Making the Best of the Worst of Times

Perspectives are our choices

Recently someones said to me, “I cannot believe you are recovering so quickly”, referring to the accident and the healing of my body, the attitude of my mind and the acuity of my spirit.

I think there are multiple reasons why 8 week as after the accident I am doing so well:  going to ballgames at Fenway Park on my own, having counseling sessions for clients in handicapped office space provided for me and my clients by a friend, attending my 1 year old grandsons birthday party in NYC driven by a friend, meeting my 11 year old grand daughter for her birthday event: The Little Mermaid at Albany Park Playhouse ( I drove myself she was driven by her mother and we all enjoyed the show, I preached for the first time since the last accident this past Sunday (8/21/16), went to Greenwich beach last Monday for the day. Today, later this afternoon I will throw the wheelchair in the back of my wife’s car, hop with walker out of the house and into the car. Then drive to pick up my 18 year old grandson then take him out to dinner as he prepares to return to Blair Academy for his senior year.

So how am I able to do all this? Strength of my will and desire? Partly but the main catalyst for this will and desire comes from God and people whom I love and who love me.  The truth is with the help and prayers of many family and friends who regardless of emotional tensions, or perhaps rising above them, are “making the best of the worst of times”.  That phrase was written in our wedding vows nearly 12 years ago now.  We are living those vows out.  Maybe that is what makes a family a family and good friends good friends, a good marriage: “Making the best of the worst of times”.

It is not what we do and say during the best of times.  That is just plain what we call “fun”.  In good times we tend not to get angry or upset with others.  Our focus is the good times.

Something very human happens in the worst of times:  hurt feelings, unkind or nasty words all fueled by anger and fear.

Something very Godly (even if you do not believe in God) happens in the worst of times.  It is what I believe is the very nature of God visible in many scriptures and perhaps outlined in Romans 8:28 which paraphrased might read “In the worst of times God takes those worst times and works them together for good for those who stay focused on Love as God does and who according to God’s purposes love regardless of anything”.

So there are multiple reasons for my speedy recovery.  One is hard work.  Another is allowing for slow progress. The best is always focusing on the best, the positive, the optimistic, on faith hope and love.  In this worst of times seeing and receiving the best:  family and friends have prayed for me, friends have driven me and provided meals for me, a friend has provided office space for me, a friend is understanding as I no longer use space in his office building, friends and family have sent encouraging notes even traveled to visit to Debbie and me (some actually changing their planned vacation (we obviously have had ours changed)etc.   We have kept our focus not on the accident but on the healing energies of prayer, hard work, and faith to be well.

Thank you one and all for making the worst of times the best of times as the best of people come out!

45 years ago when I was playing basketball in college one of my coaches said:  “sports brings our the best and the worst in people”.  I vote for the best to come out of the worst of times.

Furious or Faithful

Anger with compassion is Intimate and Integretous

I was reading a devotional this morning which was dealing with Genesis 3:21 “And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and the woman, and clothed them”

The author used the illustration of a mother:  making a special cake and putting it on the kitchen table.  She then told her two children to not eat of it, as it was a special cake prepared for a special purpose.

When the inevitable happened she says the mother yells, “I can’t believe you ate the cake. I gave you one thing to not do.  One thing! Furious she kicks them out of the kitchen.”

I became furious. I heard an internal voice say,  “Okay man settle down it is not that critical”.  So I took a deep breath or two then decided to blog on this issue and concern.  I know the author was well intentioned and trying to be cute.  I do love the image of God making sure people have sweatshirts on to keep them warm as this does present a compassionate God.  I do have some concerns and questions:

 

Why picture God or humanity this way?  It is not even close to unfolding the text.  As I calmed my furious parts down, I imagined that on that days thousands or more years ago, God did the same thing.

 

First the text clearly indicates God’s compassion, as instead of being exclusively furious, he made clothes for them to effectively intervene at a practical level and in a caring way. Their action gave opportunity for God to react not in anger and fury but with love and grace.

