Tuesday, July 25, 2017

It’s ok to cry, especially for ‘us guys’!

One of the classic lines from a Tom Hanks and Gena Davis movie, ‘A League of their Own’, “are you crying, are you crying, there’s no crying in baseball!” I have been raised in a male dominated society as a kid that crying or tears was definitely considered a sign of immaturity and weakness. I have a few memories of playing baseball as a kid and having a line drive hit you in the unmentionable place and literally be in tears. Looking back, I would have hoped that the coach would have had crossed the line and reassured me that my tears were justified and I could take a breather from the action. Instead I stood there and just suffered!

I recently had a conversation with a few friends about showing emotions in the context of a worship service or small group. I have been fortunate to have been involved in a variety of church settings where emotions were considered a natural expression of your love for God and mankind. My life over the last 30 years is more with a church context where emotions at times can be viewed as suspect or almost disrespectful to God. I so much see the need to understand having a healthy balance between having an intellectual slant in my pursuit of life and the truth but to also allow my heart to express my life and faith through tears at time or an emotional shout of JOY!

I have spent a good portion of my adult life working with men in leadership that are engineers who have a tendency not to show much or any expression of emotions. More recently I have been more around kids, teens and young adults where often because of circumstances are much more in touch with their feelings. This can translate into a self-expression that definitely challenges my male ‘genes’ to think especially for guys and young men that you’re being a ‘sissy’ STOP IT. Yet, I must be real and say that after my mom died from an 8-year battle with cancer I catch myself in tears often. My tears become a window into my heart that helps me see the bigger picture that life is filled with times of REJOICING but also times of MOURNING or allowing myself to be sad.

I have given myself permission to not allow the football image of maleness to dominate my mindset! Instead, I see crying and tears as an expression of my humanness where I don’t have to pretend to be strong when I’m not! Weakness is a normal part of everyone’s life! Yes, I can also have tears come as a sign of joy and excitement of what is happening in my life also! I will always remember seeing my grandson and having tears both of joy for this incredible gift but also feeling sad that my mom and dad weren’t part of this normal life experience.

I will always remember doing my first marathon as an expression of my love for my mom and her battle with cancer. I had prepared for this torturous experience for months with a couple of friends. I had actually done a couple of 20 mile runs so I was prepared for going 26.2. What I wasn’t prepared for was the rush of emotions as I was coming close to the finish line understanding that my mom’s battle with cancer was almost over. I will always remember the burst of tears that came across me when the gal put the medal on me as I walked and cooled off.

Please give yourself permission to cry at times! I plead for us guys, especially dads, to allow the tears of your wife or daughters to get to your heart! Remember the shortest verse in the Bible is, ‘Jesus wept.’.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Do something!! Life is too short.

I think most are familiar with this quote by Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!” Why is it the case that too many stand on the sidelines of life and watch the evil of the day continue to hurt people? What must happen for an average person to step up and do something that will impact the world around them? Why is it so easy for me to assume that someone else will stop to help the stray dog or grandma that just tripped and fell while attempting to cross the street?

I believe that we are facing a morality crisis where few are willing to stand up, speak up and act out in a fashion that reclaims the core values of human life! How is it possible that we continue to allow the bullies of the world and in our own circles to demean and give the impression that they are better than everyone else because of personal possessions or positions of supposed power?

I just watched a movie that depicted how a Father and his two sons put their lives on the line to save a few soldiers who had been left to drown at sea because of the ongoing battle that surrounded the beaches and harbor of Dunkirk, France. Clearly, it was obvious that this little boat could do little to turn the tide of the war. Yet, the father showed a relentless passion to put his livelihood and son’s lives on the edge to rescue a pilot and a group of soldiers whose large ships had been destroyed.

What makes life meaningful is when we do little things for those around us not expecting anything in return! Why is our present culture so obsessed with getting attention or being paid for doing what was always considered in the past to be the only way to live? The father with the small boat should be the mindset of all today but sadly it has become the exception. We too often judge doing something by what I think I’m going to get out of it.

The picture of this little girl on the shoulders of this BIG GUY handing a cold bottle of water to a homeless individual living on the streets shows how a simple act of kindness can change a life. Too many view people on the street or living on the edge as being less than human sadly. We are so quick to judge or make fun of someone else’s crisis. Imagine how this little girl will grow up not to be afraid of people that are different and how this young man made a choice to include his little friend in blessing someone less fortunate!

Do something that counts and make your life happen today with no more waiting!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What’s the hurry? Why rush around all the time?

This morning I was taken back, offended, by an early morning driver in my neighborhood that was in such a rush that they had to pass me in a 25-mph area while I was going 22-mph? I didn’t see any fire or natural catastrophe happening.  The funny thing is that we both pulled up to a busy street. I could quickly make a right hand turn but this individual was stuck waiting because they were going left into traffic. What did rushing at 4:45am accomplish expect for pushing my button? I arrived at my Starbucks in plenty of time to get my tall Pike and start meditating on what to write.

Yesterday, my Anne was at Costco doing our big shopping trip getting essentials for our household. What shocked her was that there was an older gentleman who lost it over someone in line in front of him that didn’t see the emergency for rushing to move up in the line. The end result was an odd moment at this Big Box store that required staff to intervene in this unlikely battle. I wonder for a few moments what pushes someone to pass another car in a quiet neighborhood or go off on someone in line at Costco, Walmart or Sam’s Club? I know that everyone has ‘Stuff’ in life that few see that could prompt them to do something rather foolish or God forbid I say ‘stupid’!

The crucial question I must ponder is whether I actual wasted time by abiding by the speed limit in my neighborhood or whether the individual that made a scene at Costco made life better for himself and the other family in line? I agree that one of the few things we share in common with other humans is that all of us have 24-hours in a day. How we live out that 24-hour span can see us accomplish great things or be so busy that we must cut corners, run red lights or scream at another while shopping?

I know that the reason why many rush around or cut corners is because they are slow to rise on time, get caught up in petty stuff or not be able to prioritize what matters most. Clearly the few seconds my neighbor seemed to save this morning I’m sure helped her later in the day?? Sadly, too often the person in the rush is the one who cuts corners to make a last-minute left hand turn that ends up in a serious accident. The ambulance driver that now rushes to the scene prays that everyone will take seriously the siren and flashing lights because another was in a rush.

So, is it worth it to attempt to break the sound barrier in my neighborhood or risk getting in trouble for screeching profanity at another Costco Shopper who is patiently waiting to get through the long line to get that incredible ‘Dog and Drink’ for $1.50? I’m always impressed by many of my fellow Starbuck friends who intentionally come inside the store to get their drink instead of using the app to get their order ASAP. Many have decided to get up a few minutes earlier to allow time to chit chat with strangers while getting their Frap or Carmel Macchiato.

I will try to refrain tomorrow from going to my Starbucks at the same time to intentionally be in front of this gal who is always in a rush! I will also repent from over reacting to people who seem to make being late their gift to mankind. Instead I pray that I can distinguish between what really matters in life, being kind to another instead of coming unglued at someone for something totally foolish!