PAIN Part II: Talking With Someone

Unfortunately, and I hate to admit this, I hadn’t gone to a doctor in 5+ years.  I had tried to get in with my Internist Doctor over the years, but he had moved and I couldn’t find him.  So rather than look for a new doctor, I let the yearly visits to the doctor for a physical slide from one year to the next.  I did remember the doctor’s name, but not the practice and he was no place to be found.  When these painful symptoms began to emerge, I knew I needed some help and decided to try to find my old doctor some way.

I was at Airpark Auto Service, Nadine’s shop, and was calling in the next room when Nadine heard me.  She came around the corner and asked what I was doing.  I spilled the beans of my pain and the symptoms of what I was experiencing.  There were two things that happened immediately.

The first was a tongue lashing by my wife.  “When were you going to tell me?”  How could you be experiencing these symptoms and not tell your own wife?”  She was mad and had legitimate reason for being mad.  She was more than mad.  She was angry and took out her verbal words on me as to why I would keep these things from her.  She was angry because she was hurt I hadn’t shared this with her as well as concerned about my future.  I sat there and took it because I knew that everything she was saying was right on.  I should have told her when I first experienced the pain, but I minimized it and didn’t want to burden her with my problems.  Big mistake.  BIG MISTAKE.  She wanted to know and frankly needed to know what was going on in my life and I had cut her off from my concerns.  I will say again, BIG MISTAKE.

The second thing that happened after the tongue lashing (that I deserved) was relief.  I had been carrying this burden by myself and she immediately came along and began to carry it with me.  Nadine did remind me that she withheld her feelings from me about the accident she had when she was hit by a car while running.  That didn’t feel good to me so I understood what she was feeling.  Carrying our burdens by ourselves and not talking with those we love (and who love us) prevent them from coming alongside and sharing our tribulations.

It’s the same in our relationship with the Lord.  In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus recognized that all of us at times are burdened by life’s challenges and He wanted us to “Come to Me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

On this journey, there will be times of pain that we experience where we need to talk with someone so that we can get a different perspective about what we’re dealing with.  Two minds are better than one.


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PAIN Part I: Listening To It

I am a male.  I am a wuss when it comes to pain.  You don’t have to ask my wife because I am a male and all (almost all) males become like babies when pain is involved in their bodies.  I have a theory about the way males deal with pain versus females.  Just think about it.  Females who carry children for nine months are faced with having that child with the head of a bowling size head come out of a few centimeter diameter hole.  That to me as a male is the definition of pain and women do it over and over.  Their tolerance for pain is so much greater than that of a male.  There’s my unscientific perspective of pain tolerances.

Back to my story.  About a month ago Nadine and I were in Flagstaff and we decided to go on our regular 4.6 mile hike going up and down canyons on this journey.  It is a strenuous trek, but one that is very enjoyable as we go through ponderosa pines and walk along a meandering creek.  This one particular morning as we were heading up one side of the first canyon, I noticed a dull pain in my chest with corresponding pain in my left arm.  I hadn’t felt it before and stopped half way to seek to relieve the pain.  It subsided in a matter of a couple of minutes and on we went.  I didn’t tell Nadine about it and truthfully didn’t think anything more about it until the next time this pain surfaced about 2 days later.

I began to become consciously aware of the times and frequency of these painful episodes.  The pain was becoming more frequent, and I needed to listen to the pain.  How many times in life do we get warning signs that we just blow off or minimize.  For me the warning sign was a dull pain in the chest and in my left arm.  I needed to listen to that pain.

What about other warning signs that come across on our journey?  It could be a spouse who says that they’re not being listened to.  They are crying out to get our attention, but we don’t heed the warning sign.  What about a teenager who is doing exactly the opposite of what we want them to do?  Could it be that they know what gets our attention and are trying desperately to get our attention but their warning signs are falling on deaf ears.  The warning sign could come in the form of an emotionally and physically spent body.  We are burned out by doing so many things that we don’t give our bodies time to rest and rejuvenate.  Are we listening to the body give warning signs that it’s time to slow down or gain balance?  A warning sign could come in the form of difficulty in our lives that all of us get.  Could it be that the Lord is trying to get our attention through those difficulties and have us turn our eyes toward Him?

On this journey there will be warning signs that come in various messages.  For me the warning sign was in the form of pain that I needed to heed.  Today we have the opportunity to turn on our senses to hear the warning signs before it is too late.

