Tag Archives: peace

Holy Christ!

No, I’m not taking the Lord’s name in vain, so settle down people. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to get our world back in order, and even if it’s possible. Of course it is, because all things are possible and we can come back from anything. Right? Ok, so don’t ask the dinosaurs how that positive spin worked out for them, but they didn’t possess the brain power that we humans do. And any alligator will tell you…evolution didn’t leave all of the dinosaurs behind in a wake of fire and brimstone. So with that in mind, how do we get back on track?

First, here are the major issues as I see them; the ones we actually have control over. A meteor hurdling through space with our name on it, is not something we can avoid. The word, “toast” comes to mind in that scenario. That leaves us with the other two biggest threats: 1) the demise of Mother Earth and 2) the divisiveness of the human race. Dun, dun, dun! [Cue scary, world’s gonna end music now…]

Seriously though, we HAVE to get it together or any idiot can see that we’re toast. And that is the key, getting together. Look at any comment thread and you’ll see the following: those who agree with the point being made, those who disagree, those who use the thread for their own unrelated agenda (you know who you are, “Miss Get Thin Quick”), those who totally miss the big picture and single out a word or phrase in the article (“Tisk-tisk, did anyone notice they spelled, ‘onomatopoeia’ wrong?”), and finally, those who are new to posting and hit enter before they have completed their thoug

Anyway, everyone has a right to their opinion. What I DON’T believe is that everyone has the right to voice their opinion if it furthers the demise of Mother Earth or continues to promote deep divisions within the human race. I know, “But who will police what we can and cannot say?” You should. Many of us have either lost the art of empathy or have decided that his or her agenda trumps that of the overall good. I am particularly fascinated by this explanation of empathy by Jeremy Rifkin. It is well worth watching as it recalls our simple beginnings, how we have socially evolved through the ages, and then begs the question of how we get back to empathy. My simple answer would be simplicity. More specifically, we need to get back to the fact that we are all human and have to share one planet. If we don’t respect those two basic principles and continue to let wealth, religion, nationality, race, and gender divide us, then we are creating more and more cracks that become harder to heal. 

Again, it all comes back to our opinions – for that is what shapes us as individuals and as a society. The problem isn’t necessarily in having an opinion, it’s in how that opinion is delivered, or even if it should be delivered. So say, for example, I read a seemingly innocuous Facebook post pertaining to the fact that my friend just bought a new iPod 5 for their 3 year old son. Comments could range from, “Cool! What a lucky kid!” to “Are you flippin’ nuts? He’s only 3 years old?!?” For the former, no harm done. For the latter, not only has the commenter put a damper on the poster’s enthusiasm, in effect, but he’s also insulted his friend’s parenting skills. In that case the poster should have kept his thoughts to himself because he just made a crack.

Here is another example. You read an article on a mother who gets caught stealing from a store to feed her children. You’re sick of the system and post a comment such as, “I’m so tired of these welfare moms with twenty children thinking they can steal while my tax dollars are supporting them!” So…how do you know this mom is on welfare? How do you know she has twenty childen? Do you even know her story? What you have done by posting this comment is to become part of the problem and not part of the solution. You’ve made another crack. Only through kinder, more informed, and more thoughtful words, are we going to heal the divides.

Now, back to Holy Christ! It is Christmas time. Whether you believe in God, Christ or any other higher being, the teachings of Christ are holy – “morally and spiritually excellent” to be exact. You don’t have to believe in Christ to know that he preached healing, acceptance, belief in a common good, and love for all humanity. Even an atheist can’t argue with those qualities. Jesus would be the first person to hug a Muslim, marry a black man and a white woman, lift up a prostitute to show her that her life is worth more, tell a republican or democrat that egos and wealth will not move this world forward, and he would feel nothing but empathy for the woman who stole food for her children. In fact, he would have given her the help she needs to get on a better path. He would have empathized, not judged. He would have been nothing but our blessed, Holy Christ.

Merry Christmas to all!

Peace.


Having Faith

On Thanksgiving morning, six years ago, my father passed away. Ironically, his father was born on Thanksgiving day so it seemed appropriate that a day of significance bore another milestone within my family’s history.

It was a morning like any other. As the day began, my sister was at her home busily preparing a wonderful Thanksgiving meal to provide us all with a sense of normalcy. My father was at home on Hospice care and I had spent the night before in my childhood bedroom to help my mother out. As my mother sat at the kitchen counter, I sat by my father’s bedside in the living room, holding his hand, and thinking about how thankful I was for him – especially on that day. I stroked his hair and told him everything was going to be alright, as he had done for me so many times before.

Then came a simple act. An act I knew not of the consequences, for I had no medical background. He appeared to be sleeping soundly, so I asked my mother if I should remove his oxygen for a while. She simply said, ok. As I shut off the machine, there was a calm and long-awaited silence that blanketed the room in a sacred stillness. My father was gone.

While sorrow bore its well-timed way into my heart, oddly enough, on that Thanksgiving morning, I was more thankful than ever. Thankful that I was blessed with amazing parents; that I was blessed with a sister who was holding up the world for the rest of us on a difficult day; and blessed with the unmistakeable knowledge that my father now had a quieted body that no longer needed to fight the good fight – for though he had lost a few battles, he had finally won the war of everlasting grace.

About a month prior to my father’s passing, we were discussing how I wanted to have a third child and he said that I should; that I would regret it if I didn’t; and that there was plenty of love in me for another. I thought that ship had sailed and was at peace with having my two beautiful boys. A week after my father passed, I became, quite unexpectedly, pregnant with my daughter, Faith.

