(Disclaimer: this is my longest blog post yet. It came out to 11 pages on Microsoft Word. Give yourself about an hour or so to read!)
I’ve always been fond of bumper stickers. They give your car character. They show other drivers and pedestrians who you are, what you believe in, what you stand for, who your favorite sports teams are, your favorite bands, who you’re voting for (or have voted for), what you think about your ex-spouse, if you’re formerly in the military, and the list goes on. When I turned 16, I became the 4th posessor of a hand-me-down ’92 Ford Ranger (thanks dad and grandpa!). I think it was within the first year I had that thing covered with bumper stickers. Of course, they were of the things a teenager finds amusing. “I COVERED A COP”, “THE PRAYER CHAIN”, “NO INNOCENT VICTIM”, and “TOOTH & NAIL RECORDS” were among the many.
Just before relocating to Colorado in ’99, I became the owner of a brand new, Sport, 6 cylindar, fire engine red, Ford Ranger. A few of the stickers from my former older model Ranger survived the transfer and graced the back windows and bumper of my new purchase. I named him “The Red Barron”. He met his demise in July of ’03 on westbound Jefferson and Sheridan when a lady decided not to yield the right of way in a traffic light, which resulted in a head-on collision. The last time I saw The Barron was at Klode’s salvage yard. Those bumper stickers will forever remain in my memory. A moment of silence please…
Fastforward to now (January 2012). I now own a fire engine red ’05 Huyndai Accent that I have named Séamus and sometimes call my red roller-skate. Séamus is a male first name of Celtic origin. It is the Gaelic equivalent of the name James. It entered the Irish and Scottish Gaelic languages from the French variation of the late Latin name for Jacob, Iacomus; a dialect variant of Iacobus, from the New Testament Greek Ἰάκωβος (Iákōbos), and ultimately from Hebrew word יעקב (Yaʻaqov), i.e. Jacob. Its meaning in Hebrew is “one who supplants” or more literally “one who grabs at the heel”. When the Hebrew patriarch Jacob was born, he was grasping his twin brother Esau’s heel. Because my car is red, I thought it proper to give him a Scotch/Irish name because many people of Scotch/Irish origin possess red hair.
Anyway, I went off subject. I hope you’re still with me here. The point of this blog entry is my current bumper stickers. I have a total of 10 stickers (unless you include my parking passes, and electronic gate opener for work). I will omit 4 of them because they say “EMBODYMENT”, “PROJECT 86”, “HASTE THE DAY” and “UNDEROATH” (all of which are very talented musical groups).
The remaining 6 stickers will be thoroughly discussed in the following paragraphs. I enjoy them because I get a lot of feedback from them. I love to look in my rearview mirror while stopped at a traffic light. The face of the driver behind me pinches into lines as she tries to read my array of stickers. I see her lips moving as she attempts to comprehend their meanings out loud. The passenger begins pointing at my bumper and makes gestures at the driver. Thus ensues a heated red light debate. After the light turns green, I have accomplished the task of planting the seeds of discussion, debate, swapping of ideas and hopefully more understanding (all of which are purposes for this blog!).
I pulled to a stop at a traffic light one fine day and a lady in an adjacent car motioned for me to roll down my window. I was in Englewood (AKA Engle-HOOD), but she seemed to be a respectable type, so I obliged.
“I just want you to know,” she began, “That I believe in every single one of your stickers!” then she gave me the thumbs up sign.
“Thanks!” was all I could muster.
Just a few days ago, I found myself in the Bear Valley branch of the Denver Public Library to pick up some music and books I had ordered. While at the do-it-yourself kiosk, a gentleman in his (I’m estimating here) mid-60s approached me.
“I read your bumper stickers outside,” he gestured to the door, “Those are great!” again the thumbs up.
“Thanks!” I answered, “I really appreciate that!” again, I felt the feeling of accomplishment that the message of my bumper stickers was being spread far and wide! Englewood, check and now SW Denver, check!
