Tuesday, June 7, 2016

No Good Deed

Perhaps you've heard the old saying, "No good deed goes unpunished." Who first said that? What does it mean? Is it true? and does that assertion agree with the Bible? I've been thinking a lot about this one lately so I hatched the idea to peck out some of my musings.

First, I did a little googling and decided as often is the case that the origin of this saying is probably lost for ever. One site claims Oscar Wilde as the originator of this proverb. Somewhere I came upon another claimant to the title of author to these words, but I lost the source and have not been able to track it down. But I guess that really doesn't matter. More important is the veracity of the claim.

I don't like to admit it, but I have had my share of the being on the emotional downside in 2016 as I have trained, planned, and prepared for this year's Chicot Challenge. Way back in January-- or was it early February?-- God used Danielle Meerholtz to lift my spirits for a while. It was a typically Tuesday night-- or was it Thursday?-- at Masters practice. I had come in early and swum, then swum the Masters practice, and had stayed late and swum some more getting in as many yards as I could. As I crawled out of the pool, Danielle was there and we struck up a conversation. She asked me what I was training for and when I told her she immediately offered to help. Unfortunately, the swim was postponed for a week, and she and two other crew members dropped out due to previous commitments. Too bad because I am sure I would have enjoyed swimming with her, and I think she would have gotten hooked on Lake Chicot. Despite the fact that she will not be at the swim this Saturday, she still played a role in keeping my spirits up.

Sponsorship has been one major area of aggravation and bewilderment. I have knocked on a lot of doors and have even had help from Coach Terry Moore in trying to secure some help in putting this swim on. I managed to secure one sponsor, Conerly Shoes and Performance Sports. The temptation to get down over that has at times been almost overwhelming. My thoughts on the subject are all over the place. I am even thinking of not attempting to get sponsors in the future. If I can't pay for it, I won't do it. It will save a lot of time and emotional energy just to fund everything myself. Anything I plan will just have to be within my budget.

Publicity has also caused me to sag in the spirit from time to time. The Commonwealth is skipping the swim this year and I am pretty outdone with them. I can't for the life of me understand why a man of my age swimming that far is not a compelling story in and of itself. But the fact that it is for a charity adds to my bewilderment. And to top it all off, approximately six months after the Commonwealth skipped the Challenge for the first time, Charles Corder, the managing editor, had a toe amputated due to Type 2 Diabetes. How can he, they not get it? I don't get how they don't get it.

I didn't even mention all the training woes and how every week something or somebody wanted to take every single day from me. And the weather issues that make ramping up mileage in the spring time a nightmare. All of this weighed heavily upon me. Not only that, but having to delay the swim by a week while the fundraising was creeping along at an all-time low. These things had me about as low as a grasshoppers toenail when I came home from the pond from a training swim the day the Challenge had been scheduled, June 4th. I had received a Facebook message a few days before from somebody wanting my mailing address so he could make a donation. I noticed the envelope on a table when I got home. I ate my supper and then lazily opened the mail trying to guess how much the donation was for. The typical gift is for $25.00, sometimes $50. I hoped maybe this time it will be $100. The largest single donation I ever secured for the DFM was $150. I gasped audibly when I looked at the contents of the envelope. "What's wrong?" my wife asked. I handed her the check, and then we both wept.

$1,000.00!

That's right. Someone gave a $1,000 donation to the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. And just like that, all the frustrations, disappointments, and discouragements were all washed away. Now I am excited about swimming this Saturday, and I know my labors are not in vain.

So, is it true that no good deed goes unpunished? Perhaps. Satan always opposes us when we attempt things for God and our fellow man. But it is certainly a fact that no good deed goes unrewarded, for the Bible tells us that "whatsoever we sow, that we shall also reap" (Galatians 6:7). It may take a while to see the results, but God always gives back and just seeing that $1,000 check to the DFM was payment plus interest for everything I have gone through in putting on and swimming the Chicot Challenge. Thank you, Lord.