This book is the follow to SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME by the same authors.  By follow up, I mean it is the “what happened after Ron and Denver published SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AT ME”.

When Ron and Denver published their first book, they had no idea the mark it would leave in the hearts of its readers, and in this book, they recount their own lives as well as the stories of readers from their first book.  Just like the original book, this book had me crying at just about every turn of a page.

When I started my 52 books in 52 weeks blog (and called it The God Project), it was the beginning of a spiritual journey. This spiritual journey wasn’t just about finding God, but a spiritual journey that encompassed my entire life….relationships, physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial.  While reading SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME and WHAT DIFFERENCE DO IT MAKE, I found myself learning something regarding most of these parts of my life.

On Marriage:

I have often heard that men desire a physical/intimate connection with their wives to feel happy in their marriage while women desire an emotional/physical connection to feel happy in their marriages.  I have been to enough therapy sessions, seen enough talk shows, and read enough books to know this is true, but Ron Hall said it so beautifully,

“ …..as much as I yearned to know my wife on an intimate physical level, she yearned for emotional and spiritual intimacy.  Suddenly, I understood that just as sex – lots of it – was important to me, knowing me, experiencing my interior world, was important to her.”

Later, when asked what his secret was to a happy marriage, his reply was, “I used to be down on my knees begging for sex.  Now I’m down on my knees praying with my wife.”

As a married woman, I have often expressed this same desire..a desire to know and connect with my husband on a spiritual level.  When I was younger and considering young men to date, their spiritual path was very important to me.  I knew that my spiritual walk was the most important thing to me, and I need a boy/man who shared that same desire.

I have heard this same concern from so many women out there.  I know I am not alone.

On Forgiveness:

When talking about Ron Hall’s alcoholic father, Denver said, “Bless him.  He meant no wrong, and I praise God for your father and his life.  He’s a good man, and he’s part of my blessin.  If it hadn’t been for your father, there wouldn’t be no Mr. Ron.  And if it hadn’t been for you and Miss Debbie, I’d still be in the bushes instead of havin Christmas with you.”

Later in the book, Ron Hall said, “I met my father on his terms.  And for the first time in my life, I liked him.”

My father was an abusive miserable man, and I spent a great deal of my adult life angry and seriously disliking him.  I have since forgiven him, but these words remind me of my walk with my father and the work I had to do in order to forgive him.  I do bless my father, and I have often said that if it had not been for him, I would not be here and I am grateful for that.  And I remember where I had to “meet him” before he died in order to even have a conversation with  him… enough to be able to say, “Daddy I love you…and eventually, he said it back.”  I still wish that he and I could have found a way to live happily together as daddy and daughter, but I know in the end, we were able to say “I love you” before he passed…and for that I am grateful.  I truly learned about forgiveness thanks to my father.

On God:

“….God answers prayers for healing with dazzling, resurrection-caliber feats.  But more often, He does it using humble tools, like an illiterate, homeless man and an unbelieving woman with a library card.”

“….through me all things are possible.”

We need to be open to all possibilities.  When we ask for something or intend on something, we often look for the big flashing neon sign to give us the answer.  But not every answer comes that way.  Sometimes it comes in that quiet, small, unassuming package, and when you open it, Wow!  There is the answer.  Sometimes it comes on the quiet wind that blows across your skin.  Be open for it.  Everything is possible!

“…..everybody’s looking for God everywhere on the outside.  He ain’t in no book, and He ain’t in no preacher, and He ain’t in nothing or no one on the outside.  You got to go inside’ cause that’s where God is –in the deepest place inside you.”

I think I have said this before.  So many of us spend out time “finding God”..when each and every time, the answer is right here within us.  God/Source/Divine live within us.  It is always present, we just have to acknowledge and KNOW this is true.  These statements from this book are a re-membering for me.

On Service:

Ron said, “What people needs is people.”

Later, Denver said of Deborah and Denver, “They taught me not to ask myself what would happen to me if I stopped to help someone in the street but to ask myself what will happen to them if I don’t”

Whether we are talking about homeless people on the street, troubled teens, or specially abled people, we are here to be of service.  It’s not up to us to judge or ask how they got to be the way they are, rather we should be wondering what will become of them if we don’t step up and be of service.  We don’t’ have to be perfect to be of service, we just have to be willing to open our hearts and give without question and without judgment.

How can you serve someone today?  It doesn’t have to be a big deal; it could just be a smile to a stranger on the street.

There are so many amazing quotes and lessons in this book.  I highly recommend this book as well as its predecessor.  Both will bring you to tears and inspire you to be a better person.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

Introduction

Hello again.

If you’re reading this book, it might be because you already have read Same Kind of Different as Me, a true story about my wife, Deborah, and the man who changed our lives, Denver Moore. If you haven’t, don’t worry—we’ve included enough of the story to catch you up. (The “catch up” sections from Same Kind of Different as Me are in italics.)

