Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

September 18, 2005


Magnificent moments add excitement to life


      You are fortunate if you can recall and describe several magnificent moments in your life. Of all earth’s creatures, we alone have the capacity to turn ordinary events in our lives into marvelous experiences. We can choose to do so, or we can ignore this awesome privilege and settle for boredom.

          Why “magnificent”’ moments? Because I like the word; it resonates nicely with “moments.” I could just as easily use other words like “wonderful,” “superb,” “splendid,” or “glorious.” Magnificent has a delightful ring to it.

          Moments are events or happenings, experiences that occur in all our lives. We can live through each one without reacting – just letting life happen to us. Or we can seize a moment now and then, embellish it, and turn it into a moment to remember. It is true that our experiences color our lives but if we are willing, often we can choose the color.

          Out of my own life let me share two experiences that I turned into magnificent moments.  The first was the birth of our fifth child, a son we named Stephen. I could have reported that the baby was born without long hours of labor and both Mom and the baby were fine. That would have been true, but rather unexciting.

          Instead I shared the drama that occurred as a glorious moment in our lives. On a lovely day in November Dean said with authority, “It is time to go to the hospital.” We moved quickly and within an hour she was situated in a nice room at the local hospital.

          Our kind doctor came by about 4 o’clock, examined Dean, and said he would come back later after his dinner engagement. Thirty minutes later Dean said to me, “Call a nurse; the baby is coming!” Two nurses came running when I called.

          Dean repeated her announcement: “The baby is coming!” One nurse said, “No, honey, you cannot have the baby now; the doctor is not here. You must wait.” The second nurse said, “She is having the baby now!”

          Back in the sixties when Steve was born, husbands were routinely told to stay in the waiting room. One doctor told me, explaining why I could not be present for the delivery, “You would only faint and be in our way.” With Steve’s delivery the routine was altered slightly; the nurses asked me to stand outside the room. They too wanted to protect me from this awful event.

          I waited only a few minutes before hearing a nurse say, “It’s a boy!” Not hearing a baby’s cry, my knees almost buckled as fear engulfed me.  Pushing open the door to hear better, I suddenly heard the most beautiful sound – my son crying! He was alive! It was a magnificent moment, one I will never forget.

          A second experience that I colored magnificent had to do with the day I flew into Nome, Alaska. Dear friends Al and Shirley Krinke had arranged for me to speak in a crusade sponsored by 10 churches.

          This saga began in Anchorage with the announcement by the airline that despite the bad weather they were going to “try” to fly into Nome. There was something about the word “try” that made me uneasy. Then a frequent flier told me that it was a common occurrence for the flight to return to Anchorage having been unable to land in Nome. So we boarded and took off for Nome.

          Soon the pilot told us to prepare for our landing, that he was going to “try” to land. There was that bothersome word again. All I could see out the window of the plane was snow, no ground, only snow splattering against the window. I kept waiting for the wheels to touch the runway. Then I felt the plane lifting up and the pilot said, “We missed it that time, so we will circle around and try again.” Again that little word “try” stirred more fear as I began to confess sins I had never committed.

          By the time the pilot began his third attempt to land the plane, I was praying as earnestly as I had ever prayed. I cried, “Lord, you made a way for Moses in the wilderness; please make a way for this plane to land safely in Nome.” Minutes later I felt the tires grabbing the frozen runway as we finally landed in snowbound Nome.

          Believe me, walking off that plane that day and gazing at banks of snow 20 feet high, was a magnificent moment for me.

          Life can be boring or it can be exciting. The difference is our willingness to turn a few of our experiences into magnificent moments that are worth remembering and sharing. In so doing we choose the color of the events that color our lives. + + + +