“If most of us remain ignorant of ourselves, it is because self-knowledge is painful and we prefer the pleasures of illusion.” (Aldous Huxley)

As I walk among humanity each day, I am struck by the vast number of people I meet who have little self-knowledge and this is particularly rampant in the millennial generation. My own theory for why this happened starts with the self-esteem movement of the eighties and nineties that the public schools established. I think the goal was worthwhile but the methodology was flawed from the outset. It was just an illusion that everyone saw through but no one dared to challenge. I didn’t raise my kids that way and they turned out to be perfectly functional adults but a lot of other kids grew up in a surreal world of high praise for little achievement, congratulations for making it to school and whatever grade they wanted just to make them happy.

I was raised differently and I believe it was better. I failed a lot and I dealt with the consequences of my bad choices. I still had a wonderful childhood that I wouldn’t change for anything. I won a lot too. In grade school I owned Field Day. If I didn’t come home with five blue ribbons, it was a disappointment and I felt bad. I dealt with my failure by running some more to get better for next year. I tried harder so I wouldn’t have to feel bad again. I guess the other kids didn’t try as hard as I did because I won more than I lost. My competitive nature led to greater achievement and the realization that hard work was required for good things to happen to me.

After college I wanted to come back and work for my dad but he wouldn’t let me. He said I wouldn’t appreciate the family business unless I worked somewhere else first. So he sent me off to New York City to get my sales training. I got a lot more self-knowledge there but it wasn’t much fun. I was made to realize that I wasn’t that smart or good looking or funny or as charming as I thought I was and that happened during the first cab ride from the airport. It was all downhill from there. I got verbally abused for being a rube every day and I had no choice but to stand there and take it. I had a couple of friends but they were going through a lot of the same growing up process too so we just drank beer and tried to forget. It was the worst of times and the best of times because I gained more than I lost.

Self-knowledge is painful at times because none of us is perfect and the selfish illusions we prefer are much more pleasurable. I have no illusions about myself anymore. I know my talents and my weaknesses. Writing is my strength, speaking is my soft spot so I write more than I talk. Hard work and being responsible is required for me to be happy. I am bad at being lazy. Truth is very important to me and dishonesty is my mortal enemy. Faith in God keeps me going and shows me the way to live but I have no right to impose my beliefs on anyone else. It’s not my job to judge others without immediately exposing my own hypocrisy for not being perfect myself. It is my job to help everyone I meet and be transformed by my faith into a better person. My life will always have meaning as long as I am passionate about God’s purpose for my life. I don’t get to take days off from being faithful and I wouldn’t want to, even if I could. I spend each day helping children achieve their own version of self-knowledge and shrinking their illusions slowly but surely. What more could I ask for than to have plenty to do, with unlimited potential to help others and all the God-given ability to do just that. He made me who I am and I do everything I can to show my appreciation for the great life I have been given.

The more we realize about ourselves and the more we are honest about our failings, the better chance we have of being happy. Illusions are the most deceitful form of selfishness and they will only lead us to the darkest corners of our existence. I have yet to meet even one person who comes close to perfection and is fully self-aware. I know of one but He died to fulfill His purpose and give meaning to mine. I thank Him every day and then I go out and try harder to achieve a better life. My life will never be perfect but it will always be the best I can make it.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“We don’t need, no more trouble.” (Bob Marley)

My hometown of Olathe, Kansas achieved international notoriety this week when a drunken loner killed an Indian immigrant who worked at Garmin in the same department as my son. I’m not going to retell that story. I can’t explain any part of it so I’m not going to try. It just serves to illustrate a bigger point I want to make regarding humanity.

After another long and stressful week on the road, I was elated to have my Saturday off because my long drive got cancelled. I’ve been fighting a virus for the last week so getting one day off to rest was a Godsend. Well, almost. About three o’clock the phone rang and I could see it was from my office. I could have ignored it and pleaded ignorance later but I chose to answer it in spite of my common sense. It was an all too familiar refrain, 14 year old boy runs away from a bad home and ends up in the system. Permanent placement was not available yet so the kid would be moved every two or three days till a long-term residence could be found. He was waiting in the Kansas City office for a ride down to a home close to the Oklahoma border. At this point I pleaded my case for not going because I felt like heck but then my boss told me his name. Obviously, I can’t use it here but he was clearly from a Muslim family so I took the job immediately. If I hadn’t, he would have sat there till midnight waiting for another driver. I took some more cold medicine and headed out for my first experience with a Muslim client.

