Thursday, January 27, 2011


Last week I exchanged emails with a friend who is coming out of a turbulent year.  Although the turbulent was personal, she said, "surely that has spilled into my professional life to some degree."  We would like to believe there is some great wall of division between our professional and private lives.  And somehow we are surprised when the professional or public pours into tour private lives, or when a tough time in the private world comes out in odd ways in our public self.

My mom used to work in a school where the principal's secretary was also his wife.  Mom's classroom shared a wall with the principal's office.  She could tell you when they had a fight at home because of the yelling in their offices at work.  Are any of us really surprised at this phenomenon?

We also expect there to be a wall of division between our sacred and secular selves.  This wall is no more existent than the wall mentioned above.  We are integrated beings.  Our sacred and secular effect each other.  Our faith cannot start on Sunday about 8:15 in the morning and only be important until 12:03. 

Maybe we all need to embrace the reality that our being is integrated.  That our physical effects our spiritual, that our public and private are related, and that our sacred and secular in reality are the same person.  Not that all things have to be shared in all places, but being more fully integrating and not letting the walls of division be so prominent in our lives actually frees us to be the full person God called and created us to be.  Maybe we can be more fully alive in all aspects of life.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Beyond One's Self

Yesterday afternoon a friend's husband was attacked by a student at his school.  Originally, they thought he had a few broken ribs, but did not appear so on the x-ray.  Apparently, he is still hurting and they are headed back to the doctor this afternoon.

Obviously, I am concerned about the friend and I worry about the state of our schools, but part of me hurts for this student.  What is going on in his life?  What was he thinking?  Was he thinking?  What would his parents say?  Do they even know?

To attack a teacher is to act outside of one's self.  He was acting beyond what was rational and expected.  Many people act beyond themselves at various points in life.  Glen Beck and George W. Bush both admit to having acted beyond themselves in their use of alcohol. Lindsay Lohan may have almost forgotten what it means to act within herself over the last several years.  Even St. Peter acted outside of himself as he denied even knowing Jesus.

I know the pain acting outside of one's self can bring.  I have experienced it in my own life.  I almost threw away the best things in my life as my family and marriage were slipping out of my fingers and my career eventually flew out the window.  Beck, Bush, and Lohan got help to get back on track.  Peter ended up being the rock on which the Church was built.  I have had help pulling myself together and establishing and reestablishing my own boundaries. 

What about this kid?  Who will help him?  Who is helping in our schools?  I have to admit I am a fence rider, literally, on this subject.  I serve on a PTA for one son's local public elementary school, and am a passive parent at my other son's private middle school.  I hope this kid finds a way to establish his own self in a positive way.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Goals v. Resolutions

OK, so I am a little late on my New Year's resolutions.  But, as I looked at this question, sometimes they are not resolutions, but rather goals for the year.  So, first, let me define "goal" and "resolution."

Goal: that which one plans to achieve.
Resolution: a decision to do something or make a change in behavior.

I have both goals and resolutions for 2011.  My goals include - 1) taking the LSAT in February, 2) continue running 4 times a week, 3) assuming I do well on goal 1 to go to law school in the fall, 4) lose 20 lbs (doing this means I could weight the same on my 40th birthday as I did on my 20th!).

My resolutions include - 1) not looking back at the past with regret, 2) to give thanks for today, 3) to look forward with optimism to the days to come, 4) to love my wife and my boys more carefully.

These are much more self-centered than most goals and resolutions that I have put before friends in the past.  They are probably much more honest about where I am and what I want as well.  I pray that 2011 will be a good year for Tammy and I, for us and our boys, and that this second half of life will continue to overflow my cup of blessing.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Most team sports, minus hockey (which as a Texan does not make any sense to me), have a halftime.  Halftime can simply be a chance for players to catch their breath and get a drink.  Often it is a time for the coach and the team to adjust the game plan and prepare for the second half of the game.  Many games shift at halftime.  Last night the momentum shifted for Arkansas as they played Ohio State in the Sugar bowl.  I was asleep by this point, but apparently Arkansas played a much stronger game in the second half.

This year, 2011, is my halftime.  I will turn 40.  Assuming an average life expectancy, I am right at the halfway point.  I have been a stay-at-home dad for the last 15 months.  This has been an incredible time for me to stop, catch my breath, and adjust the game plan for the remainder of my life.  During this time, Tammy and I have worked on being the husband and wife we both deserve and who God has created and called us to be.  We also have set out ways and means for us to continue on a more healthy road in the days and years to come.  I too have been thinking about what am I going to do with the second half of this game called life. 

Well, I know somethings will change for sure.  In December, I withdrew from the ordained ministry of the United Methodist Church.  It was time.  It was not an easy decision, but it was the right one.  Currently, I am preparing to take the LSAT in February and apply to law school.  I have discovered during my halftime I love weekends and evenings with my family.  So, that will remain a priority in the second half. 

I am still working on my resolutions and goals for the new year and second half.  Look for some of those thoughts next week.