I was listening to the radio the other day when I heard that Paul Newman died. It seems I have gotten to the age where the famous people I saw growing up are now moving toward the end of their time on this earth. With Newman, two movies come to mind. First is the great story of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”. The picture I have is Newman riding around on the bicycle. The other one is more highly favored in my mind – “Cool Hand Luke”. There’s something about the toughness of Newman in that movie as he fights against the arrogance of men who see themselves as powerful because they can rule over others with an iron fist and not face much repercussions. (There’s also something disturbing about a man who would eat that many boiled eggs!)
Just thinking about where I was as I watched those movies seems to take me back to a better time.
I can use moments like that as I watch the politicians whining at each other like kids in the playground sandbox. Bailout… no bailout… agreements.. no agreement – “THEY did this”… “No – it was THEM”. Pointing fingers, making faces – some of these people are just downright mean. They need to go to timeout.
I think about those moments of nostalgia as we continue to deal with Hurricane Ike recovery. Again, there are some really mean people who are determined to find some one to blame for their lot in life – folks, we had a really big storm hit and there’s only so much that can be done so fast. I am glad our church is who it is. The urge to help others and collect supplies for people in need has not slowed down around here. While one load was packed up for Dickinson, another load is being gathered for Sabine Pass. I’m humbled by the willing hearts and active work of the people at Asbury. But at the same time, I wish it had never happened.
Part of me wants to go back to the good old days…
And yet, if I stop and really think about it, the good old days weren’t always that good and these bad days aren’t always that bad. There is a mindset in our country that we are in dire straights and we have slid down a slippery slope to a point beyond which we have never been. Yeah, wars and financial struggles are tough, but there’s a black man running for President and a woman as a possible Vice-president – that would not have happened back in the day.
Here’s the truth that applies at any time, not matter how bad you may think it is or how good you think it could get – nothing compares to the future God has in store beyond the realm of this time and place. We may have a tough row to hoe in the present time, but there are good days a’comin’. Paul wrote these words in a letter to the church in Rome:
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)
So, I’ve made a decision. I refuse to look back toward “the good old days” and instead look ahead to “the great NEW days” God has in store. That keeps me going. That gives me hope. That makes me ready to help others see hope as well. Maybe it will do the same for you. (And if you still want to rent “Cool Hand Luke” and invite a friend over for popcorn, I’m your man)
Holy high-five to you, Mike.