THE WAY WE WERE

1 05 2019

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The longer I live, the harder my life seems to get and the more disconnected with my surroundings I seem to be. Don’t get me wrong, there are still many wonderful moments in any given day that I treasure deeply in my soul. And my relationship with my Lord and Savior, my amazing Family and my wonderful Friends are pure gold to me. I know I could not survive without them and I am glad that I do not have to. But with each year that passes, I am forced to say a word again and again that I have come to despise, “Goodbye!” Having battled abandonment issues all my days, each time I officiate a Funeral, or read about the passing of Someone who has played such a huge part in
making me who I am, I die a little bit more also.

As I write this, it is m y Dad’s Birthday. He would have been 87 years old today. He graduated to Glory some 19 years ago after a long battle with cancer. I am just a few years away from the age he was when he passed so to admit that I am sobered by it all would be an understatement. I miss my Father. I dream of him every night and that is no exaggeration. I hear his voice in my own and see him when I look in the mirror. I wish I could just talk to him again about all that is going on. He left a hole the size of the Grand Canyon in my soul and nobody can ever replace him.

But it is not just Dad that has me so melancholy these days. With every passing year, we are losing more and more of those special individuals that we looked up to and leaned upon for wisdom, strength and guidance. It’s no secret that we live in a totally different world than the one I grew up in. I wish I could tell you that I am excited about where our society is heading but that would be a fib. I have never been one who could stuff my real feelings very well. If you want to know what I’m thinking, just look at my face because I wear my emotions on my sleeve. Respect for the Elderly is a disappearing trait and cross generational interaction a lost art. How will we ever learn and grow if we don’t participate in life together?

I can remember listening to my parent’s records growing up. It opened the door to my love of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Joni James, Al Martino and other crooners. But I remember Mom and Dad taking me to see “A Hard Day’s Night” with the Beatles at the Drive-In Movie only because I adored the Fab Four. Dad and I would watch Jerry Lewis Movies, Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy and so many more classics. Mom and I would watch “An Affair to Remember,” “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing,” and countless other tear jerkers. We shared experiences together that helped shape me but also still influenced them. I am a passionate Mets Fan today because Dad opened that
door for me. Little did my Parents realize back then, but would soon come to understand, that when I got interested in anything it would soon become an obsession. I still never do anything without doing it with all of my heart.

Unfortunately, Political Correctness is sucking the very life blood out of humanity. People are ignoring the foundational intangibles while they make big issues out of nonsense. Take for instance the whole Kate Smith controversy. Here is a Woman who in her day did more for her Country than the average individual and made the song “God Bless America,” a National institution. For years, her rendition of this Irving Berlin classic was a staple at Flyers and Yankee Games. But along comes someone who claims that they were offended by a song she did in a Broadway Show back in the 1930’s and we are quick to cover her statue with a blanket. We shouldn’t and can’t condone everything done in our Nation’s past but we can’t erase it either. It was a different day. And we won’t continue to move forward in our race relationships if we resort to such backward thinking! I just see too much hypocrisy in the whole politically correct movement. Reconciliation will never happen if we cover up what needs to be addressed and learned from.

But is our present Culture open to such honest dialogue? Those who cry out and demand tolerance can be the most intolerant of them all. I feel like I’m back in Junior High when peer pressure controlled the cafeteria. If you want to fit in then you have to conform to what those in the majority have deemed cool to be. If there is another truth that I have learned along the way it is that ‘Crowds” make lousy “Leaders.” In the Bible, it was a Crowd that voted to not get on the Ark and the Crowd drowned. In the Bible, it was a Crowd that voted to not take the Promised Land that God was giving to His people and the Crowd died in the desert. In the Bible, it was a Crowd that chose Barabbas over Jesus and how did that turn out? I hate the phrase, “Everybody’s Doing It.” Maybe it is time to take a stand for what is true and with love, grace and the help of the Holy Spirit, live it out. Have the courage to say what you believe and not just bark out the party lines. I will never fit into a world that writes a script for me and expects me to read it line for line.

The way we were wasn’t all that good but the way we are now isn’t much better! At this point of my journey, I pray to live each day with my light shining bright with the hope that through me, others will see the Lord. I don’t claim to be perfect or have it all together. I know that I am still under construction but it is God who has promised to finish the project that He began in me. I pray for our Country and the need for revival and the return to being a Nation that wants to please God and not escort Him from the building. Sure, memories can always be a bit fuzzy when yearning for the “Good Old Days,” that were never quite as good as we make them, but we don’t have to settle for
what we know can be so much better. While we are here, I pray that we unwrap each day as the gift that it is and take nothing for granted. And let’s commit to us living life and not letting life push us around to places we know we don’t want to go!


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