30 March 2012

There's a Better Way Than Backbiting


I've noticed how amazing it is when someone compliments me when I’m doing something good at work. It does not have to be much, but just saying a few words is enough to make my whole day just that much better. I am encouraged to work hard for the rest of the day—assuming that it was a true compliment and not just a hollow and manipulative ruse to get me to work harder in which case the “compliment” will have the opposite effect on me. And of course , when someone is overly critical of me and misjudges my motives or actions, it becomes difficult to muster the previous enthusiasm I had and keep working.

Being complimented, being appreciated for what you do is a vital to every person  to varying extents, but even to the least degree, still very strongly needed. So then, why are honest compliments so rare. There is plenty of good things done to deserve credit. Yet, one would have better luck finding palm-trees in the desert than finding the deserved appreciation and credit deserved. If the only thing lacking in a workplace was  genuine and sincerely expressed appreciation to encourage one another on, work would still be quite tolerable. Yet, silence is never the case, rather there is slanderous backbiting and perpetual belittlement—a whirring mess of clouded contempt-filled words. Not only does working around people for the most part mean forsaking the hope of receiving earned recognition, but it also means enduring a never ceasing volley of insults and quips designed and catered to hurt not help.

Chalk it up to faulty human nature.

I aim to reject the demands and desires to follow the followers and chase after a better way. I can’t fix everything, but every person around is an opportunity to break down the pattern of harsh retorts and restore some kindness in people. Who knows, maybe people will start sowing what they receive. Maybe people will start giving encouraging words . Certainly without a change the same intolerable cruel tidal wave will continue to self-perpetuate and continue  to push people down rather than rise them up. There needs to be a change. 

28 March 2012

Look Up to Greatness

I cringe at the thought of me without my family. It’s easy to get caught up in the celebration of “I”. It’s easy to accredit life to me. But, who I and what I am is not the product of me rising above what I was thrown into. I was not tossed at birth into a hurricane from which I had to escape through unfailing determination. It was not from ashes that I rose, it was not from the rubble that I stand. No, on the contrary, I stand at all, not because of my own strength or intrinsic capacity for anything great. I have been pulled and propped up, I lean on the shoulders and in the arms of family and of God. Without such help, I would have nothing and be nothing. Any accomplishment that I achieve now or in the remainder of the life I live will and should be credited to those that have stood me up. I am more of a deck of cards than a strong house. Without the careful and thoughtful planning of primarily my parents, I would be but a single stack of cards.

Someday I of course hope to be more steady than a deck of cards, but the analogy serves the point I’m making. I’ve accomplished nothing apart from the workings of strong caring and loving people in my life. And every time I have fallen or ever will, it will not be because I was not given the strength to stand, but because even with all that I have been given I am still inadequate. I owe any thanks to the love in the hearts of those who surround me and shine through the screen of inadequacy and into the hope and possibilities of what I could b. That love then compounded with patience, I stand at all today. It’s easy to be humble in myself while resting in the arms of those who have built me up and nourished me. It’s easy to be humble while looking up to great people and to God.

Finding someone low enough to look down at is never difficult. Just because it is possible does not mean that you are really that tall. It just means that you are not at the bottom, or maybe you are but you are just too blind to know it. Keep looking up into the face of greatness, that is where the grounding of reality rests and where the realization of humility is to be found.

Vote For The Lesser Evil


My political voting strategy is to vote for the lesser evil, not to vote for the best of the two candidates—just to vote for the one that is the least terrible. I have operated under the precept that it is an honor and privilege to be able to choose who runs my country. Recently though, I’ve began to wonder if it is really an honor to vote for the lesser of evils. It feels like I am still voting for evil. I still end up putting my stamp of approval on someone who’s policies and general principles I do not support in large part. I am skeptical that choosing the lesser evil is not as noble as it sounds. After filling in the dots on election day, there is this feeling that I still voted for evil. Sure, I may have voted for best of the two, but I still picked someone who I don’t believe is fully fit and functional to lead a country that was up until recently referred to as “The Country” because no other country came close to its unprecedented prosperity and freedoms. It has always been easy to look down on those who don’t vote at all, but in light of my own reevaluation of my voting for a lesser evil, I’m not sure my condemnation has been just.

