Thoughts of 2002

12/23/02 - Yes, life bites - bite back. A couple days ago I found out my best friend is in the hospital. It hurts to not be able to comfort her right now, to not be able to be the friend that friends should be, to have to wait until she's ready to talk about it all. It feels like losing a loved one - out of reach. This is when my patience is stretched as thin as it has ever been - when I must trust in the Lord more than I have had to in the past. I feel like giving up but realize that would hurt even more... she means too much to me.

10/7/02 - Fortunately, the Lord brings healing. I was recently reminded of my previous entry... looks like I've been neglecting this section for awhile. When we give such things to God, the sores of wrongs are healed so much quicker. Trust is regained. Friends can once again move forward. What was then written about in anger has brought us closer together. Friendship is at times about helping one another in gentle self-discovery. It can be a painful process, but the rewards are wonderful.

8/23/02 - Trust can be a fragile - and so very easily broken - thing. Lies, deceit, manipulation, slander, rumors, cheating, adultery, and so on. All of these break trust - putting up such a huge wall that will take such a long time to tear down. Do we respect our friends so little that we would break the trust between us. The shooting pain of uncovered lies so much more painful than the sincere truth! Why must we be so proud that we would put ourselves ahead of our friends... how arrogant and conceited of us to do so! It can take a friendship back to square one - or even destroy it. How self-centered it is to forget a friend. To claim that a friend means so much to you, and then to do such a repulsive thing as break that friend's trust! It sounds so careless. You say you care about me, but even that is now in question. Am I free from lies myself? No, of course not. But I fess up to it when I come to realize what I've said instead of merely hiding behind a complex web of lies. Trust, when broken, takes a very long time to rebuild... for now, each level built must be so carefully inspected, even examined. Each level of the building must be checked, double checked, and triple checked. The red tape has just tripled! The building itself is now subject to collapse, for the foundation itself has been placed in jeopardy. Lord Almighty, where shall we go from here.

8/20/02 - "The chief job of the educator is to teach people how to fail intelligently." (-Charles F. Kettering) We're human. We all mess up. We all have our little failures in life - whether it's the wrong paint, using the wrong combination of foods in a dish and making it disgusting, saying the wrong thing, not saying anything, relationships, etc.. The trick is knowing how to handle these failures. (This goes for the big failures also.) Life goes on - it's not the end of the world. So get back up and try again - try adapting/changing something and see if it works this time. Is it possible that you'll fail again? Yes! So What! Keep trying - that's how we learn.

8/14/02 - I've been reading The Case For Christ, by Lee Strobel. An ex-legal journalist for the Chicago Tribune takes an investigative approach to Christ. Find out the facts and determine for yourself whether or not Christ was who He said He was. "The best-kept secret in America today is that people would rather work hard for something they believe in than enjoy a pampered idleness." (-John W. Gardner) For me, I would get bored pretty quickly doing nothing. I can be pretty lazy at times, but I always feel best when I feel that I'm contributing - adding to this complex network of society - making a difference in a small way.

7/28/02 - "The chief lesson I have learned in a long life is that the only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him; and the surest way to make him untrustworthy is to distrust him and show your mistrust." (-Henry L. Stimson) If you establish the expectation that someone will fail, you set a mindset of failure. But rather if you set a goal to achieve, people have something for which to strive. This applies to many different types of relationships: friendship, work, romantic, etc..

7/16/02 - "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire." (-Ferdinand Foch) When we do what we love, we show our passion in life; In this, others can learn also to love.

6/6/02 - "Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up." (-Robert Frost) No, we don't always know what's happening or why something is. So let us ask why before undoing what someone else has done.

5/22/02 - Life has been keeping me busy. The Lord has been blessing me with friends, spiritual growth, opportunities, etc.. I am daily reminded that God answers our prayers, but not always how we think they should be answered. For example, I'm currently getting to know this incredible woman. We've been keeping things at a friendship level and everything seems to be falling into place so nicely. But me, I want to skip the journey and go to the end goal. But, I need the journey. The end goal would not be complete without the journey. So I do it God's way. Fortunately I know she also knows this. Plus, I've done enough stupid things in the past to know that God is right. So take it slow and keep God as top priority. It'll pay off in the end. Amen.

4/7/02 - "gestalt... : a structure, configuration, or pattern of physical, biological, or psychological phenomena so integrated as to constitute a functional unit with properties not derivable by summation of its parts." (Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed.) Did you catch that? It's more than just recognizing the affects of the various forces acting upon a given situation. It's about life being so tightly woven together that it is no longer just a bunch of separate events and acts and words. It becomes like the human body itself; one person's actions can change the situation for another; the movement of the leg causes the foot to be someplace else. What we do and say affects others around us. What we say and do can change the world, even though we may never realize the fruits.

