Before we can get to where we are going, we need to look back to where we have been. November is a rather insane month. Looking back one day at my calendar for the month, the realization set in that I photographed something for KU on 26 of the 30 days of the month. Often more than one event. There was no time to keep up on production work with so little time left.
The scheduling load culminated in the final weekend of the month. Volleyball rolled into the NCAA Championship after a record season for wins and accolades. Hosting the opening rounds in Allen Fieldhouse was an added bonus. Men’s basketball played their annual game on their home-away-from-home court in Kansas City’s Sprint Center against Oregon State on Friday, the first night of the volleyball action. Someone had to be on the plane flying east with the football team for Saturday’s football game as well.
Staying behind for volleyball, I missed my first football game in the 16 seasons I have been at KU. Laura took off by herself. Friend Steve Puppe, a freelancer from Kansas City, helped with the basketball game. Everything went well for us other than that football lost badly and volleyball was upset by Wichita State on Saturday in the second round.
From Laura’s and my perspective there still were extra benefits. I was able to get different angles from the Fieldhouse catwalks since the team hosted away from their usual smaller home court. For Laura, meeting the West Virginia Mountaineer was a big bonus.
The fact that Jonathan Kimble, the man decked out in Davy Crockett gear, happened to be a redhead just made it that much more fun. There is something about the rugged look that appeals to Laura. I always joke with her when she refers to me as being “ruggedly handsome” that means in low light, and with me far enough away from someone squinting, then maybe, I could be classified as handsome. Thankfully, Laura married for something more than good looks or money.
The final note on Kimble was that he recently killed a bear in true Crockett fashion with the same muzzleloader he uses at games to celebrate touchdowns. He was hunting legally for the bear on the same day muzzleloader deer season began. That required a certain amount of reflective orange trim which Kimble was not wearing. Somehow buckskins and reflective gear do not mix.
Tomorrow at the insane hour of three o’clock in the morning, I board a bus with the KU baseball team to begin a long journey to Boca Chica in the Dominican Republic. In the next week, the team will play games every morning. It will be wonderful for the them to play in tropical weather against a local Dominican team and teams established in the baseball-rich country by the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians.
Of more importance will be the clinics offered for young players, the visit to an orphanage and the delivery of health kits to sugar cane field workers in the afternoons. This is an educational trip of the greatest magnitude. The young men that play baseball at KU are about to be exposed to life far removed from anything encountered in Lawrence.
I will do my best to document this eye-opening experience. This takes me back to my newspaper journalism days. It truly is a story worth telling. I pray I will do a worthy job.
While I am gone, the Mayan calendar foretells the world will end on December 21st. What worries me more is that I will miss my 11th wedding anniversary the day after, on the 22nd, end of the world or not. That is cataclysmic. In any case, at least I will go out tan.
Too many people attempt to predict the end of world by logic. Today, after another tragic shooting spree that took the lives of so many innocent children and the loves of so many grieving parents, it would be easy to just say fine – let the world end because there seems to be no logic. All I can do is go again to the words of my Savior.
Our pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Rev. Peter Lange, delivered a powerful sermon this past Sunday, the second Sunday of Advent. The text came from Luke 21 in which Christ warns the disciples of the coming of the end of the world. He speaks of “people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world.”
Remember that as we celebrate the birth of Christ, we are actually celebrating the fulfillment of our Father’s word to send his Son, to deliver himself for our sins.
As Pastor Lange so eloquently stated, “but, to our Lord’s disciples-to you and me who are washed in His blood in Holy Baptism-to us Jesus says ‘When these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near!’ Stand up straight! Lift up your head! We need not cower in fear or mope around at the prospect of death like the unbelieving masses of the world. The end of this age is not the end for us! Death is not a bad thing. Rather, it’s precisely what we’ve been waiting for our whole life! /Your redemption is drawing near!’ Jesus says. The redemption of this world-the “buying back” from sin and death that Jesus Christ the Son of God accomplished by His death on the cross-this will be consummated at the end of the age. It will be finalized! It will be yours to experience fully forever! There will be no more sin, or death, or sorrow, or separation from God. “Your redemption is drawing near!”
“So lift up your heads! And live with the joyful confidence that is proper for Christians. Look forward to the promises of God! Don’t fear them or doubt them like the rest of the world. But live with peace, and joy, and serenity, and confidence-even in the face of certain temporal death, whether that comes for the whole world at once, or only for you or me individually at our appointed time.”
In these trying times, I urge you to read Pastor Lange’s sermon here or listen here. This story started on a light note about a mountain man and a gun. I wish it could have ended right there. Sadly, it could not. I pray we all will “straighten up and raise our heads.”