Yet, I know that if I vote for the candidate that I truly believe would lead America with the dignity, moral justice, prudence, and wisdom to righteously guide our nation along the winding road into the future that I would be “throwing my vote away” because the person I vote for would not win. But if voting for good is the right thing, is it ever wrong to do the right thing? I now longer believe that it is possible to throw a vote away; I think that saying that has served as a rational I've convinced myself to make and buy into in order to feel comfortable voting for someone that I am unsatisfied voting for. What if I voted for who was the best candidate? What if I voted for the person who I honestly thought disserved to be elected? What if you did? 

If I’m the only person in America who is tired of voting for the lesser evil, than my vote and new mindset means nothing, but if there are others and if they begin to vote for the candidate that they believe deserves to be elected, then maybe a candidate who deserves to win would actually win. Maybe if we voted for what we believe instead of voting for who we will believed will win, America would not be decaying like it is now.
The elections are not a time to bet on who will win, where you place votes instead of bets. The president is not a racehorse. If anything the president is the lead horse pulling a coach like those seen in western movies. We don’t want the fancy polished horse for that, we want to most stable experienced one. I’m going to start voting for the most fit president to navigate a rocky mountain trail, not the fast sleek polished one that sounds good and could beat anyone on a short straight away quarter mile dash but would falter on anything found in the wild, found in real life.

27 March 2012

If You Don't Have Anything Good to Say, Say a Cliche

I’ve noticed a trend in clichés that points towards clichés actually being just wrong a lot of the time. Take for instance, no pain no gain. This sounds good when your buddy shouts it at you while you are trying to bench-press your bodyweight plus no exercise and a few too many beers for a few too many years. But then if you think about it, does that actually make sense? A lot of times I got things without pain. It happens all the time. Once I found some money on the ground. Sure, someone else had some pain when they lost it, but the cliché is not talking about other people. A bank robber does not shoot some in the leg, take all the money, and then as he is leaving yell back, “no pain no gain.” Plus, it sounds like every time there is pain something good is going to happen. I’ve seen boxers get hit in the face until they can’t see through all the blood and then fall to the ground and lose. Where is the gain? How about we just say what is true, “without effort, gain is unlikely.” That makes sense. Sure it is not as fun to say, I’d happily spend a few seconds saying something that is true then one second to say something wrong.
Another cliché that annoys me is, “one bird in the hand is better than two birds in the bush.” One, this cliché just sounds dumb to start with. Two, it is wrong. It depends on the size of the bird that you killed and have in your hand ready to eat. If you killed a hummingbird, that is both unusually mean, and also worthless for eating, and it would probably be better to have two turkeys in the bush ready to be hunted down, killed and eaten. I know that the saying is not meant to me taken literal, but it would be nice if they used a proper analogy that made sense to people.
The list of clichés goes on and on. I use them from time to time when I get sloppy. It does not mean you are a bad person if you use a cliché from time to time, it just means there is that possibility. Maybe spend a few seconds thinking about what it is that you are saying next time rather than just repeat some nonsense that you hear someone else saying that sounded kind’a good when they said it. Yeah, it’s actually possible to come up with ways to say things that have not been said a million times before. Look words, they fit together in different combinations. It’s like you get to say what you mean to, not what you have heard other people say before! Just a thought.

25 March 2012

Do You Smell That?


