Tag Archives: good

How to Fight Brokenness, Do Good

The world hurts. All around I see things that are broken, divorces, yelling matches, ongoing jaded arguments, affairs, violence, controlling behavior, bigotry etc. I see things that are not necessarily broken but just ugly, a mean word, negative assumptions, miscommunication, obsession, unhealthy habits, pushing work on to others and more. It all comes down to relationships. Broken and ugly relationships between family members, among friends, students and teachers, politicians and their constituents.

I know friends struggling with a divorce, another an eating disorder, another that feels lonely and neglected, another wasting their life on a career they don’t love. People matter a great deal to me and all of these hurts and pain can be overwhelming. I immaturely can default to just keeping busy in my own world to distract from everything I see. Not only those people I know personally but the eyes and weary faces of those at the grocery store can weigh on my heart.

Even more so I am burdened when it is through my hand that the ugliness comes. From obvious things like saying unkind things to those that are close, being mean to my mother, failing to respect boundaries, or most recently the subtlety of planning to be able to deal with a bad marriage rather than working towards being ready for a great one.

That last one, that subtle move from focusing on negative to positive is very helpful. In a world with the media spewing all of the things gone wrong with the world from violence, to political systems, to laws, child kidnappings, sex trade, etc. Where can we even begin? What really helps? There are those that have a voice and an audience with several million views. Me? I had seven views of my blog yesterday. Mostly from Canada. Where I am pretty sure even thieves say they are sorry.

Do good. Do right. Have compassion. When someone is posting inflammatory language on Facebook, siding with one person or another, listen to their heart. They are probably hurting. Coming back with the other extreme probably won’t help. Even if kind words won’t change their view, they will contribute to beauty in the world and not an ugly argument.

Do good for the world in front of you. You may be able to go out and serve at a homeless shelter or spend hours a week mentoring children at risk. But if you don’t, then simply do good to all of those around you and what touches your heart. Do at risk youth touch your heart? Then play with kids you know. Share words of advice. Encourage them and tell them nice things. Share stories of your life that teach a lesson.

Do divorces pain your heart? Then listen to those struggling in their marriage. Have compassion on the divorced, and do good in your own relationships. Listen, understand, communicate, encourage, write letters, leave notes for others, especially a significant other. Kindly speak up when you see ugly behavior in others that are single or taken.

For me, most of all, I just feel for those that are sad, stressed, burdened or confused. So, I smile. I smile in public, I smile at the gym. I may not change their life, but for a moment I share something meaningful. I am trying to add being as encouraging and uplifting as possible. I believe in the potential of all my friends whether they see it or not. I want to remind them of who they are, because we all forget who we are at times.

The best way to combat wrong is to do right. Actively. That may be actively targeting a specific wrong, or it may just be doing the right thing in your own life. Spread beauty.

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Developing from belief, to doubt, to love

The next several postings describe my journey from love to doubt and back again. I started off principally and without effort believing in people and my ability to love them towards that which is good. Various experiences broke down my faith people and my belief that my life makes a difference.

This has some bearing on an argument that I had been having with my sister and my mother for some weeks now. According to them there is a specific point in time when someone comes to a self-realization. A moment when they become self-aware of who they are. This point marks when they are an adult and able to make wise decisions and frankly, in a place to choose a spouse and significant life choices. My position has been that one is always continuously changing and growing. The moment when you believe you have arrived you have no longer arrived.

However, looking back I do see a distinct change in my beliefs that is a better mark of maturity. I observed and believed that my actions, feelings, beliefs, and entirety of life effects those around me. From something as simple as frowning or smiling in public, to larger items such as telling the truth verses lying. The mark of our life is how we respond to God’s love.

I am still developing towards that. The temptation is to view the mark of my life as how much good change I can effect in others. This is a falsehood for whether or not there is a good effect in someone else the good action I choose is before God.


Stories of a Broken World

                I had particularly good morning (which for me starts at 3 AM) made toasty by my overly affective heater and filled with contemplation on the way to work. I passed a billboard for the California Lotto. The stakes over 100 million dollars.

Later that evening, past my bed time of 7 PM I was on my way home from an event and decided to stop and buy two lotto tickets. I had debated whether or not to stop for about five minutes beforehand in my head. I needed to get to bed. I don’t plan on winning, but the excitement of waiting to see if any numbers line up is worth the occasional pocket change to me, and apparently losing a few minutes of sleep as well.

                I had a nice interchange with the cashier who has worked at that particular corner store for close to 10 years or more. “I am paying my, ‘I am not good at math’ tax to the state.” I quipped and smiled. I returned to and started my car, my obnoxiously bright HID lights slowly warmed up. A young homeless looking couple was huddled between a Redbox and an ice machine and lifted up a cardboard sign to shield their eyes. The sign red, “Please help me shelter my wife”

                I thought to myself, “I need to get to bed, I have to be up early and need to make sure I am awake as not to endanger my possible promotion. Besides, I don’t have cash on me.” The juxtaposition losing a few minutes of sleep and the last of my small change, and then justifying not helping based upon money and time horrified me—the whole way home.

                It is choices like these that show me how far my frozen heart has fallen. I am thankful I even noticed, and noticing is the first step. But oh how many shattered pieces has my heart become? It is my goal to piece it back together broken shard by broken shard, and then to thaw it out.

