Archive for August, 2014

Boo Boos

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

aromatherapycutsandscrapesAs I was leaving the Y this morning, a precious little girl, about three, was walking in with her mom. I overheard her excitedly exclaim, “Mommy, my boo boo is gone”. Wow! What a great thing for anyone to be able to say! Little kids’ boo boos usually go away on their own.  Unfortunately, the older we get, our boo boos tend to morph from childhood cuts, scrapes and bruises into ones that are more serious. Often, unlike a skinned knee, they cannot be seen. They are the emotional boo boos.  Sadly, they can kill.

It happened again Thursday, when a bright and gifted local high school junior, with an incredible smile and lots of friends took his own life. Of course the unanswerable question, and the one that gives his passing such a high degree of difficulty, is simply this: Why did a loving son, grandson, brother and friend, an extremely gifted and talented young man, who obviously had no shortage of friends, choose to take his life?  What could possibly be behind that? Why? I was not fortunate enough to know him. I learned of his death only via a prayer request. But the answer is because he had an emotional hurt that did not go away.

The bottom line is that in the midst of his pain, this young man came to the conclusion that his death was the best thing for everybody. Obviously, that was not true, but for some reason he could not see it. The truth is each of us is capable of making that same decision.  Enough pain can blind anyone. It can!

Depressed people struggle to see past the moment. Usually they can’t. If you are in a lonely battle with thoughts of doing harm to yourself, do not struggle alone for one more second. You cannot and will not win alone.  Before you do anything else, tell someone what you are feeling.  I know that works because that is what I once did. Something else I think I know. If this young man could have imagined the string of heartbreak of those who love him, he would surely have made a different choice.  Please pray for this family and for all people struggling with depression.

 Something to think about

The Brass Button

Monday, August 18th, 2014

jpgAs I entered the elevator last Friday wearing my orange shirt with the embroidered white “Power T”, a gentleman asked me if I was a Tennessee fan. He then volunteered that he had attended Vanderbilt, but that his great, great, great, great… grandfather in 1794 was one of the original founders of the University of Tennessee.

As were making our ascent he went on to tell me that several years ago they exhumed granddaddy’s grave in order to honor him with a move to a more prominent and prestigious location. Unfortunately, all that was left of great, great, great, great….granddaddy, a founder of the University of Tennessee, was a brass trouser button— just a brass button. That was it! About that time the elevator door opened and the story ended.

It is funny how some things stick in my mind. I’ve thought quite a bit about that brass button. I’m not sure who granddaddy was, but he obviously was a prominent man of the era — probably a mover and shaker. I assume he was a member of the 1794 Territorial Legislature as he was one of the founding fathers of the University. More than likely he was successful, wealthy and a gentleman of great influence. Yet, life on earth is a fleeting one. No matter whom we are or what we accomplish, the material facet of our existence is summed up by that one brass trouser button. Granddaddy is gone; he didn’t take the brass button with him. Perhaps that is why Jesus said we best be storing up treasures that will last us an eternity.

 Something to think about

Upward Mobility

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

stair_Picture-55I had lunch with one of my preacher buddies and we were discussing the sad story of a pastor currently in the news and observing that it seems pastors, more often than not, seem to step up to bigger things. Like God usually calls a pastor from a smaller church to a larger one with a bigger expense account, bigger house and more money.  That just seems to be the way it shakes out. I guess that is upward mobility — just the opposite of the “Jesus” model. When is the last time you heard of a pastor being “called” to a lesser church?

Jesus’ whole life was just the converse of upward mobility. Rather than come “down here” and cover himself with diamonds, gold,  custom made $5000 suits for preaching, He willing said “yes” to a plan that caused Him to give up everything.  He signed onto a strategy that required him to trade ecstasy for agony. He unselfishly accepted a role that would require being misunderstood, abused, lied about, cursed, betrayed and murdered. And after all of that, He never struck back or even badmouthed his attackers. No, unlike pretty much the rest of humanity, He simply loved those who were in the process of doing Him in.  I find that utterly amazing!

It seems to me, that Jesus’ model might be a better one to follow than that of preachers who fleece the flock for multi-million dollar compensation packages, luxury cars, five- star hotels and private jets planes.

Towering Oaks

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

3150871_f520It is 6:30 am; I’m stretched out on a bench along the Harpeth Greenway listening to a symphony of song birds. I’m looking up at patches of deep blue sky filtering through the towering oaks. Below I can hear the sound of the river. Apparently there is nobody else around. Until this particular moment of solitude, I don’t recall previously thinking about trees as in the context of “trees for trees sake”. But as I look up through the soaring green canopy, in this moment of time, perhaps I’m  seeing them for what they really are —- majestic living creations of an almighty God – testaments of his power, love and provision for mankind.

Peering upward it just occurred to me that these trees will keep on reaching up to the sun despite the Ebola, the economy, or what happens next.  That is a humbling thought! They were here long before I was born and most likely they will be here long after I’m gone. I’ve never exactly thought of trees in that context before. For some reason I don’t feel quiet as important as I did riding over here.

Something to think about.