Tag Archives: blessings

Once More With Feeling

21 Nov

“I was telling people that you were going to die, Willy.”

It wasn’t exactly your normal breakfast talk. A physician fraternity brother offered this up during a trip to the ol’ alma mater earlier this month. The hustle and bustle of the diner, omelettes and orange juice, and his four kids stuffed into a booth with four adults offered quite a contrast to the weighty message.

Willy, my “little brother” from our fraternity days two decades past, is two years removed from a brutal bout with something called necrotizing pancreatitis. “This is a disease where your pancreas ‘eats’ itself which, in turn, affects the kidney, liver and various digestive processes,” he wrote shortly after his release from the hospital in November 2014. “The [South Dakota] hospital decided to fly me to Asheville to be closer to my mom because they were not sure that I would live through the summer. I went through 13 surgeries, dialysis and had a bout of psychosis where I saw things. I am now a Type 1 diabetic, I can’t walk well, and I have five tubes coming out of my lung, abdomen, and stomach. However, I am dealing with it all.”

Dealing with it all, he wrote so simply. Willy’s gentle, understated tone ran through my head and ran up against the horrifying reality of a struggle most of us can’t even begin to imagine…

Struggle was nowhere near my thoughts the rest of that gorgeous fall Saturday as he and I strolled around the sun-splashed Wake Forest campus, stopping at the chapel, the bookstore and the statue of Arnold Palmer, our fellow Demon Deacon and global golfing legend who passed away just weeks before.

Later that afternoon, before the football game between two of Willy’s alma maters — he’d gotten a degree from visiting Virginia as well — we checked out Wake’s Sports Hall of Fame, got some greasy grub from a favorite college dive and soaked up the tailgating energy.

When I drew blood handling a beer with a faulty bottle opener, Willy was giving himself an insulin shot. When the football contest was too close for comfort, I was stressed. Willy was less.

There I was thinking in my routine, short-term way: successful work week, enjoyable weekend, good trip… good game.

And there was Willy: “Relearning what it means to have a life is such a blessing.”

Advertisements

My Top 5 Favorite Mistakes

31 Jul

I’m the king of mistakes. Just ask my wife! [cue rimshot]

Not sure if it was a country song, a Sunday sermon or perhaps just a routine counting of my blessings, but I recently got to thinking about the missteps along life’s road and the good that can come from them — luck, character, patience, unanswered prayers, etc.

5. DOUBLE BREAKER: I was hitting my approach to the 3rd green at my father’s golf club and was quite sure I’d be trying again with a new ball as my shot was destined for the middle of the creek fronting the putting surface. Except luck, usually a stranger to my golf game, intervened. I watched in pleasant disbelief as my ball bounced off the bridge spanning the water hazard and then proceeded to carom off a pine toward the green.

4. SUMMERTIME BLUES: For the summer of ’94 all this college student wanted was to leave Georgia and Hotlanta behind for independence, adventure and a resort job out West. Instead I found myself working a poorly planned concessions stand at Tank Top Golf Club in Bremen, Ga., which was a brutal hour or so commute west of the city. I also had a hydroplaning accident and an interstate breakdown trying to get out to the job! The good man upstairs took pity and rewarded me with an Alaskan summer the next year and a Europe-Olympics-Bahamas season after that.

3. THE ROAD MORE TRAVELED: After getting my master’s degree in ’03 the last thing I wanted to do is return to Atlanta, but a job brought me back to town. And the new gig was where I met my beautiful wife.

1-2. SUGAR AND SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE: Hard to believe that for both of our beautiful babies I was rooting for a boy (Full Disclosure: the Lee name is still in doubt for the next generation). Now that I’ve learned to think pink and play princess there’s no going back!

 

Are You Prepared?

26 Sep
Photo Credit: MrWallPaper.com

The light of information helps us in preparation. The light of inspiration does so much more.

September is “National Preparedness Month.” This means something quite different for our nation’s first responders and, of course, incredibly brave military men and women than it does most of us here in the more routine, drama-free world.

Something is lost in life if one walks around every corner on heightened alert, but knowing how to handle sudden situations — from emergency to opportunity — is a hallmark of successful people and ingrained in our great leaders. Life’s roller coaster can throw a lot at you…

How do you prepare for three funerals in 20 days (last winter)?

How do you ready yourself for twins (both my friends and neighbors in the past 10 mos.)?

And on a lighter note, how do you handle putting Jimmy Carter on a ski lift (my brother) or interviewing Hank Aaron for your first magazine assignment (yours truly)?

It’s been said that success is where preparation meets opportunity, and there’s obviously a lot of truth to that. We prepare for emergencies and openings. What about blessings though? We pray for them, but do we really prepare for them? I like to think God would make the following edit: “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst first.”

Something for which I was wholly unprepared was also one of the two greatest blessings in my life. My heart could not feel more full because of our sweet 4-year-old, but somehow its capacity doubled earlier this year with the arrival of our second beautiful girl, baptized this month.