Propaganda posing as news in the NYTimes

I like Google News and use it throughout the day to keep up on what’s happening. One reason I like it so much is that I’m able to control the sources of the news that appears on its scrolling page. The ability to tweak what I read is important to me, because not all news is created equal.

Take the New York Times, for example. I don’t want ANYTHING that source publishes, because I believe the whole place is unethical and plays a major role in trying to manipulate the governed through its pet issues and positions. Take, for example, the Middle East. Three of its writers, including one in its Jerusalem Bureau, have sons in the Isreali Defense Forces (IDF). The list also includes influential columnist David Brooks. The paper’s pro-Israel bias is disconcerting to me, and its lead is followed by most in the mainstream press.

How so, you ask?

This week, a 12-year old Palestinian girl was released from Israeli prison after serving a sentence for attempted voluntary manslaughter and illegal possession of a knife. “Manslaughter” being a very slippery term that apparently doesn’t mean to the Israelis what it means to us. She never tried to stab anybody. This girl, Dima Al-Wawi, pleaded guilty to the charge as part of a plea bargain that sent her home to her parents. As part of the deal, the girl admitted she was going to stab somebody. Remember, this girl is twelve! The facts are these: She was arrested February 9th at the entrance to the Israeli settlement of Karmei Tzur near Hebron for being in possession of a knife. She surrendered the knife to a security guard at the entrance of the settlement and was arrested without incident.

Here was the headline of the New York Times on her release:

Israel Frees Palestinian Girl, 12, Who Tried to Stab Guard

“Tried to stab guard?” If you think that might just be a typo or misunderstanding, here’s the lead sentence:

The Israeli prison service on Sunday released the youngest known Palestinian inmate, a 12-year-old girl who had tried to stab a security guard at a Jewish settlement.

Take a look at these pictures of the girl after her release. She’s utterly terrified. Look at her face, her body language. She’s a victim of a trauma that none of us can imagine. What will become of her, her family and extended family, her friends, and her neighbors? These pictures won’t be published in this context in the mainstream press ANYWHERE, because the New York Times is a propaganda voice for the Israeli government (once again), and everybody else just marches along in formation. Perhaps now you’ll understand why I don’t want the paper in my Google News feed.

dima

Kudos to the Washington Post, who took a more factual position. Here’s their headline:

Israel frees youngest Palestinian prisoner

This bias of the New York Times isn’t discussed among media observers and probably never will be. I’ve questioned some about it, and it comes back to me as “too complex” or “oh, that mess.” The problem is that doing it demands attention and the courage to really call a spade a spade. There’s also that having the Times on your side is a heady thing in an industry more concerned with peer approval and acceptance than facts. Moreover, if I’m able to do this, anybody can. It doesn’t take a genius to look at this stuff with an open mind. I mean, shouldn’t we be asking questions like this?

Oh but, Terry, you’re being antisemitic. Bullshit! I’m anti-Zionist. It has nothing to do with the Jewish faith, for Judaism isn’t Zionism. What’s happening there is a shame and an embarrassment to any people of faith, for “Zion” is today an apartheid state. The Zionist narrative is one of paranoia in defending its citizens against anybody and everybody who may disagree with their perceived destiny. The United States government fully supports this narrative, but there’s a growing noise in the British government that bears watching. I suggest you read up on it and note that opposition is positioning the whole thing as a “scandal.”

Honestly, the whole thing makes me sick.

The lesson of the Question Mark

Question Mark Butterfly

Question Mark Butterfly

Our experiences in life have a profound impact on our beliefs, because experience will always trump belief when it can’t be explained otherwise. The same applies when the explanation isn’t convincing or is dismissive of the experience. My favorite though is when the catch-all logic is “coincidence” is argued by those who have no better answer. This has always been my difficulty with science and its pedantic dependence on known facts. If there was just a little wiggle room, I think we’d all be better off. Of course, humankind’s need for order would be in shambles if that was the case, because chaos remains order’s mortal enemy.

I’m going to make a point here about something that happened to me many years ago that left me questioning everything I believed about the cycle of life and life’s beings. This is going to be hard to swallow for some, but hey, I’m an old guy who doesn’t really care what people think anymore. But first, a little contemporary background is needed.

