integrity

Time

by Larry Hehn on August 3, 2015

timeA few nights ago my wife and I, looking for a break from a busy week, decided to crash on the sofa and watch a movie. After flipping through the Netflix directory for several minutes and failing to find anything that excited the two of us, we settled for the 1996 John Travolta/Christian Slater flick Broken Arrow.

As reviewer Don Kaye describes it, Broken Arrow “delivers a number of exciting action sequences but is let down by a credibility-straining plot.”

While it wasn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen (that distinction belongs to 1984’s Night Patrol), it was far from the best. As the credits started to roll I turned to my wife and said, “Well, that’s 109 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.”

When it comes to time and what we do with it, I’ve determined we have three options:

  1. Waste it. When my time is “wasted”, it’s used up in pursuits that don’t generate anything of value for me or anyone else. Things like worrying. Mindless entertainment. Looking for ways to be offended. Plotting revenge. Posting angry rants. Reading angry rants. People magazine. Night Patrol.
  2. Spend it. When my time is “spent”, it’s used up in pursuits that may be worthwhile, may be necessary, but offer little long term impact on me or those around me. Things like sleeping. Eating. Making the bed. Mowing the lawn. Shaving. Ok, the necessity of shaving is debatable…
  3. Invest it. When my time is invested, it generates a return not just for myself, but for others. Things like praying. Visiting the sick and lonely. Making meals for those who don’t have the time or means. Learning a new skill with practical applications. Teaching someone a new skill. Offering sincere hope and encouragement. Seeking and pointing out the good. Mending fences. Seeking reconciliation. Choosing not to be offended.

The next 24 hours are going to go by anyway. With those three options before me, the hope for a positive legacy lies in how much I focus on category 3. What I do with my time is entirely up to me.

Who or what will you invest your time in today?

What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?

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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

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Are you jumping the shark or growing the beard?

by Larry Hehn on June 20, 2013

jumping the sharkHave you ever heard the term “jumping the shark”? I was around when it was born, just two days after my tenth birthday.

Happy Days was a sitcom that aired from 1974 to 1984. Set in Milwaukee around the 50′s and 60′s, episodes revolved around the everyday lives of teenager Richie Cunningham, his family, and friends.

That is, until its fifth season premiere, when things got really strange.

The main characters somehow wound up leaving Milwaukee and visiting Los Angeles. While there, family friend Fonzie, a motorcycle-riding, leather-jacket-wearing mechanic with a shady past and tough, “cool” exterior, was challenged to don water skis and jump over a confined shark to prove his bravery.

Though Happy Days limped on for several more seasons after that episode, the “jumping the shark” concept was so foreign to the show’s structure, such an outrageous and seemingly desperate gimmick to attract viewers, that it signaled the beginning of the end.

Since then, “jumping the shark” has been used to describe the point when something that was once great, starts to decline in quality and popularity.

growing the beardA lesser known antonym of “jumping the shark” is “growing the beard”. Drawn from another TV show, “growing the beard” alludes to how much better Star Trek: The Next Generation became after Commander Riker grew a beard at the start of season two.

Though I’ve never seen an episode of ST:TNG, I vouch for the improvement based on looks alone. Check it out: the guy on the right just looks like a commander to me. The guy on the left? Greg Brady in Underoos. Am I wrong?

Understandably, the “growing the beard” idiom resonates with me these days. I’ve been literally growing a beard for several months now.

With this analogy in mind, it’s a great visual reminder to keep pressing forward – not to dwell on past successes or failures, grasp at crafty gimmicks, or slip into complacency. There’s always more to learn, apply and share. Every day I hope to be growing the beard – both literally and figuratively.

Are you jumping the shark or growing the beard?

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – Philippians 3:12-14

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