Author - Rick Gile

Rick Gile

Life is made up of stories. You may not realize it, but we relay our experiences to one another all the time. They can give our loved ones a sense of the past, our friends a glimpse of how we have reacted to life's changes. Or, tell a new acquaintance something about ourselves. Stories are really about the journey of life.

What you encounter as life passes are views of events that make up your past, while shaping your future. What you read here are merely a few of the stories that have shaped my life, so far.

Rick and his wife Olga live in upstate New York, close to their grandchildren. They work part-time with their sons after running a business for 37 years in the Albany area.

Eh, Vhat You Can Do?

My father-in-law immigrated from Ukraine in 1948. He quickly learned enough English to get a job. He would retain the heavy accent for the rest of his life. He and his young wife would soon settle in Amsterdam, buy a house and raise a family. All with no government assistance whatsoever. For the generation of immigrants that came to America, fleeing the aftereffects of war-torn Eastern Europe and the oppressive Stalin regime, hard work was not a stumbling block but rather a friend to be embraced. The man had an enviable way about him when it came to stress. I believe the reason behind that was the attitude that you made your own success. Rather than worry about being unemployed, he would...

That Heavenly Choir

Howard was quite a guy. He attended our little church of about 150 people, faithfully. He didn’t have much in the way of formal schooling.  He didn’t learn to read until he was an adult, and then by reading his Bible.  He carried that old, tattered leather-bound KJV all the time and loved to read it at every opportunity.  As you might guess, he didn’t have a great job or make a lot of money.  His usual Sunday morning attire was a well-worn suit, necktie and a unmatched flannel shirt.  One thing he understood was what it meant to give to the Lord.  I don’t think he would approve, so I won’t share the details here.  This I can tell you, though, the man had a gift for giving...

A Shakespearean “Aside”

When we introduce ourselves to someone, it’s usually with a handshake and, simply, our name.  Depending on the occasion, we might use both our given and surname.  In business and professional settings, we may tell the person we are speaking to, what or who we represent.  Occasionally, conversations move beyond that and tiny points of our lives begin to emerge, creating genuine friendships. Why write these things? We are all products of our past. I don’t mean that in some pop-psychology sense of victimization.  We should not blame our past for the situation we may be in today.  Nor, should we blame those who have negatively influenced our lives for the bad decisions we have...

Time for a Restart

I had been assigned to Fort Lee, Virginia, an Army Post, for Technical School after basic military training. The old WWII barracks was well maintained, thanks to those of us living there.  We all spent many hours on our hands and knees, scrubbing the bay floors with GI brushes.  Wax was applied with soft cloths and then buffed with handfuls of cotton balls.  You could literally see your face in those 20 year old, dark brown floors. Every footlocker was perfectly aligned with the base of the bunks, no clothes laying around or anything else out of place.  This was not “college dorm” living but a showplace of military discipline. The bunks surrounded the perimeter of the bay...

Who’s At The Door?

The dishwasher was humming away as we settled in to the family room after dinner.  It was summer and twilight had arrived.  All was quiet, so we decided to read for a while.  We both noticed the odd scratching sound at the same time.  Olga assumed that she had locked our cat outside.  The sound started and stopped, the repeated a few minutes later.  She then decided to see if the cat was at the door to the garage. I figured that we must have left the overhead door open when we got home from work.  She proceeded to open the door to let the cat in.  Right on the two steps leading to the inside door, standing on his back legs, was a white skunk with a black stripe on its back.  Having...

Notes on John 1: The New Birth

We have, perhaps, a little foreshadowing in vss. 12 and 13 of the encounter that John will record in chapter 3. The new birth is seen here as he describes those who “receive Him”. Our physical birth is “of the will of the flesh” or “of man”. Our parents “willed” it so, and therefore had nothing to do with us. We had no choice in the matter. Yet, here he tells us that when we “receive Him” and “believe in His name” that He gives us the right to become His children. And, this adoption or birth, if you will, are all by being born not by the will of man, but of God.

Notes on John 2: Wedding Feast at Cana

Do you ever wonder why Jesus would choose a wedding feast to do His first miracle and begin His public ministry? Why something as “simple” as producing wine from water? As time would pass, he would bring sight to the blind, feed multitudes by multiplying a few pieces of bread and fish, heal folks and even raise the dead. I doubt that it was to save the guests from dying of thirst. Were those other occasions more important? Could it have been as simple as causing the host to not be embarrassed? Jesus knows our every need, does He not? Marriage is used throughout the Scriptures to illustrate God’s relationship with His people. Perhaps this is another of those times to show...

Христос воскрес

It all starts early on the Saturday morning before Easter and continues until well after the sun has set.  My Ukrainian wife will begin to prepare the array of goodies that we will enjoy the following day after church. This poses an interesting menagerie of food.  Included are the usual springtime assortment of salads containing my favorite food groups, potatoes and macaroni, but the best part is all that mayonnaise.  Nothing quite compares to that soybean oil and raw egg concoction to add healthy favors to almost anything that’s edible.  None of that low-fat stuff either.  We like the artery-clogging, cholesterol-popping “real” mayonnaise.  I can even tolerate okra...

Eternity Changed in 9 Words

They were getting what they deserved.  We don’t know what they had stolen but they had both been convicted of capital crimes and shared the same sentence.  They echoed the same insults as the rest of the crowd that had gathered on that lonely hill in Jerusalem on a peculiarly dark afternoon.  They said that if He was who He claimed to be then surely He could rescue Himself.  After all, many of them had witnessed His many miracles.  Then something that would have eternal consequences happened.  One of the thieves who was hanging there on that Roman cross said “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us.”  The other man, who was under the same sentence, suddenly...

A Meal Together

I really didn’t have a lot of rules for our sons as they reached their college years and living at home. Now they may disagree with that, but it is my perspective looking back. Our evening mealtime was, perhaps, the most important time of the day for us as a family.  We would eat dinner, then would spend some extended time at the dining room table talking about all sorts of things.  The topics ranged from the day’s events, school, sports, theology and everything in between.  There were some serious things, but mostly we told stories and laughed a lot.  There were plenty of nights that it would go on for an hour or more, depending on homework or other parts of the daily...