JimWes Thinks

September 22, 2016

Thoughts at 82

Filed under: Opportunity, Optimism, Uncategorized, Wisdom — jimwes @ 12:27 pm

Today I am 82 years of age. That gives me a lot to think about.

I never planned to get this far in years as few in my family have lived so long. But here I am so I must make the best of it.

At this stage of my life:

  • Every day is Thanksgiving Day

  • Every breath is a new opportunity

  • Every sunrise is a new miracle

  • Every smile is a new sunrise

  • Every friend is a valued treasure

  • Every grandchild is a kingly jewel & every great grandchild a crown of gold

  • Every family contact is an unmeasureable blessing, and 

  • Every new task is a life transfusion

    Mother Theresa is credited with the following observation about life:

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.

Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”

The “extra” days allotted to those who live longer than most provide a renewed opportunity that we should take advantage of.

Here is my theme for the rest of my time:

Look to the future, not the past,
Look forward, not back, 
Look up, not down,

and DO GOOD

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September 22, 2014

FOUR SCORE and counting…

Filed under: Wisdom — jimwes @ 2:36 am

Today I have reached my fortieth birthday…

                                 …for the second time

                                                                   — a time for some serious thinking.

Benjamin Franklin’s words upon the conclusion of the successful US Constitutional Convention in 1789 are appropriate for me as well twenty-two decades later:

“…having lived so long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.”

It is easy for me to be excited about the the ongoing macro-changes in technology, but I am likewise vulnerable to discouragement from present and coming macro-changes in our culture. I do hope that the judgement of others will prove superior to mine.

Rarely do I read a book twice. But I’ve just finished reading for the second time Billy Graham’s book Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well written as he nears the end of his great ministry. It contains the much of the wisdom he has accumulated over the years.. He reiterates that “Scripture is filled with examples of men and women whom God used late in life, often with great impact – men and women who refused to use old age as an excuse to ignore what God wanted them to do.”

When I had lived in Peru and Ecuador for over ten years and my father was almost despairing that I would ever return, he wrote me reminding me that Moses did not actually begin his life’s work until he was 80:

Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded them. 

 Moses was eighty years old and

Aaron was eighty-three when they spoke to the king. (Exodus 7:6)

So I’m still counting on whatever the Lord holds for my next 40.

Here’s a great positive outlook:

“LIFE BEGINS AT 80”

by Frank Laubach

I have good news for you.
The first 80 years are the hardest.
The second 80 are a succession
Of birthday parties.

Once you reach 80,
Everyone wants to carry your baggage
And help you up the steps.
If you forget your name,
Or anybody else’s name,
Or an appointment,
Or your own telephone number,
Or promise to be three places
At the same time,
Or can’t remember how many
Grandchildren you have,
You need only explain that you are 80.

Being 80 is a lot better than being 70.
At 70 people are mad at you for everything.
At 80 you have a perfect excuse,
No matter what you do.
If you act foolishly,
It’s your second childhood.
Everybody is looking for symptoms
Of softening of the brain.

Being 70 is no fun at all.
At 70 they expect you to retire
To a house in Florida
And complain about your arthritis.
And you ask everybody to stop mumbling
Because you can’t understand them.
(Actually your hearing is about 50% gone.)

If you survive until you are 80,
Everybody is surprised that you are still alive.
They treat you with respect
Just for having lived so long.
Actually they seem surprised
That you can walk and talk sensibly.

So, please, folks, try to make it to 80.
It’s the best time of your life.
People forgive you for anything.
If you ask me, life begins at 80.

I hope it’s so.

The Book of Job tells us:

‘Older people should speak, and

those who have lived many years 

should teach wisdom.’ (Job 32:7)

I intend to continue to speak and write always praying for wisdom that I may be able to share.

My own opinion is that all a man needs after eight decades is:

  1. A loving spouse or other relative for care
  2. A dog for continual companionship
  3. A home and meals
  4. A rocking chair for exercise, not loafing
  5. Contacts with family and old friends
  6. Good books to read
  7. A job or task to do daily to feel productive

…and number 7. may be the most important of all.

Abraham was the great example:

Abraham was almost a hundred years old,

much past the age for having children, and

Sarah could not have children.

Abraham thought about all this, but

his faith in God did not become weak.  

He never doubted that God would keep his promise, and

he never stopped believing.

He grew stronger in his faith and gave praise to God.

