LifeRevelation

Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the category “control”

Later One Night…A Long Time Ago

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/2-shot-in-early-morning-Tukwila-bar-fight-136262138.html

I looked at my watch, it was nearly 2:00 am. The bar would remain open for another hour and a half. The place was packed as was always the case for a Friday night. The bar was located near a large university in a city well known for it’s long association with the country music industry. This created quite a mix of different lifestyles for the patrons, ranging from college co-eds to music legends to the stragglers just prayin’ for a break. The kind of break the scraggly hair, unshaven for about a week, fat man sitting at the end of the bar had experienced. The fat man had written a song three minutes and thirty two seconds long, it had shot to number one, held that position for several weeks, and eventually had a movie produced from it. His financial life was changed forever. That fact alone explained the two big busted, leggy blondes, each wearing a dress that would barely cover a six year old, perched on each side of him. The kind that are attracted to the money, either for as long as it holds out or until new money comes along.

My friend Mikey and I weren’t interested in the rest of bar goers who were packed into the room like sardines, and smelling nearly as bad by this time of night. Our eyes were riveted on the flashing blue and red lights across the street. Mikey’s plan was unfolding perfectly, so far. The way he had it worked out his pager (before cell phones dominated the earth) should go off any moment now. Then he would get up and exit the bar area by the door going into the kitchen. He would step over, around, and in between couples in various stages of sexual acts until he reached the sound proof office of the owner of the bar, where he would be let in by one of the numerous bigger than life, bodyguards who toted large caliber firearms and did an excellent job of keeping the peace when a female co-ed found herself more enamored by the rock n’ roll skinny, lead guitar player in a touring band than the physics major that had brought her to the bar with the idea of having her consume just the right amount of alcohol in hopes of  whisking her back to his dorm room for some personal excitement before she or he passed out.

Mikey would use the office phone to return the call. Probably speaking to someone at  dispatch who would deliver the crushing news that his store had just been robbed of all the gold jewelry. He would then wait about 20 minutes before slipping out the back door to his waiting car. He would then drive around a couple of blocks, checking for anyone tailing him, before pulling up behind the squad car we were now watching. Mikey would then go into the throes of a business owner who could not believe his misfortune. Who could do such a thing? Especially after all his hard work. What kind of people are they? What is this world coming to? If Mikey was anything he was a great actor worthy of a Grammy award and all its accolades.

For a moment the scene faded back and my thoughts went ahead. What kind of life was this? Why aren’t there any old drug dealers? Would the women filling this room with perfume and sexual heat eventually becoming moms driving Toyota mini-vans around, filled with children, from school to soccer practice? Would they tell their husbands about the nights they went slumming with drummer of a punk rock band? Would the boys/men eventually sit on the boards of industry and make decisions about the direction of our economy? Would they be willing to marry women from this room or would they decide on someone who wasn’t so tainted, someone with not so much baggage? What would they tell their children about drugs, indiscriminate sexual coupling, and waking up in the the bushes by the business next door? Who would pull out of this morass and who wouldn’t? Who would die from an overdose, or alcohol poisoning? Who in this room would be forever damaged goods because of a relationship that went dreadfully wrong?

The pager went off…and Mikey went into  Act II of the evening.

More than 30 year later:

I never knew what happened to the woman I was with that night. The truth is, while I can recall the color of her hair and her long legs, I don’t remember anything else. Her name, the shape of her face, the sound of her voice all have been lost to the passage of many years.

Mikey on the other hand is a different story. He continued in the drug trade for several years and was eventually arrested after selling several ounces of cocaine to undercover DEA agents on multiple occasions. He posted bond, was released from jail and hired a defense attorney well versed in the ins and outs of plea bargaining drug charges. However, the mood of the country was beginning to change. The wild and loose era was becoming the straight and conservative era. Citizens were demanding steeper penalties for those who dealt death to their children. Mikey was looking at a couple of decades in a federal penitentiary. One morning he disappeared. They found his car along the interstate with the keys still in it. He has never been seen or heard from since. Seven years later his wife had him legally declared dead and collected one million dollars from his life insurance company. After twenty plus years she has never remarried and continues to live in the same home.

