Community + care = shock

A man holds the door open and we’re pleasantly surprised. A young woman offers her seat to someone older and were perplexed. A toddler, not yet waist high, wants to help … I’m shocked.

In a community that’s become increasingly closed, these acts of kindness have become so rare, they’re labelled ‘random’.

Random: odd, unusual, or unexpected

Let that sit in for a second. Those kind words, offer of support or gesture of generosity was so odd. When’s the last time you wanted to get up and do something that was odd?

Before you answer, I want to come back to the man holding the door. I’ve been that man and seen that man, I’ve also been turned down being that man. I want to make it clear – holding the door doesn’t insinuate either party is better, bigger, stronger or worthwhile in any way. It shows you care.

In this tiny moment, you no longer have to exert yourself to hold that door. Stride on, smile and enjoy your day!

To the woman giving up her seat: well played sister. Don’t sit around waiting for someone else to show love when we’ve each been gifted with the same ability to love one another.

And to the people who want to cast judgement on the males of similar age who happen to be sitting around this young woman: stop wasting your time. Put your feelings into action (like a blog for example).

Finally to that waist high, three-and-a-half year old community warrior: I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I reacted the way I did wen you wanted nothing more than to hit the street and pick up rubbish, I’m sorry I responded with naawww when you prayed for people who don’t have homes and I’m sorry I cannot turn back the clock and do it again.

Recent research from IPSOS confirms that we are getting older and that we’re worried about ourselves and our own. It also indicates the next generation cares!

Whether because they haven’t been burnt by the world or they’re desperately want glorification through community impact, let’s celebrate their desire and be inspired.

Next time the door is held open, a seat is offered or, in my case, your child wants to do voluntary work, say thanks and be inspired.

If it takes a village to raise a child what will it take to save the world?

Advertisements

Bali bullet holes

Bali, the long time holiday destination of choice for many Australians, is now being considered as public enemy number one by the same number.

It’s been well documented, so I don’t want to run through the details but it is situations like this that urged me to begin to write here.

Over a decade ago 9 young Australians unsuccessfully attempted to smuggle drugs into Indonesia. They knew the penalty and this morning, 2 of them received the maximum.

Andrew Chan  and Myuran Sukumaran now have Bali bullet holes in their chest.

Their lives lost, their families crushed and  international politics are mess. Despite this damage, I find the largest holes in my own community. It’s displayed ‘proudly’ on social media and justified by archaic law. “They knew the consequences” they say.

They did and more do now but at what cost is such a lack of compassion to our community?

Prison should never be about punishment but reform. If we are drawn into a heartless ‘do the crime pay the time’ system we are no better than the long lost operators of POW camps. And we know the horror they bring.

Yes, you may have guessed, #istandformercy but more steadfast, I stand for love. Let’s not be drawn into spiteful arguments but discuss the problem at it’s roots instead of face value.

Let’s find sense is the senseless together.

Life, and a prison system, without compassion is one of prejudice, hate and fear. Is this community?

Christmas is here … where are you?

Christmas lights have been on the horizon for a few months now; increasing in brightness as they edge slowly towards us. Their multi coloured brilliance filled us with hope and joy that many would now consider false.

Christmas is upon us. The world is in pain. Where are you?

From Sydney’s Martin Place to Ferguson and the Bronx, violence is flashing at each turn. From Pakistan to Cairns the lights of evil and pain shine brightly. And here we are, just a few days from Christmas.

Let’s celebrate love this Christmas.

Dear lonely ISIS soldier

image
Dear lonely ISIS soldier,

I hope you don’t mind me using that term, soldier. This is how I see you despite how western media labeling you less than human; you’re fighting for what you believe in and a unified force … The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Like any soldier more common to my Western World, you support your leader wholeheartedly. Whether you have a long beard or not, this commitment must be commended. But I am writing this letter to you today to question this very commitment.

Do you really believe in what you’re fighting for? Do you think, no do you believe violence is the answer?

Please don’t get angry at my questions, what do I know? I’m just another man on the other side of the world trying to make sense of a world that is feasting on its inhabitants. Just take a moment to answer them; publicly, with your brothers or in your mind.

Our world view begins at a young age. I know mine is through the loving eyes of Jesus, what forms your world view? While on Jesus though, I want to apologize for the fallen humans that have failed to live up to their proclaimed faith.

