Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Not Forgotten

Not Forgotten – the victims of the day.
Not Forgotten – the rescuers who ran toward danger
Not Forgotten – the prayer vigils that broke down barriers
Not Forgotten – unlikely heroes who displayed selflessness
Not Forgotten – crumbled steel, clouds of dust, debris fields
Not Forgotten – loss of innocence in looking at any and all airplane flying overhead
Not Forgotten – kindness of neighbors
Not Forgotten – where I was that day
Not Forgotten – the days of strife that followed
Not Forgotten – more sacrifice from those in uniform, and their families and friends that love them
Not Forgotten – leadership in terrible circumstances
Not Forgotten – integrity and honor as hands extended to help
Not Forgotten – many prayers for peace, forgiveness, and for those most directly impacted to retain hope
Not Forgotten – changing laws, terror alerts, new fears
Not Forgotten – structures created by ingenuity, built by strong hands, staffed with those going about their normal day, and their absence
Not Forgotten – a field that became a memorial for an act of selflessness
Not Forgotten – new dreams, new structures, new growth in that field

Not Forgotten – a new day, not that this whole threat is over, but that we can stand, in hands linked in prayer and strength to cry out with one voice

No, they are not forgotten.  And those who survive them and have attempted piece their lives back together are also not forgotten.  I remember where I was that day, the feelings of confusion, shock, and horror.  I remember the pride in those who responded, working to the point of exhaustion over and over to save lives.  I remember prayers for those I love in uniform, for their safety and care while they were going about their duties.  I remember the terror alerts that came out, the color coding system that seemed would become part of our daily world for a while.  Such a cry of pride in those who serve came out, making me also feel pride for those celebrating our responders.  We must not forget the horror of that day.  Nor, the kindness, ingenuity, strength, heroism, selflessness, and genuine love displayed in the days following. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Disgruntled Mouth-box or Loving Messenger

I saw a poster for a band called Disgruntled Mouth-box law week.  I had to laugh.  I know nothing about the band or if they live up to their name.  But, the words in the name itself made me laugh, and caught my attention. 

Disgruntled:  to make ill-humored or discontented
Taking Advantage of Light Bulb Moments
                Synonym – alienate, estrange, and sour
Mouth-box: somebody who expresses someone’s views
                Synonym – mouthpiece

Sound like anyone you know?  Being human, I thought of others first…  (Hey, just being honest here).  For example, those who have been in positions of leadership that offer complaining and criticism; one negative after another without thought for offering a solution.  The classic complainers come to mind, the ones who are the constant grouch to be avoided at all cost lest they “infect” you with their sourness. 
Beyond someone having a bad day, this makes me think of words not being used wisely.  Eventually, I get around to thinking closer to home (a.k.a. me).  Though I wish I could claim that all of my words are paragons of wisdom and virtue that build up others with guidance and leadership, I know better.  Not every word that comes out of my mouth represents the best of me or my beliefs – I too can be a disgruntled mouth-box.  I don’t have to speak it, I may have disgruntled, grumbly, roll my eyes thoughts as well – acerbic mental tongue indeed.
But, is that what I want?  Are these the words and attitudes I want to present to those around me and to keep in my mind?  Of course not!  Probably few of us do.  Not a disgruntled person, or a mouth-box.  That makes me think of someone who eventually becomes of no consequence because they are avoided as they jump on their soapbox for the umpteenth time and rail out against others; someone speaking without purpose.
What is a better choice?  Is it not better to offer words of life, building, hope, encouragement, patience, teaching, instruction, and hope?  It’s not always fluffy words or thoughts, but those that are offered are from a different perspective.  The focus is not one that is soured and sours others.  It offers a perspective that reflects the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – Galatians 5:22-23).

I’ll challenge myself and I’ll challenge you.  Don’t be a disgruntled mouth-box, intentionally don’t!  Instead, let’s intentionally be a loving messenger.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Buzz Words – Or Not

I was part of a discussion last week about the new buzz word/phrases of accountability and failure being a topic of discussion.  After thinking about the concepts more, I find myself torn in two ways.  One, when did these words stop becoming buzz words – in other words, was there a time that they lost their power and potency in current culture?  The second is that if one is true, then thank heavens that they are coming back now!

But why – why are they important?

Accountability, stemming from the older words that mean to account for something, means that an individual or a group will make a choice and then stand behind it.  I think most can understand the concept of accountability, even if we don’t always like to be called for account.  But, it’s relation to failure is not always as obvious as might be thought.

Accountability and failure seem again the obvious match, as we are called to account for our failings.  But, in this particular case, it was brought a step further.  Failures happen, our best plans sometimes flop horribly.  Not leaving it with simply the immediate mess cleaning up is where I would challenge all of us.  Instead, we must learn from these happenings and apply that knowledge to hopefully lead to a different result. 

My low pressure example was I was trying to make potato cakes.  I’ve had potato cakes, but I’ve never made them before.  Combining a couple of different recipes, my first batch was not so much cakey as like an apple sauce texture.  Needless to say, that didn’t stick around long to be stared at like some starchy soup.  But, recognizing that the potatoes were not staying bound together as they were needed, I added flour – with the result that the new batch came out quite beautiful and golden brown.  Yes, that is a pretty low stress example, yet serves as a good example of trying something, failing, and then, making changes and trying again. 

We all fail.  We all need to shoulder forms of accountability (and be a little kinder with each other since we all fail at times).   We all need to learn from what failed and decide what changes to make to move forward.  Buzz words, maybe.  Life time lesson words – absolutely!