I'm glad I didn't hear it until after last week's shoulder replacement surgery.

The student nurse told me, "I've seen just about every kind of surgery there is. Except for the one I don't ever want to see." Turns out it's the very kind of operation I just had!

I asked why. I will not soon forget her answer. "Because power tools belong in the workshop, not the operating room!"

This is crazy. Suddenly I'm all excited about a plant.

I can't remember ever taking care of a plant in my life. That was always my wife's department. But this Christmas I actually ordered a special plant, and it's getting my special care.

Because of what it represents to me about Christmas. And about the "long winter" that began the day the love of my life was suddenly gone.

"Avalanche." "Tsunami." "A cultural watershed moment." "A day of reckoning."

Those are just some of the words being used to describe the relentless accusations of sexual misconduct by powerful men. The quake is shaking cultural epicenters of this country from Hollywood to corporate boardrooms to state capitals to the halls of Congress. And most observers believe this is only the beginning.

My wife couldn't read faraway signs when she was driving. That was my job. I'm farsighted. She was nearsighted. Until we went driving on a long trip. Suddenly she was reading everything. And noticing scenic details she'd missed before.

She'd just had Lasik surgery! Suddenly she was seeing things she'd never seen before.

That's what thanksgiving does - helps you see things you may have never seen before - or you need to see again. Not thanksgiving, the holiday. Thanksgiving, the lifestyle. Thanksliving, I call it.

For as long as I can remember, they've been talking about the "Big One." That mega earthquake that could bring down much that stands in California.

A "Big One" hit a few days ago. It didn't show up on seismographs, but it rocked Hollywood. And its aftershocks continue to reverberate across the entertainment, political and business landscape.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Christmas Eve at our house is anything but a "Silent Night." How about "Family Circus"?

Each year brings a lot of high-energy, high-decibel giving and opening of gifts. One year, somewhere in the flying wrapping paper, was one overwhelmed two-year-old. Quietly dazed amid the happy din.

There was one person who noticed. Grandma. Of course.

            

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

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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