Life’s Playlist…. What the World Needs Now performed by Sara Bareilles

On this date in 1995, America was attacked, by our own citizens.

I can recall the moment I heard about the Oklahoma City Bombing, I was sitting in my office at Carey Special Events in Atlanta, like with many horrific events in our nation’s history, it took some time for the devastation to sink in.

American citizens drove a moving truck into the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.  The moving truck was a bomb, the impending carnage killed 168 Americans.

Over the next hours and days, the heartbreak of Oklahoma City encompassed our nation and when the reality of those lost, including toddlers in a preschool became known, the nation mourned.

Since Oklahoma City, there have been many more incidents of national tragedy, tomorrow will mark the 19th Anniversary of the Columbine shooting.

We get a lot right in America, but sadly we also get a lot wrong.  Hopefully one day we really will understand, what the world needs is love, sweet love.

Life’s Playlist….. Glass House by Jaci Velasquez

One of the things I like most about social media is staying in contact with friends and family.  It is a good way to know what is going on with those I love and what is going on in the world.

When I wake up in the mornings, I turn on the news and I open my Facebook.  For the next 30 – 40 minutes I study them both.

I guess I am nosey, but I really enjoy knowing what is going on in the lives of my friends.  Social Media has allowed me to reconnect with people from my childhood, I like that.

Something I hate about social media is how divisive it can be.  Sometimes simple comments can be misunderstood and blown out of proportion.

Sometimes our own inner prejudices come out and hypocrisies go on full display.

I made a decision a couple of years ago that I no longer discuss politics on social media, it is simply too much of a powder keg to hang your hat on a meme or put your feelings out in 280 characters.

Additionally, I decided I wouldn’t be discussing religion, I have my faith, you have yours, I don’t judge yours and expect you not to judge mine…. that is what Jesus would do after all, right?

One of the things I hate most about social media is when we put out a persona that simply isn’t true, or when we try to create a judgement on others when the windows of our own glass house has major cracks.

In my humble opinion, there is nothing worse than a religious bigot.  People who speak for a religion instead of a relationship with God are destructive, it took me a long time to realize that, but I did and have no apologies for that statement.

This weekend one of those situations arose on Facebook and to put it bluntly, it really pissed me off.  Someone I have known since childhood, someone I consider a friend today and forever, put a completely bigoted meme on their Facebook feed that slapped me in the face.

I don’t know if it was meant for me or not, I don’t care.  It was spiteful, it was rude, it was bigoted and it was NOT something that Christ would teach.

Without going into much detail, the meme reported that some people could not be Christians.  REALLY?  The Christ I serve teaches that all who come to him are forgiven, loved and saved.  It doesn’t say, everyone but a certain group of people can be saved.

I wish I could laugh about these types of posts, but I can’t, because, I know you.  I know your life, I know your past and I know your heart, when you try to lessen the faith of others because you may have an issue with a segment of their lives, it weakens your argument and just makes you look like a fool.

And the people who “like” the memes, yes I check those out too…. you are in the same boat.

Faith is something that is personal, it is for the individual and their walk with Christ, it is NOT for you to judge!

And now, I step off my soap-box, and you may return to your regularly scheduled programming.

 

 

 

Life’s Playlist….. Fly by Celine Dion

Today’s assignment for the Jeff Goins, 500 Words for 31 Days Challenge is to write a confession.

I don’t feel like writing a confession.  I don’t fee like writing 500 words.  I feel helpless, confused and angry that once again, kids went to school yesterday and they didn’t come home to their parents at the end of the day.

What is wrong with our society?

Life’s Playlist…. Stand Tall by Burton Cummings

Day 20 of the Jeff Goins – 500 Words, 31 Days Writing Challenge…. Write about Justice.

Dr. Seuss put it succinctly, Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

I often ponder on how we as a society have gotten to the point we are.  It seems as though our compassion for our fellow-man often falls behind political debate and the party lines that used to help us find compromise, today only hardens our convictions.

At what point did we get to the strident beliefs that our fellow-man is not of value, when did we get to the point where we believed that our convictions are move important than that of our neighbor and at what point did we decided it is going to be “my way, or no way?”

Day after day we see the debates that confront us all, divide us.  I once heard a pastor say, if we would concentrate on the 90% that we agree on, the other 10% could fall into place.

I’m not Pollyanna enough to believe that we will ever come to a point where we all agree on everything, our differences are what has made us great as a nation.  But those differences used to be celebrated, today the division that is created threatens our society in ways that outside threats cannot.

