Tuesday, September 20, 2011
I’ll admit loud and clear that I am unabashedly a fan of Zig Ziglar. Oh the other motivational gurus are fine, but when I am in desperate need of a pick-me-up, a lift of the spirit or simply a kick in the butt, Old Zig is who I go to.
Zig tells the story about traveling to a speaking engagement with a colleague of his. Flights were delayed, mostly by weather, some rescheduled, and some cancelled altogether. At 2:00 AM Zig and his friend found themselves in the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport. They were scheduled to speak at 8:00 AM and their flight wouldn’t depart until six. It gave them just enough time to shower and shave ---- no sleep.
Zig said he was furious. He plopped down in one of those really comfortable airport chairs and began to fume. After a bit, he noticed his traveling companion was quietly reading and humming. As a matter of fact it dawned on Zig that this man had remained totally unruffled through the whole ordeal. Zig tapped him on the shoulder and asked him how he could remain so calm in the face of the entire calamity. The man put down his book.
“Well, I figure I can be happy or I can be mad and it won’t make any difference. I’m still stuck in Dallas/Ft. Worth. I might as well be happy. “
I crawled out of bed this morning, struggled into my swim gear and spent thirty minutes in the therapy pool. I am sore, I ache, but somewhere as I exercised, this story came back to me. I have lower back issues. My life’s been changed, at least temporarily. In a sense my world is upside down. I can choose how I feel. The pain will still be the pain, so I choose to be John.
It’s not fair that life often hands us situations we can’t control but in His infinite wisdom God gave us one thing no one else is master of ---- Our Attitudes
Monday, September 19, 2011
Our oldest son moved into a new home. He’d lived in the same apartment for over ten years. You can imagine what he accumulated!! One bedroom was akin to entering an archeological dig. As we helped him sort through his collection, sitting in a corner, covered with dust, was an old stereo he received as a Christmas present over twenty years ago. If you are old enough, you remember the kind. It has huge speakers that stood on the floor, a turn table, a dual cassette player and a very early version of a CD Player. In its day, it was very cool. To my horror he was going to throw it away. He forgot it was there. After begging and pleading with Joan, I was allowed to load it in our car. (Basically she kept asking me what I was going to do with it and basically I kept telling her I didn’t know. I don’t think it was so much that she consented to letting me have it as she gave up in exasperation.) It sits in my office, the wood veneer all polished and shiny. I found a needle for the turn table and dug out my vinyl. (They used to be called “records) Very cool. It took a while but I found some very old cassettes. Everything works!!!
Enter my six year old granddaughter.
She stood in my office looking at the stereo with a puzzled look on her face.
“Pappy, what is that?”
“It’s a stereo sweetie.” I explained the concepts, the intricacies and the coolness of the equipment. I expected her to get as excited as I was. She looked at it for a few seconds and then looked up at me.
“Wouldn’t it be easier just to use your IPod?”
For a few seconds I teetered on real despair until I realized there was so much wisdom in what she said. No matter what we cling to, life is a matter of perspective. Whether it’s our health, our diet, or the vehicle we use to enjoy our music, life always presents us with other options. It’s up to us whether we take advantage of them or not. To my granddaughter the option was simple: Why take up space when you could carry something better in your pocket?
She’s a bright little girl, but I still keep the Pledge wipes in my desk drawer and polish the speakers every Sunday after church.
I like the way they shine.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Life is made up of events, both large and small that determine our outlook. No one ever has a free ride. It often seems that way, especially when we see ourselves standing at the bottom of a steep hill and everyone else is at the summit and appears to be having a good time. Often, we have little or no control over those events. All we can do is determine how we allow them to affect us. In the parlance of today’s generation we “deal.”
When we live in a world that invites inaction and encourages entitlement in dealing with life’s difficulties dealing with reality is the last thing we want to do. It’s often better, we rationalize, to sit back, lick our wounds and allow the universe to feel sorry for us, because, after all, no one has gone through what we’ve gone through. We lose weight and we clap. We gain weight and we slink away ashamed and embarrassed of what we’ve failed to accomplish. It’s as if we have a large scarlet “A” branded on our foreheads. We exercise faithfully and then one morning we run out of motivation and one morning leads to two and then we forget where the gym is and we take out our branding iron and stamp “failure” all over our bodies.
Success is for cartoon characters and magazine heroes. It happens to our neighbors, our friends, but never us. We are often, in our own minds a foot note in the grand scheme of life. We sail along happy and healthy and then we trip and fall hard and we just can’t believe it.
I haven’t been able to exercise for close to three months. My legs ache, my ankle stiffens, I get cramps. MRI’s, X-Rays, consultations galore simply tell me what’s not wrong. Do you know I actually dream about being able to walk normally and Saturday night I dreamt about running in a huge field and OMG I was so happy and it was so real and I woke up and realized I was dreaming. I cried. I buried my head in the pillow and I cried. I have not been a good Spark friend recently. No blogs, little encouragement for others, just licking my wounds and wondering why. The neurosurgeon I saw last Tuesday told me to lose weight and exercise that would help the soreness and pain. Uhm, Mr. Doctor, I can’t walk any more than two hundred feet without getting cramps and my left leg getting stiff.
I am tense all the time. Joan says a lot of the pain and stiffness comes from we walking like I have a board up my butt. I am depressed. I benchmark activities against how hard it will be for me to walk and don’t look forward to a lot. I am tired of feeling the way I do, both physically and emotionally. So I decided this morning that I need to deal. I’ve decided that I may be this way forever and if I am I can’t sit around like Oscar The Grouch for all of eternity. I have reached my own ground zero. Whether I ever get to walk normally again is not going to be an excuse for giving up on living and loving. Oh yeah, I’ll get frustrated and please don’t ever mistake me for a saint.
My massage therapist who stands five foot, one and weighs a whole one hundred pounds told me it was time to start taking my own advice. It hurt and it stung and deep inside I got madder than hells but I turned my head and looked at her and realized she was right. A Spark friend I admire deeply told me last week the thing she admires about me the most is that I don’t quit. I don’t and I won’t.
It really sucks having people do stuff for you. You lose all sense of control, and destiny. You have to open up and “ask” for things. People give them gladly, but it’s the sinking sense of vulnerability that makes you feel so damned naked. Scared? Yeah I am. My worlds been rocked. I feel perfectly fine as long as I’m sitting down. As soon as I stand up life becomes and adventure.
So, I’ll deal.
I am worth it. I deserve it. I am who I hang around with and life is what it is.
Thank you for being someone who is willing to help. It is appreciated.
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