Vengeance is Mine

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. — Romans 12:19

I shall never forgive him as long as I live!” She bawled at the judge, then took out a small, white hanky from her designer purse, unfolded it, and in trembling emotions, wiped away tears. “He ruined my life! How can I ever again walk down the street at night without fear of being robbed!”

Her attacker, the man who stole her purse—the black designer purse, not the red one she carried into the witness stand with her, sat quietly in the accuser’s box, head bent, avoiding eye contact with the judge.

Although the above scene is fictional, it’s analogous to cases of near theatrical drama played out in society today of people who feel they have been seriously wronged or insulted. All one has to do is listen to the evening news or watch popular television’s court dramas to realize that we’re obsessed with hate and vengeance—and our need for justice!

I don’t have any official, peer-reviewed studies to quote from to back my findings, but I’ve lived long enough and witnessed many cases where the incidents often were more drama than real injustices.

Although the following story is loosely based on a true story about a couple I once knew, I embellish highlights to emphasize some important points.

For the first year of their marriage, this couple were madly in love with each other. They were like two pieces of harmoniously locked Lego©. They had the same interests; they went to the movies together; they went shopping together, they even enjoyed mutual friends.

Gradually, however, the husband got involved in activities and interests that did not involve his wife. He even started drinking. Five years later, the husband finally approached his wife and asked for a divorce.

Call it rage, indignity, or plain fury, but the wife did not accept the husband’s request for a divorce lightly. She felt extremely hurt and humiliated and vowed that she would do everything in her power to see that that “unfaithful rat” (her husband) gets totally ruined and humiliated.

The husband finally got his divorce, although the court battle was steamy and expensive. The husband was willing to concede much of their joint property—just leave him with some dignity. But the wife would have none of that. The rat had to be completely ruined!

In her bitterness, what the wife did not realize was that the long-drawn-out court proceedings and lawyer fees not only financially ruined—now her ex-husband, but also ruined her: the lawyers were the new owners of her once-beautiful home, their Daimler sports car, and their once-joint bank account.

Long-suffering and patience are a virtue

If the wife would have been more patient and thoughtful, if she would have waited just two years, her desire to see her ex-husband ruined would have come true, naturally, with any effort on her part. And she would still be living in her beautiful home, and possibly still driving her Daimler sports car.

It ended up that the woman at the center of the reason for the ex-husband’s divorce changed her mind about marrying him, so in frustration and disappointment, he took to drinking—heavy drinking, ending up penniless and homeless.

Perceived injustice is everywhere in society. Who cannot find at least one person in their life who has committed an injustice to them? Unfortunately, to carry the anger of unforgiving injustice in your heart for the rest of your life only weighs heavily on your own health. It’s like drinking a cup of poison to hurt your accused. You end up hurting yourself!

The good news is, there really is justice. It’s just that we’re often consciously so busy carrying the burden of our injustice, we don’t see the complete picture. I’ve shown one example of justice in the above story about the husband and wife who, in the first year of their marriage, cared deeply about each other. But later, their marriage turned very dysfunctional.

Taking into consideration the complexity of almost any situation in life, it is difficult, if not impossible, to lay the fault on either person or an event. Negotiation, where possible, is a preferred option. However, like in the above situation where one member refuses to negotiate, it is often best to leave ‘justice’ in the hands of a Higher Power.

Creation is too complex to believe that life began through an unconscious series of events. To even consider such a possibility, my question then would be, who brought into existence the laws of physics and metaphysics to even give stability to life as we know it?

Thus, given the possibility that an intelligent ‘Super Mind,’ is behind creation, it would only seem logical that such this Mind—God, would care equally for both the antagonist and the recipient of the antagonism, and that metaphysical law would ensure justice prevailed.

To forgive a person for an injustice that they might have done to you is not to “let them off the hook,” so to speak. They are still responsible for dealing with their own actions. You are forgiving yourself for any anger you may have felt during the incident, thus clearing your own conscience and “leaving the details of justice to God.”

Thoughts on the COVID-19 Virus

According to an article in Wikipedia, titled, “Neuroscience and Intelligence,” that states, in part, “larger brain size and volume is associated with better cognitive functioning and higher intelligence.[i] If this statement is true, consider the brain size in a COVID-19 virus. The virus, itself, is so small it can only be seen through an electron microscope. If you think that is small, consider the brain size of that virus—if it even has a brain. Yet, that tiny “brain” has been smart enough to bring mankind to its knees!

