We are our own competition

No doubt you are familiar with Pogo’s famous quote: “I have seen the enemy, and he is us!” The reason that quote has remained so endearingly popular with us is, unconsciously, we know it is true.

And note, I’ve emphasized the word, unconsciously. Because, on the other hand, consciously, we try to convince ourselves it’s not our fault that something didn’t happen the way it was supposed to happen: our excuses are, there’s too much competition; people are always undercut my prices; my employees don’t have to work more than eight hours a day, so why should I have to? The list of excuses goes on and on. I’ll give you a real-life example of what I mean by our own attitude and lack of thinking that causes us to fail so often.

I’m retired now, but I was in the sign painting and promotion business in my younger years. One day a fellow came and wanted me to make up some promotional flyers advertising his new start-up business: postal home delivery. Since we don’t have mail home delivery in our town: only post-office boxes, on the surface, this seemed like a good opportunity to fill a service need that was not available in our town before his arrival.

I asked him, since this was a new business venture in town, if he had done a survey to see if people wanted postal home delivery. He never did answer me directly, but assured me, that, being a retired postal worker himself, home delivery in a town that didn’t have home delivery, was a good idea.

Long story short, his business was a total disaster that never lasted out the year. In an angry huff, he and his wife packed up and left town. In a parting editorial letter to our local paper, he bitterly complained that the townspeople were too backwards to appreciate the service—home postal delivery—that he was willing to supply.

I can’t speak for other towns, but for us, we don’t need—nor want home delivery. For us, the post office acts as a community gathering place. It gives us a chance to briefly meet and chat with someone who lives on the other end of town and get up to date on what’s happened in his life since the last meeting.

In other words, our post office acts as a mini social gathering place: an excuse for going to the post office to pick up our mail that doubles as an opportunity to socialize. For that reason, most of us don’t want home delivery!

So, where to put the blame for his business failure: on the town for not wanting his ‘modernized opportunity services’, or should he blame himself for not doing proper research before investing his time and money in a no-win idea?

The same ‘blame-game’ idea can be applied to many of our social involvements. One of my present-day pet blame-game topics is our personal health and our present concern over the dangers of the COVID-19 virus. How many of you think the virus is to blame for a person getting sick from it, or even dying? Come on, now, don’t be shy. Raise your hands!

If the virus is to blame, why aren’t all of us sick? The fears also are that it is more dangerous to the elderly. If it is, then why aren’t all elderly sick or dying from the virus than there are at present? Could it be that the virus is more able to attack a person who has a low immune system, regardless if they are child, adult or senior? Therefore, the virus skips me, because I’m healthy, but ‘hits’ my neighbor who is careless in his health habits.

So, in reality, for the majority of us it’s our own lack of personal health care, not the virus that’s to blame for us getting sick.

A practical saying that I’ve always found helpful when I get into the ‘accusing syndrome’ game is: “For every finger that you point at someone else, remember, there are three fingers pointing back at you.”

We could save ourselves a lot of disappointment if we would search ourselves first before looking at our envireonment for failed solutions and/or causes.

If You Know You Are Right …

If you know you’re right, it really doesn’t matter what others think? Note, I’ve emphasized the word, ‘know.’ I’ll give you a simple example of the difference between knowing something to be right and believing something to be right.

You came home from the office a short while ago, a bit tired, but you remembered your routine before you can call it a. day: taking out the garbage. You fulfill that task in your usual, efficient way, then return to the comfort of your living, anticipating a quiet, restful evening. As you settle into your easy chair, your wife calls out to you from the kitchen, “honey, don’t forget, it’s your job to take out the garbage!”

You explode. “I’ve already taken out the damn garbage! Now leave me alone!”

What made you lose your composure?

It relates back to your insecurity.

According to an article in Psychology Today, “The 3 Most Common Causes of Insecurity and How to Beat Them,” insecurity appears to be at the heart of our auto-instinct to flare up and defend yourself, often at the slightest provocation.

            The first, and possibly the main cause of insecurity is a feeling of failure or rejection. Did you loose last night at the poker game, and now you’ll be a bit short on your monthly grocery allowance, and you’re afraid your wife will find out?

