If you have ever had an earworm, you know how irritating it can be. If you have not had that experience, you should be grateful.

The lion Sleeps Tonight | Animals Memes

No, an earworm is not a creepy crawly creature that enters your body. The Mirriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “a song or melody that keeps repeating in one’s mind.” Another source says it “works (itself or its way) into a person’s mind.”

Six Flags Great Escape!!!

Let me give you an example. The other day as I was driving a commercial aired with the following jingle: “1-877-KARS-4-KIDS. K-A-R-S Kars 4 Kids. 1-877-KARS-4-KIDS. Donate your car today.” It has been called the most hated (and best) jingle of all times. By the time it replayed in my head dozens of time I was ready to pull off the highway and find a way to give my car to this charity right then.

Photo of The Pink Plumber - Tampa, FL, United States. The Pink Plumber

Another radio commercial that has become ingrained in my head is for the Pink Plumber. This company has chosen the name to identify with the fight against breast cancer. All you have to do according to the radio jingle “Call the Pink plumber. He’ll fix your sink. Call 404-222-PINK.” My sink does not need fixing but if it takes a call to erase this earworm, I am ready to do it.

Remember the Chili’s Restaurant, “I want my baby back, baby back, baby back ribs” jingle of a few years ago? How can you resist?

In an interview with John Donovan of NPR, psychologist Vicky Williamson says, “(Earworms are) an interesting everyday phenomenon. It happens to at least 90 percent of people once a week, [they] get a tune stuck in their head.” She and others are studying the reasons some songs get stuck in our heads and the implications for understanding human memory.

Williamson has been collecting earworms for about three years and she is also accumulating cures that people have found. “Magic songs” are among the methods she has discovered that people use to erase the earworm. According to her research, “the songs used to combat earworms tend to be slow… Some people think that the British national anthem sung quite slow is good for getting rid of earworms.”

I don’t know the British national anthem but I am thinking about learning it.

Although I have just trashed earworms, like many things, there is also value to some. One of the blessings of my life is the songs of the Church. It is not uncommon for a hymn we sing or a choral anthem sung in worship will linger in my head. Over and over it rolls around in my brain and I am strengthened and encouraged.

Almost every Sunday at the church I attend, after the Children’s Moment the congregation sings: “All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all. Each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings, God made their glowing colors and made their tiny wings.”

That little song sticks in my head and I am reminded that “For only a penny you can buy two sparrows, yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. As for you, even the hairs of your head have all been counted.” (Matthew 10:29-30, Good News Translation).

Jamie Jenkins

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Happy Birthday

I celebrated another birthday last week. No big deal. But it is a big deal. Every year is a gift from God and I am grateful.

There was no party (didn’t want one) but there were a lot of birthday greetings from friends and family. A good morning hug and kiss from my wife of almost 49 years. Phone call from my daughter in California. A webcam with my oldest son and his family (especially the grandchildren). A trip to Mercedes Benz Stadium for an Atlanta United soccer match with my younger son. Dinner, compliments of a very dear friend. Nothing is better than to know that you are loved and appreciated by the folks who are closest to you.

family and friends

I remember years ago when one of my nephews asked me how old I was. “I replied that I was thirty. By the look on his teenaged face I must have appeared to be ancient. 30! His expression indicated that he thought I was surely on my last leg. He probably could not imagine that I would still be alive 44 years later.

I can remember when I thought persons my age were “old.” I still catch myself referring to people just a few years my senior as “old” or “elderly” although I don’t feel that way about myself. You are probably thinking, “He is out of touch with reality,” and you may be right.

There are many benefits to aging especially if one enjoys good health, and I do. I am alright with getting older. I just don’t ever want to get “old.” In thinking about the aging process I came across the following “Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess” by Margot Benary-Isbert.

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so. Amen.” (Margot Benary-Isbert)

Life is good but another birthday brings with it the realization that life on earth is not forever and I am reminded of the psalmist words: “So teach us to number our days that we may gain a wise heart.” (Psalm 90:12)

Jamie Jenkins

 

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Really, how do you know?

