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!

A Sunday Chat with Myself (Abandonment)

If you leave someone at least tell them why, because what’s more painful than being abandoned, is knowing you’re not worth any explanation.

Earlier today I read an article in a pet magazine dealing with the subject of how cruel it is to abandon one’s pet. The author headed his article with a photo showing a recently abandoned dog left in the middle of the road by his owner. The dog was anxiously glancing down the road, painfully watching his former owner disappearing out of sight. Dogs are social animals and will usually form a very close bond with anyone who calls himself the dog’s owner. That was a cruel act!

The longer I looked at the photo of that abandoned dog, the more aware I became of the dog’s feeling of just having been abandoned. I finally had to turn the page of that magazine. If that dog’s heart didn’t break at that moment, mine almost did! I wished that I could have run up to that dog, embraced it, and assured it that it was not abandoned: that it was loved! But, a greater tragedy is, how common abandonment is in our world today, and how negatively indelible such an experience is upon the soul … examples: a father abandons his wife and children often without explanation or forewarning; a student, having difficulty with a school assignment, finds the teacher disinterested in his problem—go figure it out for yourself;  a young girl, madly in love with a young man is left stranded on the dance floor; or, probably worst case of all, praying to God for help and find that He has seemingly left you to face your problem alone. This happened to me once.

Many years ago when I was still in the military. We had just come home after spending six weeks in intensive military exercises. I missed my wife and children and, as I walked down the few remaining sidewalk steps to my front door, I had visions of being greeted by a loving wife and children. Also, I was tired and was looking forward to a restful night in my own, comfortable bed. However, as I entered my house, instead of finding the love and warmth of a family that I was anticipating, I found a note that my wife, along with my children, had left me for the arms of another man! My world crashed!

Because our unit had arrived back in camp from field exercises late in the afternoon, and we were all quite tired, our Captain said that we might as well just take our weapons home with us, and we could hand them back in to Ordnance Stores in the morning, so I still had my sten gun with me, our unit’s assigned weapon. I recall sitting down on our couch trying to make sense of a world that had just collapsed around me. What had I done to deserve this?

“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  — Matthew 27:46

My sten gun held approximately 30 rounds of .9mm bullets in its magazine. I held the gun to my head. The trigger pull was about one quarter of an inch, then it would fire … in a moment, I would be able to ask my Maker, personally, why He had abandoned me, and what I had done to deserve such an unwelcome homecoming from military exercises!

But even in my grief, my trigger finger froze and refused to “pull.”  Try as I might, I could not pull that trigger! In frustration, I threw the gun onto the floor and covered my face with my hands and began to sob. Then I heard it: that almost imperceptible voice in my head that quietly, calmly, lovingly said: “Is she worth you taking your life like this?” They were only nine simple words, but in that brief, calming moment, a volume of understanding unfolded inside of me.

My God had not abandoned me!

In time, my failed marriage began to heal and my life started taking on new meaning. I found that the experience with my failed marriage greatly strengthened my spirit, and as a result, was able to better handle many of the future challenges that life was about to bless me with. I learned that, when one door closes, God opens another, often a better one, just to the right of the closed door!

I found that life was really an adventure, and it was all the good times, mixed in with the bad,  that made my soul blossom into the great person that I am today!

“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy”       — 2 Nephi 2:25

A Sunday Chat with Myself (Experience)

“Experience is the teacher of all things.” –julius Caesar

It seems curious to me that, when we talk about what living the perfect life might be like, we think of life lived as we see in a Lotto 649 ad: exciting!–like diving off high cliffs into azure pools below, relaxing with invited friends on deck of our own personal luxury cruise yacht, laughing and partying with not a care in the world. Yet, when one hears years later about these lotto winners who’ve tried this type of life,  the majority of them–or anyone, for that matter, who tries to live the good life as advertised by these get-rich-quick companies as the perfect dream-life, we see total disaster.

From all this I gather that such an artificial life–unearned luxuries–isn’t what we came here on earth to experience. Yes, dreaming big is part of our purpose, and it’s a noble purpose, but dreaming big involves effort and personal involvement on our part in order to accomplish those dreams. Then we can say to the Universe, “I’ve earned my accomplishments!

I can clearly remember, many, many years ago when I was still a kid living my innocence on a farm in central Saskatchewan. It was the middle of the 1930s. The whole country was still agonizing itself through the Great Depression, and effects of that terrible time were present everywhere. But, still, we considered ourselves to be among the lucky ones: we lived on a farm where we raised chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, cows and had two teams of work horses that we used in working the grain fields, so if we had nothing else, we always had plenty to eat. Yes, our mother often had to sew patches over already worn out or torn patches on our clothes, but that was life in those days. Everyone was in the same boat.

Since we lived less than a quarter of a mile from the Canadian National Railway that linked Canada from east to west, we saw a lot of out-of-work Eastern “Railroad Bums”  riding the rails  to Alberta in search of a better chance at employment. Often thirsty and hungry, many would jump off the moving rail cars and stop at our farm to ask for a handout. Money, of course, was out of the question, since we never had any money ourselves, so we were unable to help anyone else, financially.

But mother always made sure that she had a pot of something on the stove so that our “temporary guests” didn’t leave on an empty stomach, and that usually included  packing a tick, double-sliced beef sandwich on fresh, homemade bread to take with them for their remaining journey to a better future.

It’s funny … not  like today, in those days, we never treated these “Railroad Bums” with suspicion: that they might want to rob us, or were perverts running from the law. We knew that they were someone’s husband, father, or son, who had the misfortune of being caught up in the Great Depression, and were looking for work–somewhere, anywhere, as long as it provided an income so that they could feed their families. It was our Christian duty to show compassion to those men who were less fortunate than we were.

It was exactly these hard, depressive times that taught our community compassion. But, it was a youthful experience during this depressive hard time that taught me, personally, the difference between showing compassion, and letting a person work out their own destiny in their own time, in their own way, without my interference.

As I said, we had chickens on our farm and it was usually us children’s job to go around to all the chicken’s hiding places around the yard and stables to collect the eggs for the day. Occasionally, the chickens were smarter than we were, and hid their laying nests so well that we didn’t always find them–that is, not until many days later when the hens had brooded their eggs to the point where they began to hatch, and we’d only spot the nests after little chicks were running everywhere.

I recall one particular incident when my younger brother and I were on an egg-gathering mission. We came across a hidden nest where some chicks were already hatched, but other chicks were still in various stages of breaking through their eggshells. My brother and I decided to give these partially hatched chicks a hand by breaking the shells for them, saving them the effort. Unfortunately, this proved a disaster! To our dismay, all the chicks that we tried to help, died while still in their shell! What went wrong? Weren’t we showing compassion?

It wasn’t until many, many years later, and weathering many of the bumps and bruises life has to offer , before I learned that God has a reason for giving us challenges: to break out of our own eggshells on our own, without outside help. He has a reason for making us apply effort to achieve anything worthwhile in life. We need challenges and setbacks in life in order for us to grow, spiritually!

I know of persons where, when everything is just handed to a person born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouth, that person became lazy and self-centred. They often just frit away the business worth that their father had built through his hard work.  They often become selfish and uncaring, and before long, they’re spiritually dead, much like those chicks that we tried to help years ago, became physically dead because we tried to give them something for nothing.

There is a reason for trials and shortcomings. They are not punishments from a wrathful or uncaring God. They are there to help one grow: to learn to love: to show compassion, so that I can, eventually, become the god I am meant to become!