endurance

Dare to Dream!

Posted on Updated on

Dare to Dream

He who dares to dream is an adventurous soul who yearns to explore the unknown to unearth treasures that will prove of immense worth to him. Through his diligence and perseverance, what once seemed an impossibility, becomes a reality.

He who dares to dream keeps hope alive by never giving up or giving in, even when faced by naysayers who believe his dreams are futile and foolish. His glowing embers of hope never die out because his astute determination to press on keeps them ever glowing brightly.

He who dares to dream is never satisfied with the mediocrity of life, but rather he reaches for heights unknown. Defeatism is not a part of his daily vocabulary. But rather, he views each obstacle in his path as mere stepping-stones in helping him to see his dreams come to full fruition, and his watch word of the day is “Victory!”

 

Do More Than Just Exist. . . .

Posted on

Do More Than Just Exist

Today, 17 October 2015, is my 57th birthday. Where have the years gone? Am I really that old?

When I was born at 10:17 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, 17 October 1958, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States. It is hard to believe that in the span of my short life, I have witnessed the election and administration of 10 presidents.

I was born in what was then known as the town of Salisbury, Maryland. I remember as a boy when out with my parents riding in the car going to different places, people would stop and ask them where Salisbury was, and my parents would always reply, “You just drove through it!” Today Salisbury is a major city on the Delmarva Peninsula. The hospital where I was born was known simply as the Salisbury Hospital. It has long since been remodeled into what is now the Salisbury Regional Medical Center. When I started school in 1963 at the age of 5, I attended an all Black elementary school. I would not experience integration of public schools until I was in high school and was bused across town to attend one of the local high schools.

In the same year that I started school, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, 22 November 1963, in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. I can still recall watching his funeral procession on television, and the image of John Jr. saluting his father’s flag-draped casket as it passed by. The Civil Rights Movement was still at the forefront of the news, and just three short months before the assassination of President Kennedy, on 28 August 1963, America was listening to Civil Rights activist, Martin Luther King, Jr. deliver his timeless “I Have A Dream” speech to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. In his immortal speech which became a defining moment in the American Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King called for an end to racism in the United States. I would have never imagined that at the young age of 9,  on 4 April 1968, I would hear the television announcer say that Martin Luther King, Jr., at the age of 39, had been shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:05PM that evening. I also remember watching his funeral services on television, and the image of his endearing wife, Coretta Scott King, and their young children.

Yes, many things have changed since 17 October 1958, but some things have also remained the same on many levels. What I have admired about the people aforementioned, as well as other greats that have influenced my young life is that none of them lived their life just to be living it. Each of them worked hard to make even a small difference and to make the world a better place for everyone to live in. It is because of that inspiration that at the start of another year of life, I have decided to adopt the following as a new motto: “Anima plus est quam esse diem. Verum cum cupiam vivere incipiat qualitercumque porrexeris plenam potentiam quique ante destinatum est.” (Translation: Life is more than just existing from day-to-day. You truly begin to live when you yearn to reach for your full potential and become who you were meant to be.) I hope that you too will resolve to do more than just exist.

Humble Thoughts Concerning the Second Coming and the End of the World

Posted on

The Second Coming of Christ

Humble Thoughts Concerning the Second Coming and the End of the World

With all the chaos and confusion that is happening in our world today, it is of little wonder that so many people are asking the same questions that the disciples asked of the Master centuries ago, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3). The Master’s response to them still applies to us during these often turbulent, confused, and chaotic times:

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:4-14)

There are many good hearten people, including some Christians, who are anxiously anticipating the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, even to the point of making futile attempts at guessing the day and the hour when He shall appear. However, scriptures emphatically teach us:

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Mathew 24:36-39)

Scriptures also remind us, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. . . .Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2,6)

While there are some people who put their trust in chariots, and some who put their trust in horses, I will continue to remember the name of the Lord our God (See Psalm 20:7) and strive to endure to the end.

