Archive for January, 2013

Will you survive?

I stopped the shaggy wagon at a Chik-fil-a in Temple, Texas. We were on the dreaded post-holiday drive from Dallas to Boerne, near San Antonio. I opened my driver side door, carefully setting it so as not to connect with the neighboring vehicle. The owners of the shiny Cadillac Escalade were in their car.

As I paused to gather wallet, phone and trash from the console, a gust of late December wind blew by.

A southern wind would have conveniently shut my door. But this norther slammed my Chevy Suburban door into the new Cadillac. Crap. Claims, deductibles and body shops swirled in my head like a Texas tornado. I wouldn’t get out for less than $300. All for a little nick in a luxury fender. And I was trying to be so careful.

My options also flew through my mind: break for the bathroom, the interstate, or that popular river in Egypt: denial.

My honor got the best of me as the lady in the passenger seat made her way out of the car. “M’am, the wind blew my door into your vehicle.”

The middle-aged woman and I examined the spot where connection occurred. It was no tiny blemish. A white gash about an inch and a half tall virtually jumped off the crease in her maroon fender. I apologized and hoped she noticed all the mouths I had to feed. Then came the verdict.

“Don’t worry about it. We’ll survive.”

I would expect that response from a rancher in an old work truck. Not from a lady in a new Cadillac. What prompted it on this day? The Christmas season, an exorbitant bank account that wouldn’t notice the repair bill, a true carelessness for the material (not likely for a Cadillac owner)? I didn’t stop to ask her reasoning for fear she would change her mind.

But I did walk away thinking about “we’ll survive” as a life motto. We could certainly do a lot worse.

The phrase speaks of contentment, grace, and a belief things will be okay in the end. It acknowledges that life’s not perfect or fair and that no amount of retribution will make it so.  It keeps one from being too easily offended or knocked off track by the door dings of life.

For a person of faith, the meaning, of course, runs much deeper. “I’ll survive” has eternal implications. See John 3:16.

But even in the here and now, in a world of entitlements, victims and personal irresponsibility, “we’ll survive” is a refreshing mantra. It asserts that one will determine to accomplish the things that are necessary, most important. It prioritizes perseverance.

Colorado mountaineer Aron Ralston provides some inspiration at this point. In 2003, a destabilized boulder trapped him in a remote Utah canyon never to be found in five days of waiting. Ultimately, he survived by amputating his own arm with a pocket knife and then hiking to help.

After the fact, he acknowledged that the accident was no one’s fault but his own. He broke the first rule of hiking alone: inform another of your location.

Like the lady in the Caddie, it now probably takes more than a door ding to ruin Mr. Ralston’s day. “I’ll survive” has a way of softening the space between a rock and a hard place.

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. He can be reached at kevin@kwt.info.

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Happy New You!

A most hopeful aspect of life is the prospect of change, that things don’t always have to be as they’ve always been.

The Creator was gracious in establishing many news. New days, weeks, months, and, today, a New Year. The good book says his enduring love never stops. His mercies are new with each turn of the earth.

Despite our frailty, alas we aspire. In case you didn’t have time to aspire for more than a Keurig coffee maker or an argument-free Christmas dinner, here are some resolution recommendations. Plagiarize freely.

Get lazy

At about 10:00 p.m. every night. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported last year that 30 per cent of Americans get less than 6 hours of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation eventually diminishes mental, physical and relational health.

If something didn’t get done by ten o’clock, it was unimportant enough to wait until tomorrow. Remember what the kid said whose dad brought home a briefcase of work every night, “Dad, you need to move to a slower reading group.”

Enjoy more sugar

From your spouse, grandkids or puppy. UT Southwestern Medical Center found that Americans consume a record 22 teaspoons of cane sugar daily. That’s 3.6 times what’s recommended for women, 2.4 times the recommendation for men. Even the salty stuff is loaded with it. Often “low fat” foods are, too.

The biggest health problem my doctor sees is the annual five pound increase on his patients. Joints bear the burden. Cardiovascular systems feel the pressure. A consistent weight year after year is the foundation of physical health.

Get your sugar fix by kissing your spouse goodnight every night. 100% of divorced couples didn’t take this advice.

Read less

Material written in the last 25 years. Go with books that have been tested by time and won. Proven wisdom lives there. So does perspective. In our easy-publish world, there is more content than time. Let others filter the new stuff. If it’s good, it will still be in print 25 years from now.

Watch more TV

That is planned and premeditated. A&E, History Channel, documentaries, period dramas, clean comics like Tim Hawkins. You’ll avoid the “Why did I just waste an hour on that?” hangovers. Besides, these programs are better fodder for the water cooler than the average situational comedy written by some guy you’d never let your daughter date.

Spend more money

On things you’ve specifically budgeted for in a pre-written plan. Keeping track after the fact is better than nothing. But it won’t lead to your highest financial goals.

Money goes out in many ways these days (electronic, debit card, check, cash, auto-draft, etc.). Meanwhile, it still only comes in by one, old-fashioned method: hard work. A detailed spending plan on the front end that is well executed on the back, this is a secret to building wealth.

*****

We lost a master of motivation in 2012. Hilary Hinton “Zig” Ziglar passed away in November. His words of wisdom could fill many columns. At least one of his lines deserves mention as we take on a new year and a new batch of dreams:

“If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Happy New Year.

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. He can be reached at kevin@kwt.info.


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