genesis.

We talked during the entire ride.

I told him that I too have a problem with TV evangelists.

I suggested that he find a Bible that he can read, explaining that there are many translations...and I am sure that there will be one he can understand. I suggested that he start by reading James, then go to John, then Galatians, then Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

He asked about Heaven. It seems that everybody ends up asking about Heaven.

I responded that actually all I know is that Heaven will be bigger and better than we can possibly imagine and I am excited to find out.

He said, "I'm a good person, but I do not go to church. Will I get to Heaven?"

I said, "You don't get to Heaven by the number of times you go to church, and you do not get into Heaven just by being a good person. In the Christian faith, we believe that you must accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior."

He did.

When we got to the Harley shop Brian walked past Chuck and said, smiling, "This is all part of God's plan."

Chuck walked over to me smiling. he said, "What did you do?"

I said, "Brian and I had a nice conversation and he is a new man."

The mechanics took one look at my bike and said, "You have a blown engine."
I said, "Can it be fixed?"

They said, "Yes, it will take two weeks and $5,000."

This was a shock, not something that I expected.

Plans changed.

I was introduced to many new people.

I met Paul, Sasha, Sandy, and eventually I met Beth.

Paul and Sasha were trying to get me to buy a new bike.

Sandy wanted to see my credit.

I spent a couple of hours with Paul, Sasha, and Sandy.

My bike was done, there was no fixing it.

I called Laurie and told her the news. She cried.

As I said earlier, I eventually met Beth. Beth is the owner of the Lone Wolf Harley Davidson dealership.

It turns out that Beth is a good Christian lady. We had a great conversation and she invited us to eat dinner at the Harley shop, they were having a closed party but invited Chuck and me to join them.

After dinner Sandy gave me a ride, with all my stuff to a KOA camp so I could sleep for the night.

The next morning, Chuck and I returned to the dealership. I was met with hugs and my new friends telling me how sorry they were for my loss. Paul said, "Roger this really sucks." I said, "Paul, while this is unfortunate, nobody got hurt; there are many worse things that are happening to people. I know, I work with them daily.' He said, "I know you do and now I know how important this ride is to you and I feel terrible.'

I replied, "Paul, it is not the challenge that defines you. It is your response to the challenge that defines you."

Paul looked at me and said, "I am going to remember that."

Beth came up and asked, "What are you going to do?"

I said, "I am turning the bike over to you."

She replied, "Do you really want to do that?"

I said, "Beth, maybe you can get some money for it and if it is in your heart, maybe you could donate the money to someone in need."

Beth just looked at me for a moment and then said, "Roger, I will do that, we will be in touch."

Sandy said, "We will Ship your stuff home for you."

Sasha was glad that I was going to wait and get a bike that I really wanted and not make an emotional buy.

I felt they truly cared about us and did not see us as a possible sale.

Chuck and I are two up on his bike now.

God taught me many things this day.

I learned that if you have your eyes open you can see His miracles even in the midst of your loss. Make no mistake, I am grieving the loss of something that I loved. But even in the demise of my bike I know that someone will be helped by it.

Who knows, maybe I would have gotten in a bad accident if this would not have happened. Maybe not. I am not in charge of God's plans for me.

Through this I was able to be a witness for Christ to a number of people. I also say His compassion and care for me as I went through this.

My zipper broke

My bike died.

Brian has new life.

Beth called us disciples.

Paul, Sasha and Sandy all gave us blessings as we left.

If I cannot see God in this, I would never be able to see God at all.

Blessings,

Roger

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A life lived well

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I was at a breakfast meeting the other day, wondering to myself, “Is this really something I should be at or will I be wasting valuable time that I could be using to help one of the many people that come to me for help? I was up in the air with the whole thing. I was sitting there watching people network; watching people make plans.

Then the speaker got up and said the following quote.

“I see clearly that I achieved practically nothing. The world today and the history of the human anthill during the last 57 years would be exactly the same as it is if I’d played ping pong instead of sitting on committees and writing books and memorandums. I have therefore to make the rather useless confession to myself and anyone who reads this book that I must in my long life ground through between 150,000 – 200,000 hours of perfectly useless work.”
-Sir Leonard Wolfe

He went on to explain the during his lifetime, Sir Leonard Wolfe had been in Parliament, a friend to kings and queens, A prolific writer, made lots of money; by all accounts he was a success . Yet at the end of his life, as he looked back, he could not shake the feeling that instead of doing the things that he had done, his life would have been more impactful if he had done something else.

The speaker then asked the question,”What makes work matter?”

The speaker did not stop there, he went on to say that many people throughout the years had criticized him, pointing out things he could have done differently or better; in essence playing “Monday morning quarterback.” He talked about how sometimes he felt that it would be better to do nothing at all then to try, sometimes fail, and then listen to the critics.

He then shared the following,

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

“Citizenship in a Republic”
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris – April 23, 1910
Theodore Roosevelt

He then asked this question, “What is the story I am writing with my life? And is it a good one?”

The two questions,

”What makes work matter?”

“What is the story I am writing with my life? And is it a good one?”

Causes one to pause and wonder" "Am I living a life lived well?

Blessings,