Why do children believe anything their friends tell them but question everything their parents tell them?

How can a parent love all their children (no matter how many) and never run out of love?

Why do we put round pizzas in square boxes and then cut them into triangles?

How we can sit for hours in uncomfortable seating and environment for a sporting event but have a hard time sitting for one hour for worship service?

How can items advertised in TV infomercials be so outstanding and cheap- and if you “call now” you get a second item free?

Why do some people dislike other people simply because of the color of their skin or their ethnicity?

After paying a small fortune to attend a ball game or enter an amusement park, why does it cost another fortune to eat?

Wet Paint Sign : Stock Photo

Why do we believe it when we are told there are billions of stars in the sky but when we are told “Wet Paint” we have to test it?

When things I really don’t like are prohibited, why do I crave them?

Why is it chicken fingers when chickens don’t have fingers?

Why do we call it “free time” when all time is a gift?

Why do we say it is a dog eat dog world when we have never seen a dog eat another dog?

Selling Like Hot Cakes cartoons, Selling Like Hot Cakes cartoon, funny, Selling Like Hot Cakes picture, Selling Like Hot Cakes pictures, Selling Like Hot Cakes image, Selling Like Hot Cakes images, Selling Like Hot Cakes illustration, Selling Like Hot Cakes illustrations

Why do we say things are selling like hot cakes?

Why do we say when it rains it pours when sometimes it is just a drizzle?

Does every cloud really have a silver lining?

Do we really believe that when you smile the whole world smiles with you?

Are you sure that flattery gets you nowhere?

Is cleanliness really next to godliness?

If the good die young, then is everyone my age bad?

Why are you assigned a seat for a professional soccer game because you stand for the entire time?

Why do some people find it hard/impossible to believe that God loves them?

Jamie Jenkins

ADVENTURE 1

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Life is full of starts and stops. Ups and downs. Cycles. But I believe that people of faith ought to always see life as an adventure.

Long ago God called Abram to pick up and leave everything that was familiar and journey to a place that he did not know (Genesis 12). Although Abram did not know the destination, God assured him of guidance to the “land that I will show you.”

It was not necessary for Abram to know the end from the beginning. God knew the way.

Along the way Abram and his entourage encountered some difficult circumstances but the promise of God was that blessings would be the reward for faithful obedience. As they traveled on their divinely directed journey we are told that “the Canaanites were in the land” (Gen. 12:6) and they lived in “great cities walled up to the sky.” The Canaan Convention and Visitors Bureau was not very hospitable. But Abram continued to follow God’s direction.

It is irrational to believe that all of life will be smooth sailing- even for people who follow God’s leading. We mistakenly think that the absence of struggle and challenge is a good thing. In fact the opposite is true. Adversity is not our enemy; it is often our good friend strengthening us for the journey.

 

In 1962, Victor and Mildred Goertzel published a revealing study of 413 “famous and exceptionally gifted people” called Cradles of Eminence. They spent years attempting to understand what produced such greatness, what common thread might run through all of these outstanding people’s lives. Surprisingly, the most outstanding fact was that virtually all of them, 392, had to overcome very difficult obstacles in order to become who they were.

Malcolm Muggeridge

Malcolm Muggeridge said, “Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful with particular satisfaction. Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my 75 years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my experience, has been through affliction and not through happiness.”

It seems to me that the key is to be on the path that God has planned for us. If we are, we will be equal to every test and able to overcome any obstacle. As we journey with God we will learn, as Abram did, that God will bless us and make us a blessing to others.

Jamie Jenkins

As I write this I have been without television, internet, and phone service for 7 days. No Braves baseball, no webcam with the grandkids, no email, and no phone calls. Communication with the outside world has been cut off- unless I leave the house and go somewhere that has wifi.

apple, coffee, computer

It is a long story but the simple explanation is that a week ago we experienced a power surge at our home that disrupted normal life. The culprit was an underground device that regulates the voltage coming into the house. Light bulbs broke, one light fixture exploded, the oven quit working, two air condition units ceased cooling, my computer crashed, the internet router died, the coffee maker is dead, and a few other minor problems occurred.

