Thursday, December 24, 2009


Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men

I've struggled over the topic of this post for the past week. I had planned to do an update this past Monday about showing gratitude. A topic that was inspired by our discussion in last weeks Sunday School class, which centered around a concern about a generation of children who seem to demonstrate a sense of entitlement rather than gratitude for the privileges their families provide. Then, I continued to hear wonderful feedback about the last post "Choosing to be Happy" (although only four people actually made public comments on the blog) and how it had helped people when they were struggling with difficult issues in their lives. As a result I decided to leave that post up a little longer before getting into what would have been called "Gratitude", but something else kept niggling at the back of my mind that said that wasn't the right topic, even though it seemed perfectly appropriate for the season. A little voice that has been intruding into my thoughts for the past month. My voice, but not quite, because it's been speaking about things that I don't usually think about all that much. Now, maybe this is because I've been paying more attention to the news, or maybe they're just words that need to be spoken...

Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men. About a month ago, while taking a shower, I began thinking about all of the fighting that seems to be happening all over our planet. In some cases it's wars between legitimate countries who, for whatever reason, can't seem to get along. In other cases it's Priest's refusing to allow communion, or a funeral mass, because they disagree with some one's political views. (Refusing to accept that a politician, out of the need to do what's right for the people of a rich, multi-cultural society, might need to support something that is actually against that politician's personal religious views.) In other cases it's everyday average people discriminating against others because they don't like the way they look, or dress, or their sexual orientation. The list goes on and on, and in most cases someone chooses to use God or religion as their justification for their absolutely inappropriate behavior toward someone else.

It's so frustrating to me that in the 21st century we continue to fight with each other about who is right and who is wrong. Hasn't the human race evolved beyond that point? I'm no expert on all of the religions of the world, but I have to believe that if you took all of the major religious texts and boiled them down to their basic message that they would all say the same thing...Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men. Yet, for some reason, instead of working towards that end the human race seems to be intent upon fighting with one another, and more often than not, we use our religions to justify it!

Any person who has been reading this blog for some time should know that I firmly believe that there is a divine power at work in this world that performs miracles, both small and large, everyday. After what I have experienced there is no way that I can deny it. I am here today because of divine intervention, otherwise my life would have ended in the flames on October 22nd of 2005. However, that doesn't mean that I will refuse to associate, or will condemn, someone who doesn't agree with me. I cannot believe that God would have created this Earth, all creatures great and small, and then set the human race upon it with a mission to destroy anyone who would not agree with the majority about what religion is right, what sexual orientation is appropriate, or what political views were best! The focus of the human race must be Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men!

I am concerned about the future of the human race, should our current course continue. It is obvious that our planet is hurting. Our natural resources are drying up. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day they will be gone. Sadly, our global civilization has allowed much of our resources to stay in the hands of individuals and governments who dispense these resources for profit rather than working together to ensure that those in need receive the help they deserve. We continue to hurt one another and wage war when we should be working toward Peace. We continue to allow religious and political extremists to distract us from what we, as a race and global civilization must focus on. Education, health care, medical and scientific advancement, sharing resources globally to help those in need. The day will come, hopefully far in the future, where our world will no longer be able to sustain us, and I have to wonder what will happen to the human race when that day comes? Will we even still be here, or will we have exterminated ourselves long before that day comes? All because we continued to fight amongst ourselves rather than learning to be tolerant of each other and learn to celebrate the beauty of our differences. All because we did not insist that the leaders of our nations focus on Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men.

Now, forgive my rant, because I do believe that we have the power to change our current course. Everyday I meet people who are intelligent, rational thinking, people who believe in tolerance of one another and "agree to disagree" about views that do not align. I have to believe that we are actually in the majority. I do believe that Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men is achievable. It begins by taking the power away from the extremists who like to distract us. It begins by our governments focusing on the needs of the people of their nations rather than the profit of the corporations. From there we reach out to other nations to focus on the issues that face man kind as a race and global civilization. Only when we learn to be tolerant of each other can mankind truly achieve enlightenment and move toward the next stage in our evolution (spiritually and physically). What amazes me is that we have known the secret to that enlightenment for generations, but as a race we have refused to accept it! The answer is simple Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men.