It took several years, but the questions I had that night sitting in the bar watching life pass me by, began to bear fruit. I stumbled from a shower one morning in a hotel room in downtown Columbia, Missouri with an entirely different approach to life. What exactly happened from the time I opened the shower door and stepped in until I sprawled on the bed bawling my eyes out some time later remains a mystery to me. I call it God’s grace.

All I know is those few minutes have altered my life forever.

It is not easy to write about the past. Like all of you, my past contains moments of intense pain. But I don’t write to relive the pain, or the excitement, or the so-called glory. I write to cast a light into the darkness. The light of hope. The light that says anyone can change. No one is beyond hope. It can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone. I know…I’m living proof.

Be encouraged!

Reaching Out For Love

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sistine_Chapel_ceiling

In my home I have started a ritual. Susie has other words for it, but I’ve settled on ritual. It is rather an odd ritual, but before I give you the exact details I want to introduce you to the other participant.

The other partaker of this habitual sacrament is the newest member of the Gang of 5. The Gang of 5 is the nomenclature Susie and I have begun to use to identify our two dogs and three cats, all of whom are rescues. I think of them as our own personal crime fighting super heroes and Susie considers them to be five little, four-legged members of our family. We both totally love on them.

The most recent fellow is Andy. His entrance into our lives began when he was abandoned at a golf course, where I was to give a talk. He appeared early in the day and immediately identified me as a soft hearted sucker with the means to extract him from his current homeless, hungry situation and usher him into a warm home with plenty to eat. He said he was only seven weeks old and had no idea what events had transpired to leave him in such a strange place with uncaring people. A quick inspection around the grounds turned up no siblings or parents, so he came home with me.

My wife, Susie instantly prepared food, water, and a litter box apart from the others so he could make the transition from wandering around a golf course to being a member of the Gang as seamless as possible. Once he was fed, watered and nature had taken its course he began to explore every square inch of his new abode. He was also anxious to make the acquaintance of his new siblings, so anxious that to them he seemed a little forward. Since his only exposure to others was his birthed brothers and sisters he straightway approached the Gang by hopping on them, gnawing their ears, batting at their tales, jumping on their backs, and lunging at them with teeth bared. This type of activity, without the usual warm-up period of sniffing, staring, and lots more sniffing, did not quickly establish bonds of love. Slowly he learned to turn down his enthusiasm (at least a little) and they learned not to be so put off by his willingness to shower them with his type of affection. Hence his nickname, But I Meant It Nicely.

Now back to the ritual.

I awaken usually around 4:30 in the morning and head to the bathroom for my morning constitutional. I will spare you the exact intimate details of what this consists of, but suffice it so say I feel greatly relieved upon finishing. But this has become a sign to Andy that for at least few moments I am anchored in one spot, with time on my hands, and nothing better to do than pet him furiously. He loves this. His little purring mechanism increases by several decibels.

So each morning begins with my alarm making this horrendous loud obnoxious noise, which completely convinces me that it is far better to rise and face the day than have to endure that sound for another go round. Then I grope my way into the bathroom, thankful for the nightlights Susie installed several years ago, and ahem…make myself comfortable. I then hear the pitter-patter of not so tiny feet bounding up the stairs, running down the hall, scratching for traction as he rounds the corner before flying into the bathroom and coming to a skidding stop at my feet. With my first touch he erupts into ecstatic purring so loud that the first few times I heard Susie mumble, “Uh…what’s that…uh…noise?”

The other day I mentioned to Susie how neat I thought it was that every morning, no matter what; as soon as Andy hears my feet hit the tile floor of the bathroom he comes charging through the house like a runaway freight train, careening into the bathroom for morning snuggles with Dad. She smiled and said, “Isn’t that how we all feel about love? Once we discover it, won’t we run to its source as fast as we can every time?”

With a smile I reached out and hugged her before replying, “Yes, Honey it is.”

Be encouraged!

