Lake Norman Publications

FAITH COLUMN: Personal ‘Popeye’ moments can make local lives better



Rev. Doug Ferguson admits his preferred work environment is a coffee shop setting enhanced by conversations with fellow customers, but during the pandemic he’s adapted to his Huntersville Presbyterian Church office. /Lee Sullivan

My wife Kim’s grandfather was known to his grandchildren as “Popi.”  When our first daughter arrived, my dad decided that he would be called “Papa.”

Years before our grandchildren were born, we were talking about grandparent names and our daughters decided that whenever they had kids we should keep with the “Pop” tradition and that I would be known as “Popeye” (though my forearms bear no resemblance to the sailor man’s)!  In fact, they liked the name so much they began using it immediately and for years our daughters and now our grandkids refer to me as Popeye.

I’m more than okay with the name. It turns out to be an easy name for grandkids to learn to say and besides, there is so much to love about the cartoon character Popeye. You have to admire his devotion to his beloved Olive Oyl and Sweet Pea. He inspires healthy nutrition because he’s  “strong to the finich cause [he] eats [his] spinach.”  Yuck!

If you’ve ever watched the cartoon you know there’s almost always a moment when things will begin to get tough and the normally calm and peaceful Popeye will leap to his feet and announce: “That’s all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more!

Then Popeye, empowered by an always convenient can of spinach, powerfully springs into action and saves the day.

I am convinced all of us eventually reach a “Popeye Moment” when we’ve stood all that we can “stands” and we can’t stands it no more. It’s in those “Popeye Moments” that we decide that we are going to be a part of the solution. The good news is you don’t have to spring to action alone. There are a number of “Popeyes” at work here in our community that would welcome your support.

Perhaps you “can’t stands” the thought that in our community too many people struggle with food insecurity (46,000 kids in Mecklenburg Country will go to bed hungry tonight). You might respond by supporting the work of the Hearts and Hands Food Pantry or the Angels and Sparrows Community Table.

It might be you “can’t stands” the harsh reality faced every day by people living on the streets. The Watchmen of the Streets is helping to care for them and would love your support.

Some people “can’t stands” knowing some people are facing a crisis pregnancy alone or that there are kids in the foster care system needing support. Organizations such as the Community Pregnancy Center of Lake Norman and The Advocate are responding to those needs every day.

Imagine what might happen if, in the midst of giving thanks this year, each of us reached our “Popeye Moment” and decided we just “can’t stands” no more and joined together. Hungry people would be fed. Neglected people would know they are valued. People who are scared, anxious and alone would find encouragement, peace, and companionship. You can help make that happen. And you don’t even have to eat spinach to do it!

– Faith articles are submitted by local churches –– content is not produced by Lake Norman Publications.

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