Please put down the gun. It isn’t the answer. Love is.

Sadly it’s a foreign concept worldwide but it starts with one, one desperately lonely soldier surrounded by extremist blindly following a leader bent on revenge. Please Mr ISIS soldier, I know you have it in you, answer the question: Is love the answer?

Thank you for challenging me on my prejudice. Prior to answering my question myself I sat next to a man on the train and was nervous purely because of his beard and traditional clothing.

I am sorry so many of my brothers and sisters still judge you and I am sorry so many will continue to do so for a long time.

Love is the answer Mr ISIS supporter and it starts with us.

Love,

Mr hopeful Westerner

Love yourself and you’ll find you’re not alone

First of all l want to take the opportunity to say that I realise low self esteem isn’t something we choose. It is however all too common in our world not to fight the negative effects it has on our neighbours.

Dear neighbour, are there mirrors in your house?

Don’t be mistaken, this isn’t an accusation of hypocrisy. Just an honest question. If you’re one of the billions to label themselves ‘ugly’, ‘fat’ or a combination of both, you’ll not only know exactly where each mirror is but the location of every surface.

I urge you to take a good look in the biggest mirror your own.

What do you see? Take another look and this time seek the reflection just past the hideous monster you saw previously. Discard the opinions of the world along with your pre conceived thoughts on your own appearance.

Two eyes, two ears and a nose and a mouth, you’re blessed beyond belief.

You have sight, sound and the ability to share your thoughts. The emotional walls you’ve built around yourself are not required. You don’t have to do anything yet your heart beats and your lungs fill with air. You are beautiful, made perfect in creation.

What do others think of you?

It would be perpetuating a cliché to say “it doesn’t matter what other people think” or to “not worry about it”, so I won’t. The reality is that we have been made to live in relationships, to share our thoughts, emotions and lives. What those close to you matter, I get that but I also know life is a battle if you cannot rise above it.

The world doesn’t hate you!

Despite what has happened in the past and what you believe people think of you, the world doesn’t hate you.

So here’s the challenge…

Look into that mirror and find something to love about yourself … anything. It is my hope that this seemingly insignificant finding will be the start of much bigger journey in your life. A journey of discovery, healing and growth. A period of life that will redefine the way you think about yourself, the world and the people around you that previously controlled your emotions.

I’ll end this in the same way the great NYC preacher, Carl Lentz, begins his messages “turn to the person next to you and say you look awesome today“.

Never underestimate the effect you have in this world!

What I learnt from ‘No phone Sunday’

It’s Monday morning, that can only mean one thing … I survived No phone Sunday

Not only did I survive it, I am living today with a deeper understanding of my life. Talk about winning!?

For those who have read my last post, and I’m guessing you are not, considering it’s a 1 in 2.3 million chance, I applied a 24 hour phone ban on myself last week. I made this decision for two reasons; to heighten my level of appreciation for the blessings that surround me and to put a stop to the habitual use of my phone.

I woke on Sunday morning, like I do every other. “Dadda, I wanna go”, my two-year old know’s I will come, when she calls my name. I leave both, my wife sleeping and my phone switched off.

Within ten minutes, I experience my first urge. It’s nothing serious, just a simple thought, “has anyone bid on my online auction?.

I ignore this thought as nothing but on reflection it’s a sign that I check my phone way too much! I was in a place of bliss, laying beside my daughter’s bed, her hand in mine, and I wanted to check on online auction.

It’s time’s like this, I need a slap to slap myself in the face. Wake up kid!

No phone Sunday was a success, but this wasn’t the only learning. In the same 24 hours, I learnt:

  • My phone is not a necessity
  • I am blessed beyond my words
  • I have more free time than I appreciate
  • When I’m not concerned by taking photos of beauty, I see more beauty
  • I have a habit that needs breaking
  • I don’t need to know who reads this
  • It’s what’s offline that really matters

What started out as a phone is now a computer, diary and unfortunately a time vacuum. I mean, am I crazy to call it a phone if no one calls me?  

So again, in 6 days time it’ll be No phone Sunday, increasingly, my favourite day.

Senselessbanner

No phone Sundays

We are all guilty of this at times ... oblivious to our world

We are all guilty of this at times … oblivious to our world


I’d been thinking about it already, but taking this photo confirmed it … I need a break from my phone. 