                                          (Romans 4:19-20 NCV)

 

January 1, 2013

Thinking about the new year 2013: Opportunities Increase in the TOP Quartile of Life

If your Creator gives you His highest honor of rising into the TOP Quartile of Life (between 75 and 100 years of age) and of retaining reasonable health,

…you are blessed with opportunities like never before:

  • The opportunity to stop thinking and worrying about things you cannot control.
  • The opportunity to think and comment positively and optimistically on any subject that others speak negatively about.
  • The opportunity to stop counting…minutes, hours, days, years, calories, money, exercise motions, pool laps, etc.
  • The opportunity to forget the unpleasant and remember what brings you joy.
  • The opportunity to sit quietly and watch a flower bloom.
  •  The opportunity to enjoy the company of your closest loved ones and friends.
  • The opportunity to caress your favorite pet and enjoy its love.
  • The opportunity to rock in your rocking chair or recline in your recliner.
  • The opportunity to listen to your favorite music.
  • The opportunity to read you favorite literature.
  • The opportunity to enjoy nature.
  • The opportunity to be free from those temptations that ensnared you in the three lower profiles.
  • The opportunity to think, unpressured by distractions.
  • The opportunity to be a blessing to others, whether through service or inspiration.
  • The opportunity to contemplate life and communicate with your Creator.

…And all of the above without feeling you are constrained by lack of time or by what others may think or say.

As in the first three Quartiles of Life, your life is what you make it.  But in the TOP Quartile of Life you are free to redefine yourself and your heritage by being a positive influence for your own happiness and that of others or by being a negative source of criticism and complaint.  If you truly deserve this highest honor you will choose to be positive and optimistic as you look down from the summit of your life’s long journey. The beginning of a new year is a good time to resolve to be optimistic and positive in all you do and say.

August 26, 2010

Fading Honor…..

Filed under: Corruption, credibility, Honor, Integrity, Wisdom — Tags: , , , , — jimwes @ 7:18 pm

Honor..

Honor is what others think about us. Integrity is what we ourselves think about our own character. Honor is a reflection of what we look like to others. Integrity is what we see when we look at ourselves.

Honor is earned by what we do when others see us and know what we have done. Integrity is defined by what we do where no one can see us or find out what we have done.

The importance of both is defined by our conscience.

Honor” is an endangered word…a devalued verbal currency. It is seldom used properly, often applied inappropriately, hardly ever deserved, frequently visibly violated, rarely properly applied, recurrently sought by the undeserving, uncommonly found in the prominent, regularly unrecognized in the commoner, inhabitually merited though quite oft used in government, regularly diminished in sports, scarcely visible in society, generally ignored when deserved and often conferred upon those who merit it least.

Yet we tell ourselves that we are proud of our honorableness as a person, as a family, as a country, as a culture, as an ethnic group, as a civilization, as a human being.  Are we?

Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.

– Proverbs 22:1

Do we deserve to be proud of our honor?  Who yet is honorable?  Is there any one noble left on the planet?

At one time it made a difference…presently it may not.

The word noble is already long gone from our vocabulary.  When was the last time you heard anyone described as noble or having done something noble?

The anonymity of the megacity has relegated honor to the garbage heap of history.  Personal invisibility within the mass of humanity has obviated the need to be honorable or even honest.  Who cares what others think?

In parallel honor is being bestowed as a feel good medication.  Students in some schools are now being given maximum grades whether they have learned anything or not and a few really up-to-date schools are now “honoring” scores of valedictorians at graduation ceremonies…just so no one will feel bad.

Thus we see that simultaneously with the diminishing importance of honor its meaning is being diluted into nothingness.

If there ever was on Planet Earth a culture of nobility and honorability, it has now been replaced by a culture of corruption…if ever a culture of integrity existed, it has been superseded by a culture of dishonor.

The cult of corruption has become the credo of civilization in Century 21…and honor, though not yet dead, like the proverbial old soldier of the ballad…is just fading away.

Ballad: Old Soldiers Never Die
—-
There is an old cookhouse, far far away
Where we get pork and beans, three times a day.
Beefsteak we never see, damn-all sugar for our tea
And we are gradually fading away.

Old soldiers never die,
Never die, never die,
Old soldiers never die
They just fade awa
y.

It is said that once upon a time on this relatively tiny sphere of whirling matter where we temporarily are imprisoned by Newton’s Law the inhabitants acted honorably, spoke honorably, dressed honorably, respected laws honorably, treated their parents honorably, raised their children honorably, defended their country honorably, served their government honorably, worshipped their God honorably  and lived their lives honorably.

