Thursday, October 11, 2012

Some Things To Say Before You Die, The Plunkett Version

You can click on this link and read the article for yourself.  It has some pretty good phrases that most of us should say often to ourselves and to others.

However, I would like to write my own personal list.  Enjoy it!

[This will be a work in progress for a while.]

"I was wrong!" - Let go of your pride, and admit it.  It's a pretty weak person who can't truly do this without making jokes or talking it to death.

"I love you." - Men don't say it enough?  Our society frowns on it too much?  NO!  Say it and mean it.  Others who hear you say it will remember it always.  Not a bad thing to be remembered for.

To my best friend in high school, Greg Gary: "You were the best friend I ever had."  I hated that time in my life.  I hated where I lived.  I hated my high school.  I hated what was going on in my house (which ended with my parents getting divorced at the end of my senior year.)  But you made me laugh like a fool.  You made life bearable.  You also put up with my moodiness and self-centeredness.  Greg: you were the best.

"Thank you!"  This one goes out to my boss, Ken Adams, at the University Co-Op in Austin, 1976-1980.  I worked for Ken for five years.  He worked us all hard, he demanded that we treat customers with respect, he modeled it with his own behavior, and he took care of all of us.  I miss him every single time I go into a store and I'm not treated properly.

"Somebody needed to stop you a long time ago."  This is what needed to be said to Coach Hocker, my junior high physical education teacher in Austin, Texas.  I never saw a crueler man.  He had no business being around any kids at all.  He was dangerous, demeaning, and extremely disrespectful.  As a teacher myself, I know I went over the line too often and was too strict with some students.  But Coach Hocker makes me look like Mr. Rogers.

"I will try."  Too often in my life I took the easy way out.  I didn't try, I didn't take a risk, I didn't put myself out there.  I just stepped back.  If I had it to do all over again, I would try more.

"I hope you are okay."  When I was 18, I was dating a girl named Jimmie-Lynn.  She was pretty, sweet, and really funny.  She also had a home life that was pretty stressful.  Her father was a scary, scary man - probably an abuser but I was never really sure.  I do know that everyone in that house was scared to death of him (including me!).  After a whole summer of dating, Jimmie-Lynn went to Alabama for two weeks to see her aunt and uncle.  She never came back.  After several weeks, I was finally able to reach her on the phone.  She told me she was getting married.  She met someone older, she "fell in love" and they were getting married the next day.  With her home life, I could not really blame her for wanting to get away from her father.  However, girls who are abused tend to marry into abusive situations.  I hope and pray that she found happiness.

"Leave me alone."  There is a minister in the town where I currently live who has made a habit of making my life more difficult for years and years.  When I was just beginning to explore going into ministry, this minister was on a powerful Presbytery committee.  I was blocked from doing pulpit supply preaching for two years because this minister insisted that all candidates finish both Hebrew and Greek before they can be approved to fill any pulpit in the Presbytery.  No one else on the committee wanted this rule...only this minister but no one voted it down.  As I went through the ordination process - the committees, the paperwork, the meetings, etc. - this minister had nothing good to say about me to anyone.  Nothing was ever said when I was around; all I ever got was a big smile and some friendly small-talk.  Yet I kept hearing of things going around.  So I say, "Leave me alone."  Now I am a minister of word and sacrament - a teaching elder - in the Presbyterian church, despite this minister's best efforts.  I pledge to either encourage all candidates or keep my mouth shut.

"Leave us alone."  The church I currently serve went through a terrible schism in 2008.  Over 400 people and the entire staff left over denominational differences (some of them accurate, some irrelevant).  Only 60 people remained and were granted status as a "viable remnant."  Well, that was back in 2008.  Since then, this church has truly struggled to recover from this terrible event.  What makes it even harder are the various comments we have heard in the community about us.  We are NOT denying the authority of Scripture.  We are NOT going to hell because we chose to remain in the PC(USA).  We are NOT the various things we are accused of.  What we ARE is a hurting community that is trying to recover.  We can still do good work and serve the Lord - just as the folks who left can do.  Much forgiveness has occurred, but if the cruel and careless comments from various "Christians" continue, my only response is to say, "Leave us alone."

"Wow!"  I admit that I have gotten better and better at saying this as I've gotten older.  I especially enjoy saying it when God's gift of creation overwhelms me.  When I rode the seminary bus for three miles and looked at the New Jersey version of fall, I said, "Wow!" as I marveled at the beautiful colors.  When I saw three feet of snow on the ground for the first time in my life, I said, "Wow!"  When I saw the devastation of the central Texas/Bastrop fires in 2011, I said, "Wow!" - but I also say it as I drive past now and see all the green.  "Wow!"...praise God, the Creator!

"I miss you."  Say this one before it's too late.  Don't worry about sounding weak or needy (okay...try not to say it continuously!).  But if someone you love is away from you and you get the chance, tell that someone, "I miss you."  It just might work wonders...

"I'm so sorry."  When a friend loses a loved one, what we should NOT say are those comments that mean well but do no good at all.  We all know them:
"God never gives you more than you can handle."
"Time heals all wounds."
"It's God's will."
"These's a reason...we just don't understand."
None of those statements do any good at all.  In fact, sometimes they make it even worse.  Instead, try saying "I'm so sorry."  It doesn't sound like much, but it truly is!

Pay Attention When The Game Is On...

"For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night." 1st Thessalonians 5:2 ...