!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> rachman-unprecedented: January 2007


So what is this going to be? A little bit of everything I think. Maybe that's it. What I'm thinking. What I'm believing. I hope what I'm knowing. And why would anyone care what I think I know? There's no reason in the world that you should. But then why are you here? Cuz you have to be somewhere I suppose. I've never been here before. I may not be back. I might get too busy to care; time is short. That's fine. Nobody can deal with it all at once. There is a lot to deal with.

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Location: The Great Plains, United States

I try not to take myself too seriously, but I know I have far too much. So I'm trying to learn how to laugh again, as I had forgotted for a while there. Also I'm relearning to enjoy life; you know, like when we were kids. The biggest challenge ahead is learning how to love God with all my heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. This one is not really that hard when you know the truth. But along with it comes learning to love others as I love myself, and that one is, as they say, "a horse of a whole different color." I think I need to learn to love myself a little more, but the problem may be that I know all these facts about me. Sometimes the facts are simply wrong or they are just stuck in the past. I'm trying to get my facts to line up with the truth. As someone once asked a great man, "what is truth?" If he had only known.

rachman's weblog

Monday, January 22, 2007

What are You Afraid of?

It has been said that every generation "thinks" it lives in a time unlike all others. Perhaps we do all like to think that our own age is a special time which no one else has faced before. Certainly every generation has it own challenges, or as one of my mentors likes to say, "each generation has its own giants to fight." One of the giants that many people fight today is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of terrorists. Fear of disease. Fear of death. Fear of living. There are many people who spend their lives in fear. Unfortunately for many people the giants are winning.

There have been times when I have fought against fear. Fear can keep me from leaving the house for days at a time. In my case it is not the fear of people per se, but the fear of certain things that I know I need to accomplish. So rather than getting out there in the world and succeeding (or failing) I stay in the house. While I'm not actually hiding under the covers of the bed, I might as well be.

Sometimes I need to meditate on the ancient wisdom I say I believe, in order to get myself moving. It works if I don't wait too late to begin. If I do wait, then I just have to start all over the next day. That's probably why some cultures say the day really starts the evening before. That way when I get up the next day I'm ready to begin.

This is one of the texts that I meditate:

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue me from every trap and protect me from deadly disease. He will cover me with his feathers. He will shelter me with his wings. His faithful promises are my armor and protection. I will not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. I will not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at my side, though ten thousand are dying around me, these evils will not touch me. I just open my eyes, and see how the wicked are rewarded. If I make the Lord my refuge, if I make the Most High my shelter, no evil will conquer me; no plague will come near my home. For he will order his angels to protect me wherever I go. They will hold me up with their hands so I won't even hurt my foot on a stone. I will trample upon lions and cobras; I will crush fierce lions and serpents under my feet!

The Lord says, "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation."

~psalm 91

Monday, January 15, 2007

I Have a Dream

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation...

Thus began the "I Have a Dream" speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After reading the entire speech I felt that I needed to print the entire thing in order to do it justice. Probably most have heard parts, if not all, of the speech before. However the average man, if I by way of example fit that category, is so mesmerized by the cadence of the black minister's speech pattern, I doubt the average man ever fully receives the impact or the full meaning of his words. I wept as I read them. If you have a desire to hear those words (the first and best way of experiencing them) or read them (for me a necessity to understand all that he has just expressed), then you can check out this site.

I will quote just a point or two from the speech for those who doubt the integrity or greatness of the man who was Dr. King:

...there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force...

(The magnanimity of this statement goes beyond man's natural ability. I believe it comes from God Himself.)

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We cannot walk alone.

(None of us can go alone. If one group of people is enslaved, then mankind is enslaved. If one is set free, then we are all set free. And rejoice.)

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." ...the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood...

(My family "owned" other human beings at one time. I was actually proud of this fact once. I'm amazed at the arrogance and depravity. Not my ancestors, but my own. And some think that we don't need redemption.)

I have a dream today!
...one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
"and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with...
With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day...when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

~ to the memory of a great man of God

Friday, January 12, 2007

Money Makes the World go Around

I read a story on the internet, some six, seven or more years ago, about a presentation given by the speaker of some kind of motivational seminar. It used money as a parallel for our lives. As is sometimes the way of things found on the web, there were no names or substantiating facts given to back up anything. Nevertheless I was quite impressed by the story. So much so that I remembered it and some how made the story my own. If you don't want me to use it, then why do you tell it to me?

I was working with a beautiful young woman with red hair a few years back. Now to me red heads are either beautiful or let's say they were made with someone else in mind. (There is someone made for everyone I've been told.) This woman was not only beautiful, but very capable and talented. We were both working in sales, so I know she was very successful. Thank god we worked in different departments, so I didn't feel threatened.

