Yahoo and amen! Fall has fallen. Cooler weather has arrived. Footballs are flying through the air, as well as frightened doves and falling leaves. We have survived three quarters of this unimaginable year called 2020. Nine months are behind us and only three more to go. We are now in the home stretch of the final quarter. This is like the seventh-inning stretch in baseball or the beginning of the fourth quarter in football. Speaking of football, college football has finally begun. Life still is not normal, but it has inched a little closer. Football players celebrate by holding up four fingers when they get to the fourth quarter of a game. Confused by what those four fingers in the air meant, Billy Bob wanted to know why any team would celebrate being in fourth place...poor ole Billy Bob. True, while a fourth-place finish does not win the championship, it’s not all that bad either. Probably most of us watching (except Billy Bob), know that four fingers held high means the fourth quarter has arrived. We probably would know the fourth quarter has arrived without the players telling us, but they want to tell us any way. They are happy and excited...filled with anticipation. For those teams who are ahead at the end of three quarters, they are celebrating the fact that they only have to stay ahead for one more quarter to win. This is especially exciting in a championship game. For those teams who are behind at the end of three, the four fingers in the air are a rallying cry. They are saying, “The fourth quarter belongs to us!” Those fingers say we have one more quarter to turn this thing around and we can do it, so let’s go do it! At the end of the fourth quarter, then they will hold up one finger if they won...even if they’ve lost all their other games and are actually in 4th place, or even 45th place!

Back in January and February, we had no idea what was headed our way. Had we known at the end of December what 2020 was going to give us, we might not have turned over the calendar page. If we could have seen 2020 with 20/20 vision ahead of time, we might have rolled over and gone back to sleep, or we might have tried to roll 2019 over and use it again. Of course, we all should know that is not possible. We can’t stop time and we can’t go back. We were excited about beginning another new year. That was because we had no idea what was headed our way. Most of us would not think of playing on a train track if a train is coming.

That reminds me of when I was a kid and I was excited when my dad came home after being gone on a long trip. I was excited he had come until Mom told him what I had done while he was away. That proved to be educational. I learned that sometimes parents really do give you something to cry about. I also learned that I didn’t want any more of that. We have had plenty to cry about in these first three quarters, and we don’t want any more of what we’ve had.

With great excitement and anticipation, accompanied by prayer, I am holding four fingers high in the air. I’m praying that in this final quarter things will turn around. I know that the ending of this year and the turning of a calendar page will actually change nothing. I do; however, encourage you to hang on and look forward to better days ahead.

— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition. Visit for more information.

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