hospital visits

Yesterday was our annual trek to Children’s Hospital.  While there exist few things I would say everyone should do, regular visits to Children’s would be one of them.  A simple stroll through the hallways quickly puts life in perspective.  As we saw yesterday…

 

Obesity and undernutrition and the inability to walk.

One little girl’s legs who were thinner than my largest toes.

Casts.  IV’s.  Legs, arms, heads… all wrapped up.

Wheelchairs… lots of wheel chairs.

Multiple disabilities… including one adolescent, stationary in her chair, who couldn’t seem to hold her head up… in fact, no limbs looked able to be lifted.

A young boy — maybe 3, 4 — only crying in pain in the hallway.

A new mom, with an obvious desperate countenance — cradling her bundled babe, who seemed too young to don both a face mask an IV…

 

Yes, one trek to Children’s puts life in perspective.  It saps our arrogance.  It erases any thoughts of “why me” or “woe is me.”  It quickly shocks us out of our selfish states and moves us instead to a genuine thoughtfulness of other people…  a genuine compassion — not to be confused with the one who believes they are compassionate, but somehow still justifies disrespect or awful, arrogant rhetoric with the holder of an opposition voice or perspective.  Perhaps my family’s extended time at Children’s Hospital years ago solidified those roots of respect previously sewn.  After all, the Intramuralist comes from an ancestry of strong personalities, including a pastor and a bartender in recent generations.  Hence, we talk about all things — and we talk about them compassionately and respectfully.

 

Several years ago, my youngest son almost lost his life.  We spent 3 weeks in Children’s cardiac ICU ward.  For most of that time, a machine breathed the breaths our son could not.  Josh was born missing a wall in his heart.

 

While I would wish that experience on no one, I also wouldn’t trade it for the world.  It’s times like that — that are so deep, so piercing, and so knowingly out of our control — when you figure out what life’s about.  I remember one nurse who lingered one morn, shortly after Josh’s vitals had significantly deteriorated.  She waited ‘til all others were gone, and then she humbly yet boldly asked, “I don’t get it.  How can you be so calm?”

 

I smiled weakly, with the seemingly few ounces of energy and adrenaline left in my body during those continued days of sleepless nights, responding, “There’s a reason I have the faith that I do.  If I’m not going to hold onto it now, why have it?”  In the weeks that followed, that faith only strengthened, as I have little doubt my family and I had front row seats to one outstanding miracle.  Josh is a healthy, vibrant, incredible young man today.

 

Each year we go back for our annual visit, checking the heart chambers, evaluating any changes in the leakage that will forever be with him.  Once again, yesterday, we were blessed with a positive report.

 

As we were stopped along one hallway, an older teen pulled up near Josh in his motorized chair.  His face and limbs were slightly disfigured, but typical of my Josh, he saw none of that.  Josh simply looked at him, smiled, and enthusiastically said, “Hi!”

 

The teen, who was diligently typing with one finger on the keyboard on his lap — through that amplified keyboard — slowly said, “Can’t complain.  How are you?”  Josh said, “Awesomeness!”  Then Josh asked his name.  With a deliberate reply and an awkward but very cool fist bump, Josh turned and yelled, “Hey, Dad!  Meet Brad.  He can type!”

 

As I said, those visits to Children’s always put life in perspective.

 

Respectfully,

AR

relevant?

You may have realized that the Intramuralist has a bit of a “nerdy side.”  Sorry, I’m pretty comfortable with it.  It’s the part of me that implored me to memorize each offensive stat for every Major League Baseball starter as a kid — and the same motive for committing each amendment in the Bill of Rights to a different (albeit creative and quite timely) tune.  Yes, my inner nerd remains alive and well.

 

The beautiful aspect of this nerdy self is that it’s prompted by a sincere quest for knowledge.  I want to know what actually is good and true and right.  I don’t just want to repeat that mantra because it sounds good.  Hence, as an adult, the pursuit has continued — although absent a few of the most current baseball statistics.

