Have you ever watched a weight lifting competition, even for a minute or two? Those people are amazing!
And it’s not just the young, buff, protein-shake crowd. Last year Edith Murway-Traina broke the Guinness Book of World Records mark for oldest powerlifter when she turned 100. (She’s in the 2022 edition.)
Maybe you should be, but it also may be that you have other heavy weights to lift. Weights that can’t be seen by the casual observer.
A few days ago I was in the office of a cardiologist, getting a couple of things checked out because of an anomaly I had experienced.
“My wife says it’s stress,” I told the doctor. “Are you stressed?” he asked. “Of course,” I said. “Isn’t everybody?”
He did not reply, which made me think he might be a little stressed. Fortunately, I was not stressed more by the lack of a response.
Where does all that weight come from, and how can we ever lift it off of us?
Bad news is everywhere, even in space. There are no longer UFOs, there are now UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon)! On earth there is war in Ukraine, started by Russia’s invasion. In addition to that, there are 22 other wars currently being fought around the world that are taking at least 1,000 lives a year.
At least one of those (Mexico) is a war on drugs. That one is taking more than 10,000 lives per year. So is the civil war in Yemen, a war you probably knew nothing about until now. Sorry.
Here in the U.S.A. inflation (an increase in prices along with a drop in the purchasing value of money) is at a 40 year high. That affects every person in America, and the effect on the poor is the worst.
Did I mention mass shootings?
Think of every one of those things as stab wounds from which we are trying to stop the bleeding. Then add the thousand little cuts we get from special interest groups like BLM. Manufactured guilt is their weapon, and they wield it well.
The church, the place where healthy guilt was once used effectively, seems to have abandoned it almost altogether. Then it helped bring people into a better understanding of their relationship with God. Now — and I get it — teaching about God’s wrath has given way to teaching about God’s love. That’s probably a good thing, but the God of love is still the God of justice.
Look for it and you’ll see a lot of good!
The news we are fed, as I mentioned, tends to be bad. It helps to remind ourselves of that, then take a quick look for some balancing good news.
And there is a lot of it out there. Here’s a great story out of Minneapolis from just a few days ago. A lady who had rented in her neighborhood for 19 years was facing possible eviction. The owners had decided to sell. They gave her time, but she had no money.
After all, she had moved there to help the homeless and needy.
So the neighbors stepped up and raised over $250,000 to keep “Miss Linda” in their neighborhood. The story was reported by the local ABC affiliate and then posted on the Good News Network.
There are good people out there. The block party to celebrate Miss Linda closing on her house, by the way, will be Saturday, June 25. If you’re in Minneapolis, you should go.
A TV network in Arizona recently posted a “good news” story that I loved. Jaswiendre Singh owns a gas station in Phoenix, and he is selling gasoline for almost 50¢ a gallon less than he is paying for it.
Back in March he began with a 10¢ per gallon discount, and he has continued to increase the discount as prices have risen.
“[I do it] to give a break to the customer and my community,” Singh told Arizona’s Family. “People don’t have the money right now. My mother and my father did teach us to help if you have something,” he continued. “If you have something you have to share with other people.”
Share a word.
You don’t have to pay for someone else’s house or gasoline or even their next meal. In fact you can do a lot of good and make a difference without giving or spending a penny.
You can volunteer, for instance. You can even work for a great organization like Goodwill, get paid, and still be helping. Local churches often have places to volunteer, including food banks.
Let’s say you don’t have time to volunteer like that, or it isn’t quite your calling. You can still help “lift the weight” even if you are 100 years old.
Author and professor Leo Buscaglia said,
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
Notice that Buscaglia used the word “underestimate.” I know that is true not from any difference I’ve made along the way, but from the difference people have made in my life.
I still get encouragement from a short note I received in an email a dozen years ago. The man who wrote it didn’t know me well at the time and is no longer alive. The email itself is lost, but his words live on.
There is a Proverb that says: A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
The right word at the right time can make a difference that lasts for decades.
A handshake, a “look you in the eye” smile, a moment to listen, an honest compliment. You can do all of those, and I promise you that it will make a positive difference.
Even if the difference is only in you.