Day 59 – “The Destroyer of Worlds”

Would you indulge me? Today’s post isn’t about growth or faith or fitness. You’ve been warned.

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I finally got around to listening to the latest Hardcore History episode, entitled “The Destroyer of Worlds.” This is the so-called  “Dan Carlin version” of how the world’s leaders adjusted to the incredible power of nuclear weapons.

Carlin is a gifted storyteller and an avid reader of history, giving him a plethora of skills for telling deep, complicated stories across multiple fronts. “Destroyer of Worlds” is no different, as it dives into the responsibilities and psyches of various world leaders, including Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Reagan, along with Secretaries Stalin and Khrushchev.

What pressures these men faced, armed with weapons beyond the imagination of a world that was suddenly moving at lightspeed. Think, for a moment, what the world looked like in 1910.

Then jump forward *only 40 years.* Europe has been utterly ravaged by two enormously brutal conflicts, shifting the balance of power away from the Old World and into the new.

The Soviet Union has emerged as a dominant, terrifying power. And, perhaps most amazing of all, the once isolationist United States stands as a superpower on the world’s stage. Shockingly — these two nations stand opposed.

Oh, and now a few of those nations possess weapons of mass destruction.

How can one prepare for that?

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The most fascinating part of the episode is Carlin’s discussion on the Cuban Missile Crisis. Carlin doesn’t say this or quote anyone saying it, but one gets the sense that Kennedy and Khrushchev both felt this horrible burden. Both wanted to be seen as strong, powerful leaders — and yet, both knew the weight that would fall upon their shoulders should either have elected to use the nuclear weapons. All of those lives would fall at the feet of either man, for all of history.

The weight of that drained both men. Kennedy and Khrushchev both were said to have hardly slept or left their major offices during the crisis, each burning the candle fast at both ends. Imagine the pressure. Imagine being told that it was best to move your family away from the White House, because the nation’s capital was an obvious target for the USSR. You, however, being the commander-in-chief, do not get that luxury of leaving. Imagine hearing the plan of how rescue teams planned to retrieve you — from your bunker — in the event of an attack.

Imagine feeling the weight of millions and millions of families, many of whom voted for you to protect them in this kind of moment, as they went to bed at night terrified of what might greet them in the morning. But don’t think that just Americans or Russians had such fears. Oh, no — the world went to sleep each night with one eye open.

As Carlin put it, the human race had experienced such terror before. If Genghis Khan was bearing down on your village, you knew existential fear. But when in the history of the world had everyone felt such a fear, all at once?

For 13 days, Kennedy and Khrushchev endured a pressure that no world leader before them could have understood. And so, it is understandable why both seemed to have reached out to the power for a lifeline. I sense — and this is just me, I could be totally wrong — that both men desperately did not want this war. I sense both men thinking, “Please don’t make me do this.” It is easy for an armchair general (you know, like me) to talk about the power and scope of nuclear weapons, and their potential role in various conflicts.

It is an entirely different equation to actually be at the helm.

Sometimes we forget that our leaders are humans as well, rife with fears and insecurities, doubts and troubles. Neither Kennedy nor Khrushchev were perfect men. And even as a proud American, I sympathize with the pressures felt by the Soviet General Secretary.

One wonders if any human could ever be prepared for such a responsibility. The world’s fate in your hands.

What a terrible predicament to be in.

Day 58 – Update

I had what was likely my best overall nutrition and fitness week in months, but that bar was low and the week still wasn’t good enough. Overall it boils back down to discipline and how easily I can be tempted into eating decisions that just aren’t ideal.

As I’ve shared with many folks, I really like to eat, and I can just about guarantee I’ll overeat on a near-constant basis. That’s been true my whole life, including the last three years where I’ve shed weight. I simply have to adjust what I overeat and make sure to be disciplined in the gym to overcome it.

Is that a perfect process? No. But it worked.  However, I do find myself a bit ashamed of it — like, why the heck can’t I just eat a perfectly-designed slate of meals with great macros and only 1850 net calories? Don’t others? SURELY EVERYONE ELSE IS CAPABLE.

Well, no. No one is capable of that, aside from a superhuman near-deity named The Rock. (But he doesn’t count.) For us normal folk, how do we battle the temptations that can rock  (lol) our neatly-designed meal plans or even shatter more important things? Well, there’s only one way, and it’s through our Deliverer.

