Viikko Tarkastelussa

Well I hope I got that right. I’m trusting Google Translate to help me. I’m running out  of creative ways to say “Week In Review” and apparently if I were in Finland that’s how it would be said.

Just don’t ask me how to pronounce it. Instead we’ll take a look back at the week that was here along our shared path we call “Becoming Today”. 

Our week began as it most often does on a Monday. Seems like a good place to start, right? Anyway this past Monday was a holiday we once referred to as “Decoration Day”. 

On this May 30th it was exactly 154 years ago that a nation was healing from violence. Trying to move beyond mass shootings, domestic violence and terroristic threats they began to come together  by commemorating Decoration Day.

Since then the name has changed. The scope increased but still a need addressed in its original intention should be recognized.

Some consider this to be the unofficial official start of Summer. While we still have a few weeks before the seasons actually change, many traditionally travel over what has become known as the Memorial Day Weekend.

I hope you took some time to remember the actual intention of the holiday – a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered.

Too many have made the supreme sacrifice to get us to this point in history and too often the symbols meant to represent their purity, valor and vigilance are co-opted by those seeking only to profit personally.

My prayers are with those who have perished in defense of their constitutional oaths and their families whose lives were also forever changed. Also my prayers are with you, as we’ll examine why I believe the intention of this day needs to be yet again be expanded.

Moving ahead, more than remembering those lost is needed.

Just as Memorial Day expanded upon Decoration Day, perhaps the time has come to again increase the focus of this national day of remembrance.

Not taking away from those who made the supreme sacrifice in service to our nation rather to also reflect upon all those other fellow Americans who have perished.

The law enforcement and first responders, lost in the line of duty. The everyday people, like you and me, killed trying to assist others and yes the little children whom God blesses while they are still too young to hate… who become victims of violence whether they were targeted or not.

There are thousands of instances reported of children dying by violent means in the U.S. Many by gunshots, certainly many unintended victims, the result of stray bullets or a shooter missing their intended target. 

How many is uncertain.

As a nation we do not keep those statistics.

Of course there are also those who were the intended victims such as the tragedy in Uvalde this past week and as the result of gang violence elsewhere. 

Some numbers we can take note of include:

Every day, 22 children and teens (ages 1-17) are shot in the United States. 

  • 5 die from gun violence
  • 3 are murdered
  • 17 children and teens survive gunshot injuries
  • 8 are intentionally shot by someone else and survive
  • 2 children and teens either die from gun suicide or survive an attempted gun suicide
  • 8 children and teens are unintentionally shot in instances of family fire, described as a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun found in the home resulting in injury or death

Overall 321 Americans are shot everyday:

  • 111 people are shot and killed
  • 210 survive gunshot injuries
  • 95 are intentionally shot by someone else and survive
  • 42 are murdered
  • 65 die from gun suicide
  • 10 survive an attempted gun suicide
  • 1 is killed unintentionally
  • 90 are shot unintentionally and survive
  • 1 is killed by legal intervention
  • 4 are shot by legal intervention and survive
  • 1 died but the intent was unknown
  • 12 are shot and survive but the intent was unknown

That totals 117,345 people in the US and these are just the instances involving firearms.

The results of violence on our families and neighbors is even more staggering. Every year there are more than 25-thousand homicides, individuals deliberately murdered. 

Those are just the ones who died. The number of individuals directly impacted by  violence in America each year alone is more than ten million. That is three -percent of the total population. 

Look around you. 

Can you see ten people? 

Will you encounter ten people today? 

Then realize that three out of those ten will potentially become a victim of violence this year.

And that is just those who are directly harmed, injured or killed. It does not even begin to consider all those affected by those incidents. Family, friends, neighbors, you and I.

Among the reasons cited as a motivating factors in these attacks are:

  • Anger management issues
  • Jealousy
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling inferior 
  • Cultural beliefs they have the right to control their partner
  • Personality disorder or psychological disorder
  • Learned behavior from growing up in a family where domestic violence was accepted
  • Alcohol and drugs, as an impaired individual may be less likely to control violent impulses

It seems that a common denominator among these issues is having an attitude that is far less than gratitude. Anger, jealousy and low self esteem all stem from a perceived lack of love, which does not allow for one to feel grateful. 

So as with many issues the answers are not out there somewhere. 

They are within. They are available 24/7/365. We just need to know where to look.

We need to give peace a chance by remaining hopeful and freely giving of love rather than accepting hate. 

We need to accept and believe that a right to life goes beyond just being born. It involves being able to live, live a life of quality, safely and freely.

Toosday we centered our time together around the idea of “Declaring Our Summer of Love”.

