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Archive for the month “July, 2013”

When The Door Clangs Shut It’s Prison Reality

I’ve heard that the initial sound of that door closing in prison is a horrendous shock to your system.  You realize at that point that there you are trapped with no freedoms whatsoever.  Obviously you realized it earlier as you had to change into prison uniforms and had a strip search to make sure nothing illegal is brought into the prison.  You knew that your voice meant nothing when a prison guard told you in no uncertain terms that you were in his house now.  Yet that sudden clang of the prison door communicates more than a thousand words.  Here you are trapped within a small cell with your freedoms gone.

Denny McLain -from a star to a number to forgiveness

Denny McLain -from a star to a number to forgiveness

This prison theme has been on my mind this week.  I have finished reading a book by Denny McLain the ex Tiger pitcher titled “I told You I wasn’t Perfect”.   Denny was the last pitcher to win 30 games.  His fame was like a bright falling star as it reached amazing heights only to plumet to the ground.  After baseball Denny got involved with the wrong people in his quest for the next deal for fame and money.  He ended up spending years in prison and explains in great detail what it was like.  Naturally when you read a book like that you put yourself in his shoes.  You think about how awful of a place it wouild be to live in as he describes his experiences.  Depending on the crime and the availability prisons come in different forms.  Some are overcrowded with very uncomfortable living conditions.  He describes the angry inmates that he had to live with.  He describes how just trying to use the pay phone was so bad since there was one phone shared by over 100 inmates.  He describes the fact that if someone hurts you in some way the worst thing you can do is snitch on them.  If someone wanted to kill you they could easily accomplish the feat and the trick was to give them no reason to be angry.  He also decribed the prison food and the fact that you never knew the sanitary state of the food.  Denny stayed in the really bad prisons and he also stayed in the less strict ones.  Either way it was prison and lost freedoms, but at least the minimum security ones were somewhat tolerable.

You realize you have no rights in prison

You realize you have no rights in prison

This prison theme came back to my mind a couple of days ago with the reality show “Beyond Scared Straight”.  It is a program in Douglas County Georgia designed to take at risk teens and give them the prison experience.  The teens are heading for a life of crime by their actions and a loved one has requested that they enter the program.  The kids are taken to the prison and they actually go through the prison routine.  They are checked for any illegal things they are bringing in and then they are given prison uniforms and cuffed.  They are forced to listen and obey the prison guard as he commands them and gets in their face if they seem rebellious. They are treated just like they were convicted of a major crime.   The prison is actually in lockdown when the teen guests are there. When the guard puts the kids in the cell he makes sure to emphasize the clanging of the door.  Once he points out the signifigance of it he lets the sound effects speak to them as he clangs the door shut and leaves for the night.

Click below for the video!–22705219772

A few of the inmates are allowed to talk to them individually under supervision.  One of the episodes that I saw featured a big guy named William that was causing trouble.  Because of his size everyone was afraid of William and he could bully kids and cause all kinds of mayhem.  He was given the hard facts of life within the prison when one of the prisoners talked to him.  It wasn’t a situation of friendliness.  The prisoner was angry at him and let him know it!  “You think you are a tough man?” , the prisoner shouted.  “In here you are nothing!” , he stated again.  The prisoner had to be four or five inches taller than William and had a body chiseled with muscles.

 An inmate killer gets Williams attention!

An inmate killer gets Williams attention!

There were two sisters that were in the program together.  They were 16 and 14 and their mother was an ex convict who had been released from prison.  She didn’t want her girls to have the sad prison experience that she had though they were heading in that direction.  She arranged to have them go through the program together.  The girls did everything together and their involvement with a gang had a lot to do with the older one leading.  The first thing they did at the prison was seperate the girls.  The women prisoners had a field day with them in their individual cell visit.  They scared them in no uncertain terms as they described the horrible consequences of what they could expect as a new prisoner.  They graphically explained the truth of dealing with hard core criminals for a new person.  The older one was scolded for leading her younger sister on a path that could end up on the inside with them!

