Category Archives: Philosophy

Personal beliefs, attitudes and value system.

The 12 Seeds of Immortality


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Life is precious, yes? Even more profound, is appreciating it. Indeed, perhaps, this is the most essential life skill to master.

The pure experiences of nature, our senses, and life’s lessons, distill in us our sense of purpose, being, goals, thoughts, and behaviors. Wisdom is a fleeting thing at best, nearly impossible to attain at worst. Yet we try.

And so it has come to being, my being, in that I believe I have discovered the seeds of immortality through experience, contemplation, observation, experimentation, and maybe a little bit of luck.

My good fortunes in life initially stem from being the youngest in my family. I had the opportunity to witness life as a child, through the eyes of my brothers and sisters. Indeed, what worked for them, along with what to avoid at all costs. They were, unknowingly, the best teachers I’ve come to realize. The luck came in the form of me recognizing the important moments in my life, analyzing their significance, and creating the path I followed throughout my youth, young adulthood, up to and including my present life.

Courtesy: Pixabay.com

And so, I’d like to share with you the 12 things in Life that will all but guarantee the essence of your life to live on forever… in the hearts and minds of those who love you.

Collectively, these paths of life intertwine and grow into and with one another, creating and developing an unstoppable force; the force of You.

It all begins with Feeling the Spirit. Our conscience is the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts, minds, and souls. To embrace it is the foundation of understanding our being and purpose in life. Better yet, to act upon its whispers to us.

In focusing on the positive energy in the world, we must Give Gratitude for Life. And not just our own, but every facet and manifestation of it on the planet. Cherish life, as it is precious, meaningful, beautiful; and finite.

Hand in hand, we must Demonstrate Goodwill through our thoughts, actions, and behaviors. In a Pay It Forward mentality, Karma is real and powerful. Develop Goodwill into more than a habit. Make it an instinct.

Recognizing and appreciating that we are not alone, Share the Love of God with others, by being an example of it. You just might be the only Bible someone experiences on a particular day. Be ready to teach as well as learn.

And in being aware of your role in the tapestry of life, use yours to Strengthen the Family, as it is the core that sustains you, nourishes you, emboldens you, and ultimately, helps to mold you into your future.

True wisdom exists when we Accept the Reality, Divinity, and Power of God. Life is no accident, we are not cosmic coincidences, but intelligent beings created by Intelligent Design. Breathe in the life force that is God.

Life is a lot more fun and enjoyable when we Advocate for Peace. We are all made uniquely and with purpose, yet because of that fact, it is nearly impossible to agree on everything with everybody. So, give Peace a chance.

We were born with senses, to not only understand the world around us, but also each other. And in following that learning, there is positive energy, tremendous power and goodness in the Physical Touch and Caring we extend to others in our Walk through Life.

Recognizing patterns in life, culture, family, and society, speaks of things people hold dear. Accordingly, Appreciate and Respect Tradition and others will do the same for you.

It is said that to Know and Not to Do is to Not Know. Following, we must Practice Discipleship through our lives as witness to God, in the interest of helping and supporting each other, and in teaching our children Right and Wrong.

As imperfect human beings, each of us has and will, undoubtedly hurt others through our words and/or actions. Life is a long journey, so the best approach to leveraging it in a positive light, is to Advocate Forgiveness, Reconciliation, and Healing. Humility is underrated.

And lastly, to set the example for others to see us more clearly, we must Demonstrate Compassion and Giving in our life to pay homage to our Creator. Indeed, to imitate His ways, actions, and life.

If (and when) we can successfully and effectively meld these 12 seeds into a living, breathing entity, it will grow deep and strong and cause our lives to be more meaningful, impactful, and memorable. And, in the Larger picture of life, isn’t that the ultimate goal each of us truly desires?  God Bless us all.

In The Course Of A Lifetime…


wood bridge cute sitting

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As a child (and sometimes even as an adult), when you’re waiting for something or someone, time seems to stand still.  Yet, concurrently, when you’re having the time of your life, time slips away like a “Thief in the Night”.