So let’s begin with a couple of stories that have been in the news lately. One is the bold proclamation that science has finally figured out how monarch butterflies know where they’re going when they migrate. To review, monarchs overwinter in specific locations in Mexico every year. They leave the milkweed patches of, let’s say, Michigan, fly to their winter location in the Autumn and return, even to the same milkweed patch, in the Spring. These butterflies then breed and die. The new brood also breeds and dies. The next brood (or sometimes a third) will take up wing and return to the very same trees in Mexico.

Of course, this seems preposterous to the scientific mind, so experts have been studying it for many, many decades. And now reporter Victoria Gill’s headline for the BBC emphatically declares, “Great monarch butterfly migration mystery solved:”

Lead researcher Prof Eli Shlizerman, from the University of Washington, explained that, as a mathematician, he wants to know how neurobiological systems are wired and what rules we can learn from them.

“Monarch butterflies [complete their journey] in such an optimal, predetermined way,” he told BBC News.

“They end up in a particular location in Central Mexico after two months of flight, saving energy and only using a few cues.”

Prof Shlizerman worked with biologist colleagues, including Steven Reppert at the University of Massachusetts, to record directly from neurons in the butterflies’ antennae and eyes.

“We identified that the input cues depend entirely on the Sun,” explained Prof Shlizerman.

“One is the horizontal position of the Sun and the other is keeping the time of day.

“This gives [the insects] an internal Sun compass for traveling southerly throughout the day.”

Wow! Who knew, right? This conclusion is exactly what I mean about that lack of wiggle room, for based on what science knows about life, the migration of the monarchs has to be cued in ways that we can understand. Hence, the sun, because, well, the butterflies require some form of navigation. The professor wants to build a robotic monarch that tracks the real thing throughout the entire migration. The BBC article is pretty bold in its proclamations, but other reports of the findings are laced with disclaimers like “might,” “could,” or “maybe.”

Nobody would even think to suggest that these butterflies already know the way, because they’ve been making the same trip since the earliest winters of North America. But that’s impossible, right, for these are “different” individual butterflies.

Now let’s move to another story in the news recently, about the progeny of Holocaust survivors who seem to carry the trauma of their ancestors. From the Guardian’s report “Study of Holocaust survivors finds trauma passed on to children’s genes:”

The conclusion from a research team at New York’s Mount Sinai hospital led by Rachel Yehuda stems from the genetic study of 32 Jewish men and women who had either been interned in a Nazi concentration camp, witnessed or experienced torture or who had had to hide during the second world war.

They also analysed the genes of their children, who are known to have increased likelihood of stress disorders, and compared the results with Jewish families who were living outside of Europe during the war. “The gene changes in the children could only be attributed to Holocaust exposure in the parents,” said Yehuda.

Her team’s work is the clearest example in humans of the transmission of trauma to a child via what is called “epigenetic inheritance” – the idea that environmental influences such as smoking, diet and stress can affect the genes of your children and possibly even grandchildren.

The article points out that the topic is controversial, and it poses the fascinating albeit perplexing question, “Can you inherit a memory of trauma?” Fun stuff, eh?

To human beings, life is linear process. We exist inside the dimensions of time and distance, and therefore are subject to the rules that govern them. Does all life exist as such? Even our understanding of things around us is based on this, which is why we feel such a strong need to anthropomorphize everything under the sun, even God. The accepted human narrative is based entirely on this linear focus, until one begins to stick one’s hand into the dark matter of theoretical chaos or even that which appears practically chaotic. And what about matters psychological or spiritual or, oh my, the things of the soul? Science stays away, because, this is the stuff of unscience, myth, and superstition.

Can you inherit a memory of trauma or is it just there? Can monarch butterflies find their way to Mexico and back without a map or guidance system?

Permit me to digress for a moment. In the Biblical story of Abraham, there was a “priest of the most high God” named Melchizedek. This was before God had revealed Himself to humankind through Abraham, so the guy is pretty interesting although we know so very little about him. He’s identified as “king of Salem” and we know he fed Abraham. We also know that Abraham paid a tithe to him as a priest, and this is significant for Christianity. In Psalm 110, which is regarded as Messianic by both Christian and Jewish scholars, David writes (of the Messiah), “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” So David justifies the priesthood of the Messiah by referencing the guy to which Abraham paid a tithe, which was way before any Abrahamic priesthood was established. Therefore, Melchizedek’s priesthood is “higher.” In citing this reference in his letter to the Hebrews, the writer (perhaps Paul) makes this statement:

A person might even say that Levi [the father of the priestly tribe] himself, who received tithes, paid tithes through Abraham [the father of all Israel and of all who believe], for Levi was still in the loins (unborn) of his forefather [Abraham] when Melchizedek met him (Abraham). Amplified Bible

This is fascinating to weigh and consider. It feeds my imagination and demands further exploration. What if mysteries of linear life can be explained by Life that isn’t linear? One that exists outside the confines of time and distance, where everything can take place at the same time and in the same place?

