Trees In Winter

After days and days of bitterly cold weather, it finally started to warm up on Saturday (I realize that words like cold are relative depending on where you live. In Arkansas, never rising above the freezing point for an extended period of time and waking up several mornings to single digit temperatures and a thick layer of frost on your car counts as bitterly cold.). Most of the day was in the 40s, and on Sunday, the temperature actually made it into the 50s. Yesterday morning I wasn’t even wearing a coat when I headed out the door for work.

We live in a large apartment complex that is split in half by a divided four-lane road that runs through the middle of it. I had just pulled out onto this road when I noticed the trees in the median. Encouraged by the 48 hours of warmer weather, they had all apparently decided it was time for spring and started to bud.

Of course, it’s only the end of January and there are still several more weeks of winter to come (in fact, weather forecasts are calling for snow later in the week), but I was struck by the optimism of the trees—suffering through weeks of frigid weather, it took only two days to convince them that a change was on the way.

Maybe what’s even more remarkable is the fact that after it freezes again, and these buds die or fall off or rot or do whatever frozen buds do, the next time it warms up a little, the trees will try it again. They never seem get discouraged when their optimism is proven false.

I’m not like that. Sure, I’m optimistic at times, but when people or circumstances let me down, as they invariably do, I get discouraged, and frustrated at myself for getting my hopes up in the first place.

I say all of that just to make this point: if people were more like trees, I think the world would be considerably better off.



I’m in the middle (sadly, I’m not quite to the middle yet) of a particularly busy week. In general, I’ve been quite a bit busier since my job changed somewhat at the beginning of the year, which I expected, but this week, everything seems to be piling up.

In addition to my regular work, I have a couple of ongoing projects that I’m trying to finish up, and I have to preach this Sunday, so I’m trying to get ready for that as well. I don’t hate preaching (I don’t love it either), but it is frustrating how much time of preparation it takes for me to produce a relatively short message (my sermons rarely go much beyond the 15-minute mark.). On top of that, the church secretary has the week off, which means I have to do a good portion of her work as well—I spent nearly an hour this morning either on the phone or dealing with people who came in.

If this is all starting to sound like an excuse for what has so far been a miserable failure at living up to one of my blogging New Year’s Resolutions, well, I guess that’s what it is. I’ll try to do better.


On Being A Fan

I love to watch sports of all kinds, and am a casual fan of many teams. I like cheering for the Phoenix Suns in the NBA, I like Gonzaga’s basketball team, and in the NFL, I’ll root for anyone who can beat the Patriots.

As a fan though, my true passion is split between two teams: the Atlanta Braves and the Arkansas Razorback basketball team (I cheer for the Razorback football team as well, but not on the same level as the basketball team).

In the early part of the 90s, these two teams served me well. Arkansas generally went deep in the NCAA tournament each spring, winning it in 1994, while the Braves were the dominant force in the Major Leagues, winning the World Series in 1995.

Things declined a little in the late 90s, as both teams continued to consistently qualify for post-season play, but began to be eliminated in earlier rounds.

Since 2000, the situation has continued to deteriorate to where now, I spend all season worrying and hoping that either team will just qualify for the post-season (the Razorbacks have done so the last two years, while the Braves haven’t).

This year though, with the Razorback basketball team, I thought I wouldn’t have to worry. Returning six seniors and the SEC Freshman of the year from a team that lost in the SEC Championship Game and qualified for the NCAA tournament last March, along with a new and, in theory, superior coach, I thought we were set. No longer would I spend the final minutes of each game in gut-wrenching agony as the Hogs win or lose at the very end.

Of course, the operative word in that last paragraph was thought.

So far, the Razorbacks this year have proven eerily similar to last season’s bunch. An early season loss to Providence and a shameful home loss to Appalachian State had fans such as myself reeling, when all of a sudden, the Razorbacks pulled out a surprising road victory against a good Baylor team, and then started SEC play at 2-0 for the first time in years by beating Auburn (on the road!) and Alabama. Things were starting to look good.

Then last night happened, when we lost to South Carolina, perennial SEC doormat, at home.

Looks like it’s going to be another one of those seasons.

Hmm, maybe the Braves will be good.


…And In With The New

A new year is here, which, among other things means that there have been a lot of people out walking and running, trying to get in shape as part of their New Year’s Resolutions.

I think New Year’s Resolutions tend to get a bad rap, often because people don’t take them seriously and fail to live up to them past January or so. But make no mistake—there’s nothing wrong with trying to improve yourself, and I think it’s admirable to do so.

Although I haven’t written a formal list, I do have some areas that I want to improve on this year. Some I don’t have complete control over (I’d really like to avoid any hospital stays or car accidents this year), while others are pretty much up to me (I want to exercise more and get in shape, and also spend more time reading, both Scripture and just in general).

However, my resolutions aren’t limited to me personally; there are some for The Doc File as well:

1. Blog on a more regular basis.

Clearly, I’m off to a poor start on this one.

When I first started this blog, I only posted when I had something to say that I thought was deep or really worthwhile. The problem with this was that it meant that I only posted a couple of times each month. Since then, I’ve improved the frequency of my blogging (by writing a lot of things that, whatever they may be, are certainly not deep and probably not all that worthwhile either), but I’ve still been wildly inconsistent about this.

I really don’t think I’m a blog everyday type of guy (at least not yet), but my goal for 2008 will be to write three days a week. We’ll see how it goes.

2. Blog with more balance.

I write about a lot of different stuff. That’s okay, because a lot of different subjects interest me, and my half-dozen semi-regular readers have wildly varied interests. That being said, I tend to get in ruts when I blog—I’ll have three or four posts about sports, then some posts about theology or religion, then several completely random posts that have nothing to do with anything. Instead, I’d like to be a little more structured. Maybe I’ll post about certain things on certain days. I don’t know yet.

3. When you start a “series,” finish it.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. I have a couple of “series” that aren’t really “series” at all because they are comprised of a single, solitary post. This is annoying.

4. Do a better job responding to comments.

It’s not like I’m getting dozens of comments for each post, so there’s really no reason for it to take me a week to respond to a comment sometimes.

There are probably more goals that I could/should make, but I’ve already published four in black and white, and really, that’s intimidating enough. I’ll just start with these.

The Doc File © 2006-2012 by Luke Dockery

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