It was that encounter at the library that prompted me to write this blog entry and begin to spread my “word to the wise” message even further than the greater Denver, CO area! Thank you mid-60 year old man! Hopefully this entry will grab your attention as it has for countless others who have been lucky enough to read my debate prompting bumper stickers. Just a side note here, even though my stickers do cover some pretty strong issues, I don’t have any stickers revealing what political party I am affiliated with. If you have read any of my other blog entries, you can probably guess. Visit my Facebook page if you must know!
The first sticker/topic I will cover here says, “HERE FISHY, FISHY” with the Colorado Rocky Mountains in the background (imitating many Colorado license plates). I consider myself as a fisherman. I own a rod with a reel attached to it. I have a tackle box as well. Oh, and I have a fishing license too. It only costs $40 at Wal-Mart (up from $35 last season). That might be too much for some but it covers the fishing season that starts March and ends on March the following year. Another fact is that I have not lived up to my “HERE FISHY, FISHY” bumper sticker. Sadly, I have only been fishing about 4 times this season. Three times with my kids and once on a backpacking trip to Parika Lake.
There is a myth that if one owns a fishing license in the state of Colorado, they do not have to pay for search and rescue if they become lost in the mountains. This, I’ve found, is not totally true. Here is an excerpt taken from the FAQ section of www.RockMountainRescue.org:
Q: “I know that part of the fee that I paid for my Colorado hunting/fishing license and/or hiking certificate goes toward search and rescue insurance. Will this pay for any possible bills for the Search and Rescue (SAR) and hospital?”
A: You may have been informed that your license or certificate is insurance but it is not! Again, in most cases, you will not be charged for the SAR itself. However, you may be charged for ambulance rides to the hospital (by ground or helicopter). Your license or certificate will not cover these charges nor will they cover hospital expenses. The money that is taken out of the fee for licenses and certificates go to a general fund where a county Sheriff may ask for money as a result of a particular SAR. In addition, each year SAR teams in Colorado may obtain grant money from this program to acquire new equipment.
So there you have it. I have become a Mythbuster! Despite my lack of living up to my “HERE FISHY, FISHY” bumper sticker, I always enjoy setting up in my folding camp chair beside a serine country lake with a cold beverage in my cup holder and hearing the kerplunk of the lure as I cast it out into the rippling waters. Even if I don’t catch anything (which is usually the case), I am still able to enjoy God’s creation, some time alone or sometimes with a good friend, and a chance to get away and do some thinking.
The next bumper sticker in this discussion states, “KEEP WORKING, MILLIONS ON WELFAR DEPEND ON YOU,” It is this particular sticker (along with one other) that is responsible for many traffic-light discussions. I am a believer in welfare to an extent. Sure, people go through valleys in life. I’ve been through a few myself! However, I believe that the welfare system in America is corrupt and bankrupt, approves of non-taxpayers (i.e. illegal aliens), approves people who abuse the system and disapproves people who really need it (people like me who usually make too much money to be approved but have too little money to sometimes afford what they need).
The whole point of welfare is to help people during a “down and out” moment in their lives. Once those people are helped, they should be able to return to their former place where they no longer need welfare. I am reminded of Russell Crowe when he portrayed James J. Braddock in “Cinderella Man” (a true story!). The Braddocks (a family of 5) lived in New York City during the Great Depression. James had to work the docks but that wasn’t enough. The family then had to rely on welfare to survive. Once the money from James’ boxing matches became coming in, they no longer needed welfare. A favorite clip of the movie was when James (Russell Crowe) walked into the welfare office and paid back all the money he had received from welfare. James became one of the greatest boxers in history because of his persistence. He is a true example of what welfare should be in America. I’m not implying that we should pay back all the money we receive. We should only need welfare temporarily not indefinitely.
