There is a Better Way

There have been quite a few conversations going around lately in my circle of influence. It’s an unpleasant one but of great significance, I believe. And here’s my take on it.

You see, I’d much rather a potential issue be nipped in the bud than wait for it to develop, only to slap a band-aid on it later on.

In my opinion, abortion is not right. It’s not any worse than divorce, really. They’re all sinful acts from my personal point of view. But they’re also not the root of the problem, I don’t think. Abortion, to me, is the cost being paid by the ones who did not necessarily make the wrong choices to begin with.

Unfortunately, the lack of influence on society to steer itself away from trouble early on leads to unnecessary regrets. We all need a foundation to stand on. Yet, where we fixate that foundation for the ones we care about will largely determine the course of their life.

Home! In the home is where kids should be cemented with the fundamentals. You know: Morality. Decency. Respect. Obedience. They need to have experienced these elemental ideologies as they hit school age. Otherwise, the seed of the problem will have been planted by then. And it usually goes downhill from there.

For instance, when kids who grow up witnessing their mom and dad disrespecting, distrusting and hurting each other, it robs them of opportunities to learn what love is and what powers it can unleash in their lives. Sooner or later, forgiveness can become just a foreign concept. Caring and selflessness may be reduced to being more of an abstract notion rather than actual moral convictions. Gentleness, humility, those could be thrown out the door, as well.

And when they eventually enter school and begin to develop relationships, and they grow up together through the years – guess what kind of influence they’ll have on each other? And in the world around them? Well, heck! Just think about the kind of conversation they’ll have one day during lunch break?

… “Hey, I got knocked up! I don’t know what to do.”

There are other examples but I’ll leave it to your imagination.

So, yeah, you have that. But you also have the choice to shove your beliefs down people’s throats and waive compassion. You have the choice to fly your flag of self-righteous indignation on people’s unfortunate circumstances. To take their freedom away and chain them for asking for something quite atrocious.

Such as an abortion.

Friday the 4th

It’s not nearly as scary sounding as Friday the 13th, is it? In fact, for all Americans, this day is a symbol of freedom. A day to rejoice. A time for celebration. A time for reflection. A time to remember how lucky we are to be a part of this blessed country.

Yet, a lot of us do not feel free in so many ways, now do we? How could we? We are stuck in a war. We fear for our national safety. We fear for our health. Gas prices are keeping us awake at night. We’re losing our homes and our jobs. We’re slaves to our debts. And we’re slaves to our doubts. And these, just to name a few. I don’t know about you, but It’s definitely more scary than happy to me.

A week ago, I was with some friends and I couldn’t resist the temptation to share with them the good news that I am now totally debt-free. You should’ve seen everyone’s jaw drop. One of them cracked a joke and said that because of this, I am now being un-American. As if I no longer relate to normal society. That was when I realized the fact that freedom isn’t normal. It’s not an everyday thing. In fact, it is rare.

I had a recent conversation with another friend. She was telling me how joyful she is but at the same time, struggling to find herself. As if she does not know who she is inside. Too many questions, not enough answers, I guess. Fear and loneliness. More reasons to dodge freedom.

Another friend of mine at work was telling me how emptiness just fills her heart all the time. Now, I can sympathize with her having been divorced fairly recently. However, I refuse to be a slave to emptiness. I believe that emptiness is overrated. Loneliness is overrated. Like an overweight person too lazy to get up and exercise, it’s all a decision, really. You do or you don’t. What’s it gonna be?

Friday the 4th In my life, I have known people who are lonely and fearful and empty. They stay that way a long time because they don’t do much about it. In the end, I have learned that sometimes, these places are a safe haven for them. These places, though unhealthy, are what’s familiar and comfortable. It’s all they know. I have learned this because I’ve been there myself. Where Heaven is a faraway land. Love and forgiveness are a foreign concept. Integrity and self-confidence are non-existent. Freedom is a scary proposition. And bravery is something you see in the movies.

Have you ever been so critical that you fail to see the good? Is your glass half empty or half full? Yeah yeah yeah, it’s cliche, I know.

Well, here it is… the Day of Independence, in America anyway. We’re gonna fire up the grill and barbecue to our heart’s content. We’re gonna watch the fireworks and be proud that we belong in this so-called land of the free and home of the brave. What’s your plan? Me, I’m gonna be people watching (while gnawing on my pork ribs, of course). I’m gonna be hangin’ out with friends and strangers alike. Hangin’ out with the free and the brave, if you will.

This could be scary, indeed. Wish me luck.

Freedom is not free; and wears a camouflage

Happy Veterans Day, everyone!

I just stepped out on my front porch a few minutes ago to inhale the fresh morning air. Although, it was a little nippy and my coffee couldn’t stay warm enough after a couple of minutes, so I had to waltz on back inside and… well, turn on the TV! 🙂

By the way, I’m really liking this new digs of mine. I’m already feeling the freedom from having to open up a code editor just to write a journal entry and then, ftp to my webserver whatever elements I have to just to make a single post! Aaaarggghh!!!! It’s nice to just have a laptop while sitting on the couch watching CNN.

Speaking of CNN, with all its Veterans Day type issues being discussed this morning, it reminded me of that show “Band of Bloggers” that I saw a few days ago on the History Channel. It was pretty intense. I immediately started reading these blogs that the show was all about. I even scoured Technorati for war-related posts. It’s amazing, these guys blog the same day they’re in the firing line, so you can imaging the raw emotion and gruesome details they’re able to muster in their words. It was like the movie Saving Private Ryan, only you were reading about it. And thinking that this could’ve happened just yesterday made it seem even more real and personal. One guy was saying these blogs are critical to their sanity it would never stop as long as the war is going on.  And as much as they’re grateful for the ability to blog where they are, what they would welcome even more is the possibility of carrying a pda with them in the line of battle (they already carry a digital camera now). Wow, blogging in combat! Unreal!

But all this only made me feel for the soldiers. One guy was saying that it made all the difference to know that someone is reading their blog and is sympathizing with them in what they’re going through at that very moment. That’s what drives them to do it in the first place. That feeling of connection and companionship with the reader, it’s a need.

I am with you, brother.

Man, I just think no one should be deprived of his/her family by being sent to war. But war is a dirty job and someone has to do it. I really felt grateful. Not just because someone’s fighting for our freedom, but also because all of us really do have some kind of freedom to begin with, any way we look at it. Sometimes it’s hard to see (… perhaps ’cause it wears a camouflage ;)), but just the fact that we’re alive and breathing is freedom in itself.

Freedom is not free though. But when you think about it, someone always pays for one’s freedom. Many times, that someone is a complete stranger even. This is true in any and every situation, I believe.

Anyway, I didn’t plan on getting deep and philosophical about this. I simply want to express gratitude that I, today, woke up and was alive and well, am able to go outside my house and feel the morning breeze and see the clear blue sky.

I’m sure someone today would like to have some of that.

A portrait of freedomBy the way, about a week ago at work, I printed a photo that I took here in town at the Frontier Days parade back in July. I hung it in my office and a few people took notice eventually. They liked it and suggested I put it up on our corporate website’s homepage just for the week of Veterans Day. Well, I was a bit busy and forgot to do it, so I’m posting it here for all to see now. I especially like how the little guy looks so innocent and has no idea of the freedom he has. Just sitting there, enjoying the parade… life’s great.

And it is!

Anyhow, it may not explicitly be a Veterans Day type image but, in a way, it sure portrays the freedom we have in this country.

At least, some of us in the office think so…

Umm… and one more thing I’m grateful for… no work tomorrow!!!

Oh Yeah! Let freedom ring indeed!