Thoughts of 2002
Thoughts of 2001

Anger
Adversity
Character
Courage
Discipline
Faith
Friendship
Hope
Humility
Life
Loneliness
Love
People
Putting Others First
Relationships
Youth
Your Thoughts and Comments

Friendship (attachment; comradeship... one attached to another by esteem and affection; an intimate associate; a supporter. SYN: associate, companion, acquaintance, familiar, ally, chum, confidant, well-inclined, well-disposed, amicable, kindly, social, neighborly, sociable, affectionate, favorable, cordial. -Webster's)

"There is a wide difference between general acquaintance and companionship. You may salute a man and exchange compliments with him daily, yet know nothing of his character, his inmost tastes and feelings."
-Wm. Matthews

When we fail to go in depth and find out who people truly are, we fail to build friendships.


"The most agreeable of all companions is a simple, frank man, without any high pretensions to an oppressive greatness; one who loves life, and understands the use of it; obliging, alike at all hours; above all, of a golden temper, and steadfast as an anchor. For such an one we gladly exchange the great genius, the most brilliant wit, the profoundest thinker."
-Lessing

to the point, not hiding behind pride, someone who can enjoy the life we have, positive, using the gifts he/she has, slow to anger, consistant with others.


"He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter."
-Proverbs 11:13

A true friend is trustworthy and looks out for the best interest of others.


"He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends."
-Proverbs 17:9(NIV)
"You will keep your friends if you forgive them, but you will lose your friends if you keep talking about what they did wrong."
-Proverbs 17:9(TEV)

Hmmm... it makes sense now... Sometimes, when we think something is funny or memorable, we bring up a painful or embarrassing moment in a friend's past. Or perhaps we get angry and bring something up again for revenge. We hear the saying, "forgive and forget," but sometimes remember oh too well. Perhaps this is what is meant by "forget."


"Friendship, in its truest sense, is next to love the most abused of words. One may call many 'friend' and be still ignorant of that sentiment, cooler than passion, warmer than respect, more just and generous than either, which recognizes a kindred spirit in another, and, claiming its right, keeps it sacred by the wise reserve that is to friendship what the purple bloom is to the grape, a charm which once destroyed can never be restored"
-J. Alcott

Such an abstract term - "friendship" - Some might say that a good friend is someone that they know in passing. I would have to challenge that such an individual does not yet know true friendship. While it might appear that J. Alcott is inferring that spending time together is not important, I would have to disagree. Yes, it is very important to go deeper than the superfluous surface level banter of society; however, to do this very thing, we must spend time together. For deep trust, we must become accustomed to one another. For this to happen, we must spend time with each other, sharing common experiences that give us common ground upon which we can build our friendship stronger.


"A blessed thing it is for any man or woman to have a friend; one human soul whom we can trust utterly; who knows the best and the worst of us, and who loves us in spite of all our faults; who will speak the honest truth to us, while the world flatters us to our face, and laughs at us behind our back; who will give us counsel and reproof in the day of prosperity and self-conceit; but who, again, will comfort and encourage us in the day of difficulty and sorrow, when the world leaves us alone to fight our own battle as we can"
-Charles Kingsley

Such wonderful honesty. I think that I have indeed trusted certain individuals like this. However, I must question to what point have my friends been there for me... and in the same token, how have I been there for others... or have I sought too much my own goals.


"Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself."
-Proverbs 22:24-25

You are who you hang out with.


"For true friendship, it is not enough to have emptied a brotherly glass to each other, to have sat on the same form at school, to have met frequently at the same cafe, to have conversed courteously in the street, to have sung the same songs at the same club, to have worn the same colors as politicians, to have extolled one another in the press. Friendship, indeed, is one of the greatest boons God can bestow on man. It is a union of our finest feelings; a disinterested binding of hearts, and a sympathy between two souls. It is an indefinable trust we repose in one another, a constant communication between two minds, and an unremitting anxiety for each other's souls."
-James Langdon Hill

There must be more! more than the average words in passing. The words "constant communication" grab at my heart. How often have I tried to have such, only to have a friend tell me that it is too much. How often have I tried to communicate only to find that there is nothing between us of which to talk.


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Hope (desire combined with expectation gives grounds for hoping; thing desired; to desire, with belief in possibility of obtaining; to feel hope. SYN: anticipation, prospect, vision, longing, confidence, desire, expectation, trust. -Webster's)

"Hope is like the cork to the net, which keeps the soul from sinking in despair: and fear is like the lead to the net, which keeps it from floating in presumption."
-Watson

Hope keeps us afloat, away from fears. But fear pulls us down and crushes us.


