Monday, November 10, 2008

Keep Digging

Well, a month after I came down with a pretty bad bout of bronchitis, it finally seems to be ready to walk away from my body.

I'd originally gotten it from my daughter, who had a respiratory infection ... but about 10 days ago she came down with a sinus infection, probably something I'd given back to her. And then that morphed into an inner ear infection and now, according to the doctor at the clinic last night, it's bronchitis. And oh, by the way, he said my wife has a throat infection, too.

With the onset of cold weather and all of us living together in a closed up space, breathing recycled air, it could be next Spring before we're all healthy at the same time.



Scottish physician A.J. Cronin was forced by illness to take a leave of absence from his medical practice. He decided to write a novel during this time, but when halfway finished, he became disheartened and threw his manuscript into a garbage can.

Totally discouraged, Cronin was walking the Scottish Highlands one day when he saw a man digging in a bog, trying to drain it so it could be used as a pasture. As Cronin talked with him, the man said, "My father dug at this bog but was never able to make a pasture. But my father knew - and I know - that it's only by digging you'll ever be able to make a pasture. So I keep digging."

Feeling rebuked and re-motivated, Cronin went home, fished his novel out of the dustbin, and finished it.

That novel - Hatter's Castle - sold three million copies. Cronin never went back to his medical practice and became a world renowned writer.

The moral of the story? No matter what bog life has you in, keep digging.

[Pulpit Supply via Wit and Wisdom]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: I was reminded of another fun word to say this week, and the story that has made it so dear to me. The word is "flabbergast" and here's the story: Back in the day (late 1990s), I was the Artistic Director for a contemporary "seeker service" our church put on every Saturday night. As Christmas approached one year, we had put together a sketch featuring Joseph - he who was engaged to be married to Mary - and his parents. The actor portraying Joseph - a dear friend of mine still (though possibly not after he reads this) - was relaying to us in his dialogue how the angel of the Lord had told him to go ahead with his marriage to Mary ... except my friend forgot his lines. Happens to the best of actors. My friend, however, thinking quickly, went on to improvise a line or two, and then exclaimed, "I was flabbergasted!" The actors portraying his parents - of which I was one - foundered a bit, having totally lost their cues as well as choking back laughter, but eventually we recovered and finished the sketch with aplomb. But now, where does "flabbergast" come from? It's one of those words with murky origins, though we know it goes back to at least 1700. "Flabber" most likely refers to something being flabby, which used to be another way of saying "flappy" in the sense of causing a stir or commotion. A flap, if you will. "Gast" is from the Middle English word "gasten" - meaning to terrify - and was often used when talking about ghosts, or spirits. (The word "aghast" comes from the same root.) So "flabbergast" essentially means a sudden surprise that leaves you speechless, as if you were terrified. In fact, you can even be in a state of "flabbergastation."


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email. When you're unflabbergasted, get your own subscription for free when you click here.

No comments: