Finding Floyd

PUT TWO AND TWO TOGETHER

I remember the phone call like it was yesterday, but it was almost sixteen years ago. I thought it odd for my wife to be calling me on my cell, from hers, to talk to me about, or talk me into, getting a dog. I’m a little slow so I didn’t put two and two together. She was with the girls and they already had a puppy with them on their way home.

It would have been easier to defend myself on the merits of not getting a dog, due to all the work that goes into it, if the little guy wouldn’t have been so darn cute. Of course the kids inadvertently lied… the promises of watering, feeding, and cleaning up after the new puppy we named Larry was short lived.

About 15 years ago

Our oldest was a freshman in high school, the middle daughter was fittingly in middle school, and the youngest was five years old and in pre Kindergarten.

Larry seamlessly meshed with our lives and became part of the family, for better or worse. He was there through good times and bad. Turns out he was a better dog than I was a master…

The sixteen years between that phone call when the kids were young and yesterday seems like a lifetime in many ways. In other ways it seemed like a blink.

Our youngest doesn’t remember much of a life without Larry. And even though she didn’t have a lot to say about if we got Larry, she was the closest to him. She spent more quality time with Larry and Lola when she was still alive. She was the one that walked them and took naps on the dog bed with them.

When we’d have get togethers Larry was proud to sport his black bow tie. And if there was ever a gentleman dog, it was Lar. We even caught him a couple times sneaking treats out of the pantry and dropping one off to Lola before he’d partake on his stolen treat.

It’s a somber day without Lar. This is the first post I’ve ever done without him somewhere close by.

Yesterday… on his last day 15 years later

Larry was there growing old with us as we faced the challenges of raising children and yearning to fight the good fight in this fallen world. He got older faster… and yesterday was his last day here.

I’m reminded of many things in this process of grieving for our dog. First of all, this life is short, a breath like the Good Book says. Secondly I’m reminded that it’s good to love in all ways, it shows the heart of God. And thirdly, God can use anything, even a family pet, to teach and remind his children what their heart and action should be.

I should be so loyal, loving, and humble as Larry was… Sometimes loss can help us put two and two together…

WE HAVE CHERISHED

My first car was a 1970 Mercury Cyclone. I loved that car… I wish I still had it, but things happen in life and we choose to let go, or sometimes circumstances force us to let go, of things we have cherished. It wasn’t my choice to get rid of my first car. It was my dad’s. And it wasn’t a gentle prodding.

My first car… and yeah… those are Nike Cortez I’m sportin’

If a person lives long enough they inevitably will have to come to terms with losing things. It’s just part of life. As sure as the sun comes up and it sinks yonder, we’re gonna give up or lose, one way or the other, things we have cherished.

When I was a kid my dad ended up buying a van. It wasn’t one of those fancy vans that got so popular in the 70’s that they actually had magazines for people to help turn them into a bedroom on wheels. This van, while fairly new, was an extra long bone stock white van with nothing in it, not even a rubber mat in the back.

The man who sold the van didn’t want to sell it, he didn’t have a choice. He’d been to Vegas, which is close to where we grew up in the Arizona desert, and had lost all he had. He’d made it as far as he could and needed to sell the van to feed his wife and baby. He’d lost everything he had gambling in Sin City.

My dad didn’t necessarily need the van, or have the means to buy another work vehicle, but he had compassion on the man and his circumstances.

The man lost what he had cherished. It wasn’t so much the van that he was going to miss, but his lifestyle and security for his family. He cherished the times in life when we he was providing and protecting his family.

Back in the Great Recession a lot of people suffered loss. People lost homes, cars, life savings, it was something I thought I’d never witness in my life. The losses were devastatingly real, but the core of what was lost were the things we cherished; the time in houses with family that made them homes. The security of equity that made us feel secure. And even the promise of wealth that made us feel proud.

I bought and old muscle car last week. The guy selling it has owned the car for almost forty years. I’m not sure why he sold it, but he did it with reservation. After the deal was done he texted me and told me he had the glove box and console cleaned up… and he told me he had a good cry…

Yeah, the car is cool, but I know the man grieves losing what reminds him of his life and family. He laments good times past…

So do I…

We cherish because we’re made in the image of God. While we have cherished the gifts from God in this world, they don’t compare to the gift of His Son and grace. It is His wisdom in us that allows us to see that truth and appreciate all the fine things we’ve had along the way… and when it’s time to give them up…

EAGLES

I’ll admit that I don’t listen to K-Love as often as I probably should. And since this is sorta like a confessional; I’ve been listening to the Beatles channel via satellite radio on and off for the last month or so. For a short time they had a temporary Eagles channel. I listened to that pretty much anytime my cell phone would allow it.

I like the Eagles. I think most people do. That’s probably why their Greatest Hits album sold more albums than any other group or artist ever. They’re ranked at number one with afore mentioned album. Michael Jackson is second with his smash Thriller and the Eagles also occupy the third spot with another one of their albums titled Hotel California.

The first song I ever learned to play on guitar was the Eagles “Peaceful Easy Feeling”. Maybe being from Arizona makes a fella more prone to like the Eagles. After all, the Eagles tune sung by the late Glenn Frey, which he co-wrote with Jackson Browne, goes like this, in case you forgot,

“Well I’m a standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona and such a fine sight to see

It’s a girl my Lord in a flatbed Ford slowing down to take a look at me”.

