Viewpoints

Depend on God and those He has placed in our lives

I was born with spastic cerebral palsy. This disability has taught me how to depend on others and trust in God with my daily needs. A particular childhood experience showed me the importance of depending on God and those He has placed in my life. It is a lesson I have never forgotten.

It was the second week of school in mid-September 1964. Earlier that summer I had celebrated my 10th birthday. I was glad school had started and never would have dreamt of missing a day of school. Even at that age, I sensed education would give me freedom. In our special-education unit we had the basic reading, writing and math as well as phonics. There were many others such as me who needed physical and/or speech therapy as well. Part of our physical therapy was to stand in the “Standing Box.” There some of students would spend half an hour to an hour each day, our leg braces locked at the knees. While standing we were able to do our class assignments.

I especially liked to read or compose short stories while in the box. These activities helped me pass the time. I also liked to do word searches as well as crossword puzzles. Standing in the box stretched my hamstrings while the reading, writing and word games stretched my mind.  

Gianna’s story a special one on abortion survivors

To inspire means literally to “breathe life into.” As humans we often look to history, the Bible or newspapers to find individuals who have displayed some special quality of courage, faith or resiliency that motivates us to get up each morning and face the vicissitudes of daily life with hope and resignation. 

While I have encountered a number of teachers who have stirred me to higher academic achievement, I do not think anyone has inspired me more to celebrate the human life than Gianna Jessen. Gianna’s story is a special one. She is among a very small group of abortion survivors.

Her 17-year old mother attempted to abort her during the eighth month of her pregnancy. In an effort to kill Gianna, the abortionist injected a saline solution into her mother’s womb. Gianna spent 18 hours swimming in the toxic fluid.  According to Gianna, a saline abortion "burns the baby inside and out,” prompting some people to call these babies “candy apples” because of their burns.

Heroes with broken hearts let in the power of God’s love

There are heroes in our city. Not Spiderman, who rescues innocent victims by spinning a web around his villains, or Superman, who is faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive. These other heroes are less dramatic, yet they are nearby to guide and save us in real-life situations. Here’s to our heroes, the dads.

I know a hero dad whose child admitted tearfully that he did not have even one friend at school. This is a tough assignment for a dad, and kids come with no instruction manual or script to follow. All smiles on his first day of first grade, his son had spent every recess for the next two months alone, hugging the playground fence. Words of consolation are easier for a skinned knee or a strike out at the plate during a little league game.

This young father’s heart broke a bit. The wisdom of God entered through the break as he prayed for the right words to say to his discouraged, little 6-year-old son.

The bond of father and son is stronger because of this hurt they suffered together, although each suffered in a different way. Both have been taught the importance of kindness and compassion. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4: 32).

Good health care means asking the right questions

Effective communication makes a critical difference in receiving successful medical attention. But patients often feel inadequate about their ability to speak intelligently with their doctors, or they expect doctors and other medical professionals to take the initiative in steering a conversation in the right direction.

Patients might also be embarrassed about talking about certain symptoms or health problems, or they might not want to admit to unhealthful activities. As a result, their issues go untreated.

The sooner a patient develops and uses effective communication skills with his or her medical team, the better and stronger the relationships that lead to the best health outcome possible.

A good place to start effective communication is with respect for both the medical professional and for oneself. Patients need to face their fears and apparent failings (such as not taking prescribed medication or engaging in unhealthful habits) so that the doctor can have as full a health picture as possible.

All patients have questions about their conditions, the latest medical headlines or information gleaned from others and the Internet. Understanding that another appointment might be necessary to handle the questions is one way to get answers. Also, framing questions in a nonthreatening manner and a normal tone of voice will be more effective than asking accusatorily or from a stance of defiance.

Who is like Jesus and who speaks for Him?

He was 6’5”, built like a football player and stood out in a crowd. He was so kind and enthusiastic. When I was in kindergarten, I felt safe, loved and protected in his presence. Father Janesko radiated peace and joy to the parishioners at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in the quiet, rural town of El Dorado, Ark., where I grew up. He was like Jesus and spoke for Him.

When I was in grade school, my Mom made lemonade on torrid summer days in St. Louis for the men who hauled away our garbage. They performed their important duties as if they were serving the Lord. They were like Jesus.

What about you and me when we want to be like our Messiah and speak for Him? God knows the desires of our hearts. He longs to help us. We can say, “Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will!”

I was amazed when I discovered one story after another about people who were like Jesus and who spoke for Him. For example, Jesuit Father Martin Royackers (Nov.14, 1959-June 20, 2001) was an activist and martyr. Rebel forces gunned him down for promoting peace and justice in Jamaica. Father Martin was raised on a farm in Ontario, Canada. After his ordination he traveled to the Caribbean island to serve five parishes in eastern Jamaica. The young Jesuit had an abundance of energy, and he ministered in the beautiful country that he cherished for nine years. He started for local farmers a co-operative that was maintained by the Jamaican community. Father Royackers was persistent until he and the peasant farmers established a school where the children would receive an excellent, well-rounded education and learn several skills that would help them to establish a viable living when they became adults.

Let us now praise the Little Professor, brother of Joltin’ Joe

In another summer of baseball’s steroid-driven discontent — A-Rod scandals, Manny’s suspension, Clemens’s denials, etc. — it is worth remembering a different era in the pastime, the virtues of which were embodied by the other DiMaggio: Dom, the Little Professor, kid brother of Joltin’ Joe, the Yankee Clipper.

Dominic Paul DiMaggio died on May 8 at age 92. He’s not in Cooperstown, but the man who patrolled left field in Fenway while Dom DiMaggio was in center — Ted Williams, whom Leon Kass once aptly called “our Achilles” — was so convinced that his teammate belonged with the immortals that he had booklets entitled “Why Dom DiMaggio Belongs in the Hall of Fame” available at the Ted Williams Museum in Florida.
Dom DiMaggio made The Show in 1940. Like Joltin’ Joe and the Splendid Splinter, Williams, he lost years off his career in service to America during World War II. Thus his entire major league life spanned but 10 full seasons. He was a career .298 hitter with a lifetime .383 on-base percentage and an entirely respectable .419 slugging average. As a memorial piece in Sports Illustrated pointed out, he was a serious bat: “No one — not Joe, not Ted Williams — had more hits than Dom’s 1,679 from 1940 through 1952” (the missing service years being 1943-45). 

Syndicate content