May 17, 2013

A Passion for Work

A Passion for Work

Tom Coughlin, Head Coach of the New York Giants of the National Football League, has written a new book with David Fisher, titled Earn the Right To Win. It is the record of how he led the Giants to two Super Bowl victories with a combination of exceptional preparation, incredible attention to detail and his total commitment to football.

Coughlin’s passion for his work defines what it means to be a workaholic, devoting minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day to football. In a chapter on scheduling, he quotes Thomas Jefferson:
“Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing.”
I admire Tom Coughlin’s success as a head football coach, and his devotion to his work is far beyond anything I experienced in my 82 years. But that’s probably because I never allowed my occupation to consume my life. 

Undoubtedly, I could have been more successful if I had devoted every hour of every day to my career, but I preferred to share my life, my interests, and my skills with my family, my church and my community. I also reserved time to observe and enjoy the awesome beauty of the world around me, a gift from a good and gracious Creator.

Tom Coughlin chooses to devote his life to his work. For me, making a living is not the same thing as making a life.

May 8, 2013

Faith and The Myth of Happiness

In her new book, The Myth of Happiness, Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, explains how our notions about what will make us happy are often wrong. 

For example, Lyubomirsky suggests it is a myth for someone to believe that, “I’ll be happy when x, y or z happens__________ (Fill in the blank).” For example, “I’ll be happy when I get a new job; I get a bigger house; My divorce is final.” According to the author, the happiness from any such accomplishments is often fleeting.

Another myth Lyubomirsky refutes is that wealth and prosperity will lead to happiness. According to economists, as our income rises, our level of happiness appears to depend on additional needs and new spending 

I have examined The Myth of Happiness carefully for references to religion, faith, worship, or God and there are none.  While the author refers often to the joy or pain we experience in relationships, Lyubomirsky never addresses the happiness that comes from having a connection to God.

Joy is a common theme in the Holy Scriptures, and Judy White, our pastor at the Bluff Point United Methodist Church, reminds us each Sunday morning of the serenity and happiness that comes from having a relationship with Christ.

Judy is also a role model for her congregation, for despite the tragic events in her own life, her spirit still sings, and she remains one of the most joy-filled persons I know. Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ has allowed her to cope with her trials and find happiness in her life. And that’s no myth!  

May 2, 2013

A Mother’s Day Parable *

As God struggled with Creation, an angel pleaded with him to take a break. 

“I can’t. I’m too close to making someone very special,” said God. “I’m calling my creation ‘mother,’ and I already have one who heals herself when sick, can feed a family of six on a pound of hamburger and can get a nine year old to take a shower.”

Inquisitive to see just what it was that had captured God’s interest, the angel began to circle the model. “She’s too soft,” said the angel.

“But she’s tough,” said the Lord. “You can’t imagine what a mother will be able to endure,” the Creator added.

The angel ran a finger across the model’s cheek. “She’s leaking. I think you are putting too much into her. 

“That’s not a leak,” said the Lord. 

“What’s that for?” asked the angel. 

“It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness and pride,” the Lord answered.

“You are a genius!” the angel noted admiringly. 

Somberly, God said, “I can’t take credit for the tears. Those were her idea.”
* A paraphrase from Erma Bombeck’s When God Created Mothers 
Finally, an old Jewish Proverb:
“God could not be everywhere, so he made mothers.”