Archive for January, 2020

In Praise of Not Getting Caught Up

Posted in Uncategorized on January 8, 2020 by michaelcogdill

John Wooden said, “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.”

In my business, I’ve been accused of everything from riding a high horse to jockeying a teleprompter to speak cogent English. I’ve been praised at the Emmys and thrashed as fit for the bottom of the cement pond.

But what counts is being of some use. Being able to reach and help the high and the low from a fine center of humility.

In my years as a wayward teen, my mother would counsel me to take some personal inventory. Of the spiritual kind. Back then, it made sense, but I acted as if it didn’t. I knew she wanted me to leave the place better than I found it. That went to my closet, and my very soul, and everybody who came near to my breathing in and out.

She knew I was a man in the making, not quite there yet. Now, she lovingly reminds me I will never fully arrive. That no matter what I learn — from her, my dad, my extended family — I’ll remain an evolution, deep in the dirt, growing, trying to sprout some usefulness into the life of someone else in this wilderness life. She’s proud of me nonetheless.

And it is a wilderness, this life we share. Imperfect and wild with peril. My faith reminds me of this, as it reminds me that Love — even amid amid wickedness and brokenness — truly never fails. It is a Love not found up high on the moon, where no one can breathe, nor in the cold depths of a critic’s well. Love tends to call us to the center of things. To the fertile ground of neither high nor low.

Praise? Criticism? Neither matters as we, among the broken, somehow better the broken among us.