Posted in Family, fear, forgiveness, friends, Grace, gratitude, life, loving others, prayer, Scripture, thankful, Trials

Unwanted Legacy

Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”

1 Corinthians 15:33

It was an unwanted legacy.  My wife Judy and I have three adult daughters. It is a standing joke in our house that anything that is bad or negative (weight, cholesterol, heart issues, blood pressure, etc) always come from me…the dad.  The good stuff invariably is attributed to the mom.  Now there can be no doubt that our daughters get their good looks from her, but I think there might be a little prejudice about this other stuff.  I am sure it all can’t possibly come from me.  Or can it?  You see, sometimes I think that I might, accidentally, unintentionally pass on an unwanted legacy.  Let me give you an example.

So back in August of last year I went dancing with my worse girlfriend, Corena.  In case you don’t know that was my nickname for the COVID virus.  Yes, I had been vaccinated but regardless she asked if I wanted to dance and apparently, I said yes.  It wasn’t fun.  As COVID cases go, might wasn’t too bad but it was enough to make me glad when the dance was over. Fortunately, as far as I know, no one, including my wife, came down with it.  After a week or so, it was all over and in the rearview mirror.  No harm, no foul just a bump in the road of life.

Well, late this past fall I started feeling crummy again.  I checked in with my doctor and friend and he quickly diagnosed me with the flu—let’s nickname that “Flo”.  Now this wasn’t the stomach flu…this was the real deal.  I’m not sure if it was Type A or Type B but I do know it was the kind that made you want to die. It, like Corena, lasted long enough for me not to want to have it again and I was glad when she waltzed out of the room.

Well, it all started on a Friday evening. I developed a cough and just started crashing.  Unfortunately, three of my grandsons were spending the night and not knowing what the deal was…they just cuddled up with “Papa.” As the night went on it was apparent that I had something, but we just didn’t know what.  The next day they all loaded up and went home and I went to bed. At the time I didn’t know what I had but I hated that I might have infected them. My diagnosis didn’t arrive until Sunday and the bad news came on Monday.

Yup…my daughter called and two of the three had an unexpected, unwanted legacy.  It wasn’t high blood pressure, or cholesterol, or hair loss…it was the flu.  Fortunately, there weren’t any complications, but they sure felt lousy for several days.  I can remember Judy talking on her phone to our daughter with the speaker on and I could hear one of coughing and it just broke my heart.  Unexpected, unintentional, or not…I had infected, impacted them.  It was an unexpected, unwanted legacy.

Well, all that thankfully is in the rearview mirror but the whole deal left me with an important lesson.  Whether it is a health deal or some other sort of deal, we need to understand and realize that we are all impacting those around us.  And, often, it is the ones closest to us…the ones we love the most.  Of course, there are plenty of good legacies and for those we can and should be grateful and proud.  But there are others…actions and words that scar or habits that hurt…that we need to arrest so we can avoid passing them down and around.  Perhaps it would be a good idea to take our “legacy temperature” frequently. Perhaps we should ask and honestly answer the question, “Is there something that might be a story, a memory, a habit that might be an unwanted legacy?” If there is, we should take action to stop it or change it.  The good news is- rarely is it too late to stop before there is an unwanted impact or infection.

It’s probably not the best verse for this story but it sure rings true.  Paul, the one who wrote a bunch of the New Testament Bible said, “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Usually, bad company is intentional, and unexpected and unwanted legacies are not…but the outcome can be same.  So, starting today, ask the hard questions and make sure what you are leaving behind is not only worth sharing but a story that would make others smile.  Need a little help?  I know just the one…my Dearest Daddy. He is always there, always willing to help.  He’s got this too. Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, fear, gratitude, life, prayer, Scripture, sovereignty of God, thankful, Trials

Dancing With Corena

Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials.” James 1:2

I didn’t even know she was invited to the dance and I certainly don’t remember dancing with her.  Her name is Corena…my new name for COVID-19.  As we all know, in early March 2020, the word on everyone’s lips was the COVID-19 or the corona virus.  Regardless, it changed our lives.  We went through lockdowns, closedowns, and mask mandates.  Toilet paper and dozens of other items suddenly flew off the shelves and became hot items on the black market.  Myself included and millions of others escaped the initial onset of the virus, and I breathed a sigh of relief when at the end of January, I was able to get the first of two shots of the Moderna vaccine.  A month later I received my second shot, and I counted the days, hours, and minutes for the next two weeks.  I made it. I was fully vaccinated and fully expected not to have to endure a personal attack of the COVID-19 virus.

I know in our area there were like 13,000 people fully vaccinated.  Of those, there were only 41 break-through cases—cases of people getting the virus after being fully vaccinated.  Imagine only 41 out of 13,000. Those were odds I could live with.  Well, I guess I should go buy a lottery ticket because I became one of those break-through cases.  I had unknowingly danced with Corena, and lost. It went like this. Last Tuesday, I woke up with a bit of a cough…not the deep throaty kind but the itchy, catch in your throat kind. You know, these days if you cough people scatter in six different directions. Well, I went to work and told my co-workers not to worry. “Just allergies,” I said. “It happens every year,” I said. And it does, but not this time.