Introducing the Gang of 5:

  • Jake the Wonder Dog – A Jack Russell who looks like a gym rat steroid freak. Seriously, he has muscles everywhere and they ripple as he moves. He was abandoned by a family who got him when he was eight weeks old and the next day decided they weren’t “dog people.” So he came home to us, but he is 100% Mommy’s dog, they are completely inseparable. He refers to me as “what’s his name.”
  • Callie the Sleek Dog – A 13 year old Huskie who came to us tipping the scales at close to 200 pounds. Through diet and exercise she is now down to a svelte 125 and lookin’ good. She has been through several homes, but she is beginning to move very slowly and emits small groans as she gets up. We make her as comfortable as possible. Our home will be her last.
  • OC the World’s Smallest Cat – She is an all-black, incredibly tiny cat whom we discovered one morning under our front porch in the middle of winter. At seven weeks old she was cold, hungry, and scared of the world. She is now a little ball of love muffin.
  • Zip (aka Snowball) the Catch Me If You Can Cat – She was abandoned in our daughter’s suburb, and knowing of our great love for furry little creatures, she immediately brought her to our home. She sprints throughout the house and for a brief instant we considered calling her Flash. As I type this she is laying, curled up, on top of my feet.

Susie and I love on them exactly as we would any member of our family. We talk to them, hug them, love on them, pet them, and shower them with all kinds of affection. They do the same in return. It works well for all of us.

All the Same

While you, dear reader, may not be able to tell, I usually spend considerable time thinking, researching, and sharing my ideas with Susie, before I sit down to write. I’ve found, for the most part, this keeps me from running off on some half-wit tangent. Susie says this also makes it easier for her to converse with her friends, because she doesn’t have to spend hours defending my posts.

I think she means it as a compliment.

This post is somewhat different, because while I have given it a lot of thought, I haven’t done much research and I’ve kept my comments to Susie to a minimum. So I hope this post doesn’t cause much distress the next time her friends and her get together. This one comes more from the gut.

Let me start with a story.

Several years ago I was asked by a friend’s wife if I would be interested in mentoring at risk and behaviorally challenged children in the public school system. Although they were wanting to reach children of all ages, I would be working specifically with elementary students. After she answered several questions for me I thought the idea had merit and agreed to become a mentor to twins of a single mother. The twins had a slew of issues and while I am no trained child psychologist my biggest contribution would be as an in-room monitor who would work with each of them to keep them focused during the school day.

I enjoyed the work and kept meticulous notes as to what worked and what didn’t during various situations. I shared these notes with others who were involved in the program. The program became a company and the company started to grow. New mentors where hired. Programming directors, financial analysts, therapists, and others were added to the payroll. Strict rules were put into place. The roll with what is happening and go with the flow was eliminated. Structure and order became the only way. Owners and management began to dream about earning substantial money. They began to curry political and corporate favor. The ideas others and I had become part of a program that was touted as having an incredible success rate. Metrics were put in place. We were all coached on how to write our reports so Medicare would pay. Students graduated from the program reportedly cured of their issues.

Except there was only one problem.

The kids weren’t healed. They were better. They were making progress. They could function for longer periods of time without having a physical outburst, but they were a long way from being what anyone would call healed. It wasn’t that they were bad kids. Or even that they were mentally deficient. They simply had been born into horrible situations. Their only guidance in life had been through the TV they were set in front of from birth, because the changing patterns on the screen kept them from crying or they imitated what they saw when they left the living room for the streets. They yelled, screamed, cussed, and fought just like they saw the gangs do, except they were in the third grade.

But it didn’t matter. In order to keep the money flowing in they were diagnosed with a DSM Code by a staff child psychologist, then pronounced healed when they got near the end of time that federal funding would pay for their care.  One size fit all, except we weren’t talking about clothing, we were talking about children with feelings, emotions, and in need of real, true, honest love.

I bent and broke all the rules. I went home with the kids I worked with and talked to their parents, when I could find them, and whoever else I could find when the parents weren’t anywhere around. I prayed with my kids. I took them places like museums, libraries, art galleries, backstage at theaters, and anywhere else I could think of, to expose them to a bigger world. I paid for everything out of my own pocket.

Then I got caught. I was warned. I didn’t change I kept on doing everything. I got caught again. I was told to change. I said no. They said my services were no longer warranted. They sent two large men to escort me out of the school. They told the principal I was under investigation for wrong doing.

When we find something that works, people want to turn it into a program. They want to monetize it. They want to streamline it. They want one size to fit all. They want to make it all the same.

