1 Thing You Can Achieve

Be Known for Your Love

I’m a writer.

I guess you could say I’m known for that.

I’m a dad.

I have some sons to prove this.

I sing.

All over America, nine times around.

If I were to die this evening, I would certainly be known for these three things.

There are others as well.

Two days ago, waking up in the middle of the night, I pulled out my I-Pad and there was a little YouTube available of three people. They were quietly and simply singing the old campfire chorus, “We Are One in the Spirit.”

It was so beautiful and the surroundings so ideal for emotion that I cried—especially when it came to the line:

“And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

I paused.

I asked myself an intriguing question:

Am I known for my love?

I have done loving things.

I have loved full tilt without apology.

But am I known for my love?

Too many times I hear people say someone is an asshole—”but he’s a good musician.”

“She’s hard to get along with but that’s because she’s a genius.”

But in that quiet moment two nights ago, in my room in the dark, I realized that if I’m not known for my love, everything else will pass away.

People only remember how much you love them personally. You can be entertaining, inspiring, uplifting or even beneficial to them—but that won’t last.

What remains for all of us is the sensation of being loved.

Am I known for my love?

The answer came back: No.

It doesn’t mean I’m not loving.

But it does mean that I’ve advertised, propagated and promoted other aspects of myself more than my love.

It was a solemn realization—one I will not soon forget.

So for every book I write, I want to live out ten love stories.

For every time I am called “Dad,” I want the love that is attached to that title to wiggle its way to the top.

And for every song I sing, may the feeling at the conclusion be the enduring proclamation:

“I love you.”

 

1 Thing Every Atheist Should Know

You Won’t

By that I mean you won’t know anything about what you contend until it’s too late to have any benefit from it.

Avoiding the superstition of religion is brilliant.

But eliminating the mercy, grace and equality of a spirited life is foolish.

If human beings are capable through their own motivation to duplicate the kindness they feel when they are energized by something eternal, then agnosticism and atheism might have a point.

But the history of those who are vacuous of a godhead has proven to be a situation in which many have just become vacuous of anything in their heads.

  • Jaded
  • Frustrated
  • Bitter
  • Angry
  • Malicious
  • And overly careful

These attributes have often been the byproduct for those who have clung to the idea that there’s no “one” to cling to.

Let me tell you—to the average ravenous believer, I might appear to be agnostic.

I do not buy into the ritual.

I do not scream and yell about maintaining the purity of a holy book.

I do not attend an organized religious service.

I do not believe in the Old Testament

Truthfully, I’m picky and choosy about the New Testament.

And I’m open to allowing other inspirational ideas to pepper my intelligence gravy.

But candidly, I’m not about to lose out on the chance to either go around on this life again or to be divinely inspired and creatively energized through all time by a presence or power by stubbornly proclaiming it non-existent.

As an atheist, you won’t know anything because you are positive—just like the religious fanatics you so despise—that you must take a hard line on the absence of God, just as they are on stumping for every jot and tittle.

Why don’t you play the odds?

It’s rather unlikely that human beings are merely a part of the animal kingdom.

There is no creature that comes close to our intellect.

Whether you believe it is God, Jesus, aliens or mystical gases in the Fourteenth Universe, you must admit that it would be lovely to keep the beauty of life going into another dimension of existence.

So when asked, “Do you believe in God?” my response is simple:

“I must–because he, she or it certainly seems to believe in me.”

 

1 Thing You Can Do to Assist in the Climate Crisis

Stop Announcing the End of the World

It just isn’t sexy.

Dead polar bears, melting ice caps and flooding cities may be what you believe we’re heading toward, but it is not the way to get the attention of a human being.

We should have learned that by now.

Don’t you just hate listening to a librarian who complains that no one wants to read books anymore? You want to say, “Shut up. Entice me. Seduce me. Give me a little foreplay before you insert the old Shakespeare.”

How about a corporation which is constantly threatening to go bankrupt? It’s so bad that the employees talk to you about it as you check out with your purchases. Here’s a clue: go bankrupt or go big.

Stop complaining.

I, for one, am disgusted with political parties telling me that if the other side wins, hell will not only break loose, but will spill all over my coffee table.

  • Tell me what you want to do.
  • Tell me who you are.
  • Tell the truth.

Let the chips fall where they may.

And finally, I would certainly think we should have learned from religion, which constantly squawks, like Chicken Little, that the “sky is falling” and “the devil done did it agin.” I can’t see the devil, so give me something I can fight.

Don’t ask me if I “believe in climate change.”

Don’t judge me on the degree to which I affirm your findings.

Find two things. Then tell me what I can do.

Encourage me with a massive message of (a) do what you know; and (b) do what you hear.

For if I’m on my way to doing what I know and I hear something I can apply to do better, I’m already motivated and in the correct lane to make the turn.

But if you argue policies to convince me that no matter what, we are doomed by 2030, I would like you to take all your pamphlets and books, go off by yourself and masturbate.

You don’t win people over by telling them it’s “impossible.”

You don’t engage people by making them feel guilty about “why they haven’t joined up already.”

