What now?

I work in education and I’m employed as a technology director. Everyone is a director now. Our egos call for it. Everyone’s ego demands director status. I like to think of myself as more of a facilitator. I enable teachers, administrators, students and parents to look their best when they use technology. I like helping people. I also love teaching. I look at teaching as a way to help others. I also consider my work as more of a cosmic than a local undertaking. Act locally, but think globally. That’s some of what drives me. I also was thinking of Colossians 3:23 today, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord …” 

That’s really what my work is about is working for the creator, for the Lord. It helps to think this way because whether a person is helpful or hurtful; loving or uncaring.  I’m working for the Lord and it really doesn’t matter what people think. I’ve got a different employer and he/she pays well. In a couple of days I’ll be in Philadelphia at the ISTE Conference. There will be lots of tech people and tech wannabes. Ed Tech is big business now and I think some people think an iPad or a net book can solve the education crisis in our country. Although I’m a gadget fan I think the answers are deeper than that. I’m no fan of the Common Core either. I think that is a creation of the testing companies. They make billions on these tests and there’s no firm evidence to suggest that students are learning more or getting better jobs.

Most of the students I meet need love. Simple love and caring would do a great deal to solve the education woes. Heck, most teachers and administrators need love too. Love is trans-formative and it’s free too. Try some love on your staff and students. I did and it worked. I don’t know if my students learned much but I showed them love and respect and I hope they share that with someone else.

I love

I’ve been thinking about love a lot lately and the people I love who have touched my life. Some are gone now. Each spring when the Veronica first appears in the lawns near our home and around the area I think of my grandmother, Caroline Watkins. I can hear her voice and feel her presence with me very strongly. I feel good and wish she were here. I know how much she loved me and how much I loved her too.

Then too I was picnicking with my wife today in Cuba, New York in what the locals call Willow Bank Park. We used to picnic there in 1983 when we were newlyweds. Now we’re a bit older but we still like picnics and tonight we were able to have one. It was romantic and lovely to be with the one I love and who has most drawn me out of myself in these last almost twenty-nine years since we first dated.

I loved my ride to Mt. Irenaeus today and my time with the Friars there. I love Fr. Bob, Br. Joe, and Br. Kevin. I love Fr. Lou and Fr. Dan even though they weren’t present today.  They are family to me and so are all the other regulars like Duane, Anita, John and my other Secular Franciscan brothers and sisters.  I loved to the ride I took after Mass and brunch. A ride that took me south over the mountains to Bradford, PA. I found a nice little mountain vista and pulled my car off the road for a short nap in the lovely sun.

I love our children too. Devin and Dara though both away in Buffalo and Rochester, they are never far from my heart. Today at the prayer of the faithful I asked that God would bless all those I love and all that he loves which must be the whole world. He knows them all and blesses them all.

Love your neighbor

Mark 12:30-31 continues to animate my life and my thinking. It’s often tough to do, but produces the best results.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

A miracle occurred on Christmas day and a tragedy of epic proportion was avoided when a terrorist was thwarted. The details are part of most news channels and websites. For a person who flies occasionally and who has children who travel by air such detestable acts are beyond reprehensible.  The war on terror has not produced a world free of terror, it has produced more of the same. We have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on weapons systems which has made the military industrial complex very happy, but we have not solved this problem of international terrorism.  I’m naive enough to believe that Jesus might have been right and that loving your enemy might prove so disarming that he or she is no longer your enemy. We might be forced to actually implement this principle as we approach national bankruptcy from monumental spending.

My thoughts will likely be attacked by some who read this as naive or liberal or some other attempt to discredit my views or this scripture passage. I expect that but I have to wonder how we really can defeat terrorism. Force of arms is not getting the job done. Love might just do it!