 

One of my keen pursuits is the annual reading of the bible.  Call me nerdy.  Call me nuts.  Ask me what kind of reading is that.  But the bottom line is that if this is a centuries old revering of wisdom, then I want to know what’s in it.  I don’t want to express concurrence nor contention without being fully aware of what’s in the book.  I also don’t want to simply pick and choose what to apply.  I want to know the book in its entirety.  I want to understand what has made this book so offensive to so many.  I want to get why still more have embraced it with their last, dying breath.  If this is a book of unparalleled wisdom, then I want to comprehend what I can — rather than rely on someone or something other than the source to filter what it says.

 

Let the record show — human as I am (and God, have a little grace on me, por favor) — that sometimes I’ve gotten a little bored.  There have been passages where I utter a “what” or  “what’s the big deal” or even an “ewwww.”   When I search through the kings’ annals and ancient building code accounts, I’ve even (sorry) been prone to dozing off.  As seemingly always, however, something strikes me.  Profoundly.  Something typically unexpected… but yet, amazingly, acutely, relevant.  Just as it did this morning…

 

Attention all…  God’s message…

There is no faithfulness, no love,
no acknowledgment of God in the land.

There is only cursing, lying and murder,
stealing and adultery;

There is violence everywhere —
one murder after another.

That is why your land is in mourning,
and everyone is wasting away.
Even the wild animals, the birds of the sky,
and the fish of the sea are disappearing.

Don’t point your finger at someone else
and try to pass the blame…

My people are being destroyed
because they don’t know me.

 

Know it’s with great sobriety that I share the above — aware of the violence in our land… the effect on our environment… the individual, corporate, and even government’s dishonorable behavior — and also a behavior often seemed ignored or even celebrated.  We all have at some time engaged in poor behavior, yet as I read the above, I’m struck with how it begins… with “no acknowledgement of God in the land.”

 

Are we freely allowed to acknowledge God in this land?

 

Or is that being squelched?  Is God’s name being removed?  From public places?  From public credit?

 

I wonder… “my people are being destroyed because they don’t know me.”  My inner nerd wants to comprehend how relevant that is today…

 

Respectfully,

AR

out!

Listen closely to line #1:  this is not a sports post.  (Remember that…)

This past weekend, I couldn’t believe the judgment of the infield umpire!

 

Alex, who plays for our team — the good team, the right team, the wisest and best — was leading off on first.  The game was tight — a top team tournament; it was close; only the winner would advance.  Let’s just say the intensity seemingly increased with each and every pitch.  This was serious.  This was 13 year old baseball.

 

Unbeknownst to all fans in the stands, Alex discretely received the “steal” sign.  He takes off.  He is fast!  The ball soars from the catcher’s hands, streaming across the infield, straight to the shortstop, whose current primary goal is to tag our Alex out.

 

Man, I had an excellent view from the stands!  I was standing directly in line with the base path; and so when the catcher let it loose, I saw the ball sail 2 feet behind the runner.  There was no tag.  “Way to go, Alex,” I immediately thought.  The ball was no where close.

 

Then came the umpire’s emphatic call…  “You’re OUT!

 

Excuse me?

 

In order to throw out an attempted base stealer, the runner must be tagged.  Alex had to be tagged.  The ball was nowhere close.  There was no possible way for our player to be out.

 

Are you kidding me?  What are you thinking?!  Are you stupid?  How smart are you?

 

Oh, wait… I see now…

 

Alex is white.  The umpire is black.  He’s African-American.  That’s it!!  He must have called Alex out due to the color of his skin!!

 

Nothing else explains this.  Nothing else explains the ump’s insistent opinion that is completely inconsistent with mine.  He must have called Alex out due to the color of his skin.

 

This is truly unexplainable.  Why else would a seemingly intelligent person do this?  The ball was nowhere close!  There was no tag.  ‘Racist’!  ‘Racist,’ I say!!

 

And so begins my search for something that will explain the unexplainable.  In other words, I seek an answer that will make sense to me.  I, of course, had the clearest, wisest. and least obstructed view.