The next day the teens are allowed a visitor.  Usually it is a parent who was actually responsible for their entry into the program.  Just as if they were a convict the teen has to talk through the glass walls to the person on the other side via a telephone.  It was truly heartwrenching seeing true sorrow from the teens.  The two sisters were allowed to talk to their mother (who experienced prison), individually and she poured out her love for them.  She told them that she knows what it is like in there and that she never wants to see them in there again.  There was one teen who was so shook up he poured it out to his parents about how sorry he was and that he would change for the better when he got out.  I could tell by his tears of remorse that he truly meant it!  The parents at this point have the option of accepting or denying the request of their teen to get released at that time.  Some decide that they have truly learned a powerful lesson while at other times it’s decided that more time is needed. 

An experience hopefully not repeated for real

An experience hopefully not repeated for real

A couple of months later the program sends prison officials to follow up on the teens behavior.  The teens are interviewed and most of the time they are talking about how their lives have changed after that experience!  I was struck by the big bully kid William and his new attitude as they showed him playfully on all fours riding his little year old nephew on his back.  The two sisters had quit their gang and had formed a group through their church to uplift their peers attitude and success!

A friend was telling me a story about a phone call they received at work.  The person on the other end was upset about something that didn’t get done.  When the story was finished the friend told this person how so sorry they were that this had happened.  Explaining why it did but also stating again that they were truly sorry.  This seemed to totally disarm the would be complainer.  The lesson that I learned from the story is that sometimes things happen and it effects other people.  If they understand that the other party is truly sorry for the results it creates an understanding.  After all who among us has not made mistakes?  True sorrow will soften the hardest hearts where arrogance and pride will harden them further.

Probably the saddest part of a life in prison is the people you leave behind.  I was watching another reality show where the father went to prison at the age of 24 for crimes he commited while addicted to Heroin.  He had three daughters and a son.  His son was the oldest and had felt the need and responsibility to be the man of the house as early as six years old.  The program dealt with hurt, hate, and all of the emotions of a father who wasn’t there when they needed him.  The host asked the young man what was he addicted to?  It seemed harmless to me when he said that he was addicted to work.  The host made a strong statement that “you don’t have to be in prison physically to be in prison in your mind”.  It makes so much sense as Jesus came to set us free!   In the end it was up to the family to come to a place of burning the past.  They literally took dads prison photos and put them into a burning fire.  Forgiveness is not easy, but it is essential in moving ahead.  By forgiving others we demonstrate the love of God who is willing to forgive us for our sins.

Denny McClain’s wife Sharon put up with so much in his first stint of prison.  A horrible car accident had taken their daughter and Denny was looking for an escape.  He bought a company that was headed for bankrupcy and tried to rescue it.  To save time he signed some blank documents trusting that his business partners would secure the loan they needed.  Instead of borrowing the money it was taken out of the companies penion plan.  Denny was sentenced to more jail time and his wife Sharon gave up.  She filed for divorce stating “I can’t deal with you anymore”. 

Eight years later Denny was out of prison.  He and Sharon had still talked as often as Denny could through all of that time.  When Denny was close to getting out it was Sharon who drove him to the halfway house where Denny would spend his last few months.  After that time they started seeing each other again.  Sharon knew that Denny wasn’t perfect but they started to grow closer by the day. One day Denny got down on his hands and knees and begged Sharon to marry him again.  ” I promise I will never put you through pain again” , he said.  “I may be crazy”, Sharon said with a smile, “but ok!”  When someone is truly remorseful it shows.  Undoubtedly that is why Sharon was willing to forgive Denny one more time!

