Pep Talk: “Do The Turtle”

July 17, 2017

“What are you doing?” inquired darling wife. We were waiting at DIA’s terminal for the underground train to Concourse B and a flight to Portland, Oregon. Your knucklehead scribe was moving the jaw bone back and forth. Somewhat loving, the brown-eyed beauty cracked, “You look like a turtle.”

I was practicing something learned at A Stronger Cord’s Wednesday night gathering at All Soul’s Parish. It was a Pilates move. Instructor Catherine Glenn shared it with the Knuckleheads during the enjoyable sweat-producing workout. Moving the jaw back and forth, from tucked to extended? “It helps line up cervical bones!” is recalled as the logic. It works and felt good. So, while killing time waiting for a train, this ol’ jock is doing the turtle. The boss was annoyed.

The exercise triggered thoughts of an old buddy and awesome mentor, Jerry Gibson. Long ago, the former University of Illinois football chaplain, minister and all-around spiritual warrior, over breakfast, told a powerful story involving turtles.
“McIntosh,” roared Gibson, “When it comes to overcoming fears and chasing dreams, we could learn from turtles.” Sitting across from a beautiful soul devouring runny eggs, sausage and hash browns, I was dodging food particles flying from his mouth. Between quick moves to avoid chewed-food debris, a quizzical counter. “What? We could learn from turtles?”

A man who, eventually, would mentor many students and student/athletes at the University of Colorado, quickly retorted. “Think about it.” He proceeded to, first, tuck chin to chest before extending it forward, “A turtle doesn’t make any progress until sticking its neck out.” Amen dude.
A short while later, while on board the train the ol’ noggin starts processing: A wife’s loving, I think, ridicule leads to Jerry Gibson and then to another respected buddy, Bryan Sederwall.
The basketball-junkie pastor leads the Denver Dream Center. I love the community-outreach church. ASC teams up with these amazing folks for many events including Adopt-A-Block, Hardcourt Hustlers and Third Thursdays. Its mission is to, “Rescue people, rebuild lives and restore dreams.” Be still my heart. ASC and DDC make good teammates.
At a recent DDC staff meeting, Sederwall, the father of three athletic boys, was talking about the “Law of Entropy.” The Illinois’ native was raised with a science teacher as a father and boiled it down. “It’s a scientific fact: The world is chaotic.” Yep it is, especially these days. At a Denver Rescue Mission devotion the other morning, I heard a guy speak about the “darkness of the times.” To name a few from close observation, health care woes, growing inequality gaps and too many displaced folks. 

A Stronger Cord and its many partners are trying to change that. Working to deliver, through a three-pronged approach to wellness, communities positive energy and welcomed light in the darkness. Wanna join us? All are welcome.
If not, at least consider investing time somewhere else. Go ahead and stick your volunteer neck out. Do the turtle. Who knows, such efforts might bring order to chaos, light to darkness and health to cervical bones. Yours and others.

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