Fifty-five years ago, some say the world took a sharp sudden turn. Whether that was for the better or worse is still up for debate for many.

Among its notable events 1967 played host to the “Summer of Love”.

Now I’m declaring the upcoming season “Our Summer Of Love”, though without the hallucinogenic drugs and with different parameters for the idea of “free love”.

Even if it’s not “Windy” where you are, go ahead and grab some “Incense and Peppermints” and prepare to be “Happy Together” on this edition of “Becoming Today”.

It will be entirely up to you to decide if you want to wear some flowers in your hair, take a detour to San Francisco in paisley and bell bottoms.

What Our Summer of Love will focus on is becoming more loving. Sharing that love freely with all we encounter and accepting the Good Vibrations we create.

More than a bold word, love is the strongest of all positive emotions.

That’s the reason this discussion is an exploration of why love being directed towards yourself, another individual, a group of people, or even all humanity is of utmost importance. 

Much of “Becoming” involves embracing the need for change, it is the only way in which we can truly grow, develop and realize our potentials.  Life is a process. A repetitive one. We learn, grow, become then question, learn, grow and continue “Becoming”.

Accepting our strengths rather than empowering our perceived weaknesses, accepting our unlimited potential rather than self imposing limitations.

Our reality is one of always “Becoming”…. Restating our shared definition from Day One of this project:  ‘’the process of coming to be something or of passing into a state”. Coming to be always, “Becoming”. Growing, developing and shifting into an attitude and daily practice of always, “Becoming”.

That is quite simply the essence behind, “Becoming Today”.  Now getting there requires planning, action and growth.

Accepting yourself and believing that you are worthy of love is an integral part of growth. Improving your self esteem is about far more than just feeling good at the present moment.

My prayer for you today is that you are consistently embracing and sharing an authentic loving nature. Find it, unleash it, share it, always be “Becoming” loving and nurturing. A lack of love is of our own creation, co- create an attitude of love rather than lack and together we can enjoy our very own “Summer of Love” without any bad trips or hangovers.

Wednesdays we are dedicating to our weekly search and rescue mission for wisdom. This week we spoke of “Living Righteously”. 

Righteous living and the need for each of us to do so is something that too many can simply put be explained as something that should be accepted. While it ’s easy to make that statement sometimes, I think the concept is not always easily understood.

Each of us is different. We come from varied backgrounds and we are all at differing levels of development. This includes where any of us may be concerning our own life lessons and experiences on any of the four levels; physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual.

Therefore to further develop our common understanding of what it is to be living in righteousness, I believe we should accept the term as meaning to always be trying to do is good just and correct. Plus what is in accord with the Lord’s will.

Those who live righteously are not to consider themselves better than others or try to enforce an air of superiority. We should always be becoming humble, loving and at peace. 

Those are attributes that are spoken about as Proverbs Chapter 11 begins:

“Dishonest business practice is something that Yahweh truly hates. But it pleases him when we apply the right standards of measurement.”

As you can further study in the footnotes that follow at the end of today’s post, the right standards of measurement are translated from a Hebrew phrase which literally means “scales of deception” or “false balances”.

Then continuing in verse two is what I referenced as a need for not holding yourself above others as we read, “When you act with presumption,  convinced that you’re right,  don’t be surprised if you fall flat on your face”! Plus the reminder, “ But humility leads to wisdom”.

That’s another great learning tool that the Proverbs use. They show both the benefits and the consequences for our free will. Either we reap the rewards or pay the price. The decision is ours. We impact the outcome by living righteously or not. By opting to choose wisdom , or choosing not to ior by opting not to make a decision. 

Sometimes the latter is most detrimental. Deciding to decide is pretty important along any given path. 

As is another keystone of righteous living, as stated in verse three, “Integrity will lead you to success, but treachery will destroy your dreams”.

That is something we see and live with its impacts everyday. Those who have adopted the mentality that to cheat, lie and deceive as the way for them to hold onto power they believe they have, but in reality seems to be more focused on holding others down. 

That’s why you always need to Choose Your Words Carefully, and be very selective in who you share them with. As Solomon observed and understood in verse 13, “You can’t trust gossipers with a secret; they’ll just go blab it all. Put your confidence instead in a trusted friend, for he will be faithful to keep it in confidence”.

Having circles and spheres in which we can find trusted individuals is necessary to our shared journey to be able to confide in others and come into communication, or commune in unity to strengthen our purpose and resolve. 

As is reported in the Gospel of Matthew , Jesus instructed the following which I share in the language of the Amplified Bible, “Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven”.

Righteous living is not only easier when we are in agreement about it’s benefits and necessity but also when more of us live our lives this way, the power increases exponentially. 