Therefore, I will no more put my confidence and trust in the speculations of man about the Second Coming of Christ than I will in those who purport that the four “blood moons” signal the end of the world. Instead of being overly concerned and feeding into much of the frenzy of the false and nonsensical teachings about the Second Coming and the end of the age, I choose to make sure that my house is in order, and that I am ready to meet the Savior at any day, at any moment or hour of the day. I choose to keep my lamp filled with oil to be ready when the Bridegroom comes.

Instead of heeding the vain teachings and babbling of men, we would be wise to follow the teachings of the Master Himself as in the “Parable of the Ten Virgins:”

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 25:1-14)

O be wise; what can I say more? (Jacob 6:12, Book of Mormon)

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin

Posted on Updated on

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14, emphasis added)

Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin

As I come across news in social media venues about what is taking place in our world today, I become even more convinced that the handwriting is clearly on the wall. The world as we once knew it is rapidly coming to an end. I am not preaching a doom and gloom message, but the signs are right before our eyes.

In 1987, the band R.E.M released a song called “It’s the End of the World.” The starting lyrics of that song are as follows, “It’s the end of the world as we know it . It’s the end of the world as we know it. It’s the end of the world as we know it. And I feel fine.” The sad commentary is that there are too many people, including good hearten Christians, who are looking at the world situation and are beginning to sing along with the lyrics of R.E.M.’s song. There are too many people who have decided to sit quietly by and do and say absolutely nothing with the attitude of “Que Sera, Sera” (Whatever will be, will be). In that same vein, there are others who have adopted the philosophy of life which states, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” Unfortunately, because they have decided to live “La Vida Loca” (The Crazy Life) and follow the philosophies and ideologies of men, they have turned a deaf ear to truth, and a blind eye to the reality that “tomorrow” may come sooner than they expect. When it does come, they may well discover that maybe life was not just one big party after another after all.

Supreme Court in Rainbow ColorsThe Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize same-sex marriages in all 50 states did more than just grant the LGBT community new-found freedom. It opened the doors for many other interested groups to begin to cry out for their “rights” and “freedoms,” while in the same breath decrying the guaranteed rights and freedoms of others. The ruling did not necessarily re-calibrate the scales of justice in the interest of all concerned, but rather the needle of the scales still points off-center in favor of whichever group believes that their “rights” and “freedoms” are justly protected, and oftentimes that particular group shuns the rights and freedoms of others.

We will have to agree to disagree, if that be the case, but same-sex relations and marriages are no more an accepted societal norm than pedophilia, incest, bestiality, nudity, any type of open sex acts, or anything of that ilk. Yet, at the same time, we must realize that the gates have now been swung wide open to invite anybody and everybody who feels that their “rights” and “freedoms”are violated to “rush to justice” to plead their case for the same.

How can any court of the land, let alone the Supreme Court, say that same-sex marriages are legal, but yet a mother cannot marry her own daughter, a father cannot marry his own daughter, a mother cannot marry her own son, or a father cannot marry his own son? Would that not be considered discriminatory? Do they not also have “rights” and should they not have the “freedom” to express those “rights’? For the record, an article appeared in the media, as early as January 2015, about an 18-year-old girl who has dated her father for two years, and has plans to marry him and have children by him. Their plan is to get married and then move to New Jersey where adult incest is supposedly legal. Add to all of this confusion, that pedophiles are also diligently seeking their “rights” to have sex with underage children because they argue that “An adult’s desire to have sex with children is “normative.” Their biggest rallying cry is to lower the age of consent to at least 14 years of age. (See this article also).

It is quite obvious to me that our world is spinning rapidly out of control. What was once considered acceptable and the norm in society, is now frowned upon as being ludicrous and nonsensical, and that which once seared the conscience, or that society labeled as being abnormal, is now being considered the new normality for society.  The sad commentary is that many good hearten “Christians” are also climbing aboard the first bandwagon that rolls down their streets without question or reservation. Even some “pastors” have left teaching sound doctrine because they have had their ears tickled by the vain voices of men and thus have decided to join the ranks of those whose philosophy is, “If it feels good, just do it!” Yes, without a doubt, the handwriting is on the proverbial wall, and our world is on a course of certain destruction. “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin!”

Is it any wonder?

Posted on Updated on

Chaotic World

Is it any wonder?

