Parker Stripped: Sticky Wicket

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Have you ever wondered where the ideas that pop into your mind come from? I do, quite often in fact, but usually can’t really figure it out. The other day, though, I did manage to remember where I had first encountered an expression that will probably sound odd to you.

I was thinking about how difficult it is for most of us to make positive changes in our lives and what it is that holds us back from doing so. I’ve been speaking about this as I teach on boundaries, so this line of thought wasn’t surprising at all. What popped into my head was a bit of a surprise as the term came seemingly out of nowhere. That expression, being “a sticky wicket.”

Not an American saying, that’s for sure. I remembered hearing it in a number of old movies or TV shows and believe one of the first times I ever encountered it was in a Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos comic book from Marvel Comics! (By the way, The Sarge went on to become the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. which many of you know from the Marvel Movies. Oh, and he was white back then too, but that’s another story!)

Here’s how Wikipedia defines it:

“A sticky wicket, (or sticky dog, or glue pot) is a metaphor used to describe a difficult circumstance. It originated as a term for difficult circumstances in the sport of cricket, caused by a damp and soft pitch.”

What’s any of this got to with change, you ask? Well, in my twisted little mind, quite a bit actually because I believe that one of the greatest tools you can use to make positive change is – here comes another obscure expression – stick-to-itiveness. Believe it or not that’s actually a word according to the dictionary and means ‘persistence’. It’s a quality that allows someone to continue trying even when it’s difficult or unpleasant.

Now that’s exactly what you need to change for the better.

So, as odd as this might sound, we need to develop the habit of being sticky people. We need to stick like glue to the habits and patterns of life that will make us better people. Even though change is usually painful and unpleasant I need to become the kind of person who will stick to it because it’s the right thing to do, not because it’s easy or even popular.

So I say stick to your refusal to do stupid, dangerous and deadly things just because someone says they are cool. Why do you even care what these unknown arbiters of cool think anyway? Think about it. If someone is dumb enough to say smoking or doing drugs or disliking people just because they are different than you are is cool, one thing’s for sure: they aren’t cool – they’re just ignorant and ought to be ignored.

Instead we need to develop our stick-to-itiveness and make it a part of who and what we are. It’s so easy to get discouraged and quit when you are just shy of really accomplishing something worthwhile. Don’t do it. Keep going and see what will happen.

Now this doesn’t mean you can’t assess the situation and make needed changes. Stick-to-itiveness isn’t being blindly stubborn. In fact, it’s not really stubbornness at all when you think about it. Stubbornness is really an emotional reaction to our changing circumstances. Rejecting the facts that tell me I need to change and blindly clinging to the very habits and practices that are killing me. That is being stubborn and that’s bad.

But sticking to things isn’t really stubbornness at all. Rather it’s carrying out a commitment I’ve made. If something’s worth committing to in the first place, then it’s worth clinging to that commitment and finishing the course. Running the race till it’s done, regardless of whether I win or not, is what stick-to-itiveness is all about.

We could use a lot more of that kind of character along our River and everywhere else as well.
So be a sticky sort of soul this month, make sure you’re sticking to the right things, and then watch what happens. If nothing else, it ought to be interesting.

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Louie Marsh is pastor of Christ’s Church on the River on the Parker Strip. Visit his website HERE.

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