No Power Words Electrical Cord Outlet Electricity Outage Stock Image

The internet service provider is supposed to be here tomorrow- the fourth one that has paid us a visit. I am hopeful that everything will be back to normal by the time you read this. But who knows.

This has been a frustrating week. Yeah! It has been a stark reminder of how much we/I depend on technology to be able to stay in touch and how helpless I feel when the devices fail.

Pen and paper

I don’t use pen and paper as often as I did in the “olden days.” So simple things like preparing a Sunday School lesson, a funeral eulogy, and writing a letter seemed almost impossible. My research for a series of upcoming classes was locked away in the metal box that houses the hard drive of my computer. It was complicated to make an appointment for service personnel to assess the damage and make repairs.

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Under the best of circumstances communication is complicated. Words have different meanings to different people and at different times. Tone of voice, facial expressions, body language, environment, and a myriad of other factors make it difficult for accurate information and feelings to be shared. Effective communication is extremely important and incredibly complex.

Talk to God though short little prayers

I am glad that communication with God is not that hard. You don’t need any devices. Sometimes not even words (Romans 8:26). Our thoughts and intentions are known by God (Acts 15:8) so we don’t have to learn any technique or a new language. We can have confidence that our prayers are heard and, when offered with faith, are answered (Matthew 21:22).

 

The lyrics of an old gospel song has a simple message about how to communicate with God. “Jesus on the mainline, tell him what you want” suggests that the Lord is “on call” and you could just relay your needs to Him. Simple, huh?

Black Rotary Telephone at Top of Gray Surface

Although all our conversations with God should not be about “what we want,” talking to God is that easy. We can use our everyday vocabulary because God understands our language.

However we do it, we need to stay in touch with each other and with God.

Jamie Jenkins

 

My grandchildren speak three languages. Don’t leave me now. I promise I won’t bore you with an exhaustive description of how wonderful they are. This is more than a story about my grandchildren. It is an attempt to offer a parable for living.

Jamie and Felicia were born in Tokyo and lived there until 4 years ago. They are now ages 14 and 11.Thus Japanese is their first language but they are fluent in English as well. They have just moved from Spain where they have lived for the past two years. Although they spoke no Spanish when they arrived, they were immediately enrolled in Spanish schools. As result, after two years of immersion in Spanish culture they have added a third language. At the end of this month they are moving to Mexico and will have to adjust to the Mexican version of the Spanish language.

The main train station.

I promised that this was not about my grandchildren and it is not. Rather I offer their experiences as an example of the importance and the difficulty of being multi-lingual. For the first years of their life they lived in a “Japanese world” in Tokyo. Except for spoken English at home and with a small group of other English speakers, everything was in the native language of their mother. Their parents intentionally spoke only English at home so the children became comfortable in the languages of both my son and daughter-in-law.

Two weeks after moving to Valencia, Spain in 2015 both children (ages 9 and 12) began school where all classes and assignments were in an unfamiliar language. Their lessons presented in the classroom and their conversations with classmates were in Spanish. Homework assignments had to be translated from Spanish to English and then back from English to Spanish. This was hard but as a result they now can communicate comfortably in the new language they learned.

Now what does that have to do with anything?

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We live in a world that is increasingly diverse and all of us could benefit from learning a second (or third language). The purpose of this writing is not to suggest that in a literal sense. However, I am proposing that there is another “language” that we need to learn for the well-being of ourselves and our world. It is the language of love.

Inscriptions of vandals in the fortress of Santa Barbara. Stock Photography

One does not have to look far or know much to realize that our civilized society shows many signs of becoming/being very un-civil. We are seeing all too frequent expressions of anger and hostility instead of understanding and mutual respect. There is the increasing need to learn or re-learn the language of love.

