paid in full

So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.

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Have you ever considered what a small speck each of us is in the evolvement of mankind?  I prefer the word evolvement over evolution because religion, particularly some brands of Christianity, have given evolution a black eye over the past few centuries.  Evolution or creation – why would I choose to take an untenable position over my origins, whether from apes or space travelers or divine creation, when my current situation is that today in this moment I have breath and heartbeat?  What more do I need?  That in itself is more miracle than I can fathom and process.  Billions, no trillions, of souls have existed before me and to think that in this lifetime I will be able to figure it all out is ludicrous and time-wasting.

An appreciation of this personal existence begins with a place of reverence for all of life.  Not just human form, but everything – animal, plant, fish, rock, soil, sandy beaches, high mountains, the depths of the sea and the atmosphere above us are all part of this earth’s ecology.  Not one part is more important than the other – that is reverence for life.

No man/woman on this earth’s face deserves more than any other.  No privilege, wealth, social status, political importance or religious demeanor will make an iota of difference in the final disposition of this life.  You and I, Raj and Muhammad, fish and fowl, male and female, black and white, Christian and Muslim will return to the dust from which we came.  Professions of faith, works of goodness, hours of solitude, bended knees in prayer, protests of social action, dedication to political justice will not matter one bit a million years from the year 2020 on this earth.

So what’s all the hoopla about today?  Why the fuss?  Remember the miracle of breath and heartbeat that I mentioned earlier?  That’s it!  I have dues to pay to breathe, share the air, walk this planet.  Those dues include making a difference for another person, a difference for the tiger in the jungle, a difference for the water in the oceans, a difference for the trees in the rainforest.  Living from a place of reverence for life demands that when my last breath escapes my lungs and my blood stops flowing I have done my utmost to leave this earth unscathed by my presence.

Words attributed to a man of great wisdom centuries ago said, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  MATTHEW 25  I trust that those words were meant to apply to every aspect of loving and revering this planet.

As for the planet on which I have lived, I hope my demise will prompt an earthlycropped-pride7.png farewell, “Thank you.  Dues paid in full.”

I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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GENA TURGEL

NAMASTE       

 

“Truly I tell you that whatever you have done to the least of my brothers and sisters, you have also done to me.”

Chapter 25 in the book of Matthew shows humanity a blueprint for us to follow into a world dedicated to compassion and peaceful co-existence.  The lives we live can be a powerful testimony to the one we call Lord or they can be complicity with a world run amok.  It’s our choice, yours and mine.

Gena Turgel died on June 7 in London, England.  She was 95.  As a survivor of the Holocaust, she witnessed Nazi horrors at the death camps of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Bergen-Belsen.  She said at a tribute recently in London’s Hyde Park:

“Maybe that’s why I was spared – so my testimony would serve as a memorial like that candle that I light, for the men, women and children who have no voice.”

She once told BBC of her time providing comfort to 15 year-old Anne Frank dying from typhus:

“I washed her face, gave her water to drink, and I can still see that face, her hair and how she looked.”

What is my testimony today?  Would it be pleasing to the one I call Lord?  So much that is happening in today’s world is abhorrent and evil and it is so easy to feed into the hatefulness and violence that we see everyday on the news media.  But, it is also happening next door, in my neighborhood, in my community.  The horror of homelessness and hunger is not a distant problem in a foreign country.  It is a daily struggle for people living in the woods down the street.

Drug abuse is rampant.  My county is termed as a “rural area”, yet it has the 2nd highest drug abuse problem in the state.  Poverty and absence of job opportunities feed this drug use.  Good men turn to illegal activity in an effort to support a family.  Addiction does not discriminate.  It accepts the poor and wealthy, men and women, illiterate and educated, gay and straight, black and white.  Unfortunately, jails fill with men and women who don’t really have a drug problem.