As American’s we are good at coming together when life’s challenges threaten us.  We help our fellow-man when floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tragedy strikes, but within days we let our differences harden our actions and go back to the win at all costs mentality that has gotten us to where we are.

Here are a few truths that I stand by with conviction and resolve:

  • We are stronger together than we are separately.
  • America is the greatest nation ever to grace the planet.
  • Only America can destroy America.
  • We are all Americans, there is no place in America for hyphenated Americans.
  • I am not guilty for the sins of my forefathers, nor is your life affected by those same sins.
  • We have all had leaders we didn’t vote for, however those same leaders were elected and the OFFICE they represent always deserves respect.
  • If my leaders lie to me once, they will lie again and again.
  • America is a guiding light, we have our problems, but together there is nothing we cannot overcome.
  • Leaders must hold a higher standard morally and ethically and their actions must always represent that higher calling.

I believe in the melting pot of America that has served us well for over 200 years, we have our problems, but we are a resilient nation.  The only way to cure the ills that affect us today and into our future is to start acting like Americans.

I fear, for many of us, the standards we were built upon have been forgotten.  You are entitled to help when you need it, you aren’t entitled to anything if you don’t give 100% towards the betterment of our society.

Unless your Ancestry.com report says you are 100% native American, you and your ancestors were immigrants.  Immigrants built this nation and walls, fences and waters should never keep them out.  However, immigrants must assimilate to our nation’s ideals and cultures, and you must follow the rules to be here.

No one is entitled to be an American and if you don’t like the way our nation is headed, then change it, lawfully with ideals that can help make us stronger, not tear us apart.

I pray for our nation and hope that we will once again start acting like Americans, the land of the free, the home of the brave.

Whether you are black, white, straight, gay, old, young or any other subset of the American dream, it is your responsibility to help move us forward in ways that honor the forefathers who built this shining city on a hill.

Life’s Playlist… Hero by Mariah Carey

Day 6 of the 500 Word Challenge by Jeff Goins….. tell someone else’s story.

She watched her 11-year-old son, riddled with cancer, die a painful and grueling death.

I fist met her when a news report was featured on the local news channel in West Palm Beach, FL where I was living at the time.

Her child had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  The most brutal of all cancers, for a child to get the diagnosis was quite rare.

The news report told the story of a fund-raiser for the child that had been scheduled at his school.  Due to regulations, my friend had been informed two days before the event, that it would have to be cancelled.

The news unsettled me,  how this event had to be cancelled over stupid regulations added insult to injury for this family that had already seen far too many bad turns in their lives.

At the time, I was the Marketing Director for a local retail/entertainment center.  The story haunted me through the night and the next morning when I arrived at work, somehow I was able to locate the mom’s phone number and contacted her.

Within an hour she was in my office and we were planning the logistics to move the event to our center.

We hit it off right away, through the tragedy that she was enduring, we became friends.

The event came and went at our center, but our friendship sustained over time.  We kept in touch and she would give updates about her son’s condition.

About a year after our meeting, my friend’s son lost his battle with the disease.  He passed away in their family home.  His little body suffered and by the time he passed he was constantly in pain with his family suffering every moment with him.

During those painful months, my friend rode every roller-coaster of emotion imaginable never leaving her child’s side.  Since his passing she feels guilt, sorrow and a broken heart that will never mend.

Not long after her child’s death, my friend opened a retail store in the tiny town I served as a City Commissioner for.  The thrift and consignment store was opened as a charity to assist families of children suffering with cancer.

My friend had found a new mission, one that would honor her son and allow her to give back in ways that would help sustain other families dealing with the same issues she had endured.

From opening day through the years the store has been opened successes have been difficult to measure.  Financially, the store has never operated to its anticipated dream, located in the small run down shopping center of a neighborhood that was fraught with crime, drugs and prostitution, it was difficult to make a go of the mission my friend envisioned.

Featuring a wonderful selection of furniture, clothes, antiques and accessories, the store should have been a success, unfortunately the neighborhood blocked that possibility.

My friend always kept her head-up and worked towards her mission.  Through her constant grief, her vision to honor her son never wavered.

A couple of weeks ago my friend announced the store will be closing.  Her continued battle to make the store meet her vision would come to an end.

The store will close, but I know my friend….. her vision and commitment to families who are going through the unfathomable days she went through will not.

My friend is a warrior and she is guided daily by an angel that helps her put one foot in front of the other.  The store may be closing, but my friends broken-heart will go on, she will persevere, she has already done more than she will ever know and her journey continues, through pain she will continue to heal and help others in her child’s name.