            You self-punish: how stupid of me gamble away our grocery money! Why don’t I have more self-control? I’m just a failure! … and so on.

            A second reason for an angry flareup can be social rejection. Did your boss give that envied contract to another employee and that has put you into a rejective social slump?

            That damn Bill, he’s always suck-holing up to the boss! My idea was far better than Bills! Even Dolly, our secretary, said that I was more qualified!

            The third cause of insecurity mentioned in the article is, are you a perfectionist? In that burst of anger, you feel that your partner should know you take out the garbage at exactly eight o’clock right after you get home from work! Why is she questioning your efficiency?

            Our security/insecurity is something few of us try to analyse. Yet, if we took the time to do so, we could save ourselves a lot of grief. In this present era of our evolution, everything is in rapid change. Look at the violence and distrust that’s present everywhere, and to think that a lot—no! I’d say most of that is generated through people’s lack of faith in themselves, and lack of, or unwillingness to understand of what is actually happening in the world.

            But that doesn’t mean you have no choice but be trapped in this nightmarish world and have to accept whatever is thrown at you.

            You’ve heard the expression, “solid as a rock,” or the familiar hymn, “Rock of Ages.” A rock is a symbol of stability: solidness; surety. Does it care about what the environment thinks about it?

            Another example is the weather and the weatherman. Does the weather really care what the weatherman thinks about its—the weather’s everchanging nature?

            If we wish to survive in all this insanity, we have to become ‘as solid as a rock,’ yet as versatile to change as the weather.

            A rock is! That’s a fact. The weather is! And that’s a fact. You are! That’s another fact! Practice mindfulness. Be present in all that you do. Do your due-diligent research and be informed, not opinionated.

            Like the Universal Consciousness itself—God, if you will, be as solid as a rock, and as flexible to change as the weather: secure in your knowing, and it won’t matter what anyone else thinks or believes of you!

You’re Old Enough, Now. Learn to do it Yourself!

 

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.  — Jimi Hendrix

See the source imageIn this article I’m going to talk about spiritual guides; not the popular sham ‘guides’ that take you for your money, but the real, honest-to-goodness genuine spiritual guides that you can count on for help. Yes, the universe is full of compassionate spirit guides, angels and benign beings who are quite willing to help you. You just have to know how to unlearn old bad habits and take positive steps to make yourself aware of their presence … and, of course, the big question: how and where these spirit beings can help, and where they have to leave you learn to walk your own path alone.

And, in these latter-day, troubled times, when the world seems to be throwing just too many events at us in too short a time to handle, what could be more welcome than a powerful, compassionate Spirit Guide?

Unfortunately, even in these enlightened times, people who claim to have psychic or other spiritual abilities are still considered to be a little ‘off-centre:’ someone that we ‘forget’ to invite to our social functions. Mind you, knowledgeable folks who are even somewhat familiar with these ‘psychics’ have good reason—probably from personal experience, to show that, much of channelling, card reading, fortune telling and astrology readings are fake! But, other than to caution you that most of these “readers” are fakes, these scammers aren’t the subject of my article, but I will add the reason these scams are so popular is because people—probably due to our own insecurity—will go to great lengths to want to know what’s going to happen to them in the future.

I have an upcoming article where I’ll write specifically about our insecurities and why so many of us turn to spiritual help (different from religious help) for answers, but for now, be very cautious about accepting the advice of one of these ‘psychic’ scammers. Do some diligent research first before engaging an honest fortune teller/prognosticator. Good, honest psychic readers are out there, but the cleverness of scammers makes it very difficult for the uninitiate to tell the difference between an honest and dishonest psychic. It’s something like the old saying of a wolf disguising himself as a sheep in order to catch the unwary sheep. These scamming sociopaths are very professional, and not unlike these computer phone scammers that are so popular now, these guys have the right questions and right answers for the gullible to make you believe that what they’re telling you are ‘facts’ coming through to them from ‘the other side!’

