You might notice that I’ve made several TV and commercial references this week. While you might be tempted to think that I’ve been kicked back in front of the tube, doing some binge-watching, please don’t give in to it. Instead, know that I’ve been working on numbers, tax stuff and budgeting.
(Pardon me for a moment while I vomit. Numbers. They are not my love language.)
What do numbers have to do with TV? Well, everything, if you’re me, because I have to have something else going in order to stay awake during all the math. That’s where the TV, and its Netflix streaming capabilities, comes in and saves the day.
Typically, I binge on documentaries. If I’m going to watch TV during the day, I feel like I should at least learn something.
(Try to ignore the fact that Flashdance made an appearance in the lineup this week, too; but seriously, WHAT A FEELIN’!)
Yesterday, I started a four-part American Experience series on Ronald Reagan.
(Please pause for a moment in wistful silence to mourn his passing. Yes, I know it’s been quite a while, but it seems that I miss him more now – especially since 2008 – than ever before. THAN EVER BEFORE. Thus ends my political commentary.)
(Wow, I’m really all over the place this morning, aren’t I?)
When Ronald Reagan was a young man in Illinois, he was a lifeguard on the Rock River. He was well-known and well-liked in that role, and during his tenure in that position, he saved 77 people from the river, marking them with a notch in a log that was later memorialized with a plaque.
In the documentary, the historian that was being interviewed had spent quite a lot of time with Reagan over the years, even into his later years in the ravages of Alzheimer’s. He noted that, even when Reagan could recall very little of his recent past, or even his years in the White House, he could describe, with great clarity, his time on the Rock River.
Did you know I was a lifeguard back in Illinois? I saved 77 people! I’m proud of that.
Here was a man who ran the country well for 8 years. Not without mistakes and failures, but well. He improved foreign relations, ended the Cold War and brought down the Berlin Wall, instituted Reaganomics and created an economic boom, and kept “peace through strength” by rebuilding a diminished military. Here was a man who changed the face of history, but the one thing that stayed with him as the disease took its toll was his years as a lifeguard. He had referred to it as a turning point in his life, where he knew what he was meant to do, and it’s exactly what he became. A life guard. A guard for the lives of millions of Americans and those in need beyond our borders.
The whole thing left me thinking. What would be the defining moment of my youth that stayed with me, if the victories and failures of my adult life were stripped away? When did I know, in my heart of hearts, what my direction was supposed to be?
I think we’ve all had these moments. Some of us grasped the message right away and followed that path through, but others of us heard the whispers and opted for something different, maybe succeeding…maybe not. Regardless, I believe that those moments, way back when, were orchestrated by a God who planted in us a talent and purpose for His kingdom, and if we find ourselves still searching in our adult life, all we need is to go back to that moment again and listen.
God will be there, on the sandy shore of your heart, and then you’ll know…you’ll know it forever.
Just like that handsome young world-changer with “life guard” across his chest.
“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” 1 Peter 4:10 NLT
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 ESV
This post is so interesting and really good!! I really loved Reagan, his love for Nancy, his movie career and, most of all, his presidency…Your question left me thinking, “What would the defining moments of my youth”????
What a beautiful post. Waking up in Santa Barbara this morning where he is still so ‘present’.