Second, anger and even fury are just emotional responses to disappointing moments.  It is the behavior in response to those emotional moments that indicate character and substance.  I have no problem with God being angry at their defiance.  Yet, while “hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn” (, heaven is full of compassion for a humans preoccupation with indulgence and self satisfaction even if it is self defeating.  Even when God throws the couple out of the garden (the kids out of the kitchen), it was not his fury that did so but His compassion.  They had eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil so God could not let then stay in the garden to eat presumably (knowing the past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior) of the other tree, the tree of eternal life.  Had He not led them out of the kitchen they would have sealed their eternal demise by continuing their behavior with no opportunity for restoration to the mother’s love or redemption from their “fateful choice”.  Again God’s compassion likes and cares for his creation.  He does not strike down his creation but likes them up!

Thirdly, what mother would set these children up this way.  The nature of children is to be curious and investigating.  Touching and eating are primary senses.  We were at a museum that has a kid’s space with all kinds of creatively created objects that children were to walk around and see but not touch. My wife commented, “really they expect children to not do what is innately natural for them to do. I thought, “yes and why do we think the God who created us is not aware of the very nature that he gave us and would actually punish us for “being kid like” or “just human”.  Then additionally, why would we think that this God who knows who and how we are, would respond with a part that only slams for doing what is the most natural thing to our species.  GOD clearly responded with love and compassion.  Would not a caring mother do similarly. If indeed she chose to set the plate this way, would she not know or presume that the kids would eat.  Would she not then come in while they are eating and say:  “I totally get that you saw and are enjoying this cake regardless of what I said.  I get that if I did not want you to eat of the cake I should have put it out of your reach.  At the same time there is something I want you to learn from this:  a life lesson.  In fact that is why I did not put it out of your reach.  So here is what I want you to learn:   If you just do what you want based on what looks good or tastes good and think it is okay to do, without thinking of the effect or affect on you or others, you can miss all the pleasures and good things I have prepared for you to know, experience and grow through.  Even this one can cause you to grow.  So know I love you regardless of anything you do. Additionally, I will always be wanting you to learn something from your faltering and failures perhaps more than you would ever learn from your good choices and successes.  Life is about learning and growing “in wisdom and stature with God and fellow humanity” (sound familiar).

God in effect says:  I will never throw you out of the kitchen without preparing another kitchen from which you can eat, live, and enjoy life.  Calm out of the cold, cave of your hiding,  I have prepared sweatshirts and sweat pants for you and they will keep you warm and will forever be a symbol of my covenant of love for you regardless of anything.

Just my thoughts on the subject.

Comments welcomed!

A Friend is Someone: who is there when the rest of the world is not

Defining a friend a collection of sayings - add to it and send it to me if you like

A friend is someone you turn to.

A friend is someone you confide in.

A friend is someone who stands by you.

A friend is someone who lifts your spirits.

A friend is someone who encourages you.

A friend is someone who you treasure always, as they treasure you.

A friend is someone who makes you smile.

A friend is someone who brightens your day.

A friend may be someone you do not even know, who takes time to say hello.

A friend is someone who doesn’t take your side but is at your side.

A friend is someone who knows your heart even when they here your hurt.

A friend is someone who sets their schedule aside because caring for others is more important than schedules.

A friend is someone who sticks closer than a brother or sister or mother or father, a friend is always available to sit at your table.

 

A Message from and to A Third Grade Class, like a child can lead us

Never and always

Never stop caring about the little things of life

Never stop dreaming, and don’t give into strife.

Never stop wondering are we on our own

Never stop thinking has your spirituality grown

 

Never stop building bridges that lead to better tomorrows.

Never stop trying and do not give into sorrow

Never stop feeling amazed at the beauty that surrounds you.

Never stop hearing the music, and do not give into the blues.

 

Never stop pushing away negative thoughts that make you feel sad.

Never stop looking at all the miracles we have had.

Never stop loving the ones you hold dear.

Never stop giving in acts of love, and do not give in to fear.

 

Never stop smiling, but look forward to each new day.

Never stop shining in your own special way.

Never forget that all storms will clear.

Always remember brighter tomorrows are always near.

 

-Anonymous