That’s why we need to not only insist upon the virtues of this path for ourselves, but also demand it of those in different forms of authority. We need to make wise decisions in who we decide to listen to, associate with, follow or elect. 

On Thursday we tried something new. In “21st Century Epistle”, I theorized that with advances in technology the many letters of the Apostle Paul would more than likely be sent via text messaging.

I imagined getting a late night message from him which included:

To see our full chat you can click here, I think it is a look at the second epistle to Titus like you’ve read before…

In yesterday’s “Friday Free For All”, I remarked about a number of topics that had been heavy on my heart this week, including the following.

Gasoline prices are something that we are hearing about consistently. Never before seen increases and yet no plans to prevent it from happening again much less slow thre pain at the pump.

Sure there is a lot of finger pointing and multinational corporations with record profits saying they can’t figure out how to keep costs down, because after all why would they want to? 

Oil companies are not non-profit service agencies.  They are in business to make as much money as possible and elected leaders whom many receive sizable campaign donations from such organizations really do not seem motivated to look at options. However the need to effect change is necessary.

Over this past Memorial Day Weekend there were parts of the country where the price of one gallon of gasoline exceeded the federal minimum wage per hour rate. How can those most in need afford to work? 

Obviously the impacts of these costs go far beyond oil companies and people just trying to get work, they affect every business trying to recruit and retain workers. Unlike many historical government accounting standards, people can not operate at a deficit.

Again this seems to point to two elements: greed and individuals not taking the time to examine the facts while being happy to repeat rhetoric and clicking to share misinformation.

One recent example is oil companies claiming they need to have more access to America’s public lands and coastal waters. They insist they need more leases to control access to the raw materials. Then many elected representatives support that because they get to point fingers rather than do the math.

Currently there are 53-percent of these leases, some given to corporations decades ago, that remain unworked. This number comes directly from the agency involved in managing the leases and is information that is so easily attainable you can click here, and do not even need to be elected to Congress to have instantaneous access to the facts.

The companies have claimed that it is either not profitable enough to attempt at this time or they want government incentives in order for them to be even more profitable in making use of the country’s resources that are currently already in control of. 

Now there are some people trying to actually get more oil out of the ground, but it’s not access they are lacking. As the BBC reported this week drillers are unable to source the tools, materials and enough employees to get the job done.

Now this is not the first “oil crisis” our nation has faced, what is different this time is the reaction to be. In their report Natalie Sherman wrote, 

“As the market heats up, forecasts suggest US production will increase by about one million barrels per day this year.

But that’s less than 10%, not enough to meet the rise in demand – and a far cry from the response the last time prices were this high, in 2014, when US oil output jumped 20% and the fracking revolution was in high gear.”

Now not only are companies hedging their bets against possible decreased demand, as we saw during the lockdown days of the pandemic, but due to international supply chain issues they are unable to get even enough steel pipe to allow the crude oil to flow out of the ground.

Extending more leases and giving away more control of the nation’s resources will not address either of those issues.

I’ll also add the price of diesel fuel, for trucks and trains that “move America”, is also subject to significantly higher costs every winter. Not just this most recent one. Not because of foreign invasions or who may be in the White House, rather because of business not wanting to change their ways

Production of diesel fuel is always lessened after Labor Day until Memorial Day in order to produce home heating oil for a small portion of the country. 

Yes people need to keep warm, but the technology and its affordability to  do so has come a long way since cast iron tanks were installed in basements. 

Of course why would the oil companies want to shift those policies when keeping it like it allows for demand to drive up prices of lessened supplies.?

Since apparently management of these companies don’t see they are truly being negatively impacted by their refusal to adapt and adjust and elected officials are not willing to suggest ideas such as regulations to ‘inspire’ them to do so, then it will take the efforts and questions of individuals.

I’ve been asking these questions for decades and you see how much impact that has had, so who I’m talking about here are some very specific individuals.

Stockholders. 

You see they are people too. 

Sooner or later I pray that some will realize that it is okay that they make  their profits however at what costs? 

Sooner or later some need to recognize that the profits really will do them no good if they can not live in a world where they can enjoy them.

Sooner or later one ( or more) of them must become brave enough to stand up in their meetings and say we need to do things differently. We need to look beyond immediate gratification and look at the long term potential of ensuring  a future that continue to be profitable.

In a week that transcended two months, we seamlessly transitioned another flip of the calendar page. Not without effort and not without much to consider. And still there is so much more to discuss along our shared journey.

Enjoy your weekend.I pray it is safe and enjoyable. Then come Monday join us again for our next edition of ‘Becoming Today”. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: