“Keep Blogging”

The past twenty four hours have been rewarding and humbling. Over these hours it was my privilege to talk with a person via Email helping them think of ways to engage a family member diagnosed in the past 48 hours or so with a high level prostate cancer. As the shock turned to seeking information, the person went to the internet to find assistance. They came across my own blog and honest sharing about my journey with prostate cancer. They found it useful and I was blessed to guide them in this unexpected place in their lives.

When writing a blog, one always wonders “who cares?” It might feel like you are writing just for yourself. And realistically for the most part, we probably are. Most people probably skip over them when posted or shared in places like Facebook or Twitter or the blog is simply “not their cup of tea.” But what I discovered in this exchange is that if my blogging helps just one person out of 6 billion on the planet, it was well worth it.

The lesson for me and I hope for you is keep blogging. It may be that neither you nor I will ever get recognized for anything we write. Maybe we will get a “hit” now and again. But if your words of encouragement, guidance, experience or insight help one…it has been worth the time and effort.

Blessings to all bloggers. Keep at it because one may never know the impact your experiences might have in another’s life. Grace and peace.
David Neidert

Your Next 100 Days

A lot can happen in 100 days. I haven’t written to my website blog for the past 100 days and more for the purpose of watching what happens. I last wrote a blog on the verdict day of the Kaylee Anthony Trial….the loss of a child in a tragic concoction of human choices, law and public fascination with this case. It captivated us worldwide. Dr. Phil has tried to keep this all alive via interviews with prosecutors and the Anthony Family, but alas…we have other things on our minds.

We soon left the trial for the most recent of events coming onto the screens of our lives via media bytes focused on new ways to capture our viewing, Twitter and Facebook posts. We saw the fall of Libya, Egypt and a host of unrest in the Middle East. Iran is trying to keep secret their ongoing nuclear arming, Heavy D died, as did Joe Frazier, and the Greek economy fell apart. Herman Cain seems to have gone the way of many politicians with a sex scandal, an asteroid comes ‘close’ to hitting the earth, and a star falls as Joe Pa and the Lions are embroiled in a sad display of treatment of our children.

I could write a lot here about what distracts and attracts us as consumers of media….but the point of this all for me is that life happens….and this too shall pass.

Yep, life happens. It comes and goes and fills us with events of world importance that grab our attention and “must see TV,” but it is also filled with those things most personal in our lives that supersede even the hottest of topics. In these 100 days, in my own life, family members have received not-so-good health news, some have died, financial burdens reflective of the economy have continued to be at the fore, I have celebrated with new students coming into the college environment pursuing a life calling and eventual vocation, been to some birthday parties, basked in Thanksgiving festivities and food, laughed a lot, cried some, and….well you get the point. Life happens….it goes on….and it is both predictable and surprising all at once.

So, what do we do with all this? I am reminded of my many years of academic training, professional work and personal philosophy that we should live each day as powerfully as possible, making plans for what we hope will unfold in life, loving those near us, counting our blessings, not sweating the small stuff, and being merry…..because we don’t know what the next 100 days will bring. This is not about giving one’s life up to the ‘fates’ but remembering that life is filled with certitude and joy as well as unexpected and unwelcomed moments. It is choosing to live life with gratitude, peace, love, kindness, gentleness, and all those things “against which there are no laws,” as the Apostle Paul wrote. It is about being aware that we live in a tension of the present and the future; finding a way to navigate them both with purpose, hope, joy and contentment.

I know what has happened in my past 100 days…I can only imagine what I must be prepared for in the coming 100. And you know them, too. Ever stop and wonder, “What is about to happen in the next 100 days based on the past 100?” So, bask in your blessings today, make the best choices you can for this moment, hug those you care about, live well as Aristotle challenged us, and work to keep all things in perspective.

Blessings to you for this day, and those yet to come….grace and peace.
David Neidert

A Sacred Conversation

The hours went by very quickly sitting in a private hospital room.  The hours cascaded seamlessly as I sat with my college roommate discussing health, the past, what has transpired already, and the future.  He was there for a knee replacement, the result of years of wrestling (where he was a collegiate champion).  The surgery would hopefully return him to some freedom from pain that he had experienced for most of his adult life.

But the time was more than talking about injuries (mine included which resulted from a fall that shattered my femur just a year earlier).  Our time was filled with remembering our roommate days (and laughing about them) and it was filled with the lessons learned to date.  We talked of friendship, perserverance in life, passions, things beyond our control, contentment, and legacy; all of it to consider what the two of us together and individually have given to the world as our payment for being in it.

The best conversation came when Rick asked, “What is your burn?”  I knew what he meant.  What is the passion that burns in my heart.  As a good coach, he has asked that of hundreds of student athletes; now he was asking me.  It hasn’t changed over the years.  My passion is education through a number of venues; teaching at the university level, writing, and teaching in the life of the church.  If there is one that has become more essential for me in the past five years, it is the area of discipleship education in the life of the church;  helping people not just know something about scripture, but make sure they integrate into their daily lives.  And, not just to have an opinion about something, but to have a solid foundation of why they believe what they believe.  Too much meaningless talk in this world, as noted in the New Testament letter to Titus.   Too many talking-heads available 24-7 telling us what and who to believe.  So my passion is helping people understand what they believe SO THAT they might discern what is true, noble, excellent, and worthy of our energy in these complicated days.

The conversation ended with what have we done in this world; what lessons had we learned.  We both agreed that we have learned to be content in life; to savor what has been given to us, to embrace what happens every day, to be present in the moment and not worry about what is not yet realized.  Our experiences have taught us that today is the day, even if we have plans for tomorrow.  We were in sync as we both realized that we are only a cog in the vast machine of the universe, playing out our part for a minute or two in the scope of the history of the universe.

We agreed that what we offer each day, to the best of our abilities, with “kind and generous hearts” (as Mr. Hoggett said to Babe) is all we can do in our four score of life, if we should be so lucky to get them.  I was deeply blessed to be in the room with my former college roommate.  It has been 34 years since we shared a dormitory room, but our hearts are kindred and linked nontheless.  It was a sacred moment for me (and I trust too for Rick), one that will be etched in my soul for years ahead.

Blessings to you, dear reader, for this day and those to come.  Grace and peace.

David