                But I am fighting the mental fight against something unreal. Television, Hollywood, the news, and a few unfortunate events have taught me, “why bother?” There are no guarantees that one, or many acts of kindness will make a difference. There is only a tiny flicker of a light holding on to, because it is right. I hope it warms up like the lights of my car, so it is something piercing and causes the pains of life to shield themselves. 


Light and Darkness

                I often like to think of life in poetic themes. One of the themes that I find myself coming back to is one of light and darkness. Light, is everything good and right in the world. Laughter, hugs, love, coffee, candy, sunshine, rain, swimming, and relationships. Darkness is everything wrong and broken in the world. Hunger, tears, pain, death, wrath, jealousy, and conflict.

                As often as I have moments of brilliant Dead Poets Society inspired expressions of good in the world, I have a love affair with the darkness. My sister and I both do. No one else in our family, does. Not our parents, grandparents, or any of our cousins. We love the macabre. Dark comedies, antiheroes and just plain dark material. Edgar Allen Poe, The Mysterious Geographical Explorations of Jasper Morello, and any number of other authors that kill their darlings.

                My sister and I have very different reasons for our love affair with the darkness (definitely an affair). I don’t entirely understand why for my sister, but for me it is because to ignore it, and not give voice to it is deafening to my soul. I am all too aware at every given moment of the sadness and despair that everyone carries with them. Hurts, betrayals, loss of loved ones, and all sorts of wickedness, all leave a mark people.

                I see these marks in their eyes. I see it in the way people walk, I hear it in cracks in voices, and I see the tears that it causes. I don’t forget it. I remember the hurt and pain I have seen in others. The only way I knew how to deal with this is to turn it into stories. Dark and macabre. To help people tell their painful stories. To listen to tails of darkness, and then share my own.

                Marvels Agent’s of Shield is the best show I have ever seen that shows us how we are supposed to react to evil. In the beginning of the series Colson follows faithfully with SHIELD’s modus operandi of keeping secrets and only telling what needs to be known, begins to change and has faith in people to handle secrets.

 Rather than hide the truth from Skye, Colson tells her of all the people who have died, and all the chaos that has happened around her. As we watch her respond, Colson narrates for us, “The world is full of evil, lies, pain, and death and you can’t hide from it. You can only face it. The question is when you do, how do you respond, who do you become?” How do you respond? Who do you become?

                


Internal World

On Wednesdays I am going to be going over ones internal world. How we think and respond internally to outside stimulus. Granted, of all the days that I will take a break it will be this one. My focus should be outwards on others first. When I think to much about how, “I feel” “I learn” “I think” “I grow” it turns me inward. When we are supposed to be turning out towards others and up towards God.

Granted, there is a time when it is appropriate to ask ourselves about our behavior and the internal world that may be causing that. However, the motivation for why we change should be because of others. I look to see why I get mad at little things through out the day because I do not want my anger affecting others negatively. 

The other side of this is that if we think to much, it will never top. We can constantly ask ourselves what our motivation is. We can constantly question if we have good or bad motivations to act certain ways. But eventually that is pointless. What matters is how well we treat others. Look at your actions and that will tell you who you are. 

Furthermore as a Christian I know that God is the only one that truly knows my heart and it is before Him that I will stand in judgement for every choice I have made. He is also the one that is working in me to change my heart to be more like his. So my internal struggle need not fret and worry, but seek his cleansing changing power.


Marvel: Agents of Shield

Marvel Agents of Shield

Marvels Agents of Shield is not what I expected. I admit that I so loved Marvel’s Avengers, and believe it to be a masterpiece that I fully engage myself in, therefore my expectations were a bit skewed. I was hoping for the deep questions posed by such television series as Lost and Heroes. These series ask questions about what makes us human, how do we connect, what are we willing to do to survive, how far are we willing to go to protect those we love. The audience is shown the heart, emotions and internal struggles of most of the characters.

Why I expected these questions I do not know, because neither the Avengers or any of the other Marvel films ask these deep questions. They are concerned with how people change, and overcoming great obstacles—“simple” themes of life. Agents of Shield shows us good verses evil. The question that it may be raising is, “how do we deal with evil?” “How do we deal with people doing wrong that are doing wrong mostly because of their situation?”

The reason I say, ‘may be raising,’ is because the main character Agent Coulson seem to already have it figured out. He is a Captain America type character who is already good and has a moral compass that points him to always seek the third alternative that works everything out well. The questions aren’t worked out by characters that are struggling with internal conflict with good and bad responses to tough situations. Coulson knows what to do and does it.

I applaud the show for two things, with a caveat. The first is that they do make a very simple portrayal of good and evil. There is the good guys and the bad guys. However, it also blur both evil and justice. The bad guy of the pilot is simply caught in a bad situation and is not in control because of a biomechanical device. We never see justice enacted in response to him killing someone.

The second point I applaud them for is that Coulson brings compassion and grace to those that need it. His life mission is helping those who are in need. He is the good guy through and through.

                In all the series does capture the idea of old comic books. There were good guys and bad guys, things were simple. The only complicated thing was figuring out how to stop the bad people without anyone, including bad people, getting killed. Modern comics deal more with difficult choices that must be made. It is like the difference between The Brady Bunch and Modern Family. Though fun and entertaining, placed next to the more dirty down to earth modern t.v series, Agents of Shield, seems to be lacking depth.