"True hope is trustful expectation based on strong {faith} and evidence. What the world perceives as hope is really hopelessness. <<'Do you believe that world conditions will ever get any better?' 'I certainly hope so.'>> No, he certainly does not. He wishes they would, but sees no evidence to found that hope on, and is ignorant of God's promises for the future, so his hope is weak or nonexistent."
-http://bookshelf.info/wordlists/e/eec/www/=H.html

Lately, I've really been questioning the whole concept of "hope." I know it exists, but perhaps not in the form that I know. For decades, I've trusted God to answer certain prayers. And when I finally think that those hopes and prayers are being answered, it all comes crumbling down around me. Do I trust God to answer these prayers? Well, I know He can answer them. I used to blindly take for granted that He would. Don't get me wrong, He has provided for me in many ways and answered many of my prayers. But right now, my yoke (used on animals to pull stuff; also referenced in scripture) is too heavy.


"Hope - one of the three main elements of Christian character (1 Cor. 13:13). It is joined to faith and love, and is opposed to seeing or possessing (Rom. 8:24; 1 John 3:2). 'Hope is an essential and fundamental element of Christian life, so essential indeed, that, like faith and love, it can itself designate the essence of Christianity (1 Pet. 3:15; Heb. 10:23). In it the whole glory of the Christian vocation is centered (Eph. 1:18; 4:4).' Unbelievers are without this hope (Eph. 2:12; 1 Thess. 4:13). Christ is the actual object of the believer's hope, because it is in his second coming that the hope of glory will be fulfilled (1 Tim. 1:1; Col. 1:27; Titus 2:13). It is spoken of as 'lively', i.e., a living, hope, a hope not frail and perishable, but having a perennial life (1 Pet. 1:3). In Rom. 5:2 the 'hope' spoken of is probably objective, i.e., 'the hope set before us,' namely, eternal life (comp. 12:12). In 1 John 3:3 the expression 'hope in him' ought rather to be, as in the Revised Version, 'hope on him,' i.e., a hope based on God."
-http://www.ccel.org/e/easton/ebd/ebd/T0001800.html#T0001813

As I start to look at these scriptures, I notice that they seem to focus on the second coming, salvation, etc.. 1 Peter 3:15 speaks of the "hope that is in [us]." It seems unlikely that something that we "wish" for would be in us. This too seems to point to the second coming. Ephesians 1:18 speaks of our "inheritance in the saints." In regards to Ephesians 2:12, even the non-believer wishes for things they do not have... but they do not have the hope of salvation. Looking up these verses is really helping me to understand hope better. 1 Timothy 1:1 tells us that "Christ Jesus... is our hope." It would seem that the word "hope," as used in the Bible does not mean what we are traditionally taught as the definition of this word. Instead, "hope" refers to "trustful expectation" of the return of Christ.


"The setting of a great hope is like the setting of the sun. The brightness of our life is gone, shadows of the evening fall around us, and the world seems but a dim reflection itself– a broader shadow. We look forward into the coming lonely night; the soul withdraws itself. Then stars arise, and the night is wholly."
-Longfellow

A sad though insightful look into life without hope.


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Life (existence; vitality; condition of plants, animals, etc. in which they exercise functional powers; the span between birth and death; mode of living; narrative of a person's history; animation. SYN: vitality, duration, existence, condition, conduct, animation, vivacity, personality, state, society, morals, spirit, activity, history, career. -Webster's)

"No man can possibly improve in any company for which he has not respect enough to be under some degree of restraint."
-Chesterfield

We need to respect those who are "in charge of us." Without restraint, we claim that we know more than the other person; we put ourselves on a pedastal, saying, "look up to me!" Instead, it is beneficial to communicate in peaceful means when at all possible so that we can avoid putting up walls.


"Despise not any man, and do not spurn any thing. For there is no man that [has] not his hour, nor is there anything that [has] not its place."
-Rabbi Ben Azai

We all have a purpose, a reason for living.


"That life is long which answers life's great end."
-Young

What is your motivation and what should it be? I suppose to truly answer this is to ask, "what is life's great end?" Some say that it is to serve others and make a difference in the lives of those around you.


"To live long, it is necessary to live slowly."
-Cicero

While racing through life, it is rather easy to hit the ice and spin out of control, to lose sight of that which is important. Hence, slow down! Don't worry... we're told in Matthew 6:34 that we should not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough worries of its own.


"A man without a smiling face must not open a shop."
-a Chinese proverb (found in How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

What a difference a smile can make! How often my own day has been cheered up just because someone smiled at me. To all those who have ever smiled at me - thank you... for you have made me a better person... I am richer for having received such a free gift. Something given so easily and in such abundance and so much appreciated by all. Yet, it is very easy to get so wrapped up in ourselves and the world around us that we forget to practice this small measure of love and friendship. Dale Carnegie encourages people to smile at people each hour of the day. I have found that it relieves stress and increases happiness. Remember - Smile!


