Reflections from the Home Team - August 21, 2020
“What kids naturally embrace is being in the moment and not having another care in the world when they are engaged. We as adults on the other hand, have a difficult time focusing on the present. If we, as adults, can incorporate this child-like behavior into our daily lives, we can surely learn to live more from the heart… especially during challenging times. When the heart softens, we can then truly feel, connect and smile, something that is not always easy during times of challenge and adversity…”
Greetings from Cedar Falls,
Have you ever noticed that at a certain age we stop playing and become more attuned to responsibilities and to things that need to get done? I’ve certainly been there! If you have the chance to watch or be with a child, you will notice the authenticity, vulnerability, laughter, tears and pure joy that they indulge in. Being in the presence of a child you have the ability to be more present; watching their moves, conversations, questions, humor and most of all play. That really struck home with me recently as my wife Tricia and my granddaughter Lucy were spending some quality time together on the farm. Trish commented it looks like we will be getting some rain soon, and Lucy asked the question “How do you know?” `Tricia shared that the weatherman (meteorologist) says there is some rain in the forecast… Lucy of course asked the next logical question; “How does he know? Do you think God sends him a note?” Trish said, I know a meteorologist, I’ll check with him. She checked in with a good friend who actually is a meteorologist and he replied… “Well, I haven’t received any notes from God recently about the weather, but He has provided me with some clues that help me with my forecasts. But we always have to be ready for surprises!” Now that’s a true weatherman’s answer!
I couldn’t have described my time at Mayo Clinic this past week any better… My team of doctors spent some quality time with me examining the “clues” as to the source of my ongoing concerns, and I don’t think God had sent them any notes prior to their “forecast”, but they have come up with some answers and a plan to help me “manage” the concerns. They also noted that “we always have to be ready for any surprises that may pop up along the way!” What a caring, knowledgeable and compassionate group of folks I was blessed to work with at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
I tie these thoughts together because as I’ve so often done when experiencing challenges, I become more analytical and often stop feeling, while at times starting to feel a bit disconnected. Being in an analytical mindset (one of the “side effects” of being a principal) can often suppress emotional feelings. Those emotional feelings, sharing laughter and tears gives us a sense of heart to heart connection that are so very important in any recovery process.
What kids naturally embrace is being in the moment and not having another care in the world when they are engaged. We as adults on the other hand, often have a difficult time focusing on the present. If we, as adults, can incorporate this child-like behavior into our daily lives: we can surely learn to live more from the heart… especially during challenging times. When the heart softens, we can then truly feel, connect and smile, something that is not always easy during times of challenge and adversity…
That brings me to this reflection. As my team of doctors at Mayo shared, before anything can be managed, it must first be recognized for what it is. This is especially important for complicated medical situations. I recall my last visit to the Mayo Clinic after being hit in the head with a baseball back in the early 90’s. It was then that I became familiar with the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr. It reads, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.” After this week’s visit, I may modify that prayer to read “God grant me the serenity to accept the things that cannot be solved, but rather that can be managed; and the courage to manage the things that cannot be solved along with the wisdom to know the difference.”
Manage, not solve are difficult words to accept when in an analytical mindset. It can also be an unsettling strategy to use as it implies that you may have to rely on your in-the-moment thinking which can lead to uncertainty and in turn, stress and anxiety. The Mayo team discussed that true answers to complicated medical issues often require extra planning in order to help understand as many of the possible outcomes as possible. It brings to mind a quote I recall from General Dwight Eisenhower in WWII. General Eisenhower said; “When preparing for battle, plans are useless, but planning is indispensable!” In my ongoing battle with cancer and its treatment side effects, the planning helps give me peace of mind as I contemplate how things might unfold but cannot always anticipate exactly how things will unfold.
Something else that gives me peace of mind, which is much needed during times of challenge and adversity is enjoying time with my grandkids and remembering what it’s like to be a child. It’s fascinating to watch, but you don’t just have to be a spectator. Viewing the world through a child’s eyes and participating with them on their journeys can help us through times of stress and anxiety in so many ways.
Children are fascinated because everything is new to them and full of possibilities. Instead of dreading whatever challenges we may face each day, we need to clear our minds and “pretend” we don’t know what to expect. By doing that we can make each day feel like a clean slate in which anything can happen. Make everything a learning experience!
Something I definitely need to be better at is just letting go, and not being busy. When’s the last time you sat outside in the sun and just let your mind wander? Or played on a swing set, or went down a slide? You don’t have to play to let things go, but too often as adults think we always need to be doing something. If we are not at work, we need to be reading or taking care of the house or some other mundane thing. It’s great to make good use of your time, but we don’t always have to be doing something. Why not take time out to enjoy the sunshine, the breeze, sitting outside with friends or family? Our tasks will still be there when we’re ready to get to them, I know mine always are. I’m planning to make this a definitive part of my management plan!
