Gifts are Nice, But There is Something Better

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This is my first attempt at writing a story. I’m not sure it belongs here, and I apologize for any deficiencies. Please be merciful.

A father stood by his young daughter’s bed. She was clearly tired from a busy day, but because her Dad was with her– that at the moment mattered most. “Dad, tell me a story… please?”

“I’m sorry dear heart, I can’t” he said sadly. “I must travel to Chicago, and then to St. Louis. I’m afraid I’ll be gone for three days. The girl responded, “But Daddy, you’re my best friend. You can’t leave.”

“Honey, if you are good and brave, I will bring you home a special present.” She looked up at him. “A ring?” “Yes, darling. A beautiful ring. Now go to sleep and have sweet dreams, good night. I love you so much.”

When the father returns he finds her at the door, eagerly waiting him. She runs and hugs him, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Oh papa, you are really home!” Setting down his suitcase, the Father reaches into his breast pocket. “Here you go, dear one. One special ring!”  It was silver with a small garnet stone, and it was so beautiful. And it sparkled.

Sometime later the father had to make another trip, this time to Akron. “Oh father, please don’t go again. Tell me another story.” (For the father was very good at telling such interesting tales of rabbits and ponies and storms and such.) “Please, stay!” the girl begged.

“Honey, if you’re good and brave, I will bring you home a special present.” The child  grew quiet for a few seconds. “Papa… maybe a dress? A blue one, with lace and puffy sleeves?” Yes love-heart,” he said, “with puffy sleeves. Now you need to go to sleep, dear.”

The trip to Akron was terribly uneventful, but he did stop by a J.C. Penny to buy a little blue dress. Arriving home he found his daughter waiting for him. Setting down his bags, he received so many kisses he wondered if he wasn’t the luckiest man alive.

“And here, young lady, is the dress I promised.” Out of the box, and with lots of ‘ooohs and aahs.’ She lifted it out and modeled it under her chin. It was blue and had puffy sleeves. It was wonderful. (She would wear that dress until it was worn out.)

One day the daughter grew quiet and still. “Father, I don’t want the ring. I don’t want the dress. I don’t want them anymore. I really want you!”

The father smiled, with tears in his eyes, “Dear heart, I love you so much.”

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The Father awaits you to come to this point, when you stop seeking His blessings and start to seek His face.

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Charred Cinders

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Aftermath of a forest fire in California

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.”

Isaiah 43:2, NASB

This will not be a typical commentary on this verse. (But it will be brief.)

The word I emphasize is “through.” I feel it is the salient point of the whole thought. Through implies a temporary state of being. We “pass through.” In a sense it is the state of being ‘between,’ and it is rarely, or ever comfortable.

Life is all about transitions– a job, children, marriage, health. We’re fine when things are steady and sure. However we feel the strain when things suddenly change. We are compelled to go through some things. Plain and simple. There are three simple things to think about.

  1. God is very present in those moments.
  2. Seldom do they vanish.
  3. They are never welcome.

The One who made the intricacies of our hearts stands by. Floods rage, trees float by. Fires get hot, and all becomes a blackened and charred cinder. Still God holds you. You will pass through this, and come out to the other side. Wiser and more compassionate.

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Chickens Who Cross the Road

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Seldom has such a riddle penetrated our thinking as this issue.  Here is a list that approximates an answer on this very important subject.  (It is helpful to have a working knowledge of philosophy and history, but not really necessary.)

Mohammed Aldouri (Iraqi ambassador): The chicken did not cross the road. This is a complete fabrication. We don’t even have a chicken.

Aristotle: To actualize its potential.

Buddha: If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken-nature.

George W. Bush: We don’t really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road or not. The chicken is either with us or it is against us. There is no middle ground here.

Bill Clinton: I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What do you mean by chicken? Could you define chicken, please?

Howard Cosell: It may very well have been one of the most astonishing events to grace the annals of history. An historic, unprecedented avian biped with the temerity to attempt such an herculean achievement formerly relegated to homo sapien pedestrians is truly a remarkable occurrence.

