February, 2010


26
Feb 10

The Critical Eye

Hi, I’m back.  I feel like I fell off the face of the earth this week.  I was out of town for business and I just didn’t get to the two blog entries.

Note regarding the last blog entry:

My wife told me I had some bad grammar in my last blog.  Oops! my bad.  But as I write this I sit contently smiling with the fact that I don’t really care.

Side Note: I’m really glad she told me for a couple of reasons.

First, like every good partner they want you to look good (the picking the lint and spit and hair thing goes a bit far at times though).

Secondly, it has given me something to talk about.  Something very relevant for this journey we are on.

It’s not that I want to have bad grammar or try to bug you by my writing errors, and it’s not that I want to look stupid either.  Just so you know… not caring is a big step for me.  In my past (not too distant past) I would have really worried about what someone might think.

Side Note: Thank God for red and green squiggles under words or sentences.  If you think my writing is bad now you should see it before I get it on the computer.

Another thought struck me about my poor grammar.  If some poor grammar or a few misspelled words cause some of you to discount what I am saying, it may be something for you to look at.  You grammar snob… you’re probably bemoaning the fact that I ended the sentence with a preposition (aren’t you impressed that I know what a preposition is).

But seriously, there may be a learning here for us all as we take risks on this journey we are taking.

There is a difference between having a discerning critical eye and being critical.  Some of you just tilted your head and went…Huh?  Yep there is a difference (at least in the little world of Jerry Rushing).

Critical Eye: The ability to identify any detail that takes away or diminishes the success or purpose of something.  A critical eye enhances and elevates.

Critical: Pointing out something that may be technically correct but the intent or approach undermines success or detracts from the purpose.

Why is this so important to those of us who have decided to embark on this trek up the mountain?  Everything.

When you embark on a risky journey and explore you will naturally grow as a person.  You will change.  Change is scary sometimes to the people around us.

The sad reality is that people that are close to us are used to seeing us and knowing us in a certain way.  When we make changes in our lives the ripple effects are felt in the lives around us.  Usually that’s pretty good, but sometimes it is uncomfortable for others and they want to inadvertently force us back to the box they are use to.

Our journey will never be easy or perfect.  Growth and change is messy at times.  Some of us have the blessing of having very supportive people around us to cheer us on and provide a critical eye on little things that may helps us grow.  Others have to realize that some people are just critical and the motives… not as pure.

This is where personal resolve for your journey is key.  I am fortunate to have a supportive audience but my resolve is strong.

I know that I will not be perfect on this journey and criticism will come.  Remember Progress Not Perfection is key.

Just so you know, I had my wife proof this blog entry this time.  If there are any grammatical errors or misspelled words… let’s blame her.

Ciao


18
Feb 10

How It Started

Amazing… nearly two months into this blog thing.  It may not be amazing to you but it sure is to me. 

Some may be wondering how the blog idea began tumbling around inside of me.  This past summer was when the idea emerged and the steps began. 

What I am about to do is a risk… a BIG risk.  I am going to share an entry that I made in my journal in August of this year.  It give a pretty clear sense of the impetus for this journey.  Hopefully it will help some of you who are considering a journey of your own.

My Journal

8/29/09

“Get up”, this is what Jesus said to the man beside the pool.  A man who for over 30 years was waiting to be healed.

Jesus’ request was a simple request for a person that is whole, but not simple from the standpoint of a cripple.

But he took Jesus at his word and stood up.

I tend to believe we are all crippled and maimed is some way.  The world, life, satan have taken its toll on humanity and we bear the marks of Sin in the world.  We are crippled in ways of which we are totally unaware.

But in faith I get up today.  I get up by writing today.  The first step on a journey that from every natural measure I am not equipped for or capable of doing.  I get up.

I get up and take a step.  Albeit feeble, weak and meek… I step.

I must not worry about falling.  No one may never read my work.  But I write

Not to be read but to please my Lord and because He asked me to get up.

It’s not like He hasn’t asked a thousand times before.  It’s just that now… I am finally finished with living the life of a cripple.  I can beat myself up for not moving sooner but that thinking is the thinking of a cripple.  Always beating ones self and adding to the load that weighs you down.

So with my eyes fixed on Him… I step. 

Full focus and attention on Him.  Circumstances will clamor for my glance.  But if I glance I will notice the perceived realities of my inadequacy and all the odds against me.

Very much like Peter who stepped out of the boat to walk to Jesus on the water, with his eyes fixed he moved forward, but as he noticed the wind and storm he sank.

