Dec 28

Adversity #3 – Eternal, Existential and Physical Struggles

That’s a mouthful of a subject line.  This may sound like a catch-all for adversity that doesn’t apply to the first two and it should.  I challenge you to think about it.

We all struggle with our faith and eternity.  Is it real or not?  I know how I would answer this.  How about you?

A friend of mine wanted me to let him know when I went “all” Existential.  This may be the time.  Have you ever questioned your existence?  Why do we have certain things in our lives?  What’s the point of entertainment?  Is it so we can laugh or be distracted from the life in front of us?

Some might think that I’m the “poster child” for Physical Struggles.  I’d disagree.  There is a long list of people that have more struggles than me and still live fulfilling lives.  Bethany Hamilton (young surfer in Hawaii who lost her arm to a shark), Lauren Scruggs (model hit by an airplane propeller), Aimee Copeland (woman in Georgia that lost limbs to flesh-eating bacteria) … just to name a few … would be on that list.  The only difference is that one of my Cavernous Malformations hasn’t gone away.

This addresses the entire body just as Matthew 22:37-40 does.  This is where Jesus gave the Great Commandment.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  Notice he didn’t say “should” he said “shall”.  Notice how he made it clear when he said, “with all your…” each time.  He could have just said “heart, soul and mind.”

When you hear me talk about the REEF in life you can draw a direct corelation to this bible passage.

We will refer to this tomorrow as my brother undergoes surgery for prostate cancer.  Please join me in prayer that God will cleanse his body from this horrible disease.  Ask God to use this experience to bring Dan closer to Him and allow others to see His light shine in places it hasn’t seen.  Give God thanks for the birth of His son and glorify His name in all that we do.


Dec 23

Adversity #2 – Emotional Turmoil

There’s a wall in, what’s now, Colin’s room that reminds me of my struggle with emotions.  When Grant was three, and for as long as I’ve known him, he always wanted to delay going to bed.  Even at the age of 18.  He’s consistently been a master at getting us sidetracked.

Finally, one evening, as I was putting him to bed, I got fed up. With the soft side of a closed fist, I punched (backhand style) the wall.  It nearly scared the crap out of both of us.  The physical and emotional marks are still there today.  Those sorts of moments get seared into our memory.  Don’t they?

This type of adversity reminds my emotions aren’t always consistent with my circumstance.  It’s been difficult for me, to say the least.

When our oldest son was singled out as being “gifted” we started down the path toward learning about “emotional intelligence.”  We wanted him to be in classes that he didn’t find boring, but instead were challenging.  We wanted to push his comfort limits.

After discussing this, at length, the school encouraged us to read a book entitled “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman.  The excerpt below is from that book.  Connie read it, I just got the cliff notes.

“A belligerent samurai, an old Japanese tale goes, once challenged a Zen master to explain the concept of heaven and hell. The monk replied with scorn, “You’re nothing but a lout – I can’t waste my time with the likes of you!”

His very honor attacked, the samurai flew into a rage and, pulling his sword from its scabbard, yelled “I could kill you for your impertinence.”  “That,” the monk calmly replied, “is hell.”

Startled at seeing the truth in what the master pointed out about the fury that had him in its grip, the samurai calmed down, sheathed his sword, and bowed, thanking the monk for the insight.

“And that,”said the monk “is heaven.”

The sudden awakening of the samurai to his own agitated state illustrates the crucial difference between being caught up in a feeling and becoming aware that you are being swept away by it. Socrates’s injunction “Know thyself” speaks to the keystone of emotional intelligence: awareness of one’s own feelings as they occur.”

― Daniel GolemanEmotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

What walls have you been punching?  Have you looked at the marks you’ve left?