Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Mind

In his book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat, Dr. Oliver Sachs tells of his work with people whose minds are not working quite right. Sachs became famous because of the movie titled "Awakenings" starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. In the film, Sachs is working with patients who have been in a catatonic state for long periods and after receiving a psycho active drug called L-dopa they begin to wake up. For some, it is exciting and a real adventure. For others, it is terrifying - they feel overwhelmed by the world they have awakened to.

In the case of the man who mistook his wife for a hat, he suffered from visual agnosia - his brain literally could not recognize people and objects correctly.

For those of us who have had parents who have aged and began suffering from dementia, Alzheimer's, or any of the aging disorders of the brain we know first hand the pain of seeing someone begin to lose the use of their brain. It is heartbreaking.

I reflect on this as I think about the gift of clear thinking. Despite all the abuse my brain has undergone (Saturday morning cartoons, getting hit with a bat in the head at my friend's birthday party when he (Julio) missed the Pinata, too much loud Rock N Roll in the 60' s and 70's and bumping heads with my dimwitted brother trying to pick up the candy that fell out of my Halloween bag and more) I am so thankful that I can still recognize my dear wife and that she is happy that I can!

Thinking is a wonderful gift - try thinking about the good things, the noble things, the excellent things - it will change your whole attitude and outlook! (Philippians 4:8-9)

I am celebrating my brain today. Thank you Lord!

Just thinking, (and glad I can)


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mountains Are For Climbing!

I love hiking and mountain climbing. My times out in the wilderness areas have been some of my most memorable outdoor experiences. There is nothing like climbing a peak and the exhilaration of being able to summit. All the effort, the pain, and facing our fears has been a good teacher in my life.

Lance Armstrong was the king of the Tour De France for several years - he could tackle a mountain on a bike like no one I have ever seen. He is one amazing athlete. But of course, Lance cannot win the Tour De France forever. Seeing him out there still riding is both inspiring and a reality check. He says this is his last Tour. Lance will have to find new mountains to tackle.

We all need new mountains from time to time in life to keep us excited and engaged. Life is a great adventure when we set new and challenging goals. One of my favorite writers challenged himself on his 75th birthday to write the book he had always wanted to write but had been afraid to tackle. Even though he had written more than 60 books, many of them best sellers, he set out to climb a new mountain by writing the book he never dared write!

Some start a new business, others adopt a child that needs a good home, others learn a new language, pursue a new course of study, volunteer to serve their community - whatever the new mountain climb it with joy, even when the going gets tough!

Challenge yourself - it will not only make your pulse race - it will bring new joy and satisfaction to your life!

Just thinking, Steve

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Masked Man

Some years ago, I had a frightening encounter with a masked man wielding a very sharp knife. I can say now that I am grateful for this encounter but at the time it did not seem good.

The guy with the mask was actually a friend of mine who was a surgeon and after he completed his work on me the only thing that caused me much pain was his bill.

What I recall about my recovery time from this surgery was the stern instructions for me to take it easy for a while. I was not to lift anything heavier than a biscuit. This was a terrible embarrassment to me when we went on vacation soon after the surgery and I could not even carry my chair down to the beach and my wife and daughter did all the heavy lifting. I was forced to stroll down to the beach carrying my towel and book. I could just imagine all the people in the Beach Houses that lined the ocean front seeing my behavior and speaking with great disdain about me: "Look at that jerk making his wife and daughter do all the work while he sits in his beach chair! I hope he gets stung by a jellyfish!"

I have trouble sometimes being willing to let anyone serve me. I want to pull my on weight - do it myself - I have just enough insecurity that it makes me uncomfortable allowing someone else to do something for me. What I forget is how good it feels to serve others - I know that feeling and yet I seem resistant to allowing others to experience that same joy.

I am learning to appreciate the value of graciously allowing others to serve me. Sometimes we learn valuable lessons by being still and just saying "Thanks!"

I hope you will not have to face an encounter with a masked man to learn this lesson.

Just thinking, Steve