Archive for July, 2016

Nothing Much Left

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

tornado-damage-wisconsin-110414-02My grandson Hudson and I were boxing up some old books and I came across “The Winners Manual (For The Game of Life)” written by former Ohio State Football Coach Jim Tressel.  After I had read it several years back, I was so impressed by Coach Tressel’s book that I gave several copies to family and friends. If you keep up with college football you know he was fired a few years after the book was published. Bottom line is that Jim Tressel got caught lying to the NCCA and it cost him his job — sad ending to an incredible career.

I reflected on some of the lies I have told in my life. Like Tressel’s lies, nearly all of mine were told to cover my rear end too. Like the time at the University of Tennessee, when a RA happened to walk by my room and saw a can of PBR (beer) on my desk. When he later confronted me, I willfully chose to lie. I got away with it, but I have never forgotten it. I avoided him for the remained of my junior year. He knew I was lying, but could not prove it. At the time, I thought I was really cool. Interestingly, I do not feel that way as I type.

Here is what I’ve learned about lying. Folks can often get away with lying even when they lie compulsively — for a while. Yet, in this media age when leaders lie they seldom get away with it, because they usually have to keep lying to cover the original lie. This seems to happen with time table regularity with preachers, politicians and  coaches. Somewhere along the way, the wires seem to always get crossed up and often lead to the leader’s disgraceful downfall. Coach Tressel  lost one of the best jobs in football not because he broke the rules, but because of the lie he told to cover up. He is not the first coach to be proved a liar.

Closer to home we have essentially the same situation that cost Bruce Pearl his job at the University of Tennessee. The score will always be settled sooner or later. In life we all make mistakes, but ounce for ounce lies may be the most personally damaging. When you lose your honesty there is not much left is there?

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Shake It Off

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

donkeydownloadDuring a hospital visit my critically ill friend told me this story about a donkey: One day an old and feeble donkey fell into a dry well. Fortunately, he landed feet first with no broken bones. The farmer looked and looked and finally heard a faint sound off about 100 yards to the east. Walking toward the sound, it got louder and louder as he followed it to the abandoned well. Sure enough he looked in and at the very bottom was the old donkey staring up with a look of pure hopelessness.  Well, the farmer did not think there was any way he could ever pull him out and if he could it would probably kill the old donkey, since he was so old and weak. Besides that, the truth was, he was not good for much of anything. So he decided that he would just throw dirt down into the well and bury him alive. He did not know what else to do. He called for a few neighbors; then he said a prayer and they all began to shovel dirt into the well. As each shovelful hit the donkey’s back, the old fellow shook his back real hard and fast, kind of like he had a bad chill, so that the dirt fell off around his feet.

The men kept shoveling. About an hour later, the strangest thing happened. As the farmer was about to throw a shovelful of dirt into the well, he noticed the old mule’s head poke up out of the hole. Each time the dirt had landed on the old donkey, he shook it off and stepped up on the new dirt until he had worked his way to the top of the well. The donkey story teaches us all a great lesson about handling life – shake it off and always keep stepping up!

My book for free @ Part 1 UNSCREWED – Becoming Whole Again

The Box

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Carton_Box_2A while back while on retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani near Bardstown, KY. (http://www.monks.org/).  Outside the window there was a small cardboard box. A few days earlier while I was sitting in the garden, I noticed the box tucked inconspicuously in the shade of an old wooden bench. When I checked it out, I discovered that it is the temporary home to an injured Robin. Several times a day a young man, that is a giant of a guy, about 6’6” and chiseled like a granite rock, goes out and tends to the bird. He gently cradles it in his massive hands as he lifts it to eat from a feeder suspended from a majestic oak tree.  Then he opens his hands to give the bird a chance to fly. In the evening, just before dark, the man takes the box and the bird to the safety of his room for the night.  Each day I see the man run several miles in sweltering 95 degree heat. I suspect that he may be a former college basketball player.

Whenever I come here there are around 40 other visitors of every size, shape and description.  Since our retreats are supposed to be spent in silence, I seldom learn anything about the others. Past my observations I know nothing about the “bird man” except that, despite his massive size, he apparently has a gentle spirit. Again, God gave me another much needed reminder to not base my opinions on people’s exteriors. Based strictly on appearance, he is the very last person that I would have thought would be the foster father of a bird.

There is another man here who is wearing a gigantic wooden cross hanging from an over-sized neck chain. Everywhere he goes he carries a large Bible and a stack of religious books. He also seems to have a difficult time keeping his mouth shut. Again, based on appearance, he is the last person that I would expect to be breaking the rules.  I wonder what folks are seeing in me?

My book for free @ Part 1 UNSCREWED – Becoming Whole Again   My struggle with porn, other stuff and a God Who is Good!