After thoughts – What makes you…, You?

       WHAT MAKES YOU…, YOU? Let’s start with the obvious descriptors— heredity and environment. HEREDITY is what you are; conceived by your birth parents, with their genes, their propensities and personalities and proclivities. You are some of who they are, but not all.

       ENVIRONMENT, on the other hand, is what makes you you, the person are today. More specifically, it is your reactions to the experiences you have with your environment and to the people who surround you. No one is an island. Seriously.

       Some of us just accept what is happening to us with little question. Others challenge these occurrences with questions or confrontation. We do not accept the way things are. We look for better ways to accomplish the same task or overcome the same challenge. We are not intimidated by life; we attack it.

       Of course, there are many other factors that form who we are. Our economic heritage, our own financial situation. Our cultural history: that is, how much our ethnic history and socioeconomic station in life affects us. Where we attended school, prep or otherwise. Our predisposition for introversion or extroversion. When you were growing up did you prefer to read or write? Were you more into sports? Always ready to compete or challenge a goal?  

       Some of us (not me) were ready for both! I was more of an introvert.

       Then there is, what I call, “the God factor.” I believe that God has designed each of us to fulfill our role on this blue marble, third planet from our star. We are designed to make a difference, to contribute something to the successful functioning of the various people groups across the globe.

       Too many of the people on our planet live for themselves, with little-to-no interest in making a difference in our world. “Go for all the gusto you can grab!” and they do.

       For years I have endeavored to instill a sense of urgency and responsibility in those I know and have taught. I wonder how successful I have been.

       How about you? Have you made a difference?

       One day we will all stand before our Creator. Are you ready for what He will ask you? “What did you do with what I gave you?”

Loving God; loving people… and bringing the two together! ©


NEXT— The Shower— How do you decide what is right or wrong?

crossroads geese

It was a fresh, sunny October morning so I decided to take my morning coffee outside to soak in the morning warmth. Numerous gaggles of Canadian geese flew over; a typical passage for this time of year in New England, their southern migration heralding the approach of those wonderful, hot chocolate &fireplace snuggling Winter months.

A wave of bewilderment overwhelmed me as I followed two migrating flocks traveling in opposite directions, crossing one another. Stranger still was my confusion as I realized they flew, one, east to west, the other, west to east. Hummm!?! Maybe some were French Canadian Geese? Were some American covert operatives geese? Confused, I came to their rescue, “Hey, fellas, SOUTH is that way!” flapping my arms in the general direction. To no avail.

The metaphor was clearly obvious. Too often we follow a leader (or candidate) with little understanding of the direction they are heading. They are (seem) genuine, affable, pleasant, and cordial. Their words carry weight; they speak the truth. They are funny. They must be trustworthy, we conclude. Then we learn something about them that give us pause; that makes us question our original perception of them. We become hesitant, wondering what else might be hidden just under the surface of such a congenial façade. Have we misplaced our trust? We’re still flying straight, right? Then why are those other geese heading in the opposite direction? Do they know something we do not?

How does this happen?

  1. It happens when we place our trust in people without asking the right questions up front.
  2. It happens when we follow our leaders with our hearts, leaving our heads behind. We hold such implicit trust in them that we turn off our critical faculties and stop thinking. We just follow.
  3. It happens when we turn a deaf ear to other people who think differently. We do not listen to them. Different voices breed confusion, and that leads to thinking, reconsidering. TMI.
  4. It happens when we allow the deception to continue for so long that it becomes the truth, whether it is so or not. Majority rule.

So it is we find ourselves in this present culture listening to different voices gaggling “Follow me. Follow me.” when both may be heading in the wrong direction, as are many others. Thus have the masses come to be ruled by those who speak well, sound good, and are likable. Thus is the case when we suspend our God given ability to think and ask specific questions of those who lead us…, or who desire to lead us.

Ask questions! And, again,  Hey, South is THAT way!

Have a nice week,


Juvenile loons

Loons are seafaring birds, a member of the Gavia family, indicating that they are awkward on land. They resemble a large duck, with webbing between their toes. In general they are black and white, with a little grey on their heads & necks and white bellies. They feed by swimming across a lake, spot their lunch by sight, and suddenly up-end, diving under to grab their prey. Juvenile loons have a distinct call they make to signal other Loons, especially those of the opposite sex. It sounds like this—

There isn’t anything quite like sitting on a dock on a New Hampshire lake, listening to the evening cry of the Loon. It calms the soul and draws one back to a simpler time where the sounds and movements of the natural world held such restful, tranquil majesty.

By contrast, a number of people with whom I have crossed paths could also be designated as juvenile loons. They have never quite grown up. It is not their playfulness or zest for life at issue; those characteristics are wonderful. It is a sense that they do not want to grow up. They only want to play; their life is split between earning just enough money so that they can play, or throw themselves into gaming, or collect things they cannot afford. They have never quite owned up to the responsibility they need embrace for their own lives. This is especially catastrophic when others must pay the price—parents, spouses, and children. Being a unremitting juvenile is not a life option.

The word Loon is a North American derivative from the Olde English lumme, meaning lummox, clumsy, or awkward. We have all crossed paths with people who just don’t seem to fit in, or who are obviously uncomfortable in social situations— proverbial bulls in a china shop. These people unsettle others, making conversation seem forced. Their lives seem to be a series of mishaps, one after another.

Some of these clumsy misfits can be retrained to be more socially appropriate:  some cannot.

The real issue is whether we can learn to honor and accept them as fellow human beings. This is no simple matter. It involves relinquishing condemnation, and forging a love out of loathsomeness. It means realizing that this juvenile could become a voice for justice: and this Loon a future leader.

All of us are at different levels, social strata’s, at different phases of our ability to contribute to the common good. This is how God would have us be— involved in the juveniles and loons of our society, while raising their status before God and men.

Have a nice week,


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,