By Bob Perks
You'll not get me into an argument about religion or politics. No one ever wins. If I am to reach someone I want to influence them by my gentle nudging and by the life I am trying to live. I have discovered that arguing only creates distance.
Frankly, the differences of opinion in both those areas excites me. I celebrate our differences.
What I try to focus on is where we are connected.
For me the most difficult thing to define is "reality."
I just had a long conversation with a friend about his perception of his life. His reality seemed dim, dark and doomed for destruction. As hard as I tried, I could not see his life that way. He fought with me and was angry because I could not validate his demise.
Everyday I receive messages from people who have locked themselves in a cell limited only by their perceptions.
When I had my radio show a few years ago, a young man called to say, "You make me sick!" He went on to criticize my Pollyanna views of the world and life itself. I never got upset with him and continued to praise him for taking a stand like this. "No matter what you say, or how you view me, I still will see the hope I have for you and a happy life if you want it bad enough." After a few minutes speaking he suddenly said, "I've got to go."
"Please don't leave, yet!" I replied. "No, I have to. I'm beginning to like you."
So I have asked myself this question, "What is my reality?" Here is what I've decided.
Reality is how I choose to see my world, not an image dictated by others.
There once was a time when I saw my life as never meeting expectations. I wasn't young enough, slim enough, tall enough or smart enough. I didn't have the right car, clothes, house, income, attitude or career. I wasn't raised in the right community, I didn't hang around with the right people, have the right ethnic heritage, nor go to the right school. I was foolish enough to believe this was reality.
Reality was, I was a failure, an odd ball, an outcast.
Then one day I felt this gentle nudging. I can't quite pinpoint the event or moment. Was it created in loss or was it realized in a moment of joy? But I began to see through the barriers of the world and there, just beyond them, I discovered "Hope."
Here is what is real in my world today.
The warmth of my wife lying next to me at night giving me a sense of security and reminding me of love.
The sound of my children's voices confirming that all is well with them and knowing that they are my greatest contribution to the world.
My dogs wagging their tails when I come home...they are happy to see me. Some times the only ones.
The velvet touch of a rose petal between my fingers and the sweet smell it leaves behind reminds me that the finest things presented to all my human senses, are not manufactured but created by God.
The brightness of the sun rise cries out "Celebrate! You are born again into a new day."
The gentle touch of a stranger's hand when first we say hello and connect palm to palm. Considered a ritual, a formality by some, I find it a moment of connection on a spiritual level.
The sounds of life carried by the wind; the cries of a hawk, the waves crashing on the shore, the chatter of an anxious squirrel, and the bells on a distant ice cream truck carrying with it the sweet cream treats of childhood memories.
The tears I shed for someone's pain.
The smell of fresh cut grass.
The wisdom of someone older than I.
The wisdom of an innocent child.
The taste of mashed potatoes and melted butter.
The smell of a turkey roasting in my oven producing instant flashbacks of family gathered around in celebration of life.
The sound, "You have mail!" on my computer.
The words, "Thank you!" "My friend" "Love" and "Hope."
And for me, my reality is centered in learning to follow Christ; I am not very good at it, but it is my reality.
Watching commercials about fast cars, designer clothes, being thin, being young, being wealthy and etc. are fun to watch, but they have no bearing my happiness, as they have no place in my reality.
I believe in You!
Have a nice day!