Sunday, November 07, 2010
I was able to get to the gym yesterday afternoon and it was probably the most pleasant experience I had all week. I was able to run two and one half miles and my poor old body paid for the lack of activity over the past four days. I felt renewed and refreshed. As I ran, I started thinking about all my alleged trials and tribulations. Yes, I had a rather disconcerting week, LOL, and yes it threw me for a loop.
As I ran, though, I started thinking about the story of Job. In essence Satan told God he wasn’t as hot as he thought he was and that he would let God pick any person he wanted and Satan would make that person despair of God. God told him “Take my servant Job.” Again, in essence, Job had it all going his way. Nice house, nice family and a pretty hefty income. (He probably worked out five days a week also in a state of the art gym!) God told Satan to take his best shot, Job wouldn’t despair of God. So Satan did. Job lost everything and in the end was sitting “on a pile of dung, covered in sores.” However, he never despaired. He never cried “uncle.” In the end God restored everything Job had lost and Satan went looking for another, albeit weaker victim.” Everybody around Job told him to give in but he didn’t.
Now hopefully I don’t end up on a pile of dung covered in sores but sometimes it seems like my grandmother was right, “No problem is a small problem if it’s your problem!” But unlike Job I often despair. Oh I don’t give up on God. I get a bit miffed with Him from time to time but I don’t give up. Job didn’t have chocolate chunk cookies and Mickey D’s. He didn’t have pizza, beer and powdered covered sugar donuts. When things are going good so is I. when they get tough I have a tendency to bail out and then wonder why I don’t reach any of my goals. There is really nothing in my life I can’t deal with, I choose not to deal with it!! I wring my hands and turn into some sort of drama queen.
So as I ran around the track I thought about Job and I thought how much he endured and in the end he had everything restored tenfold. There’s a lesson there. The lesson to me is that if you stick with the things that made you successful and got you results you have to stick with them no matter how tough things get. It was a revealing yet humbling experience, all at once. I saw where I had failed and how my inability to deal with things caused me to get derailed.
I woke up this morning to a new day and to a new beginning. I’ll start over and I’ll fall down a few times but hopefully in a little while God can say “Take my servant John!!”
Have a blessed Sunday
Saturday, November 06, 2010
I have sat here for the last ten minutes trying to figure out a way to tell you about my week. I give up! Just let me say that you have had them too. The kind of week where you know you have a lot of challenges before it begins and then there are a few events sprinkled in there just to gauge how much you are able to handle. No matter how well you plan, things seem to come unhinged and stay there. Toss in an emotional melt down or two, lack of exercise since late Tuesday topped off with a few chocolate chunk cookies and you are really hoping next week is better but in a lot of ways you know it is going to be just as challenging. Anyone else ever feel this way? Good, I am glad to know I have company.
I had taken most of last week off to be home with Joan after her surgery so this week was going to be busy to begin with. Last Saturday a young friend of ours took his own life and the week ended with one of our dogs breaking a nail, spilling a lot of blood, but basically being okay. I was away so much that by the time I reached home at night the gym was either closed or getting ready to close and when all was said and done I was pretty depressed.
Wednesday I was driving to Louisville. It was raining, blowing and cold. So was I. Half way there I melted down. I lifted my eyes to heaven and said “I can’t do this. You got the wrong guy here. I don’t know why you picked me to begin with but I am not your guy. I got way to much baggage and if I were you I would have kicked me to the curb years ago.”
I felt so very alone and so very lonely. Yes I know there are people who love me. Yes, I have this wonderful network of people who support me……
I sometimes wish I just had someone in a three dimensional form I could talk to. Maybe whine to, LOL? I went on and on about not being able to handle everything. Lately it seems that everywhere I go I am reminded about all my mistakes. An event, a phrase, an issue comes up and it feels like I have been stabbed in the heart. How do you say “despondent.”
So I finish my talk with God and I resign myself to feeling crummy. Intellectually I know it will pass but emotionally I am out of breath. I ask Him for some help = something, anything.
Let me fast forward.
Six hours later I am eating lunch with a client. Physically I am present, emotionally I am hoping he shuts up really soon. My mood isn’t much better and now I’m feeling guilty because I am not paying attention. He pauses for just a moment and gets an odd look on his face.
“I’m not sure why I’m bringing this up,” He begins “Have you seen the movie Secretariat?”
“There is a great line in there and it just made me think of you. The line went like this,” he said.
“You can’t ever go forward as long as you drive looking in the rear view mirror.”
“You say stuff like that to me all the time.”
Fortunately he got a phone call and I had a few minutes to collect myself and was over whelmed with this wonderful divine sort of warmth. As quickly as it showed up it left. Prayers are answered, maybe not in the form or fashion we would like or suggest but so often God uses us as a vehicle for someone else to grow, learn and be at peace.
I’d like to tell you my world changed on a dime and the sub poked through the clouds. It was only Wednesday and the rest of my week sucked but it sucked in a way that made me focus on getting the plane through the thunderstorm and not looking in the mirror for something to catch up with me.
Be blessed this Saturday
Monday, November 01, 2010
“With each failure I encounter I am one step closer to reaching my ultimate goal(s)”
Sounds really, really nice doesn’t it? Makes ya wanna print it out and hang it on your fridge, don’t it? Truth be told, we most likely believe something like this:
“With each failure I feel more and more guilty and then I say what the H-E-double hockey sticks, I am going to give up because I’ll never look like all those shiny happy successful people who I want to hunt down and run over.”
