Unexpected Lump on the Head


We’ve all heard it before, ‘Expect the Unexpected’ in relation to our work, our kids, or life in general.  It’s true.  There is something to the practise of being prepared for nearly anything that could come our way.  Eliminating the surprise is half the battle.  It’s when we aren’t expecting those changes that come our way that we are affected the most.

Last Saturday I was helping to mow a friend’s yard who is elderly.  She has several trees in the front that haven’t been pruned very well, and over time, have grown several large limbs at a height someone like me, who is six-feet-tall, needs to avoid. 

Sure enough, as I was rambling on with the mower listening to my Spotify mix, I suddenly felt, and heard, a crack on the top of my head.  Stepping back, I realized what had happened.  I walked full speed into one of the largest tree limbs smacking the top of my head.  It felt like someone had hit me in the head with a baseball bat.  It was very painful. 

For the rest of that day, and the day after, I struggled with dizziness and the feeling like I was going to faint.  Had I not have given blood that morning and been working in the hot sun for several hours prior, I probably would have had the Mrs. take me to the hospital for an MRI.  But, I knew most of what I was feeling was just fatigue and dehydration.  Still, the whack on the head was very unexpected. I went back today to mow her grass again and, rest assured, I was very aware of that limb this time. 

Running into that tree was a good lesson for me.  It reminded me that we can be moving along on our path of life focused on the task at hand and not even be looking out for the giant limb that’s about ready to knock us in the head if we don’t duck.  I’m sure there are many of you who can relate. There may have been a time when you were living life just chugging ahead with your job and family, when there was a sudden log in the road, tree limb in your path, or just an unexpected obstacle that caused you pain.

The shock of running into those obstacles can shake us and cause us to doubt ourselves. Like most people when they run into barriers, I initially turned on myself to place the blame.  If you’re like me, all I could think of was, ‘How did I not see that coming?’ and ‘You could have killed yourself right here in this woman’s yard.  What would the Mrs. do?’ I asked myself.  ‘You’ve been mowing lawns for over forty years and you would think by now you would know better?’… I think my ego was bruised more than head, frankly. 

We may not be able to prevent events from happening that bring those unexpected logs to block our path or limbs to knock us in the head, but we can learn from them.  If we allow ourselves the freedom to make mistakes and take them as a lesson on what not to do, we’ll be way ahead of what may lay await for us in the future.

If you’ve run into one of those limbs and acquired a nice lump on your head, you’re not alone.  Whether it was physical, emotional, or something in a relationship, you can learn from it.   You may find yourself doing what I did initially by beating yourself up for it.  If you are, I would encourage you to give yourself a break this time and instead ask yourself if there was anything you could have done differently that would have prevented it from happening.

Sometimes, however, there isn’t anything we could have done, but for those times when there is something we could have done, take a close look at how, what, and when it happened so that you can be prepared in the future to help prevent it from happening again.  And most of all, always remember that you’re human and God loves you just the way you are; bumps on the head included…

Born to be Wild


The movie that changed the landscape of cycling in America was truly Easy Rider and Born to be Wild was the iconic song they used in the movie.  I would dare say that everyone my age can remember the song and most will remember the movie (although I didn’t see it until I was older since it was rated R and, back then, you weren’t allowed to watch movies with that rating until you were eighteen with no exceptions (well, at least until HBO came along in the mid-70s). 

The movie was about a group of guys who set out to find America on their bikes and wound up running into a ‘backward’ world full of people who didn’t see America the way they did.  It was a counter-culture movie deliberately making a statement to the older generation from a younger generation at rebellion against societies rules at the time.

Whether we’re born wild, or to be wild, is another question altogether.  But the song’s lyric does raise a good question.   What if we were born to be wild by nature?  What does that mean?  Does it mean that those who choose a life of recklessness and random choices that buck the system are naturally born to be that way?  I doubt it.

‘Wildness’ is something I’ve never been accused of personally (I’ve been accused of many other things…).  In high school, my idea of being wild was driving with the windows of my Mustang down while playing (AC/DC) louder than my ears could handle (a time before I met the Lord).  I was really a rebel…  Although, I did have a motorcycle in college for a while that rode around with my Navy fighter pilot’s jacket on (not a chopper, but who’s counting). 

It’s been my experience that those who choose a wild lifestyle are doing so because they’re trying to either compensate for something they feel is missing in their life or rebelling against an authority of some kind.  Both are paths that will only lead to choices which bring with them pain and hardship. Unfortunately, when we’re in pain or angry, we’re often at a point in our life when we have the least visibility to the consequences of our choices until it’s too late.

SO, tonight, for all those out there who enjoy getting ‘wild’ like me by getting that extra side of fries once in a while or having one more cookie when you know you shouldn’t, here’s to you.  For those who are truly running from pain and rebelling from an authority in your life, you will always be welcome home no matter where your choices may lead you because you are loved…

Love always

Looking Both Ways


It was one of the very first things my parents taught me as a child and one of the first things they taught me when I was learning to drive a car; always look both ways before going forward.  It seems simple enough and logical.  I mean, why wouldn’t I check to see if there’s a car coming from both sides of me before stepping out in front it?

Unfortunately, many people find that seemingly simple habit a hard one to form.  Whether they’re in too much of a hurry, thought they’d looked both directions but only glanced, or it never even occurred to them that they are sharing the road with other drivers, they just can’t seem to make it a regular practise to look both ways.  The consequences of not doing that one thing while driving, walking, or in life, could be deadly.

In California, one of the bad habits people tend to pick up is failing to stop before turning a corner.  Infamously known as the ‘California’ stop, it’s more of a slow-down, check to see if anyone’s coming and then drive right through the stop sign, than it is a stop.  I must confess, while living there, I was just as guilty as anyone until I moved to Texas and was caught by the hidden camera around the corner. That hefty $75 ticket helped me to get over the California Stops real quick. 

Just like pedestrian crossings and stop signs, in life we also need to stop and look both ways from time to time.  Those decisions to not look both ways when we are young bring with them a heavy price that, when we’re older, we don’t want to pay again.  Still, some people will look both ways in life, but because they are risk takers, they plow ahead anyway often nearly escaping tragedy or bringing it into other’s lives as well.

Whether we’re making a career choice, a relationship choice, choosing where we would like to live, or what kind of toothpaste to use, taking a moment to consider the options is a wise habit to consider.  One never knows what might be crossing our path unexpectedly just before we’re ready to move forward with our plans.

The key to developing a habit of looking both ways in life isn’t just learning the hard way, it’s practicing prudence. Instead of just saying yes (or no) to anything we’re offered, asking ourselves what potential dangers could come from our choice will help us to make good choices. Also, considering the consequences of our decisions on others around us is a good way to get into the habit of looking both directions.  It may be a good decision for me, but it may not be a good decision for the other people in my life.  

Lastly, depending on the weight of the decision, taking a few moments to seek the guidance of an all-knowing, all-loving God certainly will help us avoid getting side-swiped by unexpected or hidden dangers.  Speaking from experience, having God in the front seat of our life will only help us to make the right decisions and with perfect timing.  Besides, He also makes great company while driving through life too…

Love always