Yes!

The language of love is not easy but I believe it is necessary for our survival. Let me suggest an exercise that might help in this effort. Every day for the next week read Matthew 5:21-48 and Luke 6:27-42 in the Bible. Try to understand and to practice the principles of that “new language.” I believe it will make a difference in your life and in our world.

 

Jamie Jenkins

 

Last week I suggested that there is a better way to live than always trying to get even. I asserted that retaliation for offenses or injuries is not the best way to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

The wisdom of the Bible offers the following advice: “A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up” (Proverbs 15:1, Good News Translation). Jesus told his followers to “not take revenge on someone who wrongs you. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek too…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt 5:38, 44).

The day after last week’s post I heard a story of one person who followed this course of action with dramatic results. What I learned about this man has stayed with me all week so I am passing it on to you- partly to purge my mind and also to share the dynamic witness of Jacob DeShazer.

Jacob DeShazer, was a bombardier in the storied Doolittle raid over Japan in World War II. At age 27 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corp wanting to be a pilot but was assigned to be a bombardier instead.  He was among the small group of men selected to be a part of what has become known as Doolittle’s Raiders.

On April 18, 1942, crewmen in 16 Army Air Forces B-25 bombers, commanded by Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle (a Ph.D. from M.I.T) flew from the carrier Hornet on a daylight bombing raid that brought the war home to Japan for the first time since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Corporal DeShazer was among the five-member crew of “Bat Out of Hell”, the last bomber to depart the Hornet. His plane dropped incendiary bombs on an oil installation and a factory in Nagoya but it ran out of fuel before the pilot could try a landing at an airfield held by America’s Chinese allies.

Take Off Order  16  Tail # 40- 2268  "Bat Out of Hell"-- Target: Kobe -- Pilot Lt. W.G.Farrow, Co-Pilot Lt. R.L.Hite, Navigator Lt. G.Barr, Bombardier Cpl. J.D.Shazer, Engineer Gunner Sgt. H.A. Spatz --- Crash landing, China coast, Japanese POWs

The five crewmen bailed out over Japanese-occupied territory in China and all were quickly captured. In October 1942, a Japanese firing squad executed three of the captured crew. Corporal DeShazer and the other survivors were starved, beaten and tortured at prisons in Japan and China. He endured 40 months in solitary confinement living in 6×9’ concrete cells with no heat or light and with only starvation rations.

Holy Bible Closeup. Holy Bible on the Small Aged Wooden Table. Stock Photo - 36163238

Although he was not a Christian he asked his captors for a Bible. Later he wrote, “In the month of May 1944, a guard brought me the book, but told me I could have it only for three weeks. I eagerly began to read its pages. I discovered that God had given me new spiritual eyes and that when I looked at the enemy officers and guards who had starved and beaten my companions and me so cruelly, I found my bitter hatred for them changed to loving pity.”

He began to realize that Jesus was onto something with his instructions about how to treat other people. So, instead of spitting at the Japanese guards, he began to be pleasant and greet them with “Good Morning.” Before long the guards’ attitudes and actions became less violent and angry.

A few days after the war ended he was freed from imprisonment. Upon returning home, he enrolled at Seattle Pacific College (now Seattle Pacific University) and received a bachelor’s degree in biblical literature in 1948. In December 1948 he returned to Japan with his wife as missionaries in the Free Methodist Church.

Fuchida file photo [670]

In 1950, he met Mitsuo Fuchida, the Japanese naval flier who had led the Pearl Harbor attack and had become a rice farmer after the war. Through contact with DeShazer Mr. Fuchida became a Christian and an evangelist who made several trips to the United States to meet with Japanese-speaking immigrants. After 30 years in Japan doing missionary work DeShazer returned home. He died at age 95.

 

Jacob DeShazer is one who followed the “better way.” God help us all to follow his example.