Sure, there are people who think they are always “down and out”. They are the “victims” who were born a certain color or born into a certain lower social/income class. In her book “Guilty”, Ann Coulter said it right when she stated,
“To win in America, one must always be the first to claim victim status.” (p.66)
Dennis Prager also hit a homer when he said in his book “Happiness is a Serious Problem”:
“…some people continue to view themselves as victims because of historical suffering of their group and because it is easy and comforting to do so…and [it] enables you to avoid confronting whoever it is that is making you unhappy. One reason they are creating a problem where there really isn’t one, and the other is that they are searching for the genesis of their unhappiness in the wrong place. They use whatever makes them different as a shield to prevent them from focusing on what truly ails them.”(p. 80-81)
There will always be people who don’t make as much money as others, and people who are of different ethnicities/religions/cultures. Just because someone isn’t born into money doesn’t mean that they should label themselves as a victim and live off of welfare for the rest of their lives. You know some of the programs: WIC (Women/Infants/Children), Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Boys and Girls Club, Headstart, AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependant Children), TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), and Section 8 Housing created by HUD (Housing and Urban Development).
All these programs offer hope to single mothers who can’t afford groceries, families who just lost their home to foreclosure, teenagers who can’t go home after school because their parents work hard to give them a good education, or a 30-something year old quadriplegic who can’t work construction anymore. Yes, I admit that some people do need to be on welfare. They don’t have any family members who can offer any extra money. They feel hopeless, fearful, sometimes to the point of pleading. Thank God that we live in America during this time.
Thank God that our government has the means to help out people who really need it (for now). However, since 2008, there have been more people put on welfare since the start of the program after the Great Depression. Look back up to the previous paragraph at the acronym TANF. “T” stands for temporary. That’s what welfare should be for most people. Sure, there are those with permanent disabilities who will receive help from the government for as long as they live. However, I’ve seen a lady with Multiple Sclerosis working as a Wal-Mart greeter. I’ve seen a quadriplegic guy working in a hospital gift shop. I’ve even seen a paraplegic man working as a medical doctor! Just because someone receives disability doesn’t mean they shouldn’t work.
The way the system is abused is by people who view themselves as victims. By people who don’t see any way out and just continue living in their current lifestyle of (for example) drug/alcohol addiction or having more babies. Sure, these are major problems that reflect the lifestyles of those who really need help and have very deep rooted issues, but welfare shouldn’t be relied on as the only way out. There are other methods for people to get out of their current situation: churches, charities, homeless shelters, friends, families. A lot of times, receiving money through welfare just enables people to continue down a road of dependence instead of using welfare as a stepping stone that leads to a better, self-reliant life.
Here is a quote from Keith Green’s album “I Only Want To See You There” where he speaks to his audience about the responsibility of the church:
“Do you know that if the church did its job, there would be no need for welfare in this country? The original church…was the welfare board, they were the unemployment insurance, employment agency, they were the soup kitchen, they were the pregnancy counseling clinic. They were all these things an more. They were the representation of God’s glory upon the earth. Now look at us! Oh, we’re still the representation of God’s glory on the earth, but can people see it? And if they can’t then how will they?”
Now, on to the next bumper sticker: “WAR HAS NEVER SOLVED ANYTHING. EXCEPT FOR ENDING SLAVERY, FASCISM, NAZISM & COMMUNISM” This is the second sticker that probably causes many discussions and heated debates. I was never in the military so I cannot speak from experience. However, I personally know and have been a part of caring for people who have physically been affected by war. War is harsh. It is bloody. People die. People are seriously wounded. Families are forever changed. Countries are divided. But there is a new beginning because of war. It is because of war that new, better leaders are put into office. War reshapes societies for a better future. It rebuilds better government systems. It puts an end to tyranny, overpowering dictatorships, injustice, and the absence of human rights.
