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.

Harmony

Montreal Church & High Rise

Welcome.. I chose this photograph of a part of downtown Montreal while visiting a few years ago. The variance from this modern glass-paneled high rise to that of the old stone church initially struck me as out of place due to the proximity of the old and new so close together. Actually, there are several old churches dotting the modern Montreal landscape. There is also an entire historic section of the city referred to as Old Montreal. I like the preservation of the historic contrasting with the contemporary. There is a sense of cohesiveness associated with this dynamic.

The young and the old peacefully co-existing can be applied to people, as well. So can folks of different ethnicity, skin color, language, tradition, religion, cuisine, celebrations, holidays, etc. When people get it right and see diversity as a strength rather than being fearful of it, living together can actually be a pleasant experience for all. I acknowledge that melding together in this era is especially difficult due to the violence of a few who negatively affect so many.

Nevertheless, may we all strive for a piece of Harmony among one another. This is how our world was originally created. Pray that it will continue to be moving forward. Thanks, and enjoy today, tomorrow, being alive and loving what is good and discarding what isn’t. There is too much beauty in our world to be wasted on negatives.

 

Harmony in Color

Cone Flowers 6-2-15 005What’s yellow and brown and green all over? A field of brilliant cone flowers whose diversity creates an unusual sort of harmony.

Cone Flowers 6-2-15 004What’s black and white and reaching to the sky? A field of colorless cone flowers against a gray background.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly prefer to look at the vivid colors of these Echinacea plants. There is something energizing about color. Although I find B & W photographs interesting, and sometimes even more so for their excellent contrasts, a world without color would become rather drab after a short while. Whether we are dealing with nature, people or the universe, color is essential to our well-being. Like the hypnotic aqua blues of a paradise island, the brilliant yellow-orange blaze of a sunrise, the myriad palate of colors of birds and flowers, or the degrees of color on human skin, color is vital to our existence. So is harmony. I wish there was more of it these days.

Cone Flowers 6-2-15 001

CICADAS

Prehistoric ?Summer in the midwest transforms the natural landscape into a region of lush vegetation with abundant weeds and wildflowers accompanied by hot temperatures, and occasional tornadoes. Summer warmth ushers in the return of many bird species and butterflies. This season also awakens snakes of all sorts, mosquitoes & ticks, and cicadas-just to name a few.

If you would indulge me for a moment, I would like to focus on the cicada which is a most unusual looking insect with a most annoying ‘song’ that is produced by the rubbing of body parts. It was this song from a choir of cicadas a few evenings ago that inspired this brief post. For reasons unknown to me there are  considerably larger amounts of these insects in the branches of our beautiful red maple tree which stands adjacent to our deck, and which provides much-needed shade. This tree has always been a home to the cicada, but 2013 has produced a bumper crop!

20130726_195621The cicada lays her eggs in tree branches and after the eggs hatch the termite-looking insect bores into the earth in search of nutrients. Over a period of two to seventeen years (depending on the species) this stage of the cicada develops into a nymph. At this time the cicada bores out of the ground and climbs onto the trunk or branch of a tree. It then sheds its outer shell-like covering to reveal a prehistoric looking, winged creature. These insects are quite harmless with the only threat being their incessant ‘song’. From a distance the undulating sounds of cicadas in harmony is soothing and reminds me that summer is in full swing. However, when they ‘sing’ within a few yards from where one is sitting or standing, the noise can be deafening. Too long of exposure can lead to headaches…or worse!

There are over 170 varieties of cicadas in the United States, and over 2000 worldwide. Common, to be sure, and an integral member of nature’s food chain-cicadas are as much a part of summer as parades, BBQs, watermelon and apple pie at picnics. Annoying, but essential, the cicada would be missed if they were to disappear. As can be seen from these photos (taken with my Samsung phone), cicadas are a most bizarre insect. Summer wouldn’t be the same without them…preferrably at a distance! Now, where are my ear plugs?20130727_173609