Choosing Ourselves For The Win

I have not posted in a long time. You see, life happens. And it happened. 

Finishing my thesis. Growing through personal issues. Watching my mom change and age and become so devastatingly dependent as late onset memory loss takes hold. Struggling to maintain a sense of balance when I lose a sister and her husband within days to cancer. Losing my principal who attended high school with me, just two months later, again to cancer. And so on and such.

To say the least, it has been ROUGH.

And so this year, 2020, I looked forward to a breather. Really. 2018-2019 kicked my butt and I just wanted to catch my breath. But it seems it is not to be so, at least for these early months as Covid 19 ravages the world. The word we keep hearing is “Unprecedented”. Yes, we see parallels in history in terms of the disease but the magnitude of the  devastation and the unifying element of globalized suffering and loss experienced by all, has never been seen before.

So though I may want to think I’m unique, in regards to this pandemic and its far reaching effects, I can’t. We’re all experiencing the same loss,uncertainty,  imbalance, an underlying panic and a need for normality, all at the same time. There is no one to touch or give a hug, provide comfort in anyway or to say, “It will be alright’. We’re all in need of those comforting actions and words.

So how do we win? How do we make choices when it seems that they have been made for us? How does one choose a mindset and execute a set of actions that allows you to beat this thing, given that you’re still alive?

You have to choose to  win

This is a faith fight. It means that choosing to believe in ourselves and our God-given gifts;  believing that we have more than enough on the inside to make it through. It means that we have to move now and not later because time is not on our side. We can no longer put off destiny, saying that we will have time tomorrow, because none of us know what what tomorrow will bring. Scripture reminds us in  Hebrews 11: 1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see’ highlighting the immediacy of action required . I saw  a post some time ago that read, “Believe in what you pray for”. We have to display our faith by doing something, especially those things that scare us,  that we have been putting off for a long time.  We all know better than anyone else, what we hope for and we win when we choose to move despite the fear we feel.  It also means being present and deliberately navigating this new paradigm in a way that supports us, our families and our communities in the best way possible.

Grieve the loss but allow it to teach you appreciation

There is a need to acknowledge the grief and confusion so many of us feel. While we do this, it is important that we do not get stuck there. We have often heard the phrase “Tomorrow is not promised to anyone” and scripture teaches us according to Psalm 90:12-17 ‘..teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”.  Certainly, we cannot carry on as we did BC (before Corona). We have been forced to acknowledge that time is not on our side and we do not have as much control as we thought we did. We took many activities for granted, believing that we’d have time to do all we wanted. Now we are forced to re-evaluate what is most important to us. Hopefully, after Corona (AC) we will adjust our attitudes especially in regards to our faith, family and finances. 

Learn to encourage yourself

We already know we’re all going through it, so there’s a limit in how much people have to give, emotionally/psychologically, physically and financially. Even with technology, many feel so isolated and lost, and are struggling internally even as we do the lastest Tik-Tok dance and scroll through social media. Our physical and emotional isolation becomes so pronounced that we can hardly breathe. So what can we do in the meantime? We become our own cheerleaders in those moments when there’s no one else to cheer us on. We dig deep down for that inner strength that we all have access to and we speak over ourselves. Proverbs 18:20-21  reminds us “From the fruit of his mouth a man’s belly is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied. 21 Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. As cheesy as it may sound,  speaking positive words and thinking positive thoughts, even when everything around you tells you differently, helps. The key element in this is intrinsic motivation.

If there is anything that these last months have demonstrated, it is that humans are truly resilient, creative beings. Everyday that health and other essential workers press on, everytime we smile, choose to find or display goodness and mercy in the moment, demonstrates a determination to win. We have looked at the cards we have been dealt and said, “Nope, we are not giving up!” We have chosen victory over these circumstances for ourselves, our families and extended communities. We have determined that we shall overcome. 

 

 

 

Life doesn’t skip the bad parts

I was watching a series and it started to indicate things are about to go south for some of my favorite characters. I took up the remote and was about to fast forward, when I said to myself ” You need to learn patience and face the bad stuff. Life doesn’t skip the bad parts”.

I stopped for a moment to consider that. The inability to gloss over or totally skip out the bad crap happening all around. Admittedly my mind and heart needs a break but I still have to do life. We all still have to do life.

