David R. Currie
A Rancher's Rumblings
June 12, 2007

I have spent the past 2 weeks searching for whatever “normal” is supposed to be, but I’m not sure I know what it is or if it even exists.

In the past 16 months, I have lost many of my mentors: Foy Valentine, Phil Strickland, John Baugh, and Herbert Reynolds. Dr. Tracy from Howard Payne has already been gone for many years. I plan, during the next week, to write notes to James Shields, James Dunn, and Jimmy Allen—just to tell them, while they are still here, how much I love them and appreciate their believing in me all these years. I think I will write Richard Jackson and Dan Vestal, as well . . . and maybe a few others.

Mother turned 90 in March and, to be honest, I’m telling God, “just not now, okay? Just not now.” I need a break. I need a little “normal,” whatever “normal” may be.

So, despite being way behind in writing such things as a key pastor newsletter, a TBC membership newsletter, a plan of operation to turn out a crowd for the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant meeting in Atlanta, and many others, I’m trying to play a little or work differently.

My 25-year-old son, Chad, has been here for a week and is spending a month working at the ranch before he moves to his new coaching job in Midlothian. We spent Saturday mending fence at the ranch. I loved it. We worked together all day, I got only two phone calls all day, and we moved the goats. Of course, it wasn’t all normal—when we tried to find the cows so that we could feed them, we found the fence torn down in that pasture (which, I imagine, was caused by bulls fighting), and every single cow (76 head with calves, and four bulls) turned out to be over at my neighbor’s place.


We have played golf three times during the past week. I think that’s more golf in a week than I have played in 5 years. One day (honestly) I broke 100, which I used to do pretty often; but that was 20 years ago, when I played once a month. I haven’t done it much since then, because now I’m lucky to play once a year.

When Chad called today and told me that he had sprayed three loads of mesquite at the ranch and now wanted to play golf, I said, “Son, I’m just too busy.” Then I heard a little voice in my head say, “David, this is the most time you have had with Chad in 5 years. Are you sure you are too busy?” So we played golf again. I loved it. I wish I could play with Phil again. I remember one time in Dallas that we were playing, and Phil said to me on a tee box, “you know, sooner or later this cancer is going to get me,” and I replied, “let’s just keep making it later.”

I remember the joy that my Uncle Charlie McLaughlin got from playing golf even when he could drive it only about 125 yards in his 70’s. And I can’t help but smile when I think of how Foy thought that anyone who played golf had a poor work ethic!!!

Maybe there is no such thing as normal when it comes to life. Like Frederick Buechner says, “life is what it is.” If that is not an exact quote, it is close. And Buechner says that this “what it is” experience is also where God is, walking beside us, believing in us, teaching us, using us, loving others through us. I try to believe that, and I try to live that.


I feel a little more normal this week, a little less rushed, a little more at peace than I have in a while. I’m trying to just sort of “be” this week—do what I can without feeling guilty because I did not get as much done as I should have . . . be responsible but also not so rushed that I feel exhausted when I come home. I’m trying to enjoy this wonderful opportunity to be with my son more than usual. I’m trying to feel normal, if there is such a thing. I think that normal may just mean being more aware of being alive and appreciating that reality, despite busted fences, lost loved ones, and harried schedules.

Maybe we need to learn to think of “normal” and “special” as being close to the same thing. Maybe “normal” is “just life however it is,” at this moment in this place at this time, and what makes it special is that we share all of it with a God who loves us every second of every day forever.