Tag Archives: Surviving vs. thriving

Why are our organizations failing?


The Veteran’s Administration.



Social Security.





And that’s just here in the United States. If we look around the world, the list becomes too long to enumerate.

At first glance, one would ask if the organization itself is inherently bad. I suppose arguments could be made both for and against. Perhaps laws need to be passed to help improve the situation.

Oh wait, wouldn’t that require a governmental, law-making system that worked?

And that just proves the point.

Was there a time when these entities did function appropriately? Continue reading Why are our organizations failing?

How do we settle on that which we settle?

Have you ever settled for less than what you wanted, or expected, or thought you deserved?

I’m sincerely afraid that is exactly what Ann did when she consented to spend the rest of her life with me. I think she’d like her deposit back.

I, on the other hand, clearly got the best end of that deal. I have so much more than I deserve.

But I won’t give any of it back – for anything. She’s stuck with me.

We’ve talked with our kids about their future mates and what are things that would be non-negotiable in choosing “the one.” notebook2

What is, or was, on your list?

If I go back to my teenage years, I had a pretty definite picture in mind of what my future wife would be. I’m sure that dancing and loving fashion and a high powered job and being drop-dead gorgeous were on the list.

Well, I did get drop-dead gorgeous.

I guess the question is, did I settle? Continue reading How do we settle on that which we settle?

Can we suffer without causing suffering in others?

Close your eyes and imagine with me for a moment:  A person is in a quiet, dark hospital room. The pain is pretty overwhelming and the doctors are not confident that the misery can be ended. There is no one there to hold a hand, or softly stroke a forehead.

hospital bed

This is some pretty intense suffering.

I don’t know which suffering would be worse, the physical pain or the loneliness?

I don’t think any of us would like to be in that position.

If you are, I’m deeply sorry.

Let’s go back to the hospital in our minds: Two people are in a dark, but not really quiet room.

One, in the bed, is pretty miserable and can only find things to complain about. The pillow is too flat, the pain medication isn’t doing enough, the room is too hot, the nurse isn’t careful enough.

The other, just sits in the chair and tries to focus on the TV because time has proven that nothing he/she tries to do will be good enough. After all these years, there is no energy left to express sincere concern or compassion.

Both have, in their own ways, given up.

Which of the two situations would be harder do you think? Suffering on your own, or suffering surrounded by apathy? Continue reading Can we suffer without causing suffering in others?

Choosing to dance in the sun

Our son Nick is in Peru on a mission. He’s pretty much hitting the half-way point this week. His mother and I knew that he would exceed our expectations in things he learns and the ways he grows, but even our wildest imaginings have been left in the dust by what this young man has gained in experience and how much he has developed.

He continues to share with us some pretty intense thoughts and observations on life; what is leaving us speechless is how closely his learnings mirror our own. Here we are a world away from each other, and yet we feel closer than ever as we share incredibly similar experiences and lessons.

Anybody wonder how that could happen?

I don’t.

And the knowledge of it brings me to my knees in gratitude and humility.

There was something he had written that I had misunderstood, so I asked for more explanation. What I got back was an incredibly mature, yet vulnerable self-awareness.

In a nutshell, he shared how over time he had come to embrace our family motto of “learning to dance in the rain.”


For quite a few years we seemed to take hit after hit and I think we felt a bit shell shocked. To not let each volley of ammunition knock us back over again we learned to stand in a bit of a crouch with our heads down and shoulders squared.

We were ready for the next bomb to hit.

And for quite some time, they just kept coming.

But Nick realized that after a while, with our heads down like that, we kind of missed so much of the great stuff that was also coming our way. Continue reading Choosing to dance in the sun

Liberation through legislation?

Depending on the day, I can be known to enjoy some of the news channels. It isn’t too hard for me to get pulled into the story. Pretty soon as I putter around the house I am talking out loud, presenting my side of the argument and anticipating possible responses.

Some days, however, I have to just turn off the news and escape all the rhetoric and fighting. When I get to where I can almost anticipate before the person answers just what sound bites will come out, having had their party affiliation posted across the bottom of the screen, I know it is time to step back.

Often, they don’t even answer the question they have been asked, opting instead to just jump right into the prepared statement that defends their position and demeans the opposing side.

I guess it makes good content for the networks and the advertisers must love it. If it didn’t make money, we can be sure it wouldn’t continue to happen.

If it makes for good content and the advertisers love it, then that must mean that we are eating it up and supporting it.

I wonder why? Continue reading Liberation through legislation?