Sunday, January 29, 2012

This week's Pep Talk: "A Good Gospel"

Like many of you, this simple dude from Missouri is an early riser. I can still remember wonderful parents and others in my youth declaring, “The early bird gets the worm.” It has always resonated with me. Wouldn’t you know it, opposites attract.

My darling girlfriend is a night owl. We don’t live together but on nights where daddy duty does not beckon, and she’s not traveling, I’m usually snuggled up against my soul mate. She struggles to comprehend why, even on the weekends, yours truly rarely allows the light of day to win the call to action. In a loving way she tells me, “It would be nice to wake up with you next to me, at least on weekends.” I’ll try, K?

In keeping with that declaration, recently, while she slept soundly on a Saturday morning, I’m lying in bed deleting unwanted photos from my cell phone. I was having storage-space problems on the darn thing and an employee at a T-Mobile store had told me, “Delete some of those photos.” I thought this was a winner: staying in bed making my love happy and getting some work done - that’s a dynamic duo!

I’m staring at a photo, taken about a year ago, of my teenage daughter’s back. We were standing in line at a Smashburger restaurant after one of her volleyball practices. For whatever reason, spirit moved me to take a picture of the statement on the back of her shirt: “We write our script daily.” That was Juggernaut volleyball’s 2011 season motto.

Lying in bed staring at that picture - saved - took cranium to another moment, many years ago, centered around darling daughter, who by the way, has made an impressive debut as a driver. Now 15 years old, she has a learner’s permit. I have a chauffeur. We make a good team.

Many years ago when this excellent volleyball player was quite younger she came home from parochial school one day and tossed backpack onto counter. I was looking through the darn thing - why do backpacks weigh so much? - seeking to discover what needed to be read, signed and sent back; discarded as trash or left untouched. In this process, I noticed a small piece of paper. Apparently from the children’s Mass earlier that Wednesday at school, it read: “We are writing our gospel a chapter a day, by the deeds we do, the words we say. Others will read what we write, determine whether it’s faithful and true. What’s the gospel according to you.”

I dunno about you, but that statement warms the marrow and I’ve used it often when presenting Pep Talks to audiences. To me, it’s asking us this: What’s our story? We’re writing it a chapter a day, by the deeds we do and the words we say, right? Trust me, I’ve been called lots of things in life, smart rarely one of them, but you can bet others will read, or watch, what we write and determine whether it’s faithful and true. What’s the gospel, what’s the story, according to us?

Is our story faithful and true? Does it honor us, nurture those dependent upon us and add value to communities served wherever we roam - home, work and elsewhere? If not, why not start today?

The task of writing a good gospel ain’t easy, right? Many things will entice us to stray, don’t. Stay strong and don’t be afraid to ask for help when thoughts of surrender invade mind, body and soul tempting us to stray from this honorable quest.

Lying in bed next to my sweetie, deleting lousy photos led to a beautiful reminder of one of life’s great truths. We write our gospel a chapter a day. This week, let’s make it a good one!

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