Each of these events feel as real as the light of day, yet most logical people understand that time, as we know it, trudges on in perfect cadence within the universe, unaffected by our physical presence and undeterred in its marching band procession into eternity.

shallow focus photography of hourglass

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Most assuredly, time warps and truly accelerates as we mature and physically age.  Memories of our past accumulate and simply add to the weight of time on our hearts, minds and souls.  And in contrast, our souls never really age, even as they mature.  Our souls are everlasting orbs of energy that will, without question, outlive our carbon life form shells.

 

“The key to grasping in crystalline fashion, the significance of our being comes into perfect focus when we step outside of our own lives and dwell on the constructs of Love, Salvation, and Redemption.  For it is only when we acknowledge, accept and internalize these timeless and abstract emotions, that we come to understand just how special each of us genuinely are, and accordingly, how incredibly precious and delicate this life and its realities become, in contrast to the minute details of life, that in truth, consume the lion’s share percentage of it.”

There are several lessons for us to internalize:

  • Live “in the moment”
  • Don’t hold grudges; learn how to forgive
  • Recognize the Power of Family
  • Never procrastinate those difficult conversations with loved ones
  • Erase the word “Regret” from your vocabulary
  • Tell them how much you love them and how much they mean to you
  • In Testimony to God, live your life to demonstrate how Thankful you are
  • Value your Parents and appreciate who they are as children of God
    • A Parent’s job is anything But easy
  • Forget their human presence, because in Truth, they are immortal spiritual beings

smiling man and woman wearing jackets

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Call your Parents…

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.  – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Forever….. means Forever.

Mother and Child Reunion (Paul Simon)
No I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away
Oh, little darling of mine
I can’t for the life of me
Remember a sadder day
I know they say let it be
But it just don’t work out that way
And the course of a lifetime runs
Over and over again
No I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away
Oh, little darling of mine
I just can’t believe it’s so
Though it seems strange to say
I never been laid so low
In such a mysterious way
And the course of a lifetime runs
Over and over again

Good Riddance (Time of Your Life / Green Day)
Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life
So take the photographs and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth it was worth all the while
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life

 

Truth – A Moment of Eternity


silhouette of man touching woman against sunset sky

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Truth is not an emotion.  It bears no Anger, Joy, Hate or Love.  Truth be not happy nor sad, for it is but the aggregation, totality and revelation of simply, how things just are.  Jesus Christ is Truth personified as evidenced by his Words in Exodus 3:14:

 

 

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”

And in Revelation 1:8:

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

railway

Photo by Todd Trapani on Pexels.com

Suffice it to say, we, as human beings, are incapable of comprehending the entirety of God, lest we are equal to God.  As sinners, and as children of God, we have the free will to accept or reject God, the Truth of God, the eternity of God, the Salvation of God, the Mercy of God, and especially, the Judgment of God.

When I reflect upon my life, and consider my every life experience, especially my “Moments of Truth”, you know, when the proverbial light bulb comes on, when you see everything in crystal clarity, when you simply know the way things are.  These numerous moments that I have lived have taught me in unequivocal fashion, the absolute certainty of not merely the existence of God, but the incomprehensible Truth, Power, Wisdom and Dimension(s) of a Supreme Being that demonstrates no boundaries, whatsoever.

And then, given that limitless presence, for God to love me unconditionally, uniquely, with compassion, complete knowledge, forgiveness, and empowerment to be able to choose or reject Him, is the most humbling, frightening, and profound reality I can even begin to imagine.  He Died for me!  He created me!  He loves me!  He wants to share His Life with me!  (Jeremiah 1:5)

“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

I am simultaneously overcome with Emotion, Love, Sadness, Joy, Excitement, Wonder, Fear, Anxiety, Relief and Confidence about my future, not only now as a physical human being, but more importantly, for all eternity, as His child in heaven… forever.

