Monday, January 22, 2018

Sunrise Sunset

Isn't this a glorious vision?  Wait a moment though - in this picture, are we looking at a sunrise or a sunset?  Can you tell the difference?  Is one more beautiful than the other?  Does it make you think of the time you watched the sun come up with the person you love?
 
There are those who prefer the rising of the sun in the morning.  It signals a fresh start; a brand new day.  Most of us when we see it are just waking up and are rested and refreshed after a night's sleep.
 
Some people prefer to look at the sun as it sets.  The day is finished and now, as the sun goes down, a time of rest is approaching.  We have done what we set out to do and there will be another opportunity to do more wonderful things tomorrow.
 
However we look at the sun though, one thing is certain.  It is beautiful.  Take a moment and just reflect on this picture.  There is beauty all around us.  Take a moment and enjoy some of that too.  In fact, start looking at all the beauty that surrounds you, and I guarantee in will change your day!

Friday, January 19, 2018

You want an award?

Those favorites who entertain us are rewarded with Tonys, Oscars, Grammys, Emmys, Golden Globes, and other recognition.  We give awards to our students in school.  Some jobs give special praise to employees.  How about the masses of society?

This may seem odd, but why isn't there more recognition of those who excel at everyday tasks?  The architect who designed your workplace might have incredible skills, but does the general public hear about it?  How about your daughter's third grade teacher?  The person who served you those fires and burgers at your favorite fast food place might be incredible, but does he get acknowledged for it?

I love how some television stations do hometown heroes features, but I'm not talking about just those who rise to that level.  I'm thinking more of the "best waitress I have ever been served by" or the preeminent delivery driver or the unrivaled parking lot attendant.  There are people in this world who make a difference every day by simply being outstanding at the work they do and the way they interact with others.  I think that is award worthy!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Don't bury your head

Some people just might claim that the ostrich is the most imitated in all the animal kingdom.  I'm sure you know people who bury their heads in the sand - perhaps not literally, but certainly figuratively.  "Let me close my eyes to all the bad things and pretend they aren't even happening." Of course that doesn't accomplish a thing!  It does absolutely nothing! Bad things still exist, even when you refuse to look at them.  When you turn on the tv news or pick up your local newspaper, you will see negative stories galore.

Now I don't usually write about what NOT to do, because I have always preferred the more positive side of things.  So instead of suggesting that we not bury our heads in the sand, let me suggest instead that we go through life with our eyes wide open doing the best we can and looking for chances along the way to make change and to do good.  Yes there is a lot of bad, but instead of moaning and groaning about it, let's think of ideas that will make a difference.

We all have the power to make change.  Sometimes it might not seem like it, but even small things can make a difference.  I was reminded the other day about the power of a simple smile.  It feels good to contribute.  It really does.  Burying your head only makes us feel bad in the end.  I much prefer the good!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

You are a child of the universe

Last night I kept hearing the words of this poem in my mind, and so I decided to write about it today - The Desiderata. Early in 1972, Les Crane's spoken-word recording of this poem (a poem with a very confused history, but I won't go into that), peaked at #8 on the Billboard chart. I can still remember listening to it over and over back when I lived in Nashville. As you all know though, this is NOT about me.

The words are quite inspirational. "As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons." Who can argue with that? "If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself." Certainly this is another good thought. The poem is full of them! The words - the ideas - the list of things to be desired (the actual translation of desiderata) here are so uplifting!

My favorite part of the poem, is a section that was used as a refrain in the recording: "You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

Monday, January 15, 2018

Where do we go from here?

Certainly one of the greatest men to live in my lifetime, was the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Today, remembering his life and legacy, I'd like to share these words excerpted from his Where Do We Go From Here? speech,  delivered at the 11th Annual Southern Christian Leadership Conference Convention in Atlanta, GA back on August 16, 1967:

"I'm concerned about a better World. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood and sisterhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.

"And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to humankind’s problems. And I’m going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn’t popular to talk about it in some circles today. And I’m not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love; I’m talking about a strong, demanding love. For I have seen too much hate. I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we aren’t moving wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love. He who hates does not know God, but he who loves has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality.

"And so I say to you today, my friends, that you may be able to speak with the tongues of men and angels; you may have the eloquence of articulate speech; but if you have not love, it means nothing. Yes, you may have the gift of prophecy; you may have the gift of scientific prediction and understand the behavior of molecules; you may break into the storehouse of nature and bring forth many new insights; yes, you may ascend to the heights of academic achievement so that you have all knowledge; and you may boast of your great institutions of learning and the boundless extent of your degrees; but if you have not love, all of these mean absolutely nothing. You may even give your goods to feed the poor; you may bestow great gifts to charity; and you may tower high in philanthropy; but if you have not love, your charity means nothing. You may even give your body to be burned and die the death of a martyr, and your spilt blood may be a symbol of honor for generations yet unborn, and thousands may praise you as one of history’s greatest heroes; but if you have not love, your blood was spilt in vain. What I’m trying to get you to see this morning is that a man may be self-centered in his self-denial and self-righteous in his self-sacrifice. His generosity may feed his ego, and his piety may feed his pride. So without love, benevolence becomes egotism, and martyrdom becomes spiritual pride."

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Be the reason

Have you ever walked down the street early in the morning and had someone smile and say hello to you? It actually used to be quite common. It still happens here and there, but mostly in smaller communities. I don't know about you, but that kind of friendliness can really make my day. Their smile becomes my smile!

Of course there are many reasons to be happy. The barista who serves my coffee, remembering exactly how I like it from my previous visits, and who hands it to me with a smile. His smile, becomes my smile! The same thing happens when I am crossing the street and a driver waits to let me go ahead with a wave and a smile. I think you know where this is going. Her smile becomes my smile!

Being nice is always a good thing. Sharing the joys of life not only makes others happy, but can help to keep you happy. It's like a circle. Happy people don't have to put a lot of effort into it. It just comes naturally. Some of us have to think about it a little more. Whatever the case though, be happy, and share it. Be the reason someone smiles today!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

how much?

How much do you want to make out of your life?  No, not how much money.  I'm asking if you have any sort of aspirations.  We weren't just born to pay bills and then die.
 
Are you someone who always wants to do better?  Do you find yourself reaching for the stars?  Is there a limit?  Do you keep going just because you want things better for yourself, or do you have high expectations for your family, friends, and even your community?  How much achievement is enough?  Should we keep reinventing ourselves?
 
What gives you joy?  What brings you pleasure?  Do you want more and more of these things?  How much more?  Oh my!  For me there really is no limit.  Every day presents new opportunities and I want to take advantage of each and every one.  I hope that you keep wanting new experiences in your life too.