When God sees that we are truly sorry for all of the bad we have done, he is also willing to forgive!  A remorseful heart leads us into his kingdom.  Being truly sorry is taking off the fake mask and letting people see us as we are.  When we are broken that is when God can fix us!   Sometimes an experience like the Douglas County Prison experience in Georgia can get our attention.  It is a bad experience turned good!  Much like a sermon I heard years ago that inspired the poem that follows.  The sermon was titled “Five Minutes In Hell’ and made the point that if we were allowed to spend five minutes in Hell what changed people we would be when we returned!  Much like the teens who experienced prison firsthand.  Would we be willing to do what the poem suggests?  If so it is our desire to put aside our own interests for the benefit of others who are trapped in their own prisons.  With God’s help and our willingness to do his will, the sound of the clanging door in minds everywhere can be silenced substituded by a peaceful freedom only God can give!

If I had Gone To Hell
by Lewis Hamilton
from the book “The Gardener and My Garden” c1997

If I could spend five minutes in Hell
I’d have a change of view
Old ways of thinking would quickly change
I’d look at all things new

If I could see the torment there
and see the raging flames,
I know my thoughts and actions here
would never be the same

My prayer life would be different
the Word of God I’d know
if on a trip to Hell
for five minutes I did go

Things that seem important now
wouldn’t matter at that time
A trip to Hell for five minutes
would get my priorities back in line

If I saw and felt the anguish there
and gnashing of the teeth,
I’d never wish anyone here
that awful fate to meet

If I hurt for you like I would hurt
If I had been in Hell
I’d make the effort to let you know,
I’d give you a hard sell

Of just how bad it was in there,
a place no one should go
I’d tell you to get right with God
and Jesus come to know

I’d treat my neighbor the right way,
a light I’d truly be
I’d make sure that nobody would
go to Hell because of me

Lord give me a real burden,
get me out of my comfort shell
Let my actions be as if
I had gone to Hell.

He answered, “Then i beg you,
father, send Lazarus to my father’s
house, for I have five brothers.
Let him warn them, so that they
will not also come to this place
of torment.”

Luke 16:27-28

Tangled In A Computer Maze!

It’s so easy to check out of the mega-store we have in town.  You can go to the line that is self-checkout and scan your own items.  During the transaction the computer voice will tell you what to do next as in “place the item in the bag”,  and when to put your money or card into the machine.  When I am done it actually kicks out the change to me and thanks me in it’s computer animated voice.  I realize that there are many people who love this non personal way of doing business, but I am not one of them.  I like to actually have a person to talk to in the checkout line.  I like to make small talk about how their day is going or items I am buying.  I like to hand my cash or scan my card to or in front of a real person.  I like having my change counted back to me, which by the way is another lost art.  I like to see a smile on the cashiers face when they tell me to have a nice day!  Of course I don’t always get what I like.  There are times that the line is so long and slow that walking through the impersonal machine line is the quickest way. 

Self Service lines offer quick non-personal checkouts

Self Service lines offer quick non-personal checkouts

I suppose the hundreds of companies that use the impersonal computer generated answering devices to answer their phones think they are providing good service also.  I’m sure that they think that people don’t mind listening to a machine if it can get the job done.  I for one find it very annoying.  First of all the machine wants me to type into the phone key pad my account number or phone number.  It seems to me that the computer wants to know everything about me and yet the company cares so little that they want to filter me into a standard answer to get me off of the phone.  Too many times I have got trapped in the computer maze.  Somehow by not clicking the right button I get whisked away into a different program altogether.  It is like getting on a plane and thinking you are going to one destination only to be hijacked to another. 

What about the times that the choice as to why I am calling are not stated?  It may give me four options and none of them are really what I want.  Then to add insult to injury it tries to hurry me along.  “I did not hear a response”, it will say to me in a helpful voice.  The thing may sound helpful, but it is clearly not meeting my needs.  It clearly is trying to push me into the easy out.    The computers job is to get me off of the phone without directly talking to anyone.  Since the companies feel that time is money and the human element uses more time, they try to eleminate the personal, time consuming touch.

