Be a Hero

gary, davis, hero, purple, heart, Looking over a dog-eared, parchment-like copy of When Dreams & Heroes Die: a portrait of today’s college student, (by Arthur Levine, 1980), I was taken back to a quite different time in our history. It wasn’t so much the time difference, or the cultural/time-distance warp, as it was the way Levine analyzed the characteristics of that period’s college culture. Boomers, busters, Gen-X, Gen-Y, yada, yada, yada. ALL of us have experienced the sadness of childhood disappointment of “heroes” who have disappointed us, let us down, deceived us, or who lost our trust through betrayed belief.

Heroes become real human beings with real failures, real flaws; some dissolve into the fantasies of their foundation, real illusions with no connection to real life; comic book/computer game avatars which have no association with the reality of actual beings. Yet, to be sure, there are real heroes: and most of us hold onto dreams that we truly want to become realities. Dreams are good, in fact, great! NOT to dream is to resign oneself to the humdrum of a dreary life, to personal anonymity and an interior death. It is to become a non-person, a mere cog-in-the-wheel, grinding out a life’s work as an automaton.

It is a reality of life—heroes do die, let us down, disappoint us: dreams also die; we settle for 2nd best, 3rd best, etc. Some of us give up our dreams altogether. And we have lost all (or most) of our heroes to time, fantasy, or failure. We have arrived at the blank wall of the convoluted definition, without role-models to provide us with points-of-reference or moral character.

Allow me to offer an alternative scenario. Could our loss of dreams and heroes actually be a trigger for us to rise to the occasion? Is it time for you to become the hero? To become the role-model for those who already look to you as someone they would seek to emulate? Is it time for you to help people dream their dreams? Fulfill their dreams?

Instead of hanging onto your fantasy-heroes of the past, your dreams for significance, maybe it’s time you became the hero for so many others, or even one other. Actually, maybe you already are significant; not in your eyes, but in the eyes of this generation’s emerging leaders.

So review what you’ve accomplished in your life. Is it enough? What more is there that you must do to make a difference for God and for humanity? BUT…, but— Who will be your protégée; what legacy will you leave in the people in whom you’ve invested? What’s your plan? Don’t have one? Why not? WHO are the people God has given to you to nurture to greatness? HOW do you care for them, train them, feed their souls?

BE the hero: make the dreams work! So help you God if you shy away from this great responsibility, this great honor.

Have a nice week.

Gary

Trouble Transitions

Gary, Davis, Christianity, Change, Trouble, Transitions          Far too frequently we hear the cry that our society needs more change agents. The implication is that the way things are presently just isn’t good enough. Pick a field— politics, business, transportation, medicine, religion (especially Christianity), finances, yadayadayada. Everything needs some form of change.

            The problem with change is that it invariably dumps us into a transitional time where even more things become unclear, unsteady, and iffy. O joy. Just what we need— more instability. Well, actually, we do.

Transitions in any segment of life move us out of the predictability, safety and definitions within one life-phase into an arena of uncertainty, a transition.

Transitions aren’t necessarily marked by growth. Though most people would hope they grow within a transition, many people, and businesses flounder, unable to set a new direction, given the changing global circumstances or personal situation. But without the cloudiness of a transition, things would stay too-much-same.

When you think about it, the cycle of phases and transitions, phases and transitions, is constant throughout your own life, or the life of a company, or country. The shifts are marked by what Malcom Gladwell has declared as tipping points— literally, those events or experiences that push us right over the edge and force us to consider something else in the future…, or tomorrow, or next week.

So when you consider becoming a change agent also consider how it will affect you, personally, your business, your family, and the greater good. Do you want to create the circumstances that lead you and those with you into a transition?

Transitions are uncertain times. Just make sure you are ready for the fog that lies ahead. But, by all means, keep moving forward. Besides think of all the fun constant predictability takes out of the adventure we call life?!?

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Cinderella

 Annie Leibovitz, Courage, Kindness, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christianity            If you have not seen the 2015 version of Charles Perrault’s book, Cinderella, you need to drag your family to see it as a super family outing. It is amazing. And if you don’t fall head over heels for Lily James there is something wrong with you. ‘Nough said.

The most amazing thing about the production are the two themes that screen writer Chris Weitz has chosen to emphasize— courage and kindness.  These two tracks run throughout the movie as Cinderella tries to cope with the death of her mother, and then her father. Her evil step-mother, played brilliantly by Cate Blanchett, is ‘Ella’s constant nemesis; she remorselessly tries to belittle Ella and turn her into the family servant-girl. Nonetheless, Ella is resilient, and rebuffs her step-mother’s assaults with a silent (mostly) inner determination. In the end, Cinderella marries the Prince and they move into the castle and turn her former domain into a homeless shelter for wayward girls…, or, something like that.  Just go see it.

