Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

Ain’t Heavy   1 comment

First of all, let me apologize for what many view as poor grammar when using the word “Ain’t” in the title of this post.  However, I think you will understand why I made that choice as you continue to read this.

Many years ago when I was around the age of eleven or twelve, I visited Boys Town in Omaha, NE with my family.  I have many memories of that visit but one in particular came to my mind as I prepared to write this morning.  The memory is of a statue that stood on the grounds of the Boys Town complex.  It is a statue of an older boy carrying a younger boy on his back.  This statue was also prominent in a movie entitled, Boys Town, which was released in 1938 and featured famous actors Spencer Tracey and Mickey Rooney.  The story is an account of the early beginnings of Boys Town which was started by Father Edward J. Flanagan.  The goal of Father Flanagan was to provide a place for young boys to go when there were family issues or they were dealing with behavioral issues.  The reason for the statue was to communicate the idea that someone would always be there to help you when you were struggling; that you would have someone to carry you through difficult times.  In 1969, a song was released and was made famous by The Hollies which also communicates these philosophy entitled, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.

The idea that we all need to have help at times is one that I believe can be forgotten.  We all have need for support at one time or another.  As much as we would like to think that we can forge through difficulties alone, we really cannot.  There is not a person alive who has not had a struggle in life.  While our experiences are unique to ourselves, we can find similarities with one another.  Even if we miss our similarities, we can still be present with one another.  Sometimes just having the knowledge that someone is present with you can be the key to giving you a bit more strength to go through a day.

I have always been very fortunate to have individuals who support me.  Sometimes that support comes from family.  Sometimes that support is found in friends.  Sometimes that support comes from the most unexpected individuals whom I may barely know.  The reality is that there has always been individuals who have given to me their support even if they do not understand the details of my experience.  This is one of the greatest gifts a person can ever receive.  My struggle is not always being wise enough to reach out to others who would like to offer me that support.  When I have had the wisdom to reach out, I find that I never come back empty-handed but usually with overflowing support and love.

So my message today is two-fold.  First, if you are having a difficult time in your life, remember to reach out to others for support.  Second, always seek the opportunity to offer the support and love someone might be needing today.  You may be surprised what a huge difference it can make!

Now I share with you the song which I mentioned earlier and ask you to truly think about the words today and in the future.

Contagious   1 comment

It is almost alarming how contagious it truly is.  No physical contact is required for it to spread from person to person.  You do not even have to know another person and you can cause this to spread to them.  Yet, the medical community has not put out any warnings.  The government and Center for Disease Control have not come up with a quarantine or any way to halt the spreading of this.  There is no news agency or talk show which has done a story about it and raised concern.  There are even individuals advocating and encouraging thousands of people to spread it frequently.  Who is going to bring the truth of this contagion to the public?

Well, if you have not figured it (I know some of you looked at the picture on the bottom of this post), I am talking about a smile.  A smile is something that can easily spread from person to person.  If you are having one of those days and someone smiles at you, it is truly hard to not smile back.  A smile can change the whole atmosphere of a room.  A smile can alter the direction of a person’s day.  A smile can take a group from negativity and move it toward a more positive outlook.

So today, I challenge you to see how many smiles you can spread throughout your day.  Take notice of how people respond to your smile.  Take notice of how you respond to other people’s smile.  Let’s spread smiles throughout this day!

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Beware the Quicksand   1 comment

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Sometimes one of the most difficult things to do in life is to make sure that you avoid the quicksand.  What I mean by this is that all of us encounter times of difficulty in life.  During these times, people can start attacking one another.  Blame  is easily projected on other people without a fair reflection upon the whole situation.  When these pieces start coming together, there easily develops a negative and hurtful whirlpool of destruction.  Much like quicksand, it is easy to step into this mess and become trapped.  Once you are in the mess you will inevitably be pulled farther and farther down.