That presents one of two possibilities: either that article in Neuroscience and Intelligence is off the mark as to what constitutes intelligence, or there’s a far greater intelligence behind the scene, governing that virus. A good comparison would be a person driving a car. Is it the car’s intelligence that winds the car safely through dense traffic, or is it the person behind the wheel of that car that is responsible for the car’s behavior?

Pandemics—plagues, aren’t new to mankind. Consider 1 Samuel 4:8 in the Old Testament: “Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.” Other references in the Old Testament seem to indicate that, whenever “God’s people” would rebel against His wishes, God would send a plague to bring the people back in line.

Could this be, at least in part, what’s happening to us today via the COVID-19 virus? I’m not about to point “sinful” fingers at mankind: I’m not a judge, but I would like to mention a few positives that have occurred in society since the virus kept us housebound.

  • Because we’ve been housebound, family ties have grown stronger. People are doing things more as a family, including self-educating our children, rather than relying solely on teachers to raise their children.
  • People are more charitable and friendly. We’re helping each other more than we used to.
  • Recent anti-racial discrimination demonstrations, including an increase in publicly rebuking spousal violence and pornographic behavior is an indication that we’re growing more compassionate and spiritually mature.

The list goes on, and let’s hope this is a permanent trend, so that we don’t have to experience a second—even worse, a third wave—of the COVID-19 virus in order for us to learn our lesson, as the early Egyptians had to do in Exodus 26!


[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroscience_and_intelligence

Gratitude

Do you remember, as a kid, running up to your Dad and asking him to give you a portion of your allowance? With a smile, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a dollar and gave it to you. Quick as a bouncing rabbit, you took off to the store to meet friends who were already there waiting for you—

“Hey, didn’t you forget something?” Your Dad called after you before you even reached the door. You stopped in your tracks … Oh yes! You ran back to your Dad, gave him a big hug and said, “Thank you, Dad!” … Then you ran off to the store to meet with your friends.

That might have been your first lesson in learning gratitude.

“Gratitude turns what you have into enough” — anonymous

Your second lesson in gratitude may have come when you attended Sunday School and learned that Jesus also preached the power and importance of giving gratitude in the example of His Parable of the Talents: “For unto every one that hath [gratitude] shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not [gratitude] shall be taken away even that which he hath.” – Matthew 25:29

But, as we grew up and became lost in a material world of self-gain, we forgot these lessons. Here’s an example of what I mean: we all love honey. We know that millions of busy little bees work all summer to store up their winter’s supply of honey, so what do we do? We steal it from them! Mind you, I’m not saying that this practice of … uh … ‘helping ourselves’ to the bee’s honey is wrong; not even morally wrong. Creation is so designed that every creature, be it human, animal, reptile, insect, bird, plant or tree, are both preyed upon, and/or are prey to something else in Nature. However, the truth is that all these amenities we ‘take’ for granted (pun intended), including life itself, are gifts from a divine Parent and showing gratitude goes a long way in ensuring the continuation of these gifts. Still staying on the topic of our honeybees, here’s a bad example of selfishness, with a lack of gratitude.

we’ve all read news articles of how farmers are (in some cases, quite indiscriminately) using poisonous chemicals on their grain crops for weed control, but in the process, destroying the bee population, threatening to wipe them out completely. Are we concerned? Some of us are, but it still seems, with our politicians, money talks louder than concern for the survival of the bee. Gratitude for the honeybee’s contribution to our welfare isn’t even on the table!

Are we ever going to be held accountable for our lack of gratitude for all the wonderful things we enjoy on this planet? Go back to your youth when you asked your Dad for some allowance. What would have happened if you stubbornly, and consistently refused to thank him for your allowance?

Methodist minister, John Wesley, said: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all he times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can!” That’s being grateful! Don’t be like the servant, in Matthew, who had “even what he had” taken from him for lack of giving gratitude!

“What you are is God’s gift to you. What you become is your gift to god.”

