Tag Archives: life

Call Me Mr. Hare

Well, I haven’t blogged for two years but here I go again.  How time flies.  Since I last blogged, Obama was elected President (thankfully the world hasn’t ended), Haiti experienced a devastating earthquake, the world has seen a financial meltdown and the U.S. has been saddled with a bigger mountain of  debt than previously seen.  In the two years from the last time I picked up a pen (well, typed at my computer and blogged), Michael Jackson died along with GM and Ford, though the latter two have been given another chance at life.  Since 2008,  gold and silver have been on a tear, the Tea Party has taken center stage and pigs have flown.   That is, the New Orleans Saints have done the impossible and won the Super Bowl.  The point is, there has been plenty about which to blog.

I’m not sure why I stopped blogging, though.   Maybe  it got old.  Maybe I got busy.  Maybe it took too much precious time.  Maybe I ran out of things to say. Or maybe I just got tired of the process of blogging.

But then maybe I’m like the hare.  You know the story that,  in a nutshell,  goes like this.   Mr. Tortoise and Mr. Hare are in a race.  Mr. Hare sprints to a lead, takes a nap and wakes only to find that he was beaten to the finish line by the slow moving Mr. Tortoise.

I often find myself more like Mr. Hare.  I find it pretty easy to take hold of something and sprint all out and  even do really well at whatever the particular challenge is.  But then, in time, whether I’m distracted, tired, or just downright bored, I might just fade away into a nap of sorts, much like Mr. Hare.  Even so, after some period of time I wake up, only to find that I’m behind or that Mr. Tortoise has passed me by.

My blogging hibernation is  probably the result of a combination of things and is probably a good thing for me to reflect upon.   You see,  I can be very determined at times but that determination can wane into  laziness.  I can be very excited about something but  it can quickly become a bore to me as I become distracted by something new.  Sometimes I just have too many pots on the stove, too many irons in the fire.

I guess I could try and wax eloquent and be even more philosophical but alas, there’s something else calling my name.  So here I go again.  I’m off to the next project, the next distraction.  Who knows if I’ll be back blogging.  I’m sure I will at some point, maybe today or this afternoon even, as it seems I always come back to the things I leave behind.

America at a Crossroads

On Tuesday, November 4, 2008, we’ll go to the polls here in the great USA.  Perhaps more than anyime in the last 50 years, America is smack dab in the middle of an intersection.  Will we turn to the right or turn to the left?  I think America is at a crossroads and the outcome of this election will set the stage for life in America for possibly the next 20 years or more.  Not only do we face to stark constrasts for President, the stage is set for a possible Democratic super majority.

The Republicans have had an opportunity and wasted it.  They’ve wasted their opportunity, not to advance Republican ideals, but to make a real and lasting positive difference in America and the world.  Now, the Democrats are giddy about controlling all of the government.  Without taking political sides, what we face is the prospect of one ideological party effectively making the decisions for life in America for years to come.  The issues that the new Congress and President will govern include taxes, immigration, abortion, gay rights, international relations, terrorism, not to mention the probable Presidential appointment of at least one Judge to the Supreme Court.  These are big issues.

Is life about to change in America?  One way or another, it has to, for the good of our country and for the good of the world.  For too long we’ve basked in the sunlight of our riches, which has only been an illusion based on credit and debt.  We have to stop bowing to what’s within us that demands more, bigger and better.  We’ve selfishly taken advantage of the blessings of wealth, however contrived they’ve been.  We’ve taken advantage of our world and have been poor stewards of the world in general, whether it be our international relations or the abundant but strikingly decreasing natural resources. 

Somewhere down the line, we’ve seemed to piece-by-piece, throw out the window that which made us the greatest country in the world.  We are becoming mediocre in many ways.  We are not first in many things.  We are not first in the world in education, in safety, in financial stability and, in the world’s largest and possibly most advanced health care system, we are not first in the health of our citizens.

America, though, in my opinion, is still the greatest country in the world when all of its parts are added.  The sum of our parts is great.  But America has to be a respected leader again.  I think the world is looking to America as a leader and I hope that each of us has the intestinal fortitude and the wisdom to actually use our noggins, think hard, analyze the possibilities and pray diligently.  America is at a crossroads and her future depends as much on each of us as it does on whoever will lead us for the next few years to come.

Would I Be A Doctor Again?

I’ve heard over and over again from some doctors how they’d never go through the process again and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.  So I’ll answer the question.  Would I be a doctor again?  To quote Sarah Palin, “You Betcha!”

In my experience, becoming a doctor has been very rewarding.  I can’t complain.  So where do I start explaining why?  Well, there are the belly-button pearls for one.  “Belly-button pearls?” you ask.  Yes.  Belly-button pearls.  You know, those wooly-booger types who let the lint in their belly fester and roll around with the hair just like a piece of sand in a clam.  After many moons, that simple piece of fuzz become a nice round, smooth, rock-solid belly-button pearl of great price.

Well, really there are some other nice benefits.  For one, especially in this economy, there is no shortage of requests for doctors in just about any part of the country.  Hopefully I won’t be searching anytime soon, but if I had to, I could almost pick where I want to live.  Of course I’m leaving near about as close as you can to Heaven without dying, so I’m thankful for that.  And how can a doctor complain when just the average salary of a primary care doctor is around $150,000?  That’s good enough for roughly being in the top 5% in the U.S.  And that’s not even including the fringe benefits of insurance and retirement.

Not only is the pay pretty good for an education that’s not much longer, if any than other post-grad professions, the time involved can also be quite satisfying.  Right now, I pretty much work 4 1/2 8-hour days a week with a day a week and one weekend a month of light call that often results in no phone calls or hospital admissions.  I’ve been in jobs as a doctor where I had no call whatsoever and worked more like 8:30 to 4:30 with a half-day off each week.  Throw in 4 weeks of vacation and another week of education and it rivals some of the best vacation packages around.

