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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Personal / Living In The Rockies Welcome Guest
    Living In The Rockies
          On he road to Cheley Camp, Estes Park, Colorado

    Mon, Aug 28th - 7:02PM

    Running Out Of Time

      I hope this benefits someone – it was a costly lesson for me, and I would hate to think it served no purpose.   I’ve heard it said: “Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't have time enough to make them all, yourself.”   And this is my testimony that the quote above is indeed too true:


      It was about 1978, and I was having an argument with my aunt, over the telephone.  The argument was stupid, my aunt eschewing my newfound and zealous conversion to Christ, which she simply did not understand.  I’m afraid my aunt and I were very much alike, and I had always been closer in temperament to her than my own mother, up to that argument.  I hung up the phone when my aunt began screaming at me.  She called me back, still screaming, and I hung up again.  I made a mental note that I would not have anything to do with the woman ever again.   And in fact, I did not speak to her or see her again for the next 25 years.


      As a “good Christian”, I forgave my aunt fairly soon after the incident, but I simply neglected to include her in my life.  Just a simple oversight.  Could happen to anyone. 


      I raised 3 kids and put them all through college, then saw them all get married.  I was heavily invested in my career and frankly, I didn’t think of the broken bridges in my family.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think of broken bridges at all until my own divorce.


      Divorce is the one experience I felt I would never experience.   In my arrogance and stupidity, I felt that I was somehow immune to it.  After all, good Christians don’t get divorced.  But this one did.  I was to learn this about divorce: just as you marry more than the just the woman (you also wed the entire family, like it or not), you divorce more than just the wife.  I lost almost every one of my friends and all of my children and grandchildren.   There has been a lot of healing with the children, but I doubt they’ll ever trust me again, and it would be a real miracle if I ever see their kids.


      So, when I began trying to put my own life back together I began looking at all the broken bridges that I had caused in my family.  First, I began to get real with Jesus Christ.  Somehow, I felt He should have been working for me, instead of the other way around, and I had to learn about Him all over again.  All my pre-conceived notions had failed me, so I had to throw them all out and begin again.  And in doing that, the issue of my aunt surfaced.


      At first, I was unwilling to deal with the problem, feeling that I had forgiven her many years before, but Jesus wouldn’t let me get comfortable with that.  He wanted me to humble myself and ask my aunt to forgive me.  Finally, I couldn’t ignore it any longer, and I called up my aunt and told her I had been wrong.  I cried over all the wasted years when she told me she loved me and was glad to have me back.  It was like nothing in the intervening 25 years had ever happened.  We began again.


      I went to visit my aunt and uncle and I really felt healed.  I felt as if some large chunk of my life had re-started, and wasn’t dead anymore.  I was stunned when my aunt suddenly died.  Within a year my uncle also died.  I began to learn the word REMORSE.


      Following the death of my aunt, I learned her only child, my cousin living in Canada, had some form of cancer.  I called her up on the phone and was brought to tears by her forgiveness of all those years of estrangement.  She was so gracious and plain-spoken.  She told me she had no time to beat around bushes, and it was always a very candid experience to talk with her.  I emailed her and spoke to her over the next 2 years.  I really loved her.  


      I emailed her several weeks ago and just last Friday I realized I had not heard an answer back, so I called her in Canada.  The phone was answered by her now grown son, who told me his mother had died 3 weeks ago.   I was the first person in my family to find out.


      Now I’m not sure quite how to put myself back together.  At the same time, I also feel guilty because my cousin’s family should come first, not me and yet, I have to live with me. 


      I have not sorted all this out yet, but this much I’ve figured out – forgiveness is only one side of the coin.  Restoration, or at least the attempt, is the other.  Don’t wallow in self-righteous forgiveness and let time pass as you fail to attempt restoration.  Christ would have us do both, if possible.  At least I know He holds us responsible for the attempt.


      My aunt, my uncle and my cousin all ran out of time.  And so did I.  I cannot fix any bridges with them now.   I’m hoping they are all in a position to understand.  I’m hoping to see them again – but I have no guarantee of it.


      Don’t waste your time wrapping yourself in self- righteousness while denying it’s real name: Pride. 


      You, and all of the people you love are running out of time every day.




    Comment (1)

    Tue, Aug 22nd - 4:40PM

    Gray Is Good

     Yesterday was a real "Gray day" for me.  Ever have one of those?  Bet you have..  It was one of those days when everything that could go wrong either did, or tried to.   So I'm sitting on the couch yesterday evening and it occurred to me that my life would be better if my wife would only adjust her attitude!  Now I'm not known as a cranial giant most days, but I never should have tried this approach on a gray day.  Can't begin to tell you how dumb that was!  Actually, if you are anything like me, you know already, don't you?

      Well, this morning was saved by my wife being a saint at Forgiveness.  Since she married me she's become a real practitioner!  And I got to thinking of the Gary Smalley book on marriage we've been reading during our long commute to work in Estes Park.  We commute from Storm Mountain in Drake, to Estes Park via Big Thompson Canyon.  The redeeming part of having this commute every day is the time we get to spend together.  If we had to endure the convenience of living in Estes Park, we wouldn't share near so much.

