Archive for September 2011

Sticks and Stones

I think I will re-phrase this idiom:  Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will kill or heal me.  Think about it – words can kill or heal.  I don’t like being on the receiving end of a murderous tongue and neither do I want to be guilty of inflicting that on another.  But sometimes, we’re just pitifully human.  Instead of speaking the truth in love, we hurl, lash, slash, pierce, and stab.  Once we speak, our words are out there, and we can’t hit the “undo” button.    Over time the wound heals, but the scar remains.  How do we remove the scar?

Several years ago, I remember severely ripping my right index finger just below the crease where it attaches to the hand.  (I was trying to catch a hard-hit line drive while shagging balls for my son’s baseball team – not  to be confused with a pop fly).  It took about five stitches and many weeks to heal.  Once healed, the long scar remained.  I was told to rub vitamin E oil into the scar every day and did that for a long time.  A decade later, I rarely think about it; but there is a faint scar.

So if I’m guilty of spitting bullets at someone, I should be quick to apologize then apply the oil of healing whenever and however possible – a kind word here and there. That mixed with a little time will help the scar to fade.  If I’m on the receiving end of those bullets, it’s not easy; but I need to be open to forgive and allow time for the oil to seep into the scar.  If the one causing me pain does not offer the oil, I can look to the Lord, the oil of joy for mourning.

I still have my bottle of vitamin E oil from a decade ago and sometimes have to pull it out and re-apply.  Do you need to borrow it?

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”  Proverbs 12:18  (NIV)


Spectacular Salamander Sunrise

You might have noticed that in my book Reflections as well as in many of my blog posts, I frequently use the familiar saying “One Day at a Time.”  For the past five years, I have lived and walked this way, one day at a time.  I couldn’t look at the picture five years down the road.  I would have never figured it all out.  Many of you would shake your heads in wonder if you knew all of my struggles and disappointments.  And I am aware that many of you could tell me your tales that would make mine look like a casual walk in the park.  I am writing this today because I was once again reminded that each day is a brand new day, and His mercies are indeed new every spectacular morning.  Yes, SPECTACULAR!

What is my point?  Last night I felt hopeless; a certain situation seemed hopeless and never ending.  Unable to sleep, I found myself praying in my closet.  Then a couple of hours later, I stepped into the bedroom where the blinds were raised and right there staring at me through the east window was the most spectacular sun peering up over the horizon.  Plus, it was reflecting on the pond – a beautiful hue – and then to my right  on my dresser was my first hardbound copy of Reflections properly displayed on a stand.  I looked back and forth between the two, both reflecting the same shade of salamander – yes, salamander :-).  [See Chapter 11 in “Reflections”]

This spectacular salamander sunrise reminded me that His grace is sufficient for this day.  The Creator of the Universe who causes His sun to rise and set each day will take care of tomorrow – tomorrow.  He is able and prepared.  The night seemed hopeless, but the sun did rise – and in what spectacular fashion.  I think I’ll make it another day – one day at a time!

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.  Psalm 113:3 (NIV)


Let’s Roll

I had another blog drafted but have to post this one instead.  I cannot let this day go by without honoring the victims and the heroes of 9/11.  It is a day for remembering, a day to be solemn and consider our days. I’m sure that all of us remember exactly what we were doing ten years ago this day.  I will speak about mine.  I was working in the Executive Offices of Farmland Industries, had been at work about a half an hour.  My co-worker and friend, Vicki, walked through the double glass doors and said, “Did you hear that a plane flew into the World Trade Center?”  Surprised, I shook my head and headed into the conference room to turn on the television.  We watched in disbelief as another plane flew into the south tower and knew then it was no accident … then the Pentagon and finally word of United flight 93. I didn’t have to wait for the news personnel to speculate about what happened on that flight.  Once I knew passengers had been in touch with family members by phone, I knew they had taken action to thwart another attack on a US landmark. They knew they were going to perish but would not let the mission of the hijackers succeed. Would  I have done the same? I like to think so.  I like to think I would have spoken those famous words that Todd Beamer spoke, “Let’s Roll!”

My boys were 16, 13, and 10.  We lived, ate, and breathed baseball.  I managed my youngest son’s team at the time.  We were in the second week of our fall baseball season.  All games were canceled that evening.  In a couple of days, games resumed.  I was getting things in order in the dugout when my head coach, Paul, arrived with an additional piece of equipment – a boom box.  That evening, both teams, coaches, and umpires stood on the field facing the flagpole, the flag flying at half-mast.  Parents, siblings, and other spectators stood on the bleachers.  We placed our hands on our hearts and listened to the national anthem from the boom box – not a normal ritual for our youth baseball league.  A few tears were shed, and then, the umpire bellowed out those familiar words, “Play Ball!”  No, life did not immediately resume as though nothing had happened.  We and our country were forever changed.  But it was time to get back in the game.

September 11, 2001, was one of those days where we want to question God.  Why did you let it happen?  Why didn’t you intervene?  You’re all powerful and all knowing; you (God) could have stopped it. Why didn’t you?  Well, of course, we don’t have the answer for this.  It’s one of those “Oh Well” experiences.  Ten years later, we still hurt, but we know that time eases the pain somewhat.  Somehow God gives us peace and grace to continue our daily walk.  Our place is with the living; and so, we continue our walk, one day at a time. So let’s take those famous words of Todd Beamer and apply to us today when we face disappointment and sorrow that is unexplainable.  There is a time to mourn, a time for sorrow, a time to be solemn, and a time for remembering.  Then there’s a time for healing, to get up and get back in the game, one day at a a time.  Let’s Roll!

… He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  Matthew 5:45 (NIV)