Not As Planned

Sometimes things don’t go as planned. We have to adapt in those instances.

Example: Trying to get enough steps in every hour. I failed Monday; at least the activity was spread out a bit throughout the day. Tuesday was worse; my work sank me throughout the morning; I didn’t make my hourly goal until after Noon. Thursday? Similar.

Overall Activity Level? Not great. Reduced. Feeling…sloth-like. :-/

But then, whatever. They are only goals, after all.

There are streaks — long streaks sometimes — when we don’t reach our goals.

Think losing streaks in sports. Like hitting slumps in baseball; consider crappy free-throw percentages; ponder golfers not making the cut in tournaments week after week after week.

It’s in such times that we have to dig deep. It’s in those times that grit is formed.

It’s from those struggles, those dark times, that we can best see the light.

So let us fix our gaze anew.

Let’s try again, tomorrow.

Let Your “Yes” Mean “Yes”

Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.’

But I say to you…Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the Evil One.”

Matthew, 5:33

Plain and simple talk. Plain and simple approach. Plain and simple commitment. So valuable, so difficult to come by, sometimes.

Strive each day to live up to this guidance. Start each day commited to that path. This beginning is the fundamental.

No doubt there will be challenges. For sure unforeseen obstacles will pop up before you. It will get complicated.

You’ll get cut down at the knees sometimes. You will fail.

You may lie, twist your words to explain, to make the uncomfortable go away. But it won’t. That’s not the way.

Evil will knock at the door, linger outside, waiting for you, whispering.

You may even keep company with that evil.

Even then you can still turn it around. As long as you have breath inside you, you can reset your path to good.

Let your Yes mean Yes.

Onward.

Elevate

I listened to Dave Chappelle’s piece, “8:46”, recently on Youtube. It’s a stand-up he did on 6 June 2020. The main topic is the murder of George Floyd.

8 minutes and 46 seconds is the amount of time the police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck during the arrest. Floyd died as a result of that treatment. I didn’t know the exact amount of time; but I’d seen clips of the video, heard some of the audio.

It was homicide caught on video and images otherwise.

As result of this murder, there have been protests in the streets of cities across the United States, and around the world. Protests and the fallout otherwise, including legislation to address the underlying shortcomings in society continue more than two weeks now.

Floyd was the latest in a long, long list of unarmed African-Americans that have died at the hands of police.

It’s long past time for change. It’s long past time for meaningful, permanent reforms in our American society where ALL people have equal opportunity, and equal protections.

My wise wife said to me recently when we were talking about all this, that the very helpful way white people like me can support this moment is to elevate those whose voices haven’t been heard. Or those voices that need to be heard more loudly, steadily, insistently.

And so let me elevate those that need to be heard. Those who have the expert insight, the genuine experiences that should guide us in this moment, this movement.

That’s the world, that’s the country, that’s the community I want my kids to grow up in: a world more equitable of opportunity AND protections.

I will elevate any voice that can move us in that direction. Let it be so.

#BlackLivesMatter

#BrownLivesMatter

8:46

Guest Post: “What If”

It’s exciting and humbling to realize you’re in good company, that people around you are strong and insightful and awesome.

I’ve had that experience now twice this week with classmates from high school.

The following passage was shared by Ms. Hala Teixeira via social media recently in response to recent events and protests against racism and police brutality.

Hala’s words ring true. They are powerful. Another valuable perspective that needs to be shared.

“I have been pretty silent with my posts the past couple weeks and part of that is because I worry about what the right thing is to say. I’m so shocked at the things that have happened and amazed at how many people are speaking out and being examples for change. I am proud of my daughters who have been sharing information and trying to educate and bring to light all the unjust things going on in our country.

Im proud to be working for a great company that has been supporting everyone and are recognizing the issues and addressing them. We had a call today with over 200 people where it was an open forum to talk about a how we felt and our experiences. Even though only about 10% of the people spoke, their stories and experiences were very powerful to me. It helped me put into perspective what is happening and why we need to speak up.

One thing I realized is that many people have examples of a time that something happened to you that seemed racist, or you got scared of a situation with a police officer or something happened to you where you felt discriminated or profiled.

I even have a couple examples in my 50+years, like feeling racism when I say I am Arab…growing up I heard jokes about having a camel in my backyard or oil wells or asking if my parents dress a certain way and of course mocking the accent (I was born in the US and didn’t have an accent btw). I hesitated to say I’m Palestinian especially when I was younger because I felt an even stronger stereotype than if I just said I’m Arab or Lebaneese.

I have felt fear when I was pulled over for speeding or driving in the car pool lane…its scary but not necessarily because I was afraid for what the cop would do to me but more because I was caught doing something I was not supposed to be doing. Kinda like the feeling when your parent gets mad at you for doing something wrong. I have felt fear when police came to our house because someone driving by said Eddy and his little pickup matched a guy that stole beer from the 7-11. They questioned him at the front door and asked if we had beer inside and he said we did because we were having a birthday party for our daughter that weekend…they questioned why we needed beer at a kids birthday. Fortunately they left and nothing further happened with that but that is something I will never forget. What if…

All these examples are so real to me but I realize that they are just a couple things I have faced in my lifetime. I can’t imagine having these feelings all the time. I dont live fearful for what might happen to me everyday but when I hear and see stories where someone is pulled over and is pulled out of their car and mistreated or someone stops and questions you because you look like someone or racially discriminated against…It just makes me so sad. People deal with this on a daily basis for no reason. It’s awful, it’s not fair, its not right and things need to change.