I never got the whole story because he barely spoke above a whisper and my head was so congested  I just couldn’t hear. We stopped at McDonald’s for his only meal of the day and he seemed to enjoy his shamrock shake but he still didn’t talk. I let him listen to his choice of radio station till the signal died. At that point I plugged in my iPhone and put my iTunes library on shuffle just to see what might pop up. If I ever needed a reminder of how great God really is, this was it. In His infinite wisdom He chose the following play list: Like Jesus Does by Eric Church, Everybody wants to go to Heaven by Kenny Chesney, Judge Not by Bob Marley, Someday at Christmas by Jack Johnson, Spirit in the Sky, Elton John’s cover version of Norman Greenbaum’s song about Jesus, YMCA by The Village People, Shake by Mercy Me and I Will , by Allison Krauss. I never really got a reaction out of my young friend except when he laughed as I tried to do the hand signs during YMCA. I really should download, Jesus take the wheel. Maybe not, that might be pushing my luck a little too far.

We arrived at our destination, which was way out in the country, on a beautiful starlit night. The temporary foster mom was a wonderful lady. We conversed for a few minutes and shared the little information we had between us. She added that she was waiting for two more who were in police protective custody. They arrived with the sheriff just as I was leaving. So to sum up all the peculiarities of this particular drive, we have a Muslim child being transported by a lifelong Protestant to the home of a devout Catholic while God chooses the most spiritual music He could find on my phone. Only in America would this ever happen and thankfully it happened in the Great State of Kansas just days after a great tragedy. I’m sure glad I answered the call.

The moral of the story is simple. We must help each other whenever the need arises. The bitter truth for me is that the loner who killed the immigrant lived in my neighborhood and I may have crossed his path more than once in the 30+ years I have lived here. It makes me wonder if I said hello or even smiled at him? Maybe if I had and a few more had too he wouldn’t have succumbed to the temptation of alcohol to relieve his loneliness and pain. Shame on me if I didn’t. Smiling and polite acknowledgement of another human being’s existence is about as easy as it gets. We ALL see these people every day – the loner who walks funny, or talks funny, or acts funny and we just pass them by staring at our phones or acting like we’re in a hurry. And then, when we read about their tragic life in the paper we feel shocked that anyone in our neighborhood could ever be that bad. If we search our hearts honestly, the reality becomes all too clear. We could have done more.

I’m lucky because I get paid to help children every day. For 50 hours a week I get to make a huge difference for foster kids. All I have to do is answer the call. That still leaves me with 62 hours a week that I’m not sleeping when I could be smiling at loners and talking to strangers and showing respect for others. I wonder why that never occurred to me before now ? Why is it that tragedies like this have to happen before it hits home? I’ve been alive for 63 years now and every day that I keep breathing is another opportunity to make a difference for somebody else. As I pulled into my driveway last night around midnight, Bob Marley was singing, “We don’t need no more trouble, what we need is love…” Do you think God was trying to tell me something?

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

“Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?”(Lennon-McCartney)

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?

If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?

I never thought I would live long enough to ask this question but since I just turned 63 today, maybe it’s time. It’s not that I’m worried about being taken care of for the rest of my life but it does make me wonder about the future. I think we all have to do more as we get older so I resolved to make this day as memorable as possible. Would you like to hear how it went? Well you’re going to anyway so never mind.I was just being polite.

I started the festivities on Saturday because I had the day off and the house to myself. I was really tired after 40 hours on the road this week so I slept late, like 7:30 am. After lunch and a walk with the dog I decided it was time to finish up all my weekly paperwork before the basketball game came on. I was still pretty tired so I pulled a Mountain Dew Kickstart out of the fridge and poured it over a glass of vodka and ice. About that time my son called and I made the mistake of mentioning my amazing new concoction. Apparently, I was not the inventor and moreover mixing energy drinks and vodka is somewhat frowned upon in polite circles. Who knew? I got my paperwork done in record time so I figure people in polite circles are just wimps.

