Posts that find “grace at the end of disgrace”.

Don’t Be an Armchair Quarterback

by Larry Hehn on June 5, 2013

armchair quarterbackChappy and I used to play hockey together. He was our team’s top center. I was the goalie.

As an excellent hockey player and team captain, Chappy had earned permission to chew out any of the guys on the team who weren’t pulling their weight. Anyone he admonished knew the feedback was warranted and for their own good.

It was given to them directly, not grumbled behind their back. Discussion was open and honest, and dealt with then and there. He was also open to receiving feedback in return.

After one disastrous game, in which I couldn’t get my act together no matter how hard I tried, Chappy gave me a well-deserved tongue lashing. I was just as frustrated with myself for letting in some soft goals and not being able to get comfortable in net.

He must have sensed that frustration, since he then did something I never expected. He suggested that we swap positions at our next practice.

That Monday afternoon, Chappy donned my pads. I moved up to center. For an hour and a half we got a taste of what it was like to be in the other’s skates.

Exhausted, drenched in sweat, and completely humbled at our inability to cover the other’s position, we dragged ourselves back to the dressing room and slumped onto the benches across from each other.

Chappy’s eyes met mine. Slowly, he shook his head and said, “I will never yell at you again.”

Still panting, I gasped, “And I’ll never yell at you either.”

Chappy was no armchair quarterback. If he was going to criticize somebody for something, he wanted to know exactly what it was like to be in their skates…er, shoes. He gave the benefit of the doubt. He spoke with hopes of building the other person up, not tearing them down.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when someone who has never played hockey watches the extra-slow-motion replay of a backhand from inside the slot bulging the twine, then announces, “Aw, the goalie should have had that!”

Yes, maybe he should have. That’s why they pay him the big bucks. But, having played that position before, I don’t fault him for missing it. It’s amazing how easy something looks until you try it yourself.

That’s why I like shows like Pros vs Joes and Undercover Boss. The cocky amateur jock gets schooled about what it really takes to be a professional athlete. The corporate CEO gains an appreciation for the many hands that support the vision he/she is casting for his/her company.

Armchair quarterbacks aren’t necessarily couch potatoes. They’re just people who expect more from others than they do from themselves.

So if you find yourself thinking that someone you know really needs to hear this…


Relieve Stress in One Easy Step

by Larry Hehn on May 30, 2013

road rageI dropped my son off at school early this morning. I don’t usually drive him, but today he had to be there for 6 am. On my drive home along two eastbound lanes, I sought to move from the left lane to the right, since I had to turn south at the next block.

After putting my turn indicator on, checking my mirrors, and doing the standard head-turn check for my blind spot, I determined that I had plenty of room to move over.

However, the guy who was several car lengths behind me in the right lane had other ideas.

As soon as I indicated my desire to get into his lane, he mashed the accelerator to close the gap between himself and the car in front. I’m not sure what possessed him to try to squeeze me out, but he obviously didn’t want me to be in front of him, even though I already was.

Though I saw him start to accelerate, I still had plenty of room to make the shift. As I eased into the right hand lane, I could see him fuming in my rear view mirror.

He was yelling, waving his right hand around, and having an all around hissy fit. Even as I turned right and he continued straight, I could see him glare at me as he went through the intersection.

“Dude,” I thought out loud, “Do you realize that my pulling in front of you didn’t add a single second to your trip, or pose any sort of threat to your drive? It’s 6:01 am. I sure hope the rest of your day gets better.”

Of course, that’s completely up to him.

It’s something I’ve learned firsthand over the last little while. My wife and I just wrapped up a few weeks with a counsellor. One of the biggest lessons I gleaned from our time there is that I am responsible for my own attitude. Whether or not something stresses me out or offends me, is completely up to me.

It’s amazing how much stress melts away when I simply choose not to be offended by stuff.

If you are looking for reasons to be offended, you are sure to find them. Heck, you may have already decided that you are offended by this post. Ultimately it’s a choice. My driving buddy could have just as easily let me change lanes without incident. I’m sure his day would have been better as a result.

I’m thankful to be more aware now of just how liberating the right attitude can be. It seems so simple in hindsight, but this was a revelation that really only came to light through some great conversations mediated by a helpful counsellor.

And it’s definitely something worth sharing.

Want to relieve stress in one easy step? Choose not to be easily offended.

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” – Carl Jung



by Larry Hehn on May 23, 2013

renovationRENOVA’TION, n.  [L. renovatio.]

1.  The act of renewing; a making new after decay, destruction or depravation; renewal; as the renovation of the heart by grace.

2.  A state of being renewed.

Over the last few days, we’ve been renovating our 40-year-old bathroom. Gone are the old bathtub, toilet, sink, vanity, flooring, light fixture, and even the drywall. Rather than put lipstick on the proverbial pig, we gutted the room and started from scratch.

It hasn’t been easy or comfortable. Frankly, it’s been quite costly and inconvenient. But the end results will be well worth the sacrifice.

Whether it’s a room in your house or a facet of your personal life, here are some things you can expect from a renovation:

  1. It will cost more than you thought. Even though we carefully researched materials and assembled a budget for the project, some expenses popped up that we hadn’t anticipated. Expect personal renovation to cost more than you planned.
  2. It will take more time than you hoped. The further we got into the project, the more items we found that needed attention – some plumbing fixes, electrical work, walls and ceilings that needed to be straightened out, etc. Some things just take time, and can’t be crammed into a shorter period. Be patient and give them the time and attention they deserve.
  3. Things will get “worse” before they get better. Through the demolition and construction, our house has been a cluttered, noisy, dusty mess. Plus we’ve been without a bathtub or shower. In the middle of the renovation, it’s easy to look around and complain that things were better before the whole process started. But again, be patient and persist. The end results will be worth it.
  4. At times it will appear like no progress is being made. When the mud, paint, adhesives and grout are drying, it’s as tedious as…well…watching paint dry. As much as you’d like to rush on to the next step, you must take the time for things to settle and cure. Otherwise you risk undoing some of the work that’s already been done.
  5. It will reveal other areas that need work. Even before our bathroom renovation is done, the rest of our house is looking shabby in comparison. When one facet of your life gets cleaned up, other areas begin to show their rough edges.
  6. Cosmetic changes won’t cut it. Slapping a fresh coat of paint on something that’s falling apart is a waste of time and effort. If you do your best to look good and smell good without fixing the problem, it will come back to bite you. As Canadian contracting guru Mike Holmes says, you need to “Make it right”.
  7. It’s a continuous process. Once the bathroom is done, the next step will be replacing the main floor ceiling that was damaged by a leak. Then carpeting through the entire upstairs. Then replacing all the bedroom doors. Then remodeling the kitchen. There will always be work to do, whether it’s your home or personal life. There’s always room for renovation.

What’s on your renovation list?

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. – Ephesians 4:21-24