As George Carlin used to say, “These are the kinds of thoughts that kept me out of the good schools.”

Which brings me finally to the story I wish to share with you today.

I moved to Louisville in 1979 to work for WHAS-TV and spent two years there. It was the best of times in that I’d scored my first full-time on-air job as host and producer of PM Magazine. It was the worst of times in that my relationship with Eileen was being tested severely. I was also drifting back into a lifestyle that wasn’t healthy for me or the relationship, and I was pretty much adrift. In the summer of 1980, I was in trouble deep inside, and I felt helpless to do anything about it.

1980 - Climbing aboard my finger

1980 – Climbing aboard my finger

This picture reveals what happened one summer day that year. A Questionmark butterfly landed on the railing of our apartment and just sat their. Questionmarks are smallish rusty brown butterflies with a silver mark on the back side of its wings in the shape of a question mark. These butterflies are normally quite skittish, but this little guy was VERY friendly and exhibited a strange habit. He’d fly off the balcony, do a clockwise circle around the lamppost closest to us, then jump and do a clockwise circle around the other lamppost, and fly up to the peak of the roof of the building across the courtyard from ours. He’d sit there for awhile and then scoot back to our balcony. He would crawl onto my finger before repeating his little act.

The next day, I was out sunbathing, and he returned and landed on my chest. He then proceeded to jump off the balcony and repeat his circling of the lampposts, flying to the roof opposite ours, and return to the balcony, landing again on my chest. This went on for a few days, and then he was gone.

In the weeks that followed, I had a dramatic born-again experience and threw myself head-first into study and writing music for a Christian band across the Ohio River in Southern Indiana. It was an Autumn, Winter, and Spring that was unforgettable. Life got much better, and I began to question my career in media as I was being recruited to work for a large Christian ministry. Then something very strange happened.

I was out in the sun on our balcony in the summer of 1981 when a small orange-brown butterfly hovered over the balcony and landed on my chest. It was a Question Mark, and it sat there opening and closing its wings as I laid there stunned. I laughed and said, “Well, hello there, fellow. Did you come back to see me?”

At that moment, the butterfly leaped into the air, made a clockwise circle around one lamppost and then the other, and then shot up to the peak of the roof across the courtyard and sat there for a few moments before jumping back into the sky and racing back across to my chest. I was absolutely stunned, and I encouraged him to climb onto my finger. I stood up and walked to the railing. He jumped off my finger and repeated the exact same acrobatics. This went on for awhile, and then he was gone. I’ve never since felt quite as connected with the universe as I was that day. And I still marvel about what happened in an event that defies any logical explanation other than “it was merely a coincidence.”

I don’t think so, and I firmly believe this was a messenger from a higher place sent to assure me that everything would be just fine – and it was. I want to add that Question Marks appeared two other times in my life as I was going through difficult decisions. Of course, I wasn’t in Louisville anymore, so these events could actually have been coincidental, even though one was inside my garage above my workbench, just sitting there on the wall opening and closing its wings.

But nothing can explain the airborne dance of the butterfly at the Louisville apartment complex. It couldn’t have been the same butterfly, or could it have been? They don’t live that long, so perhaps this was a relative who somehow “inherited” the same trait. Well, cough-cough, that’s not possible either, so perhaps we’re simply all trapped in the Matrix, and there’s no such thing as “new” broods of Question Mark butterflies. Maybe they all just repeat the same habits that they gained in previous seasons of doing their thing? Nah. Too “out there.”

Or maybe not. Perhaps those two butterflies – if they were really two – were brushed by the spirit of the Creator to minister to me during times of need. Nah, that’s ridiculous.

The truth is I just don’t know. Nobody does. But isn’t it odd that we’re thinking that the progeny of those who survived Auschwitz inherit the trauma of their parents? Maybe it’s because they were there with them (in their loins) and actually experienced the real thing. Isn’t it odd that scientists now say the Monarchs are guided by the sun? Maybe they know the way, because they’ve been there before. Folks, the reality is we know squat when it comes to this stuff. We placate our imaginations with science, but the secret things belong to God.