We all have experiences that scare us but when you dont face them daily, or face fear daily then you are privileged. Everyone deserves this priviledge.

Educate yourself, help where you can, donate, support, speak up and educate others and dont be scared to voice how you feel. Always show love to anyone you encounter. Everyone deserves respect.

This is the only way things will change.

❤✌✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿”

Yes, Hala, YES.

Let’s those insights sink in. Let them resonate. Let them light the fire within you to stand up. Elevate the voices long silent. Too long silent.

CHANGE IS NEEDED.

Guest Post: “I Get It.”

Sharing some thoughts from an old high school classmate. His name is Eric Curtis.

Another classmate pointed me to a few recent posts Eric made on social media in response to the recent protests over police murders of unarmed African-Americans, and against underlying racism that still persists in the United States. When I read Eric’s words, I thought two things immediately:

1/ I agree with him.

2/ I can’t put words together any better than he does on the subject of a white person’s evolving perspective on racism.

And so, here’s what he wrote:

“I get it.

I use to say that I wasn’t racist, because I did my best to not allow race to influence my thoughts about another person.

I became comfortable with the level of racism around me because it didn’t directly affect me or my family.

In my community, racism wasn’t particularly violent, although I was often aware that I was less likely to be harassed than people who look different than I do.
I had an unspoken agreement with racism – “If you don’t mess with me, I won’t mess with you.”

My sheltered life allowed me to pretend that racism was getting better throughout the country.

All it took was Trump’s campaign in 2016 to help the people who embrace racism to begin to feel more comfortable and their racism approved.
Somehow, these last 4 years, although agitated with renewed flourishing of racism throughout the country, I didn’t have the bandwidth
to turn toward a positive impact in relationship with racism.

The blatant public execution of an innocent man pushed me and apparently hundreds of thousands of others to the point of critical mass.
Although racism still has little direct affect on my life, I can no longer pretend to “not be racist”. I had to choose to be anti racist.

So I get it. Millions of people can say “I’m not racist.”, and be comfortable enough with that.

But to pretend that our country isn’t being overcome by racism, led by Trump’s empowerment lead active racists out of their dark holes,
is to choose to close one’s eyes to reality. That has always been an indirect support of racism.

I have been that passive racist.”

[jeff’s addition]:

Me too. My old high school friend Eric speaks humbly and powerfully from our shared, white perspective. This perspective is valuable to a degree, since we white people have the power.

I’ve heard people of color (and otherwise) say now, “If you’re not anti-racist, then you’re part of the problem.”

I agree with that.

I’ve also heard it said that we white people need to amplify the expert voices of people of color that have suffered so long under racism.

I agree with that too.

Thank you, Eric, for sharing your perspective. Much respect and gratitude to you, my friend.

And stay tuned for more posts / insights from people of color, the true experts on how we can dismantle racism in these United States.

If you want to check out more of Eric’s writing, see his blog:

https://compassionwholeness.wordpress.com/

Sitting on the Bed

Sitting on my son’s bed, listening to the sounds. In the dim light, thinking. 

He asked me to sit with him as he fell asleep. Quickly so. His sisters already softly snoring in slumber. 

Later than I’d like but then, a few moments to write, to capture the night. Grateful for that, for their slumber, for my family, my sometimes enemies in my darkest moments. And then I catch, I remember, this is my purpose, these are my people, I love them!

Yes. Yes I do. Sitting on the bed, in the dark, even in the dark, I love them. Let my actions speak those words. Every day.

 

The Righteous, The Race

Timothy, Mark, Psalm 71, a stream of good, yes my son. So much there, bits of wisdom, joy.

Be persistent, consistent , through patience, teaching, guiding, instructing. Be steadfast in your faith, in the race, put up with hardship, for in the end the just shall judge.

Be filled with praise, trust you will not be cast off, steel yourself, have hope, always, believe in justice in the end, be buoyed therein.

And as the widow’s two pennies, give honestly, as much as you can. Beware the scribes’ long robes and places of honor, these so-called righteous do not seek. Do not be distracted by falsehoods, by myths, by desires. 

Rather, wait for the Truth, seek the Truth, rely on the Truth; and if you stray do not dismah; instead correct your path, contrite, and commit again, and endure. Endure the race, and thus win in the end.

Soft Launch: “New Dad Lessons”

There was a little surprise I shared yesterday. My first book published and available now via Amazon.

SUPER STOKED !!!

The title? As noted above “New Dad Lessons” —

After about a five-year process, it’s finally out, and I’m delighted, absolutely filled with JOY!, to share this news.

You can get it as an e-book (i.e. for a Kindle read), or paperback, take your pick. The hard copy is a bit pricey, but that’s how it goes when you self-publish. : – )

Have a look! Even better, pick-up a copy. And if you do, please write a review on Amazon (it helps the book get promoted). Thanks, peeps!