 

Hence, when someone else makes a judgment call that is nothing less than unfathomable to me, I seek for a way to comprehend their opinion… typically a way that makes them look a little lesser — and me look a little more…

 

(… more what, we ask?)

 

We often conclude the rationale of another is due to the most visible factor — not necessarily the most likely factor — simply the most visible.  If we can’t explain something, we often look only at what’s easiest to see.  That’s perhaps why so many are so quick to utilize race and/or ethnicity to explain away analysis that would take far more effort, time, and selflessness to truly comprehend.

 

The reason the infield umpire called Alex out had zero to do with either’s skin color.  The ump called him out because his perspective was different than mine.

 

I can’t argue that.  I can’t call him ‘racist’ nor even accuse him of being stupid.  I can, however, in the future, encourage him to alter his perspective…

 

Respectfully,

AR

tweeting

What are we teaching the younger generation?

What are we modeling for our kids?

 

… that appearance is everything?

… that sports stars and celebrities are life’s most admirable professions?

… that an ABC summer show entitled “Mistresses” is good television?

 

That’s the question:  what are we teaching them?

 

Are we teaching that Facebook status updates are authentic?  … that we’re truly, transparently representing who and how we are?  … that Facebook relationships are real relationships?

 

Or better yet — and where my head and heart have lined up this day — that Twitter & Co. count for legitimate dialogue?

 

As all Intramuralist readers know, communication is of utmost importance.  How we communicate makes all the difference in the world.  The Intramuralist believes that all subjects can be discussed — albeit not necessarily agreed upon — if the approach is respectful and prioritizes active listening.  That’s the mantra of this blog:  all opinions are welcome as long as the opinion expressed is respectful to those with whom you may disagree.  Only through respectful discussion, friends, is solution viable.

 

Yet continually in Washington and in our work place, we have very intelligent men and women who for some reason reserve the right to rhetorically slam their brother and sister when the moment is too tempting and ripe.  They arrogantly belittle and bemoan, forgoing even the feigning of listening.  One wonders why.  Why is this so hard to comprehend?  Why is this still so challenging for otherwise bright-minded people?

 

Look at what we’re teaching the younger generation.

 

As social media has exploded over the past half dozen years, we have allowed them to accept Twitter as a wise form of dialogue.  In fact, we have allowed them to believe that it even is dialogue.

 

Excuse me?

 

Dialogue is a conversation between 2 or more people.  To engage in dialogue means to converse or discuss in order to resolve a problem.

 

There is no dialogue on Twitter.  There is no conversation.  In fact, there is little conversation whatsoever in all of social media.

 

Twitter is simply a listing of one-liners where the Tweeter can tweet whatever he or she desires.  There is no eye contact.  There is no empathetic, compassionate, nor comprehending glance in that person’s direction.  There is no feeling; there is nothing warm nor cold.

 

Twitter is a list of comments — often snarky or satirical — in which one person attempts to manage the impression others have of them.  There is no respectful back-and-forth.  In fact, because it’s not actually dialogue, Twitter and the rest of social cyberspace often damage more relationships than they maintain or repair.

 

Friends, Twitter is not an evil within society.  Just like most things, a positive tool can be negatively employed.  The disservice we are allowing for the younger generation, however — as we tweet, too — is that social media is something it’s not… that Twitter and tweeting and even texting take the place of authentic, wise communication.

 

Respectfully… always…

AR

a “bad” experience

Years ago when my oldest son was a wibbling, wobbling toddler, I will never forget the day his stuffed Curious George went sailing through the aisle at our local grocery.  While first appalled that my son would turn his beloved companion into a public projectile, I couldn’t help but chuckle as George came to rest in the narrow gauntlet between multiple canned goods.  I may have even grinned from ear to ear.

 

Unfortunately, my laughter quickly subsided, as George landed a mere 3-4 feet in front of one of those motorized carts, donned by an obviously, elderly lady.

 

“I’m sorry, ma’am.  My son threw his favorite stuffed animal.”

 

Instead of the articulated grace perhaps far too naively expected, the lady’s countenance turned immediately stern, glaring at me, squinting her eyes, and then retorting, “You need to get better control of your children!”

