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Ruffin’s Renderings: Struggles

By Mike Ruffin

ruffinml@gmail.com

I’ve struggled lately with writing this column. I’ve had a difficult time coming up with things to write about. Oh, there are plenty of things I could write about. Some of them are so obvious that I can’t quite believe I haven’t addressed them.

For example, I could have written about the 2021 World Series champion Atlanta Braves. I’d be entitled to do so. After all, I’ve been a Braves fan since the team first moved to Atlanta in 1966. Back before they won the 1995 World Series, I’d get a tear in my eye when I heard Queen’s “We Are the Champions” and imagined celebrating a Braves championship. This year’s World Series victory was a team effort worthy of celebration. 

For another example, I could write about the trip to Madison, Wisconsin that my Good Wife and I recently took. Our son Joshua and his wife Michelle live there, as do her parents. This was the first time we spent Christmas in Madison. We had a nice time. We didn’t have snow on Christmas day, but we did have a little bit on the third day of Christmas and a lot on the fourth day of Christmas—which happened to be the day we were flying back to Atlanta. Weather delays meant that we got to spend an extra five hours people watching at the Madison airport (there aren’t all that many people to watch there) and that it was 3:00 a.m. by the time we got to our house. It is nevertheless worth celebrating that the airplane both took off and landed. 

But I chose not to write about those two things—at least not until now. And I didn’t go into much detail about them even now, even though there is a lot more I could—and really want to—say about each topic. I want to say more for a couple of reasons. First, I have opinions. Appearing regularly in this space gives me the opportunity to express my opinions. I want to be forthright and honest in expressing them. Second, I want to say more because I want what I write to be interesting. It seems to me that my responsible use of this space requires that I write in a way that sends you away thinking more than “Mike is a big Braves fan” or “I’m glad Mike had a nice vacation.” I hope that my writing helps you think about some important issues. 

So what kinds of opinions might I have expressed about the Braves? First, I hope Freddie Freeman stays with the team. Second, I think the amount of money spent on professional athletes is ridiculous. Third, I think that the Braves should change their name and that fans should stop doing the tomahawk chop. 

What kinds of opinions might I have expressed about our Christmas trip to Wisconsin? First, I would have opined (and admitted) that maybe we shouldn’t have made the trip, especially given the uptick in the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Second, I would have expressed my continuing belief that we should all get vaccinated and boosted. Third, I would have bragged on my Wisconsin family for doing home tests before gathering (it was a small gathering of nine). 

This brings me back to the struggle I’ve been having. Chances are good that some of this column’s briefly-stated opinions have made some of you smile and others of you frown. But I don’t say what I say in a quest to arouse either reaction. I really am not trying to gain affirmation or to create opposition. I just say what I think. 

I hope that what I say will contribute something to your thinking. 

I reckon that we’re really all engaged in this struggle together. So let’s hang in there—together.

Mike Ruffin is a Barnesville native who lives and works in Macon. His new book, Praying with Matthew, is available at helwys.com and at Amazon.

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