The Meaning of Grace

The Meaning of Grace

I’ve been thinking about the meaning of Grace. I like to capitalize the word when using it regarding an experience coming from God. It’s my way of honoring it, as recognizing it as something sacred. The dictionary doesn’t quite do it justice – “unmerited divine assistance, a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance, mercy, pardon, privilege.” To me, Grace is the sense of calmness or peace that comes to me during moments of crisis. Once I was on a ship, sleeping soundly in the middle of the Caribbean. In the early hours of the morning, I woke to a succession of horn blasts. Jumping out of bed in a panic, I had a vague understanding of what the sound met since three days earlier; I had been forced to participate in a lifeboat drill. At the time, it...

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Winter Solstice – Finding Balance

Winter Solstice – Finding Balance

One of my favorite days of the year is approaching. No, it’s not Christmas day. That arbitrary date to acknowledge the miracle of Jesus’ birth has long since been hijacked by the overwhelming pressures of consumerism for me to truly enjoy. The day I really appreciate is the Winter Solstice, which comes and goes almost without notice during the days before Christmas. I can feel my sense of balance returning on this quiet day before the big holiday. On the solstice, we reach the tipping point between dark and light when day and night are equally in balance. Technically, December 21, 2017 is the longest night of the year. It’s also the first day of Winter, which could be depressing, but I find comfort in knowing that from my spot on the planet (in the Northern...

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Praying For Nazis – How Loving the Lowest Can Lift Your Spirits

Praying For Nazis – How Loving the Lowest Can Lift Your Spirits

In this world of divisiveness and false equivalencies, it’s easy to get pulled along with the tide of hatred. There are days when I want to scream at the television. I want to shake the people who seem blind to the injustice taking place. I can feel my blood pressure rise. I am drowning in hopelessness and cynicism when I hear a calm voice inside my head offering these words of advice, Pray for them. “But I don’t want to pray for Nazis!” I scream to nobody in particular. Days later, more horrible events unfold, which leaves me wondering how people can commit such atrocities. Again I hear the call to pray for them. I argue, “Absolutely not! I won’t pray for members of ISIS or Al Qaeda.” Neo-Nazis, the KKK, ISIS, Al Qaeda I’m certain there are important...

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Love Affair With Pretty Words

Love Affair With Pretty Words

I’ve been trying to get a handle on why the written word is affecting me so deeply. Pretty words leap off the page and stick to me. I call these pretty words poetry, but I’m not sure that’s a good definition for what poetry is. Whatever I learned about poetry in school got lost in iambic pentameter and the formula for Haiku, not to mention, simile, symbolism, and alliteration. It’s as if I were shown the tools of the trade without understanding the purpose of what they are used to create. Poetry got placed on a shelf and labeled “Not For Me” some time ago. Yet is it possible, I survived this harsh world without poetry? Was it there, like a guardian angel with me all along laughing at my ignorance when I can’t see the thing that saves me on a regular basis....

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A Time For Nothing: How Doing Nothing May Be the Best Form of Resistance

A Time For Nothing: How Doing Nothing May Be the Best Form of Resistance

There is a thief who robs me of my happiness every time I see him. Yet every morning, I open my door via television or social media and let him in. Which one of us is the bigger fool? This individual is one of the most powerful people in the world. Why should I give him any of my power? I can march, I can donate, I can call, I can write. But at some point, all the resistance in the world doesn’t change the fact that the party I align myself with has very little power right now. This leaves me feeling powerless in the face of what I see as a series of injustices. I won’t list them all. The exercise will only compound my worries, but I won’t forget about them either. Do I give in to despair, ignore the news, or stay permanently agitated? None of these are viable...

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Turn Friday the 13th into Your Lucky Day

Turn Friday the 13th into Your Lucky Day

No one has any clear explanation as to why Friday the 13th is supposed to be unlucky. There are plenty of theories which stem from bad stuff happening in ancient history, but even that is speculation. Fear of the date seems to be more of a Western phenomenon, which inexplicably grew during the 19th century. The fear is real, however. The condition even has a name; friggatriskaidekaphobia, which is fun to say and makes you sound smart at cocktail parties. Friday the 13th turned out to be pretty lucky for the makers of the Friday the 13th film series, which has grossed over $700 million. It’s also a lucky day for fans of Alfred Hitchcock, Steve Buscemi and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who all have Friday the 13th birthdays. If the date really bothers you, you’ll be glad to...

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