Jamie Jenkins

When someone does you wrong do you get over it or do you get even? The tendency when you are offended or assaulted is to strike back. Retaliate.picture of retaliation - Revenge rubber stamp - JPG

Justification for retaliation is found in the concept of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” This is a part of Mosaic Law used in the justice system of the ancient Israelites. The principle of jus talionis or lex talionis is that the punishment must fit the crime and there should be a just penalty for evil actions. Justice should be equitable; excessive harshness and excessive leniency should be avoided.

It has been suggested that if everyone practiced “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” the result would be a world of blind and toothless people.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness…. The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

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Is there a better way? Perhaps the law of reciprocity offers an acceptable alternative to the law of retaliation. The law of reciprocity means that when someone does something nice for you, you do something nice for them in return. The act of returning a kind gesture or favor basically goes without saying. Unfortunately the all too often mindset is that when someone does something harsh or unkind, we in turn act in like manner.

Jesus in white robes, sitting on a hillside by the sea, surrounded by a large group of people who are listening to His teachings.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus counters the teaching of personal retaliation: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, “Do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:38–42).

These verses may be the most difficult verses in the Bible.

On another occasion Jesus taught that the practice of retaliation would not provide any positive results. Instead, he said “all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

The Apostle Paul instructed the Christians of his day in this manner: “ Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even… if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.” (Romans 12:17-21, The Message)

“Evil is powerful, but good is more powerful. In fact, evil is so powerful that only good has the power to overcome evil. Darkness can be driven away only by light” (Jay E. AdamsHow to Overcome Evil). I think Jesus would agree- and so do I.

Jamie Jenkins

 

It has been two weeks since I have posted on this blog. I am sure that you have missed it and wondered what has happened to me. Your life has been greatly diminished because you have been deprived of my musings.

If I believed that, I would be in need of serious therapy. The fact is I suspect that you have not even realized that there has been a two week gap in my Thoughts for Thursday postings. And even if you realized it, there has been no detrimental effect because of it.

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Nevertheless, an explanation for why the hiatus. My oldest son Jason, his wife Keiko, and their two children Jamie and Felicia (my only two grandchildren) have been visiting for the past five weeks. In addition, we have also had a revolving door of guests since they arrived. My grandson’s best friend from Korea, a cousin from California, and another cousin from Japan have each spent 10 days – two weeks with us. It has been so much fun and it has occupied most of my thoughts. So, I gave my writing a rest.

By the way, my son’s family is one of many who live something of a nomadic lifestyle. They are a part of a large community of traveling families. They lived in Japan for 13 years but left there in 2013. Since then they have lived in Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Spain. They are on their way to Mexico for their next residence. Jason writes a blog about their experiences and has posted over 100 podcast interviews with other traveling families. If you are interested, check out his blog (www.anepiceducation.com).

Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. Francis Bacon

I write as a discipline, not because I enjoy it or think that I have anything of major importance to say. World events are not affected by my opinions or advice.  Lives are not drastically altered by my wisdom. I understand that.

Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.

E. B. White

Verbal communication has been my primary method of sharing my thoughts. I am occasionally reminded that I can talk a lot without saying very much. Writing helps me to be conscious of choosing the right word(s) and I am more aware of reasonable limits on the length of my communication. Writing helps me discipline myself in that regard. Writing regularly with self-imposed time/space limitations also has value.

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’Tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
― Mark Twain

These past two weeks I have chosen not to chain myself to the chair in front of the computer to be sure I did not miss a Thursday entry. That, in itself, has been a discipline and a reminder that it is okay if I miss an occasional self-imposed deadline.

So why am I writing today? For one thing, I want those who read what I write to know that I am still alive and well. Secondly, in the midst of everyday life I need to maintain some sense of rhythm and to continue to work on the art of communication.