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Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

Decades ago there was a family friendly show called the Andy Griffith Show played out in Mayberry USA.  Andy was the sheriff of the town with his sidekick Barney Fife.  It was a clean show with lots of laughter and sometimes relevant principles that could be carried into life.

There was one character on the show what was portrayed by the car repair guy, Gomer Pile.  In real life he wasn’t dumb, but on the show he always came across as someone who had a couple of screws loose.  One thing he would say when he came across something unusual was, “Surprise, surprise, surprise.”

I bring up that show and specifically Gomer Pile, because I got truly surprised over July 4, 2017.  I mean really surprised.  Blown out of the water.  Socks blown off kind of surprise.  Let me set the stage.  Nadine and I were going up to Flagstaff for the weekend and we were having Victoria, my middle daughter, come up for the weekend because she didn’t have her two boys.  We got up there Thursday night and she came Friday.  Carter couldn’t come for the weekend because of work,  so it was just going to be the three of us.  She got up to Flag around 9:30 p.m. and we had some down time before we all retired.

Around 7 the next morning, Nadine got up and asked if I wanted to get some coffee and sit on our deck.  I love that time with her and so off she went to make the coffee and I followed after about 2 minutes of waking up.  I came around the corner of our bedroom into the dining/kitchen area and saw Carter, Victoria, Nadine, Debi, and her friend Patty all standing in a row in the kitchen.  All of my kids were there in the kitchen standing with Nadine.  Debi and Patty had flown in from Chicago the night before and Carter had driven them up to Flagstaff to be with the family for the 4th of July.  Surprise.  Shock.  Surreal.  I don’t believe I had ever been as surprised as I was that morning.   Never.  Ever.

Needless to say we had a wonderful time of connection, putting a 1000 piece gig-saw puzzle together, going shopping, playing golf, going to the Grand Canyon.  You name it we did it.  It was the best July 4th I have ever had bare-none.

On this journey there will times when you are pleasantly surprised by life and by relationships.  Drink in the experience as surprises come infrequently and take you unaware.

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My Radio Flyer

I wrote an earlier jlog regarding fond memories as I went back to my roots in eastern Colorado.  To refresh your memory for those who read that jlog I will give you the backdrop and for those who didn’t, this information will be new for the first time.  My mother finally decided to sell the home site that I grew up in.  It was a home that my father had built when I was 4 years old.  It was a block away from our old house and she and my Dad lived in it for 65 years.  That’s deep roots.  It’s countless memories.  It’s decades upon decades of birthday parties.  It’s monthly bridge parties with their friends. Countless dishes were washed in this house as well as countless loads of clothes were dried on the outside clothes line and folded to be put away.


My sister and I moved away from the house when we graduated from high school and never moved back home to be with our parents.  But mom continued to live in the house when my dad died in 1990.  It was only a couple of years ago this coming September when my mother decided it would be best if she were to move into a facility to help her if she ever needed assistance.  Most of the stuff in the house had been evaluated as to what was going to go with her and what needed to be given away.

There was one thing that was sitting in the shed out back that brought back vivid memories.  You can see in the picture the cob webs hanging from the back wheels of the wagon.  You can also see as you look closely that I decided to paint my wagon that had faded over the years.  The tongue of the wagon was made of steel and was crunched by the car one time and bent the curved handle a little bit.  We’re talking about a wagon that withstood 65 years of bumps and bruises and then sat in the corner of the shed for 50+ years not being used.


And yet when I needed to use it to help clear out stuff in my mother’s house that was going to the trash container, it was up for the task.  I hauled load after load to the dumpster and it never complained one bit.  It did it’s job of getting the trash from the garage to the dumpster over and over and over again.

It reminds me of some of us who after turning 65 are put into the shed of our society where cob webs begin to grow.  It doesn’t matter how old someone or something is.   If we take the time to dust off the cob webs and see the value in that old radio flyer or the person who has chosen to retire, we might just find that the joy we once experienced will again come to life.  There is value no matter how old a wagon is or how old a person is.

On this journey we have the opportunity to open our eyes and look at people as well as old wagons.  Who knows whether or not those individuals can give us a little help along the way if only we take the time to see their value.


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Passion: Delegation and Ownership

When given a job to do, a person who delegates the job is giving you a responsibility to carry out.  The person in charge may define what the task is as well as telling you what the resources you will be given.  The critical element in the exchange of the job description is whether or not you have the authority to carry out the job to its completion.  Being responsible for a job without having the authority is doomed to fail.  If the person in charge holds onto the power to say yes or no to you in what you do, you will become frustrated because you don’t have the authority to use your mind in making the job your own.

