by Jamie Buckingham
I never heard my father and mother argue. I now know they often disagreed. But they considered it bad breeding to argue in front of their children. It was an unreal world for a kid to grow up in.
There was one time ... I was about 10 years old. I woke in the middle of the night and heard my mother screaming. My older brother, Walter Jr., had come in late from a Saturday night date. My mother met him downstairs, and there was some kind of horrible confrontation.
My mother was hysterical. Her words were shrill. Unintelligible. Then I heard Walter shouting something—also unintelligible. The door slammed, shaking the entire house.
By that time, I was out of bed. From my upstairs window, I saw my brother stomping across the dark yard toward nowhere, shouting back at the house. My mother, back upstairs, was still hysterical.
I was terrified and crawled back into bed, wishing it had never happened. Through the closed bedroom door I could hear my father's calming voice, "Now, now, he'll be back."
The next morning we all gathered as usual at the breakfast table before leaving for Sunday school. Each child, including Walter, was present. Mother was bustling back and forth from the kitchen, bringing in the Cream of Wheat in the big brown serving bowl with the blue stripe around the top.
My father, sitting at the head of the table in coat and tie, had us bow for the blessing. No mention was made of the catastrophic eruption of the night before. In fact, to my knowledge, this is the first time it has ever been mentioned by anyone in 43 years.
by Jamie Buckingham
I had known for several months that my body could not maintain the pace. The time was December 1979—10 years ago.
The pressures in our church had brought us to another crisis stage. Writing deadlines, to which I had agreed the year before when things were less hectic, were now screaming frantically at me from the finish line. Then there was the traveling ministry. I enjoyed it because I could go into a different city each week and be treated like a king—and not have to live with or solve the problems I constantly created at home.
Running on wound-up energy, I was growing less and less effective in all I was doing. I first realized I was in big trouble in early December when I stepped off a plane in Bogota, Colombia. After stumbling through customs and finding myself standing on a dark curbside outside the airport terminal, I suddenly realized I didn't know where I was staying or who was meeting me.
It was an empty feeling. I was surrounded by my suitcase and boxes of supplies I was to deliver to missionaries. I wanted to sit down on the curb and cry. What in the world was I doing here anyway? I wanted to be home.
Suddenly, I heard a horn blowing and blowing. I looked up. There was an old friend—a native Colombian. He was motioning for me to get into his car. In a daze I did.
"What are you doing here?" I asked. "I was praying and the Lord said to go to the airport and meet Jamie. "I don't understand."
"You had written earlier, saying you were coming and would stay with me. But you never said when. Each night I have prayed. Tonight, the Lord said you had arrived and needed help."
I remember little about the trip to South America except the conversation I had with a friend on the plane back home. I was to arrive home in mid-December, then leave the day after Christmas for South Africa—returning home in mid-January via Israel.
I said to my friend, "I don't see anyway to slow down except to be struck down."
"Don't curse yourself with that," he said.
"It would be a blessing, not a curse," I mumbled.
by Jamie Buckingham
When I was a child, our family made an annual pilgrimage to visit our "kissin' cousins" in the Bluegrass state of Kentucky. I loved the beaten biscuits and fried chicken for breakfast.
Most of all, I loved to watch the race horses training. Sometimes, early in the morning, we would drive out from where we were staying in Mount Sterling to a nearby farm. Sitting on the top rail of a white-washed fence, I could watch the high-stepping pacers prance around the harness-racing track.
They looked like they could run forever—their heads high, moving two legs on the same side of their bodies together in a two-beat gait. I was bothered when the jockey, sitting low between the wheels of the sulky, would reach out and flick his whip against the horse's flank.
One of my cousins told me it was not to inflict pain, but to give a signal to the horse. "The horse runs the race," she said, "but the jockey sets the pace. The horse just obeys."
Race horses—the kind that gallop—can run only short stretches. If they push beyond that, they die. Trotters and pacers, however, can keep going for long stretches.
Recently someone sent me a newspaper column written by an old acquaintance, the pastor of a huge Baptist church in Atlanta. He was resigning his church after 26 years—quitting the ministry publicly.
I just returned from attending Converge 21 USA conference at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. It was tremendously inspiring, and there were many powerful speakers there, including Bishop R. Jackson Jr., recent guest editor of Ministry Today.
I also encourage you to read the digital issue by clicking here to enjoy the very important articles in the social transformation edition. We are leading the way, in many ways, on the digital front, and I'm eager to get your feedback on the digital issue. Can you please write down your comments below?
We continue to honor author/pastor Jamie Buckingham with a month-long tribute on the Ministry Today website. Before his untimely death in February 1992, Jamie served as editor of the magazine for several years.
If you missed it, we invite you to visit the special section by clicking here. There you can read some of Jamie's best "Last Word" columns for Charisma that were chosen by his family and the magazine's article on Jamie's passing.
You can also read the comments below from more readers who pay tribute to Jamie with their own reflections about him.
Ray Pile, a pastor for 35 years in Fredonia, Kan., knew Jamie from reading his columns and books.
"I remember as a young pastor reading Daughter of Destiny," he recalled. "It really impacted my life. What Jamie wrote did not so much elevate and glorify Kathryn Kuhlman as much as it highlighted what God can do thorough a flawed but yielded vessel. I grew in my appreciation of God because of Jamie's book."
Steve Bowen, community outreach pastor for the Dayton Vineyard in Dayton, Ohio, also knew Jamie from reading his columns. "To me, one of the most impactful stories Jamie penned was when he went to a retreat with a group of guys," Bowen said. "He was wanting to show the model of servanthood, so decided to go and clean the toilet. While cleaning, he then decided to let the guys know about his humble act of service.