Thursday, July 14, 2016

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ― Henry James

We have a new president here in Tanzania since last October, and just about everybody likes him except the corrupt politicians he is firing and putting in jail.  It is not business as usual here, and many of the officials and police officers we knew have been transferred, fired, or just replaced with new people.  He is also a great champion of the national parks and a protector of wildlife which fills us with hope.  I know in Great Britain and the United States there have been transfers of power and upcoming national elections that have been very divisive and are causing rifts in families and between friends.  This makes me very sad.  Not that there are going to be changes, that always happens, what makes me sad is the amount of hatred and ill feelings toward each other that are accompanying the current changes.  I hope and pray that calmer heads will prevail and that the hatred that fuels these splits will lose some steam and allow cooler heads to teach, do, and bring peace and unity back to these divided nations.  Karen and I were talking recently about the two decades just after we were married (’65-’75 and ’75-’85) and remembering the horrible assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy.  The Viet Nam war, the protests, the four students killed at Kent State, the music that pulled us together while other events pulled us apart.  We witnessed the end of the Viet Nam war and the only resignation of a President in history.  The murder of John Lennon and the death of a popular Pope.  So much happened that changed the country, us, and the world, yet we lived through it.  We came out on the other side better people—granted that is our opinion, but we are fairly certain no one will argue with us.  We raised three sons through those times, and they have all made us proud.  My oldest is currently unemployed but being very picky about the job offers coming his way.  He says, “I want to help people.”  So do we.  So should we all.  We are all together on this planet and we have to learn to live together in peace and to provide support for the poor, the needy, the sick, and the marginalized.  This is not what I think, it’s what Christ taught, lived, and preached.  The Gospels (“gospel” means good news) do indeed bring good news.  Following Christ’s lead will bring us together, make us better, and keep us from hating each other.  I don’t hate anyone because their politics or religious beliefs don’t match mine, but far too many people are having their lives and peace of mind destroyed by hating those with whom they don’t agree.  There is no good future in hating and an incredibly wonderful eternity waiting for those who love others.  Eternity is like real estate, three words sum it all up, “Location, location, location.”  Start by being kind to everyone whatever their beliefs.  You can’t go wrong with kindness.  And you can take that to the bank.  Kent M. Keith wrote these words and I agree one hundred percent:

    "People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.  Love them anyway.
    If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.  Do good anyway.
    If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.  Succeed anyway.
    The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.  Do good anyway.
    Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.  Be honest and frank anyway.
    The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.  Think big anyway.
    People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.  Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
    What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.  Build anyway.
    People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.  Help people anyway.
   Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.  Give the world the best you have anyway.”

     I say, “Amen.”
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