On Sunday morning my son called again to regale me with the tale of his first 911 call as a first-time father. His 2 year old daughter had asked to use the potty by herself and Thomas eagerly agreed to her request. A few minutes later Verity exited the bathroom wearing the training seat on her head. Thomas did the manly thing and tried his best to get it off but nothing worked. She wasn’t in any real pain or danger but at some point in the future she would probably need it removed so they could take her places. At this point, mom and dad made the big decision to call 911 and plead parental ignorance. As they waited for the fire department to arrive, Thomas hid his baseball cap with the Garmin logo on it so he wouldn’t have to explain how someone who works in avionics engineering at Garmin was defeated by a plastic toilet seat. I don’t think it required the jaws-of-life tool but they did have to cut it off. I laughed continuously as he retold the saga. Now I’m one up on him because I never had to call 911. What a great day!

So then today, everything just got even better. My first call this morning was a cancellation of my one and only drive for the day. I haven’t had a day off for my birthday in forever so imagine my joy. I took the dog out for a good long walk, came home and cleaned the kitchen floor and then vacuumed the whole house. (It was my birthday, I’m not the King) During the walk I found an abandoned scooter in the park. It seemed like just the ticket to making my walk easier, just let the dog pull me around. Good plan, poor execution. I didn’t find any explicit directions that precluded certain weight limits but it was made in China so I should have known better. As the dog tried his best to drag me along it became clear that scooter was a misnomer. Plan B was just toss the scooter in the bushes and act like nothing happened. I was good at that.

After my household chores I headed out to do some shopping. I went to the liquor store because everything was on sale. OK – truth be told everything is always on sale at the liquor store but you ladies use that same reasoning all the time so today it was my turn. Clearly, alcohol is more of a necessity than jewelry so you can all keep quiet now. Then I stopped in at Walmart for some new peeing glasses. My last pair of 3x readers finally broke so it was pretty urgent. I call these glasses my morale goggles. Whenever I need a boost to my ego I put them on when I use the bathroom. Instant cure for a bad day. Just a warning though, don’t try them with any other activity. I never want to see my 3x face in the mirror. I tried them once while reading a text message. It turns out amplified emojis are freaking scary. Whoever thought those were a good idea? Kind of the 21st century version of petroglyphs. It’s a word children, look it up. It means prehistoric rock carvings. At least petroglyphs required a fair amount of talent, emojis are just lazy.

But I digress. Oh look, a squirrel! But seriously, I can remember when being 63 was like being dead. I never imagined what my life would be like at this age and frankly I still can’t. I still like the same loud music, I still enjoy a drink now and then and I still look forward to each new day no matter what comes next. I guess I’ll just keep going till someone asks me to stop. So, with all due respect to Lennon and McCartney, let me just ask this once and for all – “Will you still need me, will you still read me, when I’m 64?”

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

“None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free.” (Pearl S. Buck)

My neighbor is an African-American in the truest sense of the word because he and his wife immigrated from Ethiopia many years ago. Each time I talk to him I am struck by his love for America. He gave everything he had to get here so he could enjoy all the freedom that I was born with. I doubt that I will ever comprehend the depths of his patriotism because I never had to sacrifice as much as he did to achieve his dream. His story is a fresh reminder of what makes America great and why we should be thankful for the blessings of liberty and cognizant of the responsibilities that come with citizenship.

America is a grand experiment in humanity because it’s the only country without a national identity. Americans are from every corner of the planet. We’re a motley collection of races, customs, languages, creeds and traditions. We are the most diverse group of humans ever assembled in one country and diversity is inherently much more difficult to achieve than homogeneity. The tie that binds us together is our devotion to liberty for all. Prior to the founding of this country, nationalism had been the driving force of humanity and hatred for those who did not look like us or talk like us was rampant. The history of the world is one of fear, bigotry and suffering at the hands of our perceived enemies. America changed all of that. Nationalities, who had fought for hundreds of years, came to America and set aside their differences in order to gain their freedom from oppression.

The Founding Fathers crafted a Constitution that insured the rights of individuals would never be usurped by government. The world has never been the same since our Constitutional Republic was founded and now most countries have some kind of rules to abide by. Even the most despotic nations have some form of representation even if it’s powerless. Tyranny has been dying a very slow death since 1776 and it will not go away quietly. For 241 years America has stood up to tyranny by asking people from all over the world to join our cause, the emancipation of humanity.