 

I was shocked.  What?  I need to get better control?  There is no grace for a harmless throw of Curious George?

 

Let me tell you what I did not…

I did not conclude that all elderly women are as withholding of grace as she.  I did not conclude that all persons on motorized carts have lost respect for the rest of the waiting world.  No.  I made zero conclusions about the elderly nor those on those oh-so-cool motorized carts.

 

However, my sense is that refraining from making conclusions — when we have 1 “bad” experience — is the rarity as opposed to the norm.

 

How often do we do that?  How often do we make conclusions about an entire demographic because of a singular experience?  For example…

 

Have you had 1 “bad” experience with a Christian?  (“Bad” equates to harshness and immediate judgment.)  Have you had 2, 4, maybe even 17 “bad” interactions?  There are billions of Christians on this planet.  Even 17 so-called “bad” experiences pale in comparison.

 

Have you had 1 “bad” experience with a Republican or Democrat?  (“Bad” equates to arrogance and a clear failure to listen.)  There are millions of partisans on this planet; they are not all the same.  In fact, I have a brother who is a state legislator.  He is ethical, fiscally responsible, and he listens to those he represents.  More of our representatives — regardless of party — should be like him.

 

Have you had 1 “bad” experience with a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community? … or with someone who believes LGBT behavior is unnatural?  (“Bad” equates to so passionate they actually justify condescendence of persons with differing opinion.)  I have friends who are gay… and friends who believe homosexuality is sinful.  I have both who still love and respect their neighbor.

 

Friends, one of the most accepted forms of arrogance on this planet is when we make judgments about entire people groups because of 1 “bad” experience.  Sure, we don’t feel it’s only 1.  We find other likeminded persons to “amen” our experience, so we’re never confronted with the darts that pierce our self-inflated bubbles; we’re never confronted with the reality that challenges our self-created reality.  In other words, we allow 1 or 2 or even 17 “bad” experiences to tell us what we want to hear — as opposed to be on a continuous seeking of actual truth.  Too many times, experience trumps truth.

 

When the lady at that grocery challenged my parenting, I wish all could have witnessed the astonished look on my face…

 

“What?  I need to get better control of my children?”

 

I knew her response was not the response of all people.  It was not even the response of all elderly women on motorized carts.  Hence, I smiled, paused, and said the first thing that came to mind…

 

“Have a nice day, ma’am.  I will, too.”

 

Respectfully…

AR

community

Imagine if America was a community… one large, real, significant, interactive, healthy community.  What would that change?  What would we be like?

 

Perhaps some would suggest:  we already are a community — maybe not so healthy — but we’re still a community!  It ‘takes a village,’ you know.

 

I think not.

 

To be a community — an authentic community —  is first, not something forced upon us.  Community is a choice.  It’s a choice, in its simplest manifestation, to do life together.

 

Does that mean there never exists disagreement?  Of course not.  Disagreement does not equate to disrespect (… a few more of us could learn that, I’m thinking…).

 

But if we functioned as an authentic community, we would never work so hard to squelch or silence opinion solely because it’s different.  Dare I say that neither the Executive nor Legislative branches consistently practice such wisdom.  Far too often, P.R. campaigns and rhetorical put-downs are instead, lavishly employed.

 

To live in community means to be on mission together…  We saw that in the days immediately succeeding the Boston Marathon bombing.  Not solely the city proper nor the Commonwealth of Massachusetts but rather, seemingly the entire U.S. of A. was passionately seeking the arrest of those responsible.  Cheers, tweets, and texts rang out when the suspects were apprehended.  Being united in purpose prompted a truer sense of community.

 

Hence, what mission could endure in this country?  What mission could a “united state” of America join in on together?  A mission that would last? …

 

To fend off all evil.

To pursue life.

To pursue liberty.

To even pursue happiness.

To recognize that opposition does not equate to evil.

To recognize that evil is the utter absence of God.

To defend our inalienable rights.

To recognize that those rights come from someone bigger and better than you and me.

To learn to preach to ourselves as opposed to listen to ourselves.

