Thoughts from an Ordinary Guy

This journey through life is never boring......

Month: February 2015 (page 2 of 3)

Two Fish

So once upon a time, there were two fish.

They both lived in the river above the Niagra Falls.    They both knew about the danger of the falls and both stayed with other fish who kept them away from the falls.   They each had their own “school” that they stayed in.    Each school had a leader.

Every day the leader of the school worked very hard at keeping his fish away from the Niagra Falls.    It was a lot of work – but they both took their responsibility seriously.    And both fish stayed safe.

But then one day, something happened.   The leader of one of the schools got sick and died.    Once he could no longer swim, the current pulled him closer and closer to the Falls.    The concerned memebers of his school swam along with him trying to get him to “wake up” but they couldn’t.

He was dead.   But while they were trying, they didn’t realize that they were getting closer and closer to the falls themselves.    The current was getting stronger and stronger.   Once they realized it, they struggled against it but it was too late.

The fish went over the falls.    He went over with the rest of his school.   They were all “lost” because their leader had died.   

I don’t know how many of you have been to the Niagara Falls, but they are really big and really strong.   A couple of things happened when this leader less school went over the edge……

– Some of the fish went over in a place where the water was really really deep and they got knocked around a bit but were fine.

– Some of the fish went over and caught some nasty rocks on the way down.   They were hurt, real badly. But it wasn’t fatal.   Given some time, some healing and some calm water, and they will recover from their injuries.    They will always bear the scars but they will survive.

– Some of them hit really hard, really sharp rocks on the way down and died – the wounds from the fall were too extreme and to deep.

And what about the fish in the other school?  They were swimming and playing and growing and being happy fish.    Their leader got sick and died (he was an old fish) but there were others who stepped in to help, to lead the fish and to keep them away from the Falls.

A tale of two fish – one survived a very difficult and dangerous experience and will always bear the scars from it.    The other fish grew up with a normal “fish” life and stayed away from the danger known as 

“The Falls.”

A tale of two fish – part 2 coming soon.

TJV 

Good Quiet People

There’s a lot of press lately about some really bad things that some people are doing.    And really bad doesn’t even do it justice.    And it is generating a lot fo attention – attention in the news, attention online and attention at a variety of levels in government.

It’s good that the people who can do something about it are giving the evil the attention that it deserves and are working on solutions.   Hats off to the military forces of a number of countries who are working towards peace and protection of the innocent in the Middle East and around the world.

There’s another side to the story.    There are people out there, good people, doing good things and doing them quietly.    There’s a guy in New York who decided to start taking pictures and telling stories – and recently totally changed the lives of hundreds of kids at an inner-city school.

There’s the college student who heard the story about the guy who was walking 21 miles a day to work because he didn’t have a car – and raised enough money to buy him a car.

There’s the woman from Kentucky who went to Haiti to teach some ladies how to can mango jam so they can make money and afford to keep their kids out of an orphanage.

There’s the high school student from Holland Michigan who is raising money to help support kids from her birth city of Addis Abba Ethiopia.

There’s the medical team from Grand Rapids Michigan that is going to Haiti to provide much needed medical care that isn’t affordable or available otherwise.

There’s the……..

There’s the…….

I could go on and on but I want you to remember one thing with this.   Yes, there is a lot of evil in this world – but there is a lot of good too.    A lot of people are working, often very quietly, to make a difference.

And it’s working.   Little by little.

One person at a time.

And there’s a lot to do yet – so we could use your help.

Are you in?

Tom

Two Words

So, last night my 14 year old said to me, “Dad, why did they even bother to put the shortest verse ever in the Bible?”  (We often have deep discussions at bed time…..)

I said, “You mean, John 11:35?”  “Yeah, Jesus wept, so what?”

I told him that those are two of the more powerful words in the Bible.  The fact that Jesus wept means a lot of things…..

The fact that Jesus wept means that he feels our sorrow.

The fact that Jesus wept means that he is aware of our pain.

The fact that Jesus wept means that while he was on this earth, he was human as we are.

The fact that Jesus wept means that we don’t suffer our trials alone.

The fact that Jesus wept means that he understands what we’re going through. Whatever that might be.

While you can’t say that “Jesus wept” is the most important two words in the Bible, you can say that John 11:35 is a very important verse in the Bible for what it tells us about Jesus and how he cares about the hurting of this world.

So, today, go into your world, whatever your world may be and go with the peace that comes from knowing that Jesus wept.   And that means we aren’t walking a hard road alone.

After talking with my 14 year old about what it means, he said, “I like what that says.”

Yeah, son, I do too.   I like that our God cares about us that deeply.

Tom

Mannah Burgers!

Can you imagine?

How spoiled are we in the first world?   My kids will complain,  “We had that last week!”

Read Exodus 16 – they ate mannah.

Mannah provided by God.   Every day.

It’s like eating saltines.   For breakfast.   And for lunch.  And for dinner.

“Hey want to come over for dinner?   We’re having saltines!”

Mom, what’s for supper?”   “Mannah Burgers!”

For 40 years, God provided for the Israelites.   He did it in very unusual ways.    He did it in ways that reinforced that God was in charge and He was taking care of His people.

He also taught them to trust God.   Trust Him for today.    Don’t worry about tomorrow, just trust me for today.   I’ve got this.

So, when you attempt to start worrying about next week or next month or next year – just remember,   “Mannah Burgers!”

God’s got this.

Tom

Mental Health–Let’s Talk About It

I’ve been involved in a number of conversations in the last couple of days that have been very painful but also have prompted me to do something that I’ve never done before.    Let me explain a few things……

First, let me say that my family and I are all fine – or as fine as we can be.   Smile  The conversations that I had all were with friends who either are suffering or know someone who is suffering from mental health struggles.    And there have been a lot of them – at last count, 7 in the last 48 hours.    A whole lot of pain.

Second, in brainstorming with a couple of creative types and some mental health professionals, a pretty solid consensus came out that we as a society are very good at talking about injuries and physical sicknesses.  BUT mental illness, emotional challenges, depression, mood disorders anything related to that are areas that we really really don’t want to talk about.  

Third, the consensus was that one of the best things that we as a society can do to help combat this is to talk about it.    Bring it out in the open, remove the “shame stigma” and get people to realize that it’s okay to struggle but it’s also okay to ask for help.

SO, I’m going to start something new.   I’m going to start a series on the blog called,  “It’s all in your head (and in your heart.)”    The goal is to have a series of guest posts from people who have a story to tell, who have a reason to care, who want to share what they know and hopefully get more and more people thinking about and talking about mental health.   So if you want the stage, if you have something to say, take it away (with apologies to Toby Mac).

On the right hand side of the blog, there will be a sign up form where you can submit your idea of what you want to write on, whether you want to be named or do it anonymously (anonymous to everyone else, I won’t post something if I don’t know who wrote it) and some other information.   

Let’s get a dialogue going.   Let’s encourage others to realize they are not alone.   Let’s make the pain that one person is feeling less.

Let’s save someone from the irreversible action of the only way they believe they can make the pain stop.  

It’s real.    We need to treat it as real.

Will you help?

Tom

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