Josh Manson: “God Is Always With You”

I’m not sure the answer to the question “what are the odds you’ll get two pieces of content today, Dater, which will aggregate what two Avalanche players have said on the podcast recently” but I’ll probably be conservative, as it was estimated to be 10,000-1 or so. And yet we’re here. Avalanche D-man Josh Manson has been working on a podcast called “Sports Spectrum” and I, for example, found it cool. To listen to the full episode, click here.

It’s a podcast about the intersection of sport and faith, something I’m very interested in these days. I think one of my big problems in the last few years has been letting my feelings and my spiritual beliefs take a back seat to mundane matters like job and status and all that other stuff. And I’m still at one fight/crossroads over the whole thing. I’m not just an easy-going person/herd member. I have serious questions about everything, why are we here, why things are the way they are, why is this world so unfair, etc. etc etc.

Quick story: When I was 21 or so, I moved from NH to Cape Cod for the summer. A friend of mine at the time, Sheila, was very much in love with the Lord, and therefore, I was very surprised. We went together to an attractive church and I tried to speak in tongues and things like that. Basically, I started trying to convince her of all this of course. I am thankful that there are no videos on the cell phone of me trying to speak in tongues, because I had no idea what I was doing or what any of them meant.

But here’s the thing: I’ve always been very interested in the spiritual. I went to church with my mom when I was a boy, and got to know the Bible more, ironically, than a movie my dad did with Johnny Cash. The Gospel Way. It is the literal story of the Bible, up to the crucifixion of Christ, filmed in a setting in Israel and with funding from Mr. Cash himself. It is still very much a cult classic. My father filmed some of them, voiced some of them and also played Nicodemus.

(If you look at the movie credits on this original 1973 movie poster, you’ll see my father’s name there)

Despite my confusion at the aspect of speaking in tongues, I really got into it. My interest in God, Jesus, and the Bible has been renewed, and as I tend to do anything I’m interested in, I’ve really immersed myself in it. I read a lot of books, including the Bible, and I began to feel that all of this would become the central part of my life. This is a good feeling. I like the feeling “I will live forever in Heaven, so why worry about making my rent this month?” things like that.

Sheila and I eventually broke up, but God and the meaning of it all weren’t far from my mind. I was very disappointed by some of my fellow church members, who said that if I didn’t drop out of college and go to work for the Lord, even if it just meant packing groceries all day at the local supermarket, I’d burn in hell and not do God’s will. I thought, “God wants me more than that” and told the subjects to go themselves.

But I want to know what, if anything, will come after we leave this mortal file. For a long time, I was afraid to die young. For example: In my early days to cover an avalanche Denver PostI’m going to worry myself – literally – because I’m going to die in a plane crash and that my dream job will be over before it really starts.

Like, I like to stress for at least two full days before any trip I’ve scheduled. If we ever get in any kind of trouble, I’ll immediately bury my face in my hands and think, “That is. We’re going down.” Usually I would wait for that, but not before my blood pressure jumped by about 50 points. At times, I panicked so much that I really needed an intervention from the flight attendants. Usually, just their talking to me will make me cross. But, at least on one occasion, a flight attendant handed me a few small bottles of wine and told me to shout them both.

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As a 57-year-old senior man, I’m actually not much afraid of flying now, or of dying really. For me, speaking only for myself, once I got into my fifties, I stopped worrying about things like that so much. “I’ve had a good life, I’ve mostly accomplished a lot of things I wanted to achieve,” I’ll tell myself, and if it’s all over at that moment, I’ll be fine. We will all die at some point, you know.

My problem is: I’ve transferred my anxiety to other things. Contrition. Hitting myself over and over for past mistakes. Disciplining myself for some slip of the tongue or some other undesirable thing. If there is any chance for me to beat myself up for some imperfect moment, I will. This explains some of my current mindset, which I alluded to recently. I think I’ll be fine, but it’s been a real struggle lately.

I don’t want you to think I’m hunting for compliments by saying this, though. This would actually make me feel worse. I guess I only had a long time for God to be so proud of me, and now I don’t think I’m there.

this What really worries me. But it is very difficult. I can’t be one of those people who go along with everything and don’t question it. For me, I find it hard to ask God questions like, “Why do children die of God’s hunger? Why allow this to happen, if you are kind and compassionate and don’t give anyone “more than they can handle?”

I am not very satisfied with the answer I get from the clergy and others to this question. “Well, it’s just God’s plan.” Well, sorry, but that’s a frivolous plan then. Children literally die from all kinds of terrible things – torture, starvation, neglect, abuse – and I just have to accept that God’s plan is what happens to them in their time on earth, but some bubble-headed ass lives a long life of comfort, riches and “sin”, and with That, they enter heaven too, if they just ask for a bug on their deathbed?

Sorry, but that doesn’t make sense. However, I definitely believe that there is a god. There is just no chance of this Earth and the whole universe, without some clever design. zero. zoom. Zilch. Nada.

Go ask an atheist at some point how the Big Bang started, and you’ll have a look at”I have no idea.” Yeah, sorry, but that’s bad science. Tell me how something was created from nothing and replicate it in the lab and back to me. This is where faith comes in. I just have questions about God’s plan, I think. but not too much. I kind of think now that it’s all beyond our human understanding, and we’ll either know what it’s about one day, or we won’t. But I think we will.

Which brings me to Josh Manson’s words on the podcast. Some highlights:

  • When he was put into a period of uncertainty, whether or not the Anaheim Ducks would actually trade him on the deadline, as the team’s new general manager hinted at, he put everything in God’s hands. “God is always with you, but that was when you start to lean a little bit more and have to put your trust in Him a lot. ‘What does the future hold? Well, I don’t know, but you know. That was a big part, in those few weeks leading up to the trading deadline — I leaned to him really, and I sit back, but the anxiety hits, the stress hits. Just letting it all go, trusting him.”
  • “Where I ended up, it was a huge blessing. Part of God’s plan. I didn’t know that at the time.”
  • “They were hungry to win. … It was hard to get that feeling of winning again, but when I walked into the dressing room it was.”We want to win.”
  • “There were some questions to (God) why? I guess I would lie if I said, ‘Why does it have to go like this?’ I think our plan was to stay in Anaheim. We enjoyed where we were, had a home there and made a lot of friends, and dedicated So much time, energy, blood, sweat and tears in that organization. We wanted to survive. And so, there was so little of that “Why?” Why do we move, God? Why is this happening?’ And then it kind of turned into, “Okay, well, look at the opportunity he’s giving you, right in front of us.”
  • Then, it was like, ‘Okay, sit down, let it happen, and trust what’s going to happen. “But it’s an easy thing to do. And there was a lot of challenges with that, a lot of prayer and a lot of meditation and talking to God and trying to listen and believe what his plan would be.”
  • Manson said he doesn’t swear in the locker room, which is tough. Everyone swears in the hockey locker room. Some of his colleagues are starting to recognize this and think it’s “cool” somehow.
  • Manson said he read the Bible every day of the playoffs. He would read for 30 minutes after lunch every day.
  • He said those two months of qualifying were “the most amazing conversation I’ve had with God I think, in my life.”

I know some people here will automatically tear me down here for being “religious”. I’m not here to preach and judge and all that. I just wanted to share how I feel, in another context Avalanche player feel.

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