And you’re either okay with that, or you’re not.

Oh, media, why can’t you learn?

princeThe death of pop music savant Prince this week provided a very visible example of the difference between those who understand the era we’ve entered and those who don’t. The raw emotion that surrounded his passing was palpable, and the event greatly transcended the basics of who, what, why, where, and when. This made it the perfect news event to observe the behavior of everybody – the fans, the press, and the music industry – in how we all reacted.

The first thesis of The Cluetrain Manifesto states: “Markets are conversations.” This, of course, means nothing to those who refuse or are unable to board the train, like the folks who continue to run traditional media platforms. It’s so fundamental to new media that its simplicity confounds the money makers and baffles those attempting to reinvent themselves. Let’s look at it this way:

The difference is like communicating with people from a stage and communicating with people at a party or family gathering. In the former, people are there, because they want to see what’s on the stage. They’ve paid for the privilege through a ticket price or their time. With all eyes focused on the stage, the performers are able to sell the audience anything, simply by slipping in either a point-of-view or an actual commercial message. The fact that all the people are there in one place at one time is what gives the venue value. We call this mass marketing.

At the family gathering, however, it’s very different. The host doesn’t plaster the walls with commercial messages, nor do the guests come wearing advertising placards. And imagine what it would be like to walk up to Uncle Harry to offer condolences for the death of Aunt Alice and providing first a message from Coke about the latest packaging craze. You wouldn’t open your phone to share pictures of your kids but first force them to sit through an ad for adult diapers. Why not? They’d all walk away, because you were acting like a fool. Plus, you’d never be invited back. Think about it.

This is the reality of what’s happened over the past week with the death of Prince. This was personal for people who grew up with the guy or were otherwise influenced by him and his music. We all knew the guy was special, and we were grieving. Media companies got everything about the event’s importance, but they forgot this was a wake and not a theatrical performance. I was both incensed at times and embarrassed for those who can’t bring themselves to board the friggin’ Cluetrain.

Bandwagons in the new age are untoward and off-putting. Turning a tribute into an ad produces the opposite of its intended effect. Taking hurting and bewildered people to a comical ad for car insurance or otherwise filtering emotional information is a violation of human decency, and this must stop if we really hope for any relevancy in the future. Who do we think we are? Oh there were some wonderful tributes made available to people, but everyday software often got in the way, because media companies still think they’re in the content business. Social media was flooded with both good and bad, but even some of the good turned bad when people clicked on whatever link was provided only to be greeted by a clearly out-of-place ad.

When things like this happen in our world, normalcy must take a back seat to the uniqueness of the event. And every single one is different and demands attention. When people are in shock, the last thing they need is to be treated like mindless morons who’ll gladly waste precious minutes so that presenters can pretend they’re on a stage.

People dress in black at wakes for a reason.

It’s called respect.

I miss you, Allie

alliepiffy

Allie & Piffy, both gone

It is customary in life to remind ourselves of important events through anniversaries. Some are obligatory, which we mark on a calendar, while others are permanently etched into the stony foundation of our minds, whether through joy or pain. Today is such a day for me, for ten years ago this very day, I awoke to find my precious love Allie dead on our bathroom floor. An accidental but lethal combination of opiates and cough medicine shut down her breathing, and she passed quietly and gently through the veil. She was 41.

It’s not fair that I would go on to live another decade and have to do so without her, but I have. And now I sit here looking back at the joy she was to me and how very lucky I was to have been loved by her. Alicia Faith Smith was a tough as nails reporter with a grace under fire that all of those who worked with her knew well. With me, however, she was innocent and sweet, and she approached every moment with a joyful, golly-gee energy that was priceless and wonderful. I wish everyone could have known that about her. She was goofy and funny, and she leaned on me for a steadiness that grounded her every adventure. In her, I knew the truth of unconditional love.

Christmas2005

Christmas 2005

She was my Allie, and there’ll never be another like her. My favorite picture of her hangs over my shoulder, and I look at it often. I remember the moment it was taken. She comes to me in the night season, in dreams to quiet my sometimes troubled soul. I see her in the sunrise and feel her in the energy before a storm. Every dragonfly reminds me of her, for she had a special bond with these creatures. Her kisses were so sweet, and I miss especially the closeness I felt when lying with her. I read the Bible to her every night, and she would always whine and beg for “another chapter.” She called me “Papi,” and she was my papoose.

