Gravitas

Gravitas is a word we don’t hear much of these days. It is a Latin word that has made its way into our vocabulary. It means, “dignity, seriousness or solemnity of manner,” according to Oxford Languages.

There is a lot to be serious about these past few weeks since Russia invaded the Ukraine. Unfortunately, thanks to the twenty-four-hour news cycle, some have made comments that show a lack of gravitas or at least good sense. I have heard remarks calling for the assassination of Vladimir Putin. Do not these people remember what started World War I? In 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo. A chain of events followed and Europe was plunged into the First World War. This ended with the loss of 40 million lives and the devastation of Europe.

Many are calling for NATO to establish a No-Fly Zone over the Ukraine. If just one NATO plane is shot down by the Russians, it will invoke Article 5, the commitment clause of the Alliance, forcing all countries in the Alliance to engage in the war. War is hell, there is no doubt about that. We are no longer talking about conventional war though. Many of the nations involved have a nuclear capability and heaven forbid, we could be talking about nuclear war.

Those of us who have lived in the nuclear age know that the possibility of nuclear war is very real and we should be ever so careful to not enter into a conflict that could trigger such a war. Words matter and we need to have a certain gravitas when discussing the possibility of actions that could indeed escalate into a nuclear conflict.

Image by Boa Photo Studio, courtesy of Pixabay.

The Russian Bear

The Russian Bear has surrounded Ukraine with its arm. It is quickly drawing it into its orbit in order to annex it. How long will the Ukrainians be able to hold him off?

When Hitler began to annex countries into the Third Reich, those that were not well armed did not last long.

Czechoslovakia lasted 24 hours.

Poland held him off for 35 days.

France lasted six weeks.

Norway held the Nazis off for two months.

Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. They are brave but not well armed and every day they are able to stand against the might of the Russian army is a miracle. May God help them.

Image by Hakan Carlander. Courtesy of Pixabay.

IQ vs. WQ

In our culture, we admire those that are at the top of their fields. Whether it be sports, entertainment, or science and technology, we hold those that have succeeded up as role models. In any of the scientific or technological disciplines, we admire those that have a very high I.Q. That’s totally understandable but what about their W.Q…their Wisdom Quotient?

As impressive as a high IQ is, there is one quotient that is even more impressive. That is a high Wisdom Quotient. According to Dr. Michael G. Bassous, in his blog post entitled, IQ, EQ,…but what about WQ, “Historically, wisdom has been associated with age, maturity, accomplishments, and/or social status. Early biblical writings refer to King Solomon as being wise, and the Book of Proverbs is full of wisdom sayings.” S. Mitra says, “If properly developed as a tool, Wisdom Quotient will be the future of human intelligence. Unlike IQ/Logical Intelligence and EQ, Emotional Intelligence, WQ (Wisdom Quotient) is still not quantifiable, but it will be in the future.” Maybe it is not all that quantifiable, but we all know people who are extremely bright but have made some really bad decisions because they lack a high or even a moderate Wisdom Quotient.

How many of us, looking back on our lives, would love to have made different decisions? Decisions that could have been better made with more wisdom? Where can we get that needed wisdom? Certainly experience and time give us some, but it is so much easier to get wisdom without having to make bad decisions in order to attain it. We can look at other people’s lives and get some, i.e. learn from their bad or good decisions and incorporate that wisdom into our own thought process. As Dr. Bassous says above, we can also get some from reading the Book of Proverbs.

The Book of Proverbs is chock full of pithy sayings that teach us wisdom. From family relationships, husband and wife relationships, sexuality, finances, work ethics and a host of other subjects, you will find this little book a ready source of wisdom. King Solomon wrote it and many a successful person has used it to guide their lives. What are a few things that Solomon would say to us about wisdom?

In beautiful poetic language, he says, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her and she will promote you; she will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you.” Proverbs 4: 7-9 Lovely words, aren’t they? Kind of makes you want to get some, doesn’t it?

But where do we start when we want wisdom? Again, Proverbs answers that question. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10 I’ve thought about that verse a lot. Why is the fear of the Lord the beginning of wisdom? I’ve concluded that without a respect (holy fear) of the Lord, a person can’t attain all the wisdom he needs in life. If we go through life never acknowledging the Lord and just make up our own values and morals as we go along, we are likely to end up at a dead end. Respecting the Lord and giving heed to His principles will take us where we want to go in this life in order to be successful.