Somewhere back there I have learned that the computer has the real people way back in the background.  It’s almost like the old Wizard of Oz thing where I am not supposed to pay attention to the man behind the curtain.  I know he is back there and of course I want to talk to him.  The trick is to trick the computer into letting me talk to a real person.  As long as I am pushing the phone buttons after every question, I find myself falling into the stand pat answer world the computer is pushing me into.  Sometimes I have found that the best way to get someone on the line is to not push any buttons on the phone keypad or utter a single word.  However I have also found at times that this little trick of acting dumb has had the computer hang up on me because I’m not cooperating. 

A couple of days ago we had a big storm come through our section of town.  It was one of the oddest storms I have ever seen.  I would say it lasted at most 15 minutes.  The fifteen minutes though was very intense with high winds, thunder, lightening, and hail.  When the storm was over we discovered a big tree branch was down in the back yard.  It actually came down right around our Direct TV dish and luckily we haven’t had any problems with it.  The front yard had a big tree branch down also.  It would have damaged my sons car except luckily he was away.  My neighbor across the street had a giant tree branch come down and it had damaged his fence.  All around our area we have seen damages.  This was not a tornado and yet the neighbor around the block had a whole large tree totally uprooted!  I have never seen anything quite like it.  Our power flickered but stayed on.  The landline telephone went completely dead. 

The storm created tree damage and telephone problems

The storm created tree damage and telephone problems

The next morning I discovered what to me seemed to be the problem.  A branch was stuck on the wire down by the road.  I assumed that it was the telephone wire.  Calling the phone company I suddenly found myself trapped in the computer answering machine maze.  My son took the phone from me after awhile and said “Agent”, thinking that would get someone on the line.  Unfortunately it didn’t and he started pushing bottons.  Luckily he was able to untangle me from the maze and a customer service rep came on the phone.  It was so nice to be actually talking to a live person.  So many times you get to this point and the computer comes back with the message “all of our customer service agents are busy with other calls”.  “Leave a message or wait for the next available agent”.  This case was different because the lady was on the line ready to help.  I explained to her that I think I knew why our phone was out of service and I told her about the branch on the wire.  She said that she would put the report in.  She told me they could fix the wire but they could not remove any branches on it.  She then stated very emphatically, “if the problem is on the outside there will be no charge, however if it is on the inside you will be billed.  Later that night the phone came back on and someone removed the branch after I called the power company.  The only option that was close to my problem on the power companies computer generated answering machine was option #1 a downed wire.  That seemed to immediately get a customer service representative on the phone as that problem was more of an emergency.  When I mentioned that the wire wasn’t down the sense of urgency faded.  The representative couldn’t promise when the branch would be removed.   “Honestly”, she said, “it may take two or three days”.  Luckily for us her two or three days was just a few hours.

The next morning the phone was out again.  Of course this time my only option was to punch our phone number in and report the trouble via the phone pad.  A few hours later we found that the phone was working again.  Then we received a phone call from the phone company.  It was a service man who said that he would be by in about twenty minutes.  I told him the phone was working again, but he wanted to test the line out.  He showed up and we talked for a little while about the problem.  It seems that I was completely mistaken.  The phone line actually runs underground.  The branch was on the power line only.  His explanation was a simple one and made sense.  Somewhere about three miles from my house is the main outlet for our area.  With the power outage a generator backup was used.  My phone was out while the generator was hooked up originally and it was out when the power came back and they hooked my phone line back to the main power again.  He gave me his number in case anything else came up but he was almost positive that the problem was as he stated.

Talking to this expert confirmed my feelings again of how much I liked personal service! I do like to feel important enough to have things explained to me.  I do like the feeling that someone actually cares and is there to help.  It was nice to have someone explain some of the things I didn’t understand, making me feel wiser and important, while using some old time customer service that companies are forgetting these days!

He hears them all!

He hears them all!

