There’s a Whole Lotta Shakin’!

What life events will transpire from the time of the first twist of the toothpaste cap to the last squeeze? The mundane, often monotonous, the surprising, spontaneous, joyful, sad and sometimes hurtful things of life. Our stories are diverse but similar because of our common thread, the thread of human emotions. My story is your story. We’re in this together. Whether spoken or written, our stories are meant to be shared. It takes courage and vulnerability to do so. Like love, sharing involves risk. But also, like love, the risk is always worth it. I share my stories with you in mind.

My intro to these chronicles (in case you missed it) asks the question, “What life events will transpire from the time of the first twist of the toothpaste cap to the last squeeze?”. Who could have predicted the situation in which the world finds itself today? No way Jerry Lee Lewis had this in mind when he sang the words to the song he’s well known for. By the way, Roy Hall and “Curly” Williams, wrote ‘There’s a Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On’ in 1955 when they were fishing on Lake Okeechobee in Florida.

A month ago I would never have imagined I’d be locked out of the tennis courts I usually play on and not be able to meet with my fellow pickleball players! I don’t mean to make light of the situation. We have all been impacted by the coronavirus to one degree or another. I pray regularly for those much more seriously impacted than I. My wife and I are blessed to have, thus far, only been inconvenienced by this thing. No loss of health, jobs or finances.

The shaking of the earth is not something that a Bible reader should be surprised with. Scripture talks about the shaking of the earth and about things that cannot be shaken.
Faith is often found or made stronger as the result of trials.

None of us like change, but this has taken that truth to a whole different level. This has been hoisted upon us from out of the blue; cataclysmic, horrific, heart-wrenching, life-threatening, are all apt descriptions.

We are creatures of habit. Even change that is well thought out, planned, expected and for the most part good can be scary. Comfort Zones are……how shall I say it…..comfortable!!

As is true with most events of this nature……along with the very bad, horrible, sad things that crowd the headlines, are good things. People helping people…..reaching out, caring. Relationships strengthened, reconnecting.

The saying is true, ‘if you want to walk on the water you’ve got to get out of the boat’. The apostle Peter usually gets a bad wrap for sinking after getting out of the boat. Preachers normally emphasize the point that Peter was distracted by the wind and the waves and took his eyes off Jesus, so the point of the numerous sermons that have been preached on this story is that we should not make the same mistake – not take our eyes off of Jesus and be distracted by the ‘wind and waves’ of life. But what about the eleven men who never got out of the boat? Yes, Peter sank, but nowhere else do we read about anyone walking on water! And with Jesus! So I say, “Go Peter!”. Yeah, he sank, but how many of the other boat dwellers thought to themselves afterwards, “I wish I had done that!”.

Another term for comfort zone – rut.

I want to encourage us all today, during these very trying times. From what we are hearing, things are likely to get worse before they get better…..but they will get better. We’re going to turn the corner on this. We will look back on this one day….hopefully, sooner than we think. Don’t waste this crisis…..not for the sake of promoting a political agenda, as has been done on both sides……but I encourage you to not walk through this alone…..and especially not without looking upwards.

The Bible encourages us to “set our minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2). It does not mean to be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good. It does mean something very much like what my 9th-grade history teacher, Mr. Miller, used to say constantly, “Keep your feet on the ground and hitch your wagon to a star!”. Yes, we all must live life…..do all those day-to-day things, some in a much more challenging way than ever…..but look for the lessons in the midst of it all. Don’t wait until three or five years from now.

One last verse from Scripture sums it up best:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all [a]comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. “Philippians 4:6-9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Stay well my friends and may God bless you and yours.

Mike Pitocco
Mike Pitocco
Following a stint in the USAF Mike worked in retail management on Long Island, New York prior to relocating and beginning a new career with the California Department of Corrections, from which he retired after 33 years of service. Retiring as a Program Coordinator with the Division of Addiction and Recovery Services he continues to be involved with the drug treatment initiative as a consultant with the University of California, San Diego, Center for Criminality & Addiction Research. While working at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi, CA, Mike activated Celebrate Recovery (CR), a faith-based ministry, at the prison. Mike and his wife Sharron also activated CR at a number of other correctional facilities in the state. Mike volunteered and eventually was hired as a full-time Chaplain at the Lerdo Detention Facility (Kern County jail) in Bakersfield, CA; eventually becoming Supervising Chaplain, and earning his certificate of ordination from Prison Ministry of America. Mike was also the Ministry Director of CR at Canyon Hills Church in Bakersfield along with co-founding the Kern County Prison Ministry Alliance, the goal of which was to reduce recidivism one life at a time. Mike considers himself truly blessed to be Sharron’s husband, the proud father of Christina, Daniel and Sean and grandfather (aka, ‘Papa’) of Lawson, Harper and Savvy. For Sharron - God’s instrument in knocking off some very rough edges - for family, for life and love, and whatever he may be privileged to share through writing, Mike gives glory to God alone…. Soli Deo Gloria.

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  1. Mike – awesome article that provides comfort, truth, and assurance. Thanks for sharing. (PS – Remember, Peter said, “if it is you, Lord, tell me to come to you.”. Jesus answered, “Come”. So the other disciples were probably laughing and taunting Peter because once again he spoke in haste. But as they would learn later, this was the very thing Jesus was seeking – someone who would be willing to speak God’s truth without thinking about the peril it would bring – that is why Peter became “the rock upon which I will build my church…”).

    • Thank you Len. always appreciate your insightful comments. These are times that try men’s souls…….not in Scripture, but true. i pray we all come out stronger as a result of the test. Be well my friend.

  2. A great testimony my brother in Christ. Scripture (God’s word) will always give us counsel, guidance and strength for those who truly seek the truth!

    Note: I would have counseled Jerry Lee not to marry his 14-year old cousin though.

  3. Great article Mike, and one worth reading for sure. All that has transpired in the last two months had certainly changed the norm. People who may have not been prepared for emergencies, scramble to purchase the things most needed but find they are not to be had. The one thing that I did not have to scramble for was my faith, my belief that this too will pass. Now does this mean I ignored those who needed help? No, but it did allow me to help those that were not able to purchase the necessities. In the time of Lent, Fasting, Almsgiving, and prayer, Jesus is absent, by the covering of the purple cloth, but not absent from our minds, and hearts. He hears the prayers of the people, and sometimes I believe HE remains hidden to bring us closer to HIM. “We walk by Faith, Not by Sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7

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