My Hands

Hands

I like my hands. While meditating I feel warmth and comfort from being aware of them holding each other lightly. My hands are friendly, and they are my friends.

My body has been through a lot of strain and stress in recent months: surgery, unfriendly toxic chemical infusions, temperature swings, lack of sleep, blood draws, more blood draws, endless blood draws. The forearms inside my elbows wear tattoos from the bruises of botched draw attempts. My right hand recently offered its healthy vein to the phlebotomist to get the process over with, with ease. Thank you, hand. Then my left hand caressed the wounds. Thank you too, hand.

Weight loss from chemotherapy now requires me to make extra preparations, coaxing clothing to fit, arranging organic meals and snacks, opening small containers, counting tablets, counting capsules, counting drops and moving them from hand to mouth. In those roles my hands work as well as they can. 

My hands warn me of anxiety as they wring each other before I am aware. Then they smack each other hand-in-fist when I decide, That’s enough! They join each other with fingers aligned vertically, right before my eyes, in relief each time the ‘funk’ lifts. Sometimes they clap spontaneously when they realize how privileged is a life with a view into the stunning beauty of nature.

My hands work well. They are obedient, giving more than 100% to my mind’s commands. They raise up in open surrender. They wave to friends, even strangers when I ask them to. They support my head when sleeping irritates my neck. They willingly get dirty when working outdoors, then willingly submit to being scrubbed or held still to trim nails. Both hands like being gloved when they’re cold, and respond well to skin creams, fragrant or not. They both relax when loved by my wife’s caresses, yet are always ready to serve again.

Without hands, life would be a constant itch-you-can’t-scratch. Yes, I like my hands. I applaud them.

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You Are Not Your Ego

 

Think about egotistical people you know. You probably have a certain amount of tolerance for them, especially if you have a reason to stay engaged in some common activity. But, assuming that you view the word egotistic to be synonymous with arrogant, self-serving, haughty, etc., then it’s likely you will find yourself looking for ways to at least minimize the time you spend with such folks.

Now, on the other hand, consider someone whom you respect, admire, enjoy being with. These folks have egos too,  but not the inflated kind. Oh, they probably err here and there occasionally; they might be guilty of manipulating a conversation to bring out a particular strength of theirs. Perhaps they boast once in a while. The point is, friends and co-workers who learn to keep the ego in check are usually much easier to be with.

The difference implied in the two personalities above reveals duality inside the mind. In other words, if a person decides to be considerate to others, to refrain from bragging too much, to avoid being egotistical, then there must be a part of that person’s mind that stands outside of that ego in order to make such decisions. That part of the mind uses experience, maturity and wisdom to hold the ego in its place. This higher part of “you” is not your ego. Hence, it follows, “You” are not your ego.1

The ego itself, if it had its own way, would boast to everyone and shamelessly consume all the shrimp set out at cocktail parties. If unchecked it is an unattractive partner for sure, but the ego is an important part of our make-up. It protects us, to our advantage, because without a balance of genuine ego energy we would lack assertiveness, be terribly shy and eventually end up with personalities resembling doormats. Children go through the “terrible two” years, graduate into the rebellious teen years, and thankfully become maturing adults for at least a few decades. Along the way, the child’s ego is shaped by patterns of ebb and flow. When the ‘flow’ portion of that cycle lets the ego get too big, some embarrassing (or worse) event will likely cause it to pop. But like an over-inflated balloon the ego doesn’t disappear when it pops. Rather, it falls back into a more solid core and starts a new, more learned cycle from which to appropriately serve its owner.

Thinking about the ego in such a dualistic way may be simplistic, but doing so can help us with mental conflict and improved decision-making. We can weigh important and complex choices by asking ourselves, “What does my ego want here?” and “What does my higher self see as the best option?” The answers won’t be the same.

Differences between views can be more satisfactorily 160315_Capture picnegotiated to a goal of “win/win” when the parties involved see them as being affected by the differences between people and their egos.

1 Our language obviously agrees: the singular pronoun you is plural. (To say, “You is a nice guy”  would be poor