Our world is rapidly spinning out of control on a downward spiral of moral decay. With all the immoral and inhumane acts that plague our societies at this daunting hour, and with so many good hearten people who have chosen to sit by and just watch things “take their course” without interacting and standing up for what is right, is it any wonder that our world is in the shape that it is in?

A great revolution is taking place, and now is not the time to slumber nor sleep, but now is the time to become anxiously engaged and answer the call to arms to defend those things which we know to be right, moral, decent, and humane. It starts within the four walls of our homes as we fight to defend the sanctity of the central core of the society – the FAMILY. If that foundation is destroyed, what can the righteous do?

When I watch local news broadcast or read some of the articles in the local newspapers or on the internet, and I learn of some of the horrific things that are taking place in our world today, I cannot help but wonder if we are rapidly returning to the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, or are we already there?

When I was a boy growing up it seemed that such words as honesty, integrity, morality, decency, and family all had special meaning. My parents did not have to worry about what I was watching on television because the programs that were shown had the same values that they taught us in the home. A family show was exactly that – a family show, with emphasis on FAMILY.

Today even the “family shows” contain sexual undertones in their scripts. What was once considered taboo and would have never been shown on live television is now the highlight of a lot of television shows. At any time of the day or night one can turn on their television and see programs that undermine the sanctity of the family unit by supporting such things as premarital relationships, alternative lifestyle relationships, and sexual innuendos that leave nothing to the imagination. All the while these things are being portrayed as if they are or should be accepted as the social norm, and those who oppose such things are the ones who are branded as social misfits or socially abnormal.

Television, however, is not the only media that has become grossly infected by the immorality of our society. Notice how many ratings we have on movies today to filter the age group that should be allowed to see the movies that are produced. With that, there are some of us with inquiring minds who would like to know how Hollywood can justify putting a child in a movie that the child is not allowed to go to the theater and watch because he is underage. There appears to be some double standards involved. One could suppose that the child actor helps to bring in the ratings and cash flow for the movie that is being produced, and so it is alright to have him or her on the set to shoot certain scenes and then have him or her leave when other scenes are being shot. It is like putting the child into a pit full of poisonous snakes and snatching him out just as one of them is about to strike and inject its deadly venom. The attitude is that the child did not get bit so all is well.

The music industry has also contributed to the immoral behaviors that are taking place in our society today. I believe that parents need to be a little more proactive and pay stricter attention to some of the lyrics that their children listen to and the messages that certain songs send out. I am not advocating that we should only listen to Church hymns, but certainly we should be a little more discerning in our music choice.

We have fast become a society of people who lives by the philosophy that, “Everyone is doing it so it must be alright.” With that mentality, one could assume that if everyone were jumping off a high tower into freezing cold water, and there was a person who was afraid of heights or did not know how to swim; to be a part of the “normal” crowd that person should just jump anyway and hope for the best. How insane is that?

We are living in a day when what was once considered undeniably wrong is now considered totally acceptable, and that which has always been considered acceptable is now considered something to do only if it feels right, or even in some cases is considered an insane way of thinking or doing things. The things that once seared our conscience have become things that we tend to overlook or dismiss completely. I ask again in all sincerity, is it any wonder that our world is in the shape that it is in?

When I was a boy, couples on TV never slept together in the same bed, and the idea of walking around half-clothed or totally nude, or having open sex acts would have never been heard of. Now, you can turn on the TV to almost any channel and almost expect to see such things. The sad commentary is that parents allow their children to watch those things without realizing the impression that it makes on their young minds. Do parents not realize that whatever a young child sees, or hears for that matter, is what he will try to imitate?

And it is not only what children watch on television, see in movies, or learn from the lyrics of a song that influences them, but the behaviors that they see in their own homes also have a very strong influence on them. My parents would have never walked around the house half-dressed or totally nude in front of their children, and we were not allowed to run around half-dressed or nude either. We were taught to have respect for our bodies, and to have respect for others. Yet there are some families in the world that believe living the nudist lifestyle is a lifestyle that should be accepted by society. These days you can also walk into the local grocery store and see more than one should, or just look at some of the children that walk down the streets and notice the way their parents allow them to dress.