My Body, My Temple

My Body, My Temple

I had an interesting—well, maybe I should call it an unusual experience last Friday when I visited my doctor at our local medical clinic. Now, remember, I said Friday! The waiting room was nearly empty of patients! By itself, the near-empty clinic wouldn’t be so unusual, except that, on the other hand, Mondays the clinic attendance is just the opposite: it’s packed with patients waiting to see their doctor. This is not an isolated incident, either: it happens almost every weekend! Now, consider that the rest of the week attendance at our clinic is quite normal, so why is the clinic near-empty on Fridays? Could it be that more people get sick on Monday than they do on Friday? Mph! (shrug) Maybe to a small degree—could be an activity change on the weekend, compared to the week days that may influence how sick or healthy a person is on Monday, but surely not to this degree … and so common!

That got me thinking. Could it be that some people, who normally do get sick on Friday, hold off seeing the doctor until Monday so as not to take a chance on ruining their weekend? If that should be the case, how sick are they in the first place? Another question: if our health system would cost us every time we went to see a doctor, how many visits would we skip?

I suspect that far too many of us take advantage of the “free” part of our health care, and forget, or just don’t care, that many of these less serious health problems just clog up our health services and hinder access to patients with more serious health issues.

I think we fail to understand that our so-called “free” health care system isn’t all that free. It may be free at the moment, for the patient seeking help in the doctor’s office, but, in reality, the taxpayer—that includes you—end up footing that bill. An article in the National Post states, “The Canadian Institute for Health Information believes Canada spent approximately $228 billion on health care in 2016. That’s 11.1 percent of Canada’s entire GDP and $6,299 for every Canadian resident.”[i] You see, our health care is not free! Just think of all the consumer goods and services that that money could be better spent on it were not earmarked for taxes.

I sometimes feel that some public attitude seems to be, who cares? It’s not my responsibilityI just want whatever is free. But, now that I have that issue off my mind, I think that this problem of social unconcern for how much we cost the medical system has a deeper root: lack of concern for ourselves! And this should be a bigger worry for us.

Unless you’re one of those people who believe our origin was in sea slime, that we live for an x-number of years, then return to the earth to become worm food, you have to accept that we are very much a part of eternity, and our bodies were “given” to us for a reason: we are here for a reason other than material self-gratification.

Everyone has serious moments in their life and has asked, “who am I?” and why am I here?” And if you are at all serious about what happens in your life, decency and morals have to be part of that concern. Without standards of responsibleness to both ourselves and to society, how long would we exist? And, even more important, what do we owe to ourselves to take care of our bodies? The Buddha is reported to have said, “Your body is precious. It is your vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.[ii] Just like any craftsman knows, upon graduation from Tech (born into this world from a previous existence), he’s given a precious tool box (body) and commanded to “Go boldly forth” and become a god unto his own right.

Yes, by all means, listen to the advice of others—especially experts in their field—but the final decision must by yours!

Your self-consciousness is you: it is eternal, and it’s that which evolves. Your body is your tool box and the tools contained within your tool box are your five senses.

Yes, there is abundant evidence out there that, in the final analysis, the welfare of your body—this would include your health and other material goods—and morally—is your responsibility. Your opinion or conclusions may differ from that of the advice you’ve been given by others, but remember, in the final analysis, place your opinion above others, and act upon your opinion!

Of course, the big kicker here, that many fail accepting responsibility for, is, if it turns out to be an opinion in error, then be mature enough to accept the lesson that experience has taught you, and the Kingdom of Heaven is yours!

A final addendum: if there is such a thing as a hell in the ‘After-life”—or even in one’s latter part of this life—it will be that dreadful self-judging moment when we realize what we could have done, and been, while on earth, but stubbornly refused the challenge a loving God offered!

A Sunday Chat with Myself—Satan Never Lies to You!”

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” —Oscar Wilde

I’ve often heard people make a comment, then close that comment with, “and that’s the truth.” I don’t doubt that what they’ve just said they believe to be the truth—for them! But is it universally true, and will their statement—their truth—stand the test of time?

There are over seven billion people living on earth at this time, each with our own particular beliefs, and an estimated 4,200 belief systems. I also maintain that the word, “religion” doesn’t necessarily mean belonging to a religious organization. Although there are those who will vigorously deny it, every person is religious, whether they belong to a ‘religious’ organization or not. You may believe that having lots of money is the single source of happiness. Fine! That’s your belief; your religion!

