Some of the posts the last several weeks have been pretty serious – in fact, a couple of them have been downright intense, so how about a little lighter story for tonight? You know – Janet and I don’t like to be apart any more than is necessary, but today I travelled to Dallas to visit a friend of mine who has a company here. Like always, I was reminded of a story that happened to Janet and me many years ago – back in our hometown – Chicago.
I used to be able to fly directly to Dallas from Indy, but last month the fares escalated to more than $1200 for the round trip flight unless I stay three nights, and that isn’t going to work for me. I have too much to do back in Indy. So, I finally broke down and decided that the best way to take care of the schedule, and my pocketbook, would be to fly to Dallas by way of Chicago. I arrived at the Indianapolis airport around 9:30 this morning, just as I received notification that I had been upgraded to first class for the flight from Chicago to Dallas. I stopped by the counter to update my boarding passes and happened to engage the counter person in a short conversation while she was printing out the new passes.
Anyway, we got to talking about O’Hare airport on the northwest side of Chicago and talk turned to the recently renovated Hyatt Regency O’Hare hotel, just east of the airport and to the south of the Kennedy Expressway. I smile every time that I think of that hotel. Because that is where Janet and I spent the night we were married – no kidding! I had been going to summer school to accelerate my graduation from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Janet and I were married on Friday, August 24, 1973, the last day of classes for the summer quarter. Since finals were the following week, we delayed our honeymoon until the following Friday, seven days after our wedding.
But that didn’t stop us from getting married that day – we decided to stay in town so I could study! Can you believe that? And of all the places we could have gone, we stayed at the new Hyatt Regency O’Hare hotel – the same one I was talking about this morning at the airport. We were there two evenings, heading back to the apartment we would live in on Sunday, getting ready for my finals the following day. As I look back on that week-end, I can’t believe that we really planned to get married just before my finals – but we did. I think we were young, and perhaps even dumb, back then…..
An interesting story about this particular hotel is that when it was built, it was covered in gold reflective glass that gave it a very modern look. Four towers anchored the corners of the main building and it was visible for miles. As the sun was setting, the light danced off the glass and the whole building shimmered in the sunlight. However, it became apparent that the number of accidents on the Kennedy Expressway were increasing and nobody could figure out why. Was the sunlight causing glare that blinded drivers as they headed west? Nope…..
The engineers assigned to study the problem finally figured out that once the sun set, the windows were no longer reflective and drivers on the Kennedy could see right in the hotel rooms. And those people who entered the hotel during daylight hours never considered that if they walked around their rooms unclothed at night, they would be parading around in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of motorists who were driving on the expressway. Needless to say, this caused a great number of accidents while people craned their necks to watch what was happening in all those rooms…….
As the hotel aged, and management warned guests to close their drapes at night, the problems subsided, but I always think of all those accidents whenever I think of that hotel. Now before you ask, I knew about the problem so Janet and I kept our curtains closed at night – but many people didn’t…… Maybe, we’ll go back there some day. There was a wonderful steakhouse that has long since been replaced, and I understand the hotel has undergone a $64 million renovation, but it will always be the “gold” hotel to us. And I should also let you know that I aced my finals, so Janet and I headed to San Fransisco one week after we were married to begin our honeymoon. But I don’t think either one of us will ever forget the experience of spending our first two days of marriage in that hotel.
Tonight, Janet is in Indy and I’m here in Dallas, in another hotel, but that’s a story for another evening. Consistent with the mischievous nature of tonight’s story, the verse is from Rev. 16:15, “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” These words were spoken by Jesus, talking about His return. Throughout the Scriptures, we hear that Christ will come like a thief in the night. He admonishes us to make sure that we stay awake and are ready for His return. In other words, we are to live our lives realizing that Christ could return at any time.
My encouragement tonight is that you will not fall asleep – that you will live your life for Christ and be ready for His return at any time. My prayer is that God will grant you grace and that you will bear fruit that lasts for the kingdom of God; and that you will do everything possible to make sure that you watch for His return – keeping your clothes with you – unlike all those folks at the Hyatt….. Grace and peace……