grace

Road Closed

by Larry Hehn on July 30, 2014

Road ClosedThe road to my office was closed today, as workers replaced the railroad tracks that cross it. The intersection leading into the work area was marked with pylons, a large electronic sign, and detour markers to keep drivers from wandering into a dead end.

Despite the visible warnings and suggested alternate route, I was amazed at how many drivers ignored them and continued down the doomed path.

When they reached the trench where the railroad tracks used to be, it became clear. Yep, that “ROAD CLOSED” sign really meant the road was closed.

Go figure.

To be honest, I’ve done that many times myself. Whether it be challenging a real life “ROAD CLOSED” sign and almost getting stuck in knee-high sand, or simply ignoring God’s direction at different points in my life and choosing my own way instead.

There are good reasons for both the literal and figurative “ROAD CLOSED” signs in our life.

Yes, I am thankful for the truth behind that old cliché that says God allows U-turns. But the older I get, the more I hope to notice – and heed – his “ROAD CLOSED” signs when they first appear.

And not wind up on the wrong side of the tracks.

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. – Proverbs 14:12

“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.” – Robert Frost

{ 2 comments }

Do you hear what I hear?

by Larry Hehn on June 15, 2014

grandfather clockMy sister-in-law and her family own a grandfather clock. Its Westminster chimes sound each quarter hour. The soothing tones echo through the spacious foyer and fill the house.

But without my hearing aid, I can’t hear them.

There are certain frequencies I simply cannot, and do not, hear without the aid of technology.

Before I was equipped with a hearing aid, you would have been hard pressed to convince me chimes were coming from that clock every fifteen minutes.

No matter how well you described them or related your experience of hearing them to me, I would swear you were nuts. Clearly, from my perspective, the only sound coming from the clock was a steady tick, tock, tick, tock.

Which one of us would be “right”?

After all these years I’ve finally started to figure out – that’s the wrong question.

Empathy has never been my strong suit. I have trouble seeing and hearing things through a set of eyes and ears other than my own.

But I’m learning.

I’ve always placed high value on being right. It’s just how I’m wired. After reading Integrity by Henry Cloud (a highly recommended read, by the way), and not hearing the Westminster chimes one night, it dawned on me that I and those around me could benefit from me dialing that down.

As Cloud describes it, “Being right is not [an empathetic person’s] highest value. Understanding and connecting with others is.”

Let me tell you, I’d much rather have my tombstone read “He understood and connected with others” than “He always had to be right”. The former sure is a lot more Christ-like.

So, do you hear what I hear?

“For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.” – C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

“To empathize and validate what someone is experiencing does not mean that you always agree or even think the other person is right. It just means that you see it as valid in that it is really their experience, and true for that person, and you show them that you understand what they are thinking and feeling.” – Dr. Henry Cloud, Integrity

{ 2 comments }

Happy, Happy, Happy

by Larry Hehn on October 23, 2013

Happy Happy HappyAs you may gather from this photo, over the past few months I’ve started to resemble Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame. Though he’s 21 years my senior, I’m ok with that.

We come from very different backgrounds, but his story still resonates with me.

An autobiography of sorts, Robertson’s book Happy, Happy, Happy reveals the story behind the iconic creator of Duck Commander duck calls, and his 14 rules for “living happy, happy, happy”.

To say that Robertson is “old school” would be an understatement. From growing up in the woods of Louisiana with no bathtub or toilet in the cabin, living off the land and sharing a bed with three older brothers (younger brother Si slept separately since he had a tendency to wet the bed), Robertson has learned to appreciate – and espouse – the simple life.

Each of the 14 rules draws wisdom from Robertson’s background, including working hard, learning to cook, reading your Bible, getting outdoors, avoiding alcohol, and yes, even not trying to understand women.

Agree with him or not, you will always know where he stands.

He shares some amazing tales of his former “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” lifestyle, and the trials he put his wife and young children through before accepting Jesus at age 28.

There is much more to Robertson than meets the eye. A former star football player who started at quarterback ahead of Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw at Louisiana Tech, he earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s degree in education, working as a teacher before getting into the duck call business.

Duck Dynasty fans will be fascinated by Robertson’s account of how he founded and grew the Duck Commander business before handing over the reins to his son Willie.

Happy, Happy, Happy is a sitting-across-the-kitchen-table chat with a man who has travelled many miles and has many nuggets of wisdom to share. Robertson does that with a strong dose of humor and humility, and a love of Jesus that is infectious.

As Robertson confesses, “Following Jesus has been a blast. The Lord has blessed me mightily.

It’s what makes me happy, happy, happy.”

This book was bought with my own hard-earned cash. It was not a freebie, so I felt no obligation to endorse it. I was not required to write a positive review. As a rule I only post reviews of books that I enjoy, and that I feel will be beneficial to my readers. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Embedded in this review is an affiliate link to Amazon.com. If you follow the link from here and buy a copy of this book, Amazon will award me a 4% commission on the purchase.

{ 10 comments }