Altercation in Walmart

Ok, so I’ve officially become an old man.

If my graying hair and the mail I receive from AARP wondering why I haven’t taken advantage of their offer isn’t enough, I’m now adding fuel to the fire in my conversations.

So, I’m in Walmart and two young representatives from a tv and internet provider approach me. I don’t want to start anything so we’ll just call them GrAyT & T.

Our dialogue went something like what you’re about to read with only slight exaggeration:

Rep 1 – Hello, Sir.

Me – Hello, twelve year olds (Ok, so I didn’t really say how old I thought they were).

Rep 2 – May we ask which company currently provides your tv and internet service?

Me – Ok, sure. Cox. (I understand for some of you that automatically puts me in the old person category.

Rep 1 – That’s perfect.

Me – (Continues shopping) Great. See you later.

Rep 1 – Well, we actually were curious if you know how much your monthly payment is for these services.

Me – Yes, I do know.

(awkward pause)

Rep 2 – Would you mind telling us how much you pay?

Me – Yes, I would.

Rep 1 – Ok, well. Where do you live? I can look it up.

Me – (Heavy sigh) Fine. (I tell them my address. I’d write out my address here but I’m not prepared for all the fan mail I might receive. Just kidding).

Rep 2 – Sir, what would you say if I told you that our company can save you around 50% and can improve your service?

Me – I’d say that I’m upset because your company is about to dig up the front of my yard to put in their fancy smancy fiberoptics lines.

Rep 1 – Well, that is true, Sir. But the teams are repairing the damage by replanting the grass.

Me – I have Asian Jasmine growing in that section of my yard. Do you know how much work my wife and I had to do to get it growing right again after all the debris from Hurricane ida was stacked on it. And now you want me to go through all that again?

Rep 2 – But the service is so much better and cheaper. Wouldn’t you like to try it out?

Me – How can I try it? They haven’t even run the lines yet.

Rep 1 – Didn’t you just say you didn’t want them to run the lines?

Me – Yes, I did. If they can’t run the lines then I can’t try your service!

My Wife – (Interrupts) – Now, Honey, you need to leave these nice young people alone. You’re overexciting yourself. Goodbye, 12 years olds… (Ok, so she didn’t call them 12 year olds either).

I guess I am getting older. Who knows, maybe I should try that new grAy T & T service. To do so I’d have to cancel my front yard Asian Jasmine guarding stake out. I was going to build a bonfire and roast my food over all my AARP junk mail letters.

Maybe I’ll look into it after my nap…

*Image courtesy of Yerling Villalobos and Unsplash

My Father’s Day Confession

I have a confession to make. 

I watch people I don’t know. I watch them a lot. 

Dads especially catch my eye when they’re with their kids.

I watch them when they’re playing, working, laughing, and even when they’re frustrated.

I watch them and I wonder, “What must that be like?”

It used to make me angry (Ok sometimes it still does) when I read that “Children are a gift from the Lord. They are a reward from Him.” (Psalm 127:3 NLT) I mean, if those who have kids are truly experiencing an actual reward from the Lord, then I naturally assume that I must be a loser of the highest (or lowest) magnitude. 

I’ve absolutely hated Father’s Day because people walk up to me, smile, and practically shout, “Happy Father’s Day!” before they grimace and say “Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot that you’re not a father.” 

One Father’s Day, I was on vacation visiting a church when I was singled out from the pulpit in front of the congregation: “You all know John doesn’t have what it takes to make a baby but let’s pretend that he is by giving him a cheap gift.” Ok, so maybe that wasn’t exactly what they said, but it’s how I felt at the time.

One year, the daughter of a friend approached me on Father’s Day and innocently said, “My daddy is David. Mr. Bob is Ashleigh’s daddy. Whose daddy are you?”

That floored me.

I didn’t know what to say so I slapped her. (Not really)

“They (Children) are a reward from Him.”

I didn’t get a reward. I didn’t place. I wasn’t even allowed to race. I’m not sure what the problem is but I must be doing something wrong.

However, I refuse to allow myself to believe that anymore. 

When I look at my life, I’ve been blessed more than anyone I know. I have a cute wife, a nice home, and a life where I make a difference in the lives of thousands of people, if not more.

And yet, I still watch dads and I wonder, “What must that be like?”

And after all this time, I think I know.

It’s a blessing. With all of the frustrations, from my viewpoint, fatherhood is a reward.

So, I just wanted to say “Congratulations dads!

You have received an amazing gift, a reward from our Heavenly Father.”

And to those of you who are willing to embrace your reward, I honor you this weekend.

You are truly blessed beyond my comprehension! So do your best and make us proud! 

Be men of God willing to raise a generation to love and serve the Lord wholeheartedly! 

I promise to pray for you and try to relate as best I can. Let me know if I can help, seriously. And when we are old and gray(er) and all the children are gone, give me a call, send me a text, or do whatever people are doing then, and we’ll go to lunch or coffee, my treat. 