If ya hung that on your fridge they might come lookin’ for ya. Just sayin’…
I have more failure than I care to count, so I started counting them. I have a sticky note on my computer desk . I make a mark when I fail. For me it takes about eight failures until I get one of those enlightened successful moments. Then it seems as if I can see very clearly. Alleluia the strife is over and all that other cool stuff. The failure is forgotten until the next time which for me is usually thirty five to forty minutes later.
Failure, however, has a roommate we over look. He is not on the original lease so he isn’t there for us to see. His name is guilt and he has an inferiority complex, to say the least. He wants to make sure that you give him equal time with failure. So every time I fail guilt stands up says “Hey John, don’t forget about me!! The only reason you failed is because in all reality you are a pile of waste that will never amount to anything valuable……….. Have a nice day!!!” That’s when the cycle starts and we buy a one way ticket to giving up on whatever it is we are looking to achieve or overcome. So what can we do?
I have decided to embrace failure and treat it as a natural part of any process I choose to embrace. Case-In-Point: The first time I rode a two wheeled bike I fell. Actually the first one hundred times I fell. Then I learned what I needed to do to succeed and stay on the bike!! Those falls were failures. I didn’t go in the house, cursing my fate and vow to never ride again.
I had to repeat the first five weeks of C25K training twice. I didn’t have the stamina to go on after just one week. I would read blogs about people running from here to the North Pole in under twenty minutes and screw my face up in one of those frustrated grimaces. “The book” says if you haven’t run at all you shouldn’t try running a competitive 5K for six months. I ran my first 5K in four months and three weeks. There were a number of days I didn’t think I could do it. I was too old, to out of shape and I didn’t look good running. My legs hurt, my body ached and my inner child screamed at me to quit this nonsense. I failed, and then I won.
Next time you read someone’s autobiography realize that you are only looking at the highlights. If every failure, every moment of indecision was chronicled they would have to deliver the book to your house in a semi-trailer.
We fool ourselves into believing that our failures are a part of some moral character flaw inside of us. They are not, they are part of growth.
My number one goal for November is to embrace failure and as the blog title says, embrace it. The more I fail and move forward the closer I am to reaching happiness. No reason to feel guilty about that.
My friend MSSUNBUG has on her SPARK Page “fall down seven times, stand up eight.” Every time guilt comes a knocking, I remember that. Maybe I need a tee shirt that says "I'm a failure and proud of it"
Saturday, October 30, 2010
I met Perry when he was in the third grade. He knocked on our door one Saturday morning and asked for a piece of paper so he could do his homework. He had, on his face, what I have always called an “award winning smile.” That is my first memory of him and it will be my lasting memory of him.
Perry was small in stature, which is what initially caused him a lot of trouble in life. Called, “shrimp,” “squirt,” or “midget,” he was always in a fight with someone who was unfortunate enough to press his buttons.
Perry hung out with our son Paul and three other boys in our neighborhood. Paul is an accountant; Brian became a plumber and then ultimately took over his dad’s plumbing business. The other Brian went into the Army and will muster out in December. Andrew manages an Outback Steak House. Perry never graduated from high school. But honestly, out of all the kids Paul hung out with Perry was my favorite. He called me “Mr. J,” and he was always wanting something but not in a mean or selfish way. As a kid, I think Perry enjoyed life.
Around age thirteen his family life went really sour. His mom and dad divorced, he had two sisters who were in and out of trouble and I think Perry got lost. The problem became that he never got found. I think beneath that warm smile and care free attitude was a really sensitive kid.
Paul and his friends used to say he was bad. I used to tell them he was misguided. We moved away and I kept track of Perry through Paul. None of it was good. He had alcohol issues and drug issues and mucho trouble with the law. One night, drunk, he ran his car through the front of a convenience store. Paul pulled away from him. As a matter of fact he wasn’t invited to Paul’s wedding last month. They were afraid what kind of shape he’d show up in.
The last time I saw Perry was at my son Matt’s wedding almost six years ago. He tugged the back of my tuxedo and waved at me. He appeared sober and I asked him if he was behaving and he gave me that grin of his and said “Yeah.”
Last night Perry took his own life. He hung himself. Perry was 29. Paul called me this morning and told me to sit down. He cried, I cried. I told Joan and she cried. He always called her “Mama J.” I have cried off and on all day.
It makes no sense to me. Nothing like this ever does. I am not even sure why I am writing this except maybe I want you to know that buried beneath the crime, the drugs and the alcohol was a little boy with a smile, ringing my door bell a long time ago, asking for paper to do his homework.
I do not suggest we avoid reality but I choose to recall a time when that piece of paper was blank and there was all kinds of hope. There is a tendency to try to blame someone or something for this so we can make a kind of peace with it. But tonight all I feel is a very cold wind in my heart.
If I knew yesterday what I know today I might have found him and told him, he was worth so much, he deserved so much and those people he hung around with early in his life loved him so much. Ten of them, including two of my sons are together tonight and Brian is flying in from San Francisco.
Please, please remember all of that, because so are you, loved very much.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Just remember, that after the thunderstorm there is always a rainbow.
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