It was just days before Christmas. A drunk driver suddenly veered into our lane and totaled our car - with our whole family inside. Thank God, we were all okay. Our car? Junkyard.

Then there was the Christmas my sons and I decided to try out the NFL football one had just gotten as a gift. Great fun - until Mr. Klutz here caught one on the end of his finger. My finger? Broken. The emergency room folks gave me a Christmas gift. A splint.

I think my pastor spoke for millions of Americans on this first Sunday after Election Day. He simply said, "I'm exhausted." Beyond the battle fatigue, there's a wide - and passionate - range of emotions. From celebrating to grieving, from anticipation to anger, from relief to fear, from hope to hurt. With the political battlefield strewn with damaged relationships, raw emotions, finger-pointing, conflicting passions - and lots of uncertainty.

I've always loved the hymn "Amazing Grace." Now I'm living it.

When a song or a favorite food or an old voicemail slams me with the still inconceivable reality that she won't be back. Or when I'm in the living room where the love of my life and I shared so much. Her touches are everywhere. Her laughter is in the walls. Her absence is overwhelming. She's been gone a month now.

I've done my whole adult life with my Karen, the only woman I've ever needed.

Suddenly, I have to figure out how to do the rest of my life without her.

Sunday night, we sat in the bleachers at our local football stadium and watched our grandson graduate from high school. As valedictorian. Giving a faith-filled valedictory speech.

Monday afternoon, she was gone. Wrapped in a huddle of sobs with our three adult children, I choked out, "It hurts so bad." It really does.

Unbelievable. It's time for another graduation season! And, wow, has the world changed since I was the one "commencing."

But the commencement ceremony itself? Not so much. Same sweat-a-lot robes. Same funny, flat hats with that annoying tassel. And the same lofty "we will change the world...follow your dream" speeches. Inspired by the view from the top of Mount High School.

If I wanted a picture that screams "Easter!" this year, I'd go to Death Valley. Which suddenly looks like "Life Valley."

Because of the "superbloom"! Millions of super-sized, glorious flowers have exploded in one of the driest places on earth. It's the lowest point in the U.S. with an average of two inches of rain a year.

But this year it's a sea of purple and pink blossoms. And the blazing yellow of what they call "desert gold."

Our grandson loves to take home souvenirs from visits to our house. Rocks. Shiny rocks. Colorful rocks.

So why not a rock tumbler for him for Christmas? Today, it's running full speed ahead. Tumbling rocks. For three weeks! For goodness sake, how long does it take to turn a blah rock into a beautiful rock?

This Christmas season, there were two countdowns. Shopping days 'til Christmas. And days 'til the new "Star Wars" movie opened.

Thirty years ago, my kids begged to get the first Star Wars action figures for Christmas. Now their kids are begging for the new movie's rolling droid, BB-8, and TIE fighter Legos. Three generations. Captivated by what has become a modern mythology for our times.

Guest blog by Brad Hutchcraft

There are toys, and then there are trains. Toys are fun, but trains bring out something else. Maybe it's the feeling of nostalgia, or maybe it's the delusional thinking that I could just step on a locomotive and successfully operate it. Either way, one of my favorite moments each Christmas is when we pull out the Lionel O-Gauge and set it up under the tree.

There was a miracle in the wildfire the other night. On an Indian reservation where we have many dear friends.

We've watched the news with growing concern - and intensifying prayer - as the path of the fire's destruction has grown steadily. We learned some of our "family" there have their church and some loved ones in a town surrounded by the flames.

            

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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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