Out of Control

I was driving the family car. I had been a passenger many times, but never the driver, and I was terrified that at any moment I would do something wrong. The sun was on its way down, and I was on the edge of losing control when I crested the top of a short hill just outside of town and woke up. I’m not sure how I managed to drive, since, at age eight, there was no way my legs could have reached the pedals, but hey, it was my “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” dream, and in a situation like that, rules are made to be broken. It was a recurring nightmare when I was a child. It could have meant something or nothing at the time. I don’t know.

Have you ever found yourself at a point in life where you felt, like in my dream, that you were barely holding on? Since we can’t be certain when the circumstances of our lives will take a wild and crazy turn, it’s worth considering what and where our place of hope and security is. You may feel, as an adult, that you’re better prepared to be behind the wheel of your life than I was to be driving our Oldsmobile, but just what is waiting for you beyond that hill’s crest? When you get there, will money keep you safe? Your own strength? Your family and friends? No matter how well you’ve managed your finances, no matter how well you eat and how much you exercise, no matter the quality of your personal relationships, the reality of the human condition is that stuff happens. So what, then? Is it a waste of effort to be right and responsible? Or rather, given what many view as the uncertainty and ultimate futility of life, should we teach the virtues of selfishness and hedonism?

Over 2,000 years ago a man came along claiming to be the Son of God. At first those in power viewed him as simply another in a long line of self-aggrandizing trouble makers. But the politically sanctioned murder of Jesus Christ was not the end, instead, it was just the beginning. In dying, then defeating death by rising from the grave, our Lord made available eternal life to those who would turn to Him. Not only did the teachings of Jesus show us how to live life here on earth, his actions secured our access to eternal life in the place God has prepared for those who ask for forgiveness and turn from their sins.

   Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
John 14:6-7 ESV

  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
John 10:27-29 ESV

Your tears and blood
have won
But for your tears
and blood
we’d be forever done
the end would be the end
but for the one who calls me friend
now darkness and death
turn to light and life
eternal joy instead of strife
because of the Son

© Joel Tipple 11/2/2019


When I prayed for a friend,
God knew best,
and He sent you to me.
And though I might have thought
the choosing was mine,
I know now that couldn’t be.

Maybe some twenty-something-year-olds
have a good stock of wisdom and plans
but we had to pick it up along the way
such has been life’s varied demands.

You pray and hope for a good wife
as a woman prays and hopes for a man
to hold a hand when it’s needed
or to push when you need two hands.
To be cover in bad weather,
to be shade when the sun’s too good,
to say stop when you shouldn’t,
then go when you should.

Though I’m not so good at baseball,
I’m certain you’ll be great for late innings.
Of course, we can’t say for sure
how long the game will last,
though we’re far from the beginning.

So thanks for keeping your promise to me,
as I’ve kept mine to you,
to be there for happy times,
as well as when times were blue,
and remembering, sometimes,
when we thought one was choosing,
God was choosing two.

© Joel Tipple 11/20/2018

Net Worth?


What part does social media play in your life?
Hey there, look at me!
In this world likes are the coin of the realm,
but is that any way to be?

What’s real? Do you have to remind yourself?
What’s real to you? Actual relationships, or your 2,053 “friends?”
What’s real? Is life really about your digital platform?
Don’t lose track of what’s genuine and what’s pretend.
What’s real?

Are your words on the net a means or an end?
Do you consider what it means to be a friend?
Are you content with superficial content?
It’s all worth considering before you hit send.

© Joel Tipple

The Eve of Thanksgiving

On the Eve of Thanksgiving,
we’re grateful in advance
for the family and friends
who will share our repast.
Because it’s not so much
that with turkey we’re smitten,
but rather the fact we all gather bidden,
to enjoy the bounty with which we are blessed
and remember those loved ones from Thanksgivings past.

© Joel Tipple

No Airbag, Bees and a Dog Pack (Bees)

One Saturday, I was out riding with the usual crowd (gaggle, gang… I especially like what they call a bunch of crows, a murder) when we decided to leave our bikes at the bottom of a hill near the end of our neighborhood. We walked up a ways, past some blackberry bushes and into a little meadow of sorts where the hill leveled off. It’s unfortunate that we were never able to go back there, because it was a really neat place. It would have been a fun area to get together and plan pirate raids, or whatever sophisticated adventures 10-year-old boys can devise. My memory is foggy regarding everyone present… David, because of the bumblebee. Jodi, because what happened was his fault. After we got to the meadow we were hanging out and shooting the breeze. Jodi found a few cans and started throwing them at a line of berry bushes. If you’re a boy and you pick something random up, there’s a law that says you have to throw it. Whatever you try to hit then becomes a target which any other nearby boys must attempt to hit too. You have to do it. It’s a law. Still, what followed was Jodi’s fault, law or no law.


So, like I said, we’re standing there talking and throwing and all of a sudden, they’re all over us. Bees! What smidgen of manliness we were able to display at any given time was now thrown out the window as we began to scream and run for our lives toward our bikes at the bottom of the hill. The whole scene resembled a cartoon as we pedaled madly down the street toward our homes. Bees were falling out one of my short sleeves as they left their barbed stingers in my upper arm. David managed to get stung by a bumble bee which must have been hanging around the honey bee hive, waiting for stupid boys to stop by. David was the biggest, so I guess it was fair that he got bragging rights, since he was stung by the largest bee. Neighborhood stores of Bactine were depleted as we each visited our own first-aid stations. My one swollen arm gave me the appearance of a professional tennis player. Home we stayed, for the rest of the weekend, just in case the bees were conducting surveillance outside each of our houses. Yes, they were good times, the worst of times, the “beest” of times.

To “bee” continued…

No Airbag, Bees and a Dog Pack

Bikes in the mold of the Schwinn Stingray had two distinguishing characteristics: chopper handlebars and a banana seat. This particular day the handlebars would prove to be my undoing. Fortunately, I was able to eventually father a child, so things turned out all right. I was riding one day with Alan and David. They had normal bikes with narrower handlebars and managed to make it down the narrow gap between Alan’s house and his garage. I was last in line, trying to catch up (the usual situation) and so had built up a head of steam. David went through. Alan went through. My bike, unable to make it through, stuck fast between the two buildings. However, not for the last time in my life, inertia proved to not be my friend and my body shot forward. Now, the bolt that held those handlebars was in an unfortunate position vis-a-vis my sensitive place. In hindsight, an airbag might have served me well. Maybe even a balloon. Anyway, after a terribly uncomfortable ride home and an embarrassing examination by my mother, I was pronounced fit for taking it easy and watching cartoons, or whatever else was on that Saturday afternoon. Maybe Wide World of Sports. “The agony of defeat.” Ouch.

To be continued…

Ed. Note:
The author apologizes for the juxtaposition of the words: “sensitive place” and “hindsight.”