Is it any wonder that sex crimes are on the rise today? Is it any wonder that the number of unwed teenage pregnancies is higher than it has ever been? Is it any wonder that it seems with each passing generation, our children are becoming more sexually active at younger ages, and are “experimenting” with sex with people of the opposite or same gender – of the same age group, or sometimes even older? Is it any wonder?

Scriptures teach us that we are to be in the world, but not of the world. That does not mean that we should hibernate or go and bury our heads in the sand to avoid being influenced by the wickedness of the world, rather we need to be beacons of shining light to be the most positive influence that we can be on the world. There is indeed a vast difference in being influenced by the world, and influencing the world. We have to live in the world, but we do not have to frolic and play on its dangerous playgrounds and entertain its foolish follies.

In so many ways we are heading back to the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is no wonder that God said that He would never destroy the world again by a flood, but next time the fire!

 

 

Take Some Time For Yourself

Posted on

Take some time for yourself

It proves unhealthy and unwise to want to dedicate our entire life to being concerned about the welfare of others and never taking any time to take care of our own well-being. If we do not take care of ourselves we will eventually find ourselves stressed out and burnt out, and of no real service to anyone else or even ourselves.

There comes a time in all of our lives when we need to pause, take a step back, review, and reevaluate the priorities of our life. There comes a time when we need to take control of our own life, and not allow others to always be the “driver of the bus,” taking us only to the places that they wish to go. There comes a time when we need to reassess our situation in life and start to realize that everyone’s “that” is not necessarily any more important than our “this.” In other words, there comes a time when we just need to say, “No! I am not doing “that.” I am doing “this” now. When I get the time, I will get to “that.” And when we do so, we not cower, but stand our ground.

Unfortunately there are people in this world who enjoy nothing more than placing undue demands on our time and resources. They attempt to use us as their proverbial puppets on a string, never considering, nor caring, how much undue stress they place upon us in trying to always satisfy their needs and wants. In all fairness, however, we must get to the point in our life when we begin to realize that all the stress that we experience in life is not always the direct fault of others. Much of the stress that we experience is directly related to the stress that we place on ourselves. As a result, it is often that stress that we put upon ourselves that eventually causes total burnout.

Therefore, it proves unselfish to want to take some time for ourselves and to take care of ourselves. In fact, it proves foolish not to do so so. Although we may have a heart’s desire to want to try to solve the world’s problems, and to always be there for everyone else, there comes a time when the person that we should be there for the most is ourselves.

We cannot spend our entire life thinking that we have to always be the “go to” person. We need to take off our proverbial capes, because try as some of us might, we are not super beings, we are human beings – mortals made of flesh and blood, with emotions and feelings. If we do not take care of ourselves, the hard cold reality is that most of the time, nobody else will.

It is a good thing to want to help and care for others, but in all that we do, we must remember to always take good care of ourselves.

Look After Yourself

The Unstuck Record

Posted on Updated on

Depressed Woman

If I were to describe my life up until now, the two words that I would use are “stuck record.” You are probably asking yourself how a person’s life can be compared to a stuck record. I cannot speak for anyone else, but looking back on my life, there were several things that caused my “record” to become stuck.

As a child I lived in an extremely dysfunctional home environment filled with some very unhealthy and dangerous behaviors. Those behaviors eventually carried forward into my adult years. Knowing of no other solution to cope with the problems that I faced in life, I continued to exhibit the behaviors and practices that had become ingrained in me. Thus, I remained a victim of my circumstances, and because of my unhealthy practices and behaviors, I became addicted to drugs, found myself in environments and unhealthy relationships that were abusive, and I used sex as a tool to boost my self-esteem. I lived my life caught in a vicious spin cycle of repeating the same practices and behaviors over and over, perhaps expecting different results each time, but in reality, my life became nothing more than a cycle of insanity. It was obvious that living my life in that way was not serving me well, but alas, I was hopelessly stuck.

