Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Let us all unite!

A marvelous scene by Charlie Chaplin from  "The Great Dictator," a 1940 film where he condemns Hitler and the Nazis calling them "machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts," really got me thinking last night.  There is a great remix of this speech from the movie with Chaplin's voice over images from the present, showing how the words spoken then are still true.

I urge you to take a few seconds and watch the video by clicking HERE.  Then take a few more minutes and think about it.  We can do so much.  Our hate and distrust for other countries, other religions, other races, other sexual orientations, other anything needs to end.  We need to put aside hate - ALL hate.

In his speech, part of what Chaplin says is "You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let's use that power, let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness."

What a marvelous goal:  a united world!

Monday, September 17, 2018


The post which appeared here this morning, has been deleted at the request of the person who was the subject,

Friday, September 14, 2018

Life After Birth

This is one of those stories that circulates and nobody knows who the author is. I've posted before things that I didn't write, and I want to do it again today because this one can really make you think. This one is about faith -

In a mother's womb were two babies. One asked the other: "Do you believe in life after delivery?"

The other replies, "Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later."

"Nonsense," says the other. "There is no life after delivery. What would that life be?"

"I don't know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths."

The other says "This is absurd! Walking is impossible. And eat with our mouths? Ridiculous. The umbilical cord supplies nutrition. Life after delivery is to be excluded. The umbilical cord is too short."

"I think there is something and maybe it's different than it is here."

"No one has ever come back from there. Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery it is nothing but darkness and anxiety and it takes us nowhere."

"Well, I don't know," says the other, "but certainly we will see mother and she will take care of us."

"Mother??! You believe in mother? Where is she now?"

"She is all around us. It is in her that we live. Without her there would not be this world."

"I don't see her, so it's only logical that she doesn't exist."

To which the other replied, "sometimes when you're in silence you can hear her, you can perceive her." I believe there is a reality after delivery and we are here to prepare ourselves for that reality."

As I said at the beginning, these words are not mine, but I wanted to share this beautiful perspective on faith with you. Of course we all know that there is indeed life after delivery from the womb. How many of you believe in life after delivery from our earthly journey?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Story from a taxi driver

Once before, I shared this story with you that I had found on the internet.  The author is unknown, but it was not me.  I'm sharing it again because several people have requested it.  I have no idea if any of it is true, but I do know how inspirational it is.  I hope you agree -

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked..

'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'

'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly.

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice. 'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. Let's go now'.

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.

They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said.

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Wednesday, September 12, 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."

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Seventeen years ago

At the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero in New York City, is this wall with a quote from ancient Roman poet Virgil:  "No day shall erase you from the memory of time."  Indeed. The four coordinated terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda against the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.  Today there will be memorials and there will be discussion, and folks will retell their memories of that horrible day.
I have written here about that black day in our history, every single year since I began this blog.  We know about the nearly 3,000 who lost their lives and the 6,000 others who were injured.  There were heroes too - not just the firefighters, police, doctors, paramedics, and other rescue workers, but also the average folks who just happened to be there and who jumped in to help.  It was a frightening day, a dark day for our country, but it was also a day Americans can be proud of because of all the unselfish acts of heroism.
The museum in New York remembers the day and tells the story of thousands of people there.  Both the memorial and the museum are closed to the public today as the events from 17 years ago are remembered in ceremonies.  You can find more information about what to expect there at their website https://www.911memorial.org/

Monday, September 10, 2018

Working Together to Prevent Suicide

We hear about the death of a favorite performer and then hear that they died at their own hand.  A friend or relative dies suddenly and there are whispers that he took his life, but shh don't talk about it.  Well we need to talk about it and that is what today is about.

An estimated one million people per year die by suicide or about one person in 10,000.  Suicide rates in the United States have risen nearly 30 percent since 1999 according to the Centers For Disease Control.  The CDC also says that nearly 45,000 people in the US died by suicide in 2016. (Numbers for last year are incomplete).

Every September, the month is used to focus on prevention and awareness and World Suicide Prevention Day is a special awareness day observed on September 10th every year.  It should not just be when a friend or famous person dies.  We need to remember that it can happen any time to any person.  Think about those numbers.  We can get them lower, but we need to focus on it and we need to care about it.  Human beings can do anything.  This year's theme, "Working Together to Prevent Suicide," really says it all.  We need to work together.
Putting an end to hate and bullying is a great place to start.  Openly talking about our feelings is important too.  Nobody should ever feel like they are alone.  Reach out.  Be present.  Get involved.  Talk to professionals.  Find out other ways to help from The Trevor Project at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/ and take note of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline HERE.