Love One Another…. It’s That Simple.

Once again, over the last few days we have been witnesses to acts of unspeakable violence and hate.

Once again, our differences have torn us apart.  I don’t understand.

I don’t understand how someone can hate an entire race, creed, orientation; I don’t understand how someone’s heart can grow so hardened that the fears of our differences bring us to such a place and I am thankful for that lack of understanding.

For decades, I suppose centuries, our differences have continued to define us.  At what point will we find our similarities are so much more important than our differences?

Unfortunately, these acts of violence have hardened all of our hearts.  We send our love to victims, we pray for entire cities and we tweet about our heartbreak, but what do we actually do?

It’s not about guns, or politics, it’s about hearts, minds and a lack of understanding.

There are billions of people on the planet, each one of us different and that is what makes the world such an amazing place.  I can’t fathom a world where everyone was like me, short, fat, bald, old white guy, how boring is that?  What makes the world so amazing is our differences, our vast beliefs, religions, races, why can’t we seem to accept that and get along?

Our society has grown so hardened that we witness these senseless acts and then go on about our day, we just keep moving along and wait for the next atrocity to happen, we then send out thoughts and prayers and wait for the next, unfortunately it seems on a weekly basis.

Like all of you, my heart breaks a bit more each time one of these mass murders takes place and I am lost, I am lost to know what to do, I am lost to understand…. I am lost.

I don’t think I am the only one who is lost, I think we all are, we are lost to find answers when the fringe of our society begins to define us.

This isn’t a Democrat or a Republican issue, it isn’t an American issue, it is a human issue, one that brings us down instead of building us up.

I will always believe that 99.999999999999999% of the planet is good, but sadly today that infinitesimal percentage that is filled with hate and rage define us.  Our fringe should be just that, fringe, not the voices that we hear most often, but the ones who are set aside and witnessed to about the goodness of humanity and not encouraged and held up as a voice that should be leading our charge.

What do we do as people to stamp out this hate?  What do we do to celebrate our similarities and allow good to overcome evil?  What do we do?

Several years ago there was a movement in our society, it was begun by young people and it was symbolized by four letters…. WWJD?

What would Jesus do, a simple phrase with a simple answer….. LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Jesus gave this simple command to his people, he didn’t say love one another except for those you disagree with.  He didn’t tell us to only love those who were like us, he told us to love all people, everyone.

We can’t love when we continue to allow our differences to separate us, if we are to truly love we must first look at how we are alike and then in voices of compassion, resolution and understanding we must work together to work together to overcome our differences.

I’m not a Bible scholar, but I have studied.  I can’t find a place in the Bible where we are told to love someone unless they are Black, Brown, Yellow, White, Jewish, Gay, Muslim, the only command I see is LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

At some point, if we are to survive as a people love has to overcome the hatred that we have for one another.  Hatred of our differences will only continue to tear us apart, continue our heartbreak and our tweets of compassion, when a tweet is simply too late.

Thankfully, all hatred doesn’t end in violence and death.  In our society today, we see people being harassed on a night out with a loved one, hate is hate.  We tear each other down over our beliefs, families are torn apart , people we value as friends are swept aside over simple differences.  Imagine how things could change if we just talked to each other, kept the temperature to a slow boil and discussed differences to find solutions like respectful humans.

I don’t hold myself aside from these actions, I am as guilty as anyone else, maybe one day we will all learn and embrace our similarities and stop letting our differences overtake us.

Sadly, there are few places where we are safe anymore.  Churches, synagogues, restaurants, nightclubs, the workplace, have all been attacked.  Our places of work and play are now battlegrounds and sites of mass murder, it is truly a sad commentary on our world.

We can do better, we must do better, we must find a way to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

I don’t understand a hatred that engulfs someone, I don’t understand hatred of entire group of people, I don’t understand….. and I hope I never will.

Unplanned, Uneventful, Perfection

Do you ever have one of those days that is totally unplanned, totally uneventful and turns into total perfection?  Today has been one of those days for me.

To start, I didn’t wake up until almost 9AM, something I rarely do and three hours later than I usually rise.

After a leisurely morning around the house, I headed out around noon. I had waited until noon, as that is when the recycling center opens and I wanted to drop off my trash.

I arrived to drop my trash and no one was in line, again, something rare especially on a Saturday or Sunday.

I got out of the car and was greeted by the sweet lady who always has a smile on her face and kind word for everyone who stops by.  As I finished dumping my trash, she smiled and said, as she always does, “have a blessed day angel.”  I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was moving that way.

I ran by the store and wrote my monthly column for Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine.   This month I had been struggling with my column.  I knew what I wanted to write about, but the words weren’t flowing in my mind yet, it was a struggle.

