Jul 24 2017

Waiting with Hope

“All human wisdom is contained in these two words – Wait and Hope.”

Written by the Count of Monte Cristo as his renunciation of his project of vengeance in The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas. French novelist and playwright Alexandre Dumas, was born on this day in 1802 (died 1870).

I’ve seen the movie, and I’ve read an abridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo. I’m far from an expert on the story, but it’s basically this: Edmond Dantès is falsely imprisoned, befriended in prison by a man who tells him of a hidden fortune, escapes from prison, and seeks his revenge. In the end Dantès finds peace. Read the book. Or at least watch the movie.

I don’t like waiting. I certainly don’t have the patience of Dantès. Although I will admit to often comparing my less than palatial day-job office space (there’s a long story there) to Dantès’ cell and wondering if building maintenance would notice my scratches on the wall to mark the years of my imprisonment.

Unfortunately, when I do eventually get out I doubt that I will find a hidden treasure.

I digress.

Or do I?

In college, oh so many scratches on the wall ago, I was part of a ministry team called “Future Hope.” Our name was based on the scripture from Jeremiah 29:11.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (New International Version)

Followers of Jesus know that that hope is eternal. It doesn’t mean that things are going to be settled and fabulous here on earth. In fact, Jesus only said he’d be with us, not that it would be easy.

So, how then do we look at waiting and hoping while we’re here on earth?

I realize you may have a different belief system, or no belief system at all. My job is not to change your mind. My job is to give you a reason to ask why I have this hope.

I don’t always do that very well. I’m not being a smart-ass (this time) when I say the struggle is real.

For me, it’s hard to think of a hope for the future when I’m facing the crap I have to deal with this week.

Not to belabor the point, but we’re once again facing unexpected car repairs. I didn’t budget for this. Don’t get me wrong, we’re incredibly blessed, but times like this are a pain when we have to sort through this account and that account. In this case, the juggle is real.

It’s hard to wait patiently for these times to pass and to look toward that hope of the future.

At the same time, it’s actually easier sometimes to look to the future and forget to be thankful for all the good the present has to offer.

In my Self-Journal (affiliate link), I’m encouraged daily to write three things I’m thankful for in the morning, and again in the evening.

True story: Sometimes I’m merely thankful for surviving this $@#%(&* day.

And, that’s okay.

Life’s a balance. Waiting and hoping for the future doesn’t give us license to sit on our ample backsides until everything falls in place.

Dantès didn’t do that. He dealt with the years of imprisonment in a dark, damp, stinky cell. But with the help of a prison mate he learned to make himself a better, more-educated man. He had a hope for the future and while he knew he had to wait for it, he also worked to get there.

Your circumstances may suck today. But, there is hope. There is a future.

What that future is depends on your attitudes and actions of today.

Mark Twain once said “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

It’s Monday. We have the hope of Friday.

Let’s get to work.

FIVE THINGS FOR YOUR MONDAY

The Latest ‘Hate’ Smear Target Is a Civil-Rights Group
The media again parrots the Southern Poverty Law Center’s scurrilous claims.
Edwin Meese III in The Wall Street Journal

Calgary veteran who survived Dunkirk causes a stir at movie premiere
Global News
Theatre goers watching the premiere of “Dunkirk” at Calgary’s Westhills Cinemas on Friday night got a surprise encounter with a 97-year -old man who was at the battle in 1940.

Reminder: USA Today Critic Lamented How ‘Dunkirk’ Lacks Gender, Racial Diversity
NewsBusters
USA Today’s Brian Truitt wrote a rather positive review of Dunkirk, but still left a little room to take issue with the movie’s lack of diversity, writing, “…the fact that there are only a couple of women and no lead actors of color may rub some the wrong way.”

Walk and learn
Sarah L. Smith at Medium
My feelings about walking are not a commentary on the need for more exercise, or the obesity problem or even the act of walking per se. There is a bigger picture here that I fear is hard to see from inside the frame. It’s about what we’re missing by not walking; and what we’re losing along the way: our ability to coexist.

Doctor Who Christmas special: First look at Peter Capaldi’s final outing
BBC
The one-minute clip for the episode, titled Twice Upon A Time, sees Capaldi and the First Doctor team up.

AND FINALLY…

English sailor and priest, John Newton, was born on this day in 1725 (died 1807). Newton penned the words to one of Christianity’s most beloved hymns.


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Verse of the Day selection provided by BibleGateway.com

Jul 21 2017

Born to Write

It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.

American novelist, short story writer, journalist, and Nobel Prize laureate, Ernest Hemingway, was born on this day in 1899 (died 1961).

Born to be write…or is that wild?

Truth is, I was always meant to be a writer. It came first from a love of reading, then from a love of wanting to express myself through the written word.

If there are regrets in this writing journey it is that until I reached a certain age I always said I wanted to be a writer, not that I was/am a writer.

These days, I call myself a writer, an actor, and an artist.

I’m all three.

I’m also a government drone and a retail supervisor at an amusement park.

Those are things that I do. They are not who I am.

Somehow I wish we could get that message across to our young people.

I mean, I’m glad for those who know by puberty exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Without them, we’d have no doctors or architects, or lawyers…okay so maybe it’s not all good.

But then there are those of us who are a bit interested in everything. I went through three college majors in four years. Music to English to Speech. The last one got to the drama part, but at the time my college didn’t offer drama major.

I was accepted at a different university as an art major.

I graduated with my degree in Speech Communications. The University has changed that to Communications Arts, which sounds a lot better anyway.

I’ve never really worked in my field.

I went from social work (government) to politics to non-profit and back to government.

So, I didn’t spend all of that time writing, or calling myself a writer.

I don’t regret that my professional life took me down a different path. Let me tell you I’ve got some source material. And boxes of files with ideas.

Now that I’m making a concerted effort to make this writing thing work, I’m digging up those old files and mapping out some stories.

There may be two books.

For now, with the approaching weekend and work at the park, I’m struggling to do the re-writes to the script before my first public read-thru in September.

People think writing is easy. Some days it is.

That doesn’t mean that it’s good.

Sure I work to better my craft, to become a better writer.

But word-putting-togethering was what I was meant to do.

And, I’m doing it.

FIVE THINGS FOR YOUR WEEKEND

The Brutally Honest Guide to Being Brutally Honest
Josh Tucker at SmartBlogger
The point of brutal honesty is to be completely honest and let the truth speak for itself.

The Democratic Party’s Billion-Dollar Mistake
The New York Times
The Democratic Party’s fixation on pursuing those who voted for Mr. Trump is a fool’s errand because it’s trying to fix the wrong problem.

When it’s O.J. Simpson, we simply can’t look away
USA Today
Some 20 years later, even after he’s spent the last nine years locked away and out of the public eye, O.J.

GOP Budget Plan Moves Forward, Paving a Clear Path for Tax Reform
Independent Journal Review
According to the budget blueprint, mandatory spending will be reduced by at least $203 billion over the next 10 years.

Senators say Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr. will get subpoenas if they skip hearing
ABC News
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is threatening to issue subpoenas to compel Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. to testify before Congress if they do not cooperate with the panel’s ongoing investigation and appear for a public hearing next week.

AND FINALLY…

American actor and screenwriter, Don Knotts, was born in 1924 (died 2006).


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Verse of the Day selection provided by BibleGateway.com
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