I get up, I step out, I write, and my eyes are fixed on Thee.

Jerry

I hope this helps some of my fellow journey friends.  Thanks for reading.

Later.


15
Feb 10

That’s Not Fair

Howdy… welcome back.

If you have been reading the last couple of blogs you know by now that I view life as a mountain.  There is a variety of terrain and steepness but there is always a slope.

We are thrown on this mountain by birth.  We had no choice in the matter.  We also had no choice where we landed.  Some entered this journey on a plush meadow that is fairly level… a relatively easy start.  Others immediately found themselves clutching to the side of a cliff barely able to hang on in the hostile environment.  This is not a judgment, just a “what is”.

I don’t know why we don’t all begin life from the same starting line… but we don’t.  It seems unfair. 

Personal Life Learning:  Fair does not mean equal

There are three things that puzzle me at times about life and fairness.

First you have the personal attributes that we are born with.  Some are born smarter or more attractive; some are gifted athletes; others are talented musically or artistically; and then there’s the rest of us.  

Then there is another layer of complexity that knocks the fairness scale totally out of kilter… the environment in which we find ourselves thrown into.   Some people grow up in an envrionment of…

  • Abundance or poverty
  • Loving or emotionally void
  • Supportive or abusive
  • Affirming or critical
  • Goal oriented and go getting or let life happen and just hang on
  • Stoic or emotional
  • Serious or fun
  • Peaceful or conflict
  • (add your own scale to the list)

 

    “We are like every other American family… dysfunctional”  - Latoya Jackson

     

    “If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest, craziest, most dysfunctional family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair.  Because five minutes at the fair, you’ll be going, ‘you know, we’re alright. We are dang near royalty.’”                                                                      - Jeff Foxworthy

Finally, (and probably the most confusing of all) life experiences.  No one can sufficiently explain why seemingly random tragedies target certain people.  It makes no sense why a person dies young, abuse, disfiguring accident, cancer at 28, abandonment, on and on ad infinitum.

We as individuals are unique blend of variety and degree of these ingredients.  Then to top it off we are boxed up with other people we live with whom have their own weird life concoction.

Needless to say this can make life very complicated and challenging.  But that is the nature of mountains.  The challenge is great but oh there is so much good that comes from the variety.  Amazing good.

That is why I am committed to routinely tossing a bottle in the ocean (blog # 1) with an encouraging message.  A message that yes, life is unpredictable and unfair but there is so so so very much to enjoy and experience.  The variety that seems like a curse is also an amazing blessing.

But we have to be willing to look beyond our present and know there is more.  If something is stirring deep within you that believes there is more… you are hearing the faint voice calling you to move higher on the mountain.

What a grand adventure.  Later.


12
Feb 10

The Big Question

I had planned to write something else today but a comment made by Kathy raised some important insights that deserve a little more attention.

Side Note: I bet some of you are expecting me to provide Kathy’s comment here.  I’m not going to pamper your pansy butts.  No way.  You’ve got to look it up yourself.  I want to keep you fit to continue the journey.

To read Kathy’s comment all you have to do is move your curser over to the right of the blog page to Recent Comments.  Then with just a little double click on “The Wall” next Kathy’s name you’ll have it.

Now to comment on what Kathy said… I think Kathy is right.  New Yorkers are rude and egocentric.

Side Note Again: If your head is tilted wondering what in the world I am writing it means that you have read Kathy’s comment.  Kudos to you.

If your head wasn’t twisting then it means that you haven’t read the comment because you didn’t know any better.

So… read the comment.  The rest of us are going to keep moving and you will need to catch up with us.

Side note to the side note: If you happen to be a New Yorker don’t be offended.  I really really like New York and New Yorkers.  I figured you had thick enough skin to help me jab my pansy butt friends.

Okay, now to the blog.

You’re right Kathy.  It’s sad but true, there are too few Myrties in the world.  And you are also right in that people have to discover for themselves that there is always more to life beyond where they currently are.

It’s hurtful to see those we love living below the joys available and we feel impotent as to how to help.

The big question is WHY?  Why are there so few Myrties?

I think there are several reasons and some too complex to adequately address and maybe futile to explore.  But I will give it a go with a couple of thoughts to stimulate thinking.

From birth we are being programmed.  Society bombards us from birth that our adequacy and meaning is centered around a deceptive trio of “A’s” Accomplishment, Attainment, and Approval.

Side Note: Let’s be clear… there is nothing wrong with having great accomplishments, attaining wonderful unique things and having people’s approval.