      Gary Smalley is a marriage counselor and an author.  (You can read him for free at any good library).  He says that when we get into arguments with our spouses we should look for the "Pearls" hidden within. 

      So this morning, while trying to choke down some mainline Folger's, the sky parted and the pearl from last night hit me head on: to-wit, "Anyone can party - our character is formed on the Gray Days".  Now I acknowledge I never would have arrived at this by myself and that's why I'm convinced it's true.  After all, the only thing my logic got me into was trouble.

      I can't take my money (if I ever get any) with me, and my earthly things that I value I can't cause someone else to value - dreams included, but I know this for sure: I will take my character with me, for that's who I am.  And if I'm really fortunate, when I go, the character I take with me will be the one I always should have had.

      How about you?

    Comment (1)

    Tue, Aug 22nd - 4:27PM

    Value of the Commonplace

     As I drove to work today I let my mind loose.  It wandered around and finally came back with an idea, namely, the value of the commonplace. 

      As my boss often says, everybody wants to feel "special".  Of course, his focus is on sales, and the importance of making customers feel that way.  He's right.  We do want to feel special.  To satisfy this need we strive every day to achieve some sense of importance.  Where do you feel important?  Some feel important around the house or at work.  We usually feel important within our various comfort zones, i.e., areas of competence.  That's why we label them "comfort zones".  It is comfortable to feel important.  We like to matter.

      But what do we do when for no discernable reason we have a day that seems to focus our attention on the unimportant?  What about those days when we are convinced we don't matter?  I'm sure you've had those days; we all have.  You know how it goes, "I could have just stayed in bed today, for all it mattered", or "I feel like I'm not doing anything that really has significance; my life is being wasted". 

      Perhaps the real problem is our inability to realize our true value, rather than the false value we create for ourselves.  Let me illustrate this by mentioning my dog.  Now I know Max is only a regular dog to most of the planet.  He's probably not too exceptional in any way - just a dog.  Like your dog.  Nothing special there.  But you see, I love Max (most of the time), and because I do love him, he gains derived value.  Now Max probably doesn't understand that, and I'm sure he has days feeling left out (literally) and unimportant, but that simply is not the truth.  The truth is: he is loved, and because he is loved, that love gives him immeasurable value.  See where I'm going with this?

      We too are loved and valued, but like Max we get caught up in trying to create our own worth.  And on days, when we sense how meaningless the struggle, we suffer from feelings of decreased worth.  Ambushed by our nature, we fail to recognize the immense worth we already have.  We fail to recognize it because we don't understand it. 

      Here are the facts of the case: we have incredible worth and value because we are incredibly loved.  Concurrent with this is the fact that we will never understand it.

      Maybe we just need to accept the facts and decide to be grateful for the gift, for a gift it is - we know deep down we never earned it.

    Comment (0)

    Tue, Aug 22nd - 3:46PM

    Dis-Couraging Words

     Well, here I am again, sitting in an Open House.  Unfortunately it’s slow enough that I have time to reflect…

      Swung by the office to pick up some supplies on my way to the open house and parked right out front was a van with a large bumper sticker.  Now, I’m not a bumper sticker kind of person, and years ago when I gave it a try, I ended up fighting the stickers to remove them, so I haven’t done any since.  I think I could make an exception for this one.  It said:



      Isn’t that something?!  Have you ever dissected the word: DIS-COURAGE?  Pretty obvious when I take it apart that way, isn’t it?  To lose or remove courage.  Much, maybe most of our lives are severely impacted by fear – or lack of courage. 

      Try to become aware of how many decisions you make that are based on some kind of FEAR.   If you are like me, you will be absolutely stunned at the size of this subtle monster!  I really don’t think of myself as a fearful person, but if I routinely make fear-based decisions I would have to qualify.  

      I talk to many people each day, and I’m sure you do too.  A large percentage of the ones I talk to are looking for houses with easy access to hospitals, or houses that are all on one level.  Many of the ones I never see in person tell me over the phone that they would never consider moving to this area of the country because they would have to change doctors…they have health issues and concerns.   Well I’m wondering, are the factual issues bigger than the concerns?  I doubt it.

      To distill it down – we live our lives in HOPE, not FAITH.  And while we are living in hope we are governed by FEAR.  Do you really need to question why there is so much dis-couragement or un-happiness out there?   Doesn’t it appear to you that maybe we are wasting a lot of our lives trying to vainly swim against the tide of our hearts.  Can millions of Americans be wrong – YOU BET!!

      So here’s my personal challenge to you – put your ship in motion and aim it at the boundary of your comfort zone.  Any speed will do.  Remember, the rudder only works when the ship is moving…




      You only have one life to live, so get out there and find enough courage to really do it.

    Comment (1)

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    About Me

    Name: John Miltenberger
    ChristiansUnite ID: jmilty
    Member Since: 2006-08-22
    Location: Estes Park, Colorado, United States
    Denomination: Born-again believer
    About Me: Retired from Overland Park, Kansas and now living in Estes Park, Colorado. Another escapee from the Midwest!! Email: jmilty@q.com

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