I Have Heard; I Have Seen; I Will Deliver

They say there is a point of absolute clarity when a person is facing their own mortality. We’ve heard it all before; “Your life flashes before your eyes.” Of course, this is a moment in human life we humans regularly avoid thinking about. Our mortality isn’t something we like to dwell on. And yet, it is a part of life. St. Ambrose of Optina teaches “You must not be greatly troubled about…

4 Opposites Reveal Wisdom

OK, it’s a great scene: Indiana Jones and his dad have reached the cave where they believe the Holy Grail has been hidden. But, to get to the treasure Indy has to pass some tests. As he approaches the first test, he remembers the words of warning “Only the penitent man will pass.” As he approaches the test, he says that the penitent man kneels before God, and he kneels at the…

What Seems Right IS Wrong!

“How can it be wrong when it feels so right?” Probably one of the most overused lines in the history of mankind right before someone does something really stupid! Yeah, I know, I’ve said it myself! So, why is it we humans get ourselves into messes like this? Simple, we let our heart be our guide! But, you say, that’s what they told me I was suppose to do, follow my heart!…

When to Speak; When to Listen

An ancient Roman writer once said “I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.” I confess that has been a hard lesson for me, personally. Once, when someone asked me “Why do you talk so much?” I responded “Because the sound of my voice comforts me!” As a big smile came on both our faces, it was clear he got my point. We human are enamoured with our own voice, and…

The Roots of Ruin

One of the human parables of every human culture on earth is the warning against pride. As the scriptures declare ” pride goes before a fall.” And it seems that each human tribe has a multitude of stories that prove that truth over and over again. Once such story from my own Southern family was the story of the man in my grandparent’s town who strutted around town in a fine suit,…

The 3 Joys of Generosity

I am blessed to be one of several trained First Responders through International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC – www.iocc.org) Frontliners Team. And, in training to be a First Responder in the field of emotional and spiritual care to victims of disasters, we learn some very valuable insights about caregiving and the dangers of caregiving. But what never ceases to amaze me is the way a disaster or some terrible event reveals the…

2 Paths: One Good; One Bad!

“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.” This quote by Henry David Thoreau is beautiful. But I have a problem with it since it seems to suggest that any path will do as long as it’s your own path. To be sure, we are each free, unique, and unrepeatable persons who uniquely incarnate our common human nature in a way that defies duplication.…

5 Benefits of Learning From Others Mistakes

“No life is a total waste. It can always serve as a bad example.” I’ll never forget when my best friend first shared this bit of wisdom with me. I was really down because someone that was suppose to be a positive influence on me was anything but. And I was disappointed, scared, and, frankly, angry that this man who was suppose to be my example turned out to be just the…

Stolen Water is Sweet

Let’s face it; learning the lessons of life the “hard way” is our default position as humans. Oscar Wilde said that “Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.” And yet, we don’t seem to learn from our mistakes very often. Over and over again, we revisit  some bad choice either until it kills us or we actually learn to stop doing that. I have a dear friend who grieves…

3 Ways to Wisdom

What’s the best way to improve society? Change the person or change the society? There was a day in America when the common understanding was to change the person and society would improve, but nowadays it seems that many think that fighting to change society means addressing society’s faults rather than the faults in the persons in that society. In fact, character development USE to be one of the primary goals and…