A recent war that many are familiar with is the war in Iraq. I was a supporter of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (as were many members of Congress who then opposed it so they could be reelected) and now that the US has pulled out most of our troops, I am still a supporter of our involvement there with the coalition forces. One of the many arguments some anti-Iraq war people use is, “Think of the thousands of Iraqis who lost their lives as a result of our involvement,” to which I reply, “Think of the thousands of more lives that were saved if we hadn’t have gone,”
Many anti-Bush people joined the band wagon and became anti-war people without really knowing why just because of their opposition (I’m using a nice word) towards him. Their only defense could be summarized into one-liner, simple minded assumptions that were blown out of proportion. Here are some examples of anti-Iraq War bumper stickers: “WHY DO WE KILL PEOPLE WHO KILL PEOPLE TO SHOW THAT KILLING PEOPLE IS WRONG?” or “WE WENT TO IRAQ FOR OIL” or “BUSH LIED, PEOPLE DIED” or “F*** BUSH,” Most of the time, anti war people didn’t think for themselves but instead gave into the Bush-bashing liberal ideology that spewed forth from the likes of Michael Moore, George Soros and the liberal biased media. Here’s a quote from her book “Because They Hate” by Brigitte Gabriel, a survivor of the Lebanese Civil War:
“Western liberal reasoning isn’t going to work because people’s subjective reality is far from the real situation, they believe ridiculous ideas and logic simply isn’t part of their thinking” (p. 88)
Here’s another bumper sticker that summarizes why we were in Iraq: “OVER THERE SO YOU’RE SAFE OVER HERE!” The Iraq War lasted 8 ½ years and these arguments have circulated many times over. It’s almost like beating a dead horse anymore. Both sides think they’re right and try to persuade the other side to lean in their direction. I am not attempting to do that here. I am simply using the Iraq War as an example to make a point for my bumper sticker and reveal some truth that some people might not have heard through the popular news media that is viewed as “Biblical truth” (FOX news excluded).
Even though we didn’t find any WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction) in Iraq, we overthrew the oppressive dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. WMDs are a discussion for another topic but I want to insert another quote here from “Because They Hate” (p. 94):
“According to Iraq’s number two official in Hussein’s Air Force, General Georges Sada, Iraq moved WMDs into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft where the passenger seats were removed. (from Ira Stroll, “Iraq’s WMD secreted in Syria, Sada Says, ” New York Sun, 01/26/06)
Hussein used WMDs on his own people, the Kurds who live in northern Iraq and the Iranians in the Iran/Iraq War of the 1980s. He, his sons and his cronies literally raped the country of its potential. Saddam selfishly stifled Iraq from living as a free nation. He was a lone, cowardly rogue who fled when he should have answered for his crimes. He was found (as you know) living like a gutless deserter in a hole in the ground and was properly executed by his own people. Now that a democratic form of government has been instated in Iraq, the people can go on to a new life where (hopefully) they won’t become victims to another oppressive ruler as they did under Hussein. All this would not have been made possible if it had not been for America and the coalition forces setting Iraq free by way of War.
Remember, it was not that long ago (if viewed in the scope of history) that the United States itself became a free nation apart from a very authoritarian British rule. The year 1776 was the birth of our great nation. However, it wasn’t until 11 years later that things really began to turn around. Even 36 years later, our nation’s capital was burnt to the ground by British forces during the War of 1812. What I’m trying to say is that it takes a while for a nation to convert its form of government from a dictatorship to a democracy. Furthermore, if it had not been for War, we would not be enjoying the many luxuries in the United States that we do today. Writing this just makes me want to hug a vet!
The war in Iraq is just an example of why, even though war is terrible, it is sometimes necessary. War shouldn’t be the first response to a nation’s violence or aggression. Peace talks, diplomacy, sanctions against their exports, and putting limits on foreign aid are just a few of the ways to peacefully coerce a rogue nation to discontinue their negative courses of action. However, sometimes that isn’t enough. Sometimes rogue nations continue to threaten other nations, they build more illegal weapons, support terrorism, violate international laws or oppress their own people. There comes a point where threats fall on deaf ears. A strong nation lives up to its word by following through with its threats of invasion or war. If it continues to threaten and threaten without limits, it shows its enemies that it is weak. That it never intends to actually do anything.