Way too many people quit jobs because they were given the responsibility to carry out the job, but they have a boss that is looking over their shoulder and micromanaging them because they carry the authority.  When someone else has the authority, they as well have the ownership of the job and want it done a certain way, done in a certain time frame, and control when and where the job takes shape.  Jobs will get done, but individuals with a mind to think will become frustrated and never take ownership of the present or future tasks.

Delegation and building ownership of any job is the best way in which all people involved in a project do their best because they not only are responsible for the project, but have a personal investment in the project because they have the authority to carry out the task at hand.  Responsibility with authority is the foundation for any successful business opportunity.

Nehemiah recognized this concept when he was placed in charge of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem that had been broken and burned down.  He challenged the people to work on the wall and realized that without delegation, the wall would never have gotten rebuilt.  “Next to him, the repairs were made by the Levites under Rehum son of Bani. Beside him, Hashabiah, ruler of half the district of Keilah, carried out repairs for his district.  . . . Next to him, Baruch son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the angle to the entrance of the house of Eliashib the high priest.. . .Beyond them, Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs in front of their house; and next to them, Azariah son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs beside his house.”  ‭Nehemiah‬ ‭3:17, 20, 23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The people in Jerusalem were responsible for rebuilding the wall in front of their own house.  I would imagine that if I were them, I would want to do the best job possible in rebuilding the wall in front of my home so that no enemy could crash into my section of the wall.  When we take ownership of the job we have been given, we are more apt to do the best job possible because it is a reflection of ourselves.  Ownership=quality workmanship.

On this journey, we will all be involved in jobs at work and at home.  When we think about owning the job, it will transform how we go about completing the work.

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Spreading Your Passion

When we experience passion, it will in the early stages evoke an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy.  How can I accomplish this by myself?  There’s too much to do and I don’t have the necessary resources to get it done.  It’s like there is an elephant in the room and the task is to get the elephant thru the door and the door is very small.

I remember the feeling when I started working on my second doctoral dissertation.  I wanted to find out what kind of family environments produced teenagers who had the highest self-esteem, highest self-efficacy (the ability to perceive themselves achieving something), and highest goal-stability (the ability to setting goals and maintaining them until they were realized).  It seemed overwhelming.   Where would I get the necessary teenagers to agree to the study?  How would I test the subjects? Would the results give me what I was looking for?  Would my committee agree to the study?  How many teenagers would I need to develop a significant study?  The questions went on and on.  It was a massive undertaking, but I had a passion for it and needed others if I was going to accomplish the task.

Nehemiah was sent to his home country to fulfill his passion.  I’m sure that the more he saw the more he realized he had an elephant in the room he needed to move.  “I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on.”. . . .Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.”  Nehemiah‬ ‭2:11-12, 17-18‬ ‭NIV

Nehemiah realized he needed others to fulfill his passion.  He needed to understand the reality of the problem so that he could describe to the people not only what the problem was but what he was there to help them do.  He needed others.  I needed others.  You need others.

On this journey, we are not called to live out our passions by ourselves but in connection with others.  Make sure you are investing in the lives of those who can help you with your passion.

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Passion: Understanding the Problem

Before you can tackle any problem, you have to know the depth and the breadth of the problem.  You have to know what you are dealing with.  Have you ever tried to fix something and realized as you got into fixing it that you quickly were over your head with other problems?

I remember being at my moms house and saw that a drain pipe in the bathroom sink was leaking.  I had fixed sink drains many times before so I thought no big deal.  I can fix it.  What I didn’t realize at the time is that when I began to get into the project the pipes were corroded and very thin.  I mean very thin.  You get the picture.  As I put a wrench on the pipe to loosen it things began to break.  I realized rather quickly that I was in over my head.  I needed a professional plumber’s help.  I hadn’t adequately surveyed the problem before I began the project.

When Nehemiah grabbed ahold of his passion to help his people be build their city, he needed to survey the problem so that he could adequately convey the passion and how to fix the problem.  “I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on. By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was not enough room for my mount to get through; so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and reentered through the Valley Gate. The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work.”  Nehemiah‬ ‭2:12-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Nehemiah, as he surveyed the problem, realized the enormity of the task so that he could invest his passion in the lives of others.  On this journey make sure that the passion you have is followed by some time to see the problems associated with your passion.  Understanding what needs to be done will help you succeed in your passion.


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