"Parents learn a lot from their children about coping with life."
-Muriel Spark

Granted, we must attempt to protect our children and do what is best for them. However, it is impossible to protect them from everything. Fortunately, they tend to bounce right back, learning from what has just happened, modeling after how the adults around them handle the situation. Yet, they manage to somehow maintain an innocence about it all, an innocence of humility. The sad part is that I have seen some adults who try to take that away from their children, when in fact they should become more like the children in front of them.


"True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness"
-Friedrich Nietzsche

I think we must all be completely insane to torture ourselves with the "search for love." So many people get just plain fed up with the search itself and in whatever way give up. It becomes difficult to persevere as the road ahead pushes back against us. But in the insane notion of true hope, we push onward against all odds, trusting that one day it might get better. Some days I just want to shut my eyes and give up... but this, I regret, is not an answer, merely an escape... and escape would not fill, but instead cause greater emptiness. So, I suppose the question could be, "which is more insane, to persevere in love or to escape and hide away?"


"Life is pain, princess... anyone who says differently is selling something"
-Wesley, "The Princess Bride"

We are told that there will be tribulation (tough stuff to handle). Without pain, how would we appreciate the joys.


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Loneliness (alone; unfrequented; solitary SYN: lonesome, forlorn, dreary, forsaken, wild, solitary, desolate, lonely. -Webster's)

"People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges."
-unknown

There are many ways in which we sabotage possibilities. We often put up little "stop signs" that cause people to turn away. It's important to think of the other person's perspective, trying to understand how the other person perceives what we are communicating. We need to connect instead of block.


"What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?"
-George Eliot

When we lie, treat poorly, or give someone any other reason to distrust us, we in turn hurt ourselves.


"It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely."
-Albert Einstein

Everyone knew who Einstein was, but fame did not bring him friends.


"Only a life lived for others is worth living"
-Albert Einstein

If we want people in our lives, we must first invest in others. For it is through this that we build the bonds that keep us together, serving one another.


"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."
-Rudyard Kipling

The question arises of whether we stand our ground, maintaining our morals and principles... or do we cave in and do whatever it takes to fit in - to become what we think others want us to be. This latter solution is extremely self-centered, denying others of who we truly are, of what we have to offer others... it's just copying others and denying what God has made us to be. Now, while I know from experience that being one's own self is in fact a lonely road and regret at times not having a fuller social calendar, I know that I wouldn't be happy... I've tried being who others want me to be. It only makes for superficial friendships that lack trust. It would seem that for true friendships, we must take the narrow road.


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Love (affection; strong liking; goodwill; benevolence; charity; passion... to show affection for; to be delighted with; to admire passionately; to delight -Webster's)

"Courtship consists in a number of quiet attentions, not so pointed as to alarm, nor so vague as not to be understood."
-Stern

To jab, one might pierce and cause to flee; to communicate without understanding lacks a hook. Hence, a mid-ground is sought.


"The heart will break, yet brokenly live on."
-Byron

We all have broken hearts, but the world defiantly continues to spin. We must learn from what has happened, learn, and continue with life.


"Friendship often ends in love; but love in friendship never."
-Colton

Take it slow. When we rush into "love," our emotions swell, creating such high expectations - that when they are not met, all comes crumbling down. But rather when we take it slow, exploring friendship, we take the time to get to know one another, hence making it so that we are able to face reality instead of expectations.


"Love that has nothing but beauty to keep it in good health is short lived, and apt to have [fever] fits."
-Erasmus

There needs to be depth to one's love... for beauty fades away. And if one is only concerned with beauty, how self-centered to demand that someone else look good just so that we can look good.


"The first symptom of love in a young man is timidity, in a girl it is boldness. The two [genders] have a tendency to approach, and each assumes the qualities of the other."
-Victor Hugo

We're told that opposites attract. Perhaps this is so that we may grow and better ourselves, learning from shared experiences, witnessing how the other acts and trying it out for ourselves.


"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I have become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have prophecies, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so as to move mountains, and do not have charity, I am nothing. And though I give out all my goods to feed the poor, and though I deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, I am profited nothing. Charity has patience, is kind; charity is not envious, is not vain, is not puffed up; does not behave indecently, does not seek her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil. Charity does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth, quietly covers all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Charity never fails. But if there are prophecies, they will be abolished; if tongues, they shall cease; if knowledge, it will be abolished. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when the perfect thing comes, then that which is in part will be caused to cease. When I was an infant, I spoke as an infant, I thought as an infant, I reasoned as an infant. But when I became a man, I did away with the things of an infant. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall fully know even as I also am fully known. And now faith, hope, charity, these three remain; but the greatest of these is charity."
-1 Corinthians 13 (MKJV)

What more could I possibly add to such beautiful words.


