It’s Only Dinner…Right?

Photo:  tomesto.ru

“I’ll light the fire.  You put the flowers in the vase that you brought today.  Staring at the fire for hours and hours while I listen to you…Our house is a very, very, very fine house…”  From 1970, “Our House”.  Recorded by: Crosby, Stills & Nash.  Composed by: Graham Nash

A very talented friend of mine, going back to my high school days, recently pitched the idea of having dinner together.  I loved the gesture.  I even can say I had a spark of excitement run through my heart when he suggested a casual dining get-together.  But, the spark was quickly quenched.  It’s not like we had never been in a casual setting before.  Indeed, about three years ago we had a great time with a handful of school chums, from our teenage years, along with some sour cream potato skin appetizers.  We discussed old times, careers and swapped stories concerning our families.  Before we knew it, three hours scurried by.  We took some pics together, promised to do it again soon and went our separate ways.  However, THAT was before the presidential election.  Keep reading and bear with me.

My old friend is one who I have admired for over forty years now.  His talent in the acting, producing and directing arena is well-known.  I learned so much from watching his stage work, so much so, I utilized his methods during my theater years.

Enter stage right:  Donald Trump.  BOOM!  Suddenly, I was reminded of how opposite we were on the political and cultural spectrum.  How do I know this?  Because he has gone rabid on social media.  You know the type.  Posting anti-this and pro-that, some real news stories concerning the politics of the day, along with some false stories and spins of the same.  Discouragingly, he often spouts off, in cyberspace, with degrading mockeries that often offend me on a personal level, yet not targeting me directly — even to the point of trashing anyone who may have opinions differing from his, like mine.  Recently, he got as good as he gives from another online friend.  This friend of his was pushing back, displaying a couple of profound foolish statements our mutual friend had made.  My friend “Unfriended” him because he disagreed with the vigor my friend typed out daily on his page.  It’s sad to watch his meltdown.

Angry-man_on_computer

Photo:  fallout.wikia.com

Unfortunately, since the election, he rarely posts anything about his life, his joys or his family.  Frankly, I miss my old friend.  He seems unable to put down the political hammer and just be his peaceful, cuddly self again.  It’s as if something has taken over his kind spirit.  It’s like he has been swept away, kidnapped by tons of foaming-at-the-mouth pundits.  Regrettable isn’t close to the sadness I feel concerning this new person I once loved spending time with.

If you read my blog articles, then you know I don’t pitch a tent on politics, per se.  Really, I would rather talk about the thickness of tire tread than debate political discourse on public forums.  As for my old friend, I avoid the temptation of replying to his heated political rants.

We have seen an evolution in our culture over the past couple of years.  My friend represents a huge part of the population in America who are dangerously close to sparking another civil war.  I’m serious.  Do you get that notion sometimes?  Peaceful gatherings for protesting policy has now flipped into dog-fight style, in-your-face-screaming and shoving contests.  We now have elected officials calling for a civil disobedience once viewed as beyond the laws of our society.  There’s been a call for public stalking and harassment of others who speak opposing rhetorical discourse.  Violent insults now vomit out of the foul mouths of ranters toward fellow Americans who hold rival thought.  Profanities that are violent in nature, which I won’t type here, are dumped publicly on people of another political persuasion.  These reckless mouths of venom, with sledge hammers for tongues, are applauded from those who live in their bubble, without a sense of shame or proper decency.  It’s almost numbing to me now.  Where have we seen that before?

White Mob

A demand from a misguided elected official has gone out to the public.  It involves finding people of other views in order to kick them and their families out of restaurants during a meal, shouting and cursing at shoppers in a store, or filling-up for gas at a gas station.  For some, public spittle seems to be an acceptable form of shaming, disgracing and humiliation of others at the movies, street corners or even at the front doors of their homes.  (There’s plenty of videos.  Don’t just take my word for it.)  This activity cuts gravely into what we are to give and share with our neighbors, to uphold the standard right of  “…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  We’ve seen this activity before in all its ugliness.

White Cafe Mob

Honestly, what are we doing to our nation?  Have we not learned from our past?

Someone might say, “Oh, Alan, It’s just words.  No one is being harmed.”  Really?  Try asking Congressman, Steve Scalise about that.  Try asking a dozen or so Republican lawmakers who were there at softball practice when the politically crazed gunman, purposefully targeting Republicans, opened fired, almost killing Rep. Scalise.  Try getting an answer from William McKinley, John and Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr.  Try asking the many in our history who were illegally hanged by hooded mobs due to extreme hatred, or without due process or trial. (Oh, that’s right, you can’t ask.  They are all dead.)

