Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pep Talk: "Ties Between Us"

“There are ties between us” croons Rock and Roll Hall of Famer James Taylor. I’m listening on my office Ipad. He might have initially forgotten which words to sing at the World Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals, but the legendary singer/songwriter hit every note with the 1991 hit, “Shed A Little Light.”

The 65-year-old grew up in a rural area of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His father, a doctor, taught at the University of North Carolina medical school. Taylor released the song on the New Moon Shine album and goes on to sing:

“All men and women, living on the Earth. Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood. That we are bound together, in our desire to see the world become a place where our children can grow free and strong. We are bound together by the task that stands before us and the road that lies ahead.”

Amen, brother. Sometimes that task is arduous. The road ahead is fraught with peril. What will we do? Will we put fear and self doubt aside and allow courage and wonderment to win? It’s the zillion-dollar question we have to ask ourselves on an almost daily basis.

But never forgot Taylor’s wise words that “There are ties between us.” Let’s not try to take on any big challenge alone. We have to rally around each other and encourage one another to prevail against what ails us. I love that word “encourage,” defined as “To give hope and confidence to.” In my opinion, it’s a powerful force that more than once has played a huge role in successful endeavors, whether for individuals, teams, businesses, schools, and churches or in many other noble efforts I’ve forgotten. Let’s use the ties between us to focus on encouraging one another to have the guts to, as Dr. Jerry Gibson likes to suggest, “Be like a turtle and stick our necks out.”

I think of a buddy from Friday morning men’s fellowship. He and his courageous wife are certainly sticking their necks out. They have embraced into their already busy family of five, two sisters who lost their parents in a murder/suicide. “It’s going pretty well,” the amazing man offered to about a dozen or so fellow dudes gathered at a recent Platoon meeting. “I haven’t managed to mess things up yet.” 

Two daughters and one son suddenly became four daughters - all teenagers - and a younger son. Taylor’s “There are ties between us...” resonates deeply. A good tie is to encourage a loving couple to continue their great job of integrating and enriching their family.

“There are ties between us....” then takes my mind to 27-year-old Ryan Horan. He aspires to work as a sportscaster someday. We met recently at a Muscular Dystrophy Association of Denver event I was blessed to host. He would make a great sports talk show host. The devout Broncos’ fan can debate the hot sports topics with the best in the Mile High City’s crowded but diverse sports talk radio world. His courage in fighting a disease that robs his muscles of movement is inspiring. A good tie is to keep encouraging Ryan to “go for it!”

“We are bound together in our desire to see the world became a place where our children can grow free and strong...” burrows deep into my psyche while continuing to write this Pep Talk. There is no shortage of needs in a quest to see the world become a place where our children can grow free and strong, where our communities can grow prosperous and diverse, where our differences can be discussed and resolved.

There are ties between us. We are bound together. There are tasks before us. There is a road that lies ahead – at home, work and elsewhere.

That’s the simple stuff. How will we deal with the ties between us? Will we realize, like it or not, we’re bound together? Will we address the big elephant sitting squarely in the middle of the room about the tasks, desired or not, before us on the roller coaster road we call life?

Each Thursday morning’s chapel service at Denver Rescue Mission ends with a bunch of knuckleheads gathered with arms around one another. Guys just off the streets, trying like heck to find meaning and purpose to life. I’m trying like heck to encourage them to grow in spirit and realize their potential. We end our 30 minutes bound together, proclaiming in hearty unison, “Warriors!”

I love James Taylor. Always have. On a lazy Saturday, listening to his soulful sound reminded me about the ties between us. Let’s make ‘em good ones!

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