The honor of serving others…

June 30, 2018

I recently was honored by our local Huron Valley Rotary Club by being named a Paul Harris Fellow. I am honored and humbled by the selection for that honor. The Paul paul harris pinHarris Fellow Award is the Rotary honor for service to the community is pursuit of the goal of making the world a better place for all. The Rotary has that goal and has done great things both locally and internationally.

As I was thinking about what to say in accepting the award, I drew inspiration from my most dependable source, the Jack’s Winning Words blog. I save the little quotes that Jack uses to open each blog post, because they usually come in handy as inspiration for something that I want to write about later. In this case, they seemed perfect as comments on this honor.

The first was this quote by Clarissa Pikola Estes –

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.”

Small, local groups, such as local Rotary Clubs, Optimists Clubs, local Chambers of Commerce, Good Fellows groups and many others, are the backbone of local efforts to sewrving soupmake the part of the world that they can reach a better place to live for all. Often their efforts go unnoticed, because they work in the background on projects that may not garner much attention in the media; however, it is through those efforts that things get done, that needed to get done. Playgrounds are built, parks are cleaned up, homes are rehabilitated, meals are delivered to shut-ins and so much more.

Sometimes the results of a dedicated and tireless effort does have worldwide impact, such and the Rotary International effort to eradicate polio. Rotary clubs joined the fight against polio in 1979 with a campaign to provide polio vaccine around the world until polio was totally eradicated. By 2018 the campaign has achieved a 99.9% success rate against the polio virus worldwide and the fight continues to take the vaccine into the most remote regions of the world where the virus still exists.

The second quote that I used was from Helen Hayes –
“We relish our heroes, forgetting that we are extraordinary to someone.”

To those children who otherwise might go hungry this summer, the heroes are those who make sure that the school meals programs continue through the summer vacation. To those shut-in who might otherwise go hungry, the Meals on Wheels van drive is a hero. To the homeless veterans who otherwise would not have a blanket to sleep under or a new coat to wear when it get cold, the heroes were those who collected and distributed those gifts. To the child who wandered down the wrong path for a while the heroes arehomeless man those who reach out to help and counsel and not just to condemn. To the widows who lost a husband in war or in service to the community, the heroes are those who offered support and comfort and helped then find a way through their grief and the strength to go on.

There are many who toil in the background who probably never get an award or recognition of any sort from those that their efforts help or whose lives are made better because of their efforts. I was fortunate enough to be recognized for some of what I try to do in the community that I live in, but I think it is important to take a moment every now and then to give thanks for all who serve their communities and those in need there. They don’t do it to get recognition. They do it because it needs to be done and they have answered the call to do it.

Here are a couple of quotes that I found since that night that I wish I had used then, especially in this highly charged political year –

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” — Unknown

I write here often about getting out and serving others by volunteering for things in your community that need to be done. I also write about self-help quite often and dealing with life. That’s one reason that I like this quote by Mahatma Gandhi –

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

So, find something that needs to be done in your community and just do it. Volunteer. Serve. Find yourself.

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Don’t just talk…DO!

June 28, 2018

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes today’s inspirational quote – “It’s a common delusion that we make things better by talking about them.”  (Dame Rose Macaulay)

It seems that we’re seeing a lot of talking about things lately, but very little doing something about them. That’s especially true in politics these days, where talking aboutdebaters things seems to be the only thing that the politicians can actually accomplish. The two sides of our political system have become so polarized that here is no room for getting together to work out a compromise, so all that is left is calling news conferences and slinging accusations and mud at the other side.

I’m not sure if it is hate or fear that is really behind the polarization that has taken place, but it sure isn’t the “Love thy neighbor” that Jesus espoused. Perhaps another saying from a recent post to Jack’s blog holds the secret to resolving the mess that we find ourselves in –

“I do not want the peace that passeth understanding, I want the understanding that bringeth peace.”  (Helen Keller)

There is currently little effort made towards understand on either side of the political divide, so very little actually is done. Understanding does take effort and a willingness to try to see a different point of view. Reaching compromises and getting things done happy greetingcannot be accomplished by hurling sound-bites at each other from behind the hardened barriers of ignorance, mistrust, hate, prejudice and bigotry. There must be a willingness on both sides to drop the shields and seek common ground by understanding the motivation for differing views. I hope that out of that understanding will come peace, compromise and actions to get things done. One can only hope.

Have a great rest of your week. Don’t just talk…DO!

 


Faith lies just beyond the edge of reason…

June 16, 2018

In a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack uses this quote – “My reason nourishes my faith, and my faith my reason.”  (Norman Cousins)

Jack went on to

write about his belief that reason and faith can peacefully coexist.

I guess I take just a slightly different point of view. I think faith exists just beyond the edge of reason at that point where reason no longer serves us well and belief takes hold. There is a maxim in movie making that the great movies are ones that allow (encourage) believeus to suspend disbelief for that brief amount of time and allow ourselves to believe in the premise of the movie. The movie becomes “real” to us, if only for a few hours. Faith is somewhat the same. You must be able to suspend your disbelief (most often rooted in reason and logic) and allow yourself to believe in something that is beyond human logic and reason. In the case of faith that belief lasts and takes on a meaning and impact in our lives that changes our lives forever.

So, yes, faith and reason can, and do, coexist in peacefully in believers. It is only in the minds of those who have yet to believe that there is a conflict and that conflict is of man prayingtheir own making. Being an analytical-type person, I will continue to try to reason things out in life; but, also being a believer, I will put my trust in God when it comes to those things that defy reason, for that is where God lives – just beyond the edge of reason in a place called faith.

