Quote of the Day

 

Photo Thanks to Nicole Mason

Photo Thanks to Nicole Mason

 

I’m posting quotes as we go through the fuzzy zone of being new parents again in these next days. This quote comes from Howard Thurman (Deep is the Hunger, 97):

If I have slandered, I must call it slander; if I have accused falsely, I must call it false accusation. Again, I must strip myself of all alibis and excuses. It may be true that I did not intend to do it, that it was all a hideous mistake; nevertheless, the injury may be as real to the other person as if my act were deliberately planned. Whatever may be the intent, the harm has been done. Again, I must seek reconciliation on the basis of my sense of responsibility, to the other person and to myself, for the injury done. Human relationships are often tough but sometimes very fragile. Sometimes, when they are ruptured, it requires amazing skill and sensitiveness to reknit them. Therefore, forgiveness is possible between two persons only when the offender is able to stand inside of the harm he has done and look out at himself as if he were the other person.

Little Images

I wrote this four years ago and came back to it in my draft folder. The storage unit is not ours anymore since we’ve moved, but the sentiment in this post remains.

Photo Thanks to Nuno Silva

Photo Thanks to Nuno Silva

The other day I spent a few hours rummaging through old things. I went into our basement storage unit and opened a few boxes. I’ve avoided those boxes for two years. My last real vist was soon after the boy came along. Since then I’ve stacked and restacked boxes. I’ve thrown out a couple bags. I’ve given books away.

But I needed to look through things. I need to remember. I needed to let some things go.

I do this regularly: letting things go. My wife is the keeper of things. I’m the one who discards the unused. I used to give boxes of books away–after U of I, after Wheaton, and then after Garrett. I am of the mind that books are worth sharing, especially when they’ve given their gifts to you.

Still, it’s been awhile since I’ve actually gone through the articles and stuff of earlier days, since I convinced myself that I didn’t need as many things as I once did. It’s interesting how what we keep can be its own record.

So I waded through things. There are those cards and letters from my college days and there’s something Mr. Everett gave me in high school. I found a picture with a friend from a dance, the program from a wedding, a hand-written letter from my pastor, a note from my niece, and one of the most creative pieces of writing I’ve ever read, which happens to also be one of the most troubling lies I’ve read. That was from a letter written by a friend impersonating a physician when we were in college.

Each one of these things is a little image of me, a small indicator of the routes my life has taken.

A Home for Your Introversion

Photo Thanks to Dana and Peter

Photo Thanks to Dana and Peter

I was talking with my big brother, Patrick Winfield, weeks ago. I had been on his heart and he followed the rule that when somebody is on your heart for a couple days, you call. Among our words was this notion of our uniqueness.

We talked about personality. Winfield is an extravert. He’s orange. I’m an introvert. I’m gold. The colors come from some staff exercise he had us conduct years back at Sweet Holy Spirit, where we picked pictures and found out our colors and the associations with them. The colors became an abbreviation we use in our chats. We’re identified by our pictures, by our colors.

While we were talking, we got down to something specific: people need a home for their introversion. People like me. People like my sister, Vicky, Winfield’s wife. Introverts need space, created room, to be at home.

Sometimes we forget this. We, as introverts, impacted by our peopled calendars and social days, forget that we need that space to cultivate quiet. We require solitude for the sake of our selves.

But this isn’t just true for introverts. Introverts need that cultivation space for personality maintenance. Everybody needs that quiet room for the sake our the soul. Parker Palmer talks about the internal space being created in activism and not only quiet. Howard Thurman talks about the soul need for centering down. Centering down and being active don’t prevent solitude; they can foster it. In other words, it doesn’t have to be quiet around you for your soul to have quiet.

But the soul, the interior, unseen part of you that is really you, needs space to be free, space to be home. That home may be a physical place or an internal place. It may be in a broad sweeping valley; it may overlook a breathtaking mountain; it may be deep within your consciousness.

That home is for the introverted and the extraverted. Where do you feel at home? Where does your heart move when it needs relief or quiet or calm? Have you given your heart that space lately?

Launch the Thing

I wrote this three years ago, and never published it. Not sure why I came back to it, but I’ll put this out there for what it’s worth.

by Martin Zemlickis

Photo Thanks to Martin Zemlickis

I’m not a business starter. I’m a pastor with opinions. I like telling people what to do, and it really is a good part of my job to help people frame their behavior inside some larger purpose.

So when it comes to whether you should start a business or something like a business, as one of my mentors says, “I’ll plan your life.” At least I’ll try.

But rather than that, I’ll offer the following:

  • Make lists of your thing’s contributions. If you cannot fill a wall or a page or a half-page with a number of contributions, you should try harder. There is great good in adding one thing to the world, but that’s small. Go back to the drawing board until you have a few more. Leave us with more. Make it bigger and better.

 

  •  If you don’t love the thing, no one will. Give yourself to your business, whatever your business is. Do it completely and because you love it. If you’re starting a service or creating a product which you wouldn’t use, it better be really good. Because you can’t translate your love for something if you haven’t held it, used it, and “bought” it yourself.
  • Learn everything there is to know. Become the expert in something or somethings. Be the authority. Nothing’s stopping you from becoming superior in your area. Read every book written on your subject. Know the relevant blogs and social spaces where your topic comes up. Write a paper about it, drawing upon the insights of others, even if you don’t share it with others. Learn it all so you can answer every question.
  • Give up now if you’re looking for a smooth road. Business is difficult. Starting a church or a school or a non-profit is just as hard. If you’re looking for success in the morning, when it’s 8pm, and you’re on the way to bed, your hopes are not full of faith but stupidity. Fruit or success or productivity come after planting and watering and work and toil. None of those are sweatless activities. And it’s too early to go to bed if your vision’s launch is tomorrow. Stay awake and perfect the thing.
  • Get your books in order. Whatever you need to keep track of your processes, your expenses, your thoughts, and your records, find two of them. Take good notes. Track your time and your spending, even if you’re spending everything except money. Find people who are gifted where you lack. Fill your time with smarter people. All of these people and systems are “in your books.”
  • Get better at meeting needs of people. It’s holy work doing things for others. This looks like selflessness and giving and suffering; it’s looks like a long time. These characteristics will anchor you deeply when things go wrong. They will serve as reminders that your idea, business, or invention is not solely about you and your comfort.
  • Plan and implement. If you are a starter, tell people to make sure you implement and finish things. What you bring is no good half-baked, uncooked. Structure yourself and your things; put it in place. Do it. I try to tell people to live by faith. I spend a lot of time framing faith conversation for the moment. It looks like convincing people that what’s in them is 1) given to them, 2) worth responding to, and 3) worth giving away. It’s true for you. Do the thing.
  • Tie your work to something bigger. For me that has to do with the purposes of God. It may not for you. But if you’re developing a service for the small sake of securing money, you’ll find emptiness soon. Connect your idea to something deeper than yourself.

That’s enough for now.