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”  Saint Francis de Sales

O.k., having finished now with the precautionary introductions as to what I really want to talk about, I’ll leave the topic of psychic healers/helpers and talk about personal spiritual experiences that people, themselves, have had, ranging anywhere from near-death experience, a ‘visitation,’ a vision, or a very powerful, meaningful dream that contained a message for you—and you alone that has helped you, personally, deal with some particular troublesome problem in your life.

The difference here is that, instead of seeking spiritual help from the outside world, the genuine spirits are coming to you and offering their assistance through your own conscious self. One nice thing about the spirits coming to you, instead of you seeking outside of yourself for them is that, unless you’ve created some negative situation to rouse the interests of the ‘dark’ side, your experiences should be positive and reliable.

First of all, you should know that you’re not alone or unique in having—or have had—a spiritual experience. This is not a rare phenomenon. Many thousands of people over the years, going centuries back in time, have had quite dramatic experiences. The problem is, because going public and talking about them is still not a social norm here in the Americas, people tend to just keep such experiences to themselves.

Since we’ve entered the New Age—the age of Aquarius that was supposed to have taken place around December 22, 2012, it’s becoming increasingly more common for people to have spiritual experiences that go well beyond worldly, physical limits, and thus become hard to describe to a friend. Often, the difficulty in describing your experience is not so much fear of being labeled ‘odd,’ but how do you effectively describe such an experience that has no physical, third density, comparison?

My solution is, if I’m talking to another person about one of my spiritual experiences and the person I’m talking to has also had a similar experience, that person will understand. If the person I’m talking to has not had a similar personal experience, then all the describing in the world isn’t going to fully explain the same thoughts and feelings that I experienced.

Here are just two of my spiritual experiences, and how they helped me cope with the frustrations and uncertainties of my life. By describing them to you, hopefully it will help you feel more comfortable in talking about your own experience.

I was one of those kids who, as far back into my childhood as I can remember, I had quite regular ‘visitations’ from the spirit world. One of my first, and most dramatic experience takes me back to my childhood, circa 1930s. One night, when I was about four years old, my deceased oldest sister, Ilona, come to me and announce that she will be my Guardian Angel! Ilona had died even before I was born so, being the third child in our family, I never did get to know her in a physical sense, but over the years since her dramatic spiritual appearance and announcement, I’ve come to feel her comforting presence—and protection, on many occasions. There is no room in this short article to give examples, but I just want to assure you that not just me, or a few thousand others out there have Guardian Angels, but every living person has a Guardian Angel, be it a deceased family member, or a commitment we may have made with another soul in a previous life to ‘guard’ each other as we travel through many earthly dangers.

Why don’t more people report the presence of a Guardian Angel in their life? Our Western society with its materialistic outlook on life is mostly responsible! “It’s all in your mind,” we’re trained to think, so eventually, we begin to believe that erroneous information and miss out on the experiences of a wonderful companionship that we could have had!

My second ‘visitation’ experience occurred when I was a bit older—I think I was six years old at the time—I had the distinct pleasure of meeting one of my closest Spiritual Guides! He just stood there at the side of my bed for several moments, arms folded, and gave me the nicest, friendliest smile. He didn’t speak, but I certainly knew from his smile and loving eyes that he was assigned to be my trusted friend for life.

Unfortunately, most of my youth and adulthood was spent in living and believing ‘the way of the world,’ so, in general, I dismissed—and even forgot—about my Spiritual Guide. It wasn’t until I lived well into my senior years that I again thought about my good friend. Up to now, I hadn’t even bothered to give him a name (spirits really don’t have names, but don’t mind if we assign them names if it helps you identify with them), but now, as I really came to value my Spirit Guide, I felt that I just had to give him a name: I named him “My Yoda,” named after the famous Yoda of Star Wars fame who was quoted to have said, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Only difference being, My Yoda was even more cryptic and positive in his advice to me: “Do! There is no try!”

Since there is no sense of time or space in the spirit world, Spirit Guides and Guardian Angels can have (fortunately for us) infinite patience with us.

Of course, as I began to rely more and more on My Yoda to answer my problems, even trivial little things, in hindsight, I could see that I was getting into the habit of not doing much thinking for myself. My Yoda also noticed this. So, My Yoda patiently took the time to demonstrate to me by just remaining silent at times when I asked trivial questions. My Yoda’s spiritual silence spoke volumes! Through his ‘silence,’ I became aware of how important it was for me to be responsible for my own decisions and not rely so heavily on others to do my thinking for me. Relying too heavily on other people to do my thinking does nothing to improve my spiritual growth!

