‘All In…All In’

I was thinking about purchasing some Cohiba Cigars in Cozumel, Mexico a few years ago. MJ and I were on a Caribbean Cruise…in January…my favorite time to visit the Caribbean. Toward the conclusion of President Obamas Presidency he had lifted the embargo on Cuban products…and that included Cohiba Cigars…which are among the finest in the world. So, before me was an eight pack of Cubas finest tobacco product. I considered that I could smoke 3 or 4 while on ship…as they had a Smoking Room…and take the remainder of the Cuban delights back to the States…since there was no longer a penalty for doing so. The woman selling the cigars asked $100 and I countered with $50. She responded with an offer of $60…and then proclaimed, ‘All in…all in.’ I accepted the deal and proceeded to smoke my head off in the lovely smoking room on the Princess Cruise Liner Ship. Her statement of, ‘All in…all in,’ intrigued me. ‘To go all in in poker is to bet everything on a hand.’

People who live by their wits are my inspiration. The Mexican lady sold me the Cohibas by her ‘All In’ statement. I thought, at the time of the sale, what a positive creed for life. I have been ‘All In’ many times during my life. I have been all in as a father and a husband…and during my Southern Illinois University career…I was truly…all in. But…I have not always been all in. Insecurities and doubts and fears have held me back on several occasions. Often in my christian walk…I have left what I knew that I should accomplish in church life…to someone else who I felt was more qualified. It is easy to not be all in. Commitment is hard…commitment is real. The hero of the christian walk is the person who is slow to speak and quick to work…without fanfare or recognition. I remember being on the Stewardship Committee for the Session of First Presbyterian Church in
Carbondale. I considered myself quite busy…with daily duties at the church…when one day as I was in the parking lot of the church and I watched as Clark Ashby, a man older then me, slowly exit his automobile and walk around to the trunk of his vehicle to retrieve a tool kit and then to slowly walk into the building to perform some maintenance needs for our congregation. I knew then that I was but a beginner in the ‘All In’ dedication that is the christian life.

All In is a life style and a commitment of time and purpose. Commensurate with truly enjoying being all in with whatever you are doing in your life is the wise statement that, ‘It is amazing what can be accomplished if you do not care who gets the credit.’ I ran into my old friend and colleague Bob Smith this morning on Campus. Bob was such a great leader in the Building Services department. His care for his staff was noteworthy. I thought, today, that he has the same sunny attitude and disposition. I have been retired for over 10 years and have only seen Bob once during that time. Bob and I are the same age and were both born on October 24th. I think of Lisa and Ro and their all in commitment to our church and its mission. I think of all that my good friend, Elizabeth, has done for SIUC and her unfailing behind the scenes dedication to the success of others…and of the institution.

Success is seldom achieved by the Show Horses…but rather by the Work Horses.

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