Do you need a higher Wisdom Quotient? Do I? The answer is always, yes. We can never have too much wisdom. I challenge you to read one chapter of Proverbs a day for a month. Then, look at your own Wisdom Quotient and see if it has risen. I guarantee it will have and it will help you make better decisions along the way!

Love, Laughter and a Pile of Socks

Several years ago, I was in a class where I met Frances. She was on the quiet side but had a wonderful sense of humor. I really appreciated her and we became good friends. One day, she was telling us about Larry. He just would NOT pick up his socks. She had been married to him for years and asked him several times if he would but to no avail. On one particular day, she told us she had an idea. She was going to let his socks pile up and continue to put new socks in his drawer and see how big the pile would get until Larry picked them up.

Each week we would check with her on Larry’s (or the pile’s) progress. Each week it just kept getting bigger and bigger until after a month, Frances gave up, washed the pile and put them in his drawer. We asked, “What did you say to Larry?” Her reply, “Nothing.” Another question from the group, “What did Larry say?” Her reply, “Nothing,” and then she just laughed.

Frances and Larry had a great relationship and shared a lot of laughter between them. Even an outsider knew that Larry had indeed noticed the pile but was going along with it and seeing how long she would continue to buy him new socks. Frances never spoke about it again to Larry and each morning she would pick up his socks from the day before and put them in the dirty clothes basket.

For me, this was a great example of what makes a marriage great. There is a lot of give and take and acceptance in a good marriage. No one is perfect and each spouse must accept the shortcomings of the other. If a person can do it with grace and humor, so much the better.

When I see my own husband’s socks on the floor, I just smile and think of Frances. What a woman she was!

Hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Image by Bernswaelz. Courtesy of Pixabay.

A House Divided

When we hear the phrase, “A House Divided,” most people think of Abraham Lincoln and the speech he gave in 1858 at the Illinois Republican Convention where he said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” But did you know that the phrase was not original to Abraham Lincoln? Jesus is the one that actually coined it first when He said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” Matthew 12:25

That phrase has been going through my mind this week as I listen to the news. The media loves to bring division to our society. In 2019, the drumbeat was black vs. white. In 2020, it was Democrat vs. Republican. In 2021, it was vaxed vs. unvaxed. So far in 2022, it is government vs. truckers. Listen carefully when you are hearing the news or other media outlets, you’ll notice that many of the speakers are pitting one group of people against another.

Does it really have to be that way? Can we not shake ourselves awake and recognize the programming that is being disseminated on the airwaves? If we don’t we will succumb to the division that is deliberately being sown in society around us.

Think about your own prejudices and those of your peers around you. Don’t they mimic the programming that is on the news channels? We must recognize that we are being conditioned to look at others with suspicion if they do not think or act the way that we do. This is happening on both sides of the political divide. Surely we don’t have to fall for this, do we?

Abe Lincoln was right to quote Jesus when he was talking about slavery in our nation. He recognized the division that would break our union apart. Now there is a more insidious division taking place; it is family member against family member, neighbor against neighbor, city against city and state against state.

We may not be able to stop the vitriol that is spewing forth from the media but we can quit listening to it and stop being conditioned to hate those who do not agree with us on a political or social level. I don’t know about you, but I refuse to hate my brother or my neighbor because of the color of his skin, his political affiliation, his vaccination status or his choice to protest.

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas. Courtesy of Pixabay.

Smoking

Smoking has been off my radar for a long time. Over the past several years in the US, there has been quite a social stigma associated with smoking. No smoking in restaurants, bars, public places, etc., that’s the usual sign up. At this point in time, I don’t know one person who smokes. I know that in other countries that is not necessarily true.

About a month ago, Omicron blew through our city like a wind on a hot summer day. Thousands were infected including myself and my husband. Actually, six members of my family got it. It wasn’t too severe for our family but hospitalizations are up and lots of people are having a difficult time with it.

I got to thinking, who is being affected the most by it? And of course, it is people with a diminished lung capacity. Smokers are part of this category. I read a study that said that smokers are 80 percent more likely to end up in the hospital with Covid and 60 percent more likely to have negative outcomes. Not good, for sure.

For those of you who read my blog, I would encourage you to quit smoking. Covid is not going away anytime soon, and I don’t want you to end up being a statistic. We all have a tendency to think that negative things won’t happen to us but I guarantee that it is certainly possible with Covid.

