Tuesday, 22 July 2008


I have a bit of a complaint to pass along to you, the ever-listening internet world. I have a complaint about the very few complaints and issues about my decisions and actions that I hear directly.

A few days ago I received notification from a third (or fourth) source that something on my facebook profile had offended someone and that feelings along this grapevine have since been hurt. I fear that my attitude and perhaps character have now been called into question because of my comment. I apologise to anyone who has been upset by anything that I have written, here or elsewhere. I meant no harm and wrote with no malicious intent, but only as an expression of temporary situational frustration. This note, as much as I write to that first original problem, I also write to you, one of many impressionable information catalysts and, as with the vast majority of my letters, I write also to myself.

Gossip is both a social lubricant and a relational poison. Where lay the lines between conversation, consultation, chatter and gossip? I don’t know... but I’m beginning to learn that the lines blur differently depending on which side of the topic you take your stand.

Hearing the whisper fall into silence when you enter a room can turn your stomach and pale your face, while speaking in hushed tones about another is something we rarely even second guess or question at all. Betrayal of your trust can cause such a deep and long-term wound, and yet when questions outside the limits of polite conversation are posed we do everything we can to answer, however indirectly, even at the cost of a close friend. Everyone wants to be trusted and accepted, but who can I truly trust when I can’t even trust myself with information every time?

I have come up with a solution to my problem. Because this plan is a true solution and not just a temporary fix, it is going to take time. It’s revolutionary, dynamic and unpopular, which may be part of the reason I love it so much.

I’m going to bite my tongue.

Yes, this may prove a painful answer to my problems and I might have to sacrifice a few taste-buds, but I think that (with the exception of defending or discouraging more negative talk) I need to abide by the too-frequently-ignored advice “Shut Up”. Shut Up is more than an action of immediate silence... it’s the capability to retain information without letting it leak. I want to be someone that people can come to without hesitation and know that they are always speaking in confidence. I want to be known as a person of integrity, not as a person with a parroting mind. I want to be 100% trustworthy.

Language is so dangerous. I have felt the effects of its aftermath from both sides of the blurring border of right and wrong, of appropriate and inacceptable, of conversation and gossip. So I ask you a personal favour; if I do something that you believe is wrong, tell me. Site your sources and make sure that what you hear and what you say are firmly and reliably based in the realm of reality. Keep your word. Clarify the limits. Don’t push the story.

And one final piece of advice for all of us; if you’re worried about the consequences, do yourself a favour.

Shut Up.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008


It’s the front seat thrill of hanging over the edge and staring face first into what looks convincingly like your death, it’s being mildly aware of the security of your seat and the lock on your belt, it’s being so excited and so afraid and about ready to pee yourself on both accounts; it’s the top of the roller coaster, and you’re about to take one mind-blowing ride.

A weekend ago I made the road trip to Canada’s Wonderland and within 15 minutes of receiving my Jetsons hand-stamp I was in line for Behemoth. The 230-foot-74-degree-drop-215-kilometers-per-hour ride was in the very least a terrifying presence in the park. Waiting in the cue we had plenty of time to size it up a few times while we tried to settle the butterflies with discussion... but we knew it was coming. The climb.

My best friend and I share an interesting though unfortunate paradoxical problem. We both love roller coasters and we both hate heights; the drop is fantastic, but the climbs freak us out. Thus, when we strapped ourselves into the not-quite-deep-enough seats with the not-quite-tight-enough lap bar, we were both about ready to explode. It was after about the first thirty feet in our ascent we started praying. The butterflies stilled for just a moment. A half minute later our “amens” morphed into screams and shrieks as we plummeted toward the earth. So good.

Summer Training Week... It’s a lot like the paramount of that first big climb up a new roller coaster. There is so much suspense, so much pent up tension and expectation; the thrill of the new and the fear of disappointment; worrying about the next step and being completely out of control. No brakes and no helmets, we’re on our own.

Well, not quite.

If summer is the roller coaster, then God is the seatbelt. You just might be able to cling onto the ride is that is your entire focus, but that first drop will be a horrifying shock to your body, and there would be no joy in the ride. You’d be so stressed about holding on you would miss the fun.

I am so excited for that first big drop of summer. It’s almost here! The butterflies are kicking in – I’m nervous about the program and curriculum and I don’t feel ready – but I know I’m not in control anymore. I’ve committed to the ride and I have to trust my seatbelt.

I think it’s time to pray.