The smell of spring is thick in the air, almost thick enough to taste. Hundreds of flower smells rest in the air briefly like single notes in an orchestra—momentary, complex and unique—in the soft passing breeze. The sun rests in the clear day sky watching earth placidly, earth a single bobber on a stream and the sun resting on the bank enjoying the moment. Birds dart and trill out short sparks and long notes of chipper springtime calls. Dark blue sky, fresh new green grass contrasting with areas still resting in winter slumber make a vibrant kaleidoscope of living color constantly changing and moving and growing together. It is calm and soothing, yet still ignites a pent-up restlessness confined inside while winter passed by severally. Enjoying the moment yet pushed by the moment to embrace life with a fresh and new passion untainted by the time it would take to refine the effort into something more productive. Spring is pushing for change and life and drinking in everything there is to drink and wafting the staleness from the winter air with an explosion of life and painting over the hibernating picture with new bright colors. 

23 March 2012

Peace of Solid Ground


Goodbye dark nights and days, looks like nothing but blue skies ahead
Running out of joyful words to shout, going to have to dance around instead

Can’t stand to sit down today, there’s a hop and a skip to each step I take
Excited to see where ever-after ends up, it shows in every move I make

There’s no faking this feeling, I’ve for sure found something sugar sweet
I’m dancing on the moon, running so fast I’m losing track of my feet

This smile is too big for my face, there’s isn’t enough room
Everything sounds like a song that no silence could consume

People scratch their head and wonder why all this grinning
They ask what I’ve won, I can’t answer cause’ my head’s still spinning

This is the proof that there’s no such thing as too good to be true
My heat was all broken and brought low but now it’s just like new

The lurking pains that pulled me down have been shed like my night-light
All things unwell have been buried in the glory of this bright light

I never stopped looking up even when things were looking down
I didn’t wander from the truth, the love, that peace of solid ground

21 March 2012

Time to Borrow


Running toward the light at the end of the tunnel
saw my future walking by,
stopped for just a second and gave it a high-five

Went so fast I overtook the starting line,
 mistook it for the past and picked up the pace,
 not enough time to say goodbye to today

Made some more haste
Saw time sitting by the sidelines,
tired of the highway, nothing left to say

Waved to it as I moved on by,
and before long I saw the present headed the other way,
looked like a bad day,
didn’t even look my way

Read ahead to the end of the road
read a road-sign that said it was closed,
took a detour through tomorrow

Found myself on a runway running from the other day
Had to get away so I dove into a wishing-well,
Looking for a story to tell

Dusted myself off, saw the road running home
Asked it to slow down, but it just shrugged its shoulders,
And swerved into the distance

Suddenly I was sitting alone on the sea’s sands
Looked around I realized,
I was right back to where I began.

Trading todays for tomorrows won’t last,
Eventually we’ll run out of time to borrow

You Listen for Me

You listen for my voice always. You hear my falling tears in a crowded room. You see my heavy heart from behind hearty laughter. You know the pain that pulls at me. You know what I am. I cannot hide in the thickest darkness, your piercing beams of love cut to my marrow. There is no escaping the convicting power of your love. There is no shame in shouting your name. Everywhere you are needed, everywhere you are rejected all day long. Yet you do not take back your outstretched hand. How must it hurt you to love so much, and to be loved so little. How much strength it must take to be anchored in love to a people who drift from you like the ocean tide. You traded perfection for folly.
From darkness to light, from hate, to peace and love. I would that I would grow up to be a son by nature more than by name. I would that I was strong enough to stand with you while the tide came and went around me. I would that I never grieved you with sorrow again. I would that your love for me did not require so much forgiveness. I want to be love for you and with you. To love like you love. But you see my sorrow, know my pain, my weakness. My heart wants to want you more than I know how to let it.  My heart cries out within me. It shouts at me. But I don’t listen to it. Help train my heart.