But there’s more than just money and time.  There’s the satisfaction of being able to help people.  There have been many times when I’ve been able to really come in handy for someone for whatever reason – maybe calling something in for a friend, maybe giving some realistic medical explanations for people confused by what they’ve heard.  Or maybe it’s just helping someone have hope again when everything seems to have been taken from them.

There’s also the challenges.  Imagine diagnosing someone with Malaria or cancer or other systemic diseases.  Some aren’t easy and straightforward which requires a lot of study, a lot of interdisciplinary discussion and just downright praying for help in figuring things out.

Being a doctor afforded me the opportunity to go overseas and help some less fortunate people with medical needs.  Life lessons are important for personal growth.  The opportunities I had to learn from people in foreign countries has been something I can’t really put a price tag on.  How can you go to the store and buy something that will truly open your eyes?  Where can you purchase a change of heart or a realistic understanding of the plight of third world societies?

I could go on.  Sure, being in the Medical field has its downside.  Insurance companies can be a nightmare and a big hassle.  The government tends to like to put its sticky hands in everything and medicine is no different.  Some people can’t afford some of the studies it takes to diagnose their problem.  Others have serious side effects to medicines or damaging results do to physician error.  Some patients are just quite demanding and expect too much (but then again, they do pay their bills for the most part). 

But to answer the question again, yes, I would do it all over again.  I can’t imagine there being another job I’d like to do except being a professional football or baseball player or a professional music star.  But I can’t do those, so the best thing is to be what God has allowed me to be.

Fireproof – The Movie

This weekend my wife and I had the opportunity to go see Fireproof, the latest movie from the makers of Facing the Giants.  Facing the Giants did well when it came out but Fireproof has already beaten it.  In fact, Fireproof made an estimated $4 million this weekend and over $12 million since its release two weeks ago, despite showing on only 852 screens, roughly 1/3 to 1/4 of other big Hollywood movies.

Set in Albany, Georgia, Fireproof tells the story of a young married couple whose marriage is more than on the rocks and the struggle of Caleb, at the encouragment of his father, to win back the heart of his wife Catherine who wants out.  The writers manage to faithfully paint the picture of what’s surely happening in homes all across America since half of all marriages end in divorce.  Who can watch the film and not find something that reminds them of themselves, their friends or their family?  The intensity is there, the sadness is there, the hope is there, the fighting is there and the love and romance are there. 

While Facing the Giants is a great movie with a great message, the acting was notably mediocre.  But Fireproof blows past mediocrity this time with very good acting by most of the characters, especially the two leading actors, Kirk Cameron and Erin Bethea.  Both played their parts well and, like any good movie, brought to the big screen what many live in the common life out here in real America.  There aren’t any lotteries won (well, not million-dollar lotteries though you’d might say both won in the lottery of relationships). There are no prince and princess fairytales and everyone is just like us.  I see all of these people everyday, right here in Mississippi.  And that’s part of what makes this film special.  There’s no “Pretty Woman” storyline though I’d say Erin Bethea is much prettier than Julia Roberts.  There’s no elitism.  These are regular people.  It’s the story of real people, struggling in life and relationships.  And it’s the story of facing head-on all the faults that make us so human, but working hard to overcome them.

While some would argue that this film is made by an Evangelical Church in Georgia and that it talks about Christianity, I’d say it’s worth it, even to the atheist, to see this film and there’d be few Christians that would argue that you don’t need God in your marriage.  Despite the religious arguments and complaints that are out there, the film can still be enjoyed and appreciated as well as challenging to any person from any worldview.  I’d especially encourage giving it a shot for any of you out there whose marriages are on the rocks.

Fireproof is proof that a low-budget movie ($500,000) can be made that is satisfying to watch and challenging at the same time, all the while avoiding the sex and promiscuity and foul language that pervades most films out of Hollywood.

Watch the trailer below.

Is This the Best We Have?

Not many would argue that President of the United States isn’t, if not close to, the top job in the world, the so-called “Leader of the free world.”  Yet, I feel like I’m constantly scratching my head.  How have we gotten ourselves here?  This is arguably the most important job in the world, at least in the U.S.,  with so much to be gained or lost, and yet who’s running for the post?  They don’t look like the best, maybe just mediocre as far as the total picture, qualifications, age, etc.

On one hand, we have a relatively young charismatic community organizer turned Senator who’s very popular.  On the other hand, a stagnant older fellow who’s been a Senator for decades, albeit sort of a “maverick” kind of guy.  Whenever they speak, they pretty much speak in hyperbole and without much detail in how they’ll truly change the country and what’s best about them.  They really don’t have much to say, that is, aside from the “I’m better than him because I’m for change.”

In what seems to be the most important presidential election we’ve seen in decades, this is it.  We’re down to these two men, our knights in shining armor, ready to resuce America.  How in the world do we not have better candidates?  Are you telling me that out of 300 million-plus Americans, this is the best we have?  Maybe you know something I don’t – you probably do.  Maybe the candidates know something I don’t – hardpressed to agree with you there. (Just kidding, I know they have more working political/governing knowledge than me.) 

The point is, in a country that frequently sends men into outer space, who’s seen men walk on the moon, where computers and scientific discoveries and great achievments have occurred on a regular basis, we’re stuck with these two guys as America’s best hope for the next few years.  Really, the decisions they make may well have an effect not only on us in the few years to come, but possibly for decades and onward.  So I constantly find myself popping the tums, rubbing my belly and scratching my head wondering,  “Is this the best we have?”