No. 468

The next password is paula



In light of recent events all across the face of the globe, I believe one of the safest statements I could ever make is that we live in a dangerous world. In my earlier days I used to love to go squirrel hunting, but going hunting back then in a forest filled with rattlesnakes, was child's play compared to everyday dangers we face today when we get out bed.

Just this past week, on the interstate that runs by our community, we had a terrible auto accident that took the lives of two young men. A pickup crossed the median and hit another pickup head on, and then got entangled with an 18-wheeler. As is normally the case, the driver of the 18-wheeler was not injured. What made this wreck even more significant is that the driver whose truck crossed the median did not have a valid driver's license.

The driver was killed, as was the driver of the other pickup, but the passenger lied and said he was driving, because he wanted to save his friend from getting a "no driver's license" ticket.

When people, especially young people, are irresponsible, it just makes you want to take them and shake them, but in the case of these two young men, it's too late. Now, their families are left to grieve for them.

What I am going to say next is personal and you can disagree with me if you choose to do so. The first question that comes to my mind when I hear of a tragedy like this is, did these two young men know the Lord? In reality, we just never know when we get out of bed each morning, whether or not it will be our last day here on earth. We face enough dangers in our lives that are beyond our control. However, when our actions and behavior are irresponsible, and this places us in great peril, we should be able to learn from the misfortune of others.

In each of my columns I try to present an idea, a concept or a story with a moral or ethical principle that will help you. Because we are each unique, I know that we have different values, interests and ways of looking at things. That is the way it should be, and it's also one of many things that makes life so interesting. Obviously, I don't hit a home run every time, but my heart's desire is to help you. It's my desire that everyone becomes more successful and has the benefits of living and working in the greatest nation in the world. This is why our attitude should always be one of gratitude. We should appreciate the opportunities that are all around us.

A friend sent me a story the other day that will serve to illustrate what I have been trying to say. It begins, "Some years ago on a hot summer day in South Florida a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind the house. In a hurry to dive into the water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam out toward the middle, an alligator was swimming toward him. His father, working in the yard, saw the two as they got closer together.

In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could. Hearing his voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a u-turn to swim to his father. It was too late. Just as he reached his father, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the father, but the father was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard the screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.

Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the great reptile. And on his arms were deep scratches where his father's fingernails dug into his flesh, in his effort to hang on to the son he loved. The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pants legs and then, with obvious pride said to the reporter, "But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my daddy wouldn't let go."

And here is the message that everyone who reads this column should think about. Most of us should be able to identify with this little boy because we have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But some of those wounds are there because God has refused to let us go. If you have had a painful past, you can take real comfort that in the midst of your struggle because He's been there for you. We all need to take responsibility for ourselves and be extra careful not to swim in perilous waters. Our own personal world would be a much safer place, if we made it a point to do that. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)

The next column password is: Paula