Everyone it seems, comes from some kind of dysfuctional background. In the case of my lovely red head, (I say "my" only in the sense that I was fortunate enough to work with her,) she had come from quite a bit of emotional abuse back up the line somewhere. She had then added to the problems by trying to numb the pain with alcohol and drugs. Consequently she somehow had the idea that she had very little value. Even though she had been clean and sober for a few years now, she couldn't see that she was something amazing. It was one of those cases where anyone who knew her saw value, but she seemed to think there was none there. It may be this way in every case, but this is the one that I was made aware of.

Over time we grew close enough to share with each other all kinds of emotional baggage. I don't know why, but we felt safe with each other. I'd like to say that it evolved into something more than just friends, but then I would be lying. (But then how would you ever know for sure. Yeah, we had a hot lecherous affair. All right I'm lying again. I've never been a good liar. Okay, we were just friends, blast it!) To continue, we were able to talk freely with each other.

One day at work, as we were talking, she repeated an often used comment. One which revealed yet again, her lack of self worth. (This is where the money story comes in. Remember we were talking about a money story.) I reached into my pocket to find a $20 bill, like the one I heard about in the story. Unfortunately I didn't have any bills that big. In fact I didn't even have a ten or a fiver. But there was a relatively new looking $1 bill left over from the change at lunch. It will have to do. "I want to give you this money," I said. "I don't want your money," she said. Okay, this was not working. I'll have to explain a bit first. "Okay, you don't have to take my money, but imagine, if you will, that you came across this money somewhere. You know that you are not taking anyone's money away from them. But there it is waiting on you. Would you want to pick it up and keep it?" "Well, sure. It's money," she said. I took the new looking bill and proceeded to crumple it up and then asked, "Do you still want it?" She nodded her head "yes," wondering where I was going with this. I said, "What if I do this?" I dropped the bill on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with my shoe. Then I picked it up, though it was now crumpled and dirty, and asked, "Now, do you still want it?" "Well, of course," she said, "it's money." So I said with as much love as I knew how to give, "I want you to remember something. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth whatever denomination it was. Whether $1 or one million. You are just like that bill. It doesn't matter what others do to you or even what you do to yourself, you still have value.

"We do not decrease in value by the decisions we make or by what others do to us or by the circumstances that come our way. We may feel as though we are worthless, but it doesn't change anything.

"You will never lose your value. You are special--don't ever forget that."

One thing I neglected to tell the lovely red head, I now add on for you. The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by who we are and whose we are. If we belong to God, then He is the one who gives us value and worth.

~ rachman

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Cup of Coffee

I got one of those emails the other day. You know the ones. I almost never pass them on as I hate getting them. In fact I remember receiving it once before, but it struck me this time as having value. So in light of the new year, I will paraphrase for you.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

Take a very large, empty mayonnaise jar and fill it with golf balls. Ask yourself if the jar is full. It looks full so yes, the answer has to be full. Now pick up a box of pebbles and pour them into the jar. Shake the jar lightly until the pebbles roll into the open areas between the golf balls. Ask again if the jar is full. You're beginning to catch on, but basically you figure that yes, it's full. Now pick up a box of sand and pour it into the jar. Of course, the sand fills up everything else. Ask yourself once more if the jar is full. Yes, now it is full. Wait. Now come up with two cups of coffee and pour both of them into the jar. The coffee is easily absorbed into the jar of sand, pebbles, and golf balls.

Now, imagine that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions--and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else--the small stuff.

If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get exercise and care for yourself. Take your beloved out to dinner. Indulge your passion for music, golf, books, time in the kitchen, or whatever it may be. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first--the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

Now what does the coffee represent. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem to be, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.

I realize that this is one of the things that I have been doing wrong. In thinking that I'm getting things done, I've just been bothering with the small stuff. It looks like I have my first goal or (ugh) resolution for the new year:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ prioritize ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ rachman

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Meditation

When darkness overtakes the godly, light will come bursting in.

Psalm 112:4 (NLT)
photo: Dave's Pics

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Snow, Snow, Everywhere

Why doesn't snow look like this in real life--well at least in my life? Okay, maybe it does sometimes, but it's like youth. The picture changes so quickly that you forget it was ever that pure, that beautiful, or that innocent. Oh well. It's a new year. And it is only getting better. As I was sharing with a friend, the year ahead will have many challenges. I made lots of blunders last year, but that year is behind us now. We have an opportunity to begin again. The old has gone and the new has come.

Should auld (old) acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne (old long since=good old days)?

Of course the "old long since" should not be forgotten, but let's not live there. Our old behavior does not determine our future behavior. And there is a great future ahead. No matter if your are starting out for the first time or the second--or say, even the fiftieth. Our best days are still ahead of us and we have a brand new year to begin again.

~ rachman