My plan isn’t severe, I’ll take baby steps at first. I’ve decided to ditch the phone for Sunday.

I’ve always maintained that I would never prioritise checking my phone, and by checking I mean; monitoring sports results, looking at social media, reading the news, sharing images, checking view counts on this blog or other equally important tasks, over my family. But, if I were honest … it’s already happened.

Think of the smiles of missed while checking emails, most of which are junk and the beautiful sights I would have seen if I wasn’t busy sharing the one I saw earlier on instagram.

My phone is stealing from me and it’s time I took it back.

A promise could be made to ‘look at my phone less’, but I know that will not work. I’d slowly slide back to where I am, a place that kind of hurts. Instead I will turn it off Saturday night and leave it till Monday, that way guaranteed , I’m free all of Sunday.

Free to communicate, with my voice, and hand expressions if I like. Free to spend time, just time, with whoever that I like. 

I will attempt to look at my phone less day one through to six,  but the seventh no matter what, is strictly a no phone day.

It’s only one day, I hear you ask, as you read this post from your phone.

I realise this it’s only small, but I hope that it will work. The roll on effect will be good for me and my family.

My phone has become a habit, I check it like folk smoke. Sometimes I feel I need it, other times I make  myself choke. One day a week will be the start of my recovery. Soon I will be breathing fresh, with my beautiful family!

If any of this has struck a chord with you, maybe you should consider the same. Put down your phone, choose to be free and enjoy your own Sunday.

***DISCLAIMER: I REALISE YOU HAVE MOST LIKELY COME TO READ THIS AFTER SEEING A LINK ON YOUR PHONE. I AM NOT JUDGING OTHERS, SIMPLY JOURNEYING ON MY OWN***

SENSE

We all deserve Love, even Lanza

Before you read this, you must understand. I do not support the recent actions of Adam Lanza at all. I am purely writing based on the events as they’ve been reported to me and they are influenced by my beliefs and outlook on life.

Waking on Saturday morning, I skimmed the headlines.

Massacre in school. Shamefully, I didn’t even flinch when I read the words.

A headline written maybe just to grab my attention or sadly as predictable, yet another American shooting.

The information regarding the tragic events in Newport Connecticut continues to flood in, as authorities carry out their investigations. So to does background information on Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old apparently behind the trigger and his family.

The world has a pure hunger for this information, we demand to know. As humans, we feel we must know why!?

At times like this we cannot expect sense.

Yet we continue waste our time seeking it. Even though we’d be far better spending our time supporting those directly effected.

543339-connecticut-school-shootingThe ink, not yet dried on those first headlines but veiled as “finding sense” we’ve begun to blame. A mother slain portrayed as a gun lover, a socially disconnected son pictured as “strange” but, even as far as President Obama is concerned is fuel for gun control.

Adam Lanza was obviously one troubled soul. Wether, by character or illness, one could never say he was thinking straight. As someone who doesn’t suffer from a mental illness, I am thankful his mind is now at rest but terribly saddened, that his troubles pulled so many others down with him.

The number of hate pages on Facebook dedicated to Adam, only 24 hours after the shooting was evidence enough of our faulty human nature. We immediately want to hate instead of grieve the loss and support those effected.

The fallen human is the real cause here. Evil and it’s existence. We all deserve love, even Adam Lanza. He too, a victim of evil.

Love is the only way to defeat this evil.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that” Martin Luther King Jnr, a man before his time. His words, forever remembered.

Apart from “Lanza’s evilness”, America’s long-standing right to arms has been blamed at large, less than an hour before this very shooting Michael Moore tweeted to remind all. “There have been 31 shootings since Columbine”, the school at the centre of his 2002, documentary “Bowling for Columbine”.

I personally, do not see any reason for a person to have a gun in the home aside from animal control on a farm or rural property. Reasons of defence and safety should not require a home be armed. Yet still, ask an American, and you’re questioning their right to freedom.

“Are we prepared to say that such violence visited upon our children year after year is simply the price of our freedom?” Thankfully, even President Obama is starting to publicly question that freedom.

As long as darkness exists, gun control policy is just a limitation, not the required light.

I am praying for the families of the children and teachers that have passed. So too, each and every member of Newport’s small community. I urge you to do the same. And don’t forget the Lanza’s.

Pray that they may all find the love and support they need to survive this situation. 

