A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..
There’s a teachers’ strike going on right now here in West Virginia. I don’t have a dog in the fight and don’t feel informed enough to offer a specific opinion except that teachers perform one of the most crucial yet thankless jobs in our society and are vastly underpaid in proportion to the importance of what they do. However, I saw the following posted on social media last week and it moved me in an odd way:
It is with heavy heart we announce that this weekend’s performances of Barnum are cancelled. We are so thankful for the support we have received from our community, and nothing can take away all that we have learned and experienced while preparing for this show. It was beautiful, and if you can take a moment to do so, please see it in your heart.
One of the local high schools had a theater production scheduled, with performances all weekend. Due to the work stoppage those shows were going to be cancelled, although eventually things were worked and the shows went on as planned. It is unlikely that many of the students involved are going to major in theater in college or go on to a career in the arts, so this may have been a once in a lifetime opportunity, a chance to do something fun and “out of the box” that they’ll never have again, and they very nearly missed out on being able to do it. What if the next Al Pacino or Kate Winslet was in the cast and performing in the play is the spark that ignites a passion?? What if a labor dispute that has nothing to do with those students would have extinguished that spark before it ever happened?? Life is about opportunities…those we get and those we miss. Baseball fans know the story of Wally Pipp, a New York Yankees infielder back in the 1920’s who, in the midst of a batting slump, came to the ball park with a headache and asked the trainer for a couple of aspirin. The team’s manager told Pipp to take the day off and inserted Lou Gehrig into the lineup. Pipp lost his job that day, while Gehrig went on to play in 2130 consecutive games, a record that stood for almost sixty years. I’m glad that those students didn’t miss out on their opportunity, whatever may come of it.
To be candid, Kathie Lee Gifford has always gotten on my nerves a bit. A little goes a long way if you know what I’m saying. However, while channel surfing one day I happened to catch her warm tribute to Rev. Billy Graham, who had just passed away. What she shared about her relationship with Jesus Christ was one of the best testimonies I’ve ever heard, and it truly touched my heart. But then…a day or two later…I was again channel surfing, and decided to check out her show, which is the fourth hour of NBC’s Today and was being co-hosted by President Bush’s daughter Jenna Bush Hager. And what was the first thing the two ladies did?? They imbibed a big ol’ cocktail (quite strong according to them)…at 10 o’clock in the morning. Now far be it for me to cast the first stone, because I’m sure there are enough people that’d line up to enumerate my many flaws, but it struck me just how easily we can harm our Christian witness. Here is a woman that just a day or two before had made a powerful statement about loving Jesus, and now she was getting liquored up on national television. It is a learning opportunity, and a reminder that what we say & do represents us, our families, and our Lord & Savior, so we need to be mindful about representing those entities well.
I recently chronicled my general thoughts about gun control, but to date have refrained from specific comments on the Valentine’s Day mass shooting in Parkland, FL. When such a tragedy occurs reactions of all varieties are plentiful, although it generally boils down to gun control advocates versus defenders of The Second Amendment. However, no matter which side of that debate a response may be on, the fact is that they are oftentimes emotional & extreme, which is understandable to a degree. The aftermath of any kind of mass shooting inevitably raises the question “Why??”, with answers leading to discussions about gun control, mental health, & the decay of morality in society. What tends to get lost in the midst of arguments about the larger issues are the specifics of the particular incident itself, and in this case that would be a huge mistake, because this time the question of “Why??” seems to have some very clear answers. It is obvious that protections & preventative measures on multiple levels failed miserably and cost 17 people their lives. I have a tremendous amount of respect for law enforcement and feel like they’ve gotten an undeserved bad rap the last several years, but in this situation to say that both the FBI & local police “dropped the ball” would be a glib understatement. And as usual the media can be counted on to stir the pot. I understand that it’s a story they have to cover, but I have an issue with using teenagers to advance a political agenda. I’m trying hard not to blame the kids, although it seems like some of them have been pretty quick to get in front of as many television cameras as possible, which doesn’t strike me as a normal reaction. I am by no means a firearms expert, but I know enough to recognize the half-truths & lies of omission that the press uses to spin a story, and I’m knowledgeable enough to realize that too many people reporting on this & similar heartbreaking events are either quite ignorant about guns or blatantly lie to highlight their biased viewpoint.