CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith & Life for the Years of Winter…
“Oh, just one more thing…” That was the line everybody knew and looked forward to as we watched Peter Falk play Detective Columbo so enjoyably on TV in the 1970s.
Columbo was just going out the door, in his ratty raincoat. The suspect he was questioning thought it was all over. Then he turned and said, “Oh, just one more thing…” Unlike his suspect, we all knew Columbo had not forgotten his “one more thing.” He was just using it to trap the perpetrator.
Like Columbo, as I go out the door, I always have one more thing--not because I get distracted easily, certainly not because I am forgetful or absent-minded-- but because I have so many stories on any subject from which to choose.
A few years ago, when we lived in a different place and went to a different church, the preacher asked a young engineer in the congregation, Dan Wallington, to fill the pulpit one Sunday while she was gone. He did a marvelous job, but afterward said, “Oh, there was other stuff I meant to say. I didn’t get it all in.”
I said, “Don’t worry about it. I preached for fifty years and still didn’t get in everything I wanted to say.”
When I was young, I had only one story to apply to a scripture or a theme, so I was never distracted from using it. But now I have 60 years worth of stories, so I often get distracted,
When I was getting ready to retire, a friend said, “I spent the first half of my life building up and the last half using up.” I took that to heart. I had two thousand file cards--which nowadays would be on the computer-- with stories and anecdotes. I tried to make it come out so that on my last Sunday before retirement, I would use my only remaining cards. Didn’t happen.
Trying to use it all up is impossible, regardless of how old we get. I’m sure that as I’m going out that final door, I’ll say, “Oh, wait, just one more thing…”
Many of the stories I wanted to tell, I did, in my book, The Strange Calling, published by Smyth&Helwys, and available just about anywhere on the web.