Sip-Savor the Day Down to the Last Drop


Life has been a blurry hurry,
haven’t even had time to stop and worry
But it’s about time that I did something right,
I’m gonna sit still until dawn becomes moonlight

I’m gonna live life like I ought to, love it like I use to
Do all the things that I somehow forgot to
Think I’ll give it a try, sit down while I eat my pie
Chew before I swallow live a little before I die

Sip-savor the day down to the last drop
Take a time-out, maybe walk to the top
Forget what it's like to need to yawn
live out dreams 'till the brink of dawn

For too long I’ve out-raced by my own pace
Sick of being straight-legged and suit-faced
Going to get rid of my slacks,
change em’ for a backwards baseball cap

Done speeding on a one-way road to regret
I'm the happiest guy you've ever met
Got my heart a whole new mindset,
gonna’ soak me up some soft slow sunsets

Shrugging off the bad that’s been bugging me,
Bidding farewell to everything unwell
I’m diving headlong into so-long-sorrows,
I hear the sound of a hundred happy tomorrows

Got my feet moving to whole new rhyming rhythm,
Sounds so sweet I can’t help but hum along
It’s got me move’n to an up-beat melody,
say’n hello to a brand-new mellower me

I’m in synch with every single moment
Making laughing my new favorite habit
I’m ready to make some new memories
I’m going to stop and talk and just be me

12 March 2012

I Just Don't Care


Apathy is a tomb which one chooses to lie down in while there is yet air in one’s lungs and a heartbeat in one’s chest, while there are still years yet to be lived. Apathy is an enemy. I think that we choose apathy because it is a painless solution to problems that are otherwise painful to fix. Rather than care, or have an opinion, it is a simple solution to avoid the discomfort, pain, or whatever problem may be associated with caring and just be apathetic.
The question then becomes, is it better to feel nothing than it is to feel hurt. Those who believe that the answer to be yes in an extreme sense choose to opt out, not just of emotions, but life all together. Yes, I am saying that suicide is the worst case scenario of apathy, the point to where continuing to live is a discomfort to the extent where nothing is a more agreeable choice than death. I am, then, saying that apathy is a form of suicide. Apathy is choosing to kill something, a part of you. Apathy is the decision not to care, not to have an opinion, not to strive and hope and dream and work to be whatever it is that causes fear. Apathy is an excuse not to do the things that should be done operating on the basses of avoiding pain. It is permission slip to do nothing.
The next question one could ask is why is living in apathy towards one or more things bad? Why is feeling pain good? Why would it help anyone to be open to hurt? The answer is simple. In order to get something, something must be given first. That is the general rule. Money does not show up for nothing, even in the case of winning the lottery, one still had to buy the ticket, even in the case of finding a winning ticket on the street, it still took caring enough to stoop down and pick up the ticket to see if it was a winning ticket. The same principle is true for relationships. You will never one day find that you have a deep relationship with someone who you did not know the day before. Relationships take being interested in cultivating something that was is not there before. It takes saying and doing many things. Trusting someone with details that could be used as a dagger to pierce all the way to the heart, but the potential reward is even greater than the pain. You can’t walk through doors that you don’t first open. If you want to open a door that could lead to love, you must be ready to face the many other things that could be behind that door. But, that is all life is, it’s opening whichever doors you wish to out of millions of possible ones, and it is not always possible to know what stands behind the door.

11 March 2012

Topsy Turvy


My heart found a love it didn’t know about
don’t know how I ever managed to do without

            You’ve made me out of my mind mad in love
This feeling is stronger than anything I ever heard of

            It’s difficult to say where I actually am
But it’s a beautiful place I’ve never before been

           Seems Love set me somewhere up in the clouds
It’s got me straight-up singing out loud

            I’m so far gone I’ve lost sight of the ground
This must be love that you and I found

           Every single second with you is so sugar sweet
You’ve won me over, no one else competes

           Lost my hold on time, reality is in standby
My head is spinning as the world zooms by

           I’d heard about falling head-over-heels
Now I know first-hand just how it feels

           My Life was a puzzle missing a few pieces   
Now it’s better than museum’s masterpieces

I've never felt so beautifully topsy-turvy
Feels like I’m riding in a roller-coaster derby

 I miss you each time I blink my eyes
 Nothing is worse than saying goodbye

 Being near to you makes my heart melt
 It is better than anything I have ever felt

