Season of Giving During Trying Times

A tough year, stressful, full of fear and doubt. This is one person’s story , a deliberate response to all the uncertainty of the times…

A regular Joe was driving home to see his family after a hard day. He comes upon a beat-up, broken-down car along the side of the road.   This average guy, named Jim, doesn’t hesitate to stop and see what help he can give to the stranger standing nearby.

The year was 1929.  Life was difficult and the Great Depression was just underway. It was a desperate time when the daily grind for many revolved around one thing: looking for a way to stay alive.  It was also a time, interestingly enough, when generosity abounded.

Love and its manifestations of giving, kindness, and compassion have long marked the best of human nature.  Whatever impels someone to give of himself even when he has little to offer has pulled many individuals through difficult times.

Scientific investigation…Read more 

Thankful in a tumultuous year

Could things be anymore divided?

Protest, distrust, hatred, and violence scarred the year, but the President thoughtfully shared his impression: “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.”

Abraham Lincoln’s gracious assessment of 1863 is immortalized in the opening line of his first Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. And it offers insight into a healing response to this year’s unrest.

Over 150 years have passed since Lincoln’s establishment of an annual, national observance of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”  In 1863 that day came just one week after the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg where Lincoln gave his celebrated two minute address. The War Between the States would go on for another year and a half.

What prompted Lincoln to articulate such a “healthful” outlook, where many saw only servitude to gloom and despair, was an intensified appreciation for blessings and their origin.   Read more…

In Baseball, Politics and Life, Authenticity Scores

Whether you are zeroed in on the World Series, the November elections, or daily life issues, the classic baseball poem “Casey at Bat” brings home a great lesson about being authentic. 

It was a rough day in Mudville the story goes.  And the outcome didn’t appear too promising. The game was in its final inning. The team was behind by more than one run and the fans weren’t having very much fun.

The crowd’s hopes were all but sunk when it appeared their favorite son wouldn’t get a chance to face the pitcher.  You see everything depended on Casey getting to bat, so they believed.  There was Flynn at the plate, but he was “no good.” And Jimmy Blake was to follow, but Blake was “a fake.”  Alas, hope was slim as the team was bound to go down.

Miraculously Flynn and Blake got on base which gave mighty Casey the chance he needed to save the day.  A home run would win the game and the fans were giddy with excitement. There was pride in his demeanor and a comforting smile on his face as he confidently strode to the plate.  It seemed without a doubt Casey would end his team’s scoring drought.

I’m sure you are familiar with the story’s climactic finish. Casey standing there with a lofty gaze didn’t even swing at the first couple of pitches… Read more

Healing the divisions that separate us

No trespassing. Keep out. Violators will be …

Constructing borders and defending them seems an irresistible proclivity manifested on many levels. From national boundaries to backyard fences and even personal space, there is a strong impulse to establish lines of demarcation that separate us from each other for the purpose of safeguarding. There are consequences.

Territorial violations make the news everyday: illegal border crossings, mass immigration, international as well as personal property disputes, to name a few. The walls built to keep some in and others out are not confined to physical structures, but also ideated ones, less obvious but just as formidable.  Barriers such as distrust, prejudice, indifference and hatred can seem more impenetrable than a barbed wire fence.

On the other hand, an instinctive drive to associate and unite with others impels us to connect. It is an interesting dichotomy… Read more 

Thinking Faster, Higher, Stronger

At times aging seems like an Olympic sport. Successfully maneuvering through this time of life depends on a certain amount of preparation, perseverance and endurance. It can be a Herculean effort that requires not a little confidence.

“Perhaps two-thirds of all the people who have ever lived to the age of 65 are alive today.” Peter Peterson’s, Gray Dawn, points out some sobering statistics about the aging of the world’s population and its impact on society.  It’s unchartered territory.

And that’s what makes preparing for the “golden years” such a challenge.  This many people living this long is a relatively recent phenomenon. Never have so many faced this situation. And it is creating a lot of angst for individuals and planners.

By what standard do we qualify as old?  Read more…

Writing about the connections between health, thought, and spirituality