Monthly Archives: September 2015

It Not Easy to Take a Stand or Get Involved

Lately we’ve heard the expression, “See something, say something.” Many wrongdoings could be avoided, stopped or the perpetrator could be caught if just one person stepped up and reported what they saw. With the various forms of anonymous reporting venues such as Crime Stoppers, retaliation by the person committing the act, has nearly been eliminated.

Opportunities for us to take a stand are not limited to the commitment of a crime. There are any number of times each day that someone says something which we know to be wrong but it is easier to “let it go.” Responding in these situations would likely not be anonymous so responding is much more difficult because it makes us uncomfortable and may seem confrontational. Not responding may give the impression of agreement. If you do agree, say so or say nothing, they may both have the same result.

Let me interject here that my writing today may seem a little preachy, holier than thou-like or that I think I’m the king of Political Correctness. My actions sometimes (maybe often) would suggest that my being preachy fits the expression, “Do what I say not what I do.” I often fail at taking a stand because I’m not sure that I can handle the possible confrontation. I put this out there as food for thought.

Recently, some politicians have ignored attacks on President Obama while others have made negative, some unfounded, statements of their own against their opponents. I sit back and think about how often we show so little respect for those with whom we disagree. Years ago I used an expression with my Ethics in Sport seminar where we did a lot of choosing up sides and debating topics; Honesty in Debate. Since generally during a debate or something that more resembles an argument, there are no fact checkers. If we enter the fray with false or misleading information, we are not respecting the process. If we don’t respect the process than we are showing little respect for our “opponent” and more important ourselves.

One of the more confrontational examples is when someone tells a joke that is racially insensitive, gender biased (also insensitive), is negatively pointed toward someone’s religion or their sexual orientation. There are other categories but these cover many of the so-called jokes. What we do when someone says have you heard the one about the (fill in with race, religion, blonde or gay person to name a few possibilities) give a good indication where we are on the take-a-stand scale. We can say no, listen and laugh, say no and not laugh, say yes to keep them from telling it, or say no followed by and I don’t think I want to hear it. If you are at this end of the scale, be prepared for having an uncomfortable moment.

Having said all of this, we don’t want to respond to any of these situations in a way to add to any volatility that might be present. Be tactful.

Tidbits – I searched for a few gems to illustrate taking a stand. I found a few of them in Richard Frisbee’s Daily Meditation (with Scripture) for Busy Grandpas. I hope they are illustrative.

Observing how seldom whistle-blowers in government or industry get anything but grief for their integrity, one is reminded of the early Christian martyrs. Tradition depicts them standing up to the lions. Grandpas usually try to avoid painful situations. But it’s good to know that there are still people whose inner selves are beyond the reach of predators.

A sign is posted at the entrances to Bloomington, Illinois, says Not in Our Town – No Racism. Putting up a sign doesn’t make it so, but it’s not a bad thing to establish a climate that declares racism out of bounds.

A great deal is owed to the many people who hid their Jewish friends from the Nazis at great risk to themselves and their families.

On Rikers Island, where New York operates the world’s largest prison, the city spends seventy thousand dollars a year to lock up each juvenile. That’s nearly ten times the budget for each child in the city’s public school system. Some of the prisoners no doubt need to be locked up to protect society . But doesn’t it seem that if some qualified grandfather took charge of, say, three of these kids and was given over two hundred thousand a year to spend, something better could be done?

Small boy extorts a toy from his younger sister. She pinches him. Daddy observes the pinch but not the theft, so he scolds her. Grandpa, who has seen it all, wonders which course to take. Should he risk acquiring a reputation as a snitch? Or should he take a stand for justice. Nobody promised grandfathering would be simple.

Update

I’ve had five consecutive treatments as of last Wednesday. Yea! Still no serious side effects; an edgy stomach once in awhile, still not eating as much as I should and light headed if I don’t stay hydrated. We’re going to Minnesota to visit my sister Jane and brother-in-law Allen in two weeks during my week off.

Thoughtful, Heartfelt Prayer

The concept of prayer has been in my thoughts a lot lately because it has been a very important part of my cancer journey. That includes my prayers and the prayers of those of you who have been praying for Sue and me. I imagine that there are almost as many ways of praying as there are people praying. This thought process has led me to examine the spirit with which I pray.