As for Cinderella’s two guiding principles, bequeathed to her by her dying mother, we would all do well to incorporate them into our own life-principles— courage and kindness. There is so much pain and suffering in our world at present that those who exhibit courage are the ones who will press beyond the hurt and overcome life’s daily adversity. This courage is not just those living in Iraq or Syria, the Ukraine or Libya; many of us in more stable society also suffer from broken lives, broken promises, deaths, and betrayals. We have a choice set before us—  to give into the painful experiences and live a beleaguered life, fraught with disappointment and depression, OR, to face our fears and circumstances with that inner strength we didn’t know we had. That’s courage.

Then there is kindness. Many Christians can muster the wherewithal to become courageous: but to remain imbued with kindness toward others, that comes from a totally different source of strength. Maintaining an active position of kindness in life is no simple task. There are so many things, and people, who can unnerve us, rattle us, and piss us off that we find it almost impossible to be kind to everybody; maybe some, but not to all. Frankly, some people are just plain unlovable; others aren’t worth the effort, let alone treating kindly. But aren’t they exactly the people Christ has called us to love? Aren’t they exactly the kinds of people who need it most?

Just to reinforce this point, you will only need courage when you face genuine adversity. If you remain in a place of safety it is unlikely that you will ever need to call upon Christ for courage. If you surround yourself with people who are nice to be around, you will never need to exhibit true kindness to those less likable, let alone to the mean and difficult to be around.

So, please, let’s not hide in safe, clean castles (or churches) while the world outside is in such filth and pain. We can do so much if we put our hearts and minds to the task. “And lo, I am with you always… .”

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Formidable Force

Malala Yousafzai, Formidable, Force, Courage, Brave, love, Forgiveness                 “Love is a Force more Formidable than any other. It is invisible— it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.”

~ Barbara De Angelis

Formidable Force.

What do you think of when your mind searches within for a symbol of Formidable Force? My first thoughts were of a Roman Phalanx, the Mongols, the USS Nimitz, and even the U.S. Congress— all formidable forces to be reckoned with. Each held/holds power in their own way— mostly military. But there are other more formidable forces in our scope of existence to which we must always give heed. Gravity comes to mind, first. Here are some others—

1.      Nature— There’s nothing like a change in the weather change your plans. Rain kills picnics: floods destroy: hurricanes (rain with wind) kill people. Then there is our place in the Universe— do we know what role we are to play in the grand scheme of things?

2.      Multi-Media Communications— It started meekly with the telegraph, then the telephone, then radio & TV; now, it’s out-of-control. The myriad forms of communication and entertainment available would have been deemed demonic a century ago. They weren’t, of course; but do they border on mind-control now? “Binge Watching” of TV shows has taken over more than one generation. Will we be known as the watching generation? A formidable force indeed!

3.      The Wielding of Power— Those in authority use it; by the grace of God, may they use it properly. Power always seems to usurp power. I remember a saying of former Secretary of State George Schultz— “Never give authority to someone who cannot live without it.”   Point taken.

4.      Revenge— For some people, and nations, it is the driving force behind their existence. They will not be placated.

5.      Love— Love seeks to give, to for-give. It offers the arms of embrace and friendship. Forgiveness and reparation. It may be buffeted, but it can rarely be destroyed.

6.      A corollary of Love is Forgiveness. Forgiveness is an aspect of Love, enacted upon to correct a wrong done. But if we refuse to forgive are we not also denying ourselves love? It is impossible to love without forgiving:  it is equally impossible to receive love when your heart is full of anger.

Thus does our discussion come down to these 3 questions—

1.      Are you a formidable force in this world? If so…

2.      What kind of formidable force are you?

3.      How do you face the formidable forces in your world, in your life?

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

 

Speak your mind

Dr, Gary, Davis, Gandhi, speak up, truth, brave, courage, opinion, Clueless, Christianity, NEEDinc, Quasi anima tua?  Speak your mind! So few of us do. Those who know who they are do— cautiously, graciously. Those who are ignorant and uncouth do; usually with little thought to the effect their candor might have on others. Those who parade their arrogance about also speak their mind— what there is of it. Some, to be sure, have something to say and should speak their mind. I believe you are such a person.

But Truth, though difficult to hear or comprehend at times, especially in regard to science or religion, is oft composed of the most blatant, kindest words. To package it any other way would be to dilute it, to treat it as of little significance, or simply to dismiss it as inconsequential.

We at www.needinc.org and www.workingoutyourcrap.com, are purveyors of truth…, and Truth. We want to face the difficult issues of our time with bravery and humility, wisdom and wit, steadfastness and skepticism, openness and curiosity. WE are not afraid of what we might find: we look forward to the challenges to our beliefs and opinions. We hope you hold a few solid opinions and well thought-through beliefs as well. Listening to learn, to understand is always preferable to aiming nukes at each other, starting religious wars, or stereotypically scorning one another.