I’ve been listening to the Eagles since before I was a teenager. I guess my appreciation for their music somehow rubbed off on my offspring, especially the youngest. I’m not big on concerts, at least not these days, but when I found out that the Eagles, what’s left of them, were gonna be coming to town, I knew it might be the last chance to see them.

When I asked my youngest about going to see them she lit up like a little kid at Christmas. Pretty soon everyone in the family was pushing to see the aging legendary rock band.

Tickets to events like the Eagles are a little like buying a winning lottery ticket. We finally managed to get some, but there weren’t six available together. It was four together and two together. Since the youngest and myself were the biggest fans, we ended up getting the two best seats.

The truth is I do like the Eagles, always have, but if it wasn’t for the fact of being with loved ones to enjoy it, it wouldn’t be worth fighting that mob like crowd.

I think that’s how it is with making some memories sometimes. It takes being away from your comfort zone and doing something out of the ordinary with someone extraordinary. Or a group of extraordinary people. Isn’t that what loved ones are? We’re special to God and to our family.

My youngest and I belted out “Desperado” at the top of our lungs as the Eagles finished their encore.

The thick crowd was threatening to separate my daughter and I on the way out so she grabbed my hand… never thought that would happen again… If we hadn’t gone to that Eagles concert it probably never would have. It’s the little things in life, friends. I think that’s one of the times when God smiles…

THE TIME MOM MET HITLER, FROST CAME TO DINNER, AND I HEARD THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD

A few years back I was killing time waiting for my flight to deliver me from a vicious Texas winter. I grabbed a bottle of water and browsed the paperback book section of the store inside the Austin terminal. I love books… big surprise. I normally choose books, but that one time, his book chose me. “The Time Mom Met Hitler, Frost Came to Dinner, And I Heard the Greatest Story Ever Told”. I reread the title again silently. It grabbed me then I grabbed it and headed to the checkout line.

The Time Mom Met Hitler, Frost Came to Dinner, And I Heard the Greatest Story Ever Told, falls into the “best books I’ve ever read” category. It’s Dikkon Eberhart’s memoir about his life and family. Dikkon’s dad was the famous poet Richard Eberhart, who had famous friends, like Robert Frost, as mentioned in the title to his book.

There are an extreme few people in this world that can tell stories of the times when Dylan Thomas came to tuck them in or tell them a bedtime story. Dikkon is one of those few.

Dikkon’s family on his mother’s side were floor wax pioneers. His great grandpa actually invented floor wax and turned his invention into a house hold name. But being born into a famous family or privilege doesn’t keep the world from stomping on your dreams and heart.

Dikkon’s book is the story of how all of us, regardless of which family we’re born into, have struggles and sorrows in this life. His story is the story of God’s redemption and grace. It’s a story of Dikkon and his family’s path from legalism in Judaism to the Truth of God.

Over the last few years Dikkon and I, like many of you, have forged a long distance friendship. Even though he’s on the other side of the traditional publishing chasm, Dikkon takes the time to interact and help out folks like me seeking what he’s already attained.

I’m excited to share the news that Dikkon is working on a follow up to The Time Mom Met Hitler, Frost Came to Dinner, And I Heard the Greatest Story Ever Told! The theme of his new book is how Dikkon and his wife were being relentlessly pursued by the Trinity, even when they didn’t know it, and what transpired once their hearts and souls surrendered.

Here’s the best part; if you subscribe on his website you can request to be an “Insider”, of which I’m one, and you’ll be on Dikkon’s list of people he actually allows to participate in the editing parts of his new manuscript as he writes it. Pretty cool. That shows the humility and heart of God in my friend; Dikkon.

If you haven’t read The Time Mom Met Hitler, Frost Came to Dinner, And I Heard the Greatest Story Ever Told, I highly suggest you do. And I’d also appreciate if you’d visit Dikkon here and support a fine man of God.

Dikkon Eberhart

IDLE HANDS ARE THE DEVIL’S WORKSHOP

I can’t remember how old I was when I first heard it, but it was early on, as far back as I can recollect. It went something like this; “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”. It was just another catchy adage I’d memorize as easily as John 3:16, but not really grasp the depth of either for decades.

image courtesy of buildyourideallife.com

It’s been a whirlwind of busyness lately. It’s peculiar how similar that word is to business. It’s good in some ways; that means, according to the old “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”, I’m keeping my nose clean. Yeah, I can quote the old adages like people do Beatle’s songs.

But as I get along in years it seems those old adages, like all things, are just generalities.

There is a reason that the Good Book says, “Be still and know that I AM GOD”.

Being busy, if it takes up space and time with the Father, is another form of idolatry. Sometimes it just takes the time to sit down and peck out a few words to begin to grasp the depth of our motivations and shortcomings.

When we get so busy it’s easy to hide behind the actions and justify our reasons, but it’s all about priorities. The flesh has its priorities and they never align with God’s. Sometimes it takes an idle mind to ponder and accept the fact that we’re “Prone to Wander… Lord I feel it”.

In our time of musing the sovereignty of our Father and our tendencies to fill our lives with distractions, we come back to Truth… And we fall into the comfort of His Amazing Grace. There is no sweeter place or sound.

It’s the season of rearranging and shuffling priorities to their proper place. And tossing the ones that keep us so busy we forget to seek Truth and find peace in this dizzying busy life.

I’ve missed the reading and writing and interaction with my comrades. It helps keep priorities in order.

Somewhere between “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” and “Choked by the worries of this world” is where we find peace with our Maker.