Will it really make any difference if you quit smoking, especially for those who have smoked for years? Orlando Health says that if you quit smoking, your lungs begin to heal immediately. Carbon Monoxide begins to leave your bloodstream gradually. Within the first month of quitting smoking, your lung function will improve and you will have increased circulation. Within a decade of being smoke-free, your risk of bladder, lung, mouth and throat cancer significantly decreases. All this indicates that the longer you go without a cigarette, the better it is for your long term health.

When both my husband and I went to the doctor to get tested, we were asked, “Do you smoke?” When we said, “No,” the doctor didn’t seem too concerned about us. That really alerted me that smoking has a big impact in your outcome should you get Covid. I appreciate every one of you that reads this blog and I want the very best for you. So please, quit smoking! I want to see you around the blogosphere for a long time!

Image by Ray Kunze. Courtesy of PIxabay

Comprehend

There are so many things as humans that we do not or cannot comprehend. But just because we cannot comprehend them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Take the universe for instance. Can any human with his finite mind comprehend the length and breadth of the universe? Can we, as humans, even see into the furthest reaches of the universe? But does our lack of comprehension mean this vast fabulous space does not exist?

What about the subatomic world? Even with all of our strong electron microscopes and our particle accelerators, we still haven’t discovered all there is to know about the quantum world. Does that mean that just because we cannot see or know everything about it, we invalidate its existence? Of course not.

It is the same with God. Just because we cannot see Him or comprehend Him, doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. As finite beings with finite minds, we were never supposed to be able to comprehend the vastness of the universe or the quantum world. They are examples of the infinite complexities of creation. Yes, creation spoken into existence by a loving Creator.

The very attributes of God are difficult to comprehend but that doesn’t mean they are any less true:

Omniscient – All knowing

Omnipresent – Present everywhere at the same time

Eternal – Without beginning or end of days

All Powerful – Having the power to do anything

As we enter a New Year, let us humble ourselves and acknowledge the existence of a Being greater and more powerful than we are. Let us seek to find out about Him and be willing to ask Him to make Himself known to us.

Surely, He can and will do it if we ask Him to.

Re-Gifting

Re-Gifting…no matter how you feel about it, most of us have done it. I know I certainly have. I am a minimalist and have received many gifts over the years that I wouldn’t use. Most were really nice and I knew people who would love to have them. Passing them on seemed like the perfect opportunity to put those presents to good use. Several years ago, I began a little “store” in one of my closets. I would put those gifts and other great buys I found during the year there. When I needed a gift, I would go into my store and find the perfect gift to give.

During this Christmas Season, it seems like another opportunity to re-gift some of those nice things that I have been given during the year. When I look in my “store” I am only finding intangibles to give this year. Hm-m-m, what should I do?

The first gift I see when I look into my store is “Forgiveness.” I have received Forgiveness from others during the year and it seems only right to give that to those needing it. The second gift I see is “Acceptance.” So many people have Accepted me the way I am and surely I can be gracious enough to pass that along can’t I? As I look deeper into my “store,” I find gifts that the Lord has given me that I know He would like me to give to others. He would like me to share His kindness with others, and for sure, His compassion. He would also like me to share His Story. The Story about how He sent His Son to this earth to die for our sins and give those who believe in Him eternal life.

Re-Gifting….how do you feel about it? Does it have a place in your gift giving this season? Perhaps you are not into re-gifting tangible items but what about the intangibles? Some of them can be absolutely priceless!

The Gift of Respect

Almost immediately after Thanksgiving, I began to think about the gifts I wanted to give this year. After mulling around what to give my family, I thought about what to give to others for Christmas this year. I want to give gifts that will last longer than a few weeks. The first gift I thought of was Respect.

Respect is a gift I can give others that will build them up and encourage them each time I see them. But I just don’t want to give it to those I know, I want to give it to those I meet on the street. What kind of people you ask?

People that have a different skin color.

People that have a different economic status.

People that have a different religion or no religion at all.

People that don’t agree with my political views.

People that come from different countries and live in different cultures.

People that are living different lifestyles.

People that look like they are living on the edge of society.

Will it make a difference to them if someone treats them with Respect? I hope so. But even if it doesn’t, I will feel better that I have treated my fellow man with the Respect he or she deserves.

What about you? What’s on your Christmas gift list? Would you like to add Respect to your gift giving list. It won’t cost you a thing and it will come back to you in spades. How about it?

Image by Cristian Ferronato, Courtesty of Pixabay.