Ok, there I was in the bathroom about to shave and get on with my day… when..CRASH, BANG….and glass shards were sliding all over the tile floor around my bare feet…Looking up, I realized the rectangular cover from the light on the cathedral ceiling over the commode had somehow fallen, hit the toilet and shattered in dozens of pieces….first thing that hit me was…Wow, and I was just there!…second thing was how bright the room seemed without that heavy cover…it really brightened up the place….
Without too much effort, most of us can recall certain moments, some singular event, something very out of the ordinary, those “stick in our head” types, and these events above all else return to our memory… often without effort and at times when we aren’t expecting….Many times these events sadly stick because of the tragedy, hurt, harm, fear, sadness…others evoke a smile, gratitude, relief, thankfulness, safety, comfort. That we all encounter these jarring occasions is not newsworthy; the HOW we use those events…that can be a biggee. In my book, Heartbursts, I cover many such moments…and every one, I promise, is a “biggee.” Well, after cleaning up the glass, and finishing my morning shave, I sat in my office, still thinking about that “close call.” No, it doesn’t rank way up there among the top ten… yes, it could have been worse, cuts, bruises, stitches even….the occasion however, lends itself to this broader and far more important subject…what do we do after such events take place?
Here’s just a few of my “stick” events: At age five, at the supper table, my father went to the stove and brought the pot of coffee back to the table, as he passed my chair, he stumbled, and boiling hot coffee spilled over my head, down my back, and into my lap…..I still remember his tear’s and my mother’s screaming..I also remember how bright red so much of my skin was…to this day, I have a deep respect for anything hot, and I am uncomfortable when anyone walks behind me. San Francisco International Airport – 1963, a young, starry eyed Air Force Airman was hurrying to board a plane for a long tour of duty in faraway Japan as a spy on Russian military pilots’ conversations. As this kid walked through the terminal, a booth with two geisha girls dressed in pretty kimonos caught his eye….he was still looking at those Japanese beauties when the Lord slammed him to the ground!!
Well, ok, he walked into a huge plate glass door…his hat flew off, his duffle bag went flying, his brief case went another way, and he was sure his nose was broken..those cute girls with hands over their mouths were getting a big laugh…his pride was crushed drastically…to this day, he always looks straight ahead, especially when walking through airports, and IF he should accidentally of course, be distracted by the opposite sex, he finds some excuse to pause and adjust his tie or something, never does he keep walking fast with his head turned at ninety degrees!.. 3:00 AM in Wakkanai, Hokkaido, Japan, some 800 miles north of Tokyo, 26 miles from Russian territory, Sakhland Island, November 22, 1963… My NCO snapped on my room light and pulled me off my top bunk…Sgt. Greer was in tears and really angry…”They just killed our president in Dallas and we are on full alert, get dressed now”…For weeks we wondered if our little outpost would be attacked….Would I have to, could I really fight and die for America, my country, freedom, my parents, grandparents, and friends….Twelve of my buds gave their ultimate sacrifice in Nam at that time…I thought I could then….today, perhaps even more maturely, I think I would…hope I never have to make that choice.
As I lead a couple songs at the opening of our San Antonio Optimist Club weekly luncheons, my first song is typically something Patriotic … I like helping folks remember that freedom has never been free! … Stuff that sticks, we’ve all been there, but, when they pop up, do we just shrug off the quick recollection, or could we open it up and perhaps use one or more in some kind, positive way that just might help ours and others’ hearts? See ya next time!