There hasn't been a night since returning from the mission trip that I have not had some type of recurring wild dream. The dreams have featured family members, friends, church family, and even people I haven't seen in years - some of whom had pretty much been forgotten! But there they are in vivid color in my dreams. The details of the dreams are different each night but the situation is usually similar. I am hopelessly late for some type of event or appointment, or there is a task that needs to be completed by a particular deadline, and circumstances continue to build which prevent me from finishing the job. Most of the scenarios are just frustrating, but a few have been downright disturbing.
One night, my two sons, an old college friend, actor Robert Duvall, (yes, Robert Duvall!) and I were in some type of battle, fighting our way up Fifth Avenue in Huntington, against some unseen enemy. We were armed with grenades and automatic weapons, running for cover behind trees, overturned cars, and fraternity houses in the Marshall University area. There were no casualties on our side, but the adrenaline was really pumping. I couldn't tell you if we inflicted any casualties on the enemy, but I can guarantee you that the lead was flying everywhere!
The amazing thing about these dreams is that they are in serial form. I'll wake up, look at the clock or go to the bathroom, and go right back to sleep. Bingo! The dream starts up again right where it left off! Some come to an eventual conclusion, others just end when I get up, with no apparent resolution to the various problems. The common result is that I wake up tired. Really tired. That's a rough way to start the day.
If there are any Daniel's or Joseph's out there who can interpret dreams, have at it. In the meantime I will assume that they are simply the result of stress, and/or something I shouldn't have eaten before bedtime.
I visited for a few minutes today with Shay Osborne, (our Southern Baptist Campus Minister at Marshall). Shay is a likable guy who has a passion to win college students to Jesus. He is doing a great job at Marshall, ministering to a group of kids that are heavily made up of Freshmen students. The group is growing numerically and spiritually under Shay's leadership. Please join me in praying for Shay and his work in this tremendous mission field.
The Cincinnati Reds opened the 2009 season at home yesterday with a two to one loss to the New York Mets. My guess is that I'll probably pay more attention to my grandson's little league exploits than anything going on in Great American Ball Park this summer. My son's former teammate, Brandon Webb, also took a spanking from the Colorado Rockies in his first start for the Arizona Diamondbacks yesterday. Brandon is the major leagues' winningest pitcher over the past three years, but so far this spring, the hitters seem to have his number.
******Who is Billy Mays, and why is he yelling for us to buy Oxyclean on television? Mention Billy Mays, and my eight year old grandson know who you are talking about. "He's that guy with the beard who yells at you on TV." That's sad.
Linda and I will be heading for five days in New Orleans early next Monday. That's two full days of Seminary Trustee Meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the rest of the time we look to spend with Jay and Michelle and grandsons numbers 1 and 3.
Today marks six weeks that my father has been in the hospital. Six weeks! When I had my "guts cut out" just over four years ago, I only spent a week in the hospital. It's hard to imagine what it is like to the patient to watch six weeks go by at what has to be a snail's pace. All in all I am very appreciative of the care that my Dad has received both in St. Mary's Medical Center and Health South Rehabilitation Hospital. Having visited in two hospitals in the Philippines back in February, I am so thankful that we have the top notch facilities and staffs that we are blessed with here in this area and around the nation. Dad is improving every day and is learning how to get around on a walker now, and we hope to have him released in just a few days. I personally fear for the concept of socialized medicine that threatens to come our way.
Speaking of socialism, is there anyone else out there as enraged by President Obama's firing of General Motors Chief Executive Officer as I am? The Wall Street bailouts, the AIG fiasco, and the Big Three Automakers troubles are frightening, but more frightening than the economy is the trend which started with the previous president and now is full blown in the new administration, for the government to meddle in private business. Ronald Reagan once said, "A government that is big enough to give you any thing you want, is also big enough to take away everything you have!". We are on the slippery slope, and picking up speed.
One of my latest heroes is my younger son, Benji. Ben just got back from Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC where he went through a physical exam in preparation for his being a blood marrow donor to a "sixty six year old international" to which he appears to be a perfect match. If the results of the test are conclusive, he will be returning to Washington with his wife, Leigh Anne, later this month for a seven day process of harvesting his stem cells to hopefully save the life of this man he will probably never meet. Ben has long been a blood donor, but this is his first experience at donating bone marrow. While not particularly "dangerous" the process does have it's risks and the side effects are painful and physically draining. I'm proud that Ben is willing to go through this to save a stranger.
Speaking of donors, what about the one who gave His life that you and I might have eternal life and a personal relationship with our creator? During this "Holy Week" let us remind ourselves of the magnitude of Jesus' atoning work for us. Long ago I heard the illustration of when William Randolph Hearst was on European vacation and visited a famous passion play in Germany. The great newspaper magnate was so overwhelmed with the actor's portrayal of Christ that he asked to meet the actor following the conclusion of the play. While talking with the actor, Hearst saw the wooden cross the actor had carried and asked to have his photo made with it.
Thinking the cross was made of balsa wood or some other lightweight material, Hearst was dumbfounded when he tried to move it and found it to be of solid oak and tremendously heavy weight.
"Why" he asked the actor, "Would you torture yourself in every performance by carrying such a heavy load?"
The actor replied, "Sir, if I did not feel the weight of His cross, I could never understand the magnitude of His forgiveness."
During this week when we observe the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, may we all feel the weight of His cross, and understand the depths of His Grace, Mercy, and Love!