Monthly Archives: May 2015

Advice & Lessons Learned

Recently I was asked to share the best advice I’ve received and lessons learned through seven decades of living. I expect to add to this list as I continue to learn and grow.

“Your character should always be stronger than your circumstances.” -Dave Willis

“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” -Timber Hawkeye

“Your hardest times often lead to your life’s greatest moments. Keep the faith. It will all be worth it in the end.” -Zig Ziglar

“Be yourself.” -spiritual counselor

“Be kind.” -Sunday School

“Forgive.” -Sunday School

“Love your neighbor…” -Sunday School (Mark 12:31)

“Judge not…” -Matthew 7:1-3

“He probably just didn’t know how.” -spiritual counselor
(A light-bulb moment that gave clarity to the fact that often we over-analyze and over-complicate understanding each other, when the simple truth is that we are all just doing what we know how to do.)

Lessons learned through living

In every challenge, ask: What is the lesson here?

Modesty and humility are much more attractive than bravado.

Ego gets in the way of God.

Acknowledge mistakes.

Life isn’t fair, but you can be.

Listening with sincere, heartfelt compassion is a beautiful gift.

Prayer changes me.

The past is gone; the future is unknown. Make the most of now, today, this very moment.

The Homeless

The community where I live is in conflict over a day center for the homeless located in the business district. Some of the business owners object to its location, asserting that it has a negative impact on the neighborhood and on their respective businesses.

I try to put myself in the shoes of those whose livelihood depends on their commercial enterprises. I think I know how I would react if my business were in that neighborhood, but I’m not there, so I can only imagine. It’s easy to be a Good Samaritan in thought.

Addressing the needs of the “weakest” and “most vulnerable” is not a new challenge. Quotes abound with variations on the same theme. Ghandi is quoted with this:
“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”

But eloquent quotes are not solutions.

When I read about the personal missions of individuals to help the homeless in other areas of the country, such as a man who builds small “houses” on wheels, and the tiny-house developments springing up around the nation, and the movement to provide apartments for the homeless while they are trying to change their lives, I am hopeful that we are on a track toward workable solutions.

The more difficult challenge might be in changing the public perception of the homeless, sometimes portrayed in large brushstrokes as takers looking for handouts, not wanting to make the effort or do the work to become self-supporting or to improve their circumstances.

Who are the homeless? What are their stories? I think it’s time we seek to learn and understand.