Life Is More than One Moment in Time

Life Is More than One Moment in Time

This article won a $1000 Award of Outstanding Merit from the Amy Foundation in 2013. The entertainment world was stunned recently by the death of Whitney Houston, the most-awarded female act of all time. Whitney Houston Wiki The news spread about the singer’s death like a computer virus the day before the Grammy Awards, prompting something you don’t typically see at the Grammys–a rap star opening the show with a prayer. Whitney’s voice, her beauty, and her acting on the big screen were rare combinations in the entertainment world. Her music alone was enough to make her a superstar, earning her six Grammys and over two dozen Grammy nominations for songs like “Saving All My Love For You,” “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” and “I Will Always Love You.” She sang the Emmy award winning song “One Moment in Time,” written by Albert Hammond and John Bettis for the 1988 Summer Olympics and Paralympics held in Seoul, South Korea. source Hearing that song against the backdrop of the Olympic games gives it more meaning. It is at the Olympic games that many athletes hope to find their destiny and have that one moment that could change their lives forever. At the opening of the Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988, Houston sang: “I want one moment in time/ When I’m more than I thought I could be/ When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away/ And the answers are all up to me/ Give me one moment in time/ When I’m racing with destiny/ Then in that one moment of time/ I will feel/ I will feel eternity.” source...
Keeping Success in Perspective

Keeping Success in Perspective

This article won a $1000 Award of Outstanding Merit from the Amy Foundation in May of 2012. In the last few years the economy has made the phrase “downward mobility” too familiar for too many people.  To a person trying to make a living it means taking a pay cut, losing benefits, or perhaps losing a job altogether. That might result in selling the boat, living with a less expensive car, or in some cases having to accept help from others to make ends meet. To an athlete, downward mobility means the body no longer functions at the same level of performance. The stamina is not as great, the muscles will not lift as much weight, and the legs will not run as far or as fast.  To the aging person downward mobility may mean that one is more forgetful, less mobile, and more dependent on others. It may mean handing over the car keys, leaving one’s home for a care facility, or giving up one’s decision-making power to someone else. Downward mobility is not a very welcomed part of life. I’d like to see if I can change your mind by telling you a story about Henri Nouwen. Nouwen was born and educated in Holland.  As an adult he was ordained as a priest of the Roman Catholic Church. In his book, “The Wounded Healer,” which may be his most well-known book, Nouwen teaches that it’s out of our brokenness that we are able to empathize with others, listen to them with love and compassion, and help bring healing to them. But it is his little book entitled,...
Rings of Fire

Rings of Fire

This article won second place in Albany Herald’s Sixth Annual Southwest Georgia Fiction Writing Contest.  It was updated for the 2009 Christmas Eve Service at Jefferson FBC. The cold wind could be felt pushing its way through the cracks of the oak wood floor. Sometimes it was brisk enough to flicker the flames that rose in the fireplace of the family room, Carrie Sue’s favorite room. Carrie Sue Reynolds, age ten, would sit for hours watching as whole logs were transformed into hot coals. The fire seemed to hypnotize her. She loved the fireplace so much that she even volunteered for a job nobody else in a family of seven wanted, taking out the ashes in the evening and starting up a new fire in the morning. Some nights she even curled up on a rug in front of the fire and slept until the next morning. Being a light sleeper, she awoke to the distant sound of the whistle from the steam locomotive of the Southern Railway Company that passed through Lula promptly at 6:00 a.m. Even in the summer when there was no fire to light, she would get up at the sound of the train whistle. Sometimes she even ran down to the crossing to watch as the train rolled by headed to other stops along its route: Gillsville, Maysville, Harmony Grove, Nicholson, Center, and Athens, places that seemed a world away for Carrie Sue, who rarely left home. Carrie’s brother Nathan did most of the wood chopping. He also brought the wood inside and stacked it on the hearth. He hated his job just as...
What’s On Your Bucket List?

What’s On Your Bucket List?

This article won a $1000 Award of Outstanding Merit from the Amy Foundation in 2009. In the movie “The Bucket List,” Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play the roles of two aging men who both get the news that they have terminal cancer. Nicholson plays Edward, a wealthy owner of numerous hospitals who is primarily interested in making lots of money. He’s terrible at relationships. He’s been married four times and is estranged from his only daughter. He is at the center of his world. Those who work for him understand that their job is to please him. Freeman plays the role of Carter, a mechanic whose lifelong dream was to become a history teacher. All that changed with an unplanned pregnancy. He had to drop out of college, get married and begin supporting a wife and child. For the next 45 years he worked at that same repair shop. He sent his children to college, giving them the dream he never had. He’s a man of deep faith. He’s never been unfaithful to his wife, but as the years passed, the passion in the marriage began to fade. These two men ”one black, one white”are opposites in nearly every way. They have one thing in common: they know that they have less than a year to live and they’ve ended up sharing a hospital room. Each has to decide what he will do with the time he has left. Before leaving the hospital, Edward discovers a wadded up piece of paper on the floor that Carter had attempted to throw in the trash. On that paper, Carter had...
People Don’t Forget What You are Made Of

People Don’t Forget What You are Made Of

This article won a $1000 Award of Outstanding Merit from the Amy Foundation in May of 2006. One of the stories my grandfather tells on himself comes from his younger years, a time in life when he wasn’ t as concerned about his fellow man as the person he later became. He recalled the days when farmers would buy up feeder pigs called shoats, feed them out for a couple of months, and then sell them for a profit. One man in the community, more than all the others, had a reputation for turning good profits on shoats. One day my grandfather asked him for his secret. He was told that the day before he sold his pigs he fed them all the sweet potatoes they would eat. After they were stuffed with potatoes, he filled up the troughs with water and syrup. The hogs gorged themselves on the sweet water. With their bellies full of potatoes and syrup water, he took them to the sale. Some time later my grandfather had some young shoats for sale. He went to town to see if he could find a buyer for them. As fate would have it, the first person he saw was the man who had given the secret. He asked the man if he’d like to buy his shoats. The man told him he’ d come out the next day and take a look at them. That night my grandfather fed those shoats all the sweet potatoes they could eat and then carried water and syrup to the trough until they were fat as plums. The next day...
Come More Often Lord

Come More Often Lord

This article won a $1000 Award of Outstanding Merit from the Amy Foundation in May of 2006. Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom” recently ran a story of an incredibleevent that occurred in Northern Kenya. It was reported that a lioness had adopted a baby oryx antelope. Saba Douglas- Hamilton, a naturalist who worked in the area, was skeptical when she heard the story. Who wouldn’t be? A lioness in the wild, or one in captivity for that matter, is ruled by its instinctive drives to kill and to eat. Hamilton drove around where the two had been spotted until she found them. She could not believe her eyes. The oryx was about one month old, not yet old enough to live on its own. These animals suckle for three months before they are weaned. The chances of this animal surviving without its mother were very poor. Strangely, the mothering instincts of Kamunyak, the name given to the lioness, overrode her instincts to kill, and the need to be mothered overrode the oryx’s instincts to run. As a naturalist, Hamilton sought clues to the animals’ strange behavior.  She concluded that the lioness was a single; that is, she had been separated from her pride at a young age. Although lions will hunt alone in an established territory, lionesses live together and hunt together. This gives them a greater chance of survival and of raising their young. Hamilton pointed out that Kamunyak’s behavior would have not been possible in a pride. The oryx would have been killed quickly. Kamunyak’s separation from the pride had changed her instincts in some way. Perhaps...