"What the Hell's Going On Down There?"

Russell Rawlings

North Carolina Bar Association

The question came from above. Literally.

The gentleman was sitting alone atop Royals Stadium, most likely nursing a beer, on the uppermost row of the upper deck. We were sitting some 20 rows below him, awaiting the start of a game between Kansas City and a long since forgotten opponent.

In fact, this story is the only thing I remember about my first major league baseball game. The Royals took the field and the pitcher delivered his first pitch. I could barely see the ball, much less its proximity to home plate.

But everyone heard the reaction from above us when the umpire called it a ball.

“What the hell’s going on down there?”

It’s a valid question: What is going on down there?

 We live in a crazy world, perhaps the craziest world humankind has ever experienced. No one can say for sure. I’ve only been around for all of this century and nearly half of the last one, but it certainly seems that way to me.

What about you? How are you feeling?

Are you making your way through this journey unscathed by all of the tension and turmoil that surrounds us? Or do you sometimes find yourself asking, as I often do, the same question that our friend in the upper deck was asking?

The question is also relevant when it comes to your health and well-being. Stress, regardless of its origin, is a formidable obstacle in the pursuit of weight control and wellness. Our ability to focus and achieve our fitness goals is undermined by stress and all of the problems that come with it.

And these are stressful times. From world and national headlines to events shaping our own lives, it is enough to test anyone’s resolve.

So what are we going to do about it?

Count to 10. When the carousel starts spinning out of control, take a step back and hit the pause button. Close your laptop, put down your personal device, and breathe. Breathe deeply and think about what really matters as you count to 10.

 Smile. It will do your heart good, and it will mean more than you might ever imagine to the person at whom you are smiling. More often than not, they will smile back, and your next few steps will come easier.

 Talk. Not into a machine and not into a headset, but to real human beings who are all around you. Yes, those other two-legged creatures with whom you live and work are real people with thoughts and feelings and problems too. Don’t be afraid to let them know that you care.

And listen. What good will this do me, you might ask. A world of good. When we take time to listen, we become an outlet of care and concern for others who have burdens of their own. Ask questions, and listen to the answers. You will be amazed not only by how much this is appreciated, but also by how good it makes you feel to share of your time and consideration.

Motivation is a moving target. Some days it’s easier than others … to walk, to work, to move, to live. Just remember as I am so often reminded, you’re not in this alone. One of the greatest revelations that I have enjoyed since I began writing these little columns for NABE Communications is how many other people have a story to tell about the weight they have lost, the demons they have faced, and the common bond that we share in our never-ending quest for health and happiness.

 I am reminded of a story that the preacher told a few weeks back, when he commented on how it had become all too commonplace that we pause each Sunday to remember the victims of the latest tragedy. He invoked a familiar Billy Graham story, in which the renowned evangelist famously stated, “I've read the last page of the Bible; it's all going to turn out all right.”

Indeed it is.

I love you guys.