The issue is believing the lie that these things determine our worth or meaning.

Those of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning know that I struggled with the need of approval.  I can assure you that pursuing any or all of the three “A’s” leads to a self imposed bondage.  If the “A’s” are your pursuit you are never free.  Any of you reading this blog who have struggled with any of the three “A’s” know how burdensome it can be.

But if we are paying attention, there is a voice calling us to better things (blog # 2).  This voice from around the corner is a voice of freedom.  This journey I have embarked upon is very liberating.

I believe to the core of my being that we all live so far below what God wants for us and has for us in this life.  There is more depth, breadth, and height and especially freedom to life

How do we become free and in turn help those stuck in the hole?  We must live a life that listens for the voice from around the corner that beckons us to something more.  We must be willing to take a risk and step out.

I would like to know why you think there are so few Myrties.  Any thoughts?

(Some of you may be wondering, Myrtie who?  I introduced Myrtie in the last blog entitled Over the Hill.)

Talk with you early next week.

Ciao


8
Feb 10

Over the Hill

Its time to get up from the rock I’ve been sitting on the last couple of days and continue the trek up the mountain. 

I hope I am not making this mountain thing too philosophical but stick with me for a bit.  I have two key personal learnings regarding this mountain metaphor and life that I hope will be helpful.

First, life is a mountain.  This is not meant to be discouraging… just fact.  Life is not a flat plain.  Because we live on an incline, life constantly requires effort.  It means that it requires effort to just stay where we are. 

          “The only trouble with life is that it is so constant.”  - Anonymous

Since it requires effort to just remain in place it means that more effort is needed to get ahead.  A person who isn’t putting forth any effort doesn’t just come to a stop, in reality they start sliding back down hill. 

Side note:  Anything left unattended deteriorates.  This means anything…

  • Houses
  • Relationships
  • Cars
  • Children
  • Yard
  • Anything

When I finally grasped the life implications of this truth (the Law of Entropy) I began to look at things a lot differently.

It is important that you don’t confuse all effort with work.  Spending your entire life in labor has its own downfalls.  (different topic for a different time)

If you think about it, even fun enjoyable rewarding aspects of life require effort.  You have to make an effort to have friends, enhance your talents, expanding your mind, etc.  All of these bring joy and pleasure but require effort.

Second, you never reach the top… there is always more for you to experience, learn, enjoy, and contribute.  For years I have heard the phrase Over the Hill.    Although it was blurted out in a kidding jabbing sort of way it somehow signified your best days are behind and now you’re headed downward.

What some people believe as Over the Hill is in reality a person sliding back down.

Personal Note:  I know I will age but I never want to grow old

There is no question that as we age our senses start to dull; our bodies aren’t as strong and agile; and sometimes we just get tired.  But it is the journey that keeps us going.  The call from around the next corner, the anticipation of “what’s next”, and the joy going beyond where we thought we could go.

BUT… we are not over the hill!  We just have to be careful to keep from sliding back down the hill.

Very Important Note:  You can’t measure how high you are on the mountain by the amount of money you make, the places you’ve been or the position you hold.  It is something internal not external.

One of the powerful ah ha’s of life came when I was channel surfing one day a few years ago.  I ran across a program of a round table discussion with former child stars.  They were discussing the joys and challenges of the life of a child star.  The ah ha came when one of the former child stars indicated that it was extremely hard to accept that at eleven years of age you have reached your peak in life.

Wow, what a sad, stirring, and powerful statement.  To live with the perceived concept that at age eleven your best years are behind you.  But this is true for a lot of people who frame their life around a specific accomplishment (some athletes for example). 

Another ah ha of the opposite extreme came when reading a book by Chuck Colson called Loving God.

Side Note:  To my non-Christ follower friends… don’t worry I’m not getting preachy.  Just a great story.

Chuck Colson shared the story of Myrtie Howell.  Myrtie was alone at ninety one, living on a fixed income in a depressing home for the elderly.  But Myrtie continued her steps up the mountain by writing to people in prison.  She would contact a prison and ask for names of inmates who didn’t get mail.  So she wrote them.  She became Grandma Howell to many inmates who were alone and unknown.

Humm… it’s interesting to me that I don’t remember the child stars name but I remember Grandma Howell.

The body may give out but there is still more.  The steps smaller and slower, but there’s still more.  Because you see, the higher you get on the mountain the greater the view and greater the reward. 

So I continue to climb.  Wanna join me?


