Speaking Loudly

I just finished Quiet Strength. I realize that I’m a tad slow, but since I just got back to the States less than a week ago, I think I downed it pretty quick given everything else happening in my life. I must say that I am shocked by how much I enjoyed and how much it touched me. I’m something of a cynic when it comes to ‘spiritual books’. I was prepared for Coach Dungy’s book to be primarily about the weightier issues of life, and I must say that from the first chapter I felt strengthened and encouraged. As Tony shared about his dejection leaving Tampa, I empathized due to painful work related times in my own life. I was encouraged to think that there might be glory waiting behind the shroud of tragedy.

I knew Dungy’s story well, and had been following the winding road he took to become a head coach. I was sickened by the terrible way the Glazer’s treated him, and wondered if Michael Silver really had lost his mind when he ranked them as among the best NFL owners. I was surprised and impressed with Jim Irsay’s vision of a Colts team that would resonate with the values and hopes of Hoosiers. It was beautiful to realize that the post SB tour and the belief in doing things ‘the right way’ wasn’t just a slogan, but had been the plan of Jimmy from the start.

I cried through Tony’s description of the days surrounding James’s death. For the record, we criticized Bob Kravitz for saying that Tony had “glossed” over his son’s death. Now that I’ve read the book, I’m aghast at what he said. Tony dealt with the issue with great detail, and frankly, I think Bob is a little sick for wanting more details than he got. I’ve had to deal with suicide up close, and know enough to know that we don’t always get the reasons and explanations we would want.

There were countless things that impacted me in this book, but the one that hit me the hardest, was Tony’s questioning of his own credibility as a father of a son who killed himself. I also work in a field where family problems could annihilate my credibility, and identified with his fears. Seeing the way his pain and ‘failure’ (as if that was even close to the right word to describe what happened) was used to bring hope and healing to many was so healing to me personally. It must have been how Joseph’s brothers felt after throwing themselves at his feet in Egypt. We can’t know when our tragedy, our failures, are being woven into the the minor chords that add resonance, weight and majesty to the symphony of our lives.

In all, this is a wonderful book. If you haven’t bothered to read it yet, do so. I think it will encourage and inspire you.

Demond Sanders’ Comments: Can’t wait to read this book. On a similar note it was just announced that Tony is being appointed to President Bush’s Council of Service and Civic Participation.

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