As today is the first day of November and Halloween is behind us, many people will do the twenty X days of thankfulness and post about the things they are thankful for. I just wonder how many of us express our gratitude during the rest of the year? I personally have been working on doing better at this for many years. It isn’t that I am not grateful, it is that I don’t express it as quickly as I should. I have a brother that is really good at doing this, for many years he has set a great example for me and our siblings.
I do look forward to the holidays each year with hope and excitement because many people seem to be filled with joy and kindness. The world seems to become a better place even for these next 2 months as the year ends with Christmas and New Year’s. These 2 months seem to rekindle our connection to each other and remind us that not only are we not alone, we are connected. Something that continues to impress me about several homeless people I have met is their gratitude for the smallest kindness or service.
I have a friend that is homeless and so I don’t see him very much, nor do I hear from him very often. Our friendship has made me more aware of the homeless community within my county and how I might be better able to help them as a group and individually. I know that it is going to get colder with fall in full swing and winter coming on soon; the homeless shelter in town recently underwent some renovations and now can sleep 78 (?). Which I have learned in a community of 110,000 people, that is not enough to help out these individuals.
In our nation today, with all the wealth and resources we have, this continues to be an issue. It is also a very complicated issue from what I have witnessed. I don’t have an answer on how to solve this problem … I don’t know if it is a problem we will ever solve in a way that truly helps our fellow citizens. I know that many of them have lost hope and their dignity. I hope one day that we can solve this problem for our nation … especially because we are better than this. We are a great nation and one that has and can do hard things.
Gratitude, such a plain and unassuming word that is filled with love and depth. May each of us allow our hearts to be turned a little more to our neighbor and reach to lift the head that hangs down and strengthen the feeble knees. May God bless our nation that we can again lead the world in goodness and hope for a brighter future.
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, 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.
I have talked about Michael Hyatt and his This Is Your Life Podcast before, I recently picked up his book “Living Forward“. In short, it was all about visualization. Planning your future and living into it. If you have read “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and “The Secret” or even if you haven’t; you will find value from this book IF you put it’s concepts into practice.
I also should admit that I got the book on Sunday and read it completely on Monday. I have already started working on myself with what I learned.
I was thinking about what to write about next and I thought, “oh maybe I haven’t written about mission statements”. After making a quick search of my posts, I realized that I had not posted about them. Mission Statements are basically the goal or vision for your life. Stephen Covey called this Habit 2, “Begin with the End in Mind“. Many years ago, I wrote and rewrote my personal mission statement until I felt it stated what I wanted to be … it is:
“My mission is to become like Jesus Christ by an increased study of the Standard Works and by applying the principles therein, and by regular Temple attendance.
It is also to create and maintain a beautiful and meaningful relationship with my Wife and Children and to build this relationship with my Parents, Brothers, Sisters, and Extended Family. I will do this by understanding them and by teaching them about our Saviour, Jesus Christ and His gospel.
I will also increase in secular Knowledge by the Study of Languages, Great Literature, Music, Science, Nature, and History; by attending college and taking additional classes and lectures.”
While the first 2 paragraphs are my spiritual and personal life, the last deals with my world or secular knowledge growth. Something that you see is that my first priority are my relationship with my God. Second, is my family relationships. Third, is knowledge and skills.
While I don’t have statements like: “I will be loved by my family and community” or that “I will be honored by my lodge (men’s group) for all my service hours”. I felt that if I lived a good life and a life that provided value to others, it would be enough of a ‘legacy’ that I would be proud of any accomplishments that come out of my life. Personally, I believe that whatever accomplishments come from a good life are a reflection of my Lord and God.
Now, you may not be a christian … however, from what I have learned about other faiths, many of them have a belief in doing good and sharing it with the world. for example, karma is a Buddhist and Hinduism which basically states that for every action there is a reciprocating future benefit or punishment. Even though this is not a direct christian principle, I have seen it in practice, and I believe that it a true principle.