To put out a fire, throw water on it. To stop shivering, throw on a coat. And in a broader sense, to erase the darkness of ignorance and fear, which often leads to malice and hate, throw light on it.
My little granddaughter, Anna, and I were playing in my office one day. She was not in a very good mood when she purposely turned on my floor lamp. One of its lights points downward, so I put my hands under it, pretending to amass as much light as I could and threw it on her.
She proceeded to do likewise, cupping her tiny hands under the bulb and tossing what she had collected in my direction. This game went on for some time, each of us gathering the light, pouring it on the other’s head, gleeful over our cleverness. Read more…
“New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday.”
A fresh start! We all appreciate that. Some even crave it. A new year can be the catalyst for a healthy turn-around as we focus our best efforts on what’s important to our well-being.
There is nothing magical in flipping the calendar. But there is something appealing about closing the door on unhealthy behaviors and their consequences. A healthy, new beginning can result when one gives him or herself permission to leave behind past failings. The next step is to solidify in some practical manner the positive steps required to achieve our wellness goals.
Positive health is an emerging concept that an interdisciplinary team is investigating with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This pioneering approach to health promotes patients’ health assets while focusing on key factors that include subjective influences like optimism. This can add to a healthier and longer life according to the organization.
But what happens when optimism wanes? Read more…
“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.”
Abraham Lincoln’s gracious assessment of 1863 is immortalized in the opening line of his first Thanksgiving Day Proclamation.
Over 150 years have passed since Lincoln’s establishment of an annual, national observance of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” In 1863 that day came just one week after the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg where Lincoln gave his celebrated two minute address. The War Between the States would go on for another year and a half.
What prompted Lincoln to articulate such a “healthful” outlook, where many saw only servitude to gloom and despair, was an intensified appreciation for blessings and their origin. He saw “bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come.” He writes in his Thanksgiving Proclamation that these abundances are “so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”
Such an attitude as Lincoln’s serves as a timely example for all of us. Read more…
World Kindness Day is November 13th, a global 24-hour celebration dedicated to paying-it-forward and focusing on the good
Ever feel impelled to give the world a big hug? We thrive on kindness. And though we frequently witness examples of callousness both in our own lives and in the news, displays of intolerance and indifference should only strengthen a desire to resist such behavior and encourage respectful relationships.
A look-out-for-yourself mentality is unnatural. We start out in life as sharers. Through their constant caregiving, the vast majority of moms and dads instill in us the capacities of empathy and generosity.
That nurturing is health-giving to children. And it endures into adulthood. Encouragement and kindheartedness foster wellbeing not only in recipients, but in contributors as well. Stephen Post, Director for the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University, recently quoted the Book of Proverbs when speaking before a group in Cleveland: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Read more…
Wednesday, November 11, marks the observance of Veterans’ Day in the U.S. This is a reprint of an earlier column.
“Nothing can separate you from the love of God,” she gently spoke to him. With all the confusion surrounding them, she continued to pray with the man she was kneeling over. It was September 11, 2001.
One of the first female chaplains ever called to active duty, Retired Colonel Janet Horton has had some pretty intense experiences. In her distinguished career as a Christian Science Military Chaplain, she has seen duty around the globe helping the men and women who serve in the military to keep soul and body together.
Returning to the States after her overseas deployment, Horton was hoping for a post in Georgia. She was assigned to the Pentagon. At the time she considered it a questionable assignment at best. “I thought this was a big mistake” she said when I spoke with her, but through prayer she came to the conclusion that God doesn’t slipup. She eventually came to realize that she was at the right place at the right time.
The morning of September 11, 2001…Read more…