The conundrum of the concept of time, means absolutely nothing when contrasted with the concept of eternity.  And given the certainty of eternity, there truly is no other alternative belief for me to choose, regarding my acknowledgement, acceptance and embrace of the God that Loves me as His son.

red lighted candle

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I would forever choose to live my complete mortal life believing in God, and finding out after death there is none; than to live my life as a non-believer, and then dying, to learn that God indeed exists.

In my heart of hearts, that feeling I experience when I help someone in need, indeed, someone not in need, the exhilaration of knowing I made a positive difference in the life of another human being, is something I cherish as much as life itself, and will not jeopardize, risk or compromise for anything.

For it is within each of us to acknowledge, establish and develop our personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  That relationship is not found in a book, a building, a crucifix or blessed water.  It exclusively exists in our heart and is demonstrated each second we live by the thoughts, words, actions and commitment we promise to ourselves.

Truth is my eternal now.  What is Your Truth?

I think the universe is on my side
Heaven and earth have finally aligned
Days are good and that’s the way it should be
You sprinkle stardust on my pillow case
It’s like a moon beam brushed across my face
Nights are good and that’s the way it should be
You make me sing “oooh, la la la, oooh, la la la”
You make me sing “oooh, la la la, oooh, la la la”
You make me sing
And I see colors in a different way
You make what doesn’t matter fade to grey
Life is good and that’s the way it should be
You make me sing “oooh, la la la, oooh, la la la”
You make me sing “oooh, la la la, oooh, la la la”
You make me sing
‘Cause now I’m shining bright, so bright
And I get lost in your eyes
Now I’m shining bright, so bright
Bright, so bright
You make me sing “oooh, so bright, oooh, so bright”
Now I’m shining “oooh, so bright, oooh, so bright”
‘Cause now I’m shining bright, so bright
Bright, so bright
Bright, so bright
And I get lost in your eyes
Now I’m shining “oooh, so bright, oooh, so bright”
Now I’m shining “oooh, so bright, oooh, so bright”
Now I’m shining bright
Songwriters: Jeffery David Sierota / N Mcdonald / Graham Sierota / Jamie Sierota / Noah Sierota / Sydney Sierota
Bright lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Round Hill Music Big Loud Songs

 

The Lives Within A Life


city man person people

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Too many times, we are apt to judge others by what we see.  When we see worn clothes, unkempt hair, calloused hands, a hobbling gait, a forlorn expression.  Those traits so often deceive us from knowing the true person within the shell; behind the mask.

Make no mistake, it is very easy to do, not knowing the past, the experiences, the values or thoughts of an individual.  It takes compassion, humility and discipline to prevent a rush to judgment, along with affording others the benefit of the doubt.

 

“For when we take the time to listen to others without judging them, we open our hearts and minds to the whispers of their past, the truth of their lives, and the authenticity of their being.  The lucid story of an individual resonates as a crystal chime when we humble ourselves by reserving judgment, as that defines respect and is noble.”

woman holding tablet lying beside girl wear eyeglasses

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When we see worn clothes, it may be because this person sacrificed themselves to care for their family’s needs and placed them first.

When we see unkempt hair, it may be a symptom of the worry, frustration, perhaps despair this person experienced in their life.

When we see calloused hands, it may represent the effects of a life of hard work, dedication and a focus on providing a good life for others.

When we see a hobbling gait, it may be the result of a lifetime of denying one’s self, needs and the effect of physically challenging work.

When we see a forlorn expression, it may be the result of having lost one or more loved ones, a parent, a sibling, a child, a friend.  It may be the aftermath of a shattered childhood, marriage or health.

people usa military patriotism

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These things will only be discovered if/when we honestly and openly listen, objectively assess and offer genuine compassion toward others.  An unencumbered vision of the lives within the life of another person is only attainable when we put others needs before our own; when we offer help to those in need; when we pray for others and pray for God’s forgiveness of our own shortcomings.   Indeed, when we Love others as we love ourselves.

