Tuesday night I was at Comerica Park for the Tigers game. For most of the evening, things did not look good for the home team. Zack Greinke, the White Sox pitcher, shut us out with just four hits over the first seven innings. The Sox were ahead 3-0 when Torkelson (23) led off the bottom of the eighth with a walk. Two batters later the bases were loaded. Riley Greene’s (23) infield single scored a run and kept the bases full. Then, with two out, Harold Castro (28) singled to left field and the game was tied. “Hitting Harold” then won the game in similar fashion in the 10th. The last place Tigers have now won four in a row, and seven out of the last ten.
As the baseball season for the Tigers wraps up, another season – “conference season” – arrives for me. This week I spent two days in Frankenmuth for the Circuit Visitors’ Conference, with some Best Practices mixed in. One week from today I will be wrapping up a two-day stay in Hillsdale for IIM continuing education. Then, sometime in October, Monica and I will spend a few days in Boyne for the All-District Pastors’ Conference. While being gone for this many days makes it a little more difficult to keep up with all the routine and necessary activities, this new season puts me in the presence of many great speakers.
What a dark and difficult world this can be. It often is hard enough listening to the news, but when this darkness travels up-close and personal, it becomes all the more difficult. Financial struggles … mental health issues … hospice care … prejudice … broken relationships … undesired consequences … extreme fatigue … you name it, I have encountered it over the past couple weeks in the lives of people whom I love and who are close to me.
I think I don’t really know what “spartan times” are, but I am using the term to describe my last two weeks … which have taken me from living without a functioning bathroom in our cottage … through a stretch
Tell me if you have ever been here or not: You know that you have a very busy schedule in front of you, and your focus upon its business drains some (or much) of your needed energy even before you begin. In other words, just when you need all of your energy, and perhaps a little more, you find yourself wasting some of that energy on thoughts that in essence are counterproductive. The end result is that you have made the tasks in front of you more difficult than they originally were.
Last night – or, technically, this morning – we arrived at the cottage a little after midnight. The night before I had worked on a document until finally retiring around 10:00 p.m., and then was back at church by 6:30 a.m. Wednesday then was way too busy to even start outlining something, so here I am, up again at 6:30 a.m. trying to figure out what to write.
This has been quite the week for Monica and me. Last Thursday afternoon we drove to Valparaiso, IN (Actually, I should say our son Joel drove us there and back because I was seated in the rear seat the entirety of both drives). On Friday our other son Matthew and his wife Rachel flew to Hawaii to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary (Well, they actually flew on Saturday because their Friday flight was cancelled at the last minute). On Monday afternoon, on our way back from Valparaiso, we stopped to pick up our two granddaughters from Rachel’s parents and have been staying with them at Matt and Rachel’s house this week. This afternoon they will be returned back to the original set of grandparents for the completion of the week – and we will move back into our condo (finally!).
I met with a young father this week to make funeral arrangements for his grandmother and aunt, who both died suddenly two days apart last month. He is responsible for making the arrangements because his grandmother was a widow and his aunt never married. And in case you are wondering, his father is deceased, his mother has been bed-ridden since she broke her neck some years ago, and his only sibling is confined to a wheelchair with MS. In spite of all these stressors, he seemed to be functioning quite well.
The other day I googled “truth checkers” and started counting how many different options one has. I stopped counting at 20, and then scrolled to see an almost limitless number of options beyond. There even were some that talked about fact checking the fact checkers. My favorite one – though I did not open it – was “The Psychology of Fact-Checking.”
Sunday morning someone said to me, “Go back on vacation!” He then went on to explain, “The Tigers’ bats came alive while you were gone, then on the first day you are back they get beat 10-0.” The sad reality is that they just are not very good this year. I don’t care if you blame it on injuries, Avila, the hitting coach, or whatever, anyone who still expects them to make the playoffs this year needs a reality check.