Name-calling has become the norm in the public square.  The word, “Nazis” has been labelled on public officials and citizens just right of center.  Think about that!  If we really believed Nazis were taking over our country, wouldn’t we feel the patriotic duty to load some weapons and take a position?  Calling anyone a Nazi who disagrees with another slant is way out of orbit.  I have friends who lost multiple family members in the Holocaust.  They know the genuine article.  Trust me, today’s Neo, white supremacist versions are like nursing babies in comparison.  The irony of falsely pointing out a family who has a different viewpoint than our own, calling them a despicable term like “Nazi” is indeed acting like…a Nazi!  Ask anyone with dark skin, a Jew or a member of the gay community from WWII what it’s like to be labelled a “rodent” that should be purged from neighborhoods and exterminated.  Again, most are dead now.  This damaging spew must stop before the heat rises to uncontrollable levels.  It will be too late after that dragon is released from his cage.  We’ve seen where that takes us here and elsewhere.

“Stone is heavy and sand a burden,
    but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.”. – Solomon – Proverbs 27:3 (NIV)

White Arab Spring

No, I’m not done.  Why?  Because words, spittle and stalking matters.  What’s worse, it will matter much more to the next foolish John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald or John Hinckley Jr.  It matters to the next wacko in a high-rise with an arsenal peering over an audience at a concert.  Better yet, it will matter tremendously to the next political harassment victim, when violently reacting to public assaults from aggressors because they simply snap.  What father or mother wouldn’t defend their young if attacked, shoved or spat upon from a group of screaming agitators at a mall?  Some celebs (without much cerebellum) have called for assassinations, attacking the White House with explosives and kidnapping politician’s children.  One well-known bright bag of gas celeb called for the kidnapping of the president’s 12-year-old son in order to promptly throw him in a cage with pedophiles.  Another threw out the idea that the Trump family females should be raped.  Holy piles!  Mob mentality ignites easily when soaked in gasoline.  The irresponsible blathering of those calling for this dishonorable aggression need to be careful what they are asking for.  Wars have begun over far less.

Civility can, and is exercised, among those who are on opposite ends of the house in Washington.  It’s a sure sign of a healthy republic.  Why measure love with the caliper of a political obstacle course?  Even in the House of Representatives, dear friends, from across the aisle, go to dinner together and play golf.  Just because you are anti-this or pro-that, doesn’t mean you must alienate the ones you love with hateful shellacking.  Taking deep breaths or counting to 10 or 20 really helps perspective.  Recall that before a policy initiates, before an election, before a current event, you loved and accepted another person with another persuasion or doctrine of thought, for a reason.  Remembering why you loved originally, should aid in bringing back focus away from the dizzy political news cycles, policies and videos of public humiliation and harassment.  From a socialist, to Republican, we should be about peace and respect first, before we crucify each other.  Self-absorbed loss of respect for others will always take a dark and dangerous exit ramp to where you really don’t want to be.

If you are one who will read this and say something like, “Yeah, but he said this first, or she said that first,” I just have one thought for you: visit a summer camp of middle schoolers and take your mirror.  We are all responsible for our own words, actions and thoughts.  Each of us.  We should do what we can, as individuals, to bring peace and a cool, mature level-head.

Like a watchman at the gate of a fort, I wait for my friend’s dinner invitation.  Visions of harassment and vile debate (and maybe chanting) being spewed across the dining table give me pause.  Still, hope exists of seeing him again and sharing a peaceful meal. It’s only dinner, right?

A nice summer salad, grilled fajitas and good conversation would go well with a tank of fuel for the race.

“And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” – Jesus – Mark 3:25 (NKJV)

 

 

Dog Training

“Me and my Arrow, straighter than narrow.  Wherever we go, everyone knows it’s me and my Arrow.” – Me And My Arrow (1971) Written and recorded by: Harry Nilsson

Ah, the dog days of summer.  Finding those video clips on Facebook just kills me.  You know, the clips of a guilty dog in trouble, being confronted.  It might be a stolen cookie on the table, a trash can raid or a pile of poop in the hallway, the look of guilt on the face says it all.  I can’t hardly catch my breath from the bursts of laughter.  Cuteness on wheels.