3/27/02 - "What's done to children, they will do to society." (-Karl Menninger) In everything we do, we set an example for youth to follow. If we are easily angered, so will the youth; if we do not accept responsibility, neither will the youth; if we define ourselves by what others think, so will the youth.

3/25/02 - "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." (-John Dewey) The journey of learning has no final destination. The joy is found in the adventure.

3/23/02 - "One Sunday morning during service, a 2,000 member congregation was surprised to see two men enter, both covered from head to toe in black and carrying submachine guns. One of the men proclaimed, 'Anyone willing to take a bullet for Christ remain where you are.' Immediately, the choir fled, the deacons fled, and most of the congregation fled. Out of the 2,000 there only remained around 20. The man who had spoken took off his hood, looked at the preacher and said 'Okay Pastor, I got rid of all the hypocrites. Now you may begin your service. Have a nice day!' And the two men walked out." (author unknown) So the question is given to you... Are you ready to give up what is here on earth for what the Lord has for those who give their lives for Him?

3/22/02 - "To me the sole hope of human salvation lies in teaching." (- George Bernard Shaw) So gently and firmly teach the youth, letting them know that they are treasured for who they are.

3/18/02 - "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil." (Proverbs 3:5-7 MKJV) For God is beyond our understanding of time and space. He knows our thoughts. Hence He is able to put together all the pieces and know what is best for us. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6 MKJV) To put this into perspective, I suggest reading James 1: 5-8.

3/1/02 - "Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence." (- Helen Keller) Do we bring hope? Do we help build confidence? I propose that we should. Ultimately, our hope is in Christ Jesus. However, we can help lead people to that ultimate hope by first teaching and giving them small bits of hope. We can help build confidence by noticing the good things and encouraging people, for I feel this is what a good friend should be.

2/28/02 - Open up to a child and the child will open up to you. Children are in a constant environment of learning and testing boundaries. Hence, they cannot always be sure if it would be acceptable to share their thoughts with you. You may have heard a child's tales of imagination. As adults, we sometimes shut down these thoughts as nonsense; to the child, it is exploration and learning. As they imagine, they think; as they think, they find solutions; as they find solutions, they build their problem solving skills -- which will aid them greatly in life. So share your age-appropriate thoughts with a child and help them build their future.

2/24/02 - Once again, I'm encouraged to boldly listen to the wisdom of the Lord. Even His gentle guiding and nudging as I seek His path. For on His trails, the bandits are brought to justice; there is food, water, and rest when the journey grows long; we are taught how to survive in the wilderness of life. The trail guide knows every inch, every tree, every rock, hill, and valley and is sure to get us to our final destination. His camps are joyous, His workers dedicated. And to think, the price of your journey has already been paid.

2/17/02 - "misunderstandings arise through our failure to consider other people. One of our ancient philosophers once said, 'Being ready at all times to put oneself in the place of others is the highest form of scholarship.' " (- Wong Ming-Dao, Christian preacher) Hence we are faced with the difficulties faced by communicating with others; are we up to the challenge. It takes courage to initiate a conversation; for some, it takes courage to just simply respond to a question. So let's decide together to face our fears and help make this world a better place by stretching our own limits when it comes to communication; let's expand our abilities and be able to help others to be free of such social anxieties. For it is not only about you or myself -- we must live as community.

2/8/02 - "The task of leadership, the first task of concerned people, is not to condemn or castigate or deplore; it is to search out the reason for disillusionment and alienation, the rationale of protest and dissent - perhaps, indeed, to learn from it." (-Robert F. Kennedy) So, how should leaders lead? They must unite individuals together beyond the superficiality of a common task.

2/6/02 - Teaching - A Few Requirements: First, one must have patience; Second, one must have even more patience; Third, we must listen to what these young minds have to say so that they may continue to contemplate the world around them, learning to make better choices as they themselves understand better; Fourth, we ourselves must be understanding of the burden that is growing up - adapting to all the changes, both in self and society; Fifth, teaching requires a passion for youth - caring about who they are to become. For without this passion, who is there to inspire these young minds - to get them to want to think. When the teacher doesn't care, neither do the children.

2/3/02 - So many people speak of the trivial for they do not have the depth of mind or comprehension to do otherwise. Perhaps they do not see the importance of going beyond the obvious - of stretching oneself in order to grow. Without challenge, discovery is left to chance. Hence, through curiosity and need, it is important to strive for understanding of the greater things, realizing that the trivial things are exactly that - trivial.