A myth?  Ancient history? Obsolescent?

Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.

Sophocles

It is best to live with honor for just a day than with dishonor for many decades

– Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Indian                    Spiritual Leader

A quick look at the English language tells us that honor was, at least in the past, considered very important but it has been greatly devalued like an overvalued currency in a depression.

For example, there are several words in the English language meaning meritorious of being honored, that is deserving to be honored or the quality of being worthy of honor or respect.

  • Honorificabilitudinitatibus
  • Honorificabilitudinity
  • Honorableness
  • Honorability
  • Honorable
  • Honoree
  • Hon.
  • The oldest, honorificabilitudinitatibus, the longest word in Shakespeare’s works, used also by Dante, is said to be  9th longest word in the English language as well as the longest word featuring alternating consonants and vowels. Honorificabilitudinity was apparently a later shortened version. Neither is commonly used today. Honorableness and honorability are seldom used. Honorable or Hon. are only occasionally used to address high officials.

    Simultaneously honorees are proliferating into a meaningless herd as everyone must be honored to preserve their self-respect. If everyone becomes an honored honoree, no one is really honored.

    These words have become obsolete, meaningless or are fading away.

    This leads us to the word honor and to the questions I have for you.

        • Is honor fading away too?
        • Will it become obsolete?
        • Do we, as individuals, deserve to be honored?
        • Do our parents and families deserve to be honored?
        • Does our country deserve to be honored?
        • Does it make any difference anymore?
        • If honor fades away, what will replace it?

    What is an Honorable Man?

    • An honorable man is one who deserves honor. He deserves honor because of his character.
    • A man whose children look up to him as an example of a great father deserves honor.
    • A man whose wife can respect and love him for his integrity, honesty, and faithfulness deserves honor.
    • A man whose family and friends respect him for his decency and goodness deserves honor.
    • A man who holds the intent to live the best life he can, deserves honor.
    • A man who dedicates his life to making the world a better place, deserves honor.
    • Honorable men are those whose lives inspire us, enrich our world, and make the planet better by being here.
            • – Jennifer  Jones

      A person is not given integrity.

      It results from

      the relentless pursuit

      of honesty at all times.”

      -author unknown

      Let’s talk now about the inverted relationship between integrity and corruption that converts honorability to dishonor.  Here are the character equations:

      Integrity + Honesty + Accountability + Ethics + Credibility = HONORABILITY

      Corruption + Fraud + Bribery + Irresponsibility + Inveracity = DISHONOR

      The traditional antonyms of integrity are corruption, disgrace, dishonesty, and dishonor.

      Those of honor are blemish, disgrace, dishonor, ill repute, and stigma.

      But times are changing.

      In today’s modern media shaped, celebrity adoring society it is becoming obvious that it is no longer always a disgrace, blemish or stigma to be corrupt, dishonest or dishonorable.  Notorious contempt for formerly high standards is now often worn as an ornament of pride, rather than a blemish of shame.  And speaking of shame, this is another word that has been outmoded.

      Over a century ago the great Cuban patriot Jose Marti, Cuba’s equivalent of Jose Rizal, commenting on the decline of shame said:

      Shame must be made fashionable

      Jose Marti, Cuban Patriot

      Instead it appears that shame has been repealed.  Those who should suffer shame are now big mouthed heroes who have defied tradition, law and honor and are always “innocent” whether or not proven guilty.

      We once had a very colorful governor in my home state of Georgia who visited all the public prisons and asked each inmate, “Are you guilty of what they have accused you of?”  Only two out of hundreds of prisoners said “Yes”.  He went back to his office and immediately pardoned both of them saying “We’ve got two honest men in jail.”

      Integrity and honor are no longer such shining and inspiring goals as they once were.  Corruption and dishonor likewise are no longer such evil vices as they were once considered.

      Acts and actions formerly considered despicable now are welcomed by the media and give the actor glory by achieving “15 minutes of fame” with little or no risk of disrepute.

      It is not only governments that have become more corrupt, it is whole societies.

      In the Orwellian “Newspeak” of 2010:

      Disgraceful acts are honorable

      Corruption is opportunity

      We have gradually and unknowingly entered the new age of cultural change…the Age of Aquarius has finally evolved into the Age of Kleptoquerius, perhaps we have actually entered the first Kleptocentury.  Today the pollution of the human character is a far worse danger than environmental contamination or global warming.