I’ll tell you how God has blessed me and then…

I’ll sit quietly and listen and you can tell me stories of what it was like.

Happy Father’s Day

*Image courtesy of Shane Rounce

Feel Like Giving Up?

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Do you ever feel like giving up?

If so, I have three messages for you.

First, you’re not alone.

People all over the world are working their way through this crisis. They play different roles and perform different services. Nevertheless, they are still a part of this battle, just like you.

Second, you can’t quit.

Things are strange right now, it’s true. But you must keep going. We need you. We need your strength. We need the difference you make. If you can’t keep going for you, do it for us.

Third, ask the Lord for help.

It may have been years since you prayed. That doesn’t matter right now. What matters is that He is right there, waiting for you to initiate the conversation. He’s a great listener. Why not give it a try?

God bless you.

 

*photo courtesy of Steve Johnson and Unsplash

 

You’re Never Too Old To Try Something New

Guadelupe Palacios
Guadelupe Palacios was born in a small Mexican village in the state of Chiapas. She grew up without the opportunity to go to school, so she worked at home in the kitchen and garden and then later in the fields. As a young woman, she married and raised six children. For money, she sold chickens, learning math along the way. Years later, after her children were grown and her husband had passed away, she decided it was finally time for her to learn to read and write, so Guadelupe enrolled in a locally sponsored literacy program.
She was 92.
When asked why, after all these years, she wanted to learn to read and write, she replied, “Now I can write notes to my boyfriends.”
Guadelupe did learn to read and write, but she didn’t stop there. Within 4 years, she successfully completed the course work through Middle School. She still wasn’t satisfied.
She searched for a high school equivalency program but found none in Chiapas that were convenient and inexpensive, so in 2018, at the age of 96, she enrolled in the local high school in Tuxtla Gutierrez. She has a goal of graduating by the time she turns 100. She dreams of continuing her education and becoming a Kindergarten teacher.
You’re never too old to learn something new.
Guadelupe isn’t alone in her late bloomer efforts:
  • Susan Boyle was 47 when she entered Britain’s Got Talent.
  • Julia Child didn’t publish her first cookbook until she was 50.
  • Vera Wang didn’t enter the fashion industry until she was 40.
  • Colonel Sanders didn’t franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was 62.
  • Stan Lee didn’t publish her first comic book until he was 39.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t publish her first novel until she was 65.
  • Grandma Moses didn’t begin painting until she was past 75.
What about you? Do you have a desire (or need) to take a course, learn a new skill, travel to a new place, or study a new language? Have you ever thought, as I have, “That’s crazy. I’m too old to try that. Why would I even let a foolish notion like that enter my mind?”
I can almost guarantee that 99% of us reading this blog are not as old as Guadelupe Palacios.
You’re never too old to try something new.

Early On: A Response In Story Form

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“Well,” he said, “You’re here early, aren’t you?”

“Yeah,” I replied. “I am. I’m not really sure what happened, but here I am.”

The man smiled pleasantly.

“Is that ok?” I asked. “Can I still join you?”

He swallowed hard and looked into my eyes.

“Absolutely!” he stated. “We’re glad you’re here. Don’t ever doubt that.”

I stretched out my hand to shake his. He grabbed it tightly and pulled me in for a big bear hug. It took me by surprise, but in a good way. Something told me I could trust him.

“Thanks for having me,” I said, still caught in his embrace.

When he finally released me, I awkwardly said, “Again, I’m sorry I’m here so early.”

“You shouldn’t worry about it,” he replied. “We all know it wasn’t your fault.”

“Thanks for understanding,” I said. “I just hope it won’t ruin anything.”

He paused, then said, “Things here will be just fine. Now, let’s get you settled in, Michael. I think you’re going to like where we’ve put you.”

“Michael?” I asked. “Why are you calling me Michael?”

He patted my back and said, “Because that’s your name.”

“I’ve never heard it before.”

“What did your parents call you?”

“Well, they never really called me by name. They usually just referred to me as the kid. You know how parents are. They say things like ‘I don’t know what to do with this kid,’ ‘I wish that kid was coming at a different time,’ ‘That kid’s just not going to be worth the effort.’”

“You heard your parents say all of that?”

“Yeah.”

“I’m saddened that you heard that. I’m sure it really hurt your feelings.”

“It did, but I turned out ok, I guess.”

“You look fine to me now, Michael.”

“So I’m really Michael, huh?”

“Yeah, you are. You know, your grandma wanted to call you Michael if…”

“I know,” I said. “If I had been born.”

“Yeah,” he said.

“You know,” I said. “I thought I was being born. I saw a light and then, darkness again, and then I was here…”

He put his hands on my shoulders and said, “Michael. I wish you could have lived the life I planned for you. You would have loved it.”

Tears streamed down my face and I hugged him once again. I could feel his heart beating in rhythm with mine.

“I love you, Michael,” he said. “I want you to live with me here forever.”

I smiled and said, “Thank you, Jesus. I love you, too.”

 

*photo courtesy of Drew Patrick Miller and Unsplash