It is likewise, human nature to associate the symptoms of aging with incompetence, Compassion_2reduced value and insignificance.  In truth, this tendency should be viewed as shameful, arrogant and insensitive, as it robs the dignity, self-respect and appreciation of others for the selfish aim of building our own egos; of neglecting the needs and dignity of others.

There is never a bad time to offer support and encouragement to everyone we encounter in life.  And in Truth, the individual we may be helping most, is ourselves.

Lift up your life, by lifting up others.

 

I is Singular For But One


sky earth galaxy universe

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You and I share this planet with 7.3 Billion other human beings.  And as much as we generally appear similar, we are equally unique, by DNA, by fingerprint, by voice, by life experience; and by our soul.

When we say “I am”, we are sharing our thoughts as of a particular moment.  The very nature of the phrase “I am” implies a sense of purpose, of being, and of value.  Yet, most of us struggle mightily when we dive deep into understanding or examining our personal journey in life.

And unsurprisingly, each of us has most likely encountered moments of extreme happiness, sadness, anger, pain, despair, love, abandonment and wonder.  As human beings, you see, we are physiologically comprised of matter; matter that somehow combined to provide us sensory organs.  We see, hear, touch, smell and taste.  And incredibly, we Think.

adventure backlit dawn dusk

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At an atomic level, we are marvelously complex organisms…  Yes, like viruses, only a bit more cultured. And our average lifespan varies between 75 and 100 years, impacted of course, by our environment, genetics, lifestyle and oh yes, our disposition.

One might surmise that we can largely influence our own lives as a result of our powerful senses, ability to communicate, anticipate, plan and learn.  Yet, so many of us flounder in life, make mistakes, fail to learn and come to believe we have little or no value to mankind.

ball shaped beach blur close up

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The truth of the matter, however, is that the chances of merely existing in this world, absent of an important purpose, are near 100% likelihood.  That is, of course, unless we have discovered not only the self, but also the true source of our being, our essence and our destiny.

There is only One true source that can say “I am” with 100% certainty, and that my friends, is God.  For God, is the Supreme Being, the one who created all things, is omniscient, breathes life into each of us, and without question, loves us as a parent loves each of their children.

“There is a vast portion of this world and universe that remains unknown, not only as a result of our cognitive limitations as human beings, but also, deliberately, by design.  The foundation of faith is believing without seeing; translated, without knowing.  We have been provided with just enough knowledge about our life, planet, environment and self to be able to recognize that there is so much more to life, yet to be known, understood, appreciated and revered.”

The stark reality of a higher power is deafening, yet many of us refuse to acknowledge it’s existence, or more aptly phrased, His existence.  We spend precious little time in our conscious lives contemplating, acknowledging, developing and leveraging this power, known as God.

Like every penny minted, however, I firmly believe, “In God We Trust”.  Be well.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

Just What is Christianity?


Sailing_SunsetSearching for answers is rarely easy and the most frequent mistake people make is looking outward and focusing on the external environment.  To really get to the bottom of meaningful questions and problems, the Secret is to look within yourself, your core values and your relationships.

 

  • Forget Webster’s, for words are but vehicles
  • Forget Funk and Wagnalls, for it is but an interpretation
  • Forget Google, Yahoo and Bing, for they exist only on a screen

Instead, step back and away from the world, eliminate all distractions, and examine yourprayer heart.  Call it intent, purpose, commitment or conscience, the answer to every question we have in our life resides in our heart.

And the reason that is true is because there is no one else like you.  You were created as a result of the sheer Will of God.  Many people confuse biological birth with the true meaning of life.  Indeed, we focus on the mechanics of things and largely ignore the why, the role, the significance, and the vision.

Compassion_2Christianity is very much the same.  We are inundated with rules, protocol, history and obligation, yet the essence of Christianity is being aware of, and consciously deciding, what is in our heart.  Christianity is a feeling.

