War Deaths & Inspiration?

“Shocking and inspiring. Very much worth ten minutes of your day. Please watch the whole thing before you react. It’s painful but leaves room for hope in the big picture.” This was what I posted on Facebook this morning even though I generally leave my own news feed for family events and excitement, much like an online scrapbook. But this video touched me and I felt compelled to share its message of hope.

Animated Data Visualization of World War 2 Fatalities Is Shocking

Recently, it seems so many people are mired down in negativity, anger, and outrage at the world around them. Humans seem to have the tendency to want to see the worst of the world. Ugly sells, right? Everyone slows down to see the car crash on the freeway, but no one even turns their head at the little girl giving a hug to an elderly woman or the man feeding the homeless on the side of the road. It’s not something we can change really or want to. It probably has some ancient purpose to our survival. But we need to remember that when the majority of the world has the ability to report to the rest of the world what it is seeing, ugly is what you will see most. But that isn’t what is really happening in the big picture. If we all reported the positive things that were happening around us, even the ones we don’t see because they don’t command our attention, I think our news feeds would look much different. There is so much greatness, kindness, and love in this world. We just aren’t looking for it.

What if every time we saw something negative we thought, “Compared to what?” Compared to the past, we are all rich, healthy, and brilliant! Compared to previous generations we live in some pretty relative peace. Can it get even better across the world? Probably. For now, I’ll be looking more intently for the good in the world and passing that along. I’ll be lighting millions of candles with mine!

 

Seneca

How about that guy, huh? Boy did he have some great quotes! I’m always amazed at how similar humans are through the ages. Our thoughts and “humanness” don’t change much over the millennia. Here are a couple of my favorites today!

“We all sorely complain of the shortness of time, and yet have much more than we know what to do with. Our lives are either spent in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do. We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end of them.”

And this gem.

“Our forefathers complained, we complain, and our descendants will complain, that morals are corrupt, that wickedness holds sway, that men are sinking deeper and deeper into sinfulness; that the condition of mankind is going from bad to worse.”

Seneca was a pretty serious guy and had some great insight into the human condition but I sure wouldn’t want to live like him.

I already have to edit this post! I posted and then went to start the laundry and have my morning meditation time and thought of something. Seneca died in 65AD so he was writing just before that. Many philosophers were lamenting the decline of morals, the strength of will, courage, and education of the people. A few hundred years later the fall of Rome occurred and Dark Ages reigned for a thousand years. Much of what they wrote sounds much like the complaints of today. Is that where the world is headed? Should we be concerned? Is there anything we can do? I really don’t think so. It looks as though it’s just the life cycle of civilization.

More Peace?

I woke up this morning thinking that I should look up the definition of “happiness” and “peace”, so I did. And here they are:

happiness: a state of well-being and contentment, a pleasurable or satisfying experience

and

peace: a state of tranquility or quiet, freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions, harmony in personal relations

Similar, but different ideas, right? One is transient and temporary, a moment. The other is ongoing and probably takes a bit more work. I think I’m working toward a peaceful heart more than pure happiness. I find happiness in little things every day, but peace is found even on the crummy days. The peace that I know this too shall pass whether it be an event or state of mind.

Yesterday, a friend on Facebook posted this quote, “Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible.” It’s from Mandy Hale. That last sentence is what really struck me. “When nothing is certain, anything is possible.” It’s just a change in your perspective, the way you look at or think about a situation. Out of chaos can spring some amazing things, just wait for it and see where it goes.

The quote was still in my mind this morning, so I googled the name and found her website. I was instantly pulled to this post, The Hardness of Life. The Goodness of God. I cried through it, it was so touching. I’m not in a “hard” part of my life. In fact, I’ve had very little hardness in my life. There were moments, short (in my current frame of reference) stretches of some crappy times. But for some reason, I can’t dwell on them anymore. They do pop up in my mind at times, but I bounce right back to the idea that those moments made me who I am today. I’m wondering if I should go back to them in my journals and see if I can’t shed some light on what went wrong and how exactly it helped me grow. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. Maybe it would be too much for me. Maybe the reason those remembrances are so fleeting is that God knows I’ve done what I could about it and moved on from there. There may be no sense in rehashing bad memories for me. I may just read them and think “Why was I so upset?” To me, that would be a sign that I’m done with that time. But what if I don’t? What if it hurts to see that place I was? What if? One thing is for sure. There are people in my past I don’t ever want to see again. And there are people that I wish I could apologize to.

Wisdom From the Past

From Durant’s “Caesar and Christ”, Lucretius says “All things that grow decay: organs, organisms, families, states, races, planets, stars; only the atoms never die. The forces of creation and development are balanced by the forces of destruction in a vast diastole and systole of life and death.” I was just thinking about with a friend yesterday. It’s never the end of the world. Our children will go on with their children making things in their world better and then another generation will come and it will seem worse and then get better.

And then this Lucretius guy! Wow. His work was lost to the world until someone rediscovered him 1400 years later. Just imagine that. You spend your whole life studying and writing, probably thinking no one is listening or even cares. You die. Your work is lost but you don’t know it. 1400 years later someone finds it, reads it, and shares it with the world. And then 600 years after that some homeschooling Mom quotes it on her blog. It’s crazy. But it makes me want to keep reading, thinking, and writing. Who knows? Maybe 1000 years from now someone will come across my work, have to have their android figure out how to read the data, and pour over my notes to learn about how we lived and thought now.

Life Long Learning

There is so much out there when I am reading that makes me wonder why we went to educating all the children of the world academically and “by the book”.

Here’s something I came across yesterday in my Harvard Classics reading. It’s from Thomas DeQuincey (1785-1859).

“Whatever educes, or develops, educates. By the education of Levana, therefore, is meant, – not the poor machinery that moves by spelling-books and grammars, but by that mighty system of central forces hidden in the deep bosom of human life, which by passion, by strife, by temptation, by the energies of resistance, works for ever upon children, – resting not with the night or day, any more than the mighty wheel of day and night themselves, whose moments, like restless spokes, are glimmering for ever as they revolve.”

We all constantly learn, forever. Anything we do is learning. I feel it is more important, as a home educating parent, to let my children do things than to teach them. Our lives are a mess of constant discovery and discussion. It’s an amazing process and comes naturally, without force or direction.

Following Your Dreams

I was listening to Isaac Morehouse podcast yesterday, called “Words with TK Coleman”. I love his podcast anyway, but when I see those two names together, I know something awesome is about to happen. And I was NOT disappointed. I’ll share my two favorite thoughts with you.

“Fear is something that destroys you from a distance, but empowers you from up close.”

No need to elaborate, right?!

“The goal of following your dreams is not ‘success’.” That’s paraphrased.

That one was an eye opener for me. I’ve had ideas I wanted to pursue, dreams of doing big things, but what holds me back is my track record for failure. I shouldn’t let that happen. It doesn’t matter if the plan never pans out. It doesn’t matter if I lose a few bucks. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t grow to be something that could financially support us. It’s the act of doing something that counts.

I learn something from every dream I follow. I grow. And my children grow and learn from watching me find my passions and act on them.

Now, if can only find the courage to act on those dreams!

Use of Force

I’m reading “Everything Voluntary: From Politics to Parenting” and I came across this gem from Reverend Horatio Potter’s 1837 sermon on “Intellectual Liberty”.

“error is to be refuted, that truth is to be made manifest and its influence extended not by eternal force, but by reasoning…Produce your strong reasons – employ your intellect to shew wherein my intellect has erred or led others into error, but abstain from violence, which can prove only that you are powerful and vindictive, with-out proving that you have truth on your side.”

And producing reasons and discussing how I came to a conclusion or what I believe to be true is not violence against others.