Archive for February, 2016

Short End of the Stick

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

2-17-16 Short EndOn March 1 Tennessee and several other states will  hold Presidential Primaries to select candidates to run for President in the November General Election. After all the attack ads, insults, half-truths, outright lies and dollar bills have settled only a couple will be left standing; the rest will be making appropriate concession speeches promising to support the very folks they ripped to shreds in the campaign. For them the pain of their bruised egos and empty wallets will be excruciating. Mercifully before the next sunset, the media will have deleted their pics, bios and sound bites from their hard drives and then their healing process can begin. It always does.

The way life is structured most candidates lose. Teams come up a yard short. Plans go astray. Marriages fall apart. People get disappointed. Dreams fade. Quite often the greatest treasures are found in the rockiest fields amid the thorns and thistles of pure agony. Being on the short end of the stick is often the springboard to rare opportunities. It’s at life’s lowest points that we are in the best position to bounce highest. More than seems fair, often life hurts like hell.  For some of us that is what it takes to abandon our self-dependence and accept the outstretched hand of God.

Something to Think About

My online book for free. Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure, rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

Pumping

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

On one of those record setting warm days back in December, I took a  bike ride. My bike is made bikeaccidentsphotoof carbon fiber and it is an incredible ride especially when I’m going up a hill. Carbon fiber is extremely lightweight; it is essentially the same material that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is made. That coupled with the fact that the gearing is advantageous for climbing means that the old fellow doesn’t have to strain quite so hard on the uphill. I did a solo contemplative ride through scenic rural countryside with virtually no traffic – perfect for thinking and planning! A little over a mile from the end, I had to go up a fairly steep hill. All the while I was pumping to get to the top, I was thinking about how great it was going to be to crest the peak and coast effortlessly down the backside with the wind to my back. And it was great! From the time I topped the hill until I got back to my house, a distance of slightly over a mile, I didn’t have to pedal at all.

However, about half way down I became aware of something strange. While coasting is easy on the thighs it is not nearly as fulfilling as pumping those pedals on a long flat to determine my own fate. Perhaps that is what the Old Testament prophet Isaiah had in mind when he wrote, Tell the godly that all will be well for them. They will enjoy the rich reward they have earned!” Isaiah 3:10 (NLT)

Something to Think About

My online book for free. Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure, rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

The Hand

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

2-10 HandWhile driving on Del Rio Pike behind a shiny, black BMW, I noticed that the passenger had his hand out the window letting the air catch it like an airplane in flight. Since I was a kid I’ve often done the same thing especially when someone else is driving. For some reason to let the air catch my hand and pull it up has always carried with it a happy and carefree feeling of freedom and adventure.  I made an immediate connection with that hand even though it was in a sixty-thousand dollar car and mine cost less than half as much. I fondly recalled long-gone days riding with my Uncle Bill in his 52 Chevy pickup with my hand flying through the air. Once again I recalled the sound of the engine, smell of the cornfields, the scenes from the “country” and fishing on the Buffalo River.

As I followed the hand bouncing in the air, I wondered about the person who owned it. Who is he? What is he about? Is he happy? Is he in school or does he work? As the hand pulled into the driveway of a mansion with the entrance gates already opening on demand, it occurred to me that we are all pretty much the same when we strip away everything but our skin.

Something to Think About

My online book for free. Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure, rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

Dads and Sons

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

shave1_3007629bSunday a woman told me a story of a dad who made his son run home after football practice because his hustle wasn’t up to dad’s standards. At the time I was busy so I didn’t think a lot about her comment. Later I came to the conclusion that the father probably did that because he loves him. Of course there might also be some vicarious living involved too.  Dads love sons; that is the way God set up the relationship.  Growing up I never doubted that my father loved me.  Although we were never close, his love was always a given, albeit rarely exhibited.  I do have some vague recollection of him kissing me on the forehead once when I was a small child. But past that I do not remember my father as being a warm and fuzzy man at all (my sister has a different recollection).

A few days before he died, I was alone in the room with dad as he labored to breath, tethered to a perpetual oxygen tube. Suddenly, he looked up at me with piercing brown eyes and said, “John, I am proud of you and I love you”.  At the time I was in my mid-twenties. Prior to that day I had never heard those words.  I recall that emotional moment of time as a high point in my life.

That day I made up my mind that when I had children  I would tell them I loved them every day.  I have a grown son; I am confident that when Michael was growing up that I didn’t entirely live up to my commitment, but I did tell him I loved him a lot.In twenty-five years of ministry I expect that I’ve had dozens of men tell me that their dads never told then that he loved them.  Dads your sons know you love them, but knowing isn’t enough. They need to hear you say it starting right now.

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure, rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877