My bride put the ring on my finger a long time ago. I've never had if off since she put it there.

Then came the surgery a few weeks ago.

My first surgery ever. My rotator cuff basically wasn't there, my doctor said, and there was no choice but shoulder surgery.

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    It's been one unwelcome anniversary after another. First Native ministry summer without our beloved Mama Hutch. First Thanksgiving and Christmas without the heart, the hugs, the laughs of our dear Karen ... Mom ... Grandma. Every family members' first birthday without the light of our lives.

    And then, May 16. The day my baby - so vibrant and alive the night before at our grandson's graduation - was suddenly gone.

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      Two words. But a valuable reminder just in time for Mother's Day.

      Recently, I had occasion to stay at my son and daughter-in-law's house while I recovered from a painful injury.

      They set me up with a wonderful little "apartment" in their basement - recliner, remotes (of course), kitchenette. And like all the babies in our family, a night monitor.

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        I've spent a fair amount of time in graveyards.

        Looking for some missing "leaves" on our family tree. There's even a "find a grave" website. Run by some folks who've obviously spent a lot more time in cemeteries than I have!

        And I actually found a lot of ancestors' graves. Which filled in a lot of genealogy blanks.

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          As I sit at my desk, I'm looking at a framed, century-old newspaper on the wall. It's there because I never want to forget the story it tells. And the choice it represents.

          In short, it's the tale of three ships.

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            I think we all do it at times. We walk past a store window, and we look at more than the merchandise. We look at our own reflection. Or we glance in every convenient mirror.

            It's just natural - checking yourself out. Wanting to impress, to look good. It's just natural to talk up our wins, our good stuff.

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              It was my first Valentine's Day without the love of my life since I was 18.

              I found the Valentine card I sent to her two years ago. In it, I wrote: "I have never loved you more. You never cease to amaze me, amuse me, and captivate me."

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                Full disclosure here. I'm not the guy you want to call when you need a guy to do a job with a hammer.

                But I do know the fundamentals. A hammer can be used to build something - or to tear it down. Either way, what a hammer hits can't possibly stay the same.

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                  Ten more minutes and my wife would have never been born. The story that changed everything is hope for any of us who love someone who's making some very bad choices.

                  My wife's grandfather, Bill Hadley, had given up on life. Trashing a profitable career for the alcohol and cocaine he couldn't resist...labeled with a prison record and penniless - he was hopeless and suicidal.

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                    Zero visibility. And I was driving in it.

                    All I could think of was those disturbing images of 50 vehicles smooshed in some fog-caused pileup. Thankfully, I made it. But it is scary driving when you have no idea what's ahead.

                    Which pretty much describes how a lot of folks feel about the times we're living in right now. As Bob Dylan said - "the times, they are a changing." We're just not sure where the road's going.

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                      Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
                      P.O. Box 400
                      Harrison, AR 72602-0400

                      (870) 741-3300
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                      (870) 741-3400 (fax)

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