While my memories of this day are mostly sad, the outpouring of love that day from my online community was just remarkable, and it wouldn’t be right for me to note this anniversary without that. Alicia knew many, many people, and the love expressed for her and me that day was truly incredible. This was before Facebook, Twitter, and all we know as “social” media. My blog post that day received nearly 300 comments, and those thoughts sustained me through what was a horrible 24 hours.

If you knew Allie, you were lucky. She had a way of touching everybody she met, and the world was a better place with her in it.

I’ll see you soon, my precious papoose, where there’ll be no end to the extra chapters. Until then, I will always love you and miss you.

IDF Sergeant charged with manslaughter

The shooter, Elor Azraya

The shooter, Elor Azraya

This is important, because it’s the first time in ten years that the Israelis have issued the charge in a killing that took place during field operations. According to Haaretz, Elor Azraya is being charged in the death of Abdel Fattah al-Sharif on a street in Hebron. In a report here on the shooting, I showed frame-by-frame how Sergeant Azraya raised his weapon and executed al-Sharif as the Palestinian, barely conscious, lay bleeding on the street.

Haaretz reported that “Sgt E,” as they referenced Azraya, was heard prior to the shooting to say that al-Sharif “deserved to die” for taking part in the stabbing of another IDF soldier.

The shooting by Sgt. E. was filmed by a volunteer with the human rights group B’Tselem, and the film made wide rounds on social and mainstream media. The pathology report later confirmed that it was Sgt. E.’s shot caused Sharif’s death …

The killing lit a political firestorm with many Israelis hailing Azraya a hero. A major rally in his defense is scheduled for today.

A report from the Chinese news service Xinhua contains quotes from the indictment:

“The soldier took several steps towards the terrorist, aimed at his head and fired a single bullet from short range,” according to the indictment.

“The defendant did this in contradiction with the rules of engagement and without operational justification,” the indictment added.

Initially, the prosecutors said the 19-year-old soldier was investigated for murder, but they later changed that to manslaughter.

This case is one of the most egregious examples of extrajudicial execution ever caught on tape, and the Israeli government is acting according. An indictment, however, is a long way from an execution.

The eaves of my mind

Alicia Faith Heaton at WAAY-TV reunion, 2003

Alicia Faith Heaton at WAAY-TV reunion, 2003

My three score and ten arrives this summer, and I find myself thinking thoughts that percolate in the dark eaves of my mind, where Life accumulates a certain waste from the flows and streams entertained for all those years. It’s a strange and not-so-friendly place, for it contains the things left undone, the words unsaid, the love withheld, the pain of sorrow, the pain of loss, the sadness of certain memories, the buried tears, the squandered hours, the unkept promises, the people I’ve used, the relationships that shriveled, the bridges burned, the unexplored dreams, and the regrets, those awful regrets. I don’t often visit this place, because it looks backwards, and I’ve lived my life on the opposite side of the here and now, in the future where anxiety has forced my attention since very early on. These eaves are also home to a type of quicksand that empties into the Slough of Despond, a miserable condition known as self-pity. Poor me.

But three score and ten means there’s not much left to worry about, and I’ve reached that place where the view of my life is almost entirely looking backwards, and honestly, I don’t care much for what I see.

The broken hearts are all in that waste swamp, and who wants to be reminded of the countless times I let somebody down? The pain of loss is there, too, and the bitterness of expectations not fulfilled. The darkest realization, though, is the speed with which it all has gone past and the unrelenting pace at which the hourglass empties on the road ahead. It’s not so much scary to face one’s mortality, but it can be profoundly sad.

There are those who will suggest that I’ve wrestled more out of Life than most and that I should be grateful. On a certain level I know that’s true, but the price I’ve paid physically, emotionally, and spiritually has been high, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody. It also feels sadly delusional, for a man isn’t the measure of what he’s gained; it’s about the character he demonstrated in the process, and that’s where I’ve failed most often. There are no failures of talent, the old saying goes, only character.

“That which I would do,” the apostle Paul wrote, “I do not, and that which I would do not, I do. O wretched man that I am. Who can deliver me from this bond of death?” Only one who has been there can fully appreciate the depth of the misery that Paul addresses in this passage. Thank God for recovery, because at least I’ve made an effort to make amends. I’ve experienced the spiritual awakening of recovery, and I know what it’s like to change the way I react to certain people, places, and events.

