The other day I heard a humorous story. I'm not sure if it's true, but I thought it was sure worth passing along to you. The reason I say this is because sometimes we get so caught up in our problems that we forget to stop and smell the roses.
The story goes that a man who lives out on the West Coast made the decision to visit all the great churches in America and, as you probably know, there are lots of them. He first visited the great churches in California, in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. Then he moved on. As he made his way across the country, he noticed in each church there was a telephone with a sign that read, "Direct Line to Heaven" and the rate was $10,000 per minute.
Over the next few weeks he visited beautiful churches in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Utah (where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs) and on to Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and he even got on a plane and went to Alaska and Hawaii to check out the great churches in those states.
After he finished his trip, he was worn out but happy that he had made the effort, as there are many beautiful churches all across our great nation. The one thing that was consistent is that each church had that "Direct Line to Heaven" sign and the rate was always $10,000 per minute.
That is until he got to a small state in the center of the country called Arkansas. Here he found three beautiful glass churches in this state, all designed by architect Fay Jones, who is a disciple and friend of Frank Lloyd Wright. However, the one thing that caught his eye was the "Direct Line to Heaven" phone. This one had a sign that said, "Direct Line to Heaven" calls, 35 cents per minute.
When he asked the pastor about the difference in the rate, he smiled and said, "Mister, this is Arkansas. You are in God's country. Here it's a local call."
If you live here in God's country, you probably think this is funny, too. But if you don't, and live or grew up in another one of our great states, I would be disappointed if you did not also have pride in your state. This column is just my way of saying we are all so blessed to be from one state or another, in the greatest nation in the history of the world. None of us live in a perfect state but we need to teach our children American history and how we became a nation.
Regardless of where we live or grew up, there is more opportunity here in America and more freedom than anywhere else on earth. Hopefully, the next time you get discouraged, just stop and count your blessings. I try to do that often.