Thank God for leaders like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, FDR, JFK, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush and Benjamin Netanyahu who were man enough to stand up to adversity during a time of war and fight back against injustice. Sometimes it was a bit late but in most of the cases, they showed the opposing side that they were not going to back down. So yes, war has put an end to slavery (the US Civil War, among others), Fascism (WWII), Nazism (WWII) and Communism (The Cold War, among others). Here is a quote from President Ulysses S. Grant that sums up the meaning of my bumper sticker:
“I have never advocated war except as a means of peace,”
The next bumper sticker in this discussion states: “SHUT UP HIPPY” Even though I wasn’t around during the 60s (being born in 1977), I live near the city and county of Boulder, Colorado, where many of them (after 50 years) still reside. The hippy movement began in America during the early 1960s and soon spread throughout the world. The word “hippy” or “hippie” originated from the word “hipster”. It was used to describe “beatniks” who hailed from San Francisco.
One of the best ways to determine a hippie is by the way they dress and their grooming standards. A typical hippie dons themselves with signature garments such as bell-bottom pants, long skirts, vests, large blouses, beaded necklaces, scarves and headbands. The designing themes of their clothes are usually psychedelic patterns and vibrant colors that imitate flowers, landscapes and nature imagery. As far as their hygiene standards go, men usually wear beards with long hair and the women typically go around bra-less and rarely shaved their bodily hair. These examples serve as outward, visible symbols of hippies independence and freedom.
Love and sex are other attributes of the hippie movement. Because of their acceptance of all people, you could love whomever you pleased, whenever you pleased and however you pleased. This lead to promiscuous sex and the wide spread of HIV/AIDS (not to mention many STDs). Drugs are another way hippies express their individuality. Their popular drug choices were hallucinogens like acid, psilocybin and mescaline and of course cannabus (marijuana).
The overall “mission statement” of the hippy movement could be summarized as this: “To remove ourselves from the restrictions of society and make our own peaceful way,” or “If it feels good, do it!”
However, not all hippies conformed to the statement of being peaceful. Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorn were famous during the 1960s hippie movement. Despite the peacefulness of their cohorts they were far from nonviolent. With the activist movement Weather Underground, Ayers personally participated in the bombings of the New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972. In his own words, he stated,
”I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough,”
In another statement taken in 1970, Ayers summed up the Weather Underground as:
”Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that’s where it’s really at,” (“No Regrets for a Love Of Explosives; In a Memoir of Sorts, a War Protester Talks of Life With the Weathermen” by Dinitia Smith, published September 11, 2001).
It is true that not all hippies are like Bill Ayers but if there is a major difference in ideas between members of a certain movement, maybe their entire philosophy and beliefs need to be brought into question.
Hippies also held different political views. They were heirs of a long line of free spirited artists such as William Blake, Walt Witman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Hesse, Arthur Rimbaud, Oscar Wilde and Aldous Huxley. Remember, hippies came about during the time of birth control pills, the Vietnam War, the liberation of the Civil Rights movement, feminism, gay rights, a strong economy and a large baby boomer population. Despite the strong, sometimes extreme philosophies of many hippies, their political beliefs varied widely. There were the anti-war, draft card burners, anti-authority and anti-yuppie (among others). The extent of political involvement of the hippies usually took the form of rallies in which they inspired one another to oppose the war, live peacefully, and embrace all people.
So in saying “SHUT UP HIPPY”, I am declaring that even though the majority of them lived peacefully, many of their ideas were passive (no war), their philosophy was conflicting (embrace all religions) and their lifestyle was destructive (drugs and sex). Even though it is kind of “hip” to dress up in the “shag” and turn up Garcia on the 8 track, I prefer to follow more modern ways. I consider myself as “old school” but I feel that the hippie lifestyle should be one remembered and not practiced.