Relying too heavily on other people to do my thinking does nothing to improve my spiritual growth!

All this brings me back to my opening thought about psychics and the spirit world and what we should or should not allow to enter our minds. Right from the beginning of time, God made us whole and complete in every sense. Although it is wise to harken to good advice, the best advice that you can possibly ever receive comes from within you, be it from your own Self, your Guardian Angel, or your Spiritual Guide. Much of society’s problems stem from the fact that we’ve been condition, even from childhood, that we are nothing: Your stupid! Grow up! Act your age! You’ll never amount to anything! Your sister can do it, so why can’t you? It is no wonder that, when crisis strikes—and crisis does visit every one of us at some time or another—we seek outside help instead of relying on the most accurate help that we could ever hope to get: from inside of our own Being!

Because of the way some of us have been conditioned in life; to disrespect our God-given wholeness in which we’ve been created, we live our lives in fear of the unknown; conditioned to believe that we have no control of our circumstances. Nothing can be farther from the truth of who you really are! You are created in the image of the Almighty God Himself! You, personally, are a god-in-the-making! And, like any person of royalty, you have been assigned a host of loyal servants and friends to help you through life’ journey. Begin each morning in gratitude and remembrance of your Guardian Angel and your Spiritual Guide. Be determined to cultivate their presence in your life and you will never be without trusted friends!

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” – Wayne Dyer

Our Fractured Health Care System

See the source image
Good Health is not free!

I have severe arthritis and was put on the list for a surgical hip replacement. I recently was called to the Bone and Joint clinic here in Lethbridge to see when the doctors there would be able to perform the operation. Although the doctors, nurses and general staff were very friendly, efficient and professional, I couldn’t help but feel that I was in a modern-day assembly line. I simply went from here, to there, answered those questions, then shuffled off to the next room to fill out forms, then another room to answer more questions. Very efficient, but there simply was no time allotted anywhere in the procedures to ask the professionals any personal questions!

At the time of this writing, I’m subscribed to a four-day Mindful Health Summit whose aim is to introduce the practice of conscious Mindfulness to healthcare providers in order to help ease the stress load that they experience. Although the summit is primarily directed towards doctors, nurses and the administrative staff in hospitals and clinics, it was interesting and enlightening for me, personally, as a present and future patient, to listen to the speakers and become aware of just how intense our modern-day health providers work under frustrating conditions where they are constantly overworked and understaffed and where burn-out seems a way of life. I have to ask, why? What’s wrong with our health care system, that’s touted to be among the best in the world, yet so inefficient in many ways when dealing with society’s sick?

It can’t be a shortage of qualified people, because I often read articles where highly qualified medical people immigrate to Canada from other countries, but can’t get a job in the medical field, so end up driving taxis. It can’t be a lack of money that’s causing this problem, because, according to a recent CTV News article, health costs Canadians about eleven thousand dollars each, per year! … and here you thought our health care system was free!

On the other hand, in 2011, the total Canadian pharmaceutical market was the world’s eighth largest, representing about 2.6 per cent of global pharmaceutical sales. The Canadian prescription pharmaceutical market was worth an estimated $29 billion in 2013.

That got me thinking. Maybe it’s Big Business that’s very sneakily behind our health care problem. With its well organized, well structured system and extremely well-paid CEOs, it pays them handsomely to keep our health care system in the frustrated state that it is in today. A shortage of health providers creates long waiting lists so people stay sick longer, thus needing more drugs for that longer period of time before they can get real medical help. Burnout of doctors and nurses too often means mistakes are made, leading to law suites (another lucrative source of income for lawyers) thus, because, as a result of these errors, patients often end up on a lifetime need of drugs.

Manufacturers who supply our clinics and hospitals with needed medical supplies—who, by the way, charge quite handsomely for their products—also benefit from people staying sick longer.

Is there a solution?