One tricky part of this journey has been trying to not be prideful. I look back at the Adam of a few years ago and I cringe, dude. So arrogant, so prideful, so sure of myself as that paragon of faith and improving fitness. Yowza. I did not know what was to come.

Now, I’ve felt the sting of failures and I am bit more aware of the fact that I basically suck. No, not depressed — understanding that apart from faith and grace, what is Adam? I’ll tell you what he is —  a vapor. But with Christ, and via Christ, maybe something more.

And so it is with this journey, a battle between wanting to be disciplined and wanting to succeed while working to not be prideful. Life is complicated, dudes.

In the gym, the menu remains the same. Burn calories, work muscles, have fun. Outside of it, clawing toward more consistent nutrition.

Fight on.

Day 57 – Faith

I won’t lie to you — this isn’t an easy story to read. But you should.

Go.

Royce Young covers the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team for ESPN. I found some of his work a little homer-y, but he’s dependable and a good writer and hey, I like him. He’s good. It’s not an easy job and I certainly can’t imagine asking Russell Westbrook questions about a basketball game 82 times a year.

But, none of that matters, because we are more than our jobs. We are more than our hobbies. Royce Young is a writer, sure. Great. Maybe he plays golf. Cool.

But he’s more than that — he’s a husband and he’s a father, and I cannot imagine the responsibilities and joys and terrors of being either. Maybe someday I will experience both — I’ll then begin to grasp all of that.

But for now, I read what Royce and his wife are enduring right now and I’m left without words. I cannot comprehend those feelings. Not just the pain, or the fear that might have come before it — but the strength and love that flow between him and his wife and toward their son, the strength that makes this a moment that binds them together rather than pushes them apart.

I admire you, Royce. I don’t know you at all, and you don’t know me. But I am one of thousands who are reading your story and joining you spiritually in prayer, appealing to the mercies of the Merciful One, where all pain and sadness end. The Young family is not the only one enduring pain and tragedy — remember that.

Grace be with you all.

Day 56 – Helping friends

I live on my friends’ farm — some of you know that.

Today, I helped them cut out a yearling for processing — most of you didn’t know that. I’ve helped several times and it’s always an interesting experience. If you haven’t seen how a farm operates (particularly a small farm), you should really attempt to do so.

It’s not this idyllic experience full of rainbows and postcard-worthy scenes. Rather, it’s constant work and constant dependence on grace to provide. 

They aren’t the only farmers in the world. I am friends with tons of them and I admire them all, because that line of work requires a particular heart and purpose.

God indeed made a farmer. 

 

Day 55 -Nice and easy

Sometimes, life catches up a little. I now find myself waking up at 5:45 a.m., which really isn’t that bad — some of you face even harsher realities — but it does take a toll.

So here I sit on a Friday night exhausted and needing to write to you. I love sharing things on this platform, whether it be successes or struggles, insights or simply jokes. I want this to feel like a real conversation between myself and all of you. It’s been a productive week on many fronts, so the fatigue comes with satisfaction.

But … I’ll be honest — I’ve kinda got nothing.

So, I simply share this, a wonderfully moving combination of songs I love by a band I appreciate.

Someday I might write more about what this video does to me, but for now … just turn it up and enjoy.

Day 54 – Um, wow

Time is fleeting today, so I leave you with this.

I am no fan of someone like Rob Bell, because his doctrines devalue the great work of the Cross and that is deeply offensive to me and every Christian today and in the past.

If you have found yourself enjoying or embracing the man’s work and are challenged by what I just said, feel free to message me. I’d be happy to talk and direct you to better sources.

Spoiler: There are plenty.

Day 53 – Unusual soreness

Ah, what a refreshing feeling, like stepping through a cool mist on a hot August evening or cracking open a cold Gatorade after a run under the hot July sun.

Random muscle soreness, oh what a feeling to savor. Hold on, I sense something. You, my dear reader, are asking, “Pray tell, why is that a feeling to savor? IT HURTS.”

Because, in the (sorta) immortal words of my coach/friend Pete, “being sore is a reminder of that badass thing you did yesterday.” Boo. Yah.

oh yeah macho man randy savage macho man

Soreness — provided it’s not a sharp pain, which might mean something worse — is an excellent signpost on the journey to awesomeness. Sure, it sucks, but I have learned to take it as a nice memento of progress being made. So don’t fret — embrace it. If you have been training for months and continue to find soreness, rejoice — you are still pushing the envelope.

Pretty badass, if you ask me.

