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Amy's brother Damon challenges me
Amy's one an only brother Damon, who lives in the Dallas area with his wife Jodie and their three small children, e-mailed me at one point asking about something related to a recent show I had done.
In response, I wrote, "You are so thoughtful and considerate. Thanks for again reaching out to me. Amy's a real dynamo. I'm proud of her for so many reasons. Her walk with God is so important, she has a passion for people, a delicious sense of humor, a commitment to traditional family values, a recognition of the importance of a Biblical worldview in the political arena and a heart for children.
"I miss her very much. I feel so strange without talking with her about every detail of our lives. I truly feel as though a part of me has died. But I understand and totally respect her decision to end communication with me unless I see the light and offer her a ring on bended knee. But it's still been very hard for me, as I know it has for her as well.
"Damon, thank you for your passion for the Lord, your desire to make a difference, and your inborn theological quest for the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I admire you for your decision to have a full quiver. I can identify with that. I too want a number of kids who will be warriors for Jesus Christ!"
Damon was kind but firm in his reply.
"Adam, I appreciate your encouraging response. I believe my sister misses you a great deal. I feel that she would drop anything for you in a heartbeat if you would commit to her. She has embraced all of your problems and flaws with a commitment. She deserves the same. Either she is not the right one or this is not the right time.
"Amy cannot be the one to control the destiny of this relationship. She needs you to give her absolute direction. I don't mean to sound harsh, but this is my sister for whom I would sacrifice darn near anything.
"Adam, I consider you a friend and a brother in Christ. We will be praying about this for you and Amy. Regards, Damon"
Needless to say, he was totally right. His e-mail made me think long and hard.
God used Hurricane Rita to bring us back together
It was September 24, 2005. While I had been following the threat of a category 3 hurricane named Rita for my listeners in Houston -- prepared to discuss it as one of several topics on my talk show -- I had lined up some other guests including Peter Marshall, Junior, the son of the late U.S. Senate Chaplain about his father's war time sermons.
In light of additional news reports that the Houston Mayor was calling on the citizens there to evacuate as Rita made landfall, I was asked to simulcast on both stations - AM 630, KSLR - the Christian teaching/talk station and AM 930, KLUP - the conservative news/talk station -- from 3 until 7 p.m.
I featured updates from the National Weather Service, interviews with reporters from the Houston Chronicle, and lots of audio clips from various officials. Plus, I took a tremendous number of calls from listeners who were in the midst of the massive traffic jam as they tried to get out of Houston. They described where they were, how long the lines were for gasoline, and how panicked some had become along the roadways.
Meanwhile, there was one person and one person only on my mind. You guessed it: Amy Holzer.
I was quite concerned for her safety. I felt strangely protective of her, wanting to personally insure that she was out of harm's way.
After my show concluded at 7 p.m., I was compelled to call her. I wanted her to know that I was worried about her. And, more importantly, I wanted to make sure that she was okay. Now, I hadn't called her in 15 months, mind you. But, thanks to Rita, I was reaching out.
I was nervous as I stared at the phone. I felt ten times more anxious than asking a woman on a date for the first time. Butterflies in the stomach, dry mouth, clammy hands.
First of all, did she even have the same number? After all, it was a San Antonio exchange. And she had been gone for 18 months in Houston. With my luck, some 52-year-old mother of teenagers would answer the phone.
"Amy? No, I'm afraid you've got the wrong number sir. This is Nancy. I just got this number three months ago. Sorry." Click.
Second, what if Amy answered the phone and was hostile. Or worse yet, said, "Adam who?"
I dialed the number. I could hear the first ring. I gritted my teeth and closed my eyes. Second ring and third ring. At this point, I knew that I was destined for voicemail.
When I heard her outgoing message, I melted like butter. It was an absolute joy to hear her adorable voice, even if it was a recording!
"Amy, hey, it's Adam. Well, I just had to call you and see if you're alright. I'm guessing you're in the middle of the big Houston exodus. I just wanted to make sure that you're safe. I know we haven't talked in forever, but could you at least return my call and let me know that you're okay?"
I found out just recently that she saw my name pop up on her cell phone caller id while she was sitting in an Austin restaurant with a friend. It had taken her 17 hours to arrive in the capitol of the Lone Star State - a drive that normally would have taken five hours tops. She was apparently shocked that I called and let it go to voicemail.
As I drove home from the radio studio that evening, I wondered whether (A) she would ever return my call, (B) would return my call but appear disinterested or (C) return my call with enthusiasm.
The next morning, much to my utter delight, she returned my call. Eliminate option A. She certainly didn't sound disinterested. Eliminate option B. But I wouldn't say she was exactly enthusiastic. More than anything, she seemed intrigued and curious.
"Surprise, surprise. Adam McManus. What are you doing calling me?" she asked jokingly.
"I know it's weird. We haven't talked on the phone once in 15 months. And then, out of the blue, I'm back on your radar screen. I just wanted to make sure that you're okay."
"I can't believe you called me. I just can't believe it. Yeah, I'm fine. Sarah and I left almost a full 24 hours ago. The traffic was terrible, people were running out of gas and it got a little dicey in the rest stop bathroom."
"What do you mean?"
"The place was packed," she explained. "Everyone was irritable and grumpy. There was some kind of tussle and apparently right before we got there, someone stabbed someone else in the leg."
"What? You're kidding?" I asked in amazement.
"No, I'm serious. I walked into the bathroom and there was blood all over the floor and everything."
"Did someone call the cops?"
"Forget about Hurricane Rita," I said. "Sounds like the greater threat now is some disgruntled stranger who needs anger management classes."
Amy chuckled. It was so wonderful to hear her laugh again.
"Well, they asked me to simulcast on both stations today for four hours and discuss the response to Hurricane Rita."
"Wow! How did that go?" she asked, as though she was genuinely interested in the answer.
"Really well. It was pretty exciting to broadcast on two stations. Plus, I took a lot of calls from people on the road. Even prayed for the safety of the listeners at one point."
"Adam, you know what's so strange?"
"We haven't talked for 15 months. And yet it feels as though we never stopped talking. It feels like we just talked yesterday."
"I know. Isn't that amazing?"
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