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Posts Tagged ‘communication’


There’s an old saying, I don’t where it’s from, but it says, “Time and tide wait for no man.” I was reminded of this recently when I received a really nice letter from a reader telling me how much he appreciated a story I wrote in a local entertainment magazine.

The story was about motorcycles and motorcyclists, and although it heavily featured Harley-Davidson’s  – if only for the reason that the people I talked with had settled on Harley’s as their preferred bikes. The letter was from the PR Manager at Victory and Indian Motorcycles who saw the story I wrote when he was out here in California on business.

As I read his letter of appreciation and saw which motorcycle company he worked for, I was immediately transported back in time. I was 8-years old and my mom met, then married my step-dad. He was a presence whenever he walked into the room. He not only was intelligent and well-educated spending his career educating others, he was self-taught at pretty much everything he did, from woodworking to rebuilding cars, trucks and motorcycles. And everything he did, he did well.

Although he ended up riding Harley-Davidson bikes as he got older, it was the story of his experience on his very first motorcycle, an Indian, that forged itself into my wide-eyed 8-year old mind.

He would regal me with the story of how when he was just a young man, he and his Indian motorcycle rode from South Dakota out to California, and back again. In my mind’s eye, he was like the greatest of adventurers, fighting the winds and weathers, cruising across the country with the sun setting in the background while he rode on his white Indian motorcycle. For many years, I would get him Indian bike memorabilia for gifts on his birthday, at Christmas and on Father’s Day.

I realized as I thought about the memory I have of him on his bike, that I never really got the detailed story of his ride. I carry around an image of him as a knight of sorts riding a white Indian steed, with a backdrop of the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota as he rode steadily on a black ribbon of highway heading West.

You would have thought with me being a writer, a gatherer of people’s tales, that I would have gathered the details of that particular one, but I never did. My dad is older now and the place in his mind where the details of that ride live is locked away in the recesses of his memory. The key that would have opened that box in his memory is lost forever. So, there is no way for me to truly ever know what the details were, I waited to long to ask and now there is no way to coax it from him.

Yes, time and tide wait for no man, and in this case, no woman. Yet, the ride and the picture it draws in my mind, no matter how limited the details, in many ways represents the way that he has been in my life. A knight riding a white Indian motorcycle who rode in at just the right time.

In many respects we do the same type of thing with our own children, or others children who are dear to us, when it comes to telling them about the LORD and all He has done. We give them the basics of Him and neglect to tell them the details of His greatness, His love and His faithfulness. We leave them in the situation that if they don’t ask they don’t know, until it is too late to ask.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

Deuteronomy 4:9

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It’s funny what people say, what we hear and what we think they mean, isn’t it?

Just the other day I was talking with a teacher friend of mine who was telling me about the discussion she had with her elementary school level class about genetics. The conversation turned to the intricacies of the human genome, the tiny machines that run our inner world and the fact that everything has a genetic code contained in its chromosomes. And, not only that, but not everything has the same number of chromosomes.

Did you know that human beings typically have 46 chromosomes while a goldfish has from 100 to 104? I didn’t know that about the goldfish, and neither did  one of the girls in my friends class who raised her hand and asked the question of the day.

“Do you mean the goldfish you eat?” she asked.

My friend had the same thought when the question was asked that I had when she told me the story,  the ultra-surprised reaction of  ‘she eats goldfish? Do people actually eat goldfish?’ I mean who eats goldfish except people who are trying to win a bet or something?

Then my friend told me the realization hit her that her student was talking about the little goldfish crackers you buy from the store and eat.

So, this got me thinking about what we hear, what we think it means and how we react to it. My friend and I thought the exact same thing when we heard that her student ate goldfish, we thought live goldfish ‘raw and wriggling’ as Gollum from the Lord of the Rings fame would say, but her student actually meant crackers.

Now, if this was something besides what it was, harmless, that miscommunication could take on a life of its own and turn into something that it wasn’t, which is what we do sometimes isn’t it? We make an assumption based on what we hear and instead of clarifying what the person actually means, we just go with what we think it means which could get us in a lot of trouble.

And, we could apply that to every area of our life, including scripture or what we think God is saying to us or what we think He may be saying to someone else. Instead of just stepping back, keeping our mouths shut and asking God to clarify things, we just go with it, sometimes making a hash of things in the process.

Because let’s face it, what we hear, what’s actually being said and how we should react are sometimes very different things, and at the end of the day only God can sort them out for us.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”

Proverbs 3:5

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