Posts I read are often focused on the misery of others, losses, or even an occasional I told you so. They tend to relate to personal feelings of what once was, what should have been, and even what could still be. All in all, there is not a thing I have read lately about how blessed we are for the things we have, receive, or are honored to benefit from.
Yesterday, I had a meeting with two ordinary men. At least on the outside. They didn’t seem all that different from me, nor had they lived lives that was devoid of pain. What was different about them is the fact that they held an inner peace. One that comes from having been broken, then restored.
I could say that this was religion, testimony, or even the simplicity of accepting that life will have trials… even trials that could deprive someone of life itself.
So, I think to another friend in Puna, Hawaii. After the hurricane (downgraded to a tropical storm) hit their side of the island, their community was left without power, water, sewer, the means to protect themselves. He notes that there has not been one reporter in their district. Nor are there examples of the destruction on widespread media. Perhaps to protect the tourism trade. Yet Hawaii has parts that left whole communities, as is his, without protection.
He cooks for a half dozen families on his street. Those who left the neighborhood to obtain supplies identified by Civil Defense and National Guard authorities returned to complete ransacking of their homes. Water, propane and gas are at such a premium that armed intruders break into the home at night, taking what fuel they can at gunpoint.
I just celebrated one year of marriage to a woman I first dated 35 years ago. I was her first date when she turned 16. I wonder what may have been. I gained another son and daughter in the process. I have never known such happiness. Though in meager circumstance, we appreciate each other’s trial and tribulations throughout life. She knew me for several years before we dated. Helping me at the swap meet in Tucson. Showing movies to the small kids on Friday nights.
It is amazing to be with someone that knew me from before… someone that knows the truth of events without having to be proved up. Someone who encourages me to have faith in my children while they are learning that life is not always what others purport its meaning to be. Helping me to rid myself of anger toward those whose false words resulted in so much loss and injury.
I have much to be thankful for today. I have my life. My love. My faith. And, a better understanding that people will always make mistakes. We just have to let them.
My friend in Puna, Hawaii, is feeding his friends in time of need. He is restoring a bit of humanity to those who could have lost hope. He has shared his candles, cook-stoves, and the stores that would have enabled him to last much longer on his own. But if he had remained alone, what more would he have lost?
The National Guard says it will be another three weeks before power and water is fully restored. Three more weeks that he must keep his generator running to power cell phones (used for emergencies only). Three more weeks of stripping in the yard to hose down when he can get water enough for a makeshift shower.
So, back to these two men I mentioned at the onset. They are of such men as the latter. They have their focus on assisting others. They place God first, knowing the rest will follow. It has been a long time since I have shared my life with men who are focused on eternity and not just the here and now. Not the money to be made from one business dealing or anther.
Where does that leave me?
I have always walked the road less traveled. I expect I will continue on that path. For myself, and the people who truly know me. In doing so, those who choose not to be a part of my life will remain in my prayers. Those who travel this road with me will see that I do what I say, and always protect those that I love. No matter what may be touted to the contrary. I will offer no excuse or apology. I will accept no lies from others, or myself. For I choose service to others.
Martin Luther King once said; “If you haven’t found anything you are willing to die for, you aren’t fit to live.” I prefer though to remember this quote of the same man: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
So, when you have found what is so important that you would die for it, and undertaken that journey of death, realize that there is much, much more in living. Realize the pain and suffering of others. The secret tellings of anguish that is hidden in tears: “If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Then embrace today and tomorrow with those that choose to walk that path with you in joy. Think of one more quote that sets your moral compass;
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ― Dr. Seuss