#1037  The Big Flash

For those of you that are old enough to remember, what you were doing 
when you heard the news that President Kennedy had been shot?

I was almost 7 years old.

I was walking down a large hill leading to our house on Rockmart Drive heading 
home from school. Someone pulled up beside me in a car and said, "President 
Kennedy has been shot."

That's been almost 40 years ago and though I was just a small boy, 
the memory vividly lingers.

Major traumatic events like a camera flash freeze the moment. 
It is a picture that remains and even time itself doesn't erase it.
Most Americans remember what they were doing when a traumatic event occured.

Today is such a day for me. 

It's February 6th.

The day has no special meaning for most of you but for me it's one of those flash days.

It's not exactly the typical Kodak moment.

One year ago today my brother died.

I remember receiving a 911 page on my beeper. I had been in the shower and 
didn't answer the phone. When I returned the call it was my youngest brother 
telling me that my 38 year old brother had been taken to the hospital after 
passing out.

It was Sunday morning. I was due to deliver the Sunday morning message in 
church in 2 hours. I rushed to the hospital. Only my brother's wife was there 
when I arrived. She explained the events of the morning.

Although I knew from the description it sounded medically serious, I knew my 
brother was a young, healthy, and vibrant man. 

The thought of death seemed impossible.

Two of his neighbors were doctors and they rode in the ambulance with him and 
even went into the emergency room to assist.

When his neighbor walked out of the emergency room and walked past us 
shaking his head he spoke no words. The gesture and look was enough to 
convey the meaning. 

This couldn't be. . . and yet it was.

It was the greatest mountain that I had ever faced. 

It was a blinding flash.

He had a blood clot in his leg migrate to his lungs.

He had complained and gone to the hospital with difficulty of breathing several 
days earlier. The doctors ran tests and said that he was fine and sent him home.

If he had been diagnosed properly, anti-clotting drugs could have easily 
dissolved the clot before it did fatal damage.

Often mountains are caused by the failure of others to do their job properly.

People will make mistakes. You will make mistakes. I will make mistakes.

Of all of the sermons that I have preached, I can only remember the exact date 
and subject of one, the sermon that I preached on that Sunday morning.

There was nothing fantastic about the sermon just as there was nothing fantastic 
about my downhill walk on the day President Kennedy was shot. 

But it was a sermon preached in the light of a flash. 
You remember everything in the light of a flash.

In my mind I was tempted to change my prepared sermon and deliver a 
message appropriate to the moment. 

A still small voice said, "no, deliver that which you have been given."

The message was entitled, "Would Jesus be happy with your giving?"

I later understood the importance of that message in light of the events of that 
day. When we leave this world, it won't be important what we've gotten, but 
rather what we gave. All of our accumulations and possessions won't really 

Great mountains will change you. They are the challenges and the obstacles 
that will either make you stronger or break you.

They will make you better or bitter
A climber or a complainer

The mountain will allow you to see a vision that you can't see from the valley.

The mountain can also make you so cringe with the fear of falling 
that you tightly clamp your eyes shut.

You can revel in the pure rarefied air

You can gasp for breath from the thinness of it.

The mountain can do great or terrible things.

It depends on both perspective and preparation.

A flash can change your life like none other.

It can either blind you or illuminate dark areas where you could not see.

It depends on both perspective and preparation.

The Kennedy flash I remember very well but it didn't change me.

I was never the same after the February 6th flash.

I later preached a sermon about how the experience changed my life.

It is still one of the most downloaded and listened to sermons on 

It's called "1 Hour and 40 Minutes"

If you ever have a flash of the loss of a loved one, go and listen to that message.

It will help you fly over that mountain.

I shouldn't say "if" you ever have a flash of the loss of a loved one.

If you live long enough, you will have several.

Those types of flashes MUST come. It is an inevitable part of life.
You cannot stop them and often can't even delay them.

The flashes are not the problem.
The problem is not being prepared to fly when the inevitable flashes come.

How do you prepare for a flash?

You don't.

You learn to live each day to the best of your ability and to see the beauty.

You learn to laugh at the traffic jam instead of cursing it.

You learn to smile when someone attacks you.

You learn to have patience when the grocery checkout line stands still.

You learn to handle the little things.

The little things prepare you for the big flashes.

When my brother left this earth, I could honestly say that I had done everything 
as an older brother that I could have done for him in life.

When he had gone to the hospital days earlier I laid my hands on him 
and prayed a prayer of comfort and peace.

His told his wife later that he felt a warm glow go over him and his fear left him.

It was just a touch, but a touch in love.

Neither of us knew what lay ahead.

Neither do you know what is ahead.

Don't worry about that.

Just do the right thing now.

Stay at peace in the grocery line.

Stay at peace with the little things.

Touch someone in love,

And treat your brother right.

Then you'll be better prepared to handle the big flashes.

It depends on both perspective and preparation.

Whether the big flashes light you up

Or burn you up.

A MountainWings Original

Thank you for inviting MountainWings in your mailbox.
See you tomorrow.