Well I don’t want to. My experiences with the children is only one example. In my life, and in yours, there are hundreds of examples. This is one of the reasons why I love the blog world. Each blog is different. The content is our own. We aren’t constrained in what we say and how we say it. I’m not given to using lots of provocative or foul language, but I’ll always defend your right to, even if I am hoping you won’t.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, it isn’t well researched, nor have the words been carefully chosen, they just rolled out of my heart, and hopefully into yours.

Be encouraged!

New Post

http://www.envirotechinstruments.com/news.html

It has been quite a while since I have published a post of my own content.  There have been roughly two reasons for this. The first being that my energies have gone into the two projects that I hold dear to my heart a) writing my book and (b) the creation of LifeRevelation as a company.  The second reason was I kept finding great, life-changing content from other blogs that I wanted to reblog. I felt they had a great message and I wanted to do my part in spreading the good news.

Now I have something I want to talk about.

But first let me entertain you with a story.

The morning was overcast. In fact, for several previous hours it had been pouring down rain.  Now it looked like the front may move on, or maybe it would start raining again. I was a poor predictor of weather. Whatever I thought it was going to do, it usually did the opposite, but today I really wanted the sun to shine.

It was April 1, 1996 and this was an important day. It was the beginning of my run across America. I had planned, trained, and fretted about this day for the past eighteen months. There were thousands of little tiny details which needed to fall perfectly in place, and they had. Looking back it was a miracle I had gotten to this point. Everything had to point to this moment. Any number of things could have gone wrong, but they didn’t. People I never expected and people I didn’t know had stepped up and volunteered their time, money, and energies to make this happen.

My ego had dreamed about the hundreds who would come to see me begin. The business men and women who would delay their morning agendas to come down to the beach. The local runners who would write notes to schools so their children could witness this event. Local news outlets would jockey for the best position to catch the boardwalk, the sand, the ocean, and me in the early morning light.

Then there was reality and reality was proving my ego to be a damn liar.

On the beach that fateful morning was my wife Susie and I, and two other people and a dog. A husband and wife out teaching their black Lab to fetch. He was picking up the rudiments of fetching pretty quickly.

My Timex Ironman watch digitally moved closer to the 8:00 start time. I tried to control my wavering emotions; “God I am beginning a run across America!” “This is nuts there are only two people and a dog here.” “I am about to start an adventure of a lifetime.” “There are only two people and a dog here?”

Susie walked over to the lady to tell her what we were doing and to ask if she would photograph us. The lady agreed without any comment on our big adventure.

My watch said 8:00, it was time. Susie and I took off our shoes and strolled into the Pacific Ocean up to our ankles. Immediately we noticed the jellyfish completely surrounding us. “Just great” I thought to myself, “five seconds into the run and I get attacked by jellyfish. No amount of training prepared me for this.”

But the jellyfish kept their distant and Susie and I did the quickest hug, smile, and jump out of the water combination on record. Fortunately the lady manning the camera seemed to have great reflexes because she got a picture of us before we landed on the sand.

A few moments later my running shoes were laced and I was running down Pacific Grove’s Ocean View Boulevard.

That is when it hit me:

YOU IDIOT THIS IS CRAZY!!!

Never before in my life have I ever wanted to quit something so badly. Every ounce of my being wanted to stop right then and there. Maybe Susie could claim the wounded woman and get her old job back as CFO of a trucking company. I could claim an injury…or temporary insanity…or just come clean and say, “Sorry you all. This is just more than I can do.”

All the time I was possessed by these thoughts I kept running. I didn’t do it because I knew I could run through these doubts. It just never occurred to me I could quit while I was thinking about how to quit, and save my marriage.

I knew Susie would kill me if I quit. On training runs when I would be nearly dying after running 50+ miles in 90 degree heat with 93% humidity, Susie would pull up in our car and ask, “Can’t you do another mile or two? I mean come on, you can make at least that little bit, can’t you? Being married to Susie was not for the faint of heart.

I began to notice something as I ran. I felt good. In fact, I felt like I was floating along. There was no effort to swinging my arms forward. My head rested evenly releasing any tension in my shoulders. My legs felt like they were floating and my feet thought they were wrapped in pillows.

But something else was also going on. This was on a much deeper level. A sense of peace was bubbling to the surface. The panic began to dissipate. I felt free. The clouds where rolling away and so was my ego and worry. The sun came out and I began to ease into the running I knew I could do for miles on end.

