Friendship Lost

Today I celebrate the birthday of someone I’ve known and loved since my college days.  This individual doesn’t know I celebrate…don’t talk to me anymore…doesn’t consider us friends.


Oh, years ago I thought I knew best about something and thought it important that my view be seen as the right view…only view.  I drew a line in the sand and my friend drew a line across it and crossed me out.

I think of this friend often and I grieve my attitude and actions that brought separation and estrangement.

Sometimes “I’m sorry” just isn’t enough…even when it’s heartfelt and sincere.

Every year on January 26 I celebrate this individual and the richness this person brought into my life.

Happy birthday! May God bless you richly this day and always.

My Dad is Significant to Me!

Guest Post by Hubby (a.k.a. 1inquiringmind @ Of Significance or Not)

My dad, David Hutchinson, is significant to me.

A few days ago Suzan asked me to write a guest post on her blog about my dad.  The last year has seen a lot of changes in my dad’s life. In fact, the last twelve years have brought about changes in my dad’s life that can only be described as…. life.

Life has happened to my dad.  A broken hip, betrayal by people who claimed to love him, a son dying, failing health, unwanted retirement, a mind driving unceasingly towards dementia, another son dying, Alzheimer’s Disease beginning to show its affect, his physical strength failing as his limbs and organs no longer cooperate with his mind’s commands or body functions or needs, and leaving home to live in a Nursing Home for what will be the rest of his life.  Yes, that is what has happened in his life.  Many would say, “It’s old age. It comes to us all if we live long enough.”  Probably, but we all hope that will not happen to us.  Yes, it is life, life marching towards the end of life.

The end of life: The ongoing onslaught of age and a body breaking down as it makes its journey back to the dust from whence it come.  There is no human power to stop this trip we must all make. It saddens me. Honestly, it scares me as I grow older each day. Still, I trust in the One he trusted in as this has come to pass in my dad’s life.

My wife and I visited him in the Nursing Home at the end of last year. There was not much resemblance to the father I had known when he was my current age.  I had hoped to see the father I had gone fishing with or even worked with as a minister in the churches and association he pastored and served in before his unwanted retirement began.  Yes, I say unwanted because he did not want to retire. He wanted to continue serving and making a living for his family.  The dad I had known wasn’t there anymore. Oh, there was a slight resemblance for a fleeting moment or two.  The dad I knew who is celebrating his eighty-fourth birthday is mostly gone now.

Reality is hard and life can be even harder.  So, like Scarlett O’Hara I think I will remember how my dad is today, tomorrow. I will think about that tomorrow. Today, I will celebrate the father, the dad I knew before life took its toll on him.  Some of us remember a different David Hutchinson.

We remember his sermon on Jezebel’s final meeting with Jehu as he imitated (or mocked) Jezebel calling out to Jehu. Yes, we recall a different man, a man who was full of life and energy especially in the pulpit when he spoke. He never was quiet. That was not his style or the style of many preachers of his day. And that is okay as God used him to make a different in many people’s lives.

My dad was devoted to his family.  In fact, in his devotion to his family, he did things that many, including me at one time, would like to criticize him for doing and characterize as being unwise.  As I look back on the fifty-seven years I have been his son I no longer criticize him, I just long for the man back that I had such fun with at times. I’d love to go fishing again with him. (I might sit in the middle of the boat and let Suzan have the other end! Well, maybe or maybe not.)   I would love to sit and watch him laugh at the antics of the not-so smart thieves in the Home Alone movies.

Today, I would just love to hear the words of wisdom that he had for me at times.  Those days are gone. However the memories, good and bad, are still real and vivid to me today as they were when those events happened.  And well, I have learned some lessons from my dad.

First, my dad did the best he could with his background, heritage, strengths, weaknesses, and abilities, God gave him.  That thought comforts and challenges me today.  My dad did the best he could with what he had when he had it.  Am I?  I am not so sure sometimes.  I am comforted in this fact: Dad did the best he could with the resources that God gave him and placed in his hand. I no longer judge my father for his mistakes. I thank him for them because he did the best he could in the circumstances he faced and I am challenged to do likewise.

