Sunday, September 14, 2014

I AM


I Am Sunrise, Kiawah Island, SC

In the third chapter of the book of Exodus, God captures Moses’ attention by speaking to him from a non-consuming burning bush. When he directs Moses to free the Israelites from their captors in Egypt, Moses wants to know the name of the god who is sending him, as the Egyptians had many gods by many names in those days. He responds by telling Moses that “I am who I am”, meaning that he is the one powerful, eternal and unchanging God.

It’s been stated that “I am” are two of the most powerful words in the human language. Our Creator used them to describe himself and whatever we choose to add after these two words becomes our reality. The first thing we usually ask when meeting someone is what’s your name and where do you live? Work in our society is central to our status, economic well-being and our identity. Consequently, we often respond to who we are by telling someone what we do for a living. That becomes problematic once we retire.

When I began contemplating retirement, I was given some good advice up front. I was reminded that many of us who have spent our entire careers in a particular profession and possibly a limited number of companies need to be aware of losing our identity. If we haven’t prepared to transition from a life of success into a life of significance and have already began the process to other volunteer and meaningful activities, we are flying headlong into an identity crisis. Today’s future professionals should have no problem with this as it’s been predicted that many of the jobs waiting for them haven’t even been created yet. And they will have multiple careers in their lifetime as the pace of change continues to accelerate.

God has never encountered such a crisis as He is timeless and unchanging. He is the great I Am. And His work to redeem the human race would seem to be secure.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

ISLAND BUTTERFLY


Kiawah Spirit, Kiawah Island, SC


What if a woman dreams she is a butterfly?

What if a butterfly dreams she is a woman?

Are you the dream or the dreamer?

Are butterflies real or imagined?

Mortals or spirits?

If an angel can assume the appearance of a human being,

Why not that of a butterfly?


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

GROUND ZERO 2004


Ground Zero, New York, NY

I took this photo ten years ago at ground zero in New York City. Three years after radical terrorists flew into the twin World Trade Towers the area had been reduced to a gigantic hole in the ground with a lone cross fashioned out of twisted structural steel rising out of the ashes. The cab driver that took us there solemnly mentioned that she will forever hear the pings of the perished first responders’ locators that were hopelessly sounding for days afterwards. May the 3,000 innocent souls that perished on that September day in 2001 rest in peace. God must be continually asking, “When will they ever learn”?

CARRY ON


Southern Sunrise, Kiawah Island, SC

Loved ones who go before us are forever woven into the fabric of our being and forever influence who we are and how we carry on.

Of course we never forget and we are forever changed. We rebuild and are whole again but never the same. We wouldn’t expect nor want to be the same.

When life turns surreal, it's one foot ahead of the other, one day at a time, trusting in the providence of a greater power.

Monday, September 8, 2014

MILESTONES


Spartan Name Tag, Emporia, KS

Four years ago a friend suggested that I begin a blog based on e-mails that I had been sending to a short mailing list. So I decided to begin one using both photo images and short texts to describe select observations that crossed my path. This posting marks the five hundredth which I consider to be a milestone on a journey that has led me in all sorts of directions and tens of thousands of page views from all over the world.

The accompanying photo actually marks two milestones in my life. The image is a copy from my senior high yearbook. It’s fixed on a silhouette of our Spartan mascot which our class has used as name tags at all of our milestone reunions. Each of these subsequent gatherings has given us all pause to mark yet another milestone as our lives continue to unfold.

Milestones literally had their origins as stone markers that were placed along ancient roads such as the Roman Appian Way. They provided an important reference point along the road and some still exist to this day. We use milepost markers on our interstate highways to help travelers mark their progress to points of interest or to direct emergency workers to areas that need their attention.

As children, we achieved numerous developmental milestones in our growth towards adulthood. These individual successes such as understanding the word “no” and pointing to your toes, eyes and nose were celebrated by parents and tolerated by disinterested friends. One of my graduate studies involved learning techniques to develop project plans and identifying milestones along a critical path that were essential to managing resources and completion of activities. These key project milestones not only provided dates for compensation of deliverables but also trigger points to make critical decisions on the future direction of the project.

Research has shown that folks complete many of life’s major milestones before turning thirty such as graduations, marriage, children, military, launching careers, etc. But a well lived life is never finished with milestones and we should never be satisfied with making the last one the final one on the road less traveled.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

GOOD MORNING, GLORY


Morning Glory, Kiawah Island, SC

Sunrise over the Carolina sand dunes is greeted by the unfurling petals of a new born Morning Glory vine winding down towards the beach, reflecting the eternal beauty that sustains it.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER


Bridge over Troubled Water, Kiawah Island, SC

I recently read a column written by Regina Brett with forty five life lessons she had penned on the occasion of her “odometer turning 90”. None of us has enough time in a lifetime to learn everything we need to know, but we can learn from the lessons learned by others that have gone before us. So I enjoy gleaning what insights and truths I can find in these musings, because they’re like pebbles in the good road of life that help us keep our footing. And really, many problems are simply well disguised opportunities! To paraphrase Kipling, if we can keep our head while all about us are losing theirs, we’ll succeed in life and be able to press onward. Our attitude in approaching any problem is golden and even large issues can be broken down into their inevitable components to make them more manageable.

Dealing with life in general and the storms of life in particular are common realities for everyone. The column contained a handful of insights that I especially liked beginning with the observation that “Life isn’t fair, but it’s good”. Once we come to terms with this reality, life can definitely become more enjoyable. No one is being singled out for challenging problems. We all get our fair share, but I’ve learned that although we can’t always control these bumps in the road, we can control our response to them.

I’ve also considered many times that some folks simply seem to have a much easier path to travel in life than others. And I’ve learned that when someone attacks my credibility or cuts me off on an Interstate highway, my response should be measured. No one can take our self-confidence or self-control without our permission. Ms. Brett counsels that we shouldn’t compare our life to others or be too quick to judge because “You have no idea what their journey is all about”. When some erratic driver gives me grief out on the open road, I now give them all the room they need to drive ahead of me. You never know what’s going on in their head at the time. I’d rather have them in a position where they can be monitored versus in my rear view mirror. Which leads to one of my favorites, “If we threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back”! That’s probably more correct than we’d ever like to admit!

I’ve also used one of her reflective thoughts every so often that we should “Frame every so called disaster with these words, ‘In five years, will this matter’? And even more to the point, in fifty years who will really care? And every time we think that we’re being rejected, we may just be being redirected to something better!

Finally, one of my all-time favorite truths is that we can never cross the same river twice, for by then both the river and we have changed. Ms. Brett observes that “However good or bad a situation is, it will change”. The only constant in this world is change, so we might as well pull on our big boy or big girl pants and embrace it! She leaves us with the encouraging thought that “Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but don’t worry, God never blinks”! And like a bridge over troubled waters, trusting in the ultimate love of our eternal Father will enable us to lie down in green pastures and give us peace.