You cannot ignore the truth…

August 24, 2022

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this very appropriate quote. With all of the political rhetoric that is swirling around about people being “woke”, this truth is sometimes overlooked –

“You can close your eyes to the things you don’t want to see, but you can’t close your heart to the things you don’t want to feel.”  (Johnny Depp)

The fact is that homophobia, bigotry, and racism exist in our society. Sexism and the glass ceiling exist in our society. Many things that we know in our hearts are wrong exist in our society and some have become systemic. You may try to close your eyes or look the other way when you see or encounter these things, but you cannot close your heart to the feeling deep down that they are wrong.

Most of those things are driven by fear. Fear of the unknown or unusual. Fear of people who don’t look or act like me. Fear of things that I don’t understand. That fear provokes our fight or flight reaction. Many politicians, who are in the news almost daily, feed on that fear to garner support for themselves.

Some people when faced with the truth become angry and fight. Many just try to run away from or ignore the things or people that they encounter or the wrongs that they witness happening. But there is always that pesky feeling in their hearts that this is wrong. It is the acknowledgement of that feeling and perhaps taking some action to deal with that acknowledgement that really constitutes being “woke”.

There are certainly those on the “woke” side of things who propose solutions that also cause fear – “defund the police” comes to mind. They took the need to resolve the systemic problems within many police departments to the extreme and proposed dissolving the police departments and starting over with law enforcement. That is not a practical solution either and just feeds the fears of the people who are still in denial.

What can you do? First, don’t just close your eyes and try to pretend that the issues don’t exist. Trust that feeling in your heart that there is a wrong going on and resolve to take action to correct it. At a personal level that means not participating in the wrong. Trying hard not to be a bigot or a racist or a homophobe. Doing what is right, yourself, instead of looking the other way.

 At a higher level one can join the various groups or movements that are working to make peaceful corrections in our society. Those are not groups out rioting in the streets or walking about brandishing firearms. They are working for changes to the laws or to policies that support discrimination within businesses or government. Find a group like that and join their efforts.

Doing those things will change the feelings that you get from your heart. Doing the right things never makes your heart feel bad. You cannot ignore the truth. Your heart knows.

Awaken and live for today…

June 17, 2022

Father’s Day and Mother’s Day always seems to bring out the messages about regrets for not having said more to parents or spent more time with them while they where here. In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote from Gene Autry – “If God would but grant me the power to turn back the pages of time.” He wrote about his own father’s death at a relatively early age and how he missed having his dad there for many milestones in his life.

But, that’s not how life works. God doesn’t grant us either the power to turn back time or to look into the future. The past cannot be changed and worrying about the future seems to be a waste of time; and, time is all that we really have. So, perhaps, instead of asking God to intervene in either the past or the future we should instead ask for his help with the here and now. Maybe a simple prayer like, “God, help me make good decisions today” would make today better. At least you would be praying for something reasonable.

As a precursor to that request for God’s help you might put yourself in the right frame of mind by using the little prayer that I post here quite often – “not my will but thy will be done”. That simple line relieves you of feeling responsible for the past and the future and puts you back in charge of just being responsible for how you act and react in the here and now. Then you can ask for God’s help in making good decisions as the day unfolds. Maybe, as Pastor Freed related, one of those decisions will be to call your mom or dad and just tell them that you love them.

Recently the slang word “woke” has been used in politics and other settings to describe what Webster’s Dictionary says is a state of being “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues”. It has been especially attached to the Black Lives Matter movement to indicate an awareness of pervasive racism in our society; however, the term maybe applied to life in general.

Living for today isn’t about forgetting what has happened in the past or not thinking and planning for the future. It is about being more mindful and focused upon what is happening now – being woke. Once you become more focused upon the here and now you soon realize all that you have been missing going on all around you. You may even gain an understanding or that old phrase, “stop and smell the flowers”, once you realize that there are flowers, opportunities, and interesting people all around you. Wake up!

Try it. You might like it.

Live for today.