The pastor started out this morning’s message with the question; “What’s worse than finding a worm in the apple you’re eating? Finding half a worm.” The insinuation being you are already eating the other half. It’s gross but it’s funny. His message was about being good, having true character, inside and out.
Google defines authenticity as; “the quality of being reliable, dependable, trustworthy, credible; accurate, truthful.” That is a lot for a person to live up to. We live in a world where the president’s lawyer said last week; “What is the truth? There is no truth.” The president himself is seen as a man whom constituents from both parties agree has a difficult time with the truth. The cardinals, bishops and perhaps the pope(?) in the Catholic church, the head coach at Ohio State University, Republican and Democratic congressional candidates, and many others from all walks of life seem to find telling the truth, being of true character, a challenge.
True character starts from the inside and makes it way out. Who we are, what we are, will always be revealed sooner or later. The question; “Am I an authentic person? A person of true character?” is one of the most important and ultimately life-defining we can ask. However, don’t stop until you can answer it with certainty and clarity.
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Outside our kitchen window, beside the front door is a bird’s nest under a wooden box. Inside this nest are several baby birds that apparently need a lot of attention. Because of where they are situated we can hear them every time they begin to cry for their parents and believe me when I write; “We can hear them!” They also cry each time we go out the front door because of the vibration. I want to pick the box up and look at them. I want to tell them to; “Pipe down! and give mom and dad a break!” However, I dare not risk disturbing the nest, the birds or frighten off the parents during this delicate time of growth.
As I type this post I am listening to the baby birds and reflecting on the needs of those around us. When we hear the needy cry we want to run to their rescue, free them from anything that might be holding them back and give them whatever they need whenever they need it. This sounds like what any person with empathy and a heart would do but can inhibit their growth. We should be careful not to let our emotions get ahead of us. The best case scenario is working with them, helping them so that, eventually, they can help themselves. If we come running each and every time they cry, giving them what they want, never teaching them how to make it without assistance, they will never learn to do and be.
One day soon the mom and dad will stop coming to the nest and the baby birds will have to make it on their own. When that day comes mom and dad’s skills at being parents for their needy ones will be revealed.
Yesterday I told someone about an experience in my life that happened several years ago. They were looking for an example of a certain subject and I had it. As I relayed to them the story you could tell they were surprised but also relieved that someone else had a similar experience that impacted their life. The basic question from the other person was; “Can good rise from bad? Is there a way to navigate a negative part of our journey that will ultimately lead to something positive?” What was interesting is that I didn’t answer their question and they didn’t seem to notice. I’m still waiting for the good, the positive to be revealed from my negative experience. However, what was more important to the person was not what resulted but that I made it through. This gave them hope.
Too often, when going through chaotic times of life we wonder; “Is there a rhyme or reason?” Then we meet someone who’s been through something similar and we are comforted simply by knowing someone who has survived. At first, we want to know how it all ends but we quickly understand each experience no matter how similar is different for everyone with incalculable resolutions. Our deepest desire is to know we are not alone, to believe if another made it through then maybe we can also.
A couple of friends had a “garage sale” or “yard sale” this weekend. For one of them, it was the first one she had ever done.
As someone who’s worked in the nonprofit world for many years and who’s done many yard sales to raise funds for one cause or another, I found it hard to believe she had never participated in one before. I think that tells me more about me than it does her. I like these types of sales. Especially when you feel like you have found a treasure in the midst of what the owner thinks is disposable stuff. I have never found a lost “Mona Lisa” or “Rembrandt” but there have been some deals I came away thinking I had gotten a lot of bang for my buck.
I like these types of sales. Especially when you feel like you have found a treasure in the midst of what the owner thinks is disposable stuff. I have never found a lost “Mona Lisa” or “Rembrandt” but there have been some deals I came away thinking I had gotten a lot of bang for my buck.
The truth is most of the stuff we own is made to be disposable. I read a wisdom quote the other day; “The only thing we truly own is our actions.” In other words, it’s how we treat others which define us.
At the end of our journey, when who we are is sifted from what we have will our lives be revealed as treasure or trash?
Have you ever had someone talk about their funeral with you? I have many times. It’s surreal and humbling all at once.
We spend our lives chasing things which will pass, change, not stay or fulfill us. We ignore death as if that will somehow postpone its inevitability. However, when death becomes a reality and we see life for what it is; most an illusory, transient and brief journey our vision of ourselves and the world changes.
For some, there is anger that they cannot stave off death, it will not leave them alone. They are frustrated by their lack of control over the greatest danger to their destiny and existence.
Others, those who’ve accepted death and have made peace with their limited time in this physical realm have a unique way about them. Their transience doesn’t make them less caring but more empathetic and kind. Knowing each breath could be their last they don’t want it to be used taking but giving, not insulting but praising, not knocking down but lifting up, not selfish but selfless.
Death, the ultimate equalizer, and character revealer.