I have long conversations with God every night before going to sleep. It's an old habit I developed as a child. My parents used to listen as I asked God to bless mama, and daddy and a long litany of people and situations. Now nobody listens to me say my prayers except God. Honesty compels me to admit that my conversations with God are a little one-sided. I do most of the talking.
Hey, if you lived with my lovely wife, Lisa, you'd look forward to talking to God each night, too. When I try to talk to her, I can't get a word in edgewise.
Usually my conversations with the Almighty lean pretty heavily toward my apologizing for all the ways I have found to foul up during the course of any given day. Remember that part of the Lord's prayer that says, "lead us not into temptation?" Well, I don't even know why that is in there, because I don't ever have to worry about being led into temptation. It always finds me.
My nightly prayers are also filled with requests on behalf of my children. When you have a 23-year-old and a 19-year-old and a 16-year-old, you need a lot of help from God. There's an old saying about there not being any atheists in foxholes. Well, there shouldn't be any at the PTA meeting either, given today's social climate.
Lately, I have been spending more time than usual in my prayers and supplications. I have been praying for our country. In case you haven't noticed, we have made a mess of things, y'all. I didn't say that the president had made a mess of things. I didn't say that Congress had made a mess of things. I said that "we" have. All of us, because we have sat back and watched things happen without standing up for ourselves or our beliefs or our values.
More than half the children born in our community last year were born to unwed mothers. More than half! A child being born into a stable family that includes a mother and a father who are married to one another is the exception rather than the rule. How did that happen?
The stock market is teetering on collapse because the financial institutions that control the lending of money have extended huge amounts of loans to people who should never have been extended credit in the first place.
We are in a fight for our very existence with insidious enemies who want to destroy our freedoms and our very way of life and most of us seem more concerned with trivial matters such as which Hollywood star is breaking up with which other Hollywood star.
And in less than five weeks we will go to the polls, as a nation, and choose a new leader; one we will expect to lead us out of this wilderness we have wandered into - and if you believe most of the people you talk to, none of the candidates whose names will appear on the ballot is really up to the task at hand.
And so for the past few weeks, I have been praying that God would provide a leader worthy of the challenge he - or she - will face. And even as I have prayed for such a leader, I have found myself questioning whether there has ever been such a leader in human existence.
And then Wednesday night, just before turning in, I picked up my edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. I just wanted to do a little light reading before turning in. I opened the 1,405-page tome to a section that seemed to have been bookmarked by two tickets from the Braves-Giants game of May 9, 2003. I began to read a few random quotes from the page.
"Politics are almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once; in politics, many times."
"Dictators ride to and fro on tigers they are afraid to dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry."
"I cannot forecast for you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in an mystery inside an enigma."
"Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival."
"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat."
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed to so few by so many."
"We will have no truce or parley with you or the wicked gang who work your will. You do your worst - and we will do our best."
"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of misery."
"If the British Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour."
And when I went to bed Wednesday night I prayed, "God, please send us a Winston Churchill."
Can I get an Amen?
Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.