Personally, as a practicing Christian, I believe in certain principles and follow certain dogmas. On the other hand, Muslim’s beliefs, although similar in most areas to Christianity, has its differences from my religion, yet we both claim to believe in the same God who created both of us, and is our salvation.

Even in Christianity itself there are diverse beliefs and ‘authoritative’ interpreters of what Jesus claimed to have said, so my question is, who heard Jesus correctly, and who understood Jesus correctly—and is my interpretation and understanding the only right one?

I often envision Jesus tuning in on his diverse followers and shaking his head in disbelief: “how can some of my acclaimed followers misquote and misinterpret me so badly from what I had originally said? I taught love and forgiveness, not hate and war!

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” –Plato

Then there is the matter of faith. According to Wikibooks, “Faith is the basic ingredient to begin a relationship with God. Faith is the assurance that the things revealed and promised in the Word are true, even though unseen, and gives the believer a conviction that what he expects in faith, will come to pass.” Sounds so simple and beautiful, but it is exactly that element in our nature that also causes more wars and anguish than anything else.

I often envision an army, drummed into full, passionate hate, getting ready for battle against their assumed foe. In the last act before actually engaging the ‘enemy,’ they’re blessed by their ‘God-appointed’ Padres and assured that “God is on our side,” while at the same time, our assumed enemy’s Padres are also blessing their troops and told that “God is on their side.” Now they feel most energized to mercilessly slaughter one another, all in the name of the same loving God who created all humans! There’s something wrong with that scenario!

I can’t help but think that there is also something very wrong when I hear both our religious leaders and politicians excite crowds into states of separation, hate and violence against the ‘chosen foe.’ To me, these ‘rabble rousers’—politicians and preachers—are the real Satans—the Lucifers of the world mentioned in Scripture, who use religious texts, twist the contents ever so slightly, then have us believe that what they speak—the twisted truth, is actually the real truth!

This is another example of what I mean when I say we have accepted certain men and women in our lives to lead us, and often that truth gets twisted to suit their agenda, not Jesus’ agenda for us. In John 13:34 Jesus is reported to have said, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Do you see any room here for isolation of a neighbor, separation of loved ones or hate because they didn’t follow our particular wish, or reason to hate someone enough to go to war with them and kill them? And remember, Jesus didn’t just wish that we would love one another: He gave us a commandment to love one another. That truth is direct and straight forward. Pretty hard to change facts and their meaning—or is it?

So, how would Lucifer twist Jesus’ command to love one another to suit his own purpose? Simple! Lucifer would stand on his podium and piously agree with the truth that Jesus spoke: “love one another,” but in a quieter moment, he’d simply add, “as long as people repent and do what I tell them to do!” And, in just that simple, innocent-sounding short addition, he’s completely turned love into hate, and given you your ‘righteous’ excuse to go to war with your neighbor!

Another example. I wake up one morning and find that my house has been broken into, and my money stolen. Immediately, in a great fanfare of emotion that an-injustice-has-been-committed-against-me,  I call the police—and the news media, eternally seeking for that dramatic moment in one’s life (especially if their cameras can capture a tear or two in my eye. That would help), is hard on the heals of the police, looking for that dramatic cry of ‘injustice’, and, I-need-to-be-avenged, while shaking my fist and declare in rightousness that the perpetrator be justly punished.

Lucifer, and his band of dedicated followers, feed on hate and intolerance of this kind. That’s their food! War is a banquet to them.

Back to my story. Instead of getting all hyper and vengeful, why not stop and ask—as Jesus would certainly do—why did that person go to all the trouble of breaking into my house and robbing me? Maybe he has been unemployed for some time and he and his family are having trouble meeting their bills. He needs money. Where can I help? Maybe he has an addiction problem and his sense of morals have been perverted. Again, where can I help? Or, could it be that the guy is simply a sociopath and doesn’t know any better, thus needs more than my help: he needs professional help.

Jail is a punishment invented by man, not The Christ! Jail is not compassion!

In either case, when the man is brought before the judge for trial, am I there to help decide a compassionate solution to his problem? Admittedly, the man does have a problem because a normal, balanced person is not going to deliberately commit a crime against his fellow man. And that is a truth!

Sometimes, when I look at the world and see all the cruelty, suffering and hate that we foist on each other, I have to wonder just how far—if at all—we have evolved from the primitive savage that our anthropologists and archaeologists tell us we supposedly came from.

