Tag Archives: Spirituality

Calling It What Is

https://youtu.be/-RV0kUChjG8

what is IT? What may start out as early morning ramblings will undoubtably evolve into either something very true or something incredibly pungent.

Look beyond the story that is told. Even the smallest lies can have an alarming impact. History is told by the winners, but it’s the victims who rue the day.

Extremes: you’re either in or out; it’s black or white; either you’ll stand for IT or you’ll fall for anything…

Propaganda!

We are talking but no one is listening. The “fake news” is only real when it’s happening to you. The survivors only survived because they had a choice. But those who didn’t survive could not choose. But some choose to tell the story of the victim because it pushes their agenda. It makes them feel but requires far less sacrifice.

We can either become victims or we victimize. The oppressed or the oppressor. The law of hierarchy. Survival of the fittest. Eat or be eaten. Hunt or be hunted. Who IS Maslow?

Anyway…

Is there no middle ground? No lukewarm?? Must we take a position on EvErY thing?!?

(Breathe)

I can’t breathe because you’re choking me. I can’t live in peace because there’s too much noise. The noise is in my head AND all around me. You too are making noise. That’s why you can’t hear me. I’m right HERE!

Stop. Wait. Go back and click on the link above. And just listen…

Listen to what’s not being said.

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The Rock

Who’s your rock?  My friend used to call me her rock.  I didn’t understand what she meant, but it sounded like a compliment so I received it happily.  She was going through a storm and I seemed to resemble a beacon of hope.  She put a lot of faith in me which made me nervous. I felt a little unworthy. But who was I to dispute her opinion, especially when she was in duress.

Years later she’s come through the storm and has the battle wounds to show for it.  She made it through the worst on her own, as far as I knew. When I called upon her recently to reiterate some of the “good advice” that I offered her, she only said, “be still”.  She told me that was the best advice that I’d given her.  In fact, she admitted that it took years to realize how important being still was to obtaining serenity.  I was confused because the same advice I had given was the precise advice that I needed.


I’d forgotten the power of release.  Sacrifice comes in many forms.  Personal sacrifice requires an understanding as well as a commitment.  The most important component of personal sacrifice is that it can’t be dictated by someone else.  We find comfort in sharing someone else’s experience, but we can never truly make their experience our own. Even in a book, we can only be provided an out-of-body experience.  However, living the tale is a story unique in its own right.

When we are lost, we look to a map. The map may come in the form of a fold-out paper with a key and squiggly lines, or it can be a valuable testament of biblical proportions.  My pastor used to tell us to remember to bring our map to church every Sunday.  But we worshiped while learning how to interpret the map.  I put my faith in the map.  I put my faith in the Bible, and I put my faith in  the the preacher.  It sounds like a good plan.  Putting my faith in good should yield positive results, right?

Where we put our trust we put our faith.  When we put our faith in the wrong person, the disappointment shutters our belief system.  No more so than when everything hinges on a single belief that there is a master plan that doesn’t work.

The rock.   This is where we want to put our hopes, our trust, and our faith.  More emotional than any of these is love.

Lovers Rock
When my father died, this song was what I played each time I entered his solemn abode. It was a new release at a time before Pandora, mp3s, or satellite radio.  Putting the cd on repeat was the worst thing I could have done. It made me hate a song that I’d have otherwise loved.  It was symbolic.   At a time that my family lost its rock, I was the replacement pebble.

For my formidable years, my father was my rock.  I was certain that I’d be the rock for my kids soon enough. But the circumstances by which my father’s life was lost left me wondering if I’d placed my faith in the wrong person. For me there was faith in the father, and there was faith in the Father.  I thought that the two weren’t mutually exclusive.   My father was instrumental in my walk with the Lord. When he was gone, my walk truly became my own.

After fifteen years of progress without my dad, I’ve lost more faith in man and garnered more faith in myself.  As a man, faith in self is an arguably less popular trend.  As a Christian, faith in God’s will is enough to restore any lost faith in myself; but it does nothing to restore my faith in man.  I am.
 I’ve learned to distrust.  Having faith in relationships, organizations, colleagues, and family has left me empty and disappointed.  We know the importance in having faith. We simply struggle with knowing how to cope when things go wrong.  There will certainly be disappointment.  But the vagueness on how our map was constructed or how to combat the struggles en route to our destination–that’s the hardship!  It’s those milestones and all the tribulations along the way that really test our faith.  You see, that rock seems worthless if we don’t step off of it.  I mean, how do we lead a life without movement?  We step off the rock, assess the situation, and proceed with caution.  The whole while we are keeping the rock in sight (in case we need to run back to it).  And what do we do when we falter?  We seek the rock. Mankind can not merely savor the comfort and sanctity of salvation.  #Savorthefavor

 Who’s your rock?  Have you invested so much faith in man (and the world) that you’ve lost sight of the Rock?   Will you turn to your rock when all else fails?  Or will you not only stand on the rock but encourage others to do the same?