Since June 2006, when Same Kind of Different as Me snuck first onto bookstore shelves, then onto the New York Times bestsellers list, Denver and I have traveled thousands of miles back and forth across America. We’ve spoken at hundreds of venues, from local book clubs filled with sweet little old ladies to the Bethesda, Maryland, symphony hall. (We were in Bethesda as guests of Doro Bush Kock and her mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, who quite possibly is Denver’s biggest fan.) Throughout that time, we have seen thousands of lives changed—homeless shelters started and millions of dollars raised for the homeless, yes, but also astonishing changes in the lives of everyday Americans that we never could’ve imagined or predicted.

That’s why we wrote this book, to tell you just a few of the stories of hope and redemption that God continues to write in the lives of so many—and in our own.

One day in the spring of 2009, as we were writing, I was in the kitchen at the Murchison estate, where Denver and I live, on a conference call with executives at Thomas Nelson, our publisher. During the call, Denver walked in.

“Hey, Denver,” I said, putting the call on speaker. “We’re talking about titles for the new book. Got any ideas?”

“Title for the new book?” he said, screwing his eyelids down into his famous hard squint. “What difference do it make?”

What Difference Do It Make?” I said. “That’s it!”

Denver shrugged and walked off, shaking his head.

It was the perfect title. Since Same Kind came out, over and over, like the needle stuck in the groove of an old vinyl record, we’ve repeated a single message: one person can make a difference. My wife, Deborah Hall, is proof of that.

As many of you know, God took Deborah in 2001. Cancer. But if she were here today, she would tell you she was nobody special. If you had come to our house, she would have made you fresh coffee or tea and invited you to sit down at the kitchen table and tell her about yourself. And you would have felt loved. Because that was Deborah’s gift. She loved God and, because of her intimate walk with Him, loved people. Her whole life was about forgiveness and unconditional love, two qualities that most of us find difficult to master on a regular basis.

It really was that simple. Deborah’s life showed that kind of love is attainable for anyone willing to put in the time on their knees, then overcome their fear and go out and get their hands a little dirty. And I have talked to literally hundreds of people who told me that Deborah’s story inspired them to do just that. Through the difference her life made, others are now making a difference, and that’s in part what this book is about. It’s packed full with stories folks have shared with us about how Deborah’s example inspired them to do more, both in their own homes and in their communities.

A lady named Ann, for example, wrote to us from Vivian, a small Louisiana town just north of Shreveport—not too far from Red River Parish, where Denver worked the plantations. Ann wrote of how she loaned Same Kind of Different as Me to about twenty different friends. Every friend who brings it back has a very different story about how the story affected him or her.

“One person notices the friendship Denver and Ron share,” Ann wrote. “Another feels shame over the way her grandparents treated the ‘Denvers’ in their lives.”

One woman surprised Ann by telling her that the portion of the book that dealt with Deborah’s cancer battle stirred her to go and have a colonoscopy she’d been putting off!

Like Ann, we’ve been struck by the amazing variety of stories people tell us about how Debbie’s story affected them. Here we thought we were writing a book about one woman’s determination to make a difference for the homeless, and we started getting letters about marriages restored, friendships renewed, ministries begun, even babies adopted!

In Fort Worth, a high school teacher named Carin told us that, “unbelievably,” she’d been able to get the school administration to approve our book to be read by her entire mental-health class. “The students have learned how so many issues affect our mental health,” Carin wrote. “I have also used the book to help relay to them the importance of community involvement, passion, and what it means to be a servant to others.”

Shortly after Deborah died, her best friend, Mary Ellen, told me that God had whispered to her during prayer that Deborah was like the kernel of wheat Jesus refers to in the gospel of John: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

Mary Ellen told me she thought that maybe Deborah’s death would be like that—fruitful. I cannot even express how much I absolutely did not want to hear that at the time. But it appears that Mary Ellen was right, more right than even she knew.

She told me about the wheat kernel just a couple of days before the dedication of the Deborah L. Hall Memorial Chapel, the new worship facility built at the Union Gospel Mission in my wife’s honor and funded by donations that poured in after local folks heard Denver’s story at her memorial service. At the time, we thought the chapel, along with the new care facilities for the homeless, were the fruit God would bring from my wife’s death. I had no idea that the Union Gospel Mission was just the first fruit in what would become a cornucopia of blessing.

Take Detra, for example. Detra, who lives in Austin, Texas, wrote to tell us that after reading Deborah’s story, she decided to start carrying food and socks and blankets in her car so that she can bless the homeless. Also, her church had a picnic in an Austin park and had so much food that they began feeding hungry people who were in the park that day.

One little girl asked Detra, “When are you coming back?”

After that, the church made the picnic a monthly event where church members sit down and break bread with the homeless.

Would I take back blessings like that one and those you are about to read about in this book? If I could rewind time like a video and create a cancer story with a happy ending, would I?

I’m sorry to say there’s a big part of me that says, “Yes! I want my wife back!”

But I can tell you without reservation that Deborah would say, “No, Ron. I’ll see you soon.”

And so the story goes on—men and women all over the country inspired by the story of Denver and Deborah to make a difference in other people’s lives. Over the past three years, I thought I was making a difference too—traveling and speaking all over the country, “carrying Miss Debbie’s torch,” as Denver calls it. And I suppose I was.

But in 2009, I learned that sometimes the most difficult difference to make is the one that’s closest to home.

– Ron Hall

Dallas, Texas

July 2009

Advertisements