SENSE

You cannot hide from truth

10, 9, 8….3,2,1. Ready or not here I come. 

I already know where he’s hiding, he’ll be behind the toy chest in his room, feet sticking out beside the bed. He hides there every time. Making my way down the hall, floorboards creek under my feet. Where are you? I ask, my pace is slow.

I check under the bed and feint disappointment when he’s not there. Behind the door and in the cupboard, the same sequence plays out.

If his clearly visible legs aren’t enough, his excitement that gives him away. A giggle or shift in his position is enough. THERE YOU ARE, I act surprised as I pull away the chest.

You can’t see me, he screams, covering his eyes in a last ditch attempt.  He’s in full light yet he denies that he can be seen. Sounds like a silly childish act and it may well be, but it’s one that is often repeated in our adult lives.

We all believe that we are living in the real world, we’d be ashamed to admit to living in a dream. For me, there are some days I wish I was living in a dream world. There’d be no pain, no suffering and justice for all… but that’s just a pipe dream right?

Wrong, it doesn’t have to be that way. Ghandi said it best with these famous words. “Be the change you want to see in the world”

The truth is, reality scares me daily, but the more I think about the more scared I become. I cannot bring myself to face the full brunt of it. Most days I’ll shut it out completely, far more comfortable in my own world and on the other days, I look at it through squinted eyes.

A man of many words, known best for his musical ability showed his wisdom with a few choice words. Elvis defined truth to be like the sun. You can block it out but it aint going away.

Truth and Light

You wont find many arguments for myself or others that it is far easier to live in a bubble, with blinkers on or in extreme cases, with your eyes shut. You will however find plenty of opposition if you suggest this as the best way to live.

What are you avoiding in your life…there’s a good chance you’re living in a dream world. Have you dealt with the pain you experienced earlier in your life? Are you open to the world’s plight? Take the shields from your eyes, it’ll hurt, it’s going to be bright but the long term goal is peace. Understanding will come.

I understand we all will have different beliefs and “truths”, both perceived and comforting but I stand today to say…

There is only one absolute truth in our world and that is love. 

I don’t mean the soppy love expressed in reality TV nor the love shown by husband and wife. This love transcends that as it does one final kiss on their deathbed. This love comes without conditions. It has no known limits and incomprehensible power. This love is pure as it is purposeful.

Love is God

SENSE

CHILDREN: designed to be loved

I carry her to the cot and lay her down gently. The covers fall softly on her as she holds tightly to her blankie. A kiss on the forehead proceeds three whispered words…”I love you”.

My heart is filled with loving warmth leaving her room. She is not yet two years old, her name is Marley and I could never hurt her.

I believe as parents we are designed to have some unexplainable feeling of tenderness to our children, so I won’t try to explain it. What I will say is that I loved my child the moment I saw her.

I don’t think I’m a unique father, man or parent but it does shock me that children are unloved is this world.

Statistics of child abuse simply shouldn’t exist.

The senseless abuse of the innocent its yet another sign of our world’s brokenness. Lust and depravity lead to perverted thoughts involving children and anger and hate lead to violence. We must all confront the brokenness that surround us, living in avoidance will not solve anything.

My memories at six years of age are filled with cartoons, birthday parties and my pet dog cuddles (yes, we named our dog cuddles). Can you imagine being six years old and being subjected to perverted images or worse, being forced to create them?

A child was designed to be loved as a parent was designed to love. The problem begins if parents were not loved as children, chances are this terrible crime will be repeated. We need to make a stand. Only together can we rid this world of abuse.

So parents love you’re children, aunties and uncles, the same applies for you too.

Don’t have kids, love others or donate to a charity that’ll do the work for you.

Above all, we are all role models, signs of what’s to come.

Children will copy what they see, make sure is not dumb.

The calls of Daddy wake me from my slumber, Marley is obviously awake. That generally, late nights excluded, fills me with joy.

Then the though hits me…Marley wakes and calls for “Dadda”, others wake and scream in fear. The contrast couldn’t be greater. I don’t blame the children…their lives are being destroyed.

I enter Marley’s room quietly and find her standing in her cot. No matter how tired I am I love seeing her arms reach out instantly, as if without thought. The word “Dadda” fills the room as love fills my heart. The connection so real, our smiles cannot be helped.

Picking her up I tell her “you’re loved, we’re blessed but many others are not”.

Make a stand against child abuse today.