Dose of Truth

Difficult moments

Tim Richards

I am a big fan of author Robert Fulghum and have read most of his books. I am always fascinated by how he takes life’s experiences and consistently finds important lessons in them. Here is one of those stories, taken from his book, “Maybe, Maybe Not.”

On a hot summer afternoon in an airport restroom in Grand Junction, Colo., Fulghum overheard the following conversation. 

“Please do it for daddy.” “No!” “But if you don’t do it now, you will have to go when we’re standing in line, or when we’re strapped in our seats getting ready to take off. You may have to go when we can’t get back to the bathroom and then you will mess in your pants. You don’t want that and I don’t want that so why don’t you just go now like a good little girl?” “No! This is the boys’ place.” “I know honey, but Daddy can’t go into the girl’s bathroom. Look, what will Mommy and Grandma say when we get off the plane and you’ve messed in your pants and you’re crying and I’m mad? They won’t be glad to see us.” “Yes they will!” “Look honey, we’re going to miss our plane if you don’t go now.” “I don’t care.” “Am I going to have to spank you?” “No.” “Then at least try.” “No.” “If you go I’ll buy you an ice cream cone, or I’ll buy you a present and even let you pick it out. Or, what if I give you a dollar?” “No.”

Finally, the defeated father marched his head-strong princess out of the men’s restroom. He was a big man with cowboy boots and a Stetson hat, but he had been defeated by a 5-year-old in patent leather sandals. Later, Fulghum saw them headed back to the bathroom, this time they were in a big hurry. Now the little girl had to go! The last time he saw the two they were sitting alone in the lobby after missing their flight.

Fulghum demonstrated his wit and wisdom when he observed, “Father and daughter will survive this ordeal. In fact, time will turn it into a family legend. This is the kind of story a father will save to tell at… oh say, his daughter’s wedding rehearsal dinner.

Fulghum’s right! Time often changes our perspective. Sometimes we are too close to problems to see the big picture or our alternatives. The Bible makes the point this way, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” (James 1:2 NLT)

Often life’s biggest challenges offer us our greatest growth opportunities. In truth, we rarely mature much during easy times but tough times have the potential to make us stronger. We rarely recognize difficult moments for what they are; opportunities to gain a wonderful new perspective. When hard times come, try not to focus solely on your pain, instead consider what you can learn from your current challenge.

Tim Richards

has been a pastor for 37 years, serving five churches, including his current church, The Refuge in St. Louis, which he founded. He and the congregation minister to those who are hurting and do their part to expand God’s kingdom. Tim and his wife Kelly have five children. “A Dose of Truth” which he has written for more than 25 years appears in 13 newspapers. His book, “Thriving in the Storm: Discovering God’s Peace and Perspective in Turbulent Times,” is available from Amazon. Feel free to contact him at Photography is another of his skills. Pastor Tim’s photos may be viewed at

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