When I saw this scene near Mt. Storm, WV, a multitude of questions zipped through my mind. Why was this old farm truck parked under this giant sugar maple tree? What stories could it tell? What had it hauled during all those years of service? Did the farmer have a special place in his heart for this faithful old truck? Did he park it under the tree for protection? Did he park it close to the highway for others to enjoy?
I don’t know any of the answers to those questions. However, I do know that the truck and the tree caught my attention. There was something poetic about the ancient tree sheltering the old vehicle like a hen protecting its chick. Whatever the reasons, “Old Truck, Old Tree” is my Photo of the Week.
I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions. In general, I think they are just so much hype without much substance. For those who are serious about such resolutions, however, I wish you the very best at keeping and meeting those New Year challenges.
Not making resolutions doesn’t mean I don’t desire to improve the world and myself. I do with all my heart. I’ve discovered in my many years of living that it takes more than wishing.
Drive and desire are key ingredients to making the world a better place for all of us to live. And by all of us, I mean every single human being. In the eyes of the Maker, we all have equal worth. Those are His words, not mine.
With that in mind, I want 2018 to be the best year yet. Given the world’s troubles, that’s going to take the work of all of us to help make that happen.
That’s the thing with resolutions. They tend to be too individualized. However, working together creates a more substantial margin for success. If we want to improve the world, we have to help one another.
Let’s agree to make our surroundings more beautiful, peaceful, kind, inviting, welcoming. I can’t do it alone. I’ll need lots of help. You and you and you. Regardless of our political affiliations, religion, race, ethnic background, one by one we can together resolve to bring peace to this too troubled world.
We don’t all have to agree on how that gets done. Too often the details are what derail us from accomplishing anything good at all. Forget the details. If we are clear on the aim and outcome, a legitimate process is required. It doesn’t have to be complicated, however.
As ordinary citizens, we need to strive to do better than the ballyhooed politicians for our families, our communities, our country, our globe, and ourselves. It’s the least we can do for our children, our grandchildren, and all the generations to come.
What’s my grandiose plan for this noble goal of reconciliation and harmony? You and you and you, and me. Together we can help soften the rancor in the world if we only take time to listen to what others are saying, asking, claiming, even accusing. Yes. That’s it. Just genuinely listen to one another. It doesn’t have to be an inquisition, merely face-to-face listening. After hearing the other, ask clarifying questions to ensure understanding. And with that knowledge, we ask more delving questions.
I don’t intend noisiness. I mean sincere inquisitiveness that leads to a mutual understanding of each other. And yes, in the end, we may still respectfully disagree. But just because we may differ on how we see a given situation, listening should not lead to denigrating the other person or the belief they hold. Dialogue should lead to mutual respect for one another. Our integrity as human beings depends on it.
If we agree to focus on clarity of issues, truly listen to one another, and respond with personal respect and understanding, perhaps we can make not only our lives but also the lives of those we affect a tad better, conversation by conversation.
In 2018, can we all at least resolve to try to improve the world by listening without judging? Besides making the world a better, safer place, wouldn’t that also make each one of us better people, too?
From little on up, I have always been an inquisitive person.
One of the neighbor ladies from my suburban rustbelt neighborhood where I grew up must have noticed it. She called me “The Beacon Journal,” in honor of her favorite daily newspaper I presumed.
Seems I was always asking questions. If something happened in the neighborhood, I had to know all the assorted details, whether they were any of my business or not. They usually weren’t.
That inquisitiveness probably had a lot to do with my decision to major in journalism in college. Enjoying writing helped, too.
I still have the same inquiring mind today. The need to know is paramount from my perspective.
No matter what I’m doing, I seem to always be thinking of questions. Oftentimes they are totally unrelated to what I’m doing, which should come as no surprise either.
That mental process happens a lot when I’m on long trips, whether flying or driving. A big rig passes me and I wonder what the trucker is hauling. I see a jet cruise overhead and I wonder what were its points of departure and destination.
I ponder both the ludicrous and the serious stuff of life. In fact, I think about questions so much I started a list. I figured if I shared them with you I just might get some answers.
In no particular order, here are some of the significant questions conjured by my motivated mind.
• Once you pull those folded up canvas chairs out of their covers, does anyone ever put the chairs back in the covers again?
• How is it that you can put four pairs of socks in the laundry and when you retrieve the wash from the dryer you have nine socks and only six match?
• How far back should you stay from a car with the vanity plates H1N1?
• How many chocolate covered raisin clusters equal a serving of fruit?
• Why does it feel colder when it is raining and 36 degrees than it does when it is snowing and 26 degrees?
• Why do referees at high school basketball games wear jackets during the pregame warm-up when the gym is already stifling?
• Why don’t men know how to replace an empty toilet paper holder?
• Why is it that when you are driving with the windshield wipers going and they streak, the streak is always at eye level?
• Why do most people use the top plug in an electrical receptacle first, which blocks the use of the bottom plug?
• Do fish sleep?
• Why is the Big Ten Conference called that when it has 11 schools in its league?
• How can there be such a thing as “live video?”
• Even when they can see the road is inundated, why do drivers daringly head right into flooded roadways, often to be stranded and eventually rescued?
• Why did the Cleveland Indians trade Rocky Colavito for Harvey Kuenn?
• Why do rocks that are naturally imbedded in soil find their way to the surface while rocks that you set in flowerbeds gradually sink?
I suppose I could have Googled for the answers to these pressing questions. But I’d rather hear from you. I look forward to seeing your answers, I think.
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