I’m having a lot of “Yeah, but…” conversations lately. They are unhealthy, yet I keep having them and they go something like this: “The COVID case numbers are ________,” someone says. “Yeah,” I say, “but that’s because ________.” “Well,” the other person replies, “remember that ________.” “Yes, I suppose that’s true,” I say, “but then _________.” Point, counterpoint. But, rebut. This, that. I feel myself getting tense. Sometimes, I change my language a little. I switch from “Yeah, but…” to “Yes, I know, however…” Or sometimes, I try… Continue reading “yeah, but….” conversations
I recently had outpatient surgery – a hernia repair – robot-assisted. It had to be done. So, I scheduled it and showed up at the hospital at the appointed time two hours before the actual surgery. I signed in and was greeted by a very friendly stranger. “Let’s get you back there,” she said. “Already?” I asked, thinking I’d have a wait. But no, she took me straight to a little prep room. “The pre-op nurse will be here momentarily,” she said. Then she handed me three plastic bags. “This… Continue reading where are my pants?
My wife and I were on the bright outdoor patio of a Mexican restaurant recently. What a day! The weather was perfectly balanced, warm enough to make a welcome breeze and the breeze just cool enough to want the sun back. Then came a sudden crashing metallic BOOM! from the adjacent lot. Everyone on the patio jumped in their seat and immediately turned to locate the danger. Ah! There was a construction project, trucks rolling up loaded with soil to level out the lot. We all saw it about the… Continue reading love or fear: what motivates your talk?
I went to my annual eye exam last week. I knew the first question they would ask would be, “How was your vision in 2020?” Although they would pose the question quite literally, I sat in the waiting room thinking more philosophically: How was my vision in 2020? Looking back, I don’t think I saw things clearly. Just then, the tech called me back and began the intake process. Sure enough, she asked, “How was your vision this past year?” “Well,” I hesitated, pondering, “Honestly, things seemed pretty blurry.” “Oh?”… Continue reading 2020 Hindsight
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 My inbox piles up. This bothers me. New email arrives and pushes the older emails down until they disappear below the screen horizon. But I know they are there, all those unanswered, unresolved, undecided emails. I don’t want to look. Of course, the more I avoid looking the worse it gets. Lines and lines… Continue reading inbox indecision
The third angelic visitation happened to shepherds who were minding their own business, which is to say that they were minding sheep. They weren’t preparing for Christmas; they were preparing for bed. At this odd time (the middle of the night) and at this odd place (the middle of a field) an angel of the Lord appeared to them to announce the birth of the Messiah. You might also note the oddity of an angel appearing to these strange characters, for it seems peculiar that shepherds would be a chosen… Continue reading How to Prepare for Christmas Part IV: the Shepherds
Luke: “…God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph…” The first thing you notice about how Mary approached Christmas is that she didn’t. Christmas approached her: “God sent the angel…” He initiates the encounter. This heavenly message drastically upended Mary’s expectations. She had no plans to be Mary, mother of God. She was going to simply be Mrs. Joseph, wife of carpenter. She was going to raise a family in a little (but well-built) home… Continue reading How to Prepare for Christmas Part III: Mary
The first “fear not” visitation was the archangel Gabriel’s visit to the priest Zechariah announcing that his decades-long prayer for a child had been heard. The news, designed to bring “joy and delight” to Zechariah, first produced fright. So what’s up with that? Why the scare? Do you have to be off-balance in order to receive good news? I can relate to Gabriel’s mission. As a boy, if I knew my older sister was going into our unfinished basement, say to get something from the freezer, I would run around… Continue reading How to Prepare for Christmas Part II: Zechariah
Three angelic visits prepared for the world for the birth of Christ. Three times heaven touched the earth. Three times the earth tilted awkwardly under the weight of glory. Three times those that witnessed those angelic visits were thrown off-balance. It was intentional. Off-balance, it seems, is how you prepare for Christmas and the three angelic visits illustrate this. You begin the journey to Christmas – not by getting your bearings – but by losing them. First, Gabriel appeared to Zechariah while he was burning incense in the temple, to… Continue reading how to prepare for Christmas: part I
Recently, I named my inner critic. I chose Ned (short for Ned-in-My-Head, which stands for Negative Edwards; get it?). The idea, which I got online, is this: nicknaming your inner critic gives a little critical distance to first recognize when it is happening, and then make some choices about how to engage that voice. The more I thought about this, the more hopeful and empowering it became. Imagine! What if you could relate differently to that inner negative voice? What if you could get enough distance to actually dialogue productively… Continue reading Ned-in-My-Head Part II: Dealing with Your Inner Critic