Second, my dad was not perfect. No one is in this life. I can give him grace to be a flawed human being like I am and you are. So, children should not expect perfection of their parents. As a result, I learned to forgive my dad for the times he failed our family and me. I’ve learned to emulate him in the things he did right for our family and in his ministry. I have learned to accept, forgive, and love my dad for the mistakes he made.  I have learned to put aside the bad lessons I was taught by my parents and hold fast to good lessons they taught me.  Life is easier when I do.

Third, and finally, never give up.  My dad never did give up as I was growing up. He hasn’t yet. He still tries to get out of his wheelchair in the Nursing Home. He is always trying.  He never gave up. He’s like the old Indian Chief in the movie The Outlaw Josey Wales, who said that they made his horse give up, but he didn’t give up!  Dad hasn’t given up. He never did. Never has. Maybe, that is why he was getting up before daybreak, in his late seventies and early eighties, to run a paper route to pay the bills.  How often am I willing to persevere?  I hope I am as willing to stick things out and not give up as he is.

Yes, today, he is eighty-four.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

I love you, Dad!

My Birth Day

Mom and I sat across from each other as we munched a burger and shared fries at her favorite McD’s.

“So, tell me about my birth day.  What was it like?” I asked Mom.

She smiled and after another bite of fry began to share with me what she remembered of the day I graced the world with my presence.

It was rainy – not a hard rain – a late March rain, a warm rain.  Not unpleasant, just rainy.

We went to the hospital in the early hours – about 3 or 3:30. (I went into labor about 12:30.) My pains were 8 minutes apart.

I woke your daddy but he went back to sleep while I sat up and timed them. I knew what they were.  They woke me from sleep.

It was rainy when we left for the hospital. I don’t remember how far apart the pains were when we left.

The doctor got there about 8:30 and checked my progress.  The pains had eased off and I thought, “oh, no! they will send me home!” But, the doctor said, “Let’s get this show on the road” and broke my water.

The nurse gave me a Trilene gas mask for when my pains got bad. Your daddy was going to hold it for me and the nurse said, “No! she has to hold it herself – no one does it for her. She holds it and uses it when she needs it, and when she relaxes from it, it will drop off.”

You were born about 3:30 or 3:35 that afternoon.  Nanny [her mother] said I went to the delivery room on my stomach.  I can’t imagine how I could have been on my stomach as big as I was. At some point, your daddy let Nanny know we were there at the hospital.  He didn’t want to but he did.

My blood pressure went real high after your birth and they put me in ICU, or in recovery, or somewhere to keep a watch on me.  That upset your daddy because they wouldn’t let him go back there.

I don’t remember going to my room.

You were pink and had hair, but not a lot.  It was real light – blondish/reddish looking.  You had pretty little features.  And, an umbilical rupture. The doctor said it was nothing to worry about – it would take care of itself, just keep the band tight on it – and I did.

You were a pretty little baby.

You were born on Sunday.  Your brother was born on Tuesday, or was it Wednesday?

With him, I went to the hospital at 9 and he was born at 1 the next morning. His was a short labor. I went in on Tuesday and he was born at 1 a.m. on Wednesday. (laughed) After his birth I woke in recovery and asked a girl there what I’d had and she told me it was a boy.  I went back to sleep and woke again – and asked her, “What did you say I had?”

Dr. Bishop wasn’t your first doctor.  A Dr. Healey, I believe that was his name, was.  He called me one Sunday to say he was moving – called me at MeeMaws [Dad’s mom]…how he reached me there I have no idea, but he did…and said he was referring me to Dr. Bishop.

I was in the hospital 5 days with each of you.  They kept us for a while back then, you know.

When Dr. Birmingham came to check me at the hospital before you were born, I asked if he would hold my hand during it.  You see, a girlfriend of mine had said that when she was in the hospital, her doctor had held her hand – I’d never given birth before and didn’t know what to expect. And, so I asked him.  He said, No, I’ll leave that to George, but I’ll be here when you need me.”

They had to use “fosips” (forceps) on you. You had bruises and scrapes on your forehead.

Because I’d had 3 miscarriages before I got pregnant with you, I followed the doctor’s orders carefully, and did everything I was supposed to do for myself and for you health wise.  And, for your brother, too.