I also look up at the stars and think, is there intelligent life out there? If there is, why haven’t they contacted us? Could it be that they are patiently waiting for us to grow up: to throw off our primitive habits and become kinder, and more honest with each other; to evolve to a point where we are intelligent and spiritual enough so that Satan no longer has the power to twist the truth to his morbid pleasure and our suffering?

I believe that only then, when we’ve outgrown our weakness to accept“twisted truth,” will we be formally visited by Extraterrestrials and invited to join the Cosmic Community!

A Sunday Chat with Myself—Our Nourishment Habits in the Spirit World

“When your life is filled with the desire to see the holiness in everyday life, something magical happens: ordinary life becomes extraordinary, and the very process of life begins to nourish your soul! ” Rabbi Harold Kushner

A few years back I experienced what is loosely termed—and greatly misunderstood, a Near-death Experience. During that experience I heard a voice very clearly say to me, “Man is not made to eat meat.” I’ve since become a vegetarian. My greatest triumph over having accepted that decision is, whenever a cattle liner loaded with animals headed to a slaughter house passes me—although I still can’t help but send a silent prayer of comfort to those poor animals in that liner—I have a lighter conscience that I am no longer a contributor to that form of indifference and brutality. There was much more to that NDE—in fact, I’ve had two additional NDEs since then, but they can be topics for later musings. This Sunday, I have a single thought. If vegetarianism is a primer leading to eventual higher standards of life, then, especially when I reach the spirit world, what will I  be eating? Or, do we even need nourishment in higher densities?

I’ve given some serious deliberation to this problem because, if life is continuous, and we keep evolving to higher planes—which, by the way, I also believe includes plants, insects, reptiles: in other words, all living things—in fact, including the very earth that we live on—how do we nourish ourselves? And, be you Christian, Buddhist, Atheist or Agnostic, eventually we must all … uh, “die” out of this third density plane! Therefore, eating flesh of any kind, or anything that has/had life in it, will not be a source for sustenance for us in higher dimensions.

“Big-heartedness is the most essential virtue on the spiritual journey.”  Matthew Fox

I know that the whole of the universe is made up of consciousness. In fact, the universe is consciousness. And it is consciousness (God?) that creates energy, which creates matter and form. But, since there will be no death, as we understand death in this third density, we won’t be in a position to “kill” some  other part of creation in order to eat it and sustain ourselves.

Thought (The Logos: The Word), which is the first creative force emanating from consciousness,  creates feelings … and the strongest and prime feeling created is Love!

I remember times when I felt “on top of the world”? I was full of energy; I felt like dancing; I could have kissed everyone that I met and wish them the same happy feeling that I was having. And oh,  how I wished that this”happy feeling” would live on forever!

That’s what I’ll be experiencing  in the planes—densities— beyond this one. Not only will I be sumptuously dining on this glorious feeling, I will also be radiating this feeling to all the created spirits in the universe!

It is this Happy Feeling, this Love that  will be mine to dine on when I graduate to higher realms.

Love—Eternal Bliss—is the Spirit-Food that we will quaff on, and freely share with our neighbors in our worlds to come.

A Sunday Chat with Myself (How Big is God?)

Don’t tell God that you have a big problem. Tell your problem that you have a big God!

The question of how big is God, is still a growing one with me, where I learn something new on the topic almost daily.  When I was a child and went to Sunday School, I imagined (was taught?) God to be a man, not much taller than my grandpa, who had a long white beard and walked around on clouds all day dressed in a long white robe, muttering and grumbling about this thing not being right, or that thing not acting like it should. To me, in my childhood, God was an angry god who constantly threatened that if we didn’t attend church regularly and give Him a lot of money, then when I died, He’d throw me into hell where I’d burn forever. At the time, that was more than enough for me to mind my parents—well, most of the time—and never, ever miss Sunday School. I knew that getting burnt by fire was a really painful experience—and to burn forever in a lake of brimstone and fire?I was really scared of God!

However, as I grew older and began to learn more about what constituted life, creation in general, and the cosmos as something larger than the clouds above me where God dwelt, my views of God started to change. I still saw God as a grouchy old man with a short fuse, but now He had elevated himself. He lived somewhere in the heavens a little higher up than the clouds, and He was a bit larger and more powerful than my grandpa.

“Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?” — Job 26:14

My evolutionary understanding of what God is, has come a lo-o-o-ng  way that changed direction several times from childhood to my present. There was even a time when, as I saw the universe as an infinite, expanding place, I could not fit a physical God into it, for where would He reside in this universe? Where could his home be? I became a devout atheist! I rationalized that it was physically impossible for a god to rule infinity—and, from where would He rule, to begin with? Also, as a near infinite tiny speck in this creation, how could any god even know that I existed? Relative in size to the universe, how could God even see me, let alone hear any of my prayers?

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” — Psalm 8:4

My vision of what I thought God is, really fast tracked for me when, fairly recently, I was introduced to Zecharia Sitchin’s books, in particular, “The 12th planet,” and “There were giants upon the earth.” Suddenly, I saw humanity’s—including my own—version of (now Gods) suddenly  becoming plural: see Genesis 3:22) as giant extraterrestrials who had genetically modified us, first, as servants to the Anunnaki, then, thanks to Enki (now called Jesus, the Christ), we were engineered to “fall,” and become self-conscious, thinking beings: the Adapa (Adam) species were created on earth! This even explained why anthropology never had an answer as to where we came (evolved) from. They couldn’t find that missing link, and, that is most likely because we didn’t evolve from lower species, like anthropology claimed, but were created—not in a Biblical version by a grumpy old man, but by giant extraterrestrials who did, in all reality, come to earth “from the heavens,” and had their home “in the heavens.”

But, all this raised another. If the giants—the Anunnaki—created us—and out of their own gene pool—where is the god of my childhood?

Gregg Braden, in his “Missing Links” series on Gaia TV, claims that we could well be living in a giant, holographic universe, and stated: “our act, the act of us looking with the expectation that we will see something, is an act of creation within our simulated universe.” In other words, what we are looking for, and think we’ve found, we create it!

It seems like, in my quest to find and understand God, my search first went out to explore the clouds above me, then the infinite universe. Then, like a well balanced boomerang, my crusade came right back to me and showed me: I am my own God! I am the conscious creator of my world. Collectively, consciousness created the universe and its infinite possibilities. And I am part of that collective, conscious creation!

How cool is that, eh?

 

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!

A Sunday Chat with Myself (charity)

A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.” — Luke 10:30

Many years ago our family had the  experience of having to request charity from our Church to survive the winter. This was, at the time, a very humbling experience, especially since, prior to our family moving to Cardston from Calgary, where I held a well-paying job with an oil company. However, when it was all over and I was back on my feet again, upon looking back at the experience, it was, in the truest sense, a positive, learning experience, and I’m thankful for it. It was a time when I experienced, to use the old movie title—”The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly:” the true nature of people. Let me explain.

Of course, it was no secret in town that we were on Church assistance, so—and this is where it becomes interesting—many Ward members did their small part in helping us. I classified our givers into three types. First, there were the “well-if-you-weren’t-so-lazy-and-get-off-your-ass-and-get-yourself-a-job-you-wouldn’t-be-in-this-mess” type. One lady that I put in this category, brought us a few oranges that were so old and dried up that we couldn’t even peel them, had we even tried to eat them. Furthermore, the lady emphasized the fact that she brought these oranges to us as a charitable donation, given out of the goodness of her heart, and that we (the lazy bum) had better appreciate her generous gift!

“And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.” — Luke 10:31

Then there was the second type. These I placed in the “political” category. You know, the politician always looking for a photo-op chance? The reason I say, political, it that they wanted everyone in the neighborhood to know that they were being charitable to us. They did no research to see that, what they brought to us was actually something that we might need: their point was that they were publicly demonstrating that they were charitable!

“And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.” — Luke 10:32

Then there were those that I placed into the third category. They were, in every definition of the word, charity—charitable. They made certain that what they  brought, or left on our doorstep for us to find, items that we could really use, and with almost without exception, items of superior quality. There are many of these wonderful donors who, to this day, I don’t know who they were. It was to remain their secret!

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him.” — Luke 10:33

Life has improved considerably for us since those early trying days, but they were impressive days that have given me many hours of serious thought. What is charity? When is it time to administer “tough love,” and when is it time to give physical aid: money, a helping hand in a project, or even just a kind, encouraging word?

In return for my humbling experiences, life has taught me that the most honourable job that I can aspire to is to be a compassionate altruist!