So please, PLEASE, post some comments on our WEBsites so more people can disagree with us. We don’t want to merely write BLOGS and Posts just to add to the verbosity of the WEB. Rather, we want to engage different minds, divergent opinions, and find people who are willing to make the effort to tell us how much they disagree with us. OR, it would be nice if some of you even liked us, actually agreed with us— and then commented on our sites. PLEASE!

I’m not usually a groveler; and I never suck-up to anyone to get recognition. NEVER! But I would kill to get your feedback! Not you, of course; because then how would you ever write any feedback for us. Oh, never mind! This is getting confusing.

Just SPEAK YOUR MIND! ON OUR WEBSITE! Or I’m coming to get you!

There now, don’t you feel better?  I do. J

With humility,

  Gary

distant intimacy

Over the past 20 years we’ve developed a kind of barrier that allows people in, and keeps them out at the same time. We want to have friends, but not too many close friends. We want to be known, but not too known. We want to be loved, but we want to return love on our terms. We want to fully give ourselves to another, but our confidence in trustis cautious. A paucity of depth in our relationships has woven in us the threads of doubt, fear, and hesitancy. So above all else, we seek to protect our hearts from the outside world, even among those who are close to us.

This has resulted in a kind of distant intimacy between lovers, husbands & wives, siblings, and within many other relationships. We’ve grown careful with how much we bare our souls with another, how much and what kinds of information we pass on, and we think twice about our degree of openness with others. This blocks uncluttered communication and further damages the nurturing of any safety we might desire. Even the excitement of a first date with someone carries some relational tentativeness into it. And long-term commitments…, well, the idea has become a rarity.

Broken relationships, the dissolution of our families, and life shattering events have all but relegated intimacy to short-term sexual encounters with little thought to the context for that kind of intimate connection. Thus, some reflection on moving intimacy from distant to deep—

Deep intimacy takes work: it does not just happen.

  1. Deep intimacy takes time: it is more than a one night stand or a series of dinners out.
  2. Deep intimacy takes forgiveness: admitting you are wrong, versus pointing the finger.
  3. Deep intimacy takes trust: putting your life into another person’s hands.
  4. Deep intimacy takes courage: it is a risk. But, nothing ventured… .
  5. Deep intimacy will hurt at times: that’s where you will be put to the test.
  6. Deep intimacy will cost you— everything. Holding back leads to distant intimacy again.

So, is it worth it? The deep intimacy? Of course it is! But it cannot be possessed without giving something of yourself, with little thought to what you might, or might not, receive in return. Personally, I need God’s help to make every relationship work. You may be different, but I doubt it.

Courage

Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, courage, sacrifice, foundationSocrates, Chin, Hammurabi, Abram, Moses, David, Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, Eric the Great, Charlemagne, Odo the Great, Elizabeth I, Peter the Great, Susan B Anthony, Clara Barton, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Annie Sullivan, Mother Teresa, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Martin Luther King, Jr., Aung San Suu Kyi, Sgt. Dakota Meyer. Every one of these individuals possesses a quality every person on earth must acquire— courage. In our present era we talk more about our rights than about our responsibilities; we are more concerned about bottom-lines than life-lines for others. We have become more a people of self-preservation than of self-sacrifice.

Self-protection and self-gratification are not, mind you, the definers of all of us; certainly not of those in the opening inventory. There are still some who put others before themselves. Why do they do this? They possess qualities that others deem weaknesses, or foolish. Qualities like, graciousness, forgiveness, humility, and courage. These qualities are not often rewarded in the civic arena. In fact, they go mostly unnoticed. Acts of kindness & courage are most often done in secret; actions which come to light only at a later date (if at all).

Amidst the stresses swirling about in our postModern/postChristian society it takes courage for many of us just to get out of bed to face another day. Things are not as simple as they once were. The smorgasbord of choices and decisions we must make every day— what to do with our time & priorities, our commitments, our financial restrictions, our emotional highs & lows, our energies & exhaustion, notwithstanding the ethical & moral dilemmas we encounter, are overwhelming.

Unless we each hold some guiding principles, some basic beliefs about life, faith, and trust in something (Someone) beyond ourselves, we will be quite confounded as to how to grapple with it all. You see, courage rests on a foundation of belief, which rests on a certain realties beyond individual mere self-preservation. Call it faith in God, belief in a “higher-power,” or even a “…if it is God’s will.” Courage rarely issues forth from a basis of superiority; rather, it arises from a sense of one’s own humility in the grand scheme of things, in believing that there are powerful forces at work in our world, that there is a greater plan in place, than my own puny little existence.

In the ancient Greek Temple of Apollo at Delphi, inscribed above the forecourt was the Socratic maxim— γνθισεαυτόν. “Know thyself.” We would all do well to take a measure of ourselves within, before our fellow man (and women), and before the God who made us. For it is only from a true knowledge of who we truly are that true courage can take root and be called upon when the time is at hand.

Have a nice week,

Gary