Years ago the pastor of the church I was attending said something that I have never forgotten.  “On any given Sunday there are thousands of church services going on at the same time and in each one people are praying at the same time. Amazingly God can hear every one of those prayers, now that is a pretty big God”!  I’m reminded that God is always there through the good times and bad.  When the storms of life hit us isn’t it nice that we are not put through a computer maze when we call God for assistance?  Isn’t it wonderful that our “small problems” aren’t deflected while God is in the background listening to only the giant problems?  Aren’t you glad that because God is helping someone else at the present time, we don’t have to wait for the next available representative?  Companies these days get so big that they can’t handle individual needs without using the non-caring means of computer technology.  Isn’t it nice to know that your God and mine is so big that he can hear and meet every need individually and at the same time?  These are comforting thoughts when the storms of life have damaged our world!

Time In A Bottle

I suppose these places exist because we have fond memories of our past.  Recently I was told by a friend that they were going to Coldwater, Michigan to a Drive Inn Theater.  We used to have two Drive Inn’s in our town.  One in fact was so close to our house that we could look out the picture window and see the screen.  It was easy entertainment.  Pay your money to drive into their parking lot, park by a speaker within good viewing of the big screen, and hook your speaker to your window.  Turn up the sound and you were in business.  As kids I remember sneaking in back of the fence as a group to watch the movie.  Unfortunately we couldn’t hear the sound and it wasn’t quite the same as being inside.  Of course our two theaters closed years ago along with Drive Inn Theaters throughout the country. 

Drive-In Movies

Drive-In Movies

We used to play video games in a place called StarWorld.  It was a business that had probably over 100 video games and pinball machines in one place.  Your money was converted into tokens and you were free to play games until the tokens ran out!  StarWorld has long since closed and the good times there are distant memories.  A couple of years ago we visited a nostalgic video game business where we played many of the video games we enjoyed at StarWorld.  Although our son is too young to remember StarWorld we brought him along to share in our memories.  For a little while it was a trip back in time playing Ms Pac-man, Space Invaders, Centepede, and other games that were entertaining and fun!   Time goes by so fast and taking a trip back to a moment that was truly memorable is a nice experience!

The old arcade games were fun!

The old arcade games were fun!

Tashmoo Park was an Amusement Park on Harsens Island in Algonic, Michigan.  It opened in 1897 and closed in 1951.  The famed Tashmoo Steamship docked at the park daily offering Detroiters an easy access to the park.  Tashmoo Park provided visitors an escape from the excessive heat and humidity of crowded Detroit summertimes. It had picnic tables, a baseball diamond, swings and rides, as well as a casino and a dancing pavilion.  It also had a bathhouse and swimming beach. 

Tashmoo Park

                                                      Tashmoo Park

Tillie Esper and her friend Selina Pramstaller visited the park on June 30, 1915.  Tillie was 23 and Selina was 17.  Maybe it was like a big sister little sister relationship.  Perhaps Selina’s parents were more at ease with Selina going as long as Tillie was with her.  They were in the middle of a full day in which they probably experienced all that the park had to offer.  I imagine they went on many of the rides and probably cooled off in the water.  It stands to reason that they enjoyed a nice lunch at the picnic tables provided.  While aboard the Tashmoo Steamer in the middle of their big day an idea was formed.  Why don’t we write a message of our good time and put it in a corked bottle and throw it in the St Clair river?  Neatly one of them wrote out the message in pencil “Having a good time in Tashmoo”.  They included their names and addresses.  They probably thought that maybe a month or a year later someone would discover the floating bottle and the nice message inside.  Unfortunately the plan must have seemed like a complete failure as the cherry or olive bottle they used was too heavy to float and sank.  Maybe they laughed it off saying “so much for that experiment”

Scuba diver Dave Leander

Recently a diver named Dave Leander discovered the bottle buried in four to six inches of dirt  thirty feet below the surface.  Surprisingly the note which was written on the back of a White Star Liner deposit ticket seemed to be in very good shape.  Amazingly the bottle kept it’s seal intact for 97 years!  Only a little moisture was discovered in the bottle as the note was stuck to the side.  The bottle was left to dry and a new cork was placed on it.  It was covered with paper so that the florescent light wouldn’t damage the contents. 