4
Feb 10

The Vacant Look

The page is blank and I face the screen with this dazed stare.  The same kind of void look you only see in the eyes of zombies in “B” rated movies.  Or a better example is the completely vacant look of the young cashier who must make change manually because the electronic register has crashed.  No one home!

My mind is empty and creativity no where to be found.  I guess you might say I am resting on a rock.  I know that sitting on a rock sounds weird but it makes a little sense if you have been following the trek I have been on.

So I guess today my mind was tired and decided to stop for a rest.  Maybe I needed it after the weighty stuff we have been talking about in the past couple of blogs.

Pretty sad if you ask me…  nine entries and I need a rest already.  I need the rest because writing is not an easy task for me.  I don’t feel very competent at this writing thing so the energy expended is greater.  Have you ever notice how much energy it takes to do something that is so easy for some other people.

Let’s face it.  When a person is naturally gifted at something they tend to wonder why it is such a challenge for someone else who is struggling.  I do the same thing.  I have a few talents that come so easily and naturally that I believe it should be easy for others.  In fact, I’m sorry to say, I’ve gotten frustrated with people because I thought they should know how to do something so simple.  Guilty as charged!

Question: (for those who have children)

Which do you value more regarding your child,

  • Success or effort?
  • Comfort or risk?

Someone told me one time that most people are talented enough to be mediocre.  It’s true.   Most people have enough going for them to get by.

I don’t know about you but I’m tired of getting by.  But making the decision to step out is risky.  The world around us will try (not maliciously) to keep us where they are comfortable.  Weird… our change makes it uncomfortable for them.

There are two important lessons here for me.

  1. Step out (which I’m doing with this blog thing)
  2. Give space to those around you who want to step out.  In fact encourage.

I ran across this poem a few years ago that to me sums up the need to encourage.

The Average Child

by Mike Buscemi

I don’t cause teachers trouble;
My grades have been okay.
I listen in my classes.
I’m in school every day.

My teachers think I’m average;
My parents think so too.
I wish I didn’t know that, though;
There’s lots I’d like to do.

I’d like to build a rocket;
I read a book on how.
Or start a stamp collection…
But no use trying now.

’Cause, since I found I’m average,
I’m smart enough you see
To know there’s nothing special
I should expect of me.

I’m part of that majority,
That hump part of the bell,
Who spends his life unnoticed
In an average kind of hell.

So I am stepping out.  And I am not going to let anyone discourage me.

Anyway… at least I can make change if the electronic cash register goes down!  So there!

C U Monday.


1
Feb 10

Our Quirky Side

Wow!  It has been a month since I launched the blog.  Kinda cool, but in the bigger scheme of things not that big of a deal.  The bigger question is will I still be actively posting my mental meanderings a year from now?

Frankly I can’t and shouldn’t let myself worry about that.  All I have to do is to be willing to post an entry for today.  And then a couple of days from now be willing to post another.  For too long I put too much pressure on myself to accomplish lofty goals.

The majority of people I know are really motivated by goals.  They set personal and professional goals and then create a plan to accomplish them.  It becomes a strategy game that motivates, focuses, and the reward is attaining the goal.

What I am about to say is very strange.  Me… I’m different.  In fact I feel sort of embarrassed sharing this but I tend to be demotivated by goals.  Yes, I know… weird.

Now I’m going to sound weirder… I have destinations but not goals.  See I told you it would be weird.  I don’t know if I should be worried or not but the statement makes sense to me.

For years I was really bothered by this.  I self analyzed, examined and figuratively speaking, beat myself up.  I’ve got a pretty good handle on all of this now but I am curious what you may think.  Why do you think a person can be demotivated by goals?  Any thoughts?

That’s why movement and direction are so very important to me.  If I keep putting one foot in front of another then I’ll get there.

You may be wondering, what does this have to do with our journey up the mountain?  Everything!

All of us have quirky, weird, unique things that have made our own personal journeys more challenging.  Usually this stuff is more in our heads than reality.  Yet we empower the dumbest things.

The solution… start walking, keep walking, move forward… thus the journey.  I have found that there will always be clutter in and around that will continually compete for our time, energy and most importantly our resolve.  The resolve to place one foot in front of the other and decide not to entertain thinking that distracts.

I will work hard not to be redundant in this blog but there is something I wrote in entry # three “The Wall” worth repeating.  Usually the things that distract seem very rational.

My definition of RATIONALIZE:  Rational Lies

Ciao… Thursday.