Boundary

Boundary: (n) a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line

You own the property of the boundary of your skin, with a lease for life.Dictionary B

Only under special circumstances am I allowed to come inside–and then with limited access.

Learning boundaries is really that simple.

Any time I cross your property line, I must do so with a courtly request and an adequate delay, to allow you the chance to determine whether you welcome my visitation.

Whether emotionally, spiritually, mentally or physically, you are truly the master of your own contents.

If we would learn this, realizing that even comments which are tossed off in the attitude of jest are little pieces of trespassing on the sovereignty of another human being, we would not only avoid unwarranted conflicts, but would also open the door to be respected by others who recognize our integrity.

I look for the boundary.

I look for lines in the sand people create which are not necessarily common–just personally requested.

I don’t always end up on my side of the fence, but more often than not, because I err on the side of caution and realize the righteous position that each one of us possesses of our own domain … I become the friend instead of the foe.

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Battalion

Battalion: (n) a large body of troops ready for battleDictionary B

Every once in a while I think about my own death.

It makes me cry.

You know why? I start thinking about all the people I know and how devastated they will be with my absence.

It’s very silly.

But you see, the only life that completely matters in my thinking is mine.

I try to be equally as concerned about others. Sometimes I muster some real mourning for their well-being, but nothing on the level of the compassion and care I have for myself.

I suppose I should feel bad about that–but since it’s not going away, and I am certainly not alone, I will choose to guide it by understanding the value of all human life.

When I was sixteen years old, hundreds of young American men were dying in Vietnam every week. We had a death toll number. It wasn’t like the numbers tallied nowadays over mass shootings, earthquakes or explosions. Many of these young fellows had just been in our classrooms, churches and bagging groceries in our supermarkets three months earlier, and now they were returning home draped in flags.

It seemed surreal but became our reality.

We were experiencing battalions of young American males going off to fight in a jungle and coming home dead.

There was a sensitivity that swept the young generation.

It was reflected in the music.

It was being released from our pores as we stood side-by-side, wondering what in the hell could all this mean.

So gradually, we joined together and became battalions of protestors. We went off to a different kind of war. It was a war waged against war, because the war being executed was killing us.

We had a greater awareness. We asked questions like, “Where have all the flowers gone?”–waiting for an intelligent answer.

Nowadays we speak of war in a clinical Ethernet third person. It is something we launch rather than something that strikes back at us, filling up coffins and alarming us to its viciousness.

We have a professional army with people who have made a profession out of arming themselves and going off to wars that have been created by old men who miss John Wayne.

Nowadays our grocery baggers get to go to college without ever feeling the loss of life.

I would not wish the agony of Vietnam and the deaths of friends and loved ones on anyone, but it would be terrific to have battalions of young people who are socially, spiritually and emotionally conscious of our aching world … instead of battalions of soldiers chasing the errors of misguided politicians.

 

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Band

Band: (n) a group joined togetherDictionary B

We can learn a lot from music.

First of all, music admits that it gets better as it includes more elements.

  • Melody welcomes harmony.
  • Harmony is not prejudiced against rhythm.
  • And rhythm doesn’t think it has a beat on everything.

What makes a great band?

  1. Find your heart.

Whatever makes you tingle, feel and think.

  1. Find your voice.

How do you want to say it–in a way that will edify human beings instead of depress them?

  1. Find your mates.

Locate those of like, precious integrity and purpose–and hang onto them.

  1. Find your sound.

Create something which only exists because you do.

  1. Find your audience.

See if your chimes ring anybody’s bells.

If we apply those principles to everything we do–politically, spiritually and emotionally–we will come up with much better solutions.

A band does not believe it’s the only thing on the scene, but it must know that it’s on the scene… because the only thing it brings is another reason to believe.

 

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Annihilate

dictionary with letter A

Annihilate: (v) to destroy utterly; obliterate.

Universally, historically, chemically, spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally and internationally, “destroy” is one of those words that is part of the three heads of evil.

Linking with “kill” and “steal,” it forms the only empire of darkness of which I am aware.

And even though we like to focus on extreme examples of destroying by citing genocide or even ecological malfeasance, we do better if we embrace the danger of sinister activity in our own breast instead of attributing it to villains.

What am I doing to annihilate anything in my life? What am I destroying which, if I would cease to do so, would enhance my possibilities and the people around me?

It’s a powerful thought.

The first thing I have to overcome is my defensiveness and fear of being exposed as a destroyer.

The second goal would be to accept the fact that even a little destruction is annihilating something of importance.

So I will busy myself today with a bit of analyzing on this issue.

  • Of course, we are all in danger of annihilating ourselves through bad habits.
  • Some form of annihilation is inevitable when we maintain prejudice, which lends itself to bigotry.
  • And even the acceptable position of being opinionated tends to annihilate fresh ideas from peppering our minds.

We must be willing to forgive ourselves.

After all, we sat in Sunday School as children hearing stories of the Children of Israel annihilating whole tribes in order to gain the Promised Land.

