Speak For Those Who Cannot Speak For Themselves

This is the second time I feel compelled to write my blog about the children who are coming to us for help and understanding from Central America.

Thank God we still have good people whose heart has not turned to stone. I know my list is incomplete but my information is only as good as the daily paper chooses to print. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said, “We are an empathetic people in this country and we don’t like seeing people suffer,” despite bashing our President in the process. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said her city “has a long history of welcoming immigrants” – from her grandparents to recent waves of refugees from Bhutan, Iraq and South Sudan. She suggested six buildings on the old campus of the former Maria Regina College be used to house and care for them.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, said, “You have to take a step back and say, ‘We’re talking about kids as young as five’ – “What’s our role as human beings?” Barrett, Davenport, Iowa Mayor Bill Gluba, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland have said they would put together teams to look for suitable locations to help.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, each and every one. Great leaders rise to the top by not always looking for votes but for something like this – thinking outside the box to look out for these children; children not unlike your son or daughter.

In an article in the same paper there was a story about a very young boy in San Pedro, Sula, Honduras, who had two of his friends, eleven years old, snatched from their home. Their bodies were found chopped to pieces. That is how he lives each day – in fear of the same.

If each of our states would take 1000 of these children we would save 50,000 children. An example is my state of Kentucky; we have 122 counties. If each county took nine children, that would be 1098 children saved. Please use your creative ability and please do something to help these children. If we had not had some visionaries in our government in the sixties, it is possible we would still have our African-American brothers and sisters in the shackles of racism and a second class existence.

Please America – open your hearts. Ministers of all faiths, find in yourselves the voice of humanity. Let’s help these children of God. They need to be supported with the voices of caring people. Let the choir start by adding each of our voices.

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Checking Your 2013 Ledger

We have just days left in this year. Are you ready to open your ledger and add up your score for 2013?

1.  How did you respond to people who did not acknowledge your smile, your “Good morning!” or “Good evening!” or your hello?

Did you think, “Well, the heck with you!” or, did you realize that person may need your good wishes more than anyone you may meet the rest of the day? When our mind or heart is laden with troubles, real or imagined, we all may forget to acknowledge kindness.

2.  What did you think of our elected officials in Washington?

Do you rant and rave about their decisions or lack thereof? Did you decide that they are all crooks? Say we should kick them all out? Or did you realize they are, in most cases, separated from family, spending untold hours studying legislation, trying to make sure they do what they think is best for our country and their constituents? Our elected officials certainly come under strong scrutiny and, sometimes, scorn, depending on your own political persuasion.

I admit I am guilty of having strong feelings about certain members of Congress, but I try to be as respectful of our public servants as I can. I try my best to believe they are each in office because they want to be caretakers of our citizens and help to make their lives better and safer; however, a certain group are more concerned about taking milk from babies, food from the less fortunate and other essentials from those who need them the most. For those who fall in that category I can only hope they find, somewhere inside, a kinder, more compassionate heart.

3.  Have you thought about how and why we elevate people to hero status? Sports stars, musicians and other entertainers, politicians…then we hear some unproven gossip about them and we can’t wait to knock them off the pedestal we placed them on.

Most fallen heros, if asked about their transgressions,  would probably ask, in return, the question: “Why did you praise me unrealistically only to take even more delight in destroying me?” I think at times we are largely becoming a people of vindictiveness and revenge.

4.  Do you appreciate the server of your morning coffee – be it your wife or the waitress at your local diner? Did you thank them or did you just assume it was their duty; their job?

It is no one’s duty to serve you. And showing respect and thoughtfulness serves you both – by giving joy you get joy.

5.  Each day we have kind thoughts, each day that we reach out to greet a stranger, each day we recognize that God refills our tank with love and compassion is a day that will be a happy one.

The task is not yet finished

Yesterday we heard emotional speeches by five national leaders and patriots. The words of Presidents Obama, Clinton and Carter, along with John Lewis, should remind us of the battle not yet won.

Yes, thanks to leaders such as those who were present, we have made great strides in righting the wrongs of so many years – those which we did not want to acknowledge existed. The four I have mentioned stood tall and proud, each working in their own way to right the wrongs that so many of our brothers and sisters endured.

The fifth voice was a voice silenced before its time – a voice that everyone who stood on that great Mall in Washington or who listened across our great country was able to summon, once more hearing those words…”I have a dream, that one day all men will be free.”

Even if it is no longer with us, that voice will never truly be silenced.  No bullet can ever still that voice or the words of Martin Luther King.

May we always have leadership that truly believes all men and women: black, white, Asian, Mexican – any and all races –  shall feel this country is big enough for all to come to work, enjoy life and add the different shade of beauty each brings to enhance our rainbow.

As Christians our hearts should be so full of love we have no room for hate. Only those who are misguided, misinformed, mean-spirited, or just plain stupid would defy our Heavenly Father, who said we all are God’s children, sisters and brothers together. God’s words are good enough for me. How about you? Are you picking and choosing that which is easy to do and calling yourself a Christian or do you truly follow God’s words and live by his words?

The Dalai Lama’s Visit

The past week the citizens of Louisville had a most awesome visitor. The Dalai Lama, a true man of God, graced our shores and imparted his plea for a more compassionate world and more compassionate people.

He spoke to a variety of age groups. As usual, the group who most soaked up his wisdom and hope was the young people. I have had the distinct honor of being in his Holiness’ present twice. I would have been there again except my health no longer allows me to move about as before.

I have seen the glow, the spirit and the message that he inspires in the young. There is a reverence one feels in his presence that you never want to leave you. He answers questions easily that most would have to give long thought to and his message is always so timely and so beautifully given. He was asked about the many different regions he visits and about attending church. His Holiness replied, ” If you go to church without compassion in your heart for your neighbor or fellow man, you have gone for the wrong reasons.”

The Dalai Lama is the exiled leader of Tibet, having left his homeland when forced to flee by the Chinese. He has been spreading the word of love and compassion in all parts of the world for over 50 years.

I know many of you have taken advantage of a chance to see and listen to him. If you missed this most recent appearance, please grasp the opportunity if you are fortunate to have the good luck to do so again.

I leave you with these words of his Holiness.

When asked what surprised him about humanity the most, the Dalai Lima said, “Man,  because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.  Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health, and then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present. The result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he just lives like he is never going to die, and then dies never having lived.”

I shall never forget those words, because they illustrate the path of a wasted life.