Who Cares?

The first thing I should have done was check to see if she was alright. That was what I should have done. I’d like to point out it came quickly on the heels of what I actually did. So, there’s that.

Sometime in 1981 I was in the 2nd year of my time at Humboldt State University. Lori and I were married in 1980, and we took up residence in a $210 a month apartment immediately adjacent to school. One afternoon we were walking across the steps of the university library. I’ve since looked at a picture of the pillars in front of the building, and I’m not sure how I managed it, but somehow I led my young wife directly into one of those pillars, and she went down. Now, I have to say that for as long as I’ve known Lori, I’ve taken on an extra degree of responsibility when the two of us walk together. This is due to the fact that her depth perception is not excellent, and things like stairs can present a challenge. When she goes someplace new she’ll count steps up and down to help her the next time she goes there. Lori is demonstrably above average in nearly every other way, but God has chosen to make her less than perfect in this. I believe the divine purpose is to give other people hope. Okay, I jest, and you might say my wife being on the ground was no laughing matter, except it was a very funny moment. What would forever cement this moment in our memory was my immediate reaction. I quickly looked around to see who might have witnessed our two-Stooge-Three-Stooges-performance. Then, I began to assess the extent of any injuries Lori might have incurred. And she noticed the order of my priorities. Fortunately, our laughter helped to both rescue me from my inappropriate immediate response and cement this as one of those family memories we would laugh about for years.

I believe our God has a sense of humor, and it’s one of those personal attributes we should take the time to encourage in each other. Goodness knows there is enough stress in each day that we should take advantage of every Godly remedy we have at our disposal. A genuine smile is one of the greatest gifts we can give to both folks we know and those we don’t. Finding ways to encourage laughter in each other can help bring unity and healing. Who cares? It’s clear God does. If God cares for us, we must find every way we can to humble ourselves and bring joy and laughter to help lighten the loads we all invariably carry.

Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
Luke 6:21

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
Proverbs 31:25-26 NIV

Worry and care we accumulate,
burdens we weren’t meant to carry.
Sadness upon sadness
we add through the years
when to it
no one asked us to marry.
Grief has its place
and shapes us like clay,
but God purposed us
for more than one expression.
We owe to lift our brothers and sisters up
to all God’s grand dimension.

© Joel Tipple 10/12/2019

Your Words

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18 ESV

When you’re pondering what
you could possibly give,
and the thought of God
using you
seems absurd
consider what you share
for good or for ill.
Think about the power
of your words.


Words spoken in haste,
off the cuff.
Words soaked with anger,
too rough.
Words intended to defend
what shouldn’t get defense,
words thrown into the air
with uncertain intent.
We teach children not to play with fire,
then we fire off our mouths
and burn our families down.


Word spoken with thought
for the hearer.
Words that consider others
more dear.
Words spoken
with careful inflection,
words the Holy Spirit
prods us to mention.

If we’re wise we beseech
the author of wisdom
for the best direction
of our tongue.
A college degree won’t help you
if your heart and mind
hasn’t learned
the message of the Son.

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned.”
Matthew 12:36-37

The right words spoken at the wrong time.
Words spoken when silence would be better.
Words written,
then sent
when wisdom says
burn the letter.

Words go to war
or make peace.
Words give dignity
to the least.
Words can separate
or cement
the marriage bond.
And the examples go on
and on.

if you would know
what God would have you speak
when the Spirit says it’s your turn,
seek first the wisdom of God.
Rightly consider
His Word.

© Joel Tipple 2/9/2019

See Me

(Sometimes it only takes a moment to make a difference.)

Jesus was our model for care.
Only He could have seen those attributes
in each of the disciples
that the Holy Spirit would use
to change the world.
Until Jesus came along,
the people whose lives he touched
most probably saw their story
already written.
We need to see
with His eyes.

Look at me.
Take a moment longer.
Allow curiosity
to make you dig beneath
the shell I show to the world.

See more
than the attributes
I was born with.
See more than clues
pointing to success,
or failure,
investments made well,
or poorly.
See more than the time
I spend in the gym
or the knit cap
that might hint at chemotherapy.
See more
than my carefully
mapped life,
or the scar from the head-on collision
that changed the future of several families
in an instant.

See beyond my bumper stickers
or habitual responses
to standard questions.
Take the risk.
Probe deeper.

Look for something
I’m guessing most people are too busy
to care about.
Work to allow concern
to overcome your own shyness.

Do the work,
because the weight of apathy
can cause more damage
than anger.

© Joel Tipple 10/27/2018

A Courteous Life

“Life is not so short but there is always time for courtesy.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Romans 12:10 ESV

Life is messy. No doubt. Even in a human life seemingly charmed there must come a share of grief. My prayer has never been that God would keep me from all trouble, only that I would be given the grace and resources to carry myself well. An important part of that I think is the most courtesy I can bring to all my relationships, from those closest to me, as well as those who cross my path only briefly.

It starts with your first
It continues with your first
thank you.
Let us give thanks for every parent
who sends out into the world
a loving courteous human boy
or girl.
Where do we get the idea
that putting others before us is wrong?
Do we even want to live in a world
where caring doesn’t belong?
I’ll open the door.
I’ll pay for your coffee.
I’ll look you in the eyes and really care
that your day is good…
or gets better.
Courtesy mostly doesn’t cost much,
but the lack of it always cost more.
And the gift the giver gives
comes back
pressed down and over.

© Joel Tipple 10/13/2018