A sermon on smoking and other pastimes by Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

From time to time I think about this topic, but rarely come to the lectern to speak about it. If you have been attending Sunday services here at the House of SERENDIPITY, you may recall I spoke about Betty, a friend and co-author of a play (Liberation).

Emphysema robbed her of her breath. She was a chain smoker throughout the years I knew her. I also recalled the time I received a text message from a cousin to advise me that the husband of one of our many cousins had passed away of throat cancer and various complications resulting from chemotherapy. He was 52 and had been a heavy smoker. I am saddened by the people who die so young.  Years ago, I would tell people that my parents gave up smoking.  My mother had a stroke and my father died of lung cancer.

cig and ashtray-1When you mention these things to smokers you may get one of the following excuses: “What difference does it make?  You have to die of something.”

Under this sort of thinking you might was well jump in front of a fast-moving train or jump off the Willis (aka Sears) Tower. Of course we are all going to die of something, someday. That does not mean we should try hard to cut this life short. I don’t even care if you think there is another life out there for you. Why would you willingly give up a sure thing — on a bet?

2.  “It will never happen to me.” I never thought I would have nerve damage in my foot and have difficulty moving about. I never thought someone in an 18-wheeler would  run me off the road and total my car, with me in it. I never thought the rich would wish to deny healthcare to the poor. You never know, so why take chances?

3.  “My uncle smoked a pack a day and nothing ever happened to him.” OK, some people win the Lotto too, but I would not count on that as passing down through the family. My father’s older brother smoked as much and perhaps more than my father ever did and he outlived my dad by a lot. Perhaps it was because he smoked a different brand. Perhaps it was because he had a better diet. Perhaps it was just dumb luck.

4.  “I’m going to quit. I just can’t do it right now.” I think I have heard this one the most. So when is the time going to come? Will it happen after you have lung cancer, throat cancer, or whatever? Do you remember Roger Ebert? Do you know what happened to him? He had part of his jaw removed.  He had to give up his popular television show. He had to wear a mask in public. He lost his voice. While you are waiting for the right time to quit, you can end up like that.

5. “I can quit anytime I want.” Really? Then why don’t you? No one is fooled. No one believes you. You don’t want to quit or you can’t quit. Either way, you should get help, buddy. I am as serious as a heart attack. Maybe not the heart attack you might have, but serious anyway. If you don’t give it up, then you are addicted or you don’t want to quit. If you are addicted, get help. Your friends and family will support you. If they won’t, avoid them. If you don’t want to quit, you are not living in the real world and watching the cancer statistics. Google “smoking deaths” or something like that and tell us what you get.

6.  “Everyone has some sort of vice.” I am not sure about that, but yes, a lot of people drink too much, do too many recreational drugs, have too much casual sex or something that may kill them. Is that a reason to do something that might kill you?

Since it is Sunday, I confess that I have not been an angel on earth. As I get older, however, I am more aware of the stupid stuff that can do me harm and try to avoid it if I can. What about you? This may be the last Sunday I am going to preach on this topic, although I will not promise that.

Anyway, if you did not get the point this time, go to church next Sunday and pray for guidance. Seriously.

Categories: #Health, Life, Medical, Rich Paschall

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22 replies

  1. Seems we spend a lot of time, these days, trying to keep the things we’ve learned to like, so much, from killing us. Where was this info when we needed it.., and more, would we have paid attention if it was available?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. When I was growing up it was a given that almost everyone smoked. They would put cigarettes on the coffee table for company. As a young person I noticed how distracted people became when they ran out and had to go buy some “immediately”. That was my clue. I didn’t want to become so dependent on something.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Addiction is a scary thing. I couldn’t walk across the lawn without being sure I had my lighter and a pack of cigarettes with me. I resented the entire process, but needed a serious slap on the face.

    I got walking pneumonia and didn’t even WANT to smoke, and thought, okay, let’s see what I can do, here. I had my safety net, there was the pack over there. And (and this is important for a lot of people) I didn’t tell anyone. Not my mother, not my husband, not even the cats.
    For some people, talking about it is the worst thing they can do. One reason I don’t think SmokeEnders or AA is right for everyone; you just talk about your addiction, then go outside and have one.

    Six months later my husband said, ‘did you quit smoking?” and i nodded. He just looked thoughtful. A year later he quit, and I had to do it all over again. Second hand smoke, you know. THIS time I went through true withdrawal.

    23 years next November, yessah. We won’t mention the weight gain, no no, I figure it’s a price i’ll willingly accept for not being wedded to cigarettes. And damn all but those things are expensive now.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Despite both my parents smoking (including at the dinner table after meals while i was still there aged 5-15!) i never felt like sucking on some burning weed, of any variety. Somehow, i still managed to have fun, socialise and find life worth living – fancy! My Dad gave up after a heart attack in his 60’s and Mum managed with the help of a hypnotist a bit before he did. Dad died of brain cancer after being treated with Chemo and radiation therapy for smoking related lung cancer – he was 72. Mum is 85 and still going strong – she smoked less and smoked mentholated cigarettes maybe that was the difference – or it is just plain luck. or genes.

    Some smokers would truly like to quit (and save themselves a fortune doing so) and find it a great struggle and may give up before the addiction to nicotine and habit is defeated. Some however cannot overcome the insult to their ego they would feel in not being able to have enough self-control or willpower to stop doing something they have decided they enjoy but which diminishes them and their body with every single puff.

    They largely ignore the fact that contrary to what some believe it is not solely a personal choice that affects only their lives. The massive cost to the community in lives and medical expenses that would otherwise not need to be paid for affects every person who pays taxes or loves a smoker.

    Preach It Brother! Those that have ears to hear….


    Liked by 4 people

    • I have preached this before and as the years go on, I can add more personal stories. I too lived through smokers in the house in an era when it was not deemed such a bad thing. Cigarettes were also much cheaper before the era of heavy taxes on the product.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. My brother told me he had a harder time quitting smoking than quitting drinking too much. Our Dad died at age 69, had smoked from age 15 or 16. He quit smoking in the house 21 years before he died. He was a good grandpa and created a wooden (ribbon) bow and painted it pink. He printed these simple words on the bow: “New baby girl lungs inside. No smoking allowed.” He hung it on our apartment door. My ex-husband smoked but the fact my Dad did this, impacted his choice to at least not pollute our baby’s lungs. 💖

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Now there’s a shot that would have more weight in B&W. Sorry but the subject has been one that often came up with my friends back in the day. Stopping just wasn’t any fun.., it’s similar to my problem with “sugar”.., maybe worse.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sugar can be a killer too, but not in the same sense as smoking. When she was in her 80s, my mother thought sweets were OK because she “took a pill for that.” After a certain age, we gave up that discussion.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Quitting smoking was the hardest job I ever had. That stuff is really ADDICTIVE.

    Liked by 3 people

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