In order to get unstuck, I had to start taking complete responsibility for my actions, and realize that only I could pick up the needle off the “record” and substitute that worn out “record” with a different one. Not only did I need to change the stuck “record,” but I also realized that a change in the music choices that I had become accustomed to listening to was also in order.

You might ask, “Was it easy to get rid of my old music collection and start building a new one?” Absolutely not! However, if you want the “record” in your life to become unstuck, you might have to go through your collection and throw out some of the old music that you have listened to – some of the old behaviors and practices that have made your life toxic and miserable – and start building a brand new library of music that will help move your life forward. The heart of the matter is this, YOU are the one who must make the decision to quit being a stuck record!

Starting Over Again – A New Music Collection

Ways to Get Unstuck

Throughout my life, my behavioral patterns and attitude have been based on an unhealthy and poisonous music collection. The “music” that I was listening to created a realm of negativity in my life, and was literally destroying me.  I had sold my heart and soul to toxic “lyrics” that either my mind was filled with as a child, or that I had stored in my memory as the years passed. I discovered that I could not get a new “music collection” until I had completely removed the old negative and toxic lyrics that were playing over and over in my mind. I had to retire the old artists that were enabling unhealthy behaviors which caused me to devalue myself, as well as relationships with other people.

I will be the first to admit that it is not easy to deprogram myself from listening to old lyrics that have never helped me in my life. Albeit, in order for me to develop a “normal,” healthy life, I know that I need to get rid of the old records and CDs in my life, change my environment, and revolutionize my way of thinking about myself and others. In order for me to evolve into the woman who I am meant to be, I need to throw out the old music collection and start a new collection – new friends, thoughts, attitudes, gestures, and ideas – that will help me to develop a new character within myself. I have to start listening to new artists whose song lyrics will help me grow physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

There are three important keys to starting a new music collection – honesty, open-mindedness, and a willingness to do so. The million dollar question that begs an answer is, “How eager are you to start listening to new artists that have better ideas and words of wisdom to impart that you have not been able to obtain before?”

Karlyn Kay Stebbins
April 10, 2015

Karlyn Kay Stebbins’ Biography:

I have a double major in sociology and psychology and a minor in communications. I was before a licensed addictions counselor in a treatment center up until recently. Due to a drastic series of some life-changing events, I now live in Hawaii and I am going back to school for my master degree in sociology.

I am a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter day Saints and have been a member since 26 March 2011.

My interests are furthering my education and spending time with my partner and her friends and eventually becoming active in the LGBT Community here in Hawaii, and doing some addictions counseling work within that Community. I love to read, write, and hang out at the beach.

Miles Batty – Making Each Mile Count

Posted on

Miles Batty - BYU

Miles Batty is a 27-year-old (born 1 June 1987) track runner who specializes in middle-distance disciplines. Middle-distance running events are track races longer than sprints, and up to 3000 meters. The standard middle distances are the 800 meters, 1500 meters and mile run, although the 3000 meters may also be classified as a middle-distance track event.

He graduated from Jordan High School in Sandy, Utah in 2005. During his high school tenure, he was considered one of the most prolific cross-country and distance track runners in the state of Utah which earned him such accolades as state champion of Utah in cross-country with a personal best time in the mile of 4 minutes and 22 seconds.

After high school, Batty served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the country of Brazil. During his time as a missionary, he was not able to take part in any competitive running events. As a result, when he returned to Brigham Young University (BYU) after his mission, he struggled to get back in shape and even questioned being able to succeed as a college runner.

In 2011, he qualified and won the NCAA track championship, and received the title of Men’s Track Athlete of the Year by USA Track & Field (USATF). Also in 2011, he helped BYU’s distance relay team win the national championship. And by August 2011, he was ranked number 9 in the United States in the 1500 meters discipline.

In February 2012, at the 2012 Millrose Games, Batty broke the indoor collegiate mile record by almost half a second with a time of 3:54.54. In February 2013, His record time was beaten at the 2013 Millrose Games by Chris O’Hare with a time of 3:52.98. Batty dropped to number three on the NCAA all-time mile list in 2014 when Lawi Lalang clocked a 3:52.88 at the Millrose Games. He finished 10th at the 2012 US Olympic Trials for the 1500-meter race.

