Posted tagged ‘dreams’

A False Sense of Reality

July 16, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                  July 16, 2016

                                     

I’ve been watching a lot of the NBA Summer League games on TV this past week. New draft choices playing alongside D-League players and undrafted free agents, it is an entertaining experience. Next summer I’m thinking about going to Las Vegas with my son and taking in a few of the games being played.

Last night I watched some rim-rocking slams, long-distance threes, and running left hooks.

And then, feeling the energy, I went out in our driveway with “the rock”, as we call the basketball, and started shooting from the corner. I shoot from the corner in our driveway because it slopes down. It’s like an automatic ball return!

As I dribbled the ball and got into my shooting motion reality hit me! Reality came in the form of my right knee whining as it bent…and screamed as it started to unbend! It was the meeting of my mind with my knee and my knee won. Sixty-two year old knees that have run a few marathons, run thousands of miles on asphalt pavements with some of the old running shoes we used to wear, and played years and years of basketball, are knees that now succeed in daily coups against the rest of my body. I say “Let’s play some hoop down at the Y!” and my knees say “I don’t think so!” They are like stubborn octogenarians who refuse to drink their Ensures!

My life seems to have increasing times of false senses of reality. What I envision happening gets a revised plan. It’d like a teenager about to get his first car. He searches the internet web sites, looking at Camaro’s, Jeeps, BMW’s, high-powered Mustangs, and man-sized trucks, and then his parents present him with a gift-wrapped Ford Escort with strips of duct tape on it in different places.

Dreams…expectations…assumptions…and then there comes the reality!

My dream is to slam dunk! My reality is that you can now barely fit one piece of typing paper under my feet when I elevate. The positive however is that it doesn’t take me nearly as long to return to the ground.

Our lives are filled with what we think and what is real.

Remember a time in your growing up years when you had a crush on a certain person and you believed the attraction was mutual. Perhaps you even envisioned in your mind those walks in the park when you would be holding hands, embracing in the shadows of the front porch where parents could not see…and then the reality coming in the form of information that there wasn’t a mutual attraction, and, in fact, you were to leave the other person alone. Stay away! Sometimes reality is like getting slapped in the face with the end of a wet towel that snaps you.

Those are moments in our lives that, plain and simple, just suck!

My knees are just one indication, one painful reminder, that things change. Life is a journey of adjustments. Those adjustments come through afflictions as well as learnings. They come as a result of years of doing something that has left us weary and disillusioned; and they come as we experience the cresting of a new hill that shows us something completely new that we might consider attempting.

Most of us have visited that false sense of reality at one time or another. It comes in a job performance evaluation, or a frank conversation with a trusted friend. It is often hard to hear.

Back to my knees! I shot a few shots, listened to a few internal knee screams, and then went back to the couch. My right knee especially said “This is where you belong!”

I sighed and then watched a 22 year old do a reverse slam dunk on TV!

The ‘I Thought About’s!’

June 27, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                           June 27, 2016

                               

I thought about being a high school physical education teacher, otherwise known as a gym teacher. That was when I was a junior in high school.

I thought about skydiving once, and then came to my senses.

I thought about buying an old ice cream truck and strolling through neighborhoods with that bell-sounding music selling fudgesicles to delighted children.

I thought about growing my hair out and looking like a hippie from the sixties just stepping out of a time machine.

I’ve thought about a lot of things, and I think about a lot of things. Some wise coach once told me that “Thinking about it and doing it are two different things.” It was a slap of reality as I procrastinated on some important decision. We all have our list of “I thought about’s.” It’s the jump into the unknown.

I thought about studying for a master’s degree in Athletic Administration.

I thought about planting cucumbers.

I thought about running a marathon this September. The last marathon I ran was the Chicago Marathon in 1978, or, in other words, when Moby Dick when a minnow!

I thought about hiking the Grand Canyon.

Our thoughts make it on to our bucket list of things we’d like to do before we lay down for our eternal rest. Some “think about’s” come to us for one insane, irrational moment and then pass on like a puff of flatulence that we leave behind.

Some folk share their “thought about’s” openly and endlessly. From my experience, people who share their “think about’s” frequently are people who seldom do anything. Perhaps they want the listener to be impressed or encouraging. Encouragement, however, has run its course and the thoughts still keep coming. The listener gets tired of encouraging “think about’s” with no substance.

There are some “think about’s” that should be tossed as quickly as whole hominy on a dinner plate. Years ago I mentioned to Carol that we should think about having a fourth child. She gave me the look that spoke volumes using no words. I didn’t think about it much after that…at least while she was in the room.

Some people have a habit of thinking one bad idea after another and, unfortunately, proceeding with one bad idea after another. Like someone in extreme debt who decides to go and buy a new car because there won’t be any payments for the first six months!

