Rolled

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Did you “roll out of bed” this morning? Have you ever “rolled your own”? How about “rolled your eyes” at something someone said that you have heard a dozen times before ? As a child did you “roll down hills” or perhaps, played skeet ball or boccie ball where you “rolled a ball”  hoping to have it land at a specific spot? Have you witnessed one sports team “roll over” another in a lop-sided competition ? A funny sight is to watch a lone vehicle tire “roll down a street” for a long distance as if it had a driver.  Then there is the song “Rollin’ Down the River”…not sure how one does that, but it’s a great song. CCR and Tina Turner made it memorable. And, who can forget “roller skates”?

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A farmer rolled these round bales of hay. Actually, they are rather large and heavy. After his tractor rake gathers the hay and his baling machine rolls the hay, they are wrapped in a fiber net to hold them together. When a roll is moved a tractor with a long pointed pole impales the center and hauls it off to feed livestock.

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This year produced a productive crop of hay and bales. When you see an entire field of many acres dotted with these round bales, it appears as though they lined up to fight or to play a game of sorts. Imagine this scene fifty times larger.

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As you can tell, Autumn is beginning to reveal herself in the Midwest. Foliage is changing colors, the days are getting shorter, and the temperatures are starting to drop. This is also harvest time for several crops. The squirrels are going crazy stockpiling their winter food source which can be in a hundred places per squirrel. I’ve always wondered how they know exactly where they buried their nuts and seeds. They are fun to watch. In conclusion, I completely enjoy this season, and hope you do, too.

Is Harmony Possible ?

Montreal Church & High Rise

Is this photograph of an old Episcopalian church adjacent to a modern office building in Montreal, Canada odd? I hope not, although I clearly comprehend the contrast. While visiting Montreal several years ago, I saw how that city melded the new with the old, and was pleased the community did so, and accomplished it very well. Harmony.

Today my heart is heavy, as so many of yours are. After the senseless mass murder of people attending a concert in Las Vegas on Sunday night to school shootings in America and bombings of subways across the Atlantic. How will we end this madness? But, let us not simply stop there. Look at the mini-wars taking place all over the globe: Russia and Ukraine, China and India, several countries in Africa (it seems to never end on this beautiful continent) to the potential war between North Korea and the USA. Of course there is Afghanistan, and much of the Middle East in serious conflict.

Even in America we are subjected to the war which is still occurring between the north and the south (not with guns, but by abusing our civil liberties), the redefining of traditional marriage and relationships which results in clashes between opposing sides, and of, course, the color issue and the reality of police brutality (most police do not condone nor participate in these tragic acts).

One of my observations is that far too many instances of injustice revealed by social media are biased. I long to see the day when those in positions of influence will set aside their own agendas and simply report all of the truth and not just pieces which support a particular viewpoint or distort the facts. What we need is an urgent sense of honesty in reporting rather than the bias of organizations and influential individuals (on both side of the aisle).

Many will say that I simply don’t understand or cannot relate to the plight of others who are abused and mistreated. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am the son of an immigrant (my mom wasn’t from a black nation, but that doesn’t disqualify me from understanding). I grew up in a broken home, lived at poverty level for several years, struggled with severe asthma throughout my youth and never had the resources that my friends and neighbors did. However, I had several things instilled in me as a child: love for others (regardless of race or religion) respect for America, the value of hard work, and taking personal responsibility for my life. I still believe in these.

So, I ask myself, why can’t we have more harmony? I don’t need political answers because I have heard far too many of them, and have even spoken a few myself. What we need is a change of heart. For me this occurred when I invited Christ into my life. I readily admit I struggle with many things, but I believe I can be forgiven of my transgressions and grow from them. Even in the midst of personal, national or global crisis’ I find hope because I believe the future has already been determined.

I realize that everyone won’t understand or agree with my position…another benefit of living in a free nation. I respect that. Please know that I love and appreciate all people groups everywhere-starting here in our country- and extending throughout the entire world. For instance, I don’t hate the North Koreans, but I despise their leadership (sometimes I despise our own leaders!). I genuinely feel empathy for the masses of citizens who have little choice in their country’s affairs or in their daily lives. Even different religious beliefs or ethnicity don’t deter my love for others.

There is, and always has been injustice in our world. Simply accepting this doesn’t make things right, of course, but it allows us to understand and then strive to change things for the better of mankind. Please join me in being considerate of others, respecting those whom you disagree with, accepting lawful justice , assisting the down-trodden and ultimately loving one another. Can we live in harmony? Only each one of us can decide the outcome. I continue to remain hopeful and to strive for harmony.