Talking Smart without Looking Dumber Than the Other Guy

Ed, my neighbor next door, has threatened to throw his television out the window. He is frustrated over the NHL hockey situation so far this season. I offered to go with him to some Melville Millionaire hockey games, but Ed doesn’t want to be seen in public with me. Some of his friends would tease him relentlessly for being in the company of a pastor, even a retired one.

Ed talks to me privately across the yard fence, but as little in public as possible. Ed tells me it is not personal. It is a safety measure, because he would be mortified if people thought he was getting religious at this late date in life. He has a reputation of being as far from church-going as one can get and he wants to keep it that way. I respect his need to not be seen with me in public. I’m not out to needlessly embarrass anyone, especially a neighbor next door.

Ed is so frustrated with the lack of hockey on television that he has tuned in to the American presidential debates. Ed says that he dislikes so much talk and so little action. “I wish they would let Obama and Romney play a little one-on-one hockey, or even have an arm wrestle to liven things up. The whole point of the debates seems to be talking smart without ever looking dumber than the other guy,” Ed observes. Even Ed would agree that it is a time of change and uncertainty both for hockey fans and for the one to be elected as president of the U.S.

I have shared with Ed that there are three months of the year that seem to me to be fall-a-part months. Things can crumble, landslide, and break down anytime of the year, but in my mind, October, November, and December win the prize for instability. In nature, during these months, growth and life turn into dead leaves and hibernation. The wise Canada geese leave for more stable and secure climates and we humans set our minds on facing cold, snow and ice. The wisest people to be found in the last three months of the year are those who enjoy and thrive on winter activities like curling, hockey, snowmobiling etc.

It could be argued that one never knows from one day to the next what the weather or world affairs will bring, because change and instability can and do come at anytime. There is no limit on change and decay. There is no stability in being a president, for even though you are one today, you may not be one tomorrow.

Many of us like the feeling that there is an anchor that cannot be moved. We seek the foundation that cannot be shaken, cracked or crumbled. In a world full of change and decay, we find our comfort and hope in our God “who changes not.” God’s word says it this way, “I the Lord do not change.” A little change may be good for us but it doesn’t take much to alarm us, unless God is our solid hope.

Isaac Watts expressed it this way, “O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Still be our guard while troubles last And our eternal home!”

 

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Raymond Maher
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