That night I slept horrible.  When my wife got up that morning, I explained I had really slept poorly.  “Just allergies,” she said. “It happens every year,” she said.  So then I merrily went to work at the office, attributing my occasional cough to allergies and my tiredness to lack of sleep.  Wednesday night was, well, not fun.  I tossed, turned, coughed, got hot and then got cold.  In the morning, I told Judy that I thought I had a sinus infection.  I messaged my friend and doctor to see if he would write me a script for an antibiotic…like a Z-Pack. At Judy’s prodding, I also told him that I would take a COVID test if he felt I should.   He thought it wise.  I have a wise friend and doctor.

So, it was Thursday morning, when I got tested and twenty-five minutes later I learned that I had indeed danced with Corena—the COVID virus.  I don’t know where I got it, nor does that matter.  What I do know is that in a matter of a few hours I had a new respect for the virus and those who danced with her before it became my turn. I felt awful.  In fact, referring to my heart stint deal three years ago, I told my daughter I would take the heart attack over my dance with Corena. Judy said I was talking out of my head.  No, I really think I would.  I managed to have almost all the symptoms and none of them made my list of top things I want to do again.

Well, if nothing else comes out of this, I know I have a better empathy for others.  You see empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is to walk a mile or so in someone else’s shoes.  I have prayed for a lot of people who danced with Corena, and I promise you I will pray a little harder now. I have felt sympathy for those who have suffered from the dance, but I will feel a deeper sympathy now.

There is one thing that didn’t change from my dance with Corena.  It is my absolute certainty that God is in absolute control of every aspect of my life…and yours.  He allowed me to dance with her so that I could learn about empathy, and sympathy, and maybe, just maybe, about slowing down because trust me…I slowed down.  Remember that verse that James the half-brother of Jesus wrote that said, “Hey, count it all joy when you find yourself in all kinds of trials?” Well, I’ve taught that Biblical joy is a “deep sense of wellbeing based on one’s faith in God and trust in His sovereign will.”  It is the chance to test what you say you believe.  Now, that’s a good thing.

So, if you have danced, or are dancing with Corena…I feel your pain.  If your family has suffered loss after the dance, I hurt with you and pray you will keep trusting the heavenly Father.  And I know one more thing.  I always try to end my story with the words, “He’s got this.”  Well, I am more, not less, convinced that He does indeed, “have this.” Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, gratitude, life, prayer, Scripture, thankful, wisdom

Z-Pack

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

They call it a z-pack.  It is called that because nobody can pronounce azithromycin.  Whatever it is called it–it works.  You know the story.  You are humming along, life is good and then you throat feels a little scratchy, your nose is a little stuffy and before long you feel awful.

Now let me explain awful.  If you are a man that means it is pretty much terminal.  It is a matter of minutes before the end comes.  Someone call 911.  If you are a woman it means that life just became a little more challenging but hey people are counting on you, so you will push through.

Man or woman–terminal or not–you will probably call and make an appointment to see the doctor.  He will determine, much to the man’s surprise, that it is not terminal.  It is an upper respiratory infection.  Then he may prescribe our friend azithromycin or a z-pack.

A z-pack is a course of five pills, often two taken the first day and one per day for the next three.  If you are a man, you take the first two and go to bed.  If you are woman, and in in particular a mother, you take the first two and go on with life.  The good news everybody generally survives.

I find too often in life this happens to me on another level. I am humming along and life is good.  The mild speed bumps and occasional pot holes of life are navigated with little or no trouble.  But then it happens. The smallest of infractions and I find myself going off–losing it.  Something doesn’t go just according to plan and I am seething.  I don’t get my way and so everyone better stay out of my way.  I’ve been infected.

No doctor is needed for this one.  It is called inselfishitis.  Let me say that again…in-selfish–itis.  Yup…for some reason it all becomes about me–or you.  While it’s caused by several things it often find’s it source in a little virus called “why me.”  I mean I understand why the neighbor deserves bad things he doesn’t even go to church.  And my brother-in-law hasn’t worked for months.  Of course, then there is cousin Eddie, never mind, we won’t even go there.

Well, the good news is there’s a z-pack for it and it is fast and effective.  Take three “pills” and before long you will be humming again.  The z-pack is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and consists of three powerful truths that will kick the “inselfishitis” bug in no time.  Here’s the z-pack. “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances.” There you go–be joyful, pray always and be thankful.”  Bye-bye blues and hello cancel the 911 call. Three simple truths, three simple practices.

A while back I got ahold of a great definition for Biblical joy.  It is “a deep sense of inner well-being based on faith in God and trust in His sovereign will.”  Now that’s powerful. Boom.  It is what we close everyday with, “rest in Him…He’s got this.”  It’s true and He does.

Praying always is simply like breathing.  It becomes second nature and an essential part of life.  You don’t even need your knees to pray.  You don’t need to close your eyes–especially if you are driving.  It is a whisper to God as needed, when needed.  And it works.

The last one is gratitude.  It is learning to be thankful for the smallest detail in your life.  News flash–God is a God of the details.  That little deal you are concerned about is not little to Him.  He loves His kids and wants them to know He will be there.  Now that doesn’t mean you get every toy in the toy store.  It does mean that He will be there whenever, forever.

The last part of verse 18 is huge.  It says, “For this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”  He wants you to do this not for three days but every day.  He wants you to be fulfilled and at rest and these simple truths will put you on the right road. So, men, put on your big boy socks and push on.  Ladies–remember we men struggle with the small things so be sure and show a little mercy when we are terminal–or at least think we are.  God does and He does it not only for the men but for all of us.  He invites us to crawl up in His lap and rest in Him.  And listen close, He’s whispering, “I’ve got this.”