Let’s be honest –one of the best parts of being a kid is you don’t care what other people may think. I watch my grandkids dress themselves in a polka dot shirt and striped pants with different colored socks because that’s what they want to wear, and then strutting their stuff in public, just proud that they dressed themselves. Asking questions because they want to know the answer, not vowing to look it up later because they don’t want someone to laugh at them… Imagine how free we would feel if we didn’t care what people thought about us? Not to the extent you totally let yourself go, or become the office clown, but just enough so that you do things you want to do without worrying what others will think – because, honestly, you never know what other people are thinking. Maybe everyone would love your stripes, polka dots and mismatched socks!
In the Bible, God tells us that children are a blessing and a gift! Their spirits are filled with innocence, joy, and laughter. Jesus actually tells us to be like children and to come to Him full of faith and trust. The popular children's song "Jesus Loves the Little Children" reminds me that "all are precious in His sight" and no matter your race, gender or nationality, God wants to see all children come to Him. Jesus died on the cross for all people!
In Matthew, Jesus called a little child to Him and placed the child among those he was speaking to and said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:2-5
Let’s become more like children as we take on the daily challenges in our lives, learning to live more from the heart so we can then truly feel, connect and smile, something that is not always easy during times of challenge and adversity. I like to think that life is a blessing not given to us by choice, but rather by grace. As a good friend recently shared… “It is a wonder-filled life if we just have the eyes to behold it.” Let’s be sure to have the eyes to behold it!
Wishing many of life's blessings your way!
– Soon to be Released –
My website is currently “under construction” as I wait for the release of my new book Reflections from the Home Team… STAYING POSITIVE When Life Throws You a Curve! I thought you might enjoy an overview of the book which I have shared below prior to its release. I will let you know once it is released and when I have completed work on the book’s website. Thanks to each of you for your support as part of my “HOME TEAM” over the years. Your love, support and encouragement have helped carry me through many of the challenges on my life’s journey❣️
Reflections from the Home Team... STAYING POSITIVE When Life Throws You a Curve! is intended to be a resource you can turn to each day for hope and encouragement as you take on the daily challenges that life may “pitch” your way. The book is a go-to resource for injecting a healthy dose of positivity into your daily life. Positivity has been proven to make a difference in overcoming negativity and adversity, and each reflection in the book examines positive perspectives and approaches to dealing with those life challenges.
Since writing Reflections from the Home Team… Go the Distance, and surviving cancer, the author has continued to share encouragement and inspiration for others who may be facing not only serious health issues such as cancer, but other life challenges as well. By processing his cancer journey through writing reflections based on his experiences and the experiences of those he has come into contact with, David Welter has provided hope and comfort for others who may be experiencing similar challenges in their life’s journey.
As this book is released, our world has been hit with the “curve ball” of the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected millions, cost hundreds of thousands of lives, ground travel to a standstill, and threatened the global economy unlike anything experienced in generations. It is a liminal moment where the world teeters on the threshold of hope or despair, winning or losing, great pain or great gain. Remember, life is like a baseball game; when you think a fastball is coming, you have to be ready to hit the curve!
Each reflection includes an encouraging attitude, a spiritual insight and a step to consider which are frequently blended with baseball analogies and metaphors. Life’s challenges are not easy, just as baseball isn’t always easy. The game provides many lessons about success and failure, and those lessons can often be applied in our life journeys. As life’s curveballs and challenges come our way, the author encourages reaching out to our “Home Teams” (both human and divine) for the strength, love, support and comfort needed to meet them.
Pastor Brian King writes:
“Dave is a teacher and coach at heart who knows the power of a well-spoken and well-timed word. A voracious reader and lifelong learner, his insights and musings are frequently spiced with the wisdom of theologians like Richard Rohr, pastors like Max Lucado, best-selling authors like Jon Gordon and, of course, baseball greats like Mariano Rivera. Dave is someone wired by God to look for the teachable moment in every situation, the winning approach to every challenge, and the deeper meaning in every experience. People are looking for good coaching, sound advice, faithful counsel, and time-tested insights as they approach challenges they’ve never encountered before. For this reason, I am thankful that my friend, Dave Welter, has been given “the tongue of a teacher”. Even in this changing, turning, and challenging world, Dave has a word to sustain the weary; a message for “STAYING POSITIVE when life throws you a curve!”