When I was born, Mother said the cord was wrapped around my neck several times.  Nanny had eaten turnips the day before I was born and thought her stomach pains were stomach cramps from the turnips. Her mother in law realized what was going on and sent for the doctor.  Poppy was sent out to check his traps (he trapped mink and beaver) – you know, back then they sent the men away while the baby was being born – and when he returned Mother had been bathed and was sitting in bed.  I was wrapped in a blanket and they had placed me in a chair.  When Daddy came in, he started to plop down in the chair and they screamed at him, “Stop!” and he did.  He almost sat on me! (Laughter)

The only time Mother saw a doctor was when I was born.  And, the first time I saw a doctor was when I was four years old – after we moved to town.

Things have really changed since I was born…since you and your brother were born.  That was a lifetime ago.

Yes it was – my lifetime ago.

This birthday is my first without my dad and without him singing “Happy Birthday” to me. It’s the first for my mom to celebrate without him, too.  I can’t ask Daddy for his thoughts and memories of my birth day. But, I do remember what he told me once.

He had wanted a boy and when he learned he had a girl, he said, “that’s ok, you can do anything with a girl you can with a boy – girls can throw a ball, too.”

He taught me to throw a ball – and to catch one.  He taught me a lot more, too – like loving God, celebrating life, loving people and being true to yourself and to others.

My birth day was a Sunday like no other for me, my parents, and my grandparents. My first lusty squall announced the arrival of new life and new potential and possibility.  Three miscarriages before me – had they not happened, I would not have been born.

The world without me.  Wow, now there’s a thought.  I can’t imagine a world without me.

Can you imagine a world without you? without the difference your life has made…is making in the world around you?

Happy 30th Birthday!

The past 12 months have been filled with change for my son.

  • Promotion.
  • Job transfer.
  • Loss of beloved Granddad.
  • Marriage.
  • Pregnant anticipation of Daughter.
  • Turning 30

Age is “just a number”, but 30 is special.  It signifies a new chapter in which childhood is released, and adulthood is embraced.  The roaring 20’s slip away as a new age dawns, hallmarked by maturity, responsibility and the realization that forward is the only direction and change is a constant.

Once single. Now a couple. Soon, a family.

Change is good.

And, age IS just a number.

My son turns 30 today.

Those of us who look back on our own journey, know that at 30 life is just beginning and it’s good to let go of what was.  You need your hands empty if you’re going to grab hold of all that today offers and reach for tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, T!

I’m proud of you and I love you!

Me, Mom

Birth Day Snow

Today is my brother’s birthday.

Mom says there was snow on the ground the day he was born.  A heavy snow fell while she was in the hospital and she was concerned about getting home.  My dad, who could drive in and on anything, had no such worries.

As I write this, I look out on a snowy scene, similar in many ways to that day 53 years ago.

The Bible says in Proverbs 17:17 that a brother is born for adversity. I thought that meant we were supposed to fight – so we did.  Usually I was the instigator and he, a willing participant.

As I said, today bears striking similarities to the day my brother was born.

  • snowy
  • cold
  • same neighborhood
  • same house
  • celebration

But, I see distinct differences as well.

  • we are adults with families of our own
  • the neighborhood has grown up
  • Dad is not here – his first to miss
  • Mom is alone in the house that once rang with my brother’s newborn cries
  • my brother drives in and on anything

Time marches on.  It seems only yesterday that he was born – that he and I were sitting in “time out”, watching the clock – that he was learning to drive – that he began his first job – that he graduated high school and went to college – that he fell in love and married – that his daughter was born….

It seems only yesterday that I thought a brother was born for adversity and leaned fully into my role of antagonist.

It seems only yesterday that I discovered the true meaning of this passage and developed deep appreciation for the brother I have and the man he has become.

A brother is born for adversity – he steps up and steps in when things get tough. He stands shoulder to shoulder with you – has your back – backs you up – he’s there in adversity…for adversity.

I’m thankful for my brother – especially so this past year.  He has had an awful burden to bear…a heavy load to shoulder, but he has stepped up and stepped in and made a difference in my life and in the lives of many others.

Mark, I’m so glad you were born!  You are such a blessing!

Happy birthday!  I love you and I’m so thankful for you!  I celebrate you!