Shorty Confession

My Shorty is a well behaved, highly intelligent dog.  Many years ago, I adopted him from a rescue operation and so glad I did.  They found him caged in a kill shelter with just days to live.  Honestly, he is one of the most obedient dogs I’ve ever had.  BUT, when he needs to be confronted about a bad decision on his part, he might first give you a look that says, “What?  All things are as they should be.”  However, it only takes a frown from my mug, or a second vocal nudge like, “Shooortyyyyy?” (Inflection going up at the end.)  That’s all it takes.  Then he goes into a different mode altogether.  Sometimes, it’s a look of denial.  He will turn his head, shifting his chocolate brown peepers away from me as if to say, “Nothing to see here.”  Or, “If I don’t look at him, the issue will disappear.”  The eyes are indeed the window to the soul.

Shorty Couch Denial

He truly speaks with his face, especially when he doesn’t want to hear the words, “Shorty, I’ve got to go, but you have to stay.”

Shorty Guilty

Because we’re so close, like Velcro, just like the “Me And My Arrow” story about a boy and his dog, Shorty knows he can find comfort with me.  There are times he even snuggles his face in the crook of my arm, or the first half of his body behind my back.

Shorty Chair Hidding

At other times, after he shakes off the initial confrontation, he distracts himself with his toy box consisting of bones.  It’s his own collection.  He drags each one out, across the rug to an area in the living room floor.  I call it his boneyard.  (He thinks he is such a fierce creature.)

Shorty Boneyard

At other times he chooses to forego my welcoming arms in efforts to comfort himself.

Shorty Chair Comfort

Way too many times I find I am being trained by my dog.  Have you ever felt that way?  I can really learn about myself from watching Shorty’s behavior.

It’s funny what guilt can do, isn’t it?  Guilt can freeze you to the point of arrested development, even if you’re 75 years old.  Guilt can cause a multitude of reactionary behaviors.  Mostly it stems from a need to cover up the pit you find yourself in.  It’s very much like a device planted in you from birth, signaling a twinge deep inside the soul flagging a misfire, a misstep away from the correct path, the better path laid out for you.  It’s what law was designed to do, to educate the perfect target intended for a peace that is the opposite of imperfection.

Maybe for you the chosen tool is temporary comfort.  Often those tools can be detrimental to your overall health, soul, spirit and body.  Guilt can cause you to shutdown altogether.  For some, it’s sleeping for 12 hours for numbing sake.  For others it’s dragging something familiar from one’s personal treasure toy box, only to find it really is a boneyard when perspective comes.  Guilt often produces a big fat plate of denial.  Like Shorty, you might just look in another direction believing the distraction you focus on will be your way of escape.  Maybe it’s in an effort to say to the guilty self, “There’s nothing to see here.  Nothing is really wrong.”  We do like smokescreens and foggy tints of grey, don’t we?  Somehow it makes it much easier to digest falling short of what it is to be at peace.  Yet, when perspective comes tomorrow, the memory of wrongful acts hits again like a pie to the face.  The morning after syndrome is so common.  Unfortunately, the process begins again like a dog chasing his tail in a loop of behaviorism.  Am I right?  Yep, me too.  We all have that gene in our DNA.  Don’t try making an attempt to cut the gene out of your strand.  You can’t.

No matter how hard we try, guilt must be dealt with.  If not, you will continue to be chewed on like an old soup bone from a box.  Too many times you have noticed you can’t drink it away, eat it away, sex it away, nor work it away.  Driving to a scenic lookout point is nice, and for the moment may ease what drags behind you, but you still have to go back home again.  There are stains, inward tattoos, you just can’t remove on your own, no matter what chemical is your favorite.

We were created that way, you know.  It’s true.  Sure, our society, our misguided culture, has degraded to a level where we trust in relativism.  What’s wrong for me might be right for you, etc.  I get it.  Even ISIS believes they are doing righteous acts.  Yet, relativism will not defy gravity at the edge of the Grand Canyon.  Gravity is gravity because gravity is absolute truth.  The top half of Shorty’s ears flop forward, no matter how hard he might try to point them upward.  That basic doctrine of relativism is faulty at best.  Do not jump off the edge of the Grand Canyon.  It’s like a house built on wet cement.  Would you do that?  The Savior available to the world put it like this, “It’s like a house built on shifting sand.” (Jesus paraphrased from Matthew 7: 24-27)

We act-out in order to cover over where our, often unspoken, fault lies.  Read the story of Adam and Eve.  When they understood they had gone against a perfect rule set for them by God Himself, they did all they could to cover it over, to hide.  That’s what guilt does.  Times haven’t changed.  It’s very much like, “If I don’t look at him, the issue will disappear.”   None of us are innocent of the perfect standard.  Try it, just for one day.