2/2/02 - Where to turn can sometimes become convoluted in our attempts to understand all that bombards us within the daily struggle. Striving each day to beat the wall - but only hurting our fists / Yearning to find the one piece of life to make it all seem complete - Yet knowing that the one piece of completion itself would rob us of the mystery itself, hence in and of itself taking away at least part of the underlying purpose of living. The logical mind, guide and trap all in the same hand - if only I could disassemble it as I would a machine and be rid of it once and for all! This cursed logic that is here to protect, yet from what - supposedly leading to happiness, yet for now it only seems to keep me from the very thing it is supposed to provide! Where Do I Turn, My Lord! For I know the other road is even worse. And if I stay where I am - I will be killed and hauled off by way of that other road. The search grows long and the traveler weary.

1/25/02 - If - what I think to be is in fact not - then what is there but divine Truth - for - given that the human condition is equal - we all share in such possibility of delusion. Hence what is there for us but unifying Hope. Inasmuch, no man is great enough to claim understanding of all - and we are left with simple humility in the wisdom, neigh the understanding that we ourselves CANNOT understand.

1/23/02 - Small opportunities - opportunities to make a difference in someone's life - to plant that one seed that may get them to change the way they think! Whatever we say, let us say it for the Lord. These small blessings can creep up on us, unknown and unperceived. So let us keep a close watch for the Lord's timing. Hence, do not be inconvenienced by the tasks the Lord gives you to do but rather take joy in His ways. For it is true that one person (as we are reminded by a very recent holiday) one person can make a difference in the world. Unlike MLK jr., we may never know the effects of what we say and do. But trust that those effects, whether positive or negative, are indeed there. As a teacher, I speak of choices and consequences - changing the future. Yes, we make a difference in our own lives - but consider the lives of so many others.

1/22/02 - It's important to recognize our shortcomings, being honest with ourselves. For without such, we deceive not only ourselves, but others as well through the lies we tell ourselves. In order to grow, we must be honest. If we do not know the problem, we cannot find an answer. So be honest with yourself. If there is something getting in the way of communicating with others, make an attempt to change - observe other people - learn from their mistakes as well as your own. We are all human = We all make mistakes. And we all have room for improvement. If you're scared about something, take small steps. If you don't know how to begin change, pray.

1/17/02 - Truly it is important to listen and follow the gentle leadings of the Lord. Today, I was reminded of this when I just simply wanted to give up - throw in the towel. I felt God telling me not to say something, so I didn't... Later, everything, by the grace of God, fell together very nicely. I was even able to figure out something that was really really bugging me on the 15th. When we trust in Him, He does indeed provide for us. And yes, He does always answer our prayers, even though the answer is sometimes "no". I have found that He helps us more when we actually ask with a true heart. So consider why you ask and make sure that you do ask. For it is in this that we get to know our Lord & Father better. As we get to know Him better, His ways become our ways, and the Light of understanding dawns in our lives. I encourage you to read James 1:5-8.

1/15/02 - Leadership is not about telling people what you know they must do. Instead, it is about teaching them what is right and encouraging them to do so. So instead of demanding your own way, it is often best to let people do things the best they know how. In Joshua 1, we are emphatically told to be bold and courageous for the Lord will not fail us or forsake us. He is with us wherever we go. So stand up for Truth, without fear, for He will see you through.

1/12/02 - Yes, I know - c'mon Brian write more - OK. Such a joy to work with young minds, to shape and mold, to lead to logic, to assist in life. In youth we are generally tossed into the sea of society, dazed and confused with sensory overload, fumbling through trial and error. So as I get paid to assist students in the local school district - something that I love doing - I am able to gently shift towards reality, perhaps even averting young eyes from future fates of destruction. Though I struggle with the concept of letting certain students - those that just don't care - sink or swim, it all comes to a logical head as I realize that I am not able to do anything for them except give them up to the Lord - moving onto another student that I can help. Yet, I must always remember the small things that I may pass over as being nothing might in fact be what that student needs - that one piece of information - that one piece of the puzzle that makes other things make sense. Even though our actions of love and caring may seem insignificant in our own eyes, we do make a difference. And even though it may be a slow day, our positive presence can change the negative outlooks of some youth... and though one might lose the will to battle on and fall through the cracks, others can cross over to healthy adulthood due to our encouragement. Day by day, I am reminded of the difference it might have made in my life if I had received more encouragement for the little things - a "Good Job," a "That Looks Great, Brian," or such. Hence, I must embrace students in words, encouraging them to fight for a future - for an education - for a chance at making a difference. For how will they lead if they are not led! Though short days may seem long, I MUST press on for the JOY that comes from such service into which the Lord has placed me. AMEN