Have a great weekend.


A relationship based upon unconditional love…

June 11, 2018

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Jack Freed uses this quote – “Every time God forgives us, God is saying that God’s own rules do not matter as much as the relationship that God wants to create with us.”  (Richard Rohr)

Jack went on to talk about that relationship and referenced John 3:16 as the answer – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Which is followed in John 13 by, “Love each other as I have loved you.”

So, the relationship that God wants with us is one of unconditional love. Out of unconditional love for God will come love for one another, too. God is saying that he will love and forgive us, no matter what and what he asks in return is that we show Him the same unconditional love through our belief and trust in Him.

The unconditional love that God wants begins by lowering our shields of disbelief orjesus-as-light cynicism and accepting God into our hearts. The doorway to that belief and unconditional love He has offered to us is in the form of His Son Jesus. If we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then we believe in God and He will accept us and forgive us all of our sins.

The roadblock to using that doorway and having that relationship with God is usually our own ego. Our sense of self and independence is strong and the need to let go of that and to surrender our concept of self to an unconditional trust in and love of God is the last big step to achieving the relationship that God wants with us.

That last step is a scary step that requires faith. If you saw the Eddie Murphy film “The Golden Child”, there was a scene as he was retrieving the magic knife from an underground cavern where he was faced with stepping off into space with the belief that he would not plunge to his death, taking this last step in your relationship with God can gods-hands-2feel like that – it is a step (some might use the term leap) of faith.

When you can take that last step (leap) of faith and embrace the concept of a bi-directional and unconditional love of God, you will finally achieve the relationship with God that He wants and which you have been seeking. You have to let go of “me” and embrace the concept of “We”. God will take care of the rest.

Have a great and blessed week ahead.


Hope may be the best medicine of all…

June 6, 2018

In today’s installment of the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack used this quote – “He (she) is the best physician who is the most ingenious inspirer of hope. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Modern Medicine is at best an art, which tries to cloak itself in science to add credibility. Certainly, there is some science involved, but mostly it’s a practice of techniques that pillswere developed through a process of trial and error, whether it be in diagnosing aliments or performing surgery. Even the development of our modern wonder drugs is mostly a matter of trial and error; although the newest gene therapies are based more in a scientific understanding of how our genes work and what they do in the body. Of course the current opioid epidemic shows how out-of-hand modern medicine can get with it’s prescription drug approach.

And then there are all of the alternative or holistic medical practices, many of which focus primarily on allowing the body to heal itself. Some are accompanied by lengthy discussions of “energy flows” within the body or other scientifically questionable explanations of why they supposedly work. Most of them have been developed over centuries of trail and error, too. In the old days Snake Oil salesmen also had explanations about why their elixirs would cure all ills. Many of the alternative approaches might sound like that; however, some work as well, if not better,  than modern medicine at relieving pain and allowing a person to heal.

It would seem that Jack’s quote is the most reasonable explanation of why many of these approaches to healing actually work. The most successful practitioners inspire the hope of the patient and out of that hope comes the time and attitude to promote healing. The fact that many also relieve pain reinforces that hope.

woman-prayingI’m certainly not advocating for the position of refusing modern medical help and putting all of our hope in either alternative approaches or even in faith. Misguided people who try to use faith as a reason and defense for not vaccinating their children or giving them the benefit of modern treatments and drugs, where needed, are just wrong and a danger to themselves and society. It is unfortunate that too many get away with that approach until it is too late.

I do think it is important to add faith to the strength of the hope that one has in whatever medical approach is being employed. There have been a few studies that were at least as scientific as many drug tests that showed the positive impact of faith in the healing process. Combining hope that one will get better; with faith that God will help make it happen is strong medicine indeed.

So, keep the faith and keep hope in your medicine cabinet. Have a healthy rest of the week, no matter what approach you take to healing your body.


Believe and the door will open for you…

June 4, 2018

I get an email every weekday from Jack Freed with the latest entry to the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Many times they serve as the inspiration for what I post here. Jack finds little quotes from various sources and adds a short comment to each to provoke thought and reflection. I’m sure that he intends that each day’s post stand alone; however I found that two recent posts just seem to go together.

Today’s post was – “Shame on the body for breaking down while the spirit perseveres.”  (John Dryden)

As Jack (and me, too) gets older he is more cognizant of the ravages and toll of age on the body, while the mind can still race around and jump as if it were still young. I certainly notice it more as I try to keep up the gardens around my historic home.

Last Friday’s post was – “Every wall has a door.”  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Jack used that quote to offer life advice about overcoming difficulties in life. I’ve often written about that topic here.

facing the wall 2It hit me, when I saw those two quotes in juxtaposition in my mail in-box that they really go together as a way to look at the end time of life. After all, death seems to be the final wall that we all face.

Certainly the human body does begin to break down and eventually gives up altogether; however, God has clearly given us a door in that wall, a way to overcome the death of the human body – eternal life through his Son Jesus Christ.

Just as believing that you can overcome obstacles in life is critical to success in problem solving; believing in the eternal life promised by Jesus is critical to opening the door to the wall that death seems to represent.gods-hands-2

Like many other things in life, we all tend to overthink this topic. We focus in our minds too much on the scientific facts that we understand about death and not enough on the promise that our faith demands that we believe. There was another quote, this one from Bob Dylan that Jack used sometime ago that also fits here –

“You either believe or you don’t believe, there ain’t no in between.”

Death is just another wall in our lives and Jesus is the door in that wall. Thus, the title for today’s post – Believe and the door will open for you.

Have a great week ahead…