When you look at what is going on in your life, how does it feel? Are there situations and circumstances that just scare the bejesus out of you? Are sometimes you just down right afraid? Is fear as real to you as tonight’s TV schedule?

May I suggest a quality that my eighth grade home room teacher called, “Stick-to-it-tiveness.” I call it perseverance. It is not a wonder drug that will cure every heart, soul, mental, and physical ailment known to mankind. But what it will do in certain situations is help you get through some pretty rough patches in your life.

If one thing worked for everybody we wouldn’t have any problems in the world. One size doesn’t fit all. But occasionally what has worked for one person will help out another.

Be encouraged!

Another Gem

http://ihearttosweat.blogspot.com/2012/07/6-super-simple-ways-to-clean-up-your.html

Most of you reading this post are already aware of the type of person I am. I tend to lead toward the simple. I don’t like to get too complex. I feel life can get away from us easy enough without me adding some convoluted writing to the process. Plus, if the truth be told, I’m just not that smart, so simple comes rather easy and natural to me.

Today I was turned onto another blog site called MysteryCoach and can this woman write…check out http://mysterycoachdsi.com/hoping-this-guy-is-it/ for some straight forward, no-nonsense, honest soulful writing about trying to find your true love. Awesome piece. Well I decided to follow her. So almost immediately she returns the favor by following me…which is impressive…I love folks who live on their computers like I do.  Then I decided to see if I could find something out about who she is so I went to her ~Welcome~ page. While scrolling down the page I found this gem and fell in love (not that kind, Susie is still the only one, but you know what I mean) all over again:

Give this woman’s blog a look at…I promise you won’t be disappointed…then follower her…I suspect this a very deep well.

Be encouraged!

Time Is On My Side

http://www.bowdoindailysun.com

Time is on my side, yes it is.

Time is on my side, yes it is.

(Time Is On My Side by Jimmy Norman and made famous by The Rolling Stones)

Time is one of the seven fundamental physical quantities in the International System of Units. It traditionally has taken two different forms. The first being the calendar and the second form being represented by the clock. For the purpose of this post we will be focusing on the clock.

The clock has never been my favorite unit of measurement for time. Probably due to the fact that in the past I was late for everything. Years ago I learned a trick for defeating this deficit in my character make-up. I began to set my watch ten minutes ahead. Although in my mind I understood what I had done, the reality was if I looked at my watch and discovered it was time for me to be somewhere I would immediately begin to move heaven and earth to get there. Of course, I still had ten minutes, but my mind would overlook reality and simply begin issuing commands as if I were late. Later, I turned all the clocks in my home ten minutes fast and have eliminated my lateness. Susie is not particularly fond of this method of brainwashing, but after twenty years she has adapted. Only rarely now does she ask, “What time is it in the real world?” In the interest of full disclosure, one night while she was sleeping I got up, tipped toed around to her side of the bed, and set her watch ten minutes fast as well.

Back in 1977 two social psychologists, Dan Barton and John Darley from Princeton University, set about conducting an interesting experiment involving the interpretation of time. They approached Princeton seminary students who were preparing a speech on the parable of the Good Samaritan. Each student was told either: A) He is late, that he was actually expected in the lecture hall a few minutes ago, and that his instructors are waiting for him. or B) He has plenty of time, but might as well start to go over now.

As each student headed to the lecture hall he passes a person slumped over and coughing profusely, obviously in need of assistance. Of course, the person is an accomplice of the researchers. With no one else nearby the seminary students are confronted with a decision. While going to give a speech about the Good Samaritan, who stopped to deliver aid to a hurting individual when no one else would, do they stop to help or do they go on to their lecture. The only difference in the two groups is the time pressure. One group believes they are late, the other thinks they have plenty of time.

The majority of those who believed they had plenty of time stopped to render assistance. Of those who believed they were running late 90% failed to stop.  All students involved admitted they saw the individual slumped over and understood he needed help.

Allow yourself to slow down and look around. Are there people in your family, your work place, and/or your group of friends who might be “slumped over” and in need of help? Are we missing anything? Could someone we know be telegraphing pain, hurt, stress, worry, and/or fear and we are missing it? Reduce our speed, quiet our thoughts, and remove the blinders from our eyes and take a closer inspection of those we interact with on a daily basis.