"Life is to be fortified by many friendships - to love and be loved is the greatest happiness of existense."
-Sydney Smith

The deeper and deeper I throw myself into deeper and deeper friendships, the more I realize that this is love! All that we've been taught about "love," is nothing but rubbish. Love - in its purest form - seems to be what I would do for my closest friends by nature. My friends add to who I am - and I add to who they are.


"A friend is one who knows us, but loves us anyway."
-Fr. Jerome Cummings

We become critical of our friends, forgetting that we ourselves have moments of not thinking straight, or not having all the facts, or getting the facts mixed up, or making bad choices. Being critical just tears down. Instead, as the scriptures instruct us, let us build up, encouraging and standing by our friends and loved ones.


"Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don't have to have college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

Wise words by a legendary man


"Without love, benevolence becomes egotism."
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

The question becomes, "for whom are you doing it?" "What are your motives?"


"For true love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have. And if you go to draw at the true fountainhead, the more water you draw, the more abundant is its flow."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

It seems that love feeds off of love, growing only when encouraged by love from another source.


"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."
-Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) American Musician, Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter

so true, so true


"You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly."
-Sam Keen

Being human means that, by definition, we are not perfect. So, if we expect anyone to be perfect we must first be perfect ourselves - and this will never be.


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People (the body of persons that compose a community, tribe, nation... SYN: nation, community, populace, mob, crowd, mass, persons, inhabitants, commonalty, fellow creatures, tribe, group. -Webster's)

"The vanity of human life is like a river, constantly passing away, and yet constantly coming on."
-Pope

Vanity - this could be a group of its own. Why be so driven by vanity when in the end it leads to nothing... Does it bring friends that would stick around when you don't look good? Does vanity help build deep and meaningful friendships? In fact, vanity becomes a mask that prevents others from seeing who we really are, hence preventing deep friendships.


"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
-Abe Lincoln

What is your outlook? How do you choose to see what is around you? Do you look for the best or do you look for the worst? There is an easy way to change your life - choose to be happy... yes, it is up to you. You have the choice of making the best of a situation or giving up. Will you be happy today? You're right - whether you said yes, or you said no, you're right... you choose.


"Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers is another."
-G. K. Chesterton, "On the Cryptic and the Elliptic", 1908

The media often tells us only one side of a story, leaving out what they do not wish for us to know. To me, this is manipulation. It's like telling a friend about someone's bad qualities but not the person's good qualities, just because you don't like that person.


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Putting Others First (not this; not the same; different; opposite; additional... before anything else in time, place, degree, or preference. SYN: leading, primary, pristine, original, foremost, principal, highest, chief, earliest, onmost. -Webster's)

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Do not let each man look upon his own things, but each man also on the things of others. For let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
-Philippians 2:3-8 (MKJV)

Now that's a lot to think about. WOW! Would I be able to put others first to the point of death? The easy answer is, "yeah, sure, of course I would." But without being in that situation, I cannot say for sure. I suppose all I can do is prepare myself to the point of 1)realizing that death itself is meaningless/it's lost its sting. 2)acknowledge that I am not any more special than anyone else, for the Lord of lords sees us all as His children and loves us all. 3)know that God can even use our sacrifices to bring others to know Him through His son, Jesus Christ.


"John Donne said, 'No man is an island.' That is why selfless relationships lead to happiness, while a self-centered life leads to loneliness and alienation. As human beings, it is our nature to be part of a whole, to live in a context where personal relationships are supportive and close."
-Eknath Easwaran

We were designed to be in fellowship. Fellowship is not just to meet our needs... it is to give of ourselves to others, to share our lives with others. Being focused on ourselves (selfish) leads to anarchy. Being focused on others, putting them first (selfless), creates bonds between people and builds up community so that we may take care of one another. Go in peace - taking care of those around you.


"I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."
-Étienne de Girêllet(?)

We only live each moment once. We are unable to say, "oops, sorry, I messed that up, let's go back in time and fix it." Sure, we can fix our mistakes, but we cannot go and take back what we've said to someone. Who hasn't said something without thinking... and made someone upset. It would be great if we could rewind and try something as many times as we wanted to until we got it right (the "first" time). But rather, we are left to journey through our errors, to learn from our messes, to get up and try again. We must remain understanding and considerate, helping those around us. And by all means, build up one another... for alone we are weak, but together, in humility, we overcome.


"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."
-Ephesians 5:21(NIV)

We are told to "submit to one another." It's about putting the needs of others ahead of our own needs... doing what is best for others.


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