This prompts me to ask a burning question: considering that it could—and probably is—true what I said above, that Big Pharma/Big Business is behind all this, could this be a good time to ween ourselves from the profiteering drug industry and take the responsibility for our health into our own hands?

It takes effort, I know, because it means taking your health in my own hands, but it’s absolutely worth the benefits: more energy, greater happiness, and a huge decrease in pain and freedom to do many of the things that I couldn’t do before.

In my research for this article I’ve uncovered hundreds of web sites and blogs of specialists who have done just that: become alternative medicine practitioners and have placed your health and welfare—you, the human being—as first priority over profit. Of course, as anyone knows who’s done searches on the Net, there’s a lot of mis-information out there, also, some ideas being even dangerous, so caution is advised. Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet! One of my favorite search sites for health topics is Healthline at http://www.healthline.com. The articles there are well researched, not skimping on quoting all their information source references, and the articles are written in ‘layman’s English,’ making the information easy to understand. At the end of each topic, they also offer a host of additional sites that you can visit for more, or related information and, a feature I really like, it has only a small, reasonable number of ads on its web pages to distract you.

That’s why I repeat the caution about advertisements on the Net: be careful of what you believe or even bother to read on the Internet. Some sites will cleverly hide their supporter’s ads so well that, unless you’re really ‘wide awake,’ you can easily mistake one of their ads for a medical fact. That’s why I suggest you start with Healthline and work forward from there. It’s a very reliable, fact-based site.

All major religions emphasize that our body is our Temple, and the important role our body plays in our spiritual evolution. In fact, one of my favorite Bible quotes, Jesus’ Parable of the Talents, shows that Jesus really stressed the importance of our bodies in our evolution process in Matthew 25, verses 14 to 29, with especial emphasis on verse 29. “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” If you read this verse superficially, it doesn’t make much sense. However, if you add just one thought in the right place, the verse makes a lot of sense. “For unto every one that hath [the ability to reason] shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hat not [the ability to reason] shall be taken away even that which he hath.” … in other words, the person, through his own laziness, becomes a slave to whomever he turns his reasoning ability over to: in this discussion, to the drug industry.

We’ve incarnated into a wonderful life here on earth, with oodles of chances to enjoy ourselves and at the same time grow in compassion and love. Don’t screw it up!

The Revolution

See the source image
The Eternal Wheel

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”  ― Albert Einstein

Did you ever have an incident—or like in my case, a movie film—that happened way back in your early days, and in all these years, you’re unable to completely erase it from your memory? Well, this film—and this was way back when black and white movies were still in vogue—left one of those indelible impressions on me. I forget most of the details, but I can’t forget the theme of that movie! I’ll call the movie, “The Revolution.” The actual movie could have been produced under a different title, but that title, “The Revolution,” certainly fit the theme I’m talking about, so I’ll use it for my story. Also, as I already mentioned, I forget many details, so I’ll use a lot of license in telling the story—not that it really matters, since it’s all fiction anyway—or is it?

Although this same story has been told, and retold, many times throughout our history, I’ll place my particular story in the meridian of our history—let’s say, some time just after gunpowder, cannons, bombs, pistols and long guns had been invented. The world was once again in a chaotic, violent state, only this time, with the new invention of gunpowder, we were able to kill more people in just one big explosion, and we could now more easily tear flesh from bone than we could with the now outdated sword and spear.

As I said, this fabled country that I speak of, was once again bathed in hate and violence. Horrific wrongs were committed on both sides, when brother turned against brother, and revenge was touted as the only solution to this feud!

This all started when a certain political activist—let’s call him, Adam Justica—decried the injustice that the reigning ruler was brutally imposing on the country’s citizens. At first, his voice was almost alone: most people were to busy scraping together enough money to live on, let alone think about a revolution. But Adam Justica was persistent, and since he was charismatic and had a flare for creating rousing, dramatic speech—rabble rousing, some official government leaders would call it today—wherever he went in the land, he started gathering a following.

Justice! Justice!” became the rallying mantra as hundreds, then thousands of chanting rebels—rabble? Said the government —took to the streets in protest against the injustices of the day.

