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The streets of Manhattan get pretty crazy. You're bullied by buses, taxis and surging pedestrians. And unhinged by honking horns, screaming sirens, rushing people. Awful, many say.

And then there's the view from the Freedom Tower. Awesome, many say. Above the mess and stress. Amazed by a whole new perspective, a breathtaking view of the island, the harbor, the city.

    I missed the sunset tonight. But I saw something just as beautiful.

    The afterglow. A sky painted by my favorite Artist in brilliant hues of orange and yellow. I've seen a lot of sunsets. All over the country and the world. But the show isn't over when the sun goes down. The sky is still glowing. Often, magnificently.

      "My name is Idiot."

      She's only four. But when police in Hot Springs, Arkansas responded to a report of child abuse, that's what she told them. The marks of abuse were all over her body. Bruises everywhere, a black eye, scars on her back.

        We're all broken.

        And we're covering it up. It's too risky to come out from behind that mask, that wall we put up to keep people out.

        Until someone else does. Speaking transparently from their own brokenness. In essence, giving us permission to face our own hurt and darkness. The "truth" that will, in Jesus' words, "set you free" (John 8:32).

          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 enjoy reading my newspaper. My kids enjoyed crashing through my newspaper to sit on my lap. Of course, nowadays, it's getting harder to bother your father while he's checking out the news. You'd have to jump on his iPhone.

            Anyway, I could relate when I heard about this little guy who kept interrupting his dad while he was reading his voluminous Sunday paper. For a while, Dad was able to buy a little time by saying "pretty soon, Son." But eventually, Son wasn't buying it.

              Three weeks the love of my life has been gone. It's a lonely I've never felt before.

              On the one hand, it's weird that I would be talking about loneliness. I'm surrounded by an incredible family, dedicated to their Mom's passion to "take care of Ron."

                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.

                  She must have been scared to death. She wasn’t a public speaker. But that day she’d agreed to speak to 70,000 people in a football stadium in the Northwest. It was the last day of Billy Graham’s Crusade in her city and he had asked her to read a letter she’d received from her son. It was the end of the first Gulf War, and the troops were coming home; except for a relatively few American soldiers who weren’t coming home. Her son was one of them. He died in a helicopter crash on the last day of the war.

                    I watched on the news as a city became a ghost town. Nearly 100,000 people fled Fort McMurray, Alberta, running a gauntlet of flames all around them.

                    Firefighters called the wildfire that engulfed the city "a beast." Residents turned refugees called it "apocalyptic" and "hell on earth."

                                  

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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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