Shorty is a dog, a sweet dog with a terrific disposition, but a dog just the same.  However, in watching his little life, and his acting out, I often see myself.  In fact, Shorty may have been placed with me to be a teaching tool.  My unearned grace and forgiveness toward my pal comes from my unconditional love for him.  Unknowingly, Shorty may be showing me how God views me as His child.  It’s great training from a dog.

Shorty has it right.  Being humble enough to examine the stain on the heart is the first step toward the act of giving up and praying to the original Stain Remover.

Shorty Prays

Understanding the authentic design of the spirit and soul will expose the truth of the need for the removal of sin.  It’s an expensive spiritual surgery.  You can’t perform this surgery on yourself.  The operation has been paid for by your appointed surgeon.  I find Jesus has multiple initials after His name and covered the expense way ahead of time. 

When revived, you not only will find you are an adopted son or daughter, being held tightly to his chest, but also the recovery will require a gift from Him which is fuel for the race.

“…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Jesus (Speaking about Himself.) – Matthew 20:28 (NIV)

Things My Dad(s) Taught Me

“…Dressed in gray, did he say, ‘Hold my hand’?  I said, ‘Love’s easier when it’s far away’.  We sat and watched a distant light.” – Ships (Ships That Pass In The Night) (1979), recorded by Barry Manilow.  Composer:  Ian Hunter

Father’s Day was never, ever warm and fuzzy.  For me, growing up, it was to be emotionally avoided.  Without making a punching bag out of two men in my life, I will attempt to bring you into where I am on this.

My mom and bio-dad parted ways when I was two years old.  It was a sour time, a sour marriage before it began.  She met a man a couple of years later.  While dating, I began to call him “Daddy”, without prompting from my mom.  They married when I was five.  It was a hard life with him for many reasons.  In the end, they divorced four years later.  She never remarried again.  Both men refused to pay child support.  Both men were never part of my upbringing.  Both men were strangers to me.  Both men didn’t communicate with me.  No playing catch.  No camping trips.  No ice cream runs.  No lessons on how to tie a tie.  No tips on females.  No birthday cards.  No Christmas gifts.  No dad in the stands at my karate tournaments, graduations or concerts.  Absent in the true sense of the word.  My mom’s dad took the father role as best he could.  The ex-dads wanted me in their lives only after I became an adult.  (The same happened to Manilow, thus “Ships” lyrics.)  Distant is the description of my relationship with them.  To this day, I find it very difficult to find a Father’s Day card that fits.  I HATED Father’s Day.

You’re going to think I’m nuts.  Growing up, I mentally adopted family friends as my unofficial replacement dads.  I had three or four men who were dads of my running buddies, my high school choir director, dads of a couple of girlfriends, etc.  (They never knew it.) When I was using great imagination, I fantasized TV show characters as fathers.  Jerry Haynes from the Mr. Peppermint Show, Bill Bixby of Courtship of Eddies’ Father, Robert Young of Marcus Welby and Father Knows Best, James Arness from Gunsmoke, John Wayne, Jerry Lewis, Brian Keith from Family Affair, and….Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise….of course.  When thinking about it, they were all representatives of manly-men of great honor, strength and stout hero-types.  HOW SAD!  At the time, it was a desire to fill the gaping hole in my life.  For me, it wasn’t sad at all.

Tab & Me Nov 1987

Then, November 1987 came.  I became a dad for the very first time.  My focus about Father’s Day began to shift off its personal paradigm.  I have three daughters whom I dearly and fiercely love.  Authentic fatherhood has its ups and downs for sure, but there’s nothing like it.  When society learns fatherhood is more than getting someone pregnant, maybe this culture would make a 180.

Let me offer you a list of what my dads taught me.  Who knows, maybe this will help a young father-to-be somewhere.  I am not a perfect dad, by any stretch, but I know how to aim for it.  Here’s what I have learned over the last 30 years.

