Sunday, January 31, 2016

Newton, Panthers, and Super Bowl 50

I have a confession to make. Last Sunday was the first time I watched a Panther game all season. Now, that's not unusual since just like those "Christmas/Easter church goers", I'm only a Super Bowl football fan (gotta love those Snickers and Doritos commercials!).

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I didn't know who Cam Newton was (by the way, he's the Panther quarterback), didn't know he was African American, and while I had heard of "dabbing" I didn't know that was his move.

Since their fabulous win in that game against the Cardinals, I've learned a lot. I learned that Cam Newton is a generous man. I saw him giving TD balls to the young fans in the stands, but didn't know that was uncommon. I saw his incredible smile during the game and his interview after the game was short and I thought gracious.

My google search revealed that his career is not without complaint. People complain about his celebratory dancing, or not yet marrying the mother of his newborn son. He has been called arrogant and classless. Yet most of my google search, and my Facebook feeds are positive. His generosity, especially to children, his joyous demeanor, his hard work to get where he is, are all promoted.

Football has had a big run of bad publicity over the last year or so. The list of players who have been arrested is extensive. I find it somewhat a relief that the complaints against Cam Newton are about excessive celebrating and being arrogant in his abilities and not for hitting women, driving drunk, or illegal drug use.

It's all very interesting - but people do know this is only football right? It's fun, it's entertaining, it's exciting - but football is not likely to change the world. I'll be watching the game at a Superbowl party Sunday along with millions of others. I'll cheer on the Panthers like everyone else at the party (we are in North Carolina after all), but come Monday morning life will go on and it won't matter how much Cam danced or dabbed or gave during the game. What will make a difference is what each of us do with our lives. What we believe in, how we spend our time, where we give our energy, and living outside of ourselves.

Go Panthers!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Snow Gifts

We just experienced the gift of a snow day, actually three snow days. Late Thursday night, early Friday morning, it began to snow. And snow, and sleet, and snow, and sleet. Weather forecasters called for it to be one of the worst storms we've had in awhile. It wasn't, instead of the 8 -12 inches predicted we got about three. But that's okay, here in the South that's enough to shut everything down. My work was cancelled and Friday everyone stayed home. Saturday we all stayed home. And even Sunday most churches were cancelled because the secondary roads weren't even close to being cleared.

I stayed home. I brought work home with me on Thursday in anticipation of this event. But what did I do? I slept late, I watched Sherlock Holmes (again), I watched movies. I cooked, I played games, I did nothing of consequence (though I did keep up with my email at work to rearrange appointments that had to be cancelled). Sunday I started to fret, I could have worked on things. I could have cleaned, I could have worked on taxes, I could have written, I could have done a number of productive things. It was an unexpected gift of time that I could have used better. Then I stopped myself.

It was an unexpected gift of time, and I did spend that time well. I spent it on myself and on my family. I am emotionally, mentally, and physically rested.

As Emily says in her book Simply Tuesday, sometimes you need to sit on a bench instead of building cities. The past three days? I sat on a bench, and I have no regrets.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

God Comforts - Why?

On my way home from work yesterday I saw a church sign. It said, "God comforts us so we can comfort others". My first reaction was, "no He doesn't".

I had a whole dialogue with myself about it. I had my mind set that He comforts us because He loves us and cares for us. Period. As a parent I comfort my children because I love them and I want to let them know how much I love them. That's why I wrap them up in my arms and hold them tight. Period.

Then I looked up the phrase and a scripture came up, 2 Corinthians 1:4

Now what do I do . . .

I suppose when I really think about it, I subconsciously expect that when I express compassion and care for my children, they will in turn show that to others. So while I comfort my children because I love them, I also comfort them with an expectation that they will share that with others.

So, I think the sign and I are both right. Bottom line? God comforts us, and sometimes I just need to be reminded of that.
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