After There’s Nothing Left: This Gets Personal

There is a line from Shakespeare that reads “How do I love thee…, let me count the ways.” In an oddly related way, this is how I often think when I ponder my own sin(s). Here is a list of some of the areas where I have struggled.

  1. A Need for Significance. For me, this has not been as much a need to control, to be in charge, as a need to make a difference. To be sure, nothing is wrong with this. Nonetheless, when it becomes a compulsion it ceases to be a gift to enjoy and is degraded to a self-promotional lust for influence.
  2. A Desire to have the Best. Have I mentioned I like Volvos? A well equipped XC60 with heated-massaging seats and all the goodies to bathe you in luxury. Then there are well made watches— Patek Philippe, Breitling. True representations of God’s handiwork in creation. Or, so I tell myself.
  3. A Sense of Self-Worth. Too often has the value of myself come from what I’ve done and the things I possess. But accomplishments and possessions weigh in very lightly in the grand scheme of the universe. My self-worth is turning out to be what I pass on to others.
  4. Aloneness. Throughout my life I have been in leadership positions. I have become self-sufficient in many ways. Although, in recent years, I find myself surrounded by a host of people to whom I can delegate much of the responsibilities of leadership. Nonetheless, I find myself feeling terribly alone far too often. It is not the case; I know that. My aloneness is an irrational feeling of isolation which leaves me in a state of despondency and depression. It is a struggle.
  5. Sexual fantasy. In a sense, I’ve told you nothing. What man does not struggle with this!?! For many this can be the same as drug addiction, or alcoholism. That was what it was like for me for many years. Now, not so much. But remember, I am a man just past 75 (stop laughing). If you are reading this in your 20s or 30s, it is still, probably, a very strong siren yowling in your heart and head. Do not let it take over your very being. Its cost…, could be your future.

      These things drain my soul. There will be similar things in your life that will drain your soul. So when you find yourself drowning in self-pity and depression, you should probably do a lot of soul searching. But you may also throw guilt on yourself as a way of understanding your failure. In reality you may or may not be guilty.

      Remember, our Lord is overflowing with compassion and forgiveness. He only calls to us to turn to him… and ask.

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,

Gary

Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— what forges forgiveness?

BESA

How many people would lay down their lives for a stranger? This is the question addressed by film makers Norman Gershman & Stu Huck in a documentary released the last weekend of July at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival— BESA: the Promise. The film tells the story of Albanian Muslims who saved the lives of more than 2,000 Jews during World War II. They did not hide them in basements or attics; they took the Jews into their families, gave them Albanian names, and sacrificed their lives for them in some cases.

The question arising from their actions is a clear WHY? Why would Albanians, Muslims, shelter Jews, at the risk of their own lives, during the Nazi occupation of their country? The answer is “besa.”

Besa is a part of the Albanian Code of Honor, embedded throughout their generations. It is usually translated faith, with a reflection on personal honor to keep a promise, at any cost. In their Moral Code (the Kanuni of Lekë Dukagjini), they have a saying “Shqiptaret vdesin dhe besen nuk e shkelin” (Albanians would die rather than break honor). One Albanian interviewed said he would rather sacrifice his only son than break an honor— besa.

The Albanian idea of besa should be acclaimed and lauded among all nations. A documentary of how the Albanian Muslims sheltered German Jews and made them part of their families is long overdue. BESA: the Promise is a must see film for all— Jews, Muslims, Christians, even atheists.

It would be a disservice if I did not leave you with at least two points to ponder—

  1. Would you lay down your life for a stranger?
  2. To what extent does a code of honor influence your decisions and actions?

We have a saying at the company where I work—

Honor God: honor people. Make a difference.

‘Nough said,

Gary