Sergeant Tony's Blog

SOUL CAGES — Newsletter for 5/6/09

Wednesday, May. 6th 2009 4:38 PM

I wasn’t expecting anything profound.

There are TV shows that I really like, and a few that I’ve learned to like. “Grey’s Anatomy” is one of those I learned to like.

Ordinarily this hospital melodrama wouldn’t have appealed to me. Too much “McDreamy” and “McSteamy” makes me a little “McQueasy.” But “Grey’s Anatomy” was a favorite of someone special, and I found myself pulled into the show.

While watching a recent episode, I was sitting there somewhat hypnotically, my brain sort of on cruise. I wasn’t really paying close attention. I had been a little distracted. But then something happened and I sat up in my chair and took note. One of the characters said something profound.

Just three words.

I hit the rewind button a couple of times.

Here was the scene.

The main cast of misfits and knuckleheads — those who make up the interns and residents of the show — had behaved badly and were being scolded at the end of their shift. Izzie Stevens, a member of that group of doctors, played by the lovely Katherine Heigl, had been diagnosed with cancer and was now a patient in the hospital where she and her friends worked.

The misfits — supposedly Izzie’s friends — had neglected her the whole day. She had lain in her hospital bed all day by herself. Not one of them had come to see her. Her only visitor all day had been the character played by Chandra Wilson, Chief Resident, Dr. Miranda Bailey — vertically challenged, larger than life, and quickly combustible.

When Dr. Bailey discovered that Izzie had no visits from her friends, she hunted the group down and tore into them like a pit bull. I liked the way she was heaping on the guilt, telling them what pathetic friends they’d been, how selfishly they’d behaved, how they had ignored their friend in her hour of greatest need. They had allowed their friend to lay in the bed to struggle with the anguish of her cancer — and her own mortality. Alone.

The whole group collectively hung their heads in shame for neglecting their friend, feeling the full weight of their guilt and the onslaught of Dr. Bailey’s vitriolic assault. Then she stopped yelling at them. There was a pause … followed by a hush. No one moved. She waited. When they slowly raised their heads to look at her, she said, in a calm and measured voice:

“Tomorrow … do better.”

I sat up in my chair and shook the fog out of my brain. I thought that was profound.

Seriously. Profound.

Some of you who read this like to pamper yourselves to some ridiculous extremes. You take your ease. You are quick to give yourself every excuse for your failures, lazy behavior, lapses in judgement, and shortcomings. There is no lack of slack that you are willing to dispense to yourself. Self discipline is a foreign concept. You’ve probably quit reading this already because it looked like there were too many words in this story! (Too many words, Tony … too many words!!!)

Then there are some of you who are at the other extreme.

You’re pretty hard on yourself. Always pushing. Nothing you do is ever good enough for you. You are driven. Ambitious. You seldom say no to any request. You want to please. You probably expect a lot from those around you too. You might be hard to live with! I see the image of this person sometimes in my bathroom mirror. (Sometimes I look … sometimes it’s me.)

Most people are varying degrees of each group.

Those who fit more into the second group probably have forgiveness issues. Forgiveness is a hard thing to do. It’s hard because you have a difficult time forgiving yourself and moving forward.

Those three words, “Tomorrow … do better” implies forgiveness with a plan and purpose to improve. Like a priest, Dr. Bailey had absolved them and given them penance.

Is there anything more that we can do for ourselves, for others? We ALL make mistakes. We all screw up. Saint Paul said, “the thing I want to do, I don’t do … and the thing I don’t want to do, that I do.” If HE couldn’t pull it off, what chance do we have?

We all need forgiveness. We’ve all jacked up something. Maybe it’s a failed business, or a failed attempt at education, a failed fitness plan, a failed relationship, or a failed job. We all need to forgive ourselves … and purpose to do better. The true failure would be a failure to learn from the mistakes. A failure to adapt. A failure to improvise. A failure to improve. “A failure to communicate.” A failure to do better.

Have trouble forgiving? Is it wrong to forgive everyone? Do we have to forgive?

Holding on to the offense is like a poison in your soul. (The dead accounting of old guilty promises.) And the only person made miserable by it is the holder.

Do we have to forgive every time?

In the New Testament, Jesus answered that question. He said to forgive that person 490 times (seven times seventy) … allegedly for the same offense! Allegedly on the same day. 490 times. What would Jesus do? He’d forgive.

Every major religion teaches it. Expects it.

Forgive yourself first. You’re not perfect.

Forgive others. They aren’t either.

Forgive … just as you would like to be forgiven.

And tomorrow … tomorrow … do better.

(Psssst, if getting into shape is something you’ve failed at lately, guess what … you can start again tomorrow! I know a GREAT Boot Camp program!)



This is a Monday, Wednesday, Friday class and will follow the same routine as the 0830 class!



Have a student who’d like to join USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP for the summer? Special discounted program for summer student recruits! Email me for details!



I try to promote and patronize Boot Campers in their businesses. I am also a member of a business networking group (BNI – Business Networking International) that meets weekly to promote one another’s businesses.

I’ll also include folks looking for a new job or career change.

If you have knowledge of an open position or job opportunity, pass it on and I’ll add it here.

Today’s Big Three are:

1. Collierville is looking for a Dispatcher for their Communications Center. Requires high school diploma or GED) including or supplemented by courses in radio-telephone or telecommunications; and six months of experience in radio-telephone communications work; or any equivalent combination of experience or training. Pay Range- $27, 517 to $43,011 and a great benefit package. Contact CPD @ (901) 457-2568 or Human Resources @ 457-2290 or online and

2. Katherine Aden-Vermilye (Boot Camper — Job Seeker!)
“I like office work, but I’m pretty open. I’ve worked in a law firm – recently as a fill in for answering phones and then a little paralegal work. In the past I’ve worked at Starbucks and a law firm as a filing clerk and then promoted to head of billing.”

3. Need a BABYSITTER? My name is Rachael Lynskey (Boot Camper — Job Seeker) and I am a medical student looking for a babysitting job for the summer. I am the oldest of 7 and have grown up watching children of all ages so I have plenty of experience. My schedule is pretty wide open at this point and I finish school on May 29th, so would be able to start after that. I live on Mud Island so working closer would be wonderful but not absolutely necessary! My number is 423-653-2547 and my email is



One of our Boot Camp ladies is looking for a new place to live ASAP! She’s looking to rent in the east Memphis area. She doesn’t need a big place, it’s just her. She has no pets and she doesn’t smoke. She’s sweet, adorable, and pays her bills. She even pays ME on time! If you know of a house or an apartment that might work, let me know! Time is of the essence! Thank you!


Tomorrow … do better.

To your continued good health and fitness,


Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow
USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
4888 Southern Ave
Memphis, TN 38117

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