Other people need to be coached in a few of their “think about’s”. They need to be told that the idea or new life direction has merit, be asked some clarifying questions, and be aided in giving what they are thinking about some substance and legs.

I thought about retiring from pastoral ministry for several years. My friend, Tom Bayes, helped me process my thoughts, separating frustration with the job from feelings of conclusion for the occupation. After thirty-six years I was used up, and felt like that half-gallon of milk in the refrigerator with the expiration date from a week ago. In the same way Tom helped me clarify some of my “think about’s” for the future. He was a voice of experience, since he had retired from pastoral ministry a few years before me. He helped me figure out whether or not the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

Ultimately, each one of us needs to sort out our “thought about’s” and determine which ones will get tossed with the trash and which ones will make the cut. Like that coach who told me that thinking and doing are two separate things, sometimes we need to risk proceeding with the idea.

And sometimes we just need to admit to ourselves “That is stupid!” It doesn’t hurt as much when we can admit to ourselves the idiocy of what our brain concocted.

I still, however, think about buying that ice cream truck and playing the song “Ice, Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice over and over again!

Weathered Dreams

November 17, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                          November 16, 2015

                                          

We’re in the midst of a mid-November blizzard. Schools closed, roads closed, people stranded…all those signs that point to the wisdom of staying home. The wind is blowing like there’s no tomorrow. Snow drifts greeted me when I opened the garage door this morning.

Glad I got the lawn mowed yesterday!

This morning I looked out the window in our dining room to our back yard. On our wood fence in the back there is a sign that has been there for a number of years, almost like a picture frame, that says “Dream!”

It reminds us to envision, to imagine, to think the impossible.

But the strong winds and blizzard cold has loosened one of the nails that has been holding the “Dream” in place. Today it swings back and forth on the fence board with uncertainty, as if it has been abandoned. It conveys the mixed message of falling dreams, almost like someone imagining the “not yet” being pulled back down to reality.

Jesus was a dreamer! He preached about the Jubilee year of renewal, release, and redemption; encouraged kids to come to him; envisioned his death and resurrection, talked about healed people and exorcised demons. Of course, he did more than talk! He made what people thought were crazy ideas into realities.

Sometimes we’re guilty of raising up people of faith who have given up on their dreams. The dream sign is swinging back and forth in the winds of church life. The wisdom of how to raise up people of faith is tempered by the pull back into congregational conformity.

“God has given me a vision for helping people in the midst of addiction!”

     “God has placed a dream within my spirit to start a ministry where a team of people offers free vehicle inspections to senior folk.”

     “God has not allowed me a good night’s sleep because of a dream he has given me to mentor kids in reading at the local elementary school.”

     “God has given me a vision to make mittens for kids at the mission we support in British Columbia.”

Dreams come in all sizes and shapes, places and people. I’m convinced a big part of God’s masterpiece gets conveyed through the dreams of his followers. Sometimes they make perfect sense and sometimes, on the surface, they are lacking in common sense. How does the church keep dreams from falling? How do those of us who have been followers of Jesus for a long ways support the new directions of the younger generation?

It takes a bit of faith to see that lemonade comes from lemons. It takes an abundance of hands to be the under-support of a person’s dream that seeks to rise.

When the blizzard passes I’ll go out into out back yard and pound the nail back in place on our “Dream” sign. Or perhaps I’ll take the sign off from where it is and raise it up another six inches!

What Do You Expect?

December 20, 2013

 

      Expectations.

When I’ve heard someone ask the question “What do you expect?” it has conveyed one of two opposite extremes.

I’ve heard it asked mockingly, referring to the lack of intelligence or ability in another person. A college student flunks a math class, and his father says to his mother, “What do you expect?” In other words, the parent had no expectations of his child for any kind of success. Sad as it is, the failure is almost hoped for by the cynical dad.

Expectations can be extinguished by past experience. It is easy to predestine personal failure because someone believes it would be out of character for him to rise above mediocrity.

But there’s another way to ask “What do you expect?”, and it is in a way that elevates, dreams, thinks of new possibilities.

Ask a class of first-graders what they want to be when they grow up and there will be lofty pictures and occupations. First-graders want to be President, or doctors, or olympic athletes, or zoologists (Okay! Maybe they just say “someone who takes care of the giraffes!”) , or Air Force pilots . Their expectations are still mountain-top like!

The story of the shepherds out in the fields taking care of their flocks as the Christ-child is being birthed is a picture of people who were raised out of their mediocrity. Shepherds usually resigned themselves to a life of mundane sheep-watching and protection. And now here is a group of sheep-herders who are pulled into the incarnation event.

No one had ever asked themselves about expectations. They hadn’t been included in such lofty  conversations.

We serve a God who asks the question “What do you expect?”

He asks it, however, in ways that seek to have us look for the possibilities?