If only I had known…

If only I had known, I probably would not have bothered.

egg

If only I had known that running for township committee would require party leaders demanding that I see things their way (instead of asking me to consider the alternative), I would not have run for office.

If only I had known that another member of the fire company would be asked to run for a public office to represent the community, I would not have obligated myself.

If only I had known the outcome of my previous career endeavors would have resulted in me changing careers several times, I might have never embarked.

If only I had known that becoming the leader of my union would have resulted in management trying even harder to withhold our labor rights, I might have reconsidered.

things not seenIf only I had known that my marriage would end in divorce after nearly ten years, I might not have taken those vows.

If only I had known that I’d be leaving my home after twenty years of raising a family there, I might not have purchased it.

If only I had known that my pension wouldn’t be there for me when I retired, I might not have taken up a career in public service (or I would have at the very least invested differently).

If only I had known that the road that I travel now would not bring me to my destination unscathed, would I have chosen a different path?

I am not certain.  Had I not been elected to public office, I would not have recognized why our system is broken.  I wouldn’t have learned that just because we have only some similar beliefs, we still have vast differences.  I wouldn’t have learned that we must also look beyond our differences and engage in discussions about the many ways WE can meet our collective objectives.  I would not have learned that when they try to stifle me, I swell up with zest to overcome the barriers.   I would not have developed my voice!tied up  If it were not for the challenges that I’ve faced, there would have been no victory.

If I had known that they would pit someone LIKE me AGAINST me, I would have walked away because they created an unnecessary adversary.  I would not have realized that the goal was never to accomplish something, but instead to fuel the unrest that is destructive.  We were never on the same page.

My careers as a program coordinator, judicial assistant, probation officer, and family counselor all prompted my endeavors as an educator.  All of that experience fuelled my passion for advocacy.  My studies could have never prepared me for what was to come.  My entire life has been an internship that simple paid a little bit better than being a volunteer.

My stint as a union president was merely a foundation for a different kind of leadership—one where livelihoods were at stake.  The dues were small, but the rewards were great!  If managers had not suggested that I break the law, I’d have never realized how important it was to preserve the law, uphold the law, and defend the law.  Now I know how to change the law.

When I was young and naïve, I thought that all that was needed to have love was the opportunity.  If I wanted it bad enough (and if my heart was open to it), I could have what my heart desired.  Lost love and love lost?  I chose wisely, but next time I will be even wiser.  How my life will improve through such experience need not be said.

I purchased a home with the intention of sending my children to one the most diverse schools in the area, but by the time they were school-age the demographic had evolved and the ideas had changed.  Like-minds contributed to a population explosion and now there isn’t enough for everyone.  I won’t be the last to walk away, but I am certainly not the first.  As the trash litters the roadsides and the houses are either boarded up or burning down, I ask myself “what were you thinking?”

And now my life savings is being held hostage!  Any chance to have a fruitful life on the other side of retirement is in the hands of officials that we trusted to protect our interest and to preserve a promise that was made when we were hired.  Perhaps it was realized too late that the most efficient way to get the public service to function like the private sector was to treat them the same way (by robbing the public servants of their benefits).  But even my colleagues who’ve invested what was left of their budgets are dissatisfied with their returns.  Now I fight for my rights along side of people similar to me (and different from me) as we mumble, “if we had known…”

I’ve said all of that to say this:  Even if I had known then what I know now, things would not be much different.  Why?  Because my faith is the same!  As a matter of fact, a direct result of not knowing what the future holds makes my faith even stronger.  It’s not even a question of spiritual strength as much as it is the need to be patient, a need to hold on to those things that are important, and conversely the need to let go of those things that aren’t important anymore.  Being able to predict the future is actually counterproductive to being prepared for what is in store for us.  Although our walks are different, we are positioned to bring our knowledge, our experiences, and our passions to the table.  Absence of faith requires no work at all.  Absence of faith is absolute loss.  Faith without work is death.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1