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From Daniel’s Den…


     From what I understand, folks in my age category often are referred to as the “sandwich generation.” This classification applies to those who not only have young children they are raising (or maybe young adult kids they are helping to launch), but who also have parents that find a measure of assistance at their particular age and stage of life to be helpful.



     Robert Frost wrote the poem “The Road Not Taken” in 1915 in a joking attempt to mock his fellow poet and good friend Edward Thomas. Because Thomas was often indecisive, Frost penned the poem both as a veiled jab at his friend’s inability to make decisions and to stress the fact that all of us experience frequent opportunities to make choices throughout life’s journey.               
     In the poem, Frost identified two seemingly similar paths or roads. After a careful review of each road, the individual presented in the poem opted to follow the less traveled road as noted by the words of the last stanza:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

     Jesus also talked about choosing between two roads or ways. He declared, “Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way (or road) that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
     In a somewhat parallel portion of Luke’s gospel, Jesus talks about entering through the narrow door which, once closed, prohibits anyone else from gaining access. The owner of the house has no knowledge of those out in the street who are pleading to be allowed to enter. These evildoers, as they are described, begin weeping and gnashing their teeth because they can see those who entered the narrow door/gate feasting in the kingdom of God (Luke 13:24-30).
     Who in your family needs for you to tell them about the road that leads to life? Who of your classmates or work associates do you need to share a message of grace and hope and love and salvation? What is the possibility that a friend that you have known for as long as you can remember is not traveling the narrow road that leads to life?
     Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6). Jesus also declared, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep…I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved…I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:7, 9-10).

     In a unique way, Frost’s poem reflects the reality that only a few find the road that leads to life. Taking the one less traveled, however, can make/has made/will make all the difference! Would you prayerfully seek opportunities to introduce someone to Jesus Christ who is the only path for obtaining eternal life?




This article is the third in a series of reflections from a father of three recently married/soon-to-be-married adult children who are beginning new chapters in their lives. Thank you for reflecting with me!



As I continue my personal reflections as a dad of three adult children who are marrying, “leaving father and mother” and starting a new family unit, I wish to share a remembrance of my daughter when she was about fourteen months old.



     As the father of three adult children who will all be married within a 9-month span, I am (and have been) in something of a reflective mood recently. While I haven’t pulled out old photo albums just yet, I occasionally recall certain events, incidents, accidents, and humor surrounding my kids when they were younger. As I share some of these historical tidbits with you, my hope is that you will not only indulge this dad in his reflections, but that you also will receive some insights that will encourage you in your daily living.



     All three of my children graduated from college in Birmingham, AL. The university is located on Lakeshore Drive. During the 11 years that Hall kids attended school in Birmingham, we frequently visited a Chick-fil-a, a Wal-Mart, and different hotels that were situated near the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and Interstate 65.
     Most of our visits were on weekends and we often saw a van parked in a grassy area on Lakeshore Drive near the I-65 intersection.



     I have a confession to make…I may be a borderline perfectionist. I say “borderline” because I know I have not, cannot, and will not achieve perfectionist status in many areas. Nonetheless, I have high expectations for myself and for others. The underlying focus for my high expectations is “always do your best.” Admittedly, the definition of “best” is somewhat fluid as one person’s “best” may fall short of another person’s “best.” When “bests” and expectations differ, frustration can arise between the parties involved.



     I don’t know how you spend your Saturdays but mine tend to have lots of variety (translated as working on several different projects). A recent Saturday began with food preparation for my mom followed by hauling items to the burn pile and starting a fire. Next, my wife Joyce and I loaded a trailer with several commodes and water heaters that had been replaced during a home renovation project. We delivered these items to a ministry non-profit located about a half hour from our house. We then drove about a half-hour in another direction to pick up a new refrigerator for the ministry building (“The Shed”) being constructed behind my house.



     I don’t know about you, but I enjoy going to the dentist. I recognize that some folks might raise an eyebrow or question my sanity for admitting that I like to visit the dentist, but I really do enjoy my dental appointments. Granted, I don’t get terribly enthused about the seemingly malicious manner in which the hygienist uses barbed wire to floss my teeth or the pick-axe that is used to rid my teeth of plaque build-up. Furthermore, I’m not a huge fan of the rotary sander spread with flavored toothpaste that is used to brush my teeth or the firehose that is utilized to rinse my mouth.



     I don’t know about you and your family, but significant dates such as birthdays and anniversaries (along with special holidays) tend to be clustered in certain months for my family. For instance, February includes the birthday of a brother, a sister, my father, my grandfather, and two sons (one born on Valentine’s Day). The month of May includes my mom’s birthday, Mother’s Day, and my parents’ anniversary. August includes the birthdays of my daughter, another sister, me as well as the anniversary of my wedding.