To acknowledge God.

To relentlessly pursue his blessing and perspective.

To extinguish terrorism.

To recognize that there exist multiple, organized, anti-Christian organizations that wish to bring us serious harm.

To seek God’s best for all people.

To be humble enough to pray.

To submit.

To do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.

 

Again I ask, what mission could we join in on together?

 

As I look at the purpose articulated by current leadership — regardless of party affiliation — I don’t see much of the above.  Instead, it seems we have a plethora of “me first”…  “Party first”…  and a generous helping of “I know best.”

 

I don’t see a lot of humility, submission, and putting others before ourselves.

 

The reality, therefore, is that I don’t see a lot of community.

 

Respectfully…

AR

who is more successful than me?

Today reminded me of an endless truth…

… a truth, I believe, we each wrestle with.

In fact, it’s one we say we don’t believe, but when push comes to shove and the moment hits us squarely in the face, we’re forced to ask what we believe…

 

Can I truly celebrate the success of another?

Or do I look as someone else’s success as one less opportunity for me?

 

(Examples, please…)

 

… be that the kid who plays on the soccer or baseball or any other team before my beloved child…

… be that the older teen who is awarded the lead before any of those other talented teens I love…

… or be that the business man who is more successful than me in my adulthood…

… be that even the adult who is more successful than me?

 

Can I celebrate their success?

 

The reality is that if you and I view someone else’s good fortune as something lesser for you and me then we can’t truly celebrate their success; we can’t be happy for them.  We will instead look at them with displeasure or disdain, thinking that’s one less opportunity for me.

 

And then…  yes, then… we justify all sorts of things.  We justify:

 

… looking down upon them.

… playing (dare I suggest) “victim.”

… and yes… actually… (let’s say it…) physically confiscating from them…

 

… ah, do I dare even argue such taps into the inherent definition of socialism?  … in other words… a unitary controlling of goods and services regardless of who has worked hardest for them?  … regardless of who is most deserving?

 

This past weekend, my oldest sons have been involved in a national show choir competition in Nashville, Tennessee.  Several of the nation’s best performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage.  It has been a beautiful, emotional, awe-inspiring weekend.

 

After the preliminaries that spanned 2 entire days, the audience seemed thankful to witness the varying, amazing talents on display from high schools donning from Florida, Minnesota, Ohio, Virginia, etc.  It was no doubt a talented, uplifting time; it was also an incredible opportunity for our teens.  After day one, I wondered how the exiting choirs would feel, as a mere six were named finalists.

 

Would the competitors feel positive for one another?

Would they wish each other well?

Would they see opportunities as limitless?

Or would they only focus on what they, personally, had won or lost?

 

On Saturday, I woke that morning in prayer… praying that this day for my boys would be a confidence builder… that regardless of the result, it would be a day of enormous blessing… that they would gain confidence and self-esteem… and that they would realize the unparalleled rewarding of effort and hard work.

 

My boys’ choir won first place.  It’s a special, special group.  Yes, yes… like all good parents, the Intramuralist sobbed.  (Call me a grown up “softie.”)  But I sobbed most due to the humbling answer to my prayers…

Opportunity is not limited.  And blessing is undoubtedly bountiful.

Always and still… yes… always and still.

 

Respectfully,

AR

YOLO!

Fail.

Probs.

Sick.

Swag.

Hater.

Ging.

Rachet.

Photobomb.

Hakuna matata.

Whatever.

 

‘Kids say the darndest things.’  The question is whether our teens are more “kids” or adults — and whether “darndest” qualifies more as foolish or as wise.  One “darnd” thing I’ve heard far too often from these growing young men and women is the colloquial justification that “everybody’s doing it.”

 

“Everybody’s doing it, Mom…

“He’s doing it.  She’s doing it.  I should be able to do it, too!”

 

Seemingly suddenly, society’s evolving standard of morality is dependent upon what everyone else does — hence, the existence of a slippery, (un)scrupulous slope upon which current culture continues to ride.  Sometimes it feels like a bit of an ‘adventure land‘ — like riding a roller coaster… hands up… smiles on… the participants unaware of any lurking calamity awaiting at the end of the ride.

