This last week on Thursday, I attended the funeral of my great uncle Paul. He was interned in Arlington National Cemetery with full honors. I knew before I ever arrived that I would cry. The service that is rendered to our solders, sailors, airmen, and marines always moves me. The beauty and simplicity of the service and the sharpness of those carrying the casket and rendering honors is so powerful! When my grandfather died in 2003 and we attended that funeral in PA; I was moved to tears during the 21 gun salute.
After the service, I walked back to my car before my wife and kids. I needed a moment and there I sat and cried because I am so concerned for our future. I am so worried about what may come in this next election and I am worried that we will not have the moral courage and fortitude to stand for truth and righteousness. I fear that we will fail in our efforts to make America the powerful world leader it once was. That we will never be able to be the standard bearer for freedom and peace.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War. This is often said in simpler words, A warrior prepares for battle hoping he never has to fight. This is best symbolized in this clip from Hero, if you have not seen this film it is a beautiful story and will help to frame the context of this clip.
I brought this up, because for several years (The Cold War), we were able to stand on principles (no matter what party the President was) and set the example and worked to provide real peace and friendship throughout the world. Now, we are mocked by many of our enemies and ridiculed by some that were once our friends. This saddens me because I know we are better than this, I know we have what it takes to stand tall and be the change we “wish to see in the world“.
There are 2 prophets in the Book of Mormon what mourn for and pray for their people Nephi (the son of Lehi) and Enos. They both prayed for and wept for their people. While I am not a leader in the political sense and the only real group I have authority over is my family, in that moment of my life; I understood in a very personal and visceral way what they must have felt. I know that we as a people have the courage, faith, and love of each other to rise above the hostilities and bigotry that has been promulgated by the media, politicians, and groups in the public eye that are more interested in getting their way than understanding others.
Louisiana and the citizens there stood tall and proud as they helped each other survive the floods … and we heard so little about it in the media … unless you got off the beaten path and find the local news for those cities or you follow a lesser known news website that covers things the MSM (Main Stream Media) likes to ignore. I have faith and hope that we can restore our virtue and honor as a nation and stand again as a beacon of hope for a lost and fallen world. We are the last great hope for humanity and if we let those who don’t believe it then we will fall down never to rise again.
“If a principle exists it must be immutable, for that is what a principle is – a truth standing apart from the mood of the times” Jeff Cooper, Principles of Personal Defense (1972)
I have been trying to express this concept in this blog for several months. It seems the world continues to push “new values” that have through time continued to fail. The traditional or Judeo-Christian values have been under fire since the 1960’s when drugs and free love, a reaction to WWII and the Korean War, became a cause celeb among the youth of America. While other powerful movement’s also happened during these years, few have caused so much trouble for our nation. The attack on values, morals, and religion has severely hurt our country. I know that some feel we are better off with less religion; which is funny since 89% of Americans say they believe in God. (1) Oh, not as many attend or affiliate with a church as we have in the past; however, when 9/11 landed in our face there was a brief revival and uptick in people attending church again.
We are immortal beings having a mortal experience and this life is a place of testing and trials to see if we will grow and overcome our weaknesses and faults. Church is not a place for the healthy, for in God’s eyes we are all sick. It is a hospital where we minster to each other. To often we let our mortal selves get in the way of our immortal selves since we are not perfect and we are constantly failing/sinning some way. Now, don’t get discouraged. I have been practicing and striving to improve for 20 years and I know that while I have made good progress I still have a long way to go to meet the standard that Jesus Christ set. Our problem, is that we want the perfection now … and it doesn’t come until the next life.
We do not join Christ in His glory until after we die and are judged. Heaven is the only “country” where one has to learn to live the “law of the land” before we can enter the kingdom. The beautiful thing about living a life of principles is that when we are making progress and improving; we are living those laws or commandments to the best of our ability … which is what we are being asked to do. Christ makes all the difference, He paid the price for our freedom and only by applying to Him can our balance be paid in full. While I am a firm believer that my faith is the correct one and the we have the most pure doctrine; I also know that everyone living to follow Christ is just as blessed and benefits by His divine intervention in their lives. He loves all of us, no matter who we are or what we do.
We show Him that we love him by living a life grounded in the traditional principles and values that are taught in many faiths. If you look and study you will find that many of the same doctrines and principles are shared among many faiths. I encourage you to live a life of principles for surely we will be able to stand before God one day and know that we have lived the best life possible.
Be your best self and then you will begin to see the difference between a principled life and an unprincipled one.
Recently, my eldest son asked that I switch from singing Silent Night at bedtime to our National Anthem. No, I am not a wonderful singer, marginal at best. However, I have been singing to the boys since Number 1 was an infant. It is part of our bedtime routine, As I looked up the words and reviewed them I was again reminded that the first 3 generations of Americans really felt that America was a blessed and special land. Many believed that it was a land dedicated to the God of Heaven, this can be seen here:
“On April 18, 1775 John Adams and John Hancock were at the home of Rev. Jonas Clarke, a Lexington pastor and militia leader. That same night Paul Revere arrived to warn them of the approaching Redcoats. The next morning British Major Pitcairn shouted to an assembled regiment of Minutemen; “Disperse, ye villains, lay down your arms in the name of George the Sovereign King of England.” The immediate response of Rev. Jonas Clarke or one of his company was:
“We recognize no Sovereign but God and no King but Jesus.”
In this crucial hour of our nation’s history it is past time that the true saints of God give total allegiance to the Kingship of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. The crisis of the ages demands that we renew the historic battle-cry of our Christian Forefathers –
“WE HAVE NO KING BUT KING JESUS!”
“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!” Patrick Henry
“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty…of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” John Jay, First Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court” (1)
This nation, was founded by religious people who loved their faith and their God. It can still be seen in many places where law suits have not forced the removal of them from the public square. The reason that these first generations spoke in such terms and referred to God is because of those persecuted Christians that fled England. (2) We started as a nation with clear values and over time they have been eroded through bureaucracy, legislation, and law suits. These events sadden me because it has shifted our faith and our focus from “equality under the law” to equality for all. (3)
I hope that one day soon, our nation will turn back to the morals and values that have provided the prosperity and economic growth which has made the United States the most powerful nation in the world. Not because we are “better”, not because we have smarter people; it is because when we allow men to govern themselves with a clear understanding of the freedoms, values, and morals that drove our nation in it’s first century. No, I don’t claim that we are perfect. I do believe that we are a good and just nation when we act with the foundation with which were established.
O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
In business and personal life each person uses some form of motivation to pursue their goals. Last week I had one of those moments and it ties back to my Failed Job Interview post. I live and work to provide for my wife and kids.
It was a typical morning with Face getting up shortly after me. We made breakfast and as each of the other boys got up, I helped them get things in order for school and feed. I finished my own preparations and kissed my wife good bye.
I got my sunglasses, keys, and started to open the front door. Face came running and yelling, “Daddy don’t go! Don’t go!” “Daddy don’t go! Don’t go!” He started crying and gave me a big hug.
“Please stay home and play with me?!?”
“Oh, my boy, I wish I could, I have to go to work so that we can have food and clothes, and so that we have a place to live.” “Face, I want you to know that I am working on my own business so that I can stay home with you and we can do fun things together.” I will admit that this has happened more than once and this last time it almost brought me to tears. I drove to work thinking about what I am doing and WHY I am building my own business.
I love my family … my wife and boys, her parents and siblings and my own. I have long dreamed of working for myself and building a business that provides the freedom and income to change our lives.