Friday Wisdom: Motivation

This week a longer bit of wisdom.  This was a favorite story my father would tell:

There was a man named Joe who worked swing shift at the local factory. He lived within walking distance of the factory. In the afternoon he would take the shortcut through the cemetery, but at mid-night he’d take the longer way home that avoided the scary dark of the gravestones.

One rainy, windy night, Joe decided that he’d risk walking home through the cemetery so he wasn’t out in the storm as long.

It started out well, but about half way through the cemetery, Joe tripped over a pile of dirt and into an open grave that was being prepared for the next day. The grave was deep and Joe couldn’t reach the top. Try as he might, he just couldn’t seem to get out. With each effort to climb, dirt would fall on him and as he got close to the top, the rain had turned the dirt to mud and Joe would fall back.

So after awhile Joe stopped trying and huddled into a dry corner of the grave figuring that in the morning the gravediggers would find him and they would get him out.

After an hour, another man from the factory, Bob, was taking the same path and fell into the same grave. Bob also struggled but clearly wasn’t doing much better getting out. Bob wasn’t aware that Joe was there and finally from his dark corner of the grave Joe said, “Bob, You’ll never get out.”

But you know what? Bob did.

More wisdom next week,

Andrew

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Not working

I’ve not been in the shop much lately.  Too many reasons to mention, but mostly I haven’t been feeling well and need extra time to do all the testing the doctor wanted.  Hopefully I’ll have some shop work to show next week.

For today, I’ll leave you with a thought that’s been going through my mind a lot lately:

I like you, but I wouldn’t want to see you working with subatomic particles.

Peace,
Andrew

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What a Week

I was disappointed by this week’s presidential election. Okay, that’s likely an understatement, but the direction our country is going is a concern for me. My concern is that it feels like it’s the doctrine of fear, anger and hate that is winning – and that fear and hate is coming from both sides. Even more troubling to my mind is the increasing polarization of opinions and an increasing unwillingness to listen to the other side and find common ground.

It’s at the least sad and at it’s worst dangerous. The divisions in our discourse threaten to divide our nation. It fosters hate, which breeds violence. Violence that could explode uncontrollably.

I could write endlessly on the subject.

Someday I might, but for today I am going to turn to my religious, spiritual beliefs, and teachings of my father. The Jesus I know is force for peace and forgiveness. The spiritual belief I value above all others is to love, listen and help others.

My father taught me three lessons I’ll apply today:

  1. Don’t react, respond to the real problem.
  2. The only person you can change is you.
  3. Despots rise to power because moral people don’t speak out.

This week I’ve done something that I don’t do very often – I posted purposeful statements on my Facebook page declaring my feelings about the election. I have a number of friends and family in the LGBT community who are now fearful of having their rights stripped away. I’ve posted statements of support for these friends and their hard-earned rights to freely live their lives. In at least one post I promised to march with them if their rights were threatened.

That scares me, as does writing this post.

Generally I have confined my political action to voting and on patriotic holidays displaying the American Flag at my home. I stand for the national anthem, I thank those who’ve served in the armed forces, and respect the constitution and the institutions it mandates.

I do it quietly. Like I do most things. I like the personal peace I have around me and the mostly untroubled life I lead.

However in the current world, I now feel it necessary to move out of my comfort zone and start doing something more than just drop my ballot in the box. I’ve made a handful of posts on FB, and comments on blogs and I am sitting writing this post trying my best not to react with fear or anger, but rather with concern, love, and hope.

It would be emotionally satisfying to lash out against the president-elect and those who voted for him. It would be so satisfying to write that angry post and reflect all the hurt my soul feels.

But it wouldn’t help. It would only fuel the flames.

The real response is for me to understand what hurt, what fear, drove people to vote the way they did – on both sides. Then respond to that with acts of compassion and words of understanding. We desperately need to shut down the quick anger and move to considered responses.

I know that I can’t make others do this. My father often said that the path to frustration is to try to get others to behave the way you want. The only person you can change is you. You can influence others by your example.

Recently Heather and I have been reviewing our charitable giving and asking ourselves, “Are we putting our money where our mouth is?” We have decided that it’s time to increase our support of organizations that are in-line with our beliefs and hopes for the future. I wish that I could personally go support every cause or social program that is in-line with my values, but I just can’t – sometimes the best one can do is send a check in support of those doing the work.

Finally, there are limits. There are things in the world that I believe strongly must be stopped. I am willing to give the new administration a chance to govern, but I reserve my right as a citizen and a follower of the constitution to exercise my right – my obligation to speak and act against injustice.

May we all find a way to unite under one flag and care for one another.

Peace,
Andrew

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Friday Wisdom – Sucess

If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.

More wisdom next week,
Andrew

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