T&M kiddie pool

  • Jump in the kiddie pool, even if someone is watching.
  • Serve as Mr. Mom as much as you can…change those diapers.
  • Time is champ.  Give all of it you can.  One day, time will be up.
  • Read the Father’s Day cards in the store.  See where you’re lacking.
  • Go ahead, ask for directions.  They’ll remember and size you up as salt of the earth.
  • Don’t disappear when that toddler wants to pull your beard.  Enjoy while you can.
  • Attend every single event if it’s at all possible. (Recitals, musicals, open house, T-Ball, spelling bee, award ceremonies…)
  • Play dress-up and make-up sessions with YOU as the model!  Doll house time, play-dough and Barbie moments have a gigantic chunk of value.
  • If reading assembly instructions all night on Christmas keeps you up, revel in it.
  • Eat the imaginary cake served on that little plastic plate, along with the imaginary cup of tea.  Make-believe is a wonderment, even though you have forgotten.
  • Teach integrity and tolerance by example.  Let them see and hear you in tight, uncomfortable times.  Keep the lid on your temper in traffic.  They have big eyes and ears.
  • Introduce them to a cop early.  Let them see they are dads and moms too.
  • Be over-the-top with congrats, even if the achievement seems insignificant.
  • Encourage efforts, even if they give up quicker than you want them to.
  • Read to them.  After that, read to them some more.  Do it with zeal & gusto.
  • Watch with great focus when they want to “perform” for you in the living-room.
  • Remember this: Whatever game is on the screen, those players and coaches won’t be holding your hand on your deathbed a few years from now.
  • Take your kids out on dates.  Together AND separately, at a movie, dinner, museum.
  • If you have daughters, show them early-on how a gentleman treats his date.  If you have sons…speak out about how to treat their mom and sisters.  They’ll remember.

Megan & Me KCBI

  • Nurture their talents and interests, even if they’re not yours.
  • Watch those kiddie shows.  Participate.  See those obnoxious, juvenile movies with them.  You’re not the target audience for a reason.  Oh, and share the popcorn.
  • Be generous with chatter.   Your kiddo may have a long saga to share, but stay focused and ask questions.  Let them know they have your sole attention.
  • It is not a chore to drive them to & fro.  Wherever that party is, be their “Have Car, Will Travel” guy.  On the way, insist on all devises to be turned off and have conversation.  After you pick them up, have them tell you everything they experienced, even if it will bore you to tears.  Remember, it’s a privilege.
  • Show them you respect them as individuals.  Avoid the “I am king” syndrome.  Soon, you will learn the “king” is a fool.
  • Be one who indulges in teachable moments, but leave lots of room for failure.
  • When failure comes, always project the truth!  WE ALL FAIL.  Get up, you ain’t hurt.
  • Expose them to a variety of cultures and art, if it’s in line with values you consider appropriate.
  • Pass your faith onto them.  Teach them in the way they “should” go.  Thanks, Solomon.
  • Know their friends.  BE NOSY ABOUT IT.  It usually saves loads of heartache later.
  • When corrections need to be applied, be sure to explain why you disagree, or deem a subject as one that goes against your principles or values.  Never leave them wondering where you stand on things.  Recall, you are raising a society of one.
  • If not a single dad, love your wife loyally in front of them.  Show love in your home.
  • Never play good cop/bad cop concerning your wife.  In the end, they need to see mom and dad are one force, one mind, one decision.  Yes, it’s hard, but parenting isn’t for the weak.
  • Honor your parents in front of your kids.  Let them grow up knowing the elders are to be revered, unless their grandparents are criminals.  Sure, it’s a case-by-case basis.  Grandparents are not throw-away items from a storage unit.  Just know that my girls grew up respecting my two fathers, even with the soiled history.  Remember, they will have kids someday and you will be the elder.
  • Ask yourself what you want them to say at your memorial service and act accordingly.  If you don’t care, I recommend scheduling a vasectomy.
  •  Always remember, time is short.  Blink and your baby wears a cap and gown.

D...Me June 2017

Don’t let your kids apply-and-cry each time they hear Harry Chapin’s, “Cat’s In The Cradle”.  Be there.  Be available.  Be attentive.  Be willing.  Be loving.  Be a servant.  Be playful.  Be wise.  Be protective.  Be a disciplinarian.  They will remember.

Yes, my dads taught me a lot.  They taught me how not to be.

When leaving this earth it will be comforting knowing your child has plenty of fuel for the race.