      Corruption has always been with us.  It has gone through cycles of growth and diminution over the centuries.  Now it is again on the upswing…but the swinging is higher and faster than ever.

      Since an intelligence common to us all makes things known to us and formulates them in our minds, honorable actions are ascribed by us to virtue, and dishonorable actions to vice; and only a madman would conclude that these judgments are matters of opinion, and not fixed by nature.

      – Marcus Tullius Cicero

      September 22, 2009

      75

      Filed under: Wisdom — jimwes @ 8:07 pm

      75 September 22, 2009  Today is an unusual day. Today I am 75 years old.  Yesterday I was a spring chicken.  Today I am a cooked goose.

      Free at last…at this point I am entitled to say what I think without regard for political or any other kind of correctness, so I will.  I’ve been wrong more often than I’ve been right anyway. Why change?

      Confucious said:

      “At seventy, I could follow the wishes of my heart

      without doing wrong.”

      I say:

      “At seventy-five, I have few wishes left in my heart,

      and can’t really do wrong like I used to,

      but if I am grouchy,

      I sure can make everyone else miserable.

      I pray daily not to be an old grouch”

      Some Observations at 75:

      Any man my age should have a dog…I have eight.  That may seem ridiculous but since they are Chihuahuas, all put together they wouldn’t even make one Great Dane…But, I’ve got eight that lick and love me…and eight to love in return.  Love does not come in sizes.

      If young married folks knew what they would really need and appreciate by the time they’re my age, there would be no divorces. When you’re 75 the only kind of love that matters to you is the only kind that was really worth having in the first place…mutual caring love.

      No matter what you do in life someone will come along behind you and undo it, often on purpose out of jealousy or meanness, but usually just out of plain stupidity. Anyway whatever I did wasn’t nearly as important as I thought it was.

      My work was never as important as I thought it was.

      My family was always much more important than I thought it was.

      Obviously something was wrong with my thinker. How’s yours?

      Why are grandchildren considered more valuable than children?  Because by the time you are a grandparent you have been greatly devalued by life’s lessons.

      Why do grandchildren love grandparents more? Because grandchildren’s values have not yet been devalued.

      When the only two vices you have left that you really enjoy are eating and scratching an itch and the mosquitoes won’t bite you because they don’t like tired blood, you have no choice but to gain weight.

      When young folks’ music doesn’t sound so loud you can’t stand it, a hearing exam is unnecessary…go get some hearing aids quickly you’re nearly stone deaf.

      When your wife says something that you couldn’t hear and you ask her to repeat it and she says, “What did you say?” Communication is very difficult… unless you both have loved each other so much that you are on the same wavelength.

      I have had five great privileges in my life:

      • A loving Christ-like father who daily offered his love for his only son (me) especially after my mother passed away when I was seven, thus clearly demonstrating for me God’s own love for His only Son.
      • An Angel from the Andes sent by God to be my wife, best friend, companion and caretaker.
      • Seven wonderful children and (so far) nine even more wonderful grandchildren.
      • A multitude of friends, mentors, teachers, and encouragers along life’s way.
      • Citizenship in the United States of America.

      That’s all that really matters.

      KING Solomon or whoever wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes certainly got this right at its ending:

      “Remember your Creator while you are young, before the days of trouble come and the years when you say, “I find no pleasure in them.”

      When you get old, the light from the sun, moon, and stars will grow dark; the rain clouds will never seem to go away. At that time your arms will shake and your legs will become weak. Your teeth will fall out so you cannot chew, and your eyes will not see clearly. Your ears will be deaf to the noise in the streets, and you will barely hear the millstone grinding grain. You’ll wake up when a bird starts singing, but you will barely hear singing.

      You will fear high places and will be afraid to go for a walk. Your hair will become white like the flowers on an almond tree. You will limp along like a grasshopper when you walk. Your appetite will be gone


      Everything is useless!

      The Teacher says that everything is useless.  The Teacher was very wise and taught the people what he knew. He very carefully thought about, studied, and set in order many wise teachings. The Teacher looked for just the right words to write what is dependable and true.

      Words from wise people are like sharp sticks used to guide animals. They are like nails that have been driven in firmly. Altogether they are wise teachings that come from one Shepherd. So be careful, my son, about other teachings. People are always writing books, and too much study will make you tired.

      Now, everything has been heard, so I give my final advice:

      Honor God and obey his commands, because this is all people must do.


      God will judge everything, even what is done in secret, the good and the evil.”


      Ecclesiastes 12, New Century Version of The Bible

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