 

Don’t let me be too hard on our teens.  It’s not as if this is merely a problem indigenous to their generation.  They have watched their parents; they have watched celebrities; they have watched the politicians and elected leaders in the land; they have watched them squabble and base their behavior on what others do.  Dare I suggest, they have watched us all a little too well.

 

Prior to our teens being teens, they’ve watched previous generations ride an often parallel, (un)scrupulous pitch.  We may or may not have articulated our actions via the “everyone’s doing it” logic.  However, the teens have seen our not-so-subtle “keeping up with the Jones’s” act; they’ve seen us subtly (or not) be continually indignant or stubborn or selfish or even refuse to extend grace — again all based upon the behavior of other people.  They’ve even seen us look, act, or even dress a certain way, all motivated by “impression management” — our fairly futile attempts to control the perception others have of us.  Further still, in my semi-humble opinion (emphasis on the semi), the youth in this country have seen reasonably intelligent adults discern what’s right or wrong based on other people.  Worse yet, they’ve witnessed us actually change what we believe to be right or wrong — based upon other people.

 

“Eveybody’s doing it, Mom…”

 

On what do we base what’s right and what’s wrong?

Does it change?

If it continually changes, how can it be wise?  … even from reasonably intelligent adults?

 

From Jan. of 1998 through June of 2000, gifted comedian, Bill Cosby, hosted a comedy series on CBS entitled “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”  The premise of the show was that Cosby would ask a kid a question, and that kid — usually between the ages of 3 to 8 — would respond with a “cute” answer.  The inherent joy of the show was found in the innocence of the child.

 

While our teens aren’t quite still children nor quite yet adults, the reality is that their justification for all sorts of beliefs and behaviors may or may not be innocent; we haven’t necessarily always taught them well.  The reality also then exists that the articulated justification for their beliefs and behaviors — and the articulated justification for our beliefs and behaviors — is nowhere close to “cute.”

 

What will we base our belief system upon?

 

“YOLO!” as the teens sometimes say.  You Only Live Once.  Yet if we only live once, we better figure the basis for that belief system out.

 

Respectfully,

AR

minority status

Let’s push the envelope a bit today, shall we?  In fact, it’s quite possible that today’s post may be our most controversial.  Maybe it will ruffle the most figurative feathers.  Please know that’s not my intent; ruffling feathers — regardless as to how figurative — but ruffling for the sole sake of ruffling seems a futile exercise indeed.  My goal has always been to wisely and correctly handle words of truth.

 

Yet in the seemingly continual, digressing state of society — where discouraging words are too often heard and far more than deer and antelope play — big is considered better; more is always best; and the majority is irrefutably wise.

 

The Intramuralist does not agree.  Big is not always better.  More is not always best.  And often it is the minority which offers the most prudent message.  Yes, the minority often possesses the greatest strength and keenest insight.  Granted (and such is said with an undeniable, sober sigh), the minority often face unfathomable, dire challenge; also true, no less, is that the existence of the challenge has the power and potential to strengthen the person and thus prompt that incredible insight.  In other words, the minority often possess the greatest blessing.  And yet, my ruffling sense is that the minority too often give that blessing away.

 

Reflect upon the minority for a moment…

 

A minority marked by race, religion, gender, or geographics…

A minority marked by ambition, achievement, or athletic competition…

A minority marked by perspective, potential, or political position…

A minority marked by intelligence, institution, or physical impairment…

A minority marked by skin color, school, or social standing…

 

Regardless of what distinguishes the group, the minority is the smaller number — by some part lesser than half the whole.

 

Regardless of being “lesser,” within that minority still, we find incredible insights, values, and places of personal and corporate growth…

 

Among them, perhaps?  … humility… perseverance and pride…  work ethic and wisdom… faith and self-awareness…  (… did I mention humility?)

 

The majority, however, is instead too often marked by an unattractive arrogance —  possessing no perceived desire nor even believed need to persevere.  Far too often the majority even replaces faith and self-awareness with an over emphasis on self.