As such, I’ve learned that the rear view mirror isn’t one of total darkness, although at this stage of life, our regrets do seem able to cast shadows over the light we’ve known, and that’s what I really want to talk about today. The light; yes, the light. That’s what it’s all about. Like the bluegrass band Balsam Range sings, thank God for the Trains I Missed:

It’s a big old world, but I found my way
From the hell and the hurt
That led me straight to this.
Here’s to the trains I missed.

I must agree that the light I’ve known is sufficient to overcome the darkness of those thoughts that linger in the eaves of my mind. Everything in life has two sides, and we always have choices. I cannot see the past truthfully without considering those things that gave me the opposite of sorrow, those events that produced a kind of euphoria that, although often brief, took my breath away in a reminder that I was always right where I was supposed to be in that moment. I’ve had many of those, and likely so have you. It’s amazing how hard we try to duplicate such and how impossible the task actually is, which is, again, why it’s so important to live in the moment. It’s the only way we can avoid taking such for granted, to not squander the hours that might have been worthwhile, to keep the memory eaves flowing smoothly with fresh water.

My greatest joys and greatest shames have come in my relationships with others, especially women. I “was” a misogynistic womanizer in an attempt to overcome something awful that happened to me as a child, and I used a lot of people in the process. I’m not proud of that, but I’ve been forgiven (by most) for it. As a man, the ultimate shame of youth is a lack of knowledge or experience in matters of sex. It is THE strongest of shame messages transmitted to teenage boys by the culture, and overcoming this is paramount in resolving much of the gender conflict of today. For young men, this knowledge must be acquired in secret, for one is “expected” to know without the public or parental embarrassment of being taught. This is not just an issue that impacts women, for victimization isn’t reserved for the female gender.

Most people – especially those who’ve seen me take over a conference session with my personality or seen me on any stage with my guitar or banjo – don’t realize that I’m actually quite an introvert; INFJ or INFP according to Myers-Briggs. Who knew, right? I qualify as a “highly sensitive person,” too, and I’m happy to stay that way, because I wouldn’t trade a connection with The Unbroken Web for anything. I think sensitivity is a gift that is underrated in our self-centered culture. I believe artists today are the true prophets of God, for that is the task of those with the sensitivity to hear God’s voice. And yes, God does talk to people today, even though Christianity reserves that for “the Word.” The problem is that only the listener is able to discern the voice of God, not the speaker.

But let’s get back to that light. It shined brightest for me in the person of Alicia Smith. The tenth anniversary of her death is upcoming in a couple of weeks, and I think about her throughout every day. That will never change, although what I’m remembering is different than what it’s been throughout those years. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get sad about losing her from time-to-time, but today’s most common memory is how lucky I was to have been in love with her. Read the haunting words of Alison Krauss from her hit, A Simple Love, and you’ll understand:

I want a simple love like that
Always giving, never askin’ back
For when I’m in my final hour lookin’ back
I hope I had a simple love like that

I’m proud to say that, yes, I had a simple love like that once. She quieted all my fears and taught me that I was, indeed, lovable. Allie was my gift from God, who loaned her to me for a sadly too short season, so that we could hold each other and know that we both were loved. One day, I’ll write our story, for my true wish for younger people is that they, too, would find such a simple love.

The here and now is all that truly matters today, and the only problem with that for me is the speed with which it races by. I’m told it’s illusionary that time gets faster as one gets older; it’s simply my perception, because every year I accumulate shortens the relative length of any single year, and that’s why a moment today is but a scant wisp of a moment from my youth. Or perhaps the computer in my head simply takes longer to register a single moment, because I always seem to be trying to catch up.

John Pavlovitz writes often of experiencing the moment. He’s one of my favorite Christian writers, and he recently found himself looking back once again:

We are all having a near death experience in this life.

As we breathe, eat, sing, work, laugh, argue, sleep and do all manner of seemingly ordinary living, we do it all just an onion skin’s thinness from the threshold to whatever awaits us beyond this place.

In our most mundane and uneventful moments we are tightly pressed up against the edge of eternity.

This truth, he writes, “snaps me out of the sedated autopilot experience I so often operate within.” That’s what I’m hoping to leave with each of you in posting this today.

Scott Peck opens his wonderful book The Road Less Traveled with a simple declaration:

Life is hard.

The real danger of hanging around those eaves for too long is that I begin to think that I am somehow unique in the experience of difficulties in life. That’s a trap, for life is hard for everybody. And those difficulties are nothing compared to all that Life has to give.

The light. Love yourselves, my friends.