Day 52 – On KD’s interview

So, you listened to the Kevin Durant interview, right? Good.

What I found so interesting about it was Durant discussing his move to Golden State. Take him outside of the sports world, and would anyone even bat an eye? A man near the top of his professional left a pretty successful organization for perhaps the most successful organization (we can quibble about that) going today. He sacrificed money for culture and for having more fun at work.

Why is that so bad? I have a theory why, and perhaps it will annoy some folks. When I was a child, I deeply cared about the successful or failure of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I was hysterical when they lost and overjoyed when they won. It was a thing.

But now? I could care less, and that’s true of me with most sports. I certainly like playing sports, reading up on them and all that, but do my moods swing with the flick of a jumpshot? Not at all. They have an important place in my life, but sports are no longer my life.

Is that healthier? I think so, but that’s also just me. But when I see adults driven to rage or tears over another adult they do not know personally deciding to work in a different city, I am left almost embarrassed.

(Note: LeBron leaving Cleveland was a little different, what with the TV ordeal and all that. Durant handled his situation in a much classier way.)

This isn’t a screed against sports or entertainment, or a total endorsement of Durant. Rather, I see it as an opportunity to take stock of where I invest my time and what the dividend is therein. That is often a challenging endeavor and Lord knows I suck at it, but it has to be done.

Day 51 – The plan

So, I think I might start using Mondays to lay out my plan in the gym for the week. Here’s what I want to do:

  • I need a good 30-35 minutes of treadmill cardio five days a week to start the festivities, ideally finishing north of 450 calories burned (for my age/weight). I like having a good sweat rolling before I hit the weights and finish things off. Other people do it in reverse — your mileage may vary.
  • Working on developing mobility means a chance to do fun workouts, like slams and wallballs. Simply being able to move better will make life better, but like I mentioned on Saturday, it also plays a big role in disc golf. So far I’ve been doing walls and slams to time — so, as many as I can in 30 seconds. Likely will keep that going for a bit longer.
  • As for strictly lowerbody movements, a healthy dose of lunges and kettlebell swings ought do the trick.
  • Almost no isolation workouts beyond a few side-to-sides/Russian twists and other abdominal exercises. Sorry, bro — no curls. At my core, I’m lazy as heck, so why not do a few movements that work everything?
  • Spend a good hour or so doing the work, 5-6 days a week. I don’t always have time for even that, but it’s a solid goal.

The bigger thing is focusing more on better nutrition. That battle is getting easier as I settle into a new schedule, but more than anything, I have to be disciplined about what I eat more than ever before. It’s a battle I must win.

Day 50 – Rest

I wanted a chance to share some thoughts on the Men’s Retreat I was blessed to attend a few weeks ago. As I said in a few posts immediately after, the topic was rest, which I found a little confusing because it’s not instinctual to me.

I tend to be driven about production. I was recently unemployed, and I detested it. I want to feel like I’m contributing, even if it’s just for my own needs (even if others are, by grace, supporting me in some way). After all:

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Man oh man, I read that and feel an urge to grab another job and work work work. I’m being a little silly, but don’t kid yourself, we were made to work. Paul’s words in 2 Thessalonians confirm that, as does the knowledge that God prepared works for us in advance.

So, we are meant to be productive. But that doesn’t mean we are meant to only work — not at all. After all, it was God who set an example for rest by not working on the seventh day. (Spoiler: it isn’t as if the Creater God was worn out.) And so if that’s true, that God rested, who are we to assume we should not?

I suspect there is a proper balance here where the soul is at its most satisfied. If we work in such a way that provides for our family and glorifies God, that is a wonderful feeling. If we also find time for Godly rest — devotion to His word, prayer and frankly, yes, sleep — that provides an appropriate counterbalance.

Sounds great, right? Wrong. The world does not want you to achieve this, folks. The world is obsessed with its own busy-ness, immersed in a culture that daily finds something to be irate about (I’m looking at both Republicans and Democrats) while distracting from the truth.

… there’s that word. Truth. Hmm. What’s the truth?

There is no peace, no hope, no joy apart from Christ. You will look, but you will not find.

C.S. Lewis put it nicely, as usual:

No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.

As Christians we must realize that seeking God means being ready to rest when the time comes for it. There is plenty for us to do — a whole lifetime of works prepared in advance — but also time to simply sit back, rest and dwell on the Lord.

Is it not a waste.

Also — yay, 50 posts! 😀 😀 😀