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choosing what is right…choosing what is easy March 26, 2012

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choosing what is right— choosing what is easy

Our society seems full of people who refuse to choose. We put it off; hoping someone else will take the responsibility of making the decision. Thus are we able to comply or complain. Keeping our options open is always the preferred path. Heaven forbid that anyone should hurt anybody else.

If the choice should come to a ethical issue, choosing what is right too often gives way to that which is easy. Choosing what is right often involves moral judgment, even if it be between the lesser of two evils. Doing what is right can bring criticism and condemnation from any and all who disagree with our idea of what right is. [… and where do we get our ideas of right and wrong, anyway?] We can be viewed as narrow-minded, intolerant, “conservative” (never liberal, by the way), dogmatic, and certainly as prejudicial. God forgive us for actually believing humanity has an innate moral consciousness that underlies our ethical sensitivities, religious beliefs, and public actions.

If you’ve lived long enough you well know that all choices have consequences, one way or another. Some choices are life threatening; most are not quite. Whatever choices we make, right, or easy, they add up to forge our path in life with all its blessings and/or curses. That’s just the way it is.

I end with a poem by Robert Frost (1874-1963), to remind us all of our intrinsic responsibility to choose wisely.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Did I mention that not to choose is also a choice? Easier? Maybe. You cannot just sit there.

Have a nice journey,

Gary

the search for sloth March 21, 2012

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Def. – sloth (noun)

1. habitual disinclination to exertion; indolence; laziness.

2. any of several slow-moving, arboreal, tropical American edentates of the family Bradypodidae, having a long, coarse, grayish-brown coat often of a greenish cast caused by algae, and long, hooklike claws used in gripping tree branches while hanging or moving along in a habitual upside-down position. [http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sloth]

I’ve never actually seen a sloth. Have you? I have wondered how they might feel about having one of the Seven Deadly Sins named after them. And what’s up with their hanging upside-down to do just about everything!?! Perpetual preteens?

We seem to be evolving into a society of sloth. Do as little as possible to get by. Move slowly so the work will last. Or, “this isn’t in my department.” Don’t exert yourself too much. Couch potatoes. Remote controls. Automatic this & that. Even doors that open when we approach them. Pre-cooked meals at the grocery store. If we continue on this path we will become a society that has forgotten how to DO, let alone how to THINK.

When asked a question some of us immediately respond, “I don’t know.”  Though we might actually know, it is just easier to respond that we don’t so we will not have to put our mind in gear to think about an answer. Too much effort. Just let it slide; somebody else can put up the effort. At least “Huh?” implies a modicum of feigned attention.

We seem constantly to be in search of the easiest way to do things, demanding the least possible effort on our part. Too many of us cannot wait to get out of work, to get home, to do…— nothing. Of course, we would never define ourselves as slothful; we’re just relaxing. As a nation, we seem to be doing it more and more and more. Complacency reigns.

By now you should be genuinely depressed, disgusted, and even angry at these accusations. Good! You’re ticked off! Now prove me wrong. I’d be tickled pink.

That’s enough energy expended for one day. (Yawn!)

Have a nice week,

Gary

glider pilot March 12, 2012

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  glider pilot

Ever wonder what it’s like? Silently slipping through the thermals at 3000’–5000’? Just you. No strings attached; the tether to the aerotow plane, severed moments ago, now seems like forever; or just the blink of an eye. The majesty of the earth moves slowly below you; the horizon’s expanse stretches 360º; the sky above, brilliantly blinding! You are suspended between two worlds and you never want to land. Your spirit soars! You are free.  …if only for a moment.

Most of us need an experience where we soar above our everyday circumstances to regain perspective on how to function in the daily warp ‘n woof of life. It is too easy to simply get caught up in our activities. Yet purpose and productivity, whether raising strong-willed children, running a Fortune 500 company, or starting out as a mechanic in a garage all demand that we check in with ourselves periodically to regain a sense of where we are in process.

There are a variety of areas where regaining clear perspective is critical. Here’s my list—

  1. A clear conscious and a clean heart.
  2. Healthy relationships with those around you.
  3. Juggling your time with wisdom.
  4. Realistically defining your strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Use of your discretionary cash.
  6. Actually planning for the unexpected…, & the expected.
  7. Knowing your place in the universe.  [a.k.a.— knowing your place before God.]
  8. Listening to learn more from others.
  9. Developing the arts of sacrifice & service.
  10. Slowing your soul.

Pick five. Get to work. You might find yourself just as free on the earth as gliding above it.

 

Have a nice week,

Gary

lilting opacity March 6, 2012

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lilting opacity

Light. It illuminates whatever it touches…, mostly. [It can burn too.] Light clarifies, brightens, melts the cold, and pierces the darkness. Light is necessary for sight to work. It is necessary for organic life to grow on the surface of this small planet, dangling in space. Light shines! And it soothes all those basking in it to its radiance and warmth.

Solid objects block light— buildings, window shades, trees, and definitely mountains (unless you are standing on top of one, of course). Some people block light too. They block light coming into them— dense. They block light issuing from them— dark. There is something about them that dims the light around them and grows darker the closer we approach. To know them intimately is not to know them at all—their true self lies veiled somewhere within their shroud of darkness. They do little to shed light on the truth, on others, and even on themselves.

Opacity describes the capacity to block light or to allow it to shine through. Opacity diffuses intense light into a spectrum of gentleness that is soft to the touch, soothing the eyes, and caressing the beholder. It may be how the Lord God actually veils himself to us, protecting us from his grandeur. Lilting describes the ability of a musical score, a breeze, or a swaying motion, to lift the spirit, to grant it fleeting lightness and a whimsical feeling of soaring. It is the bearable lightness of being. Melding these two images into one presents us a visage of our ability to become vessels of light, lifting the spirits of others to pass through whatever darkness they may reside and to grasp the hope needed to rise above their personal mire, loss, pain, or emptiness.

We have a choice, you and I— to cloak the light granted to us in inner darkness, or to rise above our bitterness, grief, and regret, to allow that Light, infused within us by the Lord God Creator, to glow through every crevice of our being, thus drawing other people out of their own dark night of the soul. A note of warning:  light does have the power to burn as well. It may sear you to let your light so shine. So make sure that the source of your light is a friendly one. The Light may still singe you as it glitters and grows brighter; but, then again, some things have need to be burned away to make a way for the clear light to shine through.

 

Have a nice week,

Gary

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