As I read the news each day, trying to make sense of the things happening in this world, I sometimes think I fall further and further behind, rather than making any progress in my attempt to understand these things. I guess part of the reason for that is the whirlwind speed with which the events I’m familiar with change as well as how quickly new events are added to the mix, and quite often the newer events directly impact the older, adding a whole different dimension to the problem, so that sometimes I’m left wondering if there is really any sense in trying to keep up with these things in the first place? Though I may hesitate somewhat at first, the answer to that particular question is always quite easy to arrive at, it’s always the same, and it’s always , “Yes”. For myself at least, I have to try and understand what it is that makes this world tick, what makes some people so happy, and some people so sad, and yet others, apparently so oblivious to the whole thing, and seemingly quite content in their lack of knowledge regarding their fellow man/woman, and the world they exist in.
The process of exploration for me, the means by which I delve into the mysteries before me, are quite varied, and sometimes I’ll favor one way, while at other times I’ll try something different. I’ve had mixed degrees of success using each of the methods, and I’ve encountered many times when none of them have worked to my complete satisfaction. As a Christian, one of the first avenues I’ll very often turn down will be prayer and Bible study. With a Christian and comparative religions library in my house of close to 1500 books, it’s a good source of material if the problem I’m dealing with is of a religious or ethical nature. Also very handy for dealing with problems of a Social nature, as well as other related fields.
I also have secular books to turn to if the need arises, and while my secular library is not as extensive as my Christian library, I am connected, of course, to the Internet, and very well versed in hunting down information related to whatever topic I am currently investigating. As well as using the Internet as a Library, I maintain a Blog, and more importantly, I loosely follow in excess of 200 other blogs covering a range of opinions and topics. Apart from the blogs that I follow, I use Google+, and subscribe to several newspapers. I don’t use Facebook, having cut all ties with Mr. Zuckerberg’s organization almost 2 years ago, and even refusing to comment on any site that uses a Facebook comment tool (since Facebook would use that as implied permission to re-open my account even though they know it’s the last thing I would want).
And then, finally, there is personal contact with other individuals, which anybody who knows me will realize is very few people because of some childhood issues I have that make it somewhat difficult to cultivate close friendships. Nevertheless, there are a few these days (perhaps a sign of successful counselling), and I would be remiss if I did not include them as one of the means through which I try to work these things out. And there is another one, a very large one really, and one that you should all be quite familiar with. It’s the one that I’m going to end this piece with, and the reason it works so well is that it relaxes me in a way that is unique to itself. When I engage in this practice, my mind settles down, and even my heart and my breathing seem to benefit. Naturally I’m talking about taking pictures, and also checking out those pictures from time to time. So with all that said, let me end this with just a little gallery, and my fondest wish that you’ll find an enjoyable picture or two in the mix. Actually, you’ll find the pictures right after a quote I found by the same gentleman whom you might remember for his quote that became known as the Alcoholic’s Anonymous Prayer. I thought this quote of his was very fitting to this post, so I thought I’d share it with you just before the pictures.
“Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope.
Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.
No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.”
(“The Irony of American History”)