My father has given me so many gifts over the course of my life: he taught me how to love the written word, how to mow the lawn, how to be an independent woman, and has given me an abundance of skills and knowledge that have served me well over the years. But his parting gift to me was a gift that is rarely able to be given twice – the gift of life. My birth was his first present, my daughter was his second.

So as I sit here on the eve of another Thanksgiving, the phrase “having faith” has manifested itself in so many miraculous ways. I asked the question, “Why do you believe in God?” on Facebook the other day. Among many of the wonderful answers was this one, “I can just feel Him…” And today, having faith allows me to feel God and my father as ever-present spirits working to guide me on my journey. Faith allows me to feel blessed in so many ways. It allows me to feel a never-ending joy that mitigates any and all sadness, especially as I look to the heavens and feel nothing but the radiant sun of souls on my face.

Tomorrow, on Thanksgiving day and every day, remember those who have passed on before you. Those who remain as a special tenant within your heart. It is ok to cry for them, for you honor what they meant to you with every tear. But also rejoice in all that they have given you, and continue to give you, with each breath you take. They gave your life meaning and defined you in a special way. By having faith, you can now live for them by carrying on their life, within yours. Make them proud.

Happy Thanksgiving and love to all.

Peace.

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In My Opinion

If you were born and are breathing at this moment, then you have an opinion. It seems as though the advent of the internet, forums, blogs, instant messaging, social media, and the like, have given a larger majority of people a platform on which to express their opinion. Right or wrong, good or bad, we now live in a world of commentators, posts, articles and pins that define how our perfect world should be if it were left up to our singular voice.

The other day, I was counseling one of my children and the words, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all,” popped out of my mouth. This is a go-to phrase I’ve uttered frequently over the years, but in this particular instance, it seemed to carry a bit more weight than normal because I realized that my child was merely expressing his opinion. Therein lies the dilemma of having a voice and an opinion, and the proper balance of the two.

An opinion sums up a person’s view, judgement or belief.  Inherently, there is nothing wrong with an opinion. Yet, you can voice your opinion to one audience on any given day and get a round of applause. Announce the same opinion to a different group and you might get vilified. So is there any safe universal territory when it comes to opinions? Unfortunately, the answer is no. And that fundamental fact is why we will never come together wholly as a human race.

As humans, we group together based on our opinions. Pro-life vs. pro-choice, pro-environment vs. pro-fracking, and so on. As for myself, I adhere to one simple rule when it comes to my opinions…they are mine and mine alone. Unless it goes against a moral code (ex. thou shall not kill), then my opinion is for me to live my life by; I do not force it upon any other adult – period. Just as my child has the right to an unkind word in his opinion, he does not have the right to make anyone else feel inferior, demeaned, or saddened by it should he choose to voice it to the world as a newly dispensed law.

You see, humans can’t come together wholly because of our need to not only have an opinion, but also because of our need to control others and force our opinions on our fellow mankind. We even force it upon Mother Nature. Whether it be through casual conversation or jamming it down someone else’s throat, our egos can’t let go of the fact that although we might have an opinion, it might not be right – or for everyone. Or even valid outside of our mouth.

Within the very definition of an opinion therein lies the conflict – it is a belief or judgement. As a belief, it is a beautiful part of the foundation of you. As a judgement, it can turn ugly and redefine you as inflexible and needing to be in control, no matter the consequence.

If we were to spend more time forming our opinions into tolerant, respectful manifestations of who we are, then there would be a lot less suffering and wars. Maybe leading by force and judgement is not the way to go. Maybe living an opinion sets a better example. Think about zealots solely praying peacefully vs. suicide bombings. How about pro-life activists showing a spared life becoming a life-saving surgeon vs. a picture of a unrelatable fetus on a demonstrator’s sign? How about working through the issues of healthcare with enlightened minds vs. shouting across the aisle like a spoiled child? How about it?

While negative opinions seem to capture more headlines, it is the positive beliefs that, when nurtured, are truly the catalysts for slow and sustainable change.

But then again, that is just my humble opinion.

Peace.

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20 Thoughts for a Better Mankind

I love quotes. Especially when they are made into pretty little graphics and elegantly placed on Pinterest for the world to see. So I made up some of my own quotes – 20 thoughts for how I like to live my life.

Will they make for a better mankind? Debatable at the very least, yet inspirational at the very most; as many quotes have been for me throughout the years. Here goes:

  1. Be the bandaid, but don’t get stuck on the wound.
  2. If I judged everything by the outside, my heart would never get a place on the jury.
  3. Give a “thank you” wave, because your middle finger only makes me want to look up.
  4. Hold the door. If you don’t, you’re telling God not to open another one for you.
  5. Smile more, because the earth couldn’t survive without sunshine.
  6. Don’t litter or you are trash.
  7. Never say to yourself, “It’s ok, just this one time,” if you want more time.
  8. Give a disabled person a high five, not a lowered head.
  9. Have an opinion. Keep it in your head if it’s spiteful. Put it on paper if it’s respectful.
  10. Don’t carry your heart on your sleeve in case you want to change your shirt.
  11. Rise above, because if you sink below, only you will drown.
  12. Listen with your ears, not with words coming out of your mouth.
  13. Pay it forward, backwards, and sideways.
  14. I pardon you FOR only to GIVE myself peace.
  15. Be kind even in the face of evil, or you will become a mirror.
  16. Wish for world peace, because believing in something, is something.
  17. The earth was here first and you were here second. So putting the earth first is the natural order of things.
  18. Use good manners. Please and Thank You will get you more Welcomes.
  19. Use your hands to make things right instead of your finger to point out what’s wrong.
  20. Be humble. Big heads don’t fit through windows of opportunities.

Peace.

P.S. If you cite my quotes out of context, please credit me. Or pay cash. Bwahahaha. And please feel free to post your favorite quote(s) in the comments. I’d love to read them!