Let me know what you find.

Be encouraged!

Time is one of the seven fundamental physical quantities in the International System of Units.

Politics

I am not one who enjoys proclaiming his political views. I know there are those who find it fascinating and God bless them, but I am not of their ilk. I have my opinions and for the most part I prefer to keep them to myself. Airing my thoughts in public I find to be counter-productive to what I hope to accomplish in bringing people together in peace. Politicians no longer (if they ever did) speak for me I don’t find comfort in either the right or the left. There are elements of both I like and a good deal more that I don’t.

But while I was playing catch up  after a weekend of interviewing acrobats, fire eaters, sword swallowers, glass eaters, contortionists, unicyclists, trapeze artists,  and a couple of other unique performers (trust me this is a whole series of posts in and of itself) I came across Terri’s blog at http://terri0729.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/mondays-military-honors/. The snapshot above was one of many about those who serve in the military for our country. My official disclaimer is I am somewhat biased in my opinion regarding the military. In my youth I was a hippie and not inclined to be supportive of those who served, but life often has ways of turning a person’s thinking around. Our youngest son is career Army and there is not a prouder parent in the United States than this old hippie.

Take a moment to think about this information. Perhaps there are some things that should drive us into the streets, waving our placards again.

Be encouraged!

You Don’t Always Get What You Want

http://edwardrecommends.com/people

What if getting everything we want…right now…isn’t a good thing? Is there a possibility that, at least for some things, waiting a while might be a good thing? Say for instance, being promoted. Could it be beneficial to stay in your current position for a while, get really good at it, study where you want to go, devise a plan as to what you will do when you get there, then get promoted?

Does waiting for something add value to us? Does it cultivate certain talents that are useful? Is there something in the process of waiting that is a positive life lesson?

At some point I will be writing a post regarding patience as a virtue. Does the delay in gratifying our wants help strengthen patience?

http://cheezburger.com/3057568512

There is a famous study done in 1972 by Dr. Michael Mischel at Stanford University involving marshmallows. The study used a group of kids from the age of four to six. They were given a marshmallow, but told if they did not eat it until the researcher returned (fifteen minutes later), then they would get another one. They could however, eat the one they were given at any time, but then that is all they would get. The idea being instant gratification with the one in hand or delayed gratification with two. Six hundred children participated and one-third were able to hold out for the entire fifteen minutes and received an additional marshmallow.

In 1988 a follow-up study learned that among those who had been able to delay gratification were described by their parents as being highly competent. In 1990 they discovered the delay gratifiers had significantly higher SAT  scores. I’ll write more about this study in a later post, but isn’t it interesting this simple test was able to predict with amazing clarity the life difference between the early gratifiers and the delayed gratifiers.

So might we best served to slow down or even delay, the gratification of our wants. I am sure there are a multitude of life analogies to be drawn. I’m going to start with holding off preparing myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…but not for long.

Be encouraged!

Virtue #10–Chastity

Image Detail

http://images.search.yahoo.com

Years ago there was a rock band that played in the Midwest. Their name was Sex Sells Magazines. I liked the name because I thought it was true. Sex does sell magazines. It is also used to sell every conceivable product and service in the world; from toothpaste, to computers, to statistics. When I google  “sex sells”  I discover 5.7 million sites, of which a few are worth viewing.

It certainly is not news to anyone today to learn the use of sex as a marketing strategy. It has permeated every social strata and media stream. We are inundated from birth ( book entitled, Sexy Birth) to death (Sexy Death an alternative, gothic, industrial rock band from Stockholm) with concepts and images using sex to hype the sell.

But this basic act is anything but simple for us humans. We are familiar with its use as a vessel to display our most profound level of love. Unfortunately, there are those who have also used it as a method of degradation, control, confinement, addiction, and power. Sex never fails to be a much debated issue.

Most of us, at some point in our lives, will experience some type of sexual issue. Today, more than ever, the threat of sexually transmitted diseases looms large. The AIDS epidemic has taken the lives of millions and in some cultures destroyed the family structure. Unwanted pregnancies, abortions, birth control, sexual orientation, and age of consent all remain hot topics of discussion.

