...We do not want riches, but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches. We want peace and love. ~ Chief Red Cloud
...the cause is the hearts' beat,
And the children born,
And the risen bread.
A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt about a tragedy. He said, 'I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.' The grandson asked him, 'Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?' The grandfather answered, 'The one I feed." ~ a Native American Indian story
When missionary E. Stanley Jones met with Mahatma Ghandi and asked him, "Mr. Ghandi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is it that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?"
And Ghandi replied, "Oh, I don't reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ."
What lies behind us
and what lies before us are
tiny matters compared to
what lies within us.
It is the experiences that we share with each other and the stories that we tell about those experiences that, after being told over and over again from one generation to another, become part of a larger eternal story about mankind.
The day John Kerry becomes President will be a good day for America. I have come to the conclusion that the symbolism of revisiting the Vietnam War as a means of choosing our next President may simply come down to Divine Providence. The Vietnam Vets...and John Kerry is one of them... that tell the truth about Vietnam are here to liberate America from over 30 years of lies. This country has been built more and more on lies ever since then. The Vietnam Vets are vital in the fight for America to reclaim its soul. A vote for John Kerry for President is a vote for us, as a nation, to have closure from the past filled with lies. John Kerry's Mission will not be completed until America is free from those lies that have continued since the Vietnam War right up to today and the War in Iraq. Both wars have been mistakes dominated by cheating, lying, secret activities, and covering things up. If you look, you will see that these are not the "End Times" of the world...but the "End Times" of cheating, lying, secret actvities, and covering things up and "getting away with it". And, sometimes it seems like hell is upon us because, as Dicken's wrote: "Dishonesty will stare honesty out of countenance any day in the week, if there is anything to be got by it." Lies don't die easy. Peoples lives have been built on them. But, that which is hidden is BEING revealed, and these revelations give us the chance to change our course by voting for a change. How can a nation move forward with lies? It can't. That's why we need John Kerry and John Edwards to take us forward with more honesty and hope for our humanity.
Today I'm remembering Mattie Stepanek, a 13 year old young man who died two months ago this past Sunday from a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. He wanted to be remembered as a poet, peacemaker, and philosopher...and THAT he is. He contributed more in his short life than a hundred others do in a long life. His poetry books became bestsellers, and former President Jimmy Carter said of Mattie: "I have known kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers, but the most extraordinary person I have ever known was Mattie Stepanek."
Here is an excerpt from one of Mattie's beautiful poems, entitled "For Our World", written the day after 9/11:
...We need to notice.
Notice for a moment
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Be for a moment
Kind and gentle, innocent and
Like children and lambs,
Never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And, now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.
What could be more un-American than people trying to discredit a soldiers medals. That is sacred territory. And, if it no longer is, then think about the almost 1,000 dead of ours right now...many of whom received medals. Are we going to start investigating whether they or their still living comrades deserved theirs. This is not about Pete Rose and baseball. This is about an American soldier, John Kerry, and as we speak we have thousands of his band of brothers in Iraq who have already earned or will soon be getting medals of their own. If you taint one soldiers medals, you taint them all. What are they to think when they hear this news from home. "You mean "my" medals that I sacrificed my life for are "not" unconditional?" "You mean if I'm a bad boy or girl somewhere down the road, or I take to the bottle because of some future twist or turn of fate and I'm not a model citizen OR if I disagree and say so about some future President of my country...that I no longer deserve what is mine?" Then maybe I don't want to fight this war anymore...because, THIS cinches it...if it does all that, then it's an un-Godly, un-American, inhumane war!
I am a person who believes that hope is a major ingredient in the process of healing ~ whether it's in the healing of our body, or our mind or our nation, and right now we have reason to hope because we still have the right to choose. Unfortunately, if we do not exercise that right, we can soon loose it. It's so easy to want to go back to sleep and let someone else take care of the "not so fun stuff" but when we do that, we relinquish our ability to control ourselves. And, once we hand that over to someone else, it's very difficult to get it back.
For a moment of pleasure, we can lose something treasurable forever. And, the deliverers of pleasure are smooth and skilled to make it easy for you to trust them and handover your soul. The theft is so quick, you'd have to be a magician, yourself, to see it. We are always trying to find pleasure and avoid pain, and the tricksters in the world masterfully use that to make us feel good and get what they want.
One of the things we need to do is to decide whether or not we are willing to experience a little pain in order to be awake...or do we just want to remain drugged and feeling carefree, and never experience being truly alive...with the tremendous love and understanding that comes from honest passion, heartache and pain and the priceless lessons those emotions give us. Where are your guts. It's easy to take a drink. It's not easy to make hard choices in life, but it's a thousand times more rewarding to feel alive than numbed.
Start checking out what's happening in the world around you. Ask important questions and from a broad spectrum of people. Don't settle for one persons answer. Don't feel self-conscious that your question might be silly. Just ask it. You'd be surprised how many people feel the same as you. When you make a decision, "never make it to spite somebody" and "never make it to please somebody". You'll know it's the right decision if you learn as much as you can on your own and not allow anyone to change your mind. You'll know, when in the pit of your stomach, you feel peace, comfort and a sigh of relief that regardless of whatever anybody else might say or think...you made your own decision and it feels real good.