Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Pool Walking With Becky

I have taken up "pool walking."  This means I am officially old.  I am sure that comes as more of a shock to my system than it does to yours.  It hasn't been that many years since I was running 5 days a week.  I hated the act of running but I loved what the endorphins did to my body and my state of mind.  Unfortunately, I got addicted to it and to using weight machines.  Yeah.  Really.  I know you can't tell it by looking at me today but it's true.  Getting addicted to something is seldom a good thing.  I was using it to burn stress and it turned out that I was so driven to run that it created a stress of its own, simply complicating my own unique set of personality disorders. Genius on my part, huh?  My doctor tells me I have to work out or I'll die and if I die she'll lose a good portion of her income.  She's more concerned about that than I am.  In order to do something that resembles exercise and yet has mercy on arthritic joints I have taken to strolling through 50 laps in the pool at the gym about 4 times per week.  I have learned that you don't sweat as much as you do on a treadmill.  If you begin to perspire, just take a dunk.  Problem solved.  Last Friday I wound up sharing a lane with a 70 year old woman named Becky.  I had lapped her a few times (stud that I am) before she struck up a conversation about the weather.  I slowed to her pace and we found ourselves talking about life.  She asked "what do you do" and so I told her I pastor a bunch of wonderful ragamuffins like myself.  She briefly got quiet and then she opened up.  It seems she had surgery a year ago and has been having emotional difficulties since then.  Why?  She is convinced while under the effects of anesthesia she gazed into hell.  I told her if I had seen into hell I would have emotional difficulties too.

Have you ever noticed that all of those who have "near death experiences" see a happy place with a bright light that they feel drawn to walk toward?  I don't mean to sound like a skeptic but ... I am skeptical.  So I guess that makes me one.  It was refreshing to talk with someone who walked away with the smell of sulfur in her nose.  No, I don't want her losing sleep but I do think if everyone were honest some of those bright lights many see would emanate from flames licking at their feet.  So much for happy thoughts, huh?

Becky and I talked for half an hour.  We talked about loving God and knowing Jesus.  I spelled it out pretty clearly and she assured me that she does both.  And so it was my honor to lead her through some scriptures that made it clear that she had no reason to fear the fires of hell.  Before she left she told me how glad she was that we had met and that she would surely see me at church.  I'm not holding my breath but you never know.

Funny thing about God.  Sometimes he uses you when you are standing in a pulpit talking to a couple hundred people.  Sometimes he uses you when you are stripped down to a swim suit walking in a pool with a stranger.  I like that about Him.  He's completely unpredictable.  I prayed with a man working in a drive-thru once about his pregnant teenage daughter.  That was cool.  It would have been cooler if he had gotten my order right...

Hey, just a side-note.  If you are even remotely interested I have started a new blog.  Here's the long story that I will make very short.  In 2001 I had a year of sickness.  It was a lousy year.  Still, in the middle of it God showed up.  Big time.  I kept a journal throughout that year and when I got well my amazing kids had it bound into book form for me.  Since then I have kept it pretty much to myself.  I've been realizing how the events of my life 13 years ago have, to a large degree, shaped and molded me for better or for worse into the man I am today.  And I have been a lousy steward of the things I learned way back then.  So my new blog will be the publication of that journal.  Pretty much one chapter a day.  If you are interested the web address is  If you should go over there please remember that the first entry appears on the web site as the last entry.  That means you have to scroll to the bottom and read that post first.  Then the one above it.  Then the one above it ... etc.  The first entry at the top will always be the most recent entry.  It makes sense in a convoluted way.  Anyway, all of the blog will be up in a couple of months.  I'm simply posting it in bite sized chunks.  All of the names except for mine will have been changed because I'm too lazy to get peoples permission to use them.