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Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life

    by Tom Kelley

Wisdom's Challenge
Date Posted: May 26, 2022

Sometimes the news can carry events that are deadly serious while other times they can have a hint of humor in them. Firefighters in Minot, North Dakota, received an emergency call that had them scrambling for their gas masks as they were told that a railroad car was leaking an unknown substance that could be strychnine, a deadly poisonous chemical. When they arrived and examined the leaking substance they could just as easily have used some spoons. The substance? Tapioca pudding mix.

Occasionally people lose their desire to continue with life and decide to end it all. Such situations are very serious and usually treated with kid gloves when professionals are notified of attempts on one's own life. However, one has to wondered how the police reacted when they were called to the home of a man who decided to kill himself by turning on the gas to his stove. He had reconsidered and called the police for assistance. Then he sat down to calm his nerves. How did he calm his nerves? He lit a cigarette. He explained this to the police from the rubble of his exploded kitchen.

From time to time our national parties hold dinners and invite distinguished guests to attend. One such invitation reached Robert Kirkpatrick concerning a $2,500-a-plate fund raising dinner with President Bush. Accompanying the invitation was a letter from Vice President, Dick Cheney. Kirkpatrick, 35, commented, "Tell him that I'd be happy to attend, but he's going to have to pull some strings to get me there." Kirkpatrick's place of residency? The Belmont Correctional Institution in Ohio. He was serving three years for drug possession.

Ripped from the headlines of newspapers, the preceding stories could just as easily have been somber commentary on what can go wrong in life. Accidents happen, desires change and the results can be catastrophic. Had the rail car of the first story really been leaking strychnine the entire area could have been affected and a number of people taken ill or dead. Had the man not relented in his desire to commit suicide he could have been overcome by the gas. The dinner invitation could have been accidentally sent to someone who had designs on killing the president.

How do we evaluate these events without seeing the humor in them? Sure, we could comment as to their possible bad results, but they ended with positive things. Often, situations have to play out for us. We have to be patient rather than jumping to conclusions about what will happen in given conditions. We can worry ourselves into desperation. "Who is like a wise man? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man's wisdom makes his face shine, and the sternness of his face is changed." Ecclesiastes 8:1

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Biography Information:
Tom Kelley, pastor, speaker, lived with his wife, Becky, in Georgetown, Kentucky

...He was the Minister of the Minorsville Christian Church located near Stamping Ground, KY.

...Becky and Tom have three children; John, single and in worship ministry in Nicholasville, Kentucky; Sean, married (Jennifer, elementary school teacher) with twins (Grace and Patrick, b.d. 10/31/04) and regional director of Papa John's Pizza in Central KY; Kara, married (Vince Taylor, prison guard) and working with Hospice East in Winchester, KY.

...Tom went to be with the Lord on November 13, 2009 after a lengthy battle with cancer. If you have been touched by Tom's writings please send an email to Tom's son at
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