At first, the then reigning ruler ignored the small, newly formed upstart group, hoping that, when they got hungry, they’d get tired of their protest marches and go back to their homes. But that wasn’t about to happen!

Soon thousands turned into tens of thousands, finally causing more than a little concern for the reigning ruler, concerns that he could no longer ignore. In a public broadcast, the ruler pronounced the rebels as a rag-tag, illegal bunch of hoodlum outlaws and declared open warfare against them.

But victory—if it could even be considered possible by now—wouldn’t be easy!

Adam Justica’s protesters had grown into an impressive force, and he was quick to see an opportunity here and gain even more notoriety in his fight for justice. He promoted himself to General Adam Justica, armed and organized his rebel protesters with the latest weapons, then marched against the capital. Women and children—at least those who were still able to—fled the city in terror, fearing for their lives.

The battle that followed was fierce and ugly and lasted many days. Thousands on both sides of the camp were brutally slaughtered and by now, hardly a building was left unscarred, or not splattered with the blood of the combatants. Then, on the twelfth day of the battle, it was a smoke-filled morning, General Adam Justica emerged high above the noise and gunfire to plant firmly on the still smouldering debris of what was once the country’s beautiful parliament buildings, to raise his own, newly designed flag and triumphantly shout,

We have won! Victory is ours! Justice is ours!”

In the coming years the land settled back into a relative normal routine. Guns were turned back into the proverbial plow shears and the citizens became more preoccupied with every day affairs of love, marriage, and going on vacation then they were with justice. New, more modern buildings sprung up out of the heaps of rubble that had, prior to the revolution, been thriving cities, and the story of “The War to End All Wars” was soon downgraded to only stories told in school history books. New parliament buildings, whose structural beauty and design challenged the creativeness of the best architects in the land, were built over the old parliamentary ruins. The sun shone again, the birds sang, heaven seemed to have descended upon the earth!

Justice had been firmly established! The country was at peace!

Then one fateful day in the New People’s Parliament—I believe it was the two hundred and tenth semi-annual session, one of the People’s Representative stood up to address the Assembly.

“Esteemed People’s Representatives,” he began,” many of my constituents have complained that much of their tax money from our area has been illegally removed from our coffers and is being used to pay off the debts and exorbitant living of a neighboring township. I believe that is the same township that you, General Justica, have your residence in. Could we, form a committee –”

Silence!” General Adam Justica sprang to his feet and in a great, dramatic show of indignation, drew his pistol and shot the offending Representative. “Enough!” he shouted. We’ll have no talk of government unfairness ruining the image of our hard-won battle for justice!” the General fairly screamed his outrage at the remaining People’s Representatives who shrank low into their plush seats, fearing one of them might be targeted next. “Have you forgotten how many of our beloved comrades died and sacrificed much in our fight for justice for all? I’ll have no disgruntled upstart dare to stand and question these rules of justice for all!” He turned his glare onto the limp, dead body of the Representative. “You are a traitor to your country!

The sound of the general’s gunshots quickly—ever so decisively—vibrated throughout the land, finally settling in on an old, giant, rotting wooden wheel that lay nearly buried in the murky, stinky mire of the cold, sinister depths of a haunted bog near the edge of the country, a bog so disgusting to human consciousness that no sane citizen of the land wanted to talk about.

If one squinted and looked carefully, the single word, “JUSTICE,” had been carved into its rim by some ancient general whose name was now long forgotten, but could still be seen through the wisps of steam rising off the bog.

At first, upon hearing the gunshot, the rotting wheel just gave an almost imperceptible shiver of protest, even a faint whimper could be heard. After several years of anticipated peace, the wheel hoped—oh God, how it hoped—that it could finally rest forever—maybe even die and have its morbid history erased for ever from the consciousness of creation. But that was not its lot! Forced by the laws of an ancient curse placed on it during another civilization’s time, or by gods and generals whose names are now forgotten, it painfully rose out of the steaming, dank bog and started—once again—its relentless roll across the land.

Justice! Justice! Justice!” it chanted at every agonizing completion of a role!

