It’s that time again, Wholetonians,

Hi friends. It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today. You see, the daughter of some dear friends passed away late last night. She was so young and full of life. She left behind a wonderful husband, two children, and a job she loved. What troubles me is, why? Though she was surrounded by friends, nobody saw it coming. That is the focus of todays musing, “Lifeguards.”

I live in Florida, a state with abundant sunshine and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. When you visit our beaches, chances are you will spot lifeguard stands along the shore. Highly trained men and woman keep a vigilant watch over those who venture into the ocean. They are trained to save lives and warn bathers and swimmers of potential hazards such as sea lice, sharks, undertows, riptides, etc. They selflessly put themselves in harm’s way to protect people they have never met. In the same way, many of us come in contact with friends (and strangers) who are drowning in a sea of depression, fear, anxiety, insecurity, and low self worth. It is imperative that we remain vigilant, awake, and aware of the needs of those around us, and especially our own family members, relatives, and friends. Our culture has become alarmingly self-seeking and self-absorbed; as a nation, a spirit of entitlement has reduced “us” to “me.”  In the biblical account of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4), after Cain killed his brother, God asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Let me develop this Q and A, if I may. I believe that we should be asking God’s question of ourselves, i.e., “How is my brother/sister? We should be “lifeguards” to the ones in our circle of influence; in essence, to some degree we should be our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper!!! If we detect something that sends up a red flag, we should be discerning and bold enough to ask the hard questions:  “Are you ok?” “Do you want to talk?” “You’re not yourself—what’s the matter? Am I my brother’s/sister’s keeper? In a word, yes!

If you look back over the last few years, there have been a number of celebrities that passed away in the prime of life. Robin Williams, Prince, Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, and Amy Winehouse come to mind, just to name a few. How is it that none of these people had someone close enough to intervene? Do people assume that because someone is a notable public figure, and wealthy, that they are carefree and not dealing with personal issues, addictive behavior, or suicidal tendencies? I rarely hear of people praying for the wealthy. More often, prayers are offered for the poor. The truth is, regardless of one’s social economic stature, we need to be cognizant of the needs of everyone God places in our path. Who knows? A prayer, smile, embrace, expression of benevolence, or a simple caring inquiry may make all the difference in the world to a soul hanging on the brink of self destruction.

One of the many things I appreciate about working alongside Barton Publishing is the company’s “core values.” We always begin and end our meetings with prayer, as well as asking if there are any prayer requests from the team. And, we do our utmost to keep each other accountable. I believe that is what keeps us going and affords us the amazing chemistry we have as brothers and sisters as well as business partners. Dear friend, in my 56 years on this big blue marble, I have NEVER met a man or woman who wasn't struggling with something from time to time. The key is caring enough when those times arise to ask questions from a heart of caring compassion, just to make sure they are ok. So today, remember to do unto others as you would have them do unto you! Lifeguards are lifesavers … who are you looking out for today?

Be Whole,
Michael S. Tyrrell