Succes and Enthusiasm

What do these two words have in common? A while ago I wrote a blog about failure and success. In that blog I cited a quote from Winston Churchill: "Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." I like that quote. It mirrors in many important ways my experience over the past few years. And it seems to me that the oft-quoted saying in Christian circles that we just need to be faithful in order to be a success seem rather flat and empty. It seems there's more to being a success than just being faithful.

One key to success, I think, is our attitude. We need to continually have God's perspective on the events of life. I know, easier said than done. This is where the word enthusiasm comes into the picture.

Recently I learned something about the etymology of the word enthusiasm that makes the quote by Churchill seem even more inspired. While relaxing at a home by a lake, I saw a plaque on the wall that wasn't the usual Christian "kitsch." I abhor kitsch. I don't like to have what everyone else has. This plaque simply stated the definition and origin of the word "enthusiasm." I had never learned this before, and it's really neat.

Enthusiasm comes from the Greek enthousiasmos, and this word is composed of the prefix <en> and the word <theos> with suffixes.!.! Now I know there are a few Greek scholars out there who know that theos is the Greek word for God. So the word enthusiasm comes from the Greek "in God." So enthusiasm means "an exalted or ecstatic feeling, and someone who is enthusiastic is
"inspired by God" or "possessed by God." Wow, I was blown away when I saw this.

This is even more meaningful to me because the way I usually respond to people, to God, and to what's happening around me is enthusiastically. Even though I've had some of the wind knocked out of my sails over the past few years and my enthusiasm has waned as a result, I normally respond this way. Isn't it neat that God continually has a way to refresh my soul and bring me up from the pit of despair, showing me more about myself and Him in process.

So here's my definition of success: live a life inspired by God and possessed by God. Do all things with enthusiasm, even when they don't work out as I had hoped.


Marathon Journey

Nancy and I just completed a 9-week, 9,000-mile journey through 23 states in the US. It was a marathon, and we showed our power point dozens of times in many different settings in homes and churches. It wasn't all business, though, and I want to put some of my favorite photos up on my blog.

The first part of our trip was taking our kid
s back to college, especially Suzanne, who is beginning her freshman year. Here's a photo of Nancy and Suzanne together at Cedarville University.

After we left Cedarville we visited many beautiful spots in this beautiful land. First, however, I want to show you a shot many peopl
e would not expect. This is near Toledo, OH. It's the Islamic Center of America.

Later on, we spent a memorable, sunny day at Indiana Dunes on the southern shores of Lake Michigan.

Afterwards, we visited Chicago and saw the "Bean." Your reflection is all distorted in the "bean."

We then traveled through the Midwest from top to bottom (Minnesota to Texas) in a week. We did get to spend two nights in the Ozark Mts in Arkansas, and
we saw the Pea Ridge battlefield, one of the major US Civil War battle sites.

We also spent two nights with my look-a-like brother in Oklahoma.

After a week in Texas with relatives, friends, and supporters, we moved on to Sebring, FL and the SIM Retirement Village, where Nancy's parents live. This became our home away from home away from home for two weeks.

Finally, we moved on to Charlotte, NC, SIM headquarters, for debriefing interviews and a week-long retreat. During the retreat, we spent two days r
elaxing and seeking God at this lake-front property.

Finally, we returned home to PA via the mountains of Vir
ginia, which were putting on a display of their finery.

When we got back, we had a big surprise. It snowed for one entire day. Here's what it looked like outside our window. Brrr!!