ADDENDUM:

Will humanity ever find peace and real justice through violent protest? In fact, do we even have an alternative to violence, or are we, ourselves The Wheel I speak of; burdened with an ancient curse placed upon us by some higher, evil force; doomed to cycle forever through times of war, then, out of sheer, sadistic mockery, offered a brief moment of peace only to rise again and make war?

Our Holy Books tell us there is hope. They remind us constantly that we are more! That we’re made of star dust; of royal lineage—the same lineage that the gods and the universe itself is made of. So why do we seem so incapable of shrugging off that evil curse and live like the gods themselves live; in peace, self-empowerment and true justice?

Remember … remember who we really are, and abandon the ancient curse of The Wheel!

Offering Grace Before Eating

I was raised on a farm in Saskatchewan in a religious, Lutheran environment where it was Law One to offer grace before you even dared put any food or drink to your lips at mealtime.

 

See the source image

“Why do we have to thank God for our food?” I remember asking of my mother. After all, living on a small, mixed farm where we raised our own animals, grew our own grains that we consumed, why thank God for what we ate? In fact, I felt that if anyone deserved thanks for providing all the healthy and nutritious food, it should be my Dad, and my Mother for preparing it in a delicious manner that made it so fun to eat.

“Did Dad make the cow that offered her life so that you can enjoy roast beef you’re now eating?” my Mother asked as she poured a generous amount of beef gravy on my potatoes. “Who provides the rain that makes the potatoes and carrots grow? And even more important, who designed our earth with such perfection and beauty that makes it possible for us to live in abundance and health that we enjoy?”

“Hmm!” Well, that gave me something to think about … “But it was Dad—and, well—I—yes, even I helped in butchering the cow to prepare the meat, and I helped dig up the potatoes and carrots so that we’ll always have plenty to eat.” I countered. I still wasn’t fully satisfied with Mom’s answer as to why we should thank God when we, ourselves, did so much of the work in preparing our own food.

“Well, not all of the world is as beautiful as our farm is,” I thought I had her cornered on this one. “There are a lot of places on earth that are desert where nothing grows, and thousands of people have little or nothing to eat—some even starve to death! What about them? Should they thank God for having nothing?”

“O.k., time for some scripture study!” my Dad playfully poked his finger against my forehead. “Get your scriptures, and turn to Matthew, Chapter 25 and read, what’s called, The Parable of the Talents, and I want you to pay special attention to the servant who had been given the one talent.”

I started reading. “Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents—”

“Never mind that verse,” Dad interjected. “Read the next verse.”

“Why?” I protested. “Sounds to me it’s what an angry God would do to someone He didn’t like, like the guy with only one talent. Punish him!”

“Read the next verse,” Dad repeated, not making a comment on my thought. “and see why God took that one talent from the man.”

For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” That verse didn’t make sense to me at all! I still say it sounds like what a mean God would do—”

“There’s a word missing in that verse. I want you to read—and remember from now on—to read that verse by including that one missing word.” Dad read this time, “For unto every one that hath Gratitude [it] shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not Gratitude,[it] shall be taken away even that which he hath.

In that light, I suddenly I understood!  “You mean, because we say Grace at every meal, God gives us even more than we need? And the people who are starving, because they never bothered to give thanks, have nothing?”

Dad skewed his face, as if he didn’t quite agree with me. “In a few cases, this may be true. “But, most often, when we see poverty, it’s God’s way of allowing us, who live in abundance, to develop compassion in our hearts. And, since we’ve been given more than we need, we share that abundance with those who have not. Therefore, we can usually  be assured of having lots.”

I sighed. I’ll sure be glad when I grow up so that I can be as smart as my Dad and Mom. I still don’t fully understand this thing about gratitude—but then, I guess, that’s why we have the old saying, “live and learn.” That sure applies to me.

“Besides, it’s a grateful heart that is willing to share without hesitance,” my Mother continued, removing the empty dinner plate from in front of me and replacing it with a slice of warm apple pie—by the way, I’d like to add, apples that I, myself, picked from  our own apple tree in our back yard.

“That’s what’s so wrong in the world today,” Mother finished.  “People are greedy and angry and give no forethought as to the many things we should be grateful for. And, far too often, the more they complain, the worse it gets for them.”

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”   Zig Ziglar