Monday, September 26, 2011
If we are not careful, wisdom and bliss will team up, hunt us down and infect us with their own unique brand of mirth. I’m not quite sure what will happen then but I can imagine, just from my limited exposure, it will be a good thing.
Last Thursday evening, a group of seventh and eighth graders proudly and with a perceptible amount of nervousness walked in front of sixty or so adults to sing a medley of tunes. They were our “entertainment” at the Optimist International Banquet. They smiled, rolled their eyes, wrung their hands and other wise did a really good job. During their last song I noticed a girl in the back row. She was tall, and her head poked up above her school chums. At one point in the song, as it grew towards a masterful crescendo she closed her eyes, threw back her head, and SANG!! The smile and expression on her face told the story. She had touched the fringe of bliss and just for that one, pure and sweet moment, everything was perfect. Lord, it touched my soul.
Yesterday I read a posting from a Spark friend who had taken a “break,” to reorganize, focus and other wise get her stuff together. She realized after a few days that she needed the love and support but had found she’d become caught up in what I call the Spark Rat Race. I’m paraphrasing what she wrote because I felt as if she had tapped into my soul.
How many of you feel guilty if you don’t respond to every blog posting, Spark Goodie, Spark Mail, or friend request? (Please visualize me raising my hand) How many of you rush to your PC every morning, log on to Spark, spin the wheel and swear to all that is holy, the points are rigged. (I had a friend who actually charted this on a Excel spreadsheet for a month and swears there is a conspiracy. I myself don’t think it’s fair that my streak of logging in was broken by the fact I was in a remote area fort one day and couldn’t log in!!!) Will you listen to me? Holy cow!! Lost somewhere in my desire to ascend the Spark ladder, accumulate fitness points and the scared and treasure Goodie points, I’ve stopped having fun. I came here to get healthy (Another word for bliss.) to reclaim some semblance of balance in my life and instead I seemed to have lost focus.
So my Spark friend touched a nerve or struck a chord inside of me. Many days I do all the right things for the wrong reasons. Many days I come here to feel secure and reassured and not to do the things that make me healthy. It’s all about perception and Thursday night the young lady, head thrown back, angelic smile on her face reminded me it’s all about seeking that pocket of bliss in our lives we so richly deserve. I do deserve to be happy and healthy. I am worth every bit of effort I put into myself, but it doesn’t matter much does it, if I am Spark Community Member of the year and my health suggests I am morbidly obese. Like my Spark friend suggested, sometimes we lose track and a slight pause helps us regain our bliss.
I am grateful for the wisdom and now if you’ll excuse me I am going to find a street corner to sing on so I can regenerate a bit of bliss.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Awhile back someone crooned “The blues don’t care who’s got em’” I’d be lying if I told you I bounce out of bed each morning with a grin in my face and a song in my heart. Most days it’s a bit of a struggle. My mind fills up quickly with everything I need to do. I stretch, pop my pills, struggle into my clothes, head for the pool. It seems as if I’m marking time. Where’s the joy? What did I do to deserve all of this and why are all of these people putting such huge expectations on me? I am just one guy. What happened to the life I always dreamed of? Why can’t I track my food, spend six hours exercising, become Sparkie of the Year and sit at my PC all day sending out Goodies to everyone who crosses my path? You see, some days you just have to take what life gives you. It may be a gift card to the store of your dreams or it may be an expired coupon to McDonalds. It would be nice to accept it with a smile on your face and a song in your heart, but you and I both know, that doesn’t always happen.
Most days we just deal with life. We pay the bills, change the oil in the car, listen to a frustrated co-worker, clean up after spouses and kids and somehow hold it all together. We start our day with the best of intentions and suddenly everything comes unraveled. We scratch our heads, wipe away a tear and just keep moving onward and upward. No one will ever write our biographies. We’ll never be on The Today show. We, you and I, are quite simply the threads that hold life together. We are the “great unsung.” We are the people who set the example, not by loud words and clanging cymbals. We are the folks who lead by our lives, our love and our commitment. It’s not always fun.
I recalled training for my first 5K. Lord, I hated every moment of it. It sucked, I ached and running 3.2 miles seemed far away. I remember the first time I did it. Being the large ball of emotion that I am, I was crying. Poor Rebecca, the trainer on duty at my gym, didn’t know what to do so she hugged me. I remember the first race I ran and how the deep sense of accomplishment flowed through me as I crossed the finish line.
I hold those things in my heart and know that when I let life come to me, rather than trying to bat it away, that around a corner or over a bend, there is a cheering finish line waiting just for me.
Peace to you this day.
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.
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