Maybe this isn't the most uplifting message for the holiday season, and I apologize if this brings people down. That truly is not my intent. However, it seems to me that Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men, is what the holiday season is all about. I just think that it's time for us to focus on that goal for more than one or two months a year. It must become the focus of our entire race. This year please join me in this, my holiday wish and prayer, for Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men! It is not a simple saying or a pipe dream. It can be a reality. However, please remember that just as with any prayer or wish (or whatever you want to call the act of focusing positive energy on a desired outcome) it also takes action and conviction to make the dream of Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men a reality. Happy Holiday's!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Choosing to be Happy

A few weeks ago (before Thanksgiving) I met a friend of mine, who also happens to be an amputee, at Starbucks. We met about a year ago, shortly after I spoke to a class at IUPUI, and have developed a habit of meeting at Starbucks on a semi-regular basis to keep up to date with each other. His daughter was in the class at IUPUI and, after my speech, she had shared my information with him. He's become a source of motivation for me, and a great friend to enjoy coffee with! (I'm very grateful that his daughter connected us, but I'm now getting completely off topic, and I haven't even finished the first paragraph!)

Ok, let me try to get back on track...My friend and I were having coffee at Starbucks when a very nice woman came over to ask if I was the amputee that had been featured in the Indy Star the day before. (Things like that happen quite frequently now, but I still haven't gotten used to it!) Now, I had recently been interviewed for an article about traveling with special needs, but I wasn't sure when the article was going to run, so I had to ask the woman which article she was referring to. As it turned out the article she had seen was actually about another bi-lateral above knee amputee in the Indianapolis area. (our numbers are growing...maybe I should find him and start a plot to take over the world...just kidding...kinda...depends on what happens with Health Care!...again, just kidding...maybe...Ha!) The woman had also asked if I ever spoke to groups about my experiences, which of course I do, and I had given her my contact info. So, a week later, when the article that I had been interviewed for ran in the Star I was not at all surprised to come home and find a voicemail from a woman who said she had seen me at Starbucks the week before and she was interested in learning more about my story.

I called her back right away and was surprised to learn that this was not the woman that had approached my friend and I the week before. This woman had been sitting behind me, enjoying coffee with her husband, and we had never met! She is the host for a new talk show on WHMB (a local tv station) and she wanted to know if I would be interested in sharing my story. (The talk show series hasn't aired yet, and it still has a "working title", but I'll try to let people know when it will air in the future.) Now, of course, I was more than happy to share my story, so this past Monday I met with them for the taping of what will be the first show. What a great experience it was!

My portion of the show will be two 6 minute segments. Now, anyone who knows me can imagine how difficult it is for me to tell the story in 12 minutes! In this case we spent 6 minutes on the story of the accident and then about 6 minutes on my recovery and the prosthetics. After we were done with the taping I felt pretty confident that we had put together a pretty inspirational piece, but I have to wonder if I got the real point across. (I have this horrible habit of replaying conversations in my mind and finding better ways to say what was said.)

I know that I spent time talking about the importance of focusing on positive emotions, embracing your personal challenges as a part of life, and getting through the negative emotions. I also talked about making a conscious decision to be ok. These are important lessons that have allowed me to face each day. Looking back though, I wish that what I had said was that you have to make a conscious decision to be happy. That's the real lesson here. It's very easy to say, it's very difficult to embrace, but once you have made that decision it's actually very easy to stay positive.

Let me be clear. Making the decision to be happy is not making a decision to ignore things that make you angry, sad, afraid, jealous, etc... Those are very important emotions and we can only truly be happy when we face those things that make us feel negative emotions. Making the decision to be happy means accepting the negative and moving through it without allowing it to take over your life. Believe me, I have horrible days. I get upset when things are not going the way I want them to and I get scared and nervous on a regular basis. I can see a very dark place (figuratively) where I could get lost very easily, which is why I make a conscious decision to be happy, so that I don't get trapped in misery. Unfortunately it's not a decision that you can make today and expect everything to be good from now on. It's a decision that you have to make on a regular basis. Every time you start to feel the darkness taking hold you have to make that decision to be happy instead and you have to keep making that decision until you have dealt with the darkness and put it behind you. It can be exhausting!

Now, do you see how long it took me to make that one point? Do you understand why I'm concerned that I didn't get the point across in the short time that I had on the talk show? Regardless, it's done now and the past can't be changed, so I'm choosing to be happy! It really was a great experience and I'm looking forward to seeing the end result! Maybe, if I'm really lucky, Oprah will see it and decide to have me on at some point during her final season! (That's my veiled attempt to suggest to everyone who reads this that they write to Oprah and ask her to have me on her show.) (And that was my very transparent attempt to suggest the same thing!)

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and that you all take the time to enjoy this holiday season! This can be a very difficult time for everyone. People stress about the perfect gift, the financial stress of the season, some deal with loneliness while others get frustrated trying to see as many people as possible. Whatever the challenge, please remember to make the decision to be happy and maybe help someone else make that decision too!

(By the way, before I sat down to write this I walked for 15 minutes on the treadmill at an average pace of 1.9 mph. I had to make the decision to be happy several times during that 15 minutes!)

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?