With tomorrow’s deadline on the horizon, I sat down at my laptop and 20 minutes later almost 1,000 words had flowed from my fingers onto the screen.  I did some edits, but somehow the words that I had been wanting to say came.  (I hope you all like them, the new GML will be out in early November.)

After submitting my column, I cleaned the inside of my very dirty car and gave it a quick wash.

I then came home and decided to rake and blow the leaves off my drive and then put out some Halloween decorations I had forgotten about.

Now, the day is coming to an end.  As I write this I am sitting on my screen deck, enjoying a beautiful Fall day, my girl Lita at my feet.  An awesome 70’s Disco playlist on in the background that Alexa chose.

See what I mean….unplanned, uneventful, perfection.

PB Post – Creative Poetry Writing Program Offered in Lake Park

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Creative poetry writing program offered in Lake Park

By Jodie Wagner

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

LAKE PARK —

Artists of Palm Beach County will host a four-week Creative Poetry Writing program beginning Saturday at Art on Park Gallery, 800 Park Ave. The program will run from 10 a.m. to noon through March 2. Participants will do exercises to generate new poems, learn how to edit poems and discuss various tools of poetry writing. The class is confined to Free Verse Poetry. Cost is $40 for the 4-week class. Pre-registration is required. Participants must be 16 or older. For information, call (561) 345-2842.

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Dream

tumblr_m8nsc1XB1i1r6rgp2o1_500What are your dreams?  When you are alone with yourself, with your thoughts, what do you dream?

We all do it, no matter the age, social status or position in life… we all dream.

A friend told me last week that I appear to be living very “Oprah-esque” lately.  Well it worked for her….

While I haven’t tried to start living more Oprah I have been making a conscious decision to work on myself from the inside out this year.  I think it is important that we all have some time of self-discovery and I have time stamped 2013 as that year for me.

Part of that self-discovery includes reevaluting dreams.  Not the type of dreams we have at night when asleep, but the dreams we have when fully awake, when all of our senses are alive, when our inner most thoughts and prayers are engaged.

I’ve been reading John C. Maxwell’s book “How Successful People Think,” and part of that book talks about visioning and taking time just to “think.”  As I have been reading and studying this work, I relate the “thinking” exercise to my dreams.  Dreaming my best life and how to make my personal, professional, long-term and short-term dreams come true.

Today, I had the pleasure of hearing my favorite Pastor in the pulpit.  Reverend Jen Harner Sims, touches, inspires, reaches my soul and challenges me more than any other pastor.  Her personal story is one of triumph over adversity that makes me better for knowing and walking with her.

The focus of Pastor Jen’s message today was that God gives us the dreams that make up our lives.  In giving our dreams he also gives dreams to the brothers and sisters among us.

As people walking with our neighbor, it is our job to help inspire the dreams of those around us and in turn our dreams are encouraged too.

Encouraging the dreams around us are enhanced in five ways as described by Pastor Jen.

  1. Listen
  2. See the person’s dreams & name their strengths
  3. Speak hopefully where it relates to the dreams of your neighbor
  4. Serve others by helping them reach their dreams
  5. When possible, meet a need of the dreamer

If you measure the success of our dreams, I am confident that those successes will find innumerable instances where others have provided one or all of the examples from above.

I think if you measure the success of others as an achievement of their dreams those we view as successful in life, will admit their dreams were made true not on their own, but with the dream belief of their neighbor.

With this said, I would be remiss not to share my own dream.

Like everyone I dream of financial comfort, good health, happiness for myself, my family and my friends, love, laughter and compassion.   Those dreams are provided to me on a daily basis through the simple interactions of those around me.

The dreams I am talking about here are the big, make your life complete, type of dreams.

Our dreams in life change as we mature.  I have found that my dreams today are as much about others as they are about me.

Ironically, as my dreams include others, they also find a way to allow me to fulfill my own passion.

Most people who know me realize that I have a passion for writing, I find a release on the keyboard that I don’t find in other interactions.  As outwardly gregarious as I appear, I am also painfully shy when out of my familiar circumstances.  The written word allows me to express many things I am incapable of doing verbally.

This blog has become an outlet for me that carries all of my passions.  Music, politics, television, faith, friendship and more.  My dream is that through this blog, I will have the opportunity to fulfill my other dream…. a mountain cabin with a view where I can write, be close to family, enjoy life and see life’s magnificent beauty out my window each day.

Simply put, in the near future I would like to be able to characterize myself as a professional writer.   Someone who makes my living wrtiting here on the blog and in other publications, through columns, Short Notes, Hero of the Week, Life’s Playlist, observations about life and other features still to come.

I wrote it down today while enjoying a “thinking session,” I want to

WRITE TO INSPIRE AND WRITE TO AFFECT CHANGE.

As I work towards making my dream come true, your support, comments and advice will be greatly appreciated!