But what about the opposite side? What happens when we look at chastity? It seems, since it is connected to sex, it is just as inflammatory. During my research for this article I read numerous articles, books, and white papers arguing the pros and cons of abstaining from sex. Opinions ranged from; it is the answer to the humanities moral dilemma to it is ignorant and the very consideration of such an outdated concept is convincing proof of the proponents lack of intellectual reasoning.

I have found myself on both sides of this argument. At one time in my life I reasoned that “hooking up” was no big deal. After all, we were two consenting adults and what we did in private, as long as no one was physically hurt, was no one’s business. During another point, I became convinced chastity was the preferred course of action. The act of casual sex was demeaning, no matter how well intended, and was the root cause for many of society’s deepest moral pain. Of course the lines are rarely drawn so neatly. There are as many grey areas as there are people to talk about them. Everyone has an opinion.

So why in the midst of conflicting views, cultural differences, and wavering sexual orientation is chastity considered a virtue? I think the answer lies in the heart of the individual. Within each of us something extraordinarily unique that separates us from the rest of animal life. The process of sexual coupling is the most intimate act we are capable of initiating. Something transpires in the fulfillment of sex that enhances our humanity. It creates a bond between us that is traceable only in our souls. It is the mystical creation of one being. True sex is the result of true love (which is itself a current hotly debated subject, ad infinitum). It is a sacred commodity, not to be bought and sold, or passed around like a jug of Boone’s Farm. Sex is the creation of something greater than the two are apart. Chastity protects and guards the soul-life force from being used as a pawn in the brokering of heated desire in exchange for a temporary, shallow, non-fulfilling sense of satisfaction.

No doubt the comment section of this post will light up as readers share their thoughts. That is good. Open discussion of any issue is a sign of health for a society. I encourage each of you who have read this to take a few minutes and share your opinions. This was not an easy subject for me to write about ( a supreme understatement). As I noted above, my views have changed dramatically as the result of personal experience. While I have no desire to detail those experiences suffice it to say they have left deep tracks in my soul.

Be encouraged!

How I Ran Across the US

From http://thebettermanprojects.wordpress.com

People always have the same question when they discover I have run across the United States, “How did you do that?”

My answer has varied throughout the years. Not because I am being shifty. I want to answer as honestly as possible, but as I grow as an individual, I have discovered something quite remarkable about my past experiences. Although the events of the past are set in stone, the life lessons learned are not.  Those life lessons are active, moving, and working. Each passing year reveals more fruit.

Lately I have been giving considerable thought to how I learned my life lessons. There has been an extremely wide variety of methods. The one  constant however,  is I tend to learn by experience. This has not always been the best method. It has often been the source of intense hurt and suffering for those who love me.

Several years ago I began to think I was my own worse enemy. This thought took hold during an extremely difficult period that I had inflicted on myself. I labored to dig myself out of the hole I had so expertly dug, then dove into. This was no quick and easy fix. Lives were damaged, families hurt, feelings were rubbed raw and bloody, and this was the best side of it, and I was responsible for all of it.

After years of struggle I was able to see fruit from my effort. My life began to be about something else other than the tragedy. About the same time another idea began to germinate. I certainly wasn’t willing to embrace it. I didn’t believe I deserved it, but I certainly was willing to consider it. With the passage of time, I entertained the idea more often. I grew to like it. I kept it guarded at first. I didn’t tell any one. I wanted to make sure it was Truth before I shared it.

Finally, the time arrived that I was willing not only to share it, but more importantly, to believe it. I decided to defeat the little voice in my head that had always proudly proclaimed I was good for nothing. I realized after all those years of believing I was my own worse enemy, what I was doing was looking at the wrong end of the stick.

Instead of thinking of myself as the antagonist, I could be my best friend.

What a concept! I could set myself up to be successful instead of fail. Of course, failure is considerably easier to engineer, but success is far more exciting. I’ve never been shy of doing whatever is necessary to get the job done. Once committed to a goal, I could/would lower my head and move heaven and earth to get whatever was needed done. This was my game and I loved it. I could make my world better.

I haven’t completely defeated the little voice, but I have severely contained his ability to control how I view life. He no longer reigns supreme without any opposition.

So how did I run across the United States? By defeating the little voice inside of me that told me to quit.

Be encouraged!

Post Navigation