The next bumper sticker in my arsenal states, “DENVER BRONCOS”. If you notice in the picture, the sticker is a bit worn at the edges meaning it has been a resident of my rear window for quite some time now. In the past, I’ve been a fan of the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys. I did live about an hour from San Francisco when I was a boy and 3 hours from Dallas throughout junior high and high school. However, I have never had a love for football until relocating to Denver in June of ’99 when I decided to adopt the Broncos as my home NFL team.
Since the retirement of John Elway on May 2, 1999, the Broncos have signed on seven quarterbacks: Brian Griese, Chris Miller, Gus Frerrotte, Jake Plummer, Jay Cutler, Kyle Orton and now Tim Tebow. It seemed as though we were looking for our new “Elway” but never found him. The 2011 season was an exciting one for Denver because of the hiring of head coach John Fox (former defensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers) John Elway’s return (this time as the VP of operations) and the second season of backup quarterback Tim Tebow.
Tebow’s arrival in Denver was the most anticipated since Elway. With two NCAA football championships (’06 and ’09) and a Heisman trophy on his resume, not to mention being a very outspoken Christian, Tim Tebow inspired many on and off the field with his dashing smile, very capable athleticism and devotion to Jesus Christ. “First of all, I’d like to thank my Lord and Savoir Jesus Christ,” I always hear as he begins interviews. Tebow became an icon in the NFL industry with his amazing running capability. At 6’3”, 235 lbs, he can charge through the line and break tackles unlike most QBs. During his short two year NFL career, he has rushed for a total of 887 yards with 12 touchdowns! With his intense competitiveness and uncommon physical courage (playing with a broken fibula once in high school and later with a serious chest injury during the ’11 NFL playoffs), Tebow has turned the heads of many since he was in high school.
His philanthropic contributions include his outspokenness in support of homeschoolers enrolling in local public school sports, helping out with his father’s orphanage (Uncle Dick’s Orphanage) in the Philippines every summer, raised money for the Shands Hospital pediatric cancer center in Gainesville, Florida and upon graduation from the University of Florida, Tebow launched the Tebow Foundation in January 2010. The Tebow Foundation reaches out to children with life threatening diseases, partnered up with CURE International to build hospitals throughout the world, and builds playrooms in hospitals all over the world through Timmy’s Playroom.
Most people might know Tim Tebow best through “Tebowing”. Upon entering the end zone after a rushing touchdown, Tim Tebow frequently takes a knee with his head resting on one arm as he whispers a prayer of thanks. This gesture spread throughout the world like wildfire and “Tebowing” is now recognized as an official word in the English language by Global Language Monitor!
Despite the embarrassing 45-10 loss to the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2011 NFL playoffs, I am proud to fly my Broncos flag from my car window on game days and even more proud of my weathered “DENVER BRONCOS” bumper sticker!
The final bumper sticker under discussion states, “WHINING” with a circle around the word and a slash through it (taking on the meaning of “no whining”). Just like the Ghost Busters circle/slash. Some synonyms of “to whine” (verb tense) are as follows: bellyache, cry, fuss, gripe, grouse, carp, grumble, howl, kick, mewl, grown, murmur, sob, wail, whimper, yowl. I am reminded of a toddler who doesn’t get his/her way and proceeds to throw themselves on the floor in a fit of tears and…whining. In his book “Fatherhood”, Bill Cosby (having four daughters with a son in the middle) stated:
“…the most piteous cry comes not from an injury to your daughter’s body but to her feelings. It starts low and then heartbreakingly builds, with fluid flowing from a variety of outlets; her eyes, her mouth and her nose.” (p. 76)
I am also reminded of my younger brother’s warning to me after he and his wife had their first daughter, “Dave,” he said with a hand on my shoulder symbolizing his infinite wisdom, “If you ever have a daughter, be prepared for lots of tears,” and he couldn’t have been more right!