Find two things we can do.

Then allow the human race to do what we know and as we grow, to do what we hear.

1 Thing That Will Not Change

You Need to Change

So do I, for that matter.

There is a revisionist attitude among the American people, and perhaps the people of all the Earth, that somehow or another, after billions of years of evolution, the world around us is suddenly going to succumb to our delightful personalities and start doing things our way.

We try to impress with our minor concessions, but change doesn’t leave much time for celebration before it rolls around with another hard request.

Repentance is not an experience, but rather, a lifestyle choice to cease arguing with truth, science, Mother Nature and a universe that has been content with its operation for multiple generations.

I have only two choices

1. Learn how it works

2. Change to how it works

Anything else brings heartache, sorrow, discontentment and mental illness.

The one thing that will not change is that you and I need to change.

  • We can do it humorously.
  • We can do it gracefully.
  • We can do it humbly.

We will do it, though, or find ourselves replaced by more enlightened models.

 

 

 

1 Thing You Can Do Before Christmas Morning

Make Two Calls

1. Call your local food bank

Personally thank the workers for the hard work and determination they display during the Christmas season—and really, all year long—to make sure that the people of your community who are in need can feel a little safer and a little more secure. (Consider giving a donation.)

2. Call an “old grudge” and see what happens.

Maybe it’s been thirty years. Who knows? It might not be your fault, but somewhere along the line, you’ve been cast in the role of unfair or unloving. You don’t have to come with an apology, but you certainly shouldn’t come with an attitude.

Just give the Spirit of Christmas a chance.

1 Thing Santa Has More of Than You and Me

He’s jolly.

I looked up the definition of “jolly,” and quickly found several dictionaries which claimed that the word is so little used that it has become “archaic.”

In other words, “Move over, Grandpa. No one under the age of seventy knows what you mean.”

Jolly is not complicated.

Jolly simply means “to purpose to be exceedingly glad.”

We don’t favor that anymore. We have this idea that we demonstrate our true worth by appearing strained, overworked, busy—and just a little bit cranky.

We assume someone who’s jolly has no worries whatsoever and therefore can presume to be frivolous.

But here’s a clue: that would not refer to Santa Claus.

You’d have to agree that he has a pretty big job. He’s supposed to provide toys and gifts for all the children of the world. And even though the calendar says he has three hundred and sixty-four days to do it, that would still require manufacturing and packaging millions of toys every single day.

What further complicates the Toymaker’s pursuit is that his employees have very tiny hands. I don’t know why he chose to labor with elves, but I certainly hope there won’t be a scandal over how much he pays them.

Also, I don’t know why he’s jolly since he’s so fat.

It certainly doesn’t make anyone else happy, with its threat of heart disease and diabetes. Being jolly would almost appear to be insanely in denial.

Yet for some reason, he giggles his way through several million chocolate chip cookies on one passage across the globe. (I wonder what that does to his blood sugar…?)

Meanwhile, how do you keep up with the inventory? The budget must be frightening. And on top of that, he’s supposed to be involved with animal husbandry—caretaking a whole team of reindeer.

Did I mention the fact that he runs a mailroom? And supposedly the billion or so letters which come his way every year—well, it’s claimed that his eyes fall on every list.

Then, after all of this concerted effort, he also has to deal with a wide range of disbelief. Each one of us probably would groan and moan at the first suggestion that we aren’t real, or we’re “against Jesus,” or that it’s time to hang up the red suit and “put the old boy on a diet.”

Yet, throughout history, including literature, one of the first words used to describe Old Saint Nick is “jolly.”

It kind of makes you wonder what we achieve by trying to appear so adult and contemplative.

It certainly doesn’t draw children.

And it doesn’t make us the point of focus for one full month a year, while those on their way to Bethlehem to worship the Christ child stop off to see Saint Nicholas, requesting their hopes and dreams.

Joy to the world should never be stated or sung by a grumpy believer.

Go ahead–try jolly.

At the very least, it’ll give you a word that you have to explain to all the millennials.

 

 

1 Thing You Can Do in this Season

Listen to the Angels

Fortunately, we know what they sound like.

We are informed of what they foretold–what they beckoned into being.

It may be a little difficult to accomplish since everything is so noisy. There is a maddening blending of complacency, nastiness and anger that threatens to generate a dreary spirit.

We just have to remember what the angels said:

“Glad Tidings.”

And what are these?

Purposely seeking to find good news.

“Great joy.”

Actually allowing ourselves to be affected by a good thing and expressing happiness over it.

“For everybody.”

It’s time to strike out against class and racial warfare, and dare to focus on one another’s noses, realizing how much we have in common.

“Peace on Earth.”

The best way to achieve this is to cease chasing the latest war, insisting it’s inevitable. Peace is not the absence of conflict—but rather, bypassing it to acquire serenity.

“Goodwill.”

When did it become more interesting to discover something wrong in one another than to untangle the pretzel of human life and retrieve some virtue?

It is time to listen to the angels.

There’s enough that’s devilish in humanity already–without us welcoming an indifferent approach to the Christmas miracle.

 

 

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