Saturday, December 31, 2016

Fewer Resolutions, More Reflection

When you’re little, it’s common to count the night stars, only to find the more you count, the more appear. Later in life, education, travel, and experience reveal the same startling truth: You can never know it all.
Given the breadth and depth of nature, no human endeavor––science, religion, nor even Facebook–– can fully explain the universe. 
We can’t even explain the size of humanity.
Population experts claim there are over 7 billion people on this one planet right now. Each person has their own experiences, customs, and values. 
Beyond our earth, astronomers estimate there are billions, perhaps trillions of galaxies with their own attendant stars and planets. Somewhere in those swarms of gas and rock and light, one could safely assume there are even more people floating around the cosmos than we have here.
 As we say on the lefse plains of Minnesota, Uff da.
Even though the totality of creation eludes our human frailty, but we can always understand more.
And should.
So rather than spending the day making New Year’s resolutions, check out this New Year’s reflection.
Understanding More
As we’ve seen in just the last century with the advances in science and technology, there is always more to see, more to do, more to learn. Here are five:
  1. First, the more we can put behind us, the farther we can move ahead. Don't hang on to the mistakes of the past. Embrace the possibilities of the future. For example, the sooner one forgets drinking the finger bowl at a fancy restaurant, the sooner he’ll eat more than Wendy’s or Subway.The social ramifications are endless.
  2. More than what we already know,  we must recognize what we don’t know. Like why there are Brussels sprouts. Really. Somebody tell me.
  3. In our relations with others, remember there is more than one way to think, more than one way to feel, more than one way to live. Individually, we are not the world, although we want to be. Personally, I’d settle for being Nova Scotia, but…
  4. More joy, more love, and more patience lead to better relationships. Remember, people are the creation of God. All are valid. All are valuable. Even the those who told us leisure suits are sexy.
  5. The more we ALL know about ourselves, each other, and the world we live in, the better we will all be. As somebody once said, "Knowledge is strength. Ignorance is stupid." Or something like that.
I'm sure there are more possibilities. More is good.

Friday, September 23, 2016

In Case You've Forgotten: 16 Traits of Love

After watching a evening of television news and commentary, I concluded there has to be a better way to deal with conflict than instigation and retaliation.

There has to be.

From childhood, I was taught "All you need is love," yet I noticed few people using it to settle disputes. When I asked friends and teachers why, the answer was, "We're afraid."

Anyone who has lived through puberty knows that feeling.

But let's be honest, being afraid of love is far different than we've been witnessing the past few weeks. Instead of being afraid of love, people demonize it, adopting anger, hate, fear, and intimidation as fruitless remedies to the antagonism that dominates the media, populace, and highways.

It's like nobody has ever heard or read the word love before.

So, in a recent Instagram campaign, I offered  the following synopsis of the thirteenth  chapter of the Apostle Paul's first letter to the Corinthians with slight revision and no commentary. Given this week's violence and rhetoric, I offer the list again...with a few observations for the doubtful:

  1. patient. Breathe! The yoga instructors emphasize the most basic rule of life for a reason.
  2. kind. Say "Good morning." Open the door for somebody on crutches with an armload of Pampers, artichokes, and hamster treats. Everybody feels better.
  3. not envious. Want what you have and let other people have their own.
  4. ...does not brag. It doesn't need to.
  5. not puffed up. Being full of yourself means you need to go on a diet.
  6. not rude. Sinking to insults only brings yourself down.
  7. not self-serving. Looking out for Number One is a sure way of becoming the Only One. As Three Dog Night sang, "One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do."
  8. not easily angered. Anger begets anger, high blood pressure, purple veins and uncontrollable spittle.
  9. not resentful. Some people are just... Never mind. Let it go.
  10. not glad about injustice. "Justice for all" is a goal, not a barrier. 
  11. ...rejoices in truth. Not because one hears it so seldom, but because it lifts the weight of falsehood.
  12. ...bears all things. Even laughing snorts and polka versions of "Born in the USA."
  13. ...believes all things. "All things" does not include the moon is made of green cheese, the appropriateness of wearing plaid pants with a flowered shirt, or the superiority of brussels sprouts to M&Ms.
  14. ...hopes all things. Miracles happen. Really.
  15. ...endures all things. Bad things also happen, or as someone once said, "Feces eventuates." Get through them.
  16. endless. Thank goodness!
Okay, that may not be exactly what Paul had in mind, but it beats the heck out of the guck spit out by the talking heads, feuding politicians, and malicious vandals. When it comes to choosing leader of opinion, countries, and life, LOVE WINS!

It's the better way.