It is a heart problem from which they suffer.  Empty, bitter hearts need to be filled with something.  For many alcohol and drugs are the solution.  The recovery fellowships which bring addicts and alcoholics to a better way of living are filled with stories of forgiveness and redemption.  Mine is one of them.

But is my sober testimony adequate recompense for the miracle allowed to me by the grace of a Higher Power?  Perhaps Jesus would say, “Depart from me, I knew you not.”  Gena Turgel believed she was spared from death at the hands of the Nazis in order to tell the world again and again and again what happens when good people don’t care enough to protect and nurture the “least of these”.

The least of these could be you and I someday.  In a tumultuous world society, we don’t know when we could be the next target of racism, bigotry or hatred.  I see my life as a day-to-day blessing from God.  I am not assured that I will have food tomorrow or a roof over my head.  I do not know that my freedoms of today will be here tomorrow for me to enjoy.  But I do know that what I do unto the least of these, my brothers and sisters, today will have eternal consequences.  How about you?

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sheep and goats

CANDLE

One of my favorite parables in the Gospels speaks of the shepherd who separates the sheep from the goats.   The sheep were those nations (people) who lived lives according to the principles of love and compassion.  The goats were nations who lived licentiously and selfishly while professing to follow God. When the separation had been completed, the goats asked why they were not included among the blessed on the right, the sheep. Scriptures of wisdom in Matthew 25 tell us that the King replied to the sheep, who lived by spiritual principles:

“For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.”

To the goats he admonished:

“For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.”

The beauty of this passage is that the compassionate who brought aid and comfort to others were doing it because that was their love for others in action.  They had no ‘carrot on a stick’ promise of salvation for being caregivers to the less fortunate and, according to the writers of Matthew, they innocently questioned, “When did we do this for you? When did we comfort and nourish you?”

The King answered that what they had done to or for the least of his brethren, they had also done to him.  That is the essence of the teachings of the mystics.  We, the entire creation, are all one organism living on this earth to serve and care for our brothers and sisters, many of whom survive under environmental, political, and religious oppression.  When I harm another being on this earth, I am harming myself.  When I diminish the sanctity of another’s life, I am diminishing the holiness within me. When I refuse to provide mere survival essentials to my brother, I am thereby starving my soul and greatly grieving the God which dwells within me.

When hurricane Matthew in 2016 marched up the east coast of Florida, several evacuation shelters reportedly required the homeless seeking refuge from the fierce winds and rain to wear yellow wristbands while in the facility.  They were segregated, allegedly denied the same courtesies and supplies as the others, and not given cots or blankets.  One Florida county refused to admit to its shelters some homeless with prison records.  The officials in charge cited that their intent was to keep them isolated from the law-abiding “good people”.  What they did not consider was that most of “those” people, the homeless, were decent men and women with families who were in unfortunate situations of extreme need.  The Lord of Christianity, Jesus, the Christ, would have probably been relegated to the segregated crowd to protect the good people.

Was Jesus law-abiding?  According to the powers of Roman government and Jewish theocracy he was a rebel and a heretic.  His stories in scriptures and a few correlating historical accounts depict him as a vagabond, a magician, and a homeless man roaming the countryside with a gang of other losers, misfits, and runaways begging for the essentials they needed to survive.  They were viewed by the decent God-fearing society of the day as treacherous and dangerous, deserving of persecution and crucifixion.  Not until centuries later did the Roman Church fathers clean up the person of Jesus, sanctify him and define him as divine.

Do I stand today with the persecuted and crucified?  Am I truly a brother of loving kindness to my brothers and sisters who live in Syria, Puerto Rico, Florida?  I want to be, I often fall short, but I pray that I never stop trying.  How about you?  Let’s change this world.  We can do it one simple act of compassion at a time.

“And what is wisdom?  Wisdom is knowing we are all one.  Love is what it feels like, and Compassion is what it acts like.”  Ethan Walker the 3rd in “THE MYSTIC CHRIST”

namaste rainbow

 

 

 

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