Batty is currently studying neuroscience at BYU and has aspirations of going to medical school.

Other Media Files of Interest:

The True Measure of Love

Posted on Updated on

The Measure of True Love

  • The True Measure of Love

    True love knows no limits or boundaries. It is not governed or ruled by the dictates and potentates of men, rather its governance is according to the affairs of the heart. The roadblocks that are seemingly placed in its path to detour it from reaching its full fruition are not viewed as brick walls, but its genius is able to turn those obstacles into stepping-stones.

    True love is not as a ship that passes silently in the night trying to reach its destination, for it has already reached its destination and is safely anchored in the harbor. No matter how strong the winds of adversity may blow, or how hard the waves of trials and temptations may crash against its hull, it does not pull up its anchor and immediately rush back to sea seeking refuge from the storms, but it does whatever it takes to make sure that its anchor holds and that the ship’s infrastructure is strong enough to weather any storm.

    True love is not something that dissipates with the fleeting moments of time, rather it is a rock of permanence that endures the test of time.

    – Keith Lionel Brown

    Steve Maraboli - True Love

 

 

 

Combating the Fires of Racial Unrest

Posted on Updated on

MLK Living on Earth as Brothers and Sisters

There are people in this world who seem to make it their life’s mission to continually fan the ever glowing embers of ignorance and hatred. When one little spark from those embers ignites into a flame, they will continually fan that flame until it turns into a raging inferno. Once the inferno is raging, they will try to keep it ever-burning by incessantly dowsing it with the gasoline of unrelenting ignorance and hatred. In time if someone does not combat the fire, and try to bring it under control, it will eventually destroy lives and livelihoods.

It proves of no sound purpose to ever retaliate against ignorance and hatred with more of the same. Hatred only begets more hatred, and ignorance only begets more ignorance. The result only leads to a blood stained battlefield populated by all too often innocent victims, many of whom never know or understand why they ever became a “soldier” in the proverbial battle. They only know that it seemed like the right thing to do then, but they never stopped to question the validity or justification for the proverbial battle cry.

We need more “firefighters” in this world, and fewer people who continually start fires, oftentimes for unclear or nonsensical reasons. Once a fire has gotten out of control, the only way to bring it back under control is to repeatedly douse it with a solid stream of the cool healing waters of brotherly love and compassion, and completely smother any remaining glowing embers with a blanket of human dignity, self-worth, and patient love.

Sometimes we cannot see the proverbial forest because of the trees that impair our vision. We sometimes exert our energy in concentrating on what makes us different and fail to recognize the commonalities which should help to unite us as brothers and sisters. We may not agree on everything, but our differences should not cause us to become bitter and mortal enemies, but rather friends who are willing to live together, learn from one another, and most of all love one another.

However, let us be ever mindful that if we want to have friends in this life, we must first prove ourselves as being friendly. If we want to live at peace with those who would otherwise seemingly be our enemies, then we must not show hostility and malice towards others. If we want that people trust us, then we must prove to them that we are trustworthy. To live at peace in this world requires the efforts of many, not just the few or the one.

Let us also be mindful that respect is a reciprocated process. We cannot and should not expect others to support us and give us due respect when we at every turn find ways to undermine, demean, embarrass, or utterly disrespect them. If we want people to respect us, we must FIRST learn to respect others.

I humbly pray that I shall never be faced with the decision as to which people to love for I strive to live at peace with all men and have a heart’s desire to love everyone as my brother and sister. No barriers, artificial or otherwise, can nor should separate us because we can all share a common blanket of love. It is our love for one another that unites us and strengthens us.

Regardless of our race, regardless if we are rich or poor, regardless of our occupation and station in life, we are all brothers and sisters. We are all members of The Royal Family with a Father who loves each of us equally and unconditionally. It is impossible for a man to say that he loves his Father, but yet holds malice and ill will towards one of his brothers or sisters. If we say we love our Father, we must love ALL of our brothers and sisters as well.

No, we cannot fight fire with fire, but all of us can do our part to help extinguish any fires by drowning them out in an ocean of love.