Salvador Dali: The Fish.

Darwin: Chickens, over great periods of time, have been naturally selected in such a way that they are now genetically dispositioned to cross roads.

Jacques Derrida: Any number of contending discourses may be discovered within the act of the chicken crossing the road, and each interpretation is equally valid as the authorial intent can never be discerned,because structuralism is DEAD, DAMMIT, DEAD!

Einstein: Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road moved beneath the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.

Emerson: The chicken didn’t cross the road; it transcended it.

Emily Dickinson: Because it could not stop for death.

Epicurus: For fun.

Louis Farrakhan: The road, you will see, represents the black man. The chicken “crossed” the black man in order to trample him and keep him down.

Freud: The fact that you are at all concerned that the chicken crossed the road reveals your underlying sexual insecurity.

Bill Gates: I have just released the new Chicken Office 2000, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook.

Goethe: The eternal hen-principle made it do it.

Grandpa: In my day, we didn’t ask why the chicken crossed the road. Someone told us that the chicken had crossed the road, and that was good enough for us.

Heisenberg: We are not sure which side of the road the chicken was on, but it was moving very fast.

Hemingway: To die. In the rain.

Hippocrates: Because of an excess of light pink gooey stuff in its pancreas.

David Hume: Out of custom and habit.

Saddam Hussein: This was an unprovoked act of rebellion and we were quite justified in dropping 50 tons of nerve gas on it.

Carl Jung: The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt necessitated that individual chickens cross roads at this historical juncture, and therefore synchronicitously brought such occurrences into being.

Martin Luther King, Jr.: I envision a world where all chickens will be free to cross roads without having their motives called into question.

Captain Kirk: To boldly go where no chicken has gone before.

Timothy Leary: Because that’s the only kind of trip the Establishment would let it take.

John Lennon: Imagine all the chickens crossing roads in peace.

Machiavelli: So that its subjects will view it with admiration, as a chicken which has the daring and courage to boldly cross the road, but also with fear, for whom among them has the strength to contend with such a paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the princely chicken’s dominion maintained.

Karl Marx: It was a historical inevitability.

Moses: And God came down from the Heavens, and He said unto the Chicken, “Thou shalt cross the road.” And the chicken crossed the road, and there was much rejoicing.

Agent Mulder: You saw it cross the road with your own eyes. How many more chickens have to cross the road before you believe it?

Ralph Nader: The chicken’s habitat on the original side of the road had been polluted by unchecked industrialist greed. The chicken did not reach the unspoiled habitat on the other side of the road because it was crushed by the wheels of a gas-guzzling SUV.

Nietzsche: Because if you gaze too long across the Road, the Road gazes also across you.

Richard M. Nixon: The chicken did not cross the road. I repeat, the chicken did NOT cross the road.

Plato: For the greater good.

Pyrrho the Skeptic: What road?

Ronald Reagan: I forget.

Colonel Sanders: I missed one?

Jean-Paul Sartre: In order to act in good faith and be true to itself, the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.

Jerry Seinfeld: Why does anyone cross a road? I mean, why doesn’t anyone ever think to ask, “What the heck was this chicken doing walking around all over the place, anyway? Where do they get these chickens?”

Dr. Seuss: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed, I’ve not been told!

B.F. Skinner: Because the external influences which had pervaded its sensorium from birth had caused it to develop in such a fashion that it would tend to cross roads, even while believing these actions to be of its own free will.

The Sphinx: You tell me.

Oliver Stone: The question is not, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” Rather, it is, “Who was crossing the road at the same time, whom we overlooked in our haste to observe the chicken crossing?”

Mr. T: If you saw me coming you’d cross the road too!

Thoreau: To live deliberately and suck all the marrow out of life.

Torquemada: Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I’ll find out.

Mark Twain: The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.

Voltaire: I may not agree with what the chicken did, but I will defend to the death its right to do it.

Wittgenstein: The possibility of “crossing” was encoded into the objects “chicken” and “road”, and circumstances came into being which caused the actualization of this potential occurrence.

Molly Yard: It was a hen!

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