Indeed, Religion vs Christianity is much like the difference between the Reference Manual for an airplane as opposed to actually flying it in the air!  The Word of God is a Living, Breathing, Conscious Way of Life, not a book, a building or a regularly scheduled worship.  And that’s How I’ll Always Be…

“Church is a moment and expression of reflection, prayer, repentance, forgiveness; a belief in and a feeling of love in your heart…. THAT; is Church.  Just as God’s existence is not bounded by space, time or matter; our ability to communicate, worship and express our love for and with Him is likewise limitless and without confine.”

This video will be the BEST two minutes of your day!

The Inversion Of The World – When Evil Dictates


1200px-MaslowsHierarchyOfNeeds.svg

Credit: FireflySixtySeven

When you consider Civilization and all its impacts (society, culture, interdependence, communication, growth, maturity, sophistication, survival, etc.), what are the “rules” that any civilization lives by?  More importantly, what are the rules based upon?  I believe that rules or the laws of civilization are based upon (initially) survival, and re-population.   In essence, the needs of the individual take precedence.

Then, once a civilization matures and basic needs are provided, it moves up the hierarchy of needs, much like Abraham Maslow created in 1943, when he published “A Theory of Human Motivation“.  And as any civilization climbs the ladder of development, focus shifts from the individual to one or more larger groups, i.e., neighborhood, community, state, country.

BibleOne thing is certain, and especially for groups, is the need for law and order, protection, authority, penal systems, etc.  And again I ask, what are the rules of any civilization based upon?

The word that hopefully pops into your mind is morality.  And without question, morality that rules an entire civilization, cannot come from man himself, because morality implies a perfect standard to achieve and there are no perfect people in this world.  Thus, morality must come from an external source, a perfect source, and that source is God.

Salvation_Cross“One would surmise that Laws based upon morality from God could produce no evil in the world, yet, today, we have drifted so far away from God as a civilization, that we can no longer hear His Word, guidance, much less, direction.  Bad has become Good, Wrong has become Right, Evil has become Worthy. 

Collectively, the singular solution to our problems within ourselves, relationships, family, neighborhood, community, state, nation and society…  is God.”

All Laws of behavior are based upon Morality, and all Morality originates with God.  Therefore, all Laws originate with God.  Be well.

(So, you think you know who Charles Darwin is?)

(Below: Pay Special Attention to Profound Words at the 7:35 mark.)

 

The Sound of Silence


Sunset background25In today’s world, we are bombarded with information; sounds of music, flashes of light and color, fluid motion, visions of warm tropical places, imagery of goals worth achieving, memories of childhoods past, scenarios of futures awaiting, temporal aspects of life, emotions and frame of mind, outcomes of poor decisions, rewards for a humble life.   Indeed, all these sensical stimuli invigorate our thoughts, sway our judgment and populate our mind.  Critically, they feed our soul.

And at our core, that which supports all the processing and analysis of this information is what I prefer to call, “The Voice that Matters“.  This voice is silent, yet dominates and influences our actions via our thoughts.  This voice formulates our opinions, guides our lives and determines our future.

Angel_Devil_ShoulderBut just what is this voice, where did it come from and why does it speak in silence?  At the foundation of our being, we are creatures of free will; possessing the ability to think, reason, make judgments, form opinions, reach decisions and implement actions.  The image of the proverbial angel and devil on our shoulders is so apropos.

TruthStill, others identify this voice as our conscience.   And it can manifest itself in our minds as darkness, solitude, light, echoes, angels, demons, perhaps parents, a friend or a person from our past.  Regardless of form, this force of energy materializes whenever we are presented with multiple paths for decision or action.

And truly, this voice does matter, as our lives are impacted as a result of our thoughts and actions.  Rest assured, we are never alone, yet at times, the world certainly can make us feel that way.

