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Ordinary Angels

Ain’t it kind of funny that at the dark end of the road Someone lights the way with just a single ray of hope ~ Alabama Mary entered my hospital room quietly and with purpose. She held a mop in one hand and a fresh, unopened trash bag in the other. She moved swiftly. Her job was clear. I was just relieved she wasn’t another nurse about to take more of my blood. “How you doin’ baby?” she asked through a smile. “I’m okay. How are you?” I answered. “I am blessed, and we’re all praying for you,” she said. “I can’t wait to see you up and around later today.” And after a quick “see ya later, baby,” she …

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Purpose Behind The Pain

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. ~ Proverbs 27:19 It turns out having heart surgery is different from any other surgery. It’s more mental. It’s not a hernia repair or an appendix. I didn’t fracture a wrist or have my tonsils removed; this is the heart. It’s why, on the night before the surgery, I finished up handwritten letters to my parents, my wife, and my daughters – letters I hoped would never be read. Goodbyes, thank-yous, suggestions on how to move forward, and above all else, gratitude and appreciation for a life that can only be described as truly happy. In the days leading up to the surgery, my mind flooded with the happiest …

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A Match Made at McDonald’s

A happy marriage is a union of two good forgivers. On an April day in 1961, an 18-year-old girl and her mother pulled into a McDonald’s restaurant in Saginaw, Michigan in the family’s brand-new, powder-blue convertible Chevy Impala. There was a tall, handsome young man with a buzz-cut working behind the counter, hustling to fill people’s orders. No one is quite sure if Dad noticed the car, my beautiful grandmother or mom first, but something got his attention. He threw a few grins and flirtatious-glances their way, and Grandma said to Mom, “That’s the kind of guy I want you to marry.” That night, Mom hopped back in the car and went back to McDonald’s with the express purpose of …

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Are You Happy?

Her question threw me off a bit. It was bold, especially coming from someone I only recently met. She said it casually. She said it quickly. She stared into my eyes awaiting my reply. “Are you happy?” This week, I turn 55. I’m truly not bothered by that number. In fact, I look forward to getting older. I’m wiser, more self-aware, and more patient than I was when I was younger. I live a drama-free life, and I love it. I have learned that some things really matter; many things do not. So, 55? Cool. It’s just a number. “Well, are you…happy?” I hesitated and I deflected. “Don’t I look happy?” I laughed awkwardly. She saw right through this. I …

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Until We Meet Again

My friend Steve got to attend his own funeral. Can you imagine? His body was filled with cancer. His treatments were prolonging his life, but they weren’t going to save him. He was surely dying. He shrugged that kind of talk off. “We start to die the day we’re born,” he reasoned. “Life’s not done until it’s done” His co-workers at Family Christian Stores decided to “throw him” a funeral. He joked that he still planned on being at his actual funeral but he could really enjoy this one. “This is a time to laugh and cry,” he said. And he did. I couldn’t attend the celebration. I sent a letter which was read out loud. Someone sent me a …