A person who is successful in staying above the quicksand is someone who can truly be a role model for others.  A leader needs to be such a role model.  However, it is not limited to leaders.  Anyone can be a role model for others when the quicksand of blame, negativity, and fighting enters a situation.  We need more role models who avoid the quicksand.  We need more people who make the conscious decision to watch for the quicksand and stay out of it.

So my caution to all my readers is to beware the quicksand.  You will be far better for doing so and you can be the one who by example helps others stay away from the quicksand as well.

Assumptions   Leave a comment

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Assumptions can be a double-edged sword.  We need to use assumptions in some of our decision-making process.  We are not able to have all the facts when preparing to make a decision because some variables are out of our control.  So we make assumptions based on the facts which we have available to us at the time and trends which we are able to project into the future.  We assume that based on the information, similar or continued trends will exist into the future.  But the problem with assumptions is that they can be wrong.  Unknown information may have an impact on outcomes.  Something may alter the trends which we have seen.  So assumptions cannot be trusted completely.

So many people make assumptions when it comes to individuals.  In our nation right now, we are dealing with the impact of assumptions and decisions that are made using those thoughts.  There is a lot of speculation regarding the reasons for assumptions which lead or have led to negative outcomes.  Many people look at an individual or situation and assume they know what the facts are regarding them.  They make judgments and take actions based on those assumptions.  Sometimes they are correct and sometimes they are very wrong.

Today I would like to throw out a warning to all of us.  Be careful how you act upon and treat others based on assumptions.  There are times when you must act or make decisions on assumptions but be very limited on those times.  Error on the side of not acting on assumptions, especially when it comes to people and their lives.

Watching Out   2 comments

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Last night as I was preparing for bed, I looked out my kitchen window and noticed there was something unusual at my neighbor’s home.  I have lived across the street from an older lady who lives alone for over fourteen years.  In that period of time, you get to know a person’s normal habits.  What I saw last night was not normal.  It was rather late in the evening and it appeared that all lights were off in her home so I figured she was probably asleep.  I debated with myself about calling her but decided that I  would wait until morning and see if she arose and followed some of her normal habits.

This morning when I arose and went to my kitchen, I looked across the street.  Nothing seemed to have changed from the previous night.  I decided to take my normal walk with my dog since it was still early and if there appeared to be no activity, I would go over to make sure she was alright.

Upon my return from my walk, I noticed that she was definitely awake and following her normal behaviors.  Much to my relief, everything seemed alright.  Then as I was preparing to go to work, she happened to be in her garage so I went over to chat with her.  I told her of my concern and my intention to take action if nothing had changed.  She was so extremely grateful and thanked me for watching out for her.

This has led me to think about the importance to watch out for one another.  In a world where there seems to be more and more isolation, this need continues to grow.  We need to be observant and know those who live around us.  I am not advocating that we become intruders into the lives of others but instead have a genuine interest and care for one another.  Getting to know each other and our habits can make a difference when a need or crisis arises.

So today, I want to remind you to watch out for one another.  We all could use each other’s help and support!

No Labels   2 comments

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Today I was looking at a Scripture passage that really caused my thoughts to venture into the “what if” category.

Here is the passage:

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28, NIV)

While I realizing that this is how God views us, I know that this is not how we operate as humans.  We are all about labels.  We usually label people early in our encounters with them.  The label that is placed upon an individual impacts how we interact with them.  The labels often assign a sense of value.

So here is my “what if”…..  What if we lived with out labels?

I realize that some would argue that labels help create order in our society.  So there may be a sense of anarchy in my question.  I also realize that sometimes labels are assigned subconsciously.  There may even be some benefit to labels.  However, I see a lot damage caused by labels.  I see lives impacted in negative and long-lasting ways.  I see bullying committed by the use of labels.

So I am back to my question……  What would happen if we lived in a label free society?

I am eager to hear your responses.

Dance   Leave a comment

As we embark on another graduation weekend, I decided to share a song that I believe is my hope for all those graduating from high school and college.  Always be a part of the dance….

Congratulations Class of 2015!  May your journey be filled with great wonder and surprises as you take your next steps!

Posted May 15, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Community, Life

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