We read about the thousands of casualties during the Civil War, fought in our homeland, never considering the individual soldier.

And of course, none of us were present for the terror of the first two atomic bombs, which annihilated a pair of cities and hundreds of thousands of people.

To annihilate is the killing edge of not giving a damn.

To avoid it, I must be willing to consider where calloused reasoning has made me susceptible to such treachery.

 

 

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Angst

dictionary with letter A

Angst: (n) a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically unfocused, about the human condition or the state of the world in general.

I don’t want to be one of those people who pursue so much optimistic hopefulness that I fail to recognize what is necessary in order to maintain our present integrity.

Yet I have to wonder if it’s possible for the human race, in this season, to acquire both of the necessary portions that make us worthy of continuation.

For I feel it takes progress and process.

Yes, I think technology is wonderful, and I do not want to go back to a time when we had no computers, racism was extolled as normal, and antibiotics were not available for sickness.

I am not nostalgic for backward times.

However, by the same token, making progress without honoring the process of human character which honors the feelings of others, makes the world a dangerous place and certainly volatile.

It produces angst.

We become afraid that we will lose our progress if we honor the process. Or we preach the process and become “anti-progress,” making ourselves appear Neanderthal.

Is it possible to be a human being who realizes that progress needs to be made emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically, without ignoring the values which make the process of living so much sweeter, and ripe with goodness?

We always attach the word “angst” to teenagers, but I am not convinced that a fourteen-year-old riding in a Conestoga Wagon with his parents, crossing the Great Plains in 1850, had much time to reflect on his or her misgivings.

If progress gives us too much free time to bitch and complain, robbing from the process of busying ourselves about becoming better people, then are we really moving forward?

Yet if the process of maintaining civility causes us to be suspicious of every facet of progress, then the foolishness we maintain makes our belief system appear to be shortsighted.

What would it take to mingle progress with process?

  1. I will put to use anything at all that makes life easier, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.
  2. I will acknowledge that there is no replacement for personal contact, love and gentleness with my fellow-travelers.
  3. I am ready to go forward if it doesn’t push someone else backward.

I think in considering this trio of principles, we can merge progress and process, to generate a climate of mutual benefit, drenched in compassion.

 

 

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Analgesic

dictionary with letter A

Analgesic: (n) a drug which acts to relieve pain.

Quite honestly, I have a cave man’s philosophy concerning pain and pleasure.

“Pleasure. Much good.”

“Pain. Me no like.”

Although I do try to move away from this darkened cave of understanding, sometimes I feel silly being philosophical about a pain I can only discuss intelligently when it is not inflicting me.

Yes, it seems noble to put forth the theory that pain assists us in our journey to greater understanding of ourselves, both physically and spiritually, but since I believe in reaching for an analgesic whenever pain even peeks over the horizon, I do feel a little bit hypocritical trying to turn Socratic when discussing it in the abstract.

Here’s the truth. Pain means there’s something wrong.

Even in the case of childbirth, the baby is trying to make it clear that further occupancy is unacceptable.

Unfortunately, the reverse is not true. Not all pleasure lends itself to improvement.There is pleasure that is so temporary and brings such lasting pain that it is well worth avoiding the temporary jolt of satisfaction.

So is life about:

  • avoiding pain?
  • learning from pain?
  • healing pain?
  • or defining pain?

I don’t have the foggiest idea.

But I feel no shame in reaching for my favorite off-brand analgesic any time one of these aching situations pops into my life.

If pain is a teacher … it probably needs to find a better approach.

 

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Aglow

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAglow: (adj.) glowing: e.g. his bald head was aglow under the lights.

I can’t hear the word “aglow” without thinking about the Women’s Aglow, an organization that sprouted up in the 1970’s, for ladies to come together to celebrate their lives and faith.

I was most fortunate to take my fledgling musical group to perform at many of their functions.

There is nothing quite as righteous as an excited woman–and I mean that in all aspects. In like manner, there is nothing quite as devastating to view as a despondent one.

So to walk into a room with two hundred and fifty females of all ages who are emotionally vulnerable, spiritually charged, mentally alert and physically well-endowed was a little piece of heaven for this young man’s entire being.

I will tell you–I like women. But it’s not merely because I happen to be attracted to them from a physical point of view. No, I like them because they are quite capable of achieving “aglow.”

Even though some of my male counterparts would insist that the “she” part of the human race is “naggy” or bitchy, I have found that they have gained the freedom to express their hearts more readily instead of burying it underneath their gall bladder, inviting an early coronary.

What does it mean to be aglow?

  1. I am willing to share my emotions, whether they are right or wrong.
  2. I am eager to believe that I was created instead of hatched or cast down from the tree by a surprised, disgruntled monkey family.
  3. I like to think, I want to think, I will think.
  4. I am proud of who I am physically–or willing to do what’s necessary to make it better.

Without women being aglow in our society, we would just have men being “agrowl.”

Now if we can just teach some fellows to light up something other than their cigars …