Season of thanks: Empathy

The footballing world was shocked by the announcement of the death of Gary Speed today (article, ESPN).  The former Premiership great and current Wales manager was 42.

I’m grateful Heavenly Father has blessed us with empathy.  Because we all need support, we have been given the ability to understand the feelings of others.  Obviously we can never understand exactly how someone feels because that is directly determined by each person’s interpretation of his/her life experiences, but we can get close to understanding them.

My heart reaches out to express my condolences to the Speed family, to Mr Speed’s wife and children.  Only in my imagination can I begin to imagine what it would be like for my father to die at his own hand.  But I know it would be a horrible feeling and those children will be affected forever.  I empathize with the psychological struggles they will have as they search for understanding of their father’s action.

I know enough from my own experience being single and enough learned from talking with single parents that I would never want my spouse to die, let alone at such a young age or while children were at home.  Honestly, that may be one of the things that scares me the most about getting married–potential to end up where I am now before I’m out of my 20s.

So as I feel for others’ pains and struggles, I am grateful for that capability.  It helps me understand what Jesus did while He was in Gethsemane.  He experienced all the pain, sorrow, guilt, sin, and consequences thereof of every one of God’s children.  He did this to pay the price and so when we are in our darkest times, we can take comfort and strength in knowing we are not alone.  Not only can He empathize, He went through it.

But giving us the gift of empathy, we can begin to understand what He did for us.

I’m a sprinter

It’s simple, really.  I do things in sprints.  It’s part of who I am.  Distance running never held any draw for me (it’s strange cycling does, actually).  A lot of it draws from my hyperactive mentality.

I love new things.  I love to have new experiences and new challenges.  But if I don’t get through them quickly, the passion flames out.  For a while.  Then something triggers my interest again and I’ll do more on it for a while.

Sometimes this happens in a matter of hours.  Sometimes the sprint is a little longer.  But, dang, I’ll beat anybody in the sprint.  (Maybe this is why I don’t have a desire to be a computer programmer–barrier to entry and marathon mentality.)  I like things I can start and finish in the same week, preferably in the same hour.

Part of it likely has to do with the fact I have a lot going through my mind.  I’ve no way to measure this, but I conservatively estimate I have at least 50% more things pass through my thought centres than the average person.  So I like to get things done when I think about them, or when they are on my mind for a while.

Take today for instance.  I met with my thesis referee (I still have to ask him to be it), Gil Fellingham, Ph.D and sports science genius (that ESPN dude has nothing on Prof Fellingham!).  He had finished reviewing the second draft of my thesis regarding volleyball attack speeds.  He told me that I should make the edits he suggested and I’d be ready to publish it and defend.  He also said I should pare the paper down to submit an article to Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports.

Then I met with Carl McGown, BYU’s volunteer men’s volleyball coach to discuss a study he’d like to do.  He told me to contact both my thesis advisors (Iain Hunter and Prof Fellingham) and get them to ask the BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe for funding for the study.  Went and visited Profs Hunter and Fellingham within the next 30 minutes.  Hey, it was on my mind.

Somewhere in here I went to class and spent most of it editing my 50-page thesis.  Because research (as a general topic) was on my mind, I passed by the Maeser Building–home of the Honors Department–to check in about submitting original research (in information systems) for presentation.  I got the submission sheet and returned 30 minutes later with my abstract and short description written.

Then I had to do homework for my research seminar.  Fun, but boring in light of the day’s focus on volleyball research.

Anyway, it’s just after midnight and I have finished the edits on my thesis and finished the first draft of the article to submit to JQAS.  What!? (Shawn and Gus style, of course. #psych)

Anyway, that’s how the night went (oh, and there was an indoor soccer match, a shower and an hour-long conversation with a girl in there, too).  Like I said, when something’s on my mind, I’ll get it done.

I’ll win the sprint, but balance was never my strong suit. :/

Genesis

And so school begins anew. There’s not much more to say than that. Basically time is split between good and better things.

Life is always easier when I prioritize. Best thing to do: wake up early (like 530) and read scriptures. For me, everything follows very easily after that. When I put the most important things first (chronologically) in my day, the rest of it flows pretty much perfectly after that. Not that there aren’t flaws that creep up, but all my priorities are straight.
So then I go to work. Laundry is so much fun. :) (Yes, of course that is sarcastic.) I work till my first class starts about 900 and then it’s off to the races.
The Lord blessed me a lot this year and so I am living one of my dreams: I am coaching a high school volleyball team. Like as the head coach. Yeah, crazy, eh? Crazier still when it takes about 20-30 hours of my week. But I love it. It gives me something to do and forces me to plan and execute my plans well. I get a lot more done when I am constantly busy. But then, doesn’t everybody?
Genesis really has nothing to do with anything but the first line of this post.
But a fun scripture in Genesis gives insight to what God looks like. (Yeah, whoa! God looks like something?)
Yup, Genesis 1:26-27 read: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . . So God created man in his image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
How can God create something in His image if He doesn’t have an image after which to form us? He can’t; it’s impossible. Even for God. So the logical conclusion is God has an image and likeness. This isn’t completely conclusive that God has a physical body, but mix it up with some NT scriptures and you gotta believe it.

All Because Two People Fell in Love

‘All because two people fell in love.’

This phrase interestingly sums up my existence.  It sits on a plaque in front of my grandparent’s fireplace.  As I sat in their living room, I thought about how inclusive the word all is.  It covers everything.
What’s interesting is that plaques like this one are usually the kind you see in newlyweds’ homes, not 80 year olds who have been married for 55+ years.
But it is more appropriate for elderly couples to have such a phrase:  their all is a lot further reaching than newlyweds’.  They have more to claim.  They have years of experiences shared together.  They have rough times and easy times, fun dinners, dates, children, and more.  Their children have children which just includes more in all.
I think of my grandparents family:  five children, more than thirty grandchildren, several great-grandchildren, and more coming.
All because two people fell in love.