 

So what happens when minorities grow?  … in number?  … in power?  … in significance?  What happens when their numbers evolve into that bigger half of the whole?

 

My prudent hope would be that we/they would remember where we came from… that if we were ever once in the minority we would not forget the values learned nor the blessing gained that evolve when meeting challenges wisely…

 

Too often, though, I think we fall prey to simply adapting and absorbing the unattractive traits observed in many of the majority…

 

Humility is zapped for arrogance…  Faith and self-awareness are replaced with that over importance of self.

 

Regardless of what marks one as a minority — by race, gender, or Senate standing — by not making the playoffs or by a lower GPA — regardless of what distinguishes us and places us within any lesser or bigger half of the whole — may we hold on to the humility that propelled us to persevere.  May we hold onto the blessing.

 

P.S.  Blessing is good.

 

Respectfully,

AR

what it’s not

Much of what we say actually means something else.  Hear me out on this, friends.

 

We utilize multiple words and phrases that are either inaccurate or utterly fallacious.  It’s seemingly most often unintentional; however, today I’m wondering about the colloquial error of our ways.  I speak not about the grammatical misuse of “lie” vs. “lay” or “who,” “which,” and “that.”  I’m thinking more about the phrasing that has subtly sneaked into our dialogue that simply is untrue.  For example…

 

“It is what is is.”

 

Egad.  Perhaps one of my pet peeves.  “It is what it is.”  What exactly does that mean?  Does it all go back to Pres. Clinton’s legal questioning surrounding the definition of “is”?  Surely not.

 

We hear that phrasing frequently…

 

From business mogul, Ted Turner:  “I regret that I wasn’t more successful with my marriages, but it is what it is.”

 

Or from my fave NFL QB, Drew Brees:  “The Madden Curse has really taken on a life of its own.  People just love talking about it, and it is what it is, but I look at it as a challenge.”

 

Are you kidding?  It is what it “is”?!  No.  “It is what it is” is what we say when we don’t know what to say anymore.  It’s the clear ender of conversation, meaning there’s little else to say or I really don’t want to speak of it anymore (see Turner, Ted).

 

We also hear…

 

“You’ve got the patience of Job.”

 

Sometimes, as the parent of a special needs child, I receive that frequent retort.  Newsflash, friends:  it’s not true.  I don’t have the patience of Job.  But the reality is, in my semi-humble opinion, that Job wasn’t patient!  Shocking.  (Another “hear me out” here…)

 

In my continuous pursuit of wisdom, I routinely invest in writings that are historically noted for their accuracy and truth.  Once again, I just completed reading through the book of Job.

 

Here was a man who was blameless — a man of complete integrity.  He was wealthy and wise yet seemingly humble and giving.  And over the course of a few stunning days, the man lost his family, possessions, and good health.  Such is a set of circumstances that undoubtedly would cause each of us to cry out, arguably inserting a bit of “why me.”

 

But Job went further.  While at first seemingly attempting to persevere and maintain his humility — a component contemporary society often negates from its integrity definition — Job’s countenance and composure changed.  Granted, he had a few friends around him who were certainly not helpful, yet Job became demanding.  He cursed the day of his birth.  He questioned the wisdom of God.  He questioned not only God’s wisdom but his power and all of creation.  He condemned God to justify himself.  (Fascinating concept… condemning God to justify self… my thinking… my behavior…)

 

Who knows how any of us would act under such a tragic, unthinkable set of circumstances?  Truthfully, most of us would probably act much like Job.  The reality is that such is not considered patient.

 

More false phrases exist…

 

“head over heels”… aren’t heads already over heels?

“could care less” … then why are we speaking to begin with?  Isn’t it “couldn’t”??

 

Or one of my funny favorites…

 

“the whole 9 yards”… wait… all NFL enthusiasts know that 9 yards are not “whole”; a team has to go 10 yards to actually continue down the field.

 

Sorry, friends.  I’m not very patient today.  Have I shared that I do not have the patience of Job?

 

Respectfully,

AR