“To the degree we acknowledge, trust, leverage and listen to the voice that matters, our lives can be enriched and stretched or constrained and limited.  Even more paradoxical is the revelation that it is our own doing that ultimately directs or creates our future.  We are not soulless victims, but rather, energized gladiators.  Life is not a matter of chance, but of choice”.

Morality, norms, spirituality, integrity and intuition, all feed our internal voice like an engine of sorts, powering our thoughts, guiding our actions and monitoring our behaviors, setting our path forward.  Each of us has multiple futures, determined by the choices we make in life.

The quality of our being is in large part, determined by our resilience in resisting temptation, our resolve to reach and implement moral behaviors, our commitment to authenticity and our willingness to embrace and acknowledge God in our lives.

The real question is which words will you talk… Which path will you walk?  Can you hear the sound of silence?

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
Fools, said I, you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence
Songwriters: Paul Simon
The Sound of Silence lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

The Dignity of Decline – A Legacy of Love


As the seasons echo changes in our physical world, so too, does age mimic the passing of time.  In an eerrily similar fashion, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter parallel our human life’s transformation of Child, Adolescent, Adult and Elder.

Without question, both transformations represent distinct, yet related stages or phases of growth, in the physical sense, and yes, also in the metaphysical sense.  A cursory glance of each cycle could easily end purely on the visisble and tactile plane, yet, when examined at a more subterranean level, multiple layers of context bubble up to the surface.  Emotional, Psychological, Spiritual and Cognitive strata collectively define our being as individuals.

And as surely as the seasons elicit deep understanding, wonder, amazement and respect, so should life…  So MUST life.

As we (individuals) progress through life, knowledge is learned, experience is gained, Cerkas_Leonard_F_Armyvalues are formed and reinforced, behavior is exhibited, relationships are made and developed, and most importantly, wisdom is attained as a collective result.  Truly, wisdom is underrated in life.

Indeed, as your children grow as children of God, they are as sponges in the ocean to your lead and example as parents and responsible adults.  Your words and actions, your compassion, your discipline, your teaching, your Love…. blend a message your children directly and subliminally receive and absorb.

“Yet, inasmuch as this environment contributes to our development as human beings, it is unmistakably guided by each person’s free will, choices and decisions.  Our life plays out at the intersection of responsibility and accountability.  Indeed, actions have consequences”.

And then…  physical maturity catches us from behind and prevents us from returning to our youth.  Many perceive this “fact of life” to be madddening, frightening, horrifying and just downright abhorable.   Yet, the other side of the coin has a redeeming merit; for it represents the shadows, profile and characteristics of everything we desire to share with others…  and that is Wisdom.

Fishing_SunsetSo, parents and seasoned humans skilled in the profession of “life”, take stock in the beauty that is wisdom; Adolescent and Adult sons and daughters, take value in the beauty of your parents and elders, for they are a rich and robust source of wisdom.  As they age and their physical acuity begins to fade, never forget the tremendous insight they have about life.  Their life experiences may not even be known to you, yet assuredly, they suffered, they rejoiced, they learned valuable life lessons and they simply want to share this wisdom with you because they Love you.  Moreover, they possess the unique ability to package, customize and deliver that wisdom about many facets of life to you; if only you allow yourself to be open, receptive and appreciative of it.

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my old man was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have him around; but by the time I became twenty one, I was amazed at how much he had learned in seven years.”

Mark Twain

If I’ve learned one thing in my life, it’s that even though my relationship with my dad was rocky at times, I learned a tremendous amount about life and living from him in a relatively short period of time; about self-respect, compassion, focus, humility, and excellence, along with a few things not to do.  And from my mom, I learned the gentleness, tolerance, caring and duty to family that is required to achieve spiritual maturity.

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Photo Credit: A.F. Bradley in his Studio

Above all, however, I would give my right arm, yes, even more, to be able to see my parents again and be able to sit down and talk with them about many things; and to thank them for loving me in their own way, for working hard to raise me and my family, for demonstrating by their actions, the reality, truth and grace of God, and to tell them that I love them deeply…  For my soul is Saved in large part because of their love for me.