Now that I have a 4.5 year old daughter, I have dealt with more grief, tears, fits and yes whining than I have with her older brother. Don’t get me wrong, my son is the king when it comes to whining. When he played soccer in the summer of 2010, he would collapse in a heap of disappointment and whining if he didn’t score a point but instead one of his teammates did. The other day, he had an incident when he hit his sister over the head with a cardboard packing tube attached to him like a prosthetic arm. I disciplined him by taking away a privilege. He has this picture book that he wants to fill with photos of my cats.
“Now that you have hit your sister, she’s going to take the first picture,” I explained to him as I picked up the camera.
You would have thought the world had come to an end! The floor became my son’s best friend for a few minutes and then it was the couch after I put him in his “cool-off place”.
Parents are probably the most frequent recipients of whiners. Usually kids do grow out of their toddler and adolescent whining years and adopt more mature ways of dealing with situations beyond their control. However, there are those few adults who have not grown out of their childishness and still carry with them the grown up forms of whining. This can be manifested as actual whining (verbally making their grievances known), disappointment because they constantly expect things from situations they have no control over or in physical anger and violence. Having expectations are the root to unpleasant disappointments that some people use as excuses.
In his book “Happiness Is A Serious Problem”, Dennis Prager confronts expectations:
“…expectation means taking for granted that something will happen or regarding something as virtually inevitable…” (p. 61)
“No matter how much outside forces may dominate our lives, there is one thing that we can virtually always control – how we react to them.” (p. 84)
“…not having expectations does ensure two beautiful things: minimum suffering over unfulfilled goals and profound gratitude over goals that are fulfilled.” (p. 63)
“Three steps to minimize expectations: 1) Do not fear that not having expectations will make you either less optimistic or less successful, 2) Acknowledge the destructive role that expectations usually play in your life, and 3) Take an inventory of your life and begin to express gratitude for all the good in it.” (p. 64)
So in order to minimize our sadness, grief, disappointment and whining, we should lower our expectations of other people and of life’s situations and instead be thankful for what we do have.
While Jesus was speaking to the “multitudes”, he confronted expectation, worry, disappointment and whining. In Matthew 6:25-30, 34, he states,
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin: and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (NKJV)
Basically what Jesus was saying was to not worry (whine) about petty things in life. What do you think you will gain by worrying? Worry is the seed that can grow into doubt and eventually destroy faith and hope. I have no idea if I’m going to be alive tomorrow. That isn’t promised to me. What I do know is that if I complain and whine about it, nothing is going to happen except for the growth of a few more gray hairs.
Everybody is confronted with difficulties. During the past 10 years, I’ve gone through a lot to say the least. I’ve been through the loss of a job, the totaling of my truck, a miscarriage, separation of my parents, the death of my unborn son, hail damage that resulted in the totaling of 2 more cars, the loss of another job, foreclosure of my condo, separation that led to divorce, having to drop from nursing school, dropping out of Chemistry, being turned down for 2 nursing programs.
I have every reason to hang my head and whine! However, I choose not to. I have a choice to mope in my self-pitied cesspool. But I don’t. Instead, I am thankful to live in America at this time in history. I am thankful for my wonderful kids, my home, my car, my job, clothes, health, church, supporting family, friends, Christ’s grace and the list goes on. It is because of being thankful that I overcome my sorrows. I chose to be joyful despite my past grief and current struggles.
Sometimes goals aren’t obtained by merit but by hard work. The original aim for your goal might change several times and cause intense disappointment. Even though several goals might have to be abandoned or change direction, the character building during that journey should be looked at as positive and not as another failure. I am not a failure. I have not lost. The direction of my road might have changed but my journey is not over. I may have found ways not to repeat in the future but my hope is not lost. As long as I can breathe, I can try. So far as I am able, I will not give up.
So “NO WHINING” has been the anthem of my life lately. That is what my bumper sticker really means to me!
Well, I have covered only six of my bumper stickers and have gone into detail about what they mean to me. Some of you might disagree with them, some might have gained more insight into their meanings and others might be empowered by them. There, my goal has been accomplished! Now go forth and melt your thoughts!