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” – St Paul – Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)

Me and T-M-D Sept 2016

 

 

 

Peace Paradox

“Like a bridge over troubled waters, I will lay me down…” Simon & Garfunkel (1970)

The gusts coming off Lake Erie can, and will, knock you over as you jog on the break wall stretching out under the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, NY.  Erie feeds into the mouth of the Niagara at the end of the break wall.  After moving there in 2003, I couldn’t wait to make this my new jogging track.  The cool mist from crashing waves kissed my face as the gulls flew about with their unique vocals, the experience was almost addictive.  A friend told me that by the time November arrived I would find another place to run.  Being a tough Texas boy, I laughed.  He was right!  Little did I know the wintry winds off Lake Erie, along with the dipping temperatures, went right through me with a piercing I had never felt.  Plus, the strong, rising waves hitting the break wall, tends to splash over the walkway.  By December, horizontal icicles form on the railing.  The walkway is a thick sheet of ice by then and the winds are often 60-70 mph and well below zero.

Peace_Bridge

Photo: wikipedia

The Peace Bridge connects Buffalo, NY to Ft Erie, Ontario, across the Niagara.  If you are able to zoom-in, you can make out two flags (American and Canadian) flying halfway by its railing where the U.S. and Canadian border is designated.  Have your passport in hand.

Further out on the break wall, it’s a very peaceful place to be, but it wasn’t always.  Cannon fire was common in this area coming from the banks on both sides of the river.  Many ships were sunk as they made their way from Lake Erie.  During the War of 1812, the battles were daily as the British and the Americans were locked and loaded for their causes.  Extraordinary history was made in the area.

The Peace Bridge commemorates the peace accords signed by both nations to cease hostilities, putting away their arms.  The bridge is more than a stretch of concrete and steel for 18-wheelers executing open trade between our countries.  To a point, the bridge has a voice, loud and clear.  It shouts out to all who pass by, this is a peaceful place, decided equally by two powerful nations.  It shouts out there were individuals, patriots, who met across the tables and hammered out a deal, a contract that fitly benefited both peoples to the south and the north of the Niagara.  It shouts that a promise was given long ago, by men in powdered wigs with swords resting in scabbards, that their future generations would not see bloodshed between them again.

Peace bridge Buffalo Night

Photo: thousandwonders.net

Now imagine, if the builders extended their end of the bridge just slightly off from center.  Let’s imagine the builders on each side spanned their half of the bridge unequally so that when they met in the middle, one side was three feet off from the other, rendering the roadway useless, but rather created a drop-off down to the chilly currents below.  One might ask where the mutual benefit lies.

In peace talks, whether with North Korea or anywhere else, one side cannot benefit while the other does not.  A bridge built must have negotiated plans and well-thought out profitable reasoning for both parties’ satisfaction.  Give and take are not just words, they must be actions, as long as the end result doesn’t weaken one party or the other.  Should one party deliver a boatload of cash to the other to buy a synthetic peace that would be fruitless in the end?  Common sense says….NO!  That would be approving, even engaging in simple blackmail.  Threats should not be profitable to any nation.  Only the aggressive nation benefits from that mistake.  One party cannot come to the table expecting everything it wants on a silver platter while giving nothing in return, hoping to acknowledge goodwill.  Otherwise, there will be no lasting bridge.

The same is true with our personal relationships.  When wronged by another, something must be said at the table of reasoning.  If the one injured, by the first strike, comes in peace to remedy the cause of the aggression, only to be met with a shrug of the shoulders by the aggressor, there is no bridge.  Troubled waters remain without a crossing.  The ministry of reconciliation is just that…a ministry.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” – St Paul (Romans 12:18 NIV)

To eat from the tree of peace, one must starve self.  Peace-making has a chronological cycle in the psyche that says peace must first administer a choke-hold around the neck of the “Me-first” mindset.  There is a biblical concept that states, to die is to gain.  To live one must first die to self’s raging appetite, to give up the self-buffet daily lunch one is accustomed to.  When making peace, humility and self-denial is key.

It boils down to loving one another, looking out for the other’s best interest with a generous heart.

When peace is settled, run free where the fiery cannonballs once flew without fear.  When sprinting with fuel for the race, the trail is found dry and clean.

Cistine Chapel Artwork

” ‘Come now, let us reason together,’ Says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.’ ” – Isaiah 1:18 (NAS)