Saturday, May 17, 2014

Reflections from the Home Team May 17, 2014


”Pitching is an art… it’s not about blowing someone away with a 98 mph fastball… it’s about control, location and changing speeds. I always threw hard enough, it took me a while to figure out how to throw slow enough…”
Greg Maddux

Greetings from Cedar Falls,

I wanted to take a moment to update you all as I have had a number of questions following a recent hospitalization at Covenant in Waterloo. In short, the “visiting team” has not returned for extra innings which is good news.  Tests in Iowa City confirmed that the cancer was still in remission in early April, and follow ups have been good in that regard.  My doctors continue monitoring my lab counts as always to keep a close eye on things. I had some cardiac issues which were the reason for my stay at Covenant.  Lots of testing done and things are moving forward positively after making a few adjustments.  Some genetics at play of which I have little control, but once again, I’m very thankful for my medical support both locally and in Iowa City.

I wanted to share some recent reading I have been doing as well.  I seem to have had a bit more time while being laid up for a few days so I picked up Max Lucado’s “You’ll Get Through This… Hope and Help for Turbulent Times”. You may know Max as he authors a number of inspirational Greeting Cards.  His book is very good. I especially liked his chapter titled Is God good when life isn’t?”

 In the book, Max draws many parallels to turbulent times in our lives such as a traumatic injury or diagnosis, unemployment, a broken marriage, divorce and he likens them to being thrown into a pit. He compares those times in our lives to the Biblical story of Joseph being thrown in a pit... 

“Joseph’s pit came in the form of a cistern. Joseph was thrown into a hole and despised. Pits have no easy exit and Joseph’s story got worse before it got better. Abandonment led to enslavement, entrapment, and imprisonment. He was sucker-punched. Sold out. Mistreated. People made promises only to break them. Offered gifts only to take them. As Max points out, “If hurt is a swampland, then Joseph was sentenced to a life of hard labor in the Everglades.” Yet he never gave up. Bitterness never staked its claim. Anger never metastasized into hatred. His heart never hardened; resolve never vanished. He not only survived; he thrived. By the end of his life, Joseph was the second most powerful man of his generation. His life offers this lesson: in God’s hands, intended evil becomes ultimate good. Joseph would be the first to tell you, life in the pit stinks. Yet, for all its rottenness, doesn’t the pit do this much? It forces you to look upward. Someone from up there must come down here and give you a hand. God did for Joseph. And at the right time, in the right way, he will do the same for you.”

If there is one thing I’ve learned from my journey in life so far, it’s that when we are faced with difficult times, we need to give “control” over to God. I’ve often struggled with this as part of me wants to be in control at all times. It reminds me of something I heard one of my favorite players share at a pitching clinic one time.  His name is Greg Maddux and he was one of the best “control” pitchers of all time. Of course, much of his success came during his time with the Atlanta Braves! Greg shared:

”Pitching is an art… it’s not about blowing someone away with a 98 mph fastball… it’s about control, location and changing speeds. I always threw hard enough, it took me a while to figure out how to throw slow enough…” 

I draw an analogy to Greg’s quote with how I’m hoping to adjust and live my life given some of the challenges that have been “thrown” my way. Living life is an “Art”… So many times life’s pace is so fast that we can get “blown away” as we race to keep up with the things that often get tossed our way in today’s world.  It can affect many things in our lives from our health, to our marriage to our relationships with others. Life is about “control”, location and changing speeds… Personally, I always have thrown hard in my life, and it has taken me a while to figure out how to throw slower... As for “control”, I have found by placing my troubles in God’s hands and allowing Him to be in control, peace has entered where panic once resided and calmness settled in where anxiety once ruled. It’s a comforting feeling.

With summer nearly upon us, I’m wishing you all an enjoyable time filled with plenty of baseball and relaxation. A short verse shared in Max’s book provides a good reminder about the “Art of Living” when faced with challenging times…

You’ll get through this.
It won’t be painless.
It won’t be quick.
But God will use this mess for good.
Don’t be foolish or na├»ve.
But don’t despair either.
With God’s help, you’ll get through this.

Blessings your way!

Sincerely, Dave

Link to: Reflections from the Home Team BLOG

Link to Vimeo: Reflections from the "Home Team"... Go the Distance
Link to: Tommy Emmanuel and "Angelina"