Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Not just change - but real revolution!

I enjoyed a good visit with my folks in Sarasota yesterday. One of the perks of this writing gig is the ability to set my own schedule; so lunch in Sarasota with Mum and Dad simply means setting aside four hours and driving down. It was a beautiful day to have the roof open (just a little), the windows cracked, and the rock-'n-roll cranked!

My reward was a big slice of my mum's famous "Christmas pud", served with hot yellow custard, mince pie and a large mug of tea. Christmas pudding is - essentially - an English-style fruit cake that's been steamed. And - for those "fruit cake nay-sayers" out there - English fruit cake is not in any way comparable to the infamous North American variety that can be used as a door-jam, foundation material for tall buildings, ammunition in large-bore cannon, and ballast for any household project that needs stabilizing.

My dad is continuing to do stellar work in his recovery from open-heart surgery. He walked five miles before lunch and looks better than ever. He's a great example of why "It's not what happens to you, it's how you respond" has always been a great mantra in our family. Dad is making great choices and it shows.

In fact, there are always two distinct choices in any situation: "Is my fate going to be determined by forces that I have no control over?" or, "Am I going to live to my potential, regardless of the challenges and difficulties that present themselves?"

I'd even go so far as to argue that it is adversity that often releases potential that is otherwise being ignored.

For example:
A few days ago I blogged about a couple of the personalities I interviewed for my newspaper column last week. One of the subjects - Althea Kironde-Lee - was a teen and young-adult in New York during the early 1960's. It was a time of social unrest and change was in the air...

“People talk about revolution,” she said, “but we lived revolution because we had no choice. We knew the leaders in the community (Brooklyn) and the meetings were at our house. But revolution died in this country – today we’re too comfortable and that’s it.”

Vital change - both in our own lives and in society - too often waits to be initiated by crisis. In my first book, "GET REAL: a spiritual journey for men" I devote a whole chapter to talking about the crisis that led to a real reformation in my marriage.

Very often it's our comfort that gets in the way of revolution. But, and here's today's "take away", We don't have to wait for crisis to get on with revolution!

Short history lesson:
Most people don't realize that England came very close to experiencing the same kind of bloody revolution that led to the French guillotine and the Russian Bolshevik uprising. Careful students of history, however, point to the Methodist revival and the resultant transformation of social conscience as a key element in substituting positive social change for a violent overthrow of the status quo.

But - and this is very important - each new day can be one more small step forward in personal revolution:
  • We don't have to wait for a marriage to be on the rocks to begin putting our spouse ahead of ourselves...
  • We don't have to wait for desperation to invite God into the details of our daily live...
  • We don't have to wait for children to be gone before we realize how much we love them...
  • We don't have to wait for financial stress before putting our house in order...
  • We don't have to wait for discrimination to enter our neighborhood before working for social justice...
Today could be the day you begin the revolution!

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