Without words

My heart has been without words lately. I’ve not felt up to writing about anything and I think there’s a good reason for all of that. Silence is more and more apart of my days and night even though I live in a world that will never be completely silent. The more silent I am the more I can appreciate the voices of others.  Friday was May Day, a special day of memory. In 1982, when we were early in our relationship as a couple my wife made me a May basket and gave it to me. I remember how deeply moved I was by her gesture. It was apparent to me then that this lady really loved me and it came at a time when I didn’t really love myself. I’ve reflected lately about what a pivotal moment that was in my relationship with not only Diane, but with God and life in general. Metanoias come about in life not from bolts of lightning that would scare us,  but more from changes in degrees of intensity of the light in our lives. The May basket in 1982 was one of those changes of intensity when I realized that not only did Diane love me but that I was loveable and that I needed to love myself too.

One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”–Mark 12:28-31

One of the paradoxes of life is that we can’t really love others until we love ourselves. I missed that for much of my life up until then. I miss it from time to time even now. When my relationships are suffering its often because I’m judging myself too harshly and when I’m tough on myself, I’m tough on those around me.  Diane taught me the lesson of my life on the first day of May in 1982. We celebrated that event Friday night with dinner at the lovely Glen Iris Inn overlooking the Middle Falls at nearby Letchworth State Park.

God’s will

What is God’s will for me is a thought I’ve often entertained. Today in the mail I got an answer that has the ring of truthfulness to it.

If you want to know what is meant by “God’s will”, this is one way to get a good idea of it. “God’s will” is certainly found in anything that is required of us in order that we may be united with one another in love. …Everything that is demanded of me, in order that I may treat every other person effectively as a human being, “is willed for me by God under the natural law.” …I must learn to share with others their joys, their sufferings, their ideas, their needs, their desires. I must learn to do this not only in the cases of those who are of the same class, the same profession, the same race, the same nation as myself, but when those who suffer belong to other groups, even to groups that are regarded as hostile. If I do this, I obey God. If I refuse to do it, I disobey Him. It is not therefore a matter left open to subjective caprice.

Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation(New York: New Directions Press, 1961): 76-77.

Love is the fulfilment of the law

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

Romans 12:8-10

Bunny fluff

Today I awoke to a covering of white stuff that Fr. Bob at the Mountain called “bunny fluff.” Bob said that any snow that falls after April 1st is referred to as bunny fluff. It works for me. My ride over to Mass this morning was typical as I made my way down the Ischua Valley towards Olean, New York and then east on Route 446 to the Village of Cuba and then on Interstate 86 to Friendship, New York and then to Nile and Route 1 to Mt. Irenaeus. It’s a route I know well. The further south and east I got the less of the bunny fluff I saw. Continue reading “Bunny fluff”

Stand Strong

Brother Joe sent me some mail today. I invite you to join me in standing strong against hate. I hope you’ll consider taking a stand with us. Hate and hate crimes are more prevalent recently as we face a new wave of xenophobic activity in our country.

Every hour
someone commits a hate crime.
Every day
at least eight blacks, three whites, three gays, three Jews and one Latino become hate crime victims.

Every week
a cross is burned.

Hate in America is a dreadful, daily constant. The dragging death of a black man in Jasper, Texas; the crucifixion of a gay man in Laramie, Wyo.; and post-9.11 hate crimes against hundreds of Arab Americans, Muslim Americans and Sikhs are not “isolated incidents.” They are eruptions of a nation’s intolerance.
Bias is a human condition, and American history is rife with prejudice against groups and individuals because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or other differences. The 20th century saw major progress in outlawing discrimination, and most Americans today support integrated schools and neighborhoods. But stereotypes and unequal treatment persist, an atmosphere often exploited by hate groups.–Southern Poverty Law Center

Stand Strong Against Hate.

My greatest inspiration

Twenty-six years ago a young lady came into my life and changed it a way that can never be completely described.  When we were married nearly twenty-five years ago I wanted this song to be sung at the service. We couldn’t find the lyrics at the time. I carry this song on my Ipod and in my heart and it always makes me think of my lovely wife.