So if life doesn’t skip it out, or allow us to pass through bad periods quickly, what do we do to make it better?

We face it. Simply. We have no choice because even when we mentally check out, sooner or later reality catches up with us and sometimes it’s worse. When we choose to face the worse that can happen or is happening, it enables us to heal faster. At least, having started the process of healing and sorting through the experience helps us to grow as we go through.

The attitude and perspective you have during the experience will determine if it a good or bad. That truth is, only you can choose how you experience it and what you take from it. Your perspective and attitude also determines how long the process takes. You have to decide to just go through it and that it ends when it ends.

This life continues to teach us every day about how little control we have over some aspects of it. We ought to realise however, that there are things we have control over, and that we should. We may not get to skip the bad parts but perspective and time may show us it’s not that bad after all.

Sharing from Word for Today: An Unlimited God

Each day, this site shares God word and it always seems to be right what I needed!

This one is inspired and reminds us of how unlimited our God is! Find it below:

From Word for Today:God can solve any problem because He is not bound by human limitations: 1) He is not limited by time. God can do in an instant what would normally take years. ‘He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly’ (Psalm 147:15 NIV 2011 Edition). He can speed up the natural process of your healing; He can accelerate your harvest of blessing so that you’ll be sowing with one hand and reaping with the other (see Amos 9:13). 2) He is not limited by lack.

When the Israelites left Egypt, God instructed them to borrow the silver and gold of their taskmasters. That’s because the Egyptians owed them 400 years’ back pay with interest! And when they obeyed God, He broke their chains of lack and they got back everything that had been stolen from them. Whatever Satan has taken from you, God can restore and more (see Zechariah 9:12). 3) He is not limited by the Enemy. Moses told the Israelites, ‘The Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever’ (Exodus 14:13 NKJV). How does God deal with Satan’s power? By increasing yours! ‘Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world’ (1 John 4:4 KJV).

Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple, but he couldn’t push Him over – and he can’t push you over the edge either. So use God’s Word and stand up to him! 4) He is not limited by anything but doubt. He made an axe-head float, a donkey talk, and a corpse come back to life after four days, so you don’t have a problem He can’t solve. So rise up and declare, ‘Nothing is too hard for You.’

Endure and be counted: but how?

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NOW HAVING ACKNOWLEDGED THESE THINGS, HOW DO WE ENDURE TO BE COUNTED?

  1. Know that the silence is significant: You have to understand that Teacher is silent during the test – just like in the classroom the teacher is walking around and making sure everything is alright but is waiting to see what you do in response to the test. You are not abandoned and alone, His words state “ He will never leave you nor forsake you”. Isaiah 41:10 You are my servant, So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Deuteronomy 4:31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God; He will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers, which He swore to them by oath.
  1. This is a WAR but you have weapons at your disposal – use them. Use the weapons that you have access to: Ephesians 6:12 remember we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness in high places. Your weapons are not carnal but spiritual and mighty for the taking down of strong holds. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not [a]carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. The fight of the enemy against your mind is strong – the bible said stronghold. The word stronghold speaks to a tightly controlled situation, almost like a fortress. That is why sometimes it feels like God can’t get through to you. BUT DON’T WORRY: The word did say God fights for us on a level that is mighty and will and CAN take down ANY stronghold or things or persons that want to separate you from Him. Declare this over yourself : Romans 8:38-39 New International Version 38 neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. For because He so loved us He gave his only begotten son so that whoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). A son, that displayed power over the grave and who told us greater things will you do in my name – and one of those greater things can be control of your mind and t=your thoughts and your tongue!
  2. Control your mind, what you choose to focus on. The enemy will use your thoughts against you. You don’t need to have a discussion with him or his representatives that you are going through a hard time. What you need to use is the word of God and what He says about your situation. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. – Hebrews 12:1-3

Yes the situations are tough and hard, but so is your God. Who is mightier than God? Who can challenge Him and win? You need to use your weapons and use them often: a) prayer without ceasing – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (which is an example of bring all thoughts into captivity)

  1. b) Fasting, it breaks the yolk, the bondage – Isaiah 58: Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the [c]heavy burdens,
    To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? c) Ask for intercessory prayer from the elders of the church James 5:14-16 14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. d) delve/ go deep into the word : Hosea 4:6

6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) studying the word allows you to correctly apply it, and use and interpret it appropriately.

  1. Recall the past victories: if there is one time that the past is useful, it’s in this instance: you have to recall the days when God came through for you or perhaps for others. The instances when things seemed so impossible for you to make it. We are reminded in Romans 15:4-5 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. Psalm 77:11- 12 11I will remember the works of the LORD; yes, I will remember Your wonders of old. 12I will reflect on all You have done and ponder Your mighty deeds. Psalm 105:5 Remember the wonders He has done, His marvels, and the judgments He has pronounced.
  1. Understand this: You can’t do it without God. Colossians 1:7 He is before all things and in Him all things are held together. When you can’t hold it together, when you feel like you are about to loose it, because of the trials and tribulations, lean on God and he’ll do it for you. Acknowledge that this is a season: no matter how long the night is, it must come to an end. Seasons change and though this may feel as though it is going on too long, rest in the knowledge that it won’t last forever.
  2. God has your back – you may feel lonely but you are never alone. Not only is your battle axe ready and waiting and has already been fighting on your behalf, but He has placed people in your life to give you the support you need. The worst thing you can do is isolate yourself – that is when the devil wreaks havoc on your emotions and your mind. Surround yourself with positive people, keep busy and focus on the positive thought that the God of all creation is at your disposal. He has made himself like a ready weapon to defend you. Psalm 18:10 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. Deuteronomy 33:2 He said: “The LORD came from Sinai and dawned upon us from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran and came with myriads of holy ones, with flaming fire at His right hand. Psalm 18: 2 2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. 3 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
  3. Draw from God: His grace is sufficient for you and his strength is made perfect in our weakness. You are allowed to lean on Him. This is one person who won’t get tired of you calling Him and drawing from Him. Human may become tired and resentful because of your neediness but this is one person who loves when you acknowledge your need for Him. He won’t turn you away. Remember He desires only the best for us and so when struggles come, He knows exactly what to do and is well prepared to help us. Look at verse 16, 17 of Revelation We won’t hunger and thirst forever, the sun won’t smite us. That is the promise of God. His word will stand and must come through. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
  4. Count it all joy: it is meant to mature you. James 1:2-4 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. This experience mature and grows you and you can encourage others in the faith when they too face the same or similar things. Luke 22:31-34 31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

We have an advocate in Christ who is always fighting for us. We can rest in the confidence of Christ’s character. As the song writer said, she saw one set of footsteps but it was then the Lord was carrying her. Endure and be counted. Amen

Endure and be counted

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It’s been hard.

The last twelve months has come at me, family members, friends in such a way that I feel we have been constantly in battle. It has been a season of grief, extreme loss, hardship, spiritual, mental, physical  and financial pain that felt like “Okay,  God, this is just too much, even for me!” The experiences challenged our beliefs left our souls thirsty. Even the scriptures that we readily run to could not speak to us as they often did in the past.

So what do you do when life hits you so hard, when it feels like God isn’t there and hasn’t been hearing your prayers?

During the Christian walk, there are times when you are so challenged that it becomes hard for you to pray, or to remain encouraged. The storms of life have been hitting you left, right and centre. It seems like as soon as you get over one challenge another presents itself and you can hardly catch your breath. During these seasons, for some, you feel the farthest away from God and wonder what is His plan for you. You question why does this have to happen to me and mine?

You find it hard to recall the days when you smiled when worship was easy, when peace and joy, was easily accessed. You feel like you’ve lost your peace or as soon as things feel like they’re getting okay again, another wave hits you. There is a feeling of being stuck and it seems no matter what you do, you can’t move forward or its to move forward one step and then to take several steps backward. Perhaps you find yourself saying “nothing naw gwaan fi mi’  ( nothing good is happening for me) or simply, just feel depressed and pressed down.

It’s especially difficult when you were the one who would always find something positive in a challenging situation and could always reach to God when life’s challenges came your way.

There are some situations around me that recently have left me just actually bewildered and fighting to remain positive. Some personal and other situations facing people I know, persons who love and serve God.  I asked “Why God?” and there was to be no answer coming forward. I continued on my way, pushing forward but not connecting to anything and anyone.  During this time, I felt we (myself and those facing the challenges) really need a move of God and  it  felt like nothing is forthcoming.

But God sent an answer when I was not looking for one anymore and it wasn’t the easiest to accept but it sure helped to clarify things for me through Revelations 7 and verses 9 & 13-14.

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands,

13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

His word was : ENDURE AND BE COUNTED.

Okay. But, certainly there is more to it than just this. How do we face the hardships of life that are sure to come and remain in faith?

It comes down to acknowledging these realities:

  1. Trials and tribulations will come to test your faith: Tribulations are described as “A state of great trouble or suffering”. From the garden of Eden, the crafty enemy has been out to get us. So certainly, you can’t expect that he would just allow you to go through life without him trying your faith. 1st Peter 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in various trials, 7 so that the authenticity of your faith— more precious than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire— may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 
  2. When we expect it, it doesn’t surprise us as much when it comes and we are better able to manage it. Tribulations come in various forms: For Job, it was that he was a righteous man that was put to the test and he lost it all, even his health. It was health, finance, health, friends who were just wrong, a spouse who should be giving support who wishes you dead! But here is what the word says: You are to expect deliverance. Take it from someone (David) who also endured quite a bit : Psalm 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him from them all. 20 He protects all his bones; not one of them will be broken. You may be going through a lot but be encouraged, God will deliver you. He didn’t say how and when, so be strong in his promise.
  3. You must wash your robes: We all need a cleansing in some way. Some may think that they have been living lives that are truly righteous and perhaps you have. But perhaps your righteousness have become self-righteous. In the words of Elihu to Job (Job 34: 5) For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment. Elihu notes in verse 36 that Job has lost humility even has he attempts to lead a holy life. We must understand that our righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64: 6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. There we must have our robes washed in the blood of the lamb.   What robes is being referred to? This physical body which holds the triumphant spirit of the Most High God.  This carnal body that will choose to do every wrong thing. Romans 7: 21/23   I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. Verse 23: But I see another law at work in my body, warring against the law of my mind and holding me captive to the law of sin that dwells within me.
  4. Endurance – But the word says that the saints endured: to endure means to the ability to endure an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. To tolerate it, to withstand the wear and tear and ravages of this life- 1 Corinthians 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

 

NOW HAVING ACKNOWLEDGED THESE THINGS, HOW DO WE ENDURE TO BE COUNTED?

See post number 2 which highlights some important points.

Shalom.

 

What It’s Like to Lose Your Short-Term Memory

This hits too close to home: I think of Lottie, a sister-friend, a mother to an-in-law’s child, a nieces’s close childhood friend,a member of my family who fights this as she is afflicted by seizures. An extremely difficult condition for those living with it as much as those who loves someone who has to manage it, survive it. As you watch someone who was once so vibrant, so alive buckle under the weight of coping with this crippling, stifling condition, it becomes just so clear that you can only hold on to so much, if time and destiny allows you to.

Thank you for sharing your story, Christine.

Longreads

Christine Hyung-Oak Lee | Longreads | February 2017 | 18 minutes (4,276 words)

Longreads is proud to feature an exclusive excerpt from Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember: The Stroke That Changed My Life, the forthcoming memoir by Christine Hyung-Oak Lee. Lee’s story was first featured on Longreads in 2014, for her BuzzFeed essay, “I Had a Stroke at 33.”

***

Short-term memory dominates all tasks—in cooking, for instance: I put the water to boil in a pot on the stove and remember that the water will boil while I chop the onions. I will put the sauté pan on the stove to heat up the oil for the onions, and I will then put the onions, which I will remember I have chopped, into the oil, which I remember I have heated for the onions. I will then add tomatoes. While the onions and tomatoes cook, I…

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Trembling

via Daily Prompt: Tremble

Today, I was visited by another of the Education Ministry’s officials. It was expected, as it is a process we have been going through. Though I’m typically relaxed and confident in my delivery of the content I instruct in, on this occasion I felt a little off-centre, perhaps because I was being observed by an individual who knows nothing of the various personalities I am expected to teach, attend to their varied proclivities, weaknesses and strengths. Yet here she was, all serious and no nonsense, evaluating me on what I manage on a daily basis.

It struck me while I walked around, patted this one on the shoulder, encouraged another to supply an answer to the question I asked, as to how unbalanced the process is. Its filled with bureaucracy where persons are expected to fit into and perform roles that differ from day to day. They evaluate you on one role: facilitator/educator, and have no idea as to what that really means. You either love it or you leave it. You see it as a struggle or you see it as a challenge that forces you to reach for every resource within you.