 Among the mess of me I’ve become
 There’s always a joy I can’t help but hum

 You are someone special it’s clear
 Nothing else matters when you are here

Lost and Found




It’s not possible to simply say how your love brought me from so far away
It’s not possible to simply say how much your love does for me today

I was so far gone, beyond hope and lost, nothing left but my own despair
I was gasping for but a single breath of air, at last I cried a desperate prayer

I had nothing but last wishes, just a grayscale shadow of brokenness
But buried beneath the weight of a heavy heart you heard the words I left unspoken

From far away, I could feel something heavenly drawing nearer and nearer
A mighty calm filled the air with a sense of peace never before clearer

He came and rescued me from my self-made misery, wiped away my sorrow
He saved me from myself, repaid all of the future days that I had borrowed

He rescued me back from beyond the brink, broke my chains that kept be held down
Every single knot that I had ever wound, God’s great gracious love quickly unbound

This Means War


As a witnessing tool Christians often give to-be converts God-candy to help persuade them to accept Christianity. The candy that Christians give away to get non-Christians to see their perspective is the positive promises that God makes to His children, the gifts of the hope, the love they want, and many of the other beautiful riches that being a follower of the footsteps of Christ ensures.
However, I can’t help but find this approach a bit deceptive. Following Jesus is not an easy trip. Jesus went places where dragons be. He went armed with a loving heart, the Words of his Father, with wisdom, and the Truth. Not with armor, not with an army of trained soldiers, not with weapons made from metal or stone or wood. Jesus said follow him and believe in him and who he was. But he did not promise us a pleasant easy life. He gave us a promise. The promise was not a promise of affluence and comfort. The promise was a place with him in eternity. But until then, every life that dare breathe will suffer.
Creation groans under a heavy burden, it has been yoked to load heavy with evil. The promise of Jesus is that he will endure with us, interceding for us. He sent the comforter to us. Why do we need a comforter except we be discomforted. Lion is against lamb. Creation has been set upon itself and consumes itself. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, Jesus does not come down and build us a nice little house out of sugar-cubes. No, now we are no longer of the world. The world does not like that. In fact, we are at enmity with the world. Now we are in a wrestling match with a fallen world and with an evil ruler who still childishly throws a temper-tamper like child who knows that bedtime is coming yet still fights it. Only the devil is not a child, he is strong and he has many fallen angles with him. He enjoys the taste of tears and the sound of weeping!
So, promising could-be converts a paradise during war is not an honest representation of the assignment to follow Jesus. It would be better to speak of the glory and hope that is set before those who follow Jesus. I am not seeking to dissuade anyone from accepting or taking seat with God’s elect, I am simply pointing out that following Jesus is not a placid walk through a rose-garden. When Jesus was on Earth, he fought without relenting with those whose hearts were set on this world. God is not going to write you a billion dollar check and your life will not become perfect by taking making Jesus Lord. What will happen if you accept the mission to follow Jesus, is you will endure until you die or the coming age arrives.
But, there is rejoicing in the suffering! It seems impossible at first, but if you think of Jesus as the captain of an army and his followers as solders, then it is not such a stretch. Solders fight for an idea, a future, a better tomorrow at the cost of their life if need be. When we stand with Jesus not only do we stand now in this present time where there is pain, but more we stand in the hope of our future that is assured through Jesus the Lord. Today and tomorrow and all earthly days are short in comparison to forever once the world has been taken back from the adversary of life. I stand and rejoice in today, in the battles of today, in the suffering of today because it is not counted as anything compared to the invaluable depth of my assured future. And that future is worth all the pain in the world.
So, rather than offer potential converts a helping of heaven-on-earth, why not offer them the truth and tell them that there is an eternal trophy waiting if they endure the race and reach the finish line and then offer them a helping hand. After all, war with the world is fought with weapons of kindness, respect, service, love. Let’s go to war, let’s fight, let’s raise up our courage in God and fight until death has been defeated. Let’s join in arms against the present times and capture eternity.

Sociable

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