Indifference

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

(Elie Wiesel)

Suggested Resources:

Night (Elie Wiesel)

All Rivers Run to the Sea: Memoirs (Elie Wiesel)

 

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Dostoevsky On Truth and Self-Deception

Dostoevsky

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” (Fyodor Dostoevsky)

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Here’s to Teachers!

Teachers

“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40)

It is very hard indeed to underestimate the impact and value that our teachers leave on our lives.  This holds true for both good and bad.  When we are young, especially, teachers exert a profound guiding influence on our lives.

Some years ago, I asked a number of colleagues at work to tell me about the teachers who made the biggest impression on them..  Who were their favorites?  What did they learn from them?  What set them apart from others?

I don’t remember the specifics of the responses I got.  That was over fifteen years ago.  I do remember, however, that the one common response was that the finest and most beloved teachers showed personal interest and affection for their students.

One learns from this that just as “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” so the proverb goes, so the way to a person’s mind is through the heart.  We learn best, often, from those who love us.  It stimulates us to want to please them and take an interest in what is most important to them.

On my own list, I remember elementary and high school teachers who took an interest in me and whose love for their subjects infected me.  Grace Jones–4th Grade.  Judy Essex–French.  Mike Brundage–Biology.  Add to that music teachers and seminary professors who stimulated me to go deeper than the average bear in music and theology.  Don Koerber–Guitar.  Dr. Paul Livermore–Theology.  These all made a deep imprint that remains.  I bet you could share similar lists.

Who are your favorite teachers?  What subjects did they hold forth on that stimulated your love and interest?  What is the difference between a good and a bad teacher in your own lives?

Teach us.

The new academic year is upon us.  A season of learning new and fascinating things has begun.  Love a teacher today.  We don’t pay them nearly enough for what they do.

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Love: The Less Traveled Road

“Love is the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth… Love is as love does. Love is an act of will — namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.”

–M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

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Greatness: Mother Teresa On Loving Others

I remember the night Princess Diana died.  A young and promising life came to an abrupt, tragic end on the streets of Paris as her driver tried to outrun vultures (that’s Greek for paparazzi).

The news coverage over the next week was overwhelming as the world mourned this beautiful and tragic figure.  I remember watching the royal funeral, her young sons now without a mother, Elton John singing a moving and updated version of “Candle In The Wind,” the hearse bearing her broken body strewn with flowers as she passed by the citizens of the realm to her final resting place.

Lost in all the sorrow and news of the passing of the Princess of Wales was the death of another woman.  Dynamite comes in small packages.  Mother Teresa was not five feet tall and changed the world through her love and care for the forgotten and destitute on the streets of Calcutta.

She died the same night as the Princess.  She too was royal.

It is a tragic convergence of events where a truly great human being has died the same day as a celebrity or a world leader.  CS Lewis died the same day President Kennedy was assassinated.  The greatness of CS Lewis can hardly be exaggerated.

A hero of mine, keyboardist Richard Souther, posted this quote this evening from Mother Teresa.  I leave it with you.

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

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The Wind Beneath Your Wings

One of life’s gifts is to have someone in your life who knows you better than you know yourself.  One who brings out the best in you and others.  One who helps you to take off and fly.  Gives you more than a life.

Today I celebrate my very best friend.  It’s her birthday.  She is the wind beneath my wings and I love her more than life itself.  There are no other words.  I am so privileged to be married to such a marvelous, beautiful, and intelligent woman.  I love you Kath.  Happy Birthday, my sweet angel.  The best is yet to come!

Looking Or Seeing?

Kath and I in Boston Harbor

I’m learning that to look into the eyes of another human being is not necessarily the same thing as seeing them.  I think the eyes are the most beautiful feature of any human being.  Because when I look into someone’s eyes, I get a glimpse into their soul.

Sometimes I see hope.

Sometimes I see mischief.

Sometimes I see pain.

Sometimes profound goodness.

Often, I see someone whose soul seems to communicate this question: “Do you see me?”

Over the years I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of people.  Perhaps the most complimentary thing I’ve ever heard is when someone remarks thus, “When he is with you, it’s as if you’re the only person on earth.”  Complete focus.  Courtesy.  Eschewing superficiality, manifested in canned replies and hollow laughter.  Undistracted.

Someone has said that one of the most profound expressions of love you can give to another human being is to pay attention to them.

Are you seeing those around you?