Bottle Time

When Janet Baccanari got a call from her cousin Eric Schiebold she assumed the worst.  Probably a death in the family she thought.  Happily she was surprised to learn of the good news of her grandmother (Tillie’s) bottle being discovered!  “It’s like she came back to life”, Baccanari 46 said, “it’s exciting stuff”.  Tillie had nine children, three boys and six girls.  Two of the girls are still living.  Baccanari is one of nearly three dozen grandchildren. 

Neither Eric or Janet recall Grandma Tillie talking about her experience in Tashmoo Park or the bottle incident.  It probably was labeled as a failed experiment I’m thinking. Yet the whole discovery has the family thrilled!  In celebration of the memory of those times past an event called “Tashmoo Days” will take place July 20th.  All of the decsendants of Tillie and Selina are invited!  The celebration will include live music and dancing, wine tasting, and entry into the Hansens Island/St. Clair Flats Historical Museum along with many other events.  Somewhere in that Museum the infamous bottle will be displayed!  For the families it will be a time to reflect back in time to two young ladies enjoying a day and a place together.  It will be a time to visit a place that had long been forgotten until a 97 year old note brought the families closer together.  Instead of going on a nostalgic visit for them however, they will be sharing a memory of a time of someone elses long ago. 

The old Jim Croce song “Time In A Bottle” states, “but there never seems to be enough time to do the things you wanna do once you find them”.  This story is about two young ladies doing for one day exactly what they wanted to do!  The note in the bottle is only six words but those words are a good message for all of us.  “Having a good time in Tashmoo”.  The message to us today is take time to enjoy life and the moments that we have.  The note in the bottle was not a failure, it’s message just took awhile to surface! 

Maybe the note stayed intact because it’s purpose was for our generation not theirs!  We are a generation that is always on the move.  Many times like Jim Croce’s song we don’t take the time to do things we really enjoy.  What are some of the good times you enjoyed years ago?  Perhaps it is time to re-visit some of those times!  If it was a Drive-In Movie Theater there are still some around.  Perhaps an old video arcade will do the trick!  These memorable places may take alot more driving  but a few exist.  Maybe remembering fun times will help us come up with other entertaining and fun things we enjoy!  Finding time to enjoy life is so important! 

Perhaps this  bottles message is just in time!  We are constantly sending messages to others without even realizing it.  If our message to others is doom and gloom maybe we have forgotten the things that used to bring a smile to our face!  Hopefully our  message going forward is a message of love and enjoying the moment like two friends, who in 1915 sent a note of happiness that ended up as inspiration to our generation almost one hundred years later! 

Tillie Esper, Time in a bottle

Tillie Esper, Time in a bottle

Counting And Spending Time

I heard on the radio on June 25 that there were six months left until Christmas.  Kind of a chilly thought for a hot summer afternoon but true all the same.  I remember a couple that would divide their stay in each of their two houses to half a year in each to the day.  Now that is being precise with your time!  All of us in some way or another keep track of time.  I suppose that someone in prison watches the days closer as they count down to their release date   Even at work people are counting down the hours to go home.  It’s strange but the song lyrics “everybodies working for the weekend” can be very true.   It’s also true that people wish a lot of their life away and how slow or fast time goes by.  It seems when we are enjoying ourselves it flies and when we are in the dentist’s chair for instance it drags!

Keeping track of time

Keeping track of time

It’s funny how we set our watches and car clocks.  How many times do we set them a little ahead to trick ourselves to be early?  Of course then we end up knowing that it is set early and adjusting the time in our minds.  Recently I was in the market for a watch.  I noticed one that really caught my eye!  It was beautiful and looked to be just what I was looking for.  However, upon further inspection I noticed how hard it was to read.  They made clear looking hands that blended right in with the watches background.  I couldn’t see myself staring at the watch for a few seconds trying to adjust my eyes to where the hands actually were.  It seems the maker forgot that the most important purpose of the watch is to read the time!

The sight, sound, and smell of sprinklers on a hot summer day brings me back to a place in time!

The sight, sound, and smell of sprinklers on a hot summer day brings me back to a place in time!