We even had to admit our failings when it came to slavery and a lot of good men died to make amends for that sin. When the founders wrote about a more perfect union they readily admitted that what we had was not perfect and it never would be but that just means we have to constantly try harder to make it better. Freedom isn’t a destination, it’s a journey of fulfillment. Every day we are asked to work for the common good and every day we struggle against our innate human weaknesses. None of us is perfect and so we have an imperfect world where our prejudices divide us and keep us from finding the common ground of the common good. Tyranny will only win if we stop trying. It’s the effort we make that insures our freedom, not the words in the Constitution.

Every day of our lives as Americans we are asked to contribute to our country. Some of us give all we have, like my neighbor, but all of us have to give something. When I leave the house each day to work with foster kids, I don’t ask people who they voted for or what party they belong to or what nationality they are. I honestly don’t care if they share the exact same traits as I do. All I want to know is how I can help them. My mission is simple, find someone who needs help and take care of them, no questions asked. That’s real freedom. I am making a conscious decision to exercise my freedom to choose and I am acting on my beliefs. No one is telling me what to do or how to do it. I will never be more free than that.

Freedom is essential to the future of mankind and this planet. We are never going to totally agree with every last thing our government decides. Even when our beliefs don’t line up with new legislation that doesn’t mean we stop trying to help each other. If we become dependent on government for all of our needs then we will be right back where we started from with just a modern form of tyranny. It’s up to us, not Washington, to keep America great. In fact, the more we do for each other, the less power the politicians will have over us. That’s the great thing about individual freedom, it removes the possibility of tyranny but only if we accept the responsibility that is required. The tie that binds us together should be the love of freedom, not the absence of tyranny.

What makes America the strongest country on Earth is our differences and our ability to work around them. We may never see the end of prejudice but we must find ways to accept one another as we are. I know I’m not perfect and therefore I have no right to judge others. My only expectation for others is this simple request, “Please accept me as I am and I will do the same for you. Then let’s work together to make this life better for both of us.” If we all resolve to act accordingly, we will have more freedom than we have ever known.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“I did not attend his funeral; but I wrote a nice letter saying I approved of it.” (Mark Twain)

Before the politically correct censors come and take me away to the half-wits house, (it’s just a pun) I would like to take this opportunity to share some of my favorite jokes, puns and humorous commentary with the poor starving masses of the younger generation who were born too late to know what a real sense of humor sounds like.

When I was a child, in the 60’s, there were many TV shows with great comedy routines and expert comedians like Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Carol Burnett, Groucho Marx, George Burns, Flip Wilson and Mel Brooks. These people were genuinely talented and they could make you laugh so hard you might even wet your pants. I can’t count how many times ice cream shot out of my nose when I was watching them perform. Now I’m sure they had great joke writers backstage who were paid handsomely to produce funny material but they still had to perform it and give it the right look and perfect timing. Red Skelton could make more funny faces than anyone and everyone of them fit the joke to perfection. It’s really a lost art and now that Robin Williams is gone, we may have seen the last of the great comedians who could make you laugh with just their expression.

As an ode to this wonderful art form I have taken it upon myself to find and post these classic examples of jokes we will surely lose if political correctness achieves it’s ultimate goal, the stupification of America. I promise that on my death bed I will still be telling jokes, no matter who tries to stop me.

Let the fun begin.

“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” Mae West

“Men are superior to women. For one thing they can urinate from a speeding car.” Will Durst

“She was so ugly she could make a mule back away from an oat bin.” Will Rogers

“I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex and rich food. He was healthy right up to the time he killed himself.” Johnny Carson

“A terrible thing happened again last night. Nothing” Phyllis Diller

“It was so cold I almost got married.” Shelly Winters

“It wasn’t exactly a divorce. I was traded.” Tim Conway

“The baby was so ugly they had to hang a pork chop around its neck to get the dog to play with it.” Unknown

“Tips for Americans travelling abroad. Carry the Koran. Paint a red dot on your forehead. Wear sandals. Never ask how the Mets are doing.” Mark Russell

“I once made love for an hour and fifteen minutes but it was the night the clocks are set ahead.” Gary Shandling