I’ve gone from more ritualistic prayer to more prayer from the heart. I think of it as more of a conversation where I say what I have to say and imagine God’s side of the dialog. In “The Purpose Driven Life,” Rick Warren references authentic prayer or worship. He reminds us that Jesus said, “Love God with all your heart and soul; with all of your mind and strength.” Only thoughtful, heartfelt prayer fulfills this command.

In my conversations with God, I’ve tried to focus on making these conversations thoughtful. I find myself looking forward to the next opportunity to give thanks, ask for God’s intercession, remember people on my prayer list or simply to receive the peace of mind that a conversation with God can bring. As our son Thomas wrote in the blog Welcome, “With the combination of God’s grace and good medicine, the future is bright.” I pray for that for sure.

My friend, Cheryl Orkis, sent me a card with a cute story involving prayer.

It seems that the church service had started and everyone’s attention was turned toward the Pastor as he delivered the words of his sermon. Because the church had no nursery, one couple had the privilege of having their active 3-year-old daughter sitting in the pew with them.

She had been appropriately instructed to be quiet, but after many admonishments, her father found it necessary to take her outside for a little conference. This was not here first trip outside with Daddy, and she understood the significance. She also understood the significance of prayer!

For as her dad picked her up and was walking down the aisle to the back of the church, she reached over his shoulders with her arms outstretched to the congregation and the Pastor, and proceeded to call out to all who would listed: “Y’ALL PRAY FOR ME!”

Update – This was my week off and all is well. Tomorrow we leave for Pittsburgh to attend our granddaughter’s wedding. We are looking forward to a safe trip and joyous weekend. I have an Oncologist visit and infusion scheduled for next Wednesday and a stent procedure scheduled for next Thursday. Keep up the good prayers!

Don’t Give Up

There are numerous poems and other writings that seem so appropriate when you are facing a daunting task and one which surfaces thoughts of doubt. They come under the titles such as Don’t Quit and Don’t Give up.

I selected one from my favorite writer, Edgar Guest.

Don’t Give Up
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow,

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

I’m not quitting.

My first thoughts of having doubts but not being willing to give up had to do with baseball.

My favorite sport was baseball. We played it from sun up to sun down on Saturdays on the field next to the high school, in my cousin David’s yard (wiffleball) or in my yard with a rubber ball (that cost 25 cents). The reason I remember the cost is that we had to replace at least one per Saturday after someone hit the first one into the (nameless) neighbor’s garden. The pain of trying to retrieve it was too great. If, when we played in my yard, we were short players, we recruited another neighbor, Alma Jean Davis, to be the designated pitcher. She had the best arm and was the only one willing to do it.

Now the pertinent part of the story. We also had organized little league that played our games on the field next to the high school. Just past right field was a stone gazebo with a tile roof. We often hung out there until the coaches came with the equipment. I was almost the first one there and if it was raining, the only one there.

I would gather my glove and bat at home, raining or not, and make the four block walk to the field. When it was raining, my mother would say, “You know there won’t be a game today.” I’d answer, in my most respectful manner, “You don’t know that for sure.” There was a four-way stop within yards of the gazebo. In fact my cousin David, who batted left-handed, nailed more than a few cars driving through the intersection. Well, while I was standing in the gazebo, rain coming down all around, cars would go by and when they reached their home, any number of them would call my mother and ask, “What’s Jeffery doing in the gazebo? Can’t he see the rain isn’t going to quit? And if it does, the field will be too wet to play.” She’d answer, “I tried to tell him that.” I was either not very bright (quite possible), stubborn or simply didn’t want to give up on a chance to play baseball. I’d like to think it was the latter. I think that was the beginning of my looking for a silver lining in every cloud, even rain clouds.

Update – Well, today, for the first time I had treatment number three in the cycle of three. It was a great birthday present. I’m off next week and meet with my Oncologist, Dr. Loehrer, on the 16th and start the next treatment cycle that morning. I’m often asked if I have any idea how the treatments are going. I have no idea but with great medicine and everyone’s prayers, I can only hope for the best. If I have any doubt about the power of prayer, I need only to remember that God is the only reason I’ve made it this far.

Stay Strong and keep on keepin’ on with your thoughts and prayers!