Saturday, May 16, 2015

Reflections from the Home Team May 16, 2015

"To be successful, you have to fix your eyes and focus on the ball, blocking out 
all those things that may be whirling around in your mind competing for your 
focus and attention.”

Greetings from Cedar Falls,

I wanted to take a moment to update you as it’s been a while since I’ve shared a Reflection. Some have asked how I am doing as I haven’t shared a Reflection since January. In short, I had a visit to Iowa City in late April and will be heading down again next week for some follow up visits. Good news is that the “visiting team” has not returned for extra innings, and I continue working through those pesky side effects.  As I shared in my last Reflection in January, some cardiac issues were corrected with the implant of a pacemaker in July and I’m very thankful for the medical support I have received and the fact the pacemaker has allowed me to resume my normal pace and activities.

That brings me to this particular reflection… 

As we all face a number of issues each and every day that seem to demand our attention, I wanted to “focus” on what has helped me get through some difficult days in the past month. The month has included some thoughts on dealing with the pace that life tends to throw our way on a regular basis, some of those “pesky” side effect issues from the cancer treatments, as well as the heartache that comes our way with the passing of those who may be close to us.  Honestly, life this past month has been a blur and it has been hard to sometimes keep a balance and focus on the things that need my attention.

My mind raced with thoughts on how to deal with these issues and caused some restlessness over the past month. I kept coming back to some advice my College baseball coach gave me about focus… I recall him saying; “To be successful, you have to fix your eyes and focus on the ball, blocking out all those things that may be whirling around in your mind competing for your focus and attention.”  That was good advice as it paid dividends on the diamond.  I kept coming back to that thought this past month as I dealt with some of the concerns I had mentioned earlier.

My dad was having a difficult time battling Parkinson's the past few months and it was difficult to see him fight the disease with the grit and determination he had modeled his whole life for me.  He developed pneumonia on April 24th, and went home to be with his loving Father on Sunday, April 26th. As I dealt with all those issues that go through a person’s mind when faced with losing a loved one, I read from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling devotional Friday morning, and it immediately brought me peace…

April 25 devotion from Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling"

“MAKE ME YOUR FOCAL POINT as you move through this day. Just as a spinning ballerina must keep her eyes on a given point to maintain her balance, so you must keep returning your focus to Me. Circumstances are in flux, and the world seems to be whirling around you. The only way to keep your balance is to fix your eyes on Me, the One who never changes. If you gaze too long at your circumstances, you will become dizzy and confused. Look to me, refreshing yourself in My Presence, and your steps will be steady and sure. (Hebrews 12: 2; Psalm 102: 27)”

Just as my coach had shared that to be successful on the diamond, you have to fix your eyes and focus on the ball, I once again realized that the “ball” in our daily lives is Jesus, and that our focus needs to be on Him each and every day. He will refresh us daily and help keep us on balance when we can so often get dizzy and confused with the “whirlwind” of things that come our way. 

Dad taught me many things as I grew… At times, he had what some would consider a “tough” exterior, but we always knew there was a large, warm and caring heart inside… (just didn’t want to mess up to see that exterior side of him)! He often had a sense of humor when dealing with difficult situations, yet faced them head on without complaining. He rarely talked about his service to our Country until his later years, just as so many of his generation did. He taught us all to be fighters, to work hard and to stick up for what we believe is right. His final hours demonstrated that, and his spirit for life and living will live on with us all forever…

Robert Welter’s Obituary:

A good friend shared a verse that was especially comforting as we spent our final hours together with dad as a family…

God saw you getting tired and a cure was not to be.
So he put His arms around you and whispered ‘Come to Me’.

Those words truly brought comfort to me, and I’m sure they would as well to those who are facing diseases such as Parkinson’s and cancer. May we each get “focused” on what is truly important each day, blocking out all those things that may be whirling around in our minds and are competing for our focus and attention. As we encounter problems which seem to have no immediate solution, our responses can either take us up or down. We can lash out at the difficulty, resenting it and feeling sorry for ourselves which will take us down into a pit of self-pity. Or, we can use it as a chance to see it from a higher perspective, being that the obstacle frustrating you is only a “light and momentary trouble”.  Once our perspective is heightened, our “focus” can be taken away from the problem altogether and placed back on Jesus to be refreshed in His daily presence.  

Hebrews 12:2 “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Blessings to each of you and your families!


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"