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”

Robert Fulghum

 

My Transformation from Catholicism to Christianity


cross_4_youHow many times do you recall as a youth being advised, “Never talk about Religion and Politics“?  Assuredly, like most of us, probably more times than you have fingers and toes, yes?

Yet there comes a time in each of our lives when we reach a plateau of sorts that represents a plane of existence, comprising our ideals, core values, fervent beliefs and yes, religious and political advocacy.  You may reach the plateau at any age, however, typically, and more often than not, it will be some time after you’re out of the K-12 school system.

“Truly, it is completely normal and entirely expected that we will (and should) be challenged about our beliefs, for it is in these “Moments of Truth” when we learn more about who are; as sons and daughters, as husbands and wives, as mothers and fathers… most importantly, as spiritual beings.  For if our beliefs are never or seldom challenged, we lose focus, motivation, self-awareness and yes, direction in our lives.”

st_peters_basilicaAnd without question, my childhood was no exception.  Born and raised a Catholic, I regularly attended church, was educated for five years in a Parochial elementary school, served as an Altar Boy, learned the Mass in Latin, and of course, was instructed in the constructs, requirements, expectations and directives of living as a Catholic.

I began to seriously question, for lack of a better word, the validity of Catholicism as contrasted to other “alternatives” within the Grand scheme of the world, even universe.  Keeping in mind this is MY personal journey; upon inquiry, discussion, research and comparison, the Catholic Religion emphasized an inordinately large amount on finances/”dues”, spent an equally small amount of time on the Bible, and ubiquitously created the mental hierarchy of Church, Priest, Catholicism and lastly, Jesus Christ (in that order).  Needless to say, this troubled me in a deep and huge way.

bibleAnd then, I began to read the Bible on my own.  I began to personally experience Jesus Christ in the most wholesome, reverent and meaningful way, like I had never envisioned before.  It was as if I had just discovered that Santa Claus (Catholic Church) was not the real deal.  It caused me to feel betrayed, angered, frightened and anxious about my future.  In short, it challenged my core values to the point of nearly destroying my sense of self, value and being.

I have always been, and am, however, a Survivor.  Throughout my life, I’ve trusted my instincts and my gut, to analyze, make decisions and move forward in my mortal journey.  Truthfully, my transformation from Catholicism to Christianity occurred well into my 30’s, as it simply took my faith that long to mature.  And I remain confident in my path, who I am, who is Jesus Christ, what our relationship has become, and what my expectations are of myself to effectively and successfully live life as a Christian and Child of God.

Am I perfect?  HARDLY.  I struggle, like everyone else, with the sins of humanity.  Yet, that realization does not hinder nor prevent me from striving with every breath I take, to live my life in His image.  Do I have guilt as a father for not having done a better “job” raising my children as Christians?  EVERY DAY.  Yet, that reality, when examined, yields the conclusion and belief that every human being has a Free Will and uses it to form their own thoughts, make their own decisions, create their own behaviors, future and certainly, their personal accountability for their life.

Celtic_Eternal_LifeAs a father, I provided the toolbox and attempted to teach my children (and myself) how to use the tools of life; compassion, integrity, accountability, motivation, enthusiasm, reverence, humility and forgiveness.  Now, it is their choice which tools to use and how to use them; or whether to use them.

Does the Catholic Church serve a purpose?  Absolutely, as a resource about Jesus Christ, history, self-discipline and community.  My most trusted reference, however, is the Bible, for it represents the unequivocal “Word of God” and when viewed holistically, is the ultimate Book of Life.

I am a Christian and I live to become exclusively like Jesus Christ.  There is no other.  I humbly ask that you pray for me as a Christian to continue down the righteous path.  God Bless You all in finding yourself; in finding Peace, Love, Joy; in finding your Savior and Salvation.  There is definitely something in the water.  Be well.

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