You can be certain that this latest installment is not because my sense of self-worth or my ego demands it. I understand the warning given by the Apostle Paul: “I say to everyone of you not to think more highly of himself [and of his importance and ability] than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has apportioned to each a degree of faith [and a purpose designed for service].” (Romans 12:3, Amplified Bible)

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

National League Cy Young Award winner R. A. Dickey

He was born Robert Allen Dickey on October 29, 1974. Like his grandfather, who was called by his initials, he became known as R. A. He knew poverty and remembers his parents stealing flatware from the Western Sizzlin’ restaurant. His alcoholic mother and emotionally absent father divorced when he was three years old.

R. A.’s childhood and adolescence was full of struggle and conflict. He was a fierce competitor and regularly involved in fights. It was not unusual for him to sleep in his car or at friend’s house, or to break into vacant houses and spend the night there. He was sexually abused by a thirteen year old babysitter when he was eight years old and later by a teen-aged boy.

His athletic ability brought satisfaction and a sense of self-worth to this Nashville native as he grew up. He was an English literature major at the University of Tennessee where he had a 3.35 GPA and was named Academic All-American and Academic All-SEC. He was also a star athlete as a football quarterback, basketball forward and baseball pitcher.

R.A. Dickey, with Team USA, signs autographs before

1996 was a banner year for R.A. He was a member of Team USA in the Olympics. He was picked in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Texas Rangers. After being drafted, he was initially offered a signing bonus of $810,000. But Rangers trainer Danny Wheat saw his throwing (right) arm hanging oddly in a picture of him with fellow USA starting pitchers in Baseball America.

Dr. John Conway, team physician conducted a physical examination that revealed a missing ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The UCL is necessary for daily functions as routine as turning a doorknob. As a result of this discovery, Doug Melvin, Rangers General Manager, told Dickey and his agent, “We are going to retract our offer.”

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In his autobiography, R.A. describes his feelings as he sat in the GM’s office and heard his words.

“I don’t feel devastation, or even  anger. I feel rage. Complete rage. It feels as if it starts in my toes and blasts up through my body like a tsunami, into my guts and right up through the top of my head.

“I have an urge as primal as anything I have ever felt….But I do not lift a finger. I do not leave my chair. It’s as if there is a strong hand on my shoulder holding me back, giving me pause. In that instant I have a self-control that was not there a moment earlier.

“I hear a voice: ‘Relax, I’ve got you. Relax, R.A. It’s okay. It’s going to be okay. I’ve got you.’

“The voice is the Holy Spirit. The restraint is the Holy Spirit… The tsunami passes.”

As he goes to the airport for his flight back home to Nashville he feels “the rage dissipating, replaced by a terrible loneliness. A loneliness that feels terminal.”

On the flight home he searches “for comfort, any comfort at all, and finds it, not in Doug Melvin’s seven words (We are going to retract our offer), but in the Holy Spirit’s three: ‘I’ve got you’.”

Sounds pitcher R. A. Dickey hurls a pitch into the

This is the place where the music swells and you get the feeling that all is well. Not so. The next several years brings momentary success and significant failures for R.A.  He travels a long road filled with disappointments and struggles- 11 years in the minor leagues. One writer said, “Despite being twice consigned to baseball’s scrap heap Dickey battled back. Sustained by his Christian faith, his wife and children, and a relentless quest for self-awarenes” he finally achieved his life-long goal of being a Major League baseball player. In 2012, Dickey was selected to his first All-Star Game, won the Sporting News Pitcher of the Year Award, and became the first knuckleball pitcher to win the Cy Young Award.

As a conventional Major League pitcher R.A. was marginally successful. After advice from his manager and pitching coach, he focused on becoming a knuckleball pitcher. As of the 2017 season, Dickey (now with the Atlanta Braves) and Boston Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright are the only two active players in the majors who use the knuckleball as their primary pitch.

R.A. Dickey Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves

The Holy Spirit’s words, “I’ve got you,” in 1996 was not a promise that everything would be easy. However, they were words of assurance to R.A. that he was not alone and no matter what happened it would be okay.

The promise made to R.A. Dickey is given to everyone: “Relax, I’ve got you. It’s okay. It’s going to be okay. I’ve got you.”

Jamie Jenkins