“France is a country where the money falls apart and you can’t tear the toilet paper.” Billy Wilder

“Reality is a crutch for people who can’t cope with drugs.” Lily Tomlin

“If it weren’t for pickpockets, I’d have no sex life at all.” Rodney Dangerfield

“There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?” Woody Allen

“I caused my husband’s heart attack. In the middle of lovemaking I took the paper bag off my head. He dropped the Polaroid and keeled over and so did the hooker. It would have taken me half an hour to untie myself and call the paramedics but fortunately the Great Dane could dial.” Joan Rivers

“It took me an hour to bury the cat because it wouldn’t stop moving.” From the Monty Python Show

“The fuchsia is the world’s most carefully spelled flower.” Jimmy Barnes

“If you shoot at mimes should you use a silencer?” Steven Wright

“The old neighborhood has changed. Hurley Brothers Funeral Home is now called Death ‘n’ Things.” Elmore Leonard

“All men make mistakes but married men find out about them sooner.” Red Skelton

“Instead of getting married again I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and give her a house.” Lewis Grizzard

“I never believed in Santa Claus because I knew no white dude would ever come into my neighborhood after dark.” Dick Gregory

There now, don’t you feel better? Laughter is the best medicine.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” (Anais Nin)

Happy New Year Everyone. Welcome to 2017. As we begin to think about our goals for the coming year I would like to offer a suggestion. Let’s all be encourageous. It’s a new word for a new year and my goal is to make it the word of the year. It means simply to be outrageously encouraging. I’m done with being discouraged, beaten down and giving up. I intend to spend the rest of my life sharing encouragement with everyone I meet. Here’s how I will spread the gospel of being encourageous.

To be encourageous we must act. Words are not enough. Every day we share our lives with others. How we interact with other people is all on us. Let me give you one example of how easy it is to be encourageous. I was in the grocery store recently when I noticed an older woman using one of the store’s scooters. She was clearly struggling to find an item that was on a shelf she couldn’t reach from her seat. I walked over and asked if she needed help. She told me what she wanted and after much searching and reaching to the far back corner of the shelf, I found the box she needed. She thanked me profusely and I said I was happy to help. She smiled and her eyes lit up with the joy that comes from a shared moment of humanity. I was equally happy and left her with my most sincere wish that she should have a wonderful day. It doesn’t get any easier than that. One minute of my life was all it took to be encourageous.

We all need and want encouragement and the more the merrier. And I’m not talking about that “Every kid’s a winner” nonsense. Being encourageous is more than positive reinforcement. It’s the genuine acknowledgement of the value we place on other people by the way we treat them. We all need healthy relationships that provide us with the means to give as much as we get. The words we use in our interactions with others are the building blocks of our humanity but our actions are the cement that holds it all together. We can’t say, “Have a nice day” and not smile at the same time. I love people who smile and who look right at me. It makes me smile too and somewhere in my brain a little chemical reaction takes place that brings me real, tangible happiness. All of us have the innate ability to create happiness in the lives of those we meet by simply smiling and offering encouragement or a helping hand.

Being encourageous is a mindset that seeks out opportunities to help. As we encounter people each day we must look for signs of their condition. I saw two women on the side of the road one day and they were obviously distressed. The car was not running and they had no phone, so I stopped long enough to make a few calls to get help. It made me late for my next appointment but it was worth it and I still smiled and wished them well. For a brief moment, I could tell it helped. Compassion for others is the most fundamental trait we possess as humans. At that moment what they needed most, was my time and my willingness to help.

I believe that tomorrow can always be better than today. It’s up to us to make it better but there’s really nothing stopping us from making the world better for everybody. Having said that, I will admit that the recent past has been difficult and lots of people are very discouraged and afraid of the future. That’s why outrageous encouragement is going to be so important. To overcome this malaise we must try harder than ever to find compassion in our hearts and to act accordingly. The media sells fear and loathing on a daily basis because it is profitable not because it’s true. Fear is the polar opposite of being encourageous. I’m not afraid of anybody because I’m not afraid to die trying. God can call me home any time he wants me but while I’m still breathing I am going to be encourageous. I am going to thank those who help me. I am going to help those who are struggling. I am going to encourage those who have doubts. I am going to find the good in people, no matter how hard I have to try.