In the middle of summer when I’m walking by a field with the smell of freshly mowed grass and the sound of sprinklers spraying in a rhythm I’m reminded about a time years ago playing ball at the baseball clinic.  Our senses have a way of bringing back moments in time!  It happens to most of us when we hear a song on the radio and go back to a place in time when that song was relevent.  Maybe it was a teenage memory or maybe the song reminds us of other people that were  in our lives at that time.  Our senses seem to bring us to a built in calendar that has recorded events with sights, smells, and sounds!

The earliest calendars had only ten months starting in March.  Many were named after Greek and Roman mythology.  The first two months as we know them were unnamed until later on.   You may be surprised by the orgins of the names of the months.  March for instance is named after Mars, the God of war.  April is Latin for “to open” as in when the buds of plants open.   May for the goddess of growth of plants.  June for the goddess of Juno.  July was named after empereror Julius Caesar just as August was named after Augustus Caesar.  September through December were named after the Latin words for seven, eight, nine, and ten.  Later January was named after the God of doors and gates and February was named after a time when sacrifices were made to atone sins.  Man was born to worship something and as you can see from the formation of the month names, many were named for Gods that don’t exist.

Some people write important things on their calendar.  There are a few who keep a diary of what goes on day to day in their lives.  A year and a half ago I started writing about experiences I have been through on this site.  People have told me that it will be a source of history for my family.  Like most people I have not been much of a record keeper of my days.  I very rarely get in front of a camera like some people do.  I notice on sites like Facebook that there are some that have a new picture of themselves all of the time!

My calendar at work has only general entries and our one at home is basically the same.  I may write dentist appointment on one of the days and the time, or A.L. for annual leave.  When the calendar is used up it has no historic purpose to keep it around since nothing was a personal reflection.  I used to have a big calendar on my desk at work that laid down flat with twelve giant sheets for each month.  I liked the idea of seeing all of the days at once.  Later I switched to a smaller model with the same view.  Finally I went with the day by day little calendar that is in the little plastic holder that you turn the page every day.  I have on my desk now a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Calendar which has oddball facts of people that do and did strange but entertaining things!  This calendar at least is entertaining and still leaves me room to record the dentist visit or the vacation day.

Time waits for nobody and the years roll by quickly.

Time waits for nobody and the years roll by quickly.

They say that time waits for nobody and we all know that it’s true.  I’m reminded of a story I heard about a couple going to their 30th high school class reunion.  After taking two steps into the door and looking around the husband turns to his wife and proclaims “I think we are in the wrong room honey, there are only old people here”.  Whether we see it or not each day we are getting older.  Each day that calendar of things in the past turns another page.

I’m reminded of the most awesome thing about heaven “eternal life”.  It will be a place where we never will get old.  It will be a place where as the song goes when we’ve been there a thousand years, we’ll have no less days than when we first begun.  We won’t have days to keep track of as a sign that there is an end.  Until then time is the most precious thing any of us have here.  How much money is one day of life worth?  It can’t be measured in monetary terms.  None of us know how much time we are given.  It is one thing that is not guaranteed.  Our time accounts are dwindling.  If there is something we need to do, we need to do it now before our clock stops ticking.


By Lewis Hamilton
From the book “The Gardener and My Garden” c1997

I have time on my hands,
quick, flick on the TV
It is so automatic,
security to me

Oh yes, I am a Christian
but it never occurs to me,
the extra time that I have found
could be time my spirit feeds

I’ve heard the expression all my life,
I have some time to kill
Just throwing it away so quickly,
please help me do your will

I claim that I love you God,
why do go my way?
You want me to obey you
and listen to what you say

I have no trouble sitting
for hours around the TV,
but when it comes to praying,
Lord, look over me

The Lord showed me a true test,
one to put me back in line
Whatever is important to me
is how I’ll spend my time

I’ve wasted so much of my life,
please help me draw the line
and give you all I have, dear Lord,
especially my time.

Be joyful always, pray continually,
give thanks in all circumstances, for
this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18

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