And that I did. At one point I was about to let nerves kick in because I thought ” Am I doing well?” ” Am I following my plan” though this is something I’ve done without second thought, on so many occasions before. Instead, I reached for what I knew – my students and how to get them to where they need to be, reached for the tools I knew would help them get there, took a deep breath and steadied my trembling hands.

I got this.

 

The Audacity of Authenticity

I was going through some of my posts and this one resonated with me, once more, quite deeply. I imagine that it is so because of our current socio-political environment, that would want some of us to be less than our authentic selves.
Have a read once more and be blessed. Shalom.

The Resilient One

Audacity
noun
 a willingness to take bold risks.
Synonyms: boldness,daring, fearlessness, intrepidity, bravery, courage,courageousness, valour, valorousness, heroism, pluck, recklessness.

Authenticity
ɔːθɛnˈtɪsɪti/
noun
The quality of being authentic.
synonyms: genuineness, originality.

In a world where people are challenged to present the ‘best version of themselves’, to be who and what they believe others are looking for, its often hard to determine who is being/keeping it ‘real’ or not. “Just be yourself!” is a phrase we hear all the time, assuming that what you see is not what actually is.

Unfortunately, it too often the case that what you see is not their authentic self.

I wrote in my bio for WordPress that I am on a journey towards authenticity (paraphrased) because I have come to realize that I have been, for the most part, playing a role that has been predetermined for me. The…

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Let’s keep hope alive

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I have not written on my blog in a very long time. I just couldn’t. Not that I couldn’t find sufficient issues to write about but instead I felt as though I couldn’t sufficiently communicate the pain I was feeling in my heart for humanity’s current state. Time after time, news reports confirmed the fact that we seem to have lost our basic humanity and our ability to feel compassion to others.

Waves of despair presented themselves through reports which came relentlessly: one violent or oppressive act after the other often ending with someone’s life being taken away senselessly. I found myself needing to cope with the increasing violence against persons of my own ilk – of African descent, immigrant, black/ brown, female, Christian, working class among other relatable descriptors. It became too painful to read, watch and listen to reports of people being murdered without justifiable cause, of women’s rights being taken away, of our vaginas becoming fodder for gossip and being up for grabs to whom-ever wants to do, well, just that.

My faith was and still is being tried when I read of the many injustices that take place daily to the point where some of us seem to have become numb to their existence. It’s become such a regular occurrence that some people shrug and say “That’s just the way it is” because they too just can’t find the words to express their horror. I’ve listened to voice notes of women pleading for their lives from serial rapists and murderers on social media, all the while scrolling through news of a spouse murdering his wife and children because he wanted to get back at her. There are increased incidences of cyber bulling amongst adults, and  most recently of persons being encouraged to commit suicide (see the recent incidents of live suicides of Facebook).

Seriously, I couldn’t deal. It became too much and I had to step away and regroup. I needed to centre myself in the midst of this chaos that seemed to have taken over the world, my world. So I shut it all out, for a while so I could gather myself and steady my footing as I sought to navigate and understand this new paradigm.

What has happened to us? Why can’t we recognize that we have so much more in common than we are different? We are one human race, sharing a planet that we have done our best to destroy with our careless use of its resources. If we took the time out to listen in love to each other, simple though it seems, we could arrive at solutions that are mutually beneficial to us. I am not so foolish that I cannot recognize that its way more complicated than that and thus it would take time. But every worthwhile effort begins with a first step, and I know that we (all of us humans) are worth saving and so a step, whatever it is, is worth taking. The sad fact is however, is that we seem to be without a natural ability or inclination to love each other. We have placed a selfish love of ourselves and the ‘things’ we have and think we need, above all and everyone else.

What a world we live in.

But I dare to imagine that it can and will be better. I dare to imagine gender rights, religious and political freedoms. I dare to imagine leaders of countries, while seeking to protect the rights and welfare of their citizens, actively and judiciously, do so without trampling on the rights of others. I dare to imagine us engaging each other, acknowledging the wrongs we have all perpetuated against each other and seek ways to fix it. I dare to imagine that families and communities can return to or begin to take care of each other and move away from this individualistic, selfish mode of existence. Though my faith in us is terribly challenged, it hasn’t died. Once there’s life, there’s hope.

Let’s keep hope alive.