What have we got to lose by being encourageous? It’s a great word that needs to be repeated daily. It will become the word of the year if we just start each day by recognizing the universal need for compassion. Being encourageous will change our lives forever and the world will never be the same again. Wouldn’t we all like to be part of that movement? Everyone I meet has the God-given ability to change the world or at least their corner of it. I believe that ability is also an obligation. We are responsible for making life on this planet the best it can be for all of us, not just those we agree with. Let’s make 2017 the year when being encourageous became the turning point for humanity, when goodness overcame evil, when harmony replaced discord, when trust overcame fear and when all of humanity finally found the courage to do the right thing. I can’t wait. I’m going to start right now.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

“So this is Christmas and what have you done?” (John Lennon)

When I got up this morning my thermometer read -8 degrees. Late last night after midnight, as I pondered over this blog post I could hear the snow plow slowly cleaning my street. With my gas furnace quietly keeping me alive and my street being plowed so I can get out when I need to, I was suddenly reminded of how great my life really is and I have lots of amazing people to thank for it.

In the history of the world life has never been this easy for most people. Only in the last 100 years has technology made it possible for us to not have to worry about our daily existence. My grandfather heated his house in Minnesota with firewood, just to survive the sub-zero temperatures. He cut trees and sawed logs all year long so he would have enough stored up to make it through the winter. I have never had to do anything like that and I would wager that 99% of the people who are reading this blog never have either. We take a lot for granted these days but let’s all say thanks to the people among us who make our lives possible.

I heat my house with natural gas that comes from drilling holes in the ground. I have no idea how hard that work is but I can imagine it’s not fun, especially considering some of the remote places they have to go to get to it. Drilling for oil in the North Sea or Alaska has to be brutally hard work. I’m typing this blog on a laptop made of plastics and precious metals. Someone, a lot tougher than I, had to drill for oil to produce the petro-chemicals in the plastics and someone else had to mine the copper and gold by hand to make the micro-circuits that make computers possible. Some other really smart people had to spend years developing computer hardware and software to make it simple enough for someone like me to have a computer on my kitchen table. The internet, smart phones and social media like WordPress would not exist without people who work extremely hard and in some cases even risk their lives to make life easier for the rest of us. I am forever thankful for these amazing people.

This afternoon I’m going to cook a nice dinner, courtesy of some very hard-working farmers who supply everything I need to survive. My wife and I have been growing vegetables in our backyard for years but never enough to make it last all year. Without the incredible skills and dedication of farmers, I would die from starvation. Even the clothes I wear are derived from cotton, wool or synthetics made from petro-chemicals. Again, I don’t have to plant cotton or keep a herd of sheep just so I can make my own clothes. I just go to the store and buy what I need. (Thank God I don’t have to sew.)

I will also be washing some clothes today in a machine built by engineers, supplied with clean water from the city and using detergents made from petro-chemicals. I’m sitting on furniture made from wood in a house made from wood and reading a book made from wood pulp. I have cut down enough trees to know I wouldn’t want to do that dangerous job for a living. I’m really glad someone somewhere wants to do these hard jobs because I don’t. I guess I would if I had to but thankfully I don’t.

Is anyone else noticing a trend here? No matter what the media tells us, the reality is this – humanity is not made up of the haves and the have-nots but rather by the people who will and who will not. Those of us who will not cut trees, dig for oil or drive a tractor at 4 AM are totally dependent on those who will and we better be grateful for everything we have. The media isn’t making my life better, celebrities make no difference whatsoever and politicians make everything more difficult. It’s just us that we have to depend on for our existence. The willingness to serve humanity is all that separates us from extinction. We all have to do our part to make life better and we have to stop being afraid to lend a helping hand to those who look different than we do or speak a different language.

I am always encouraged by the outpouring of faith that occurs during the Christmas season. The message that the birth of Jesus represents is one of humanity for all and the willingness to work for the common good. Jesus gave his life to redeem us, all of us. We can demonstrate our faith in his gift to humanity by carrying on his work. The more willing we are to share in the work that must be done, the better our lives will become. Goodness, compassion and faithfulness will be the fruits of our labors and the Christmas spirit will be fulfilled. This is how Jesus put it, “I came so that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments