Norris Burkes

Spirit Matters Columnist

About This Author

Norris Burkes is a syndicated columnist, national speaker and author of the book No Small Miracles. He is a retired chaplain for the Sacramento VA Hospital and the Air National Guard.

Articles by this author

Skip The Wait

Like most of you, I hate to wait in line. Truthfully, much of my 28 years in the Air Force can be summarized with the military oxymoron, “Hurry up and wait.”

My distaste for waiting is placated only when I hear someone pronounce the word “next.”

“Next” becomes my favorite word when it signals that the line in the auto parts store or at airport security is moving forward. It means I will soon command the undivided attention of the clerk or agent.

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Give Until It Hurts

Over the years, people have asked me if I dance. I often reply, “No, I’m a Baptist.”

“What does that have to do with your dancing ability?” they’ll ask.

My answer comes from the lyrics—“Guilty feet have got no rhythm”—from George Michael’s 1984 hit song “Careless Whisper.”

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Have “The Talk”

Just before the quarantine started, my wife Becky and I sat with a lawyer redoing our estate plan.

“I love that word ‘estate,’” I told the lawyer. “It makes me feel like I own the Ponderosa.”

“Well, you don’t,” Becky said, using her no-nonsense teacher tone.

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Listen To The Stories

In 2011, I was at the annual National Guard Chaplain Conference in Washington, D.C., when I was sidetracked into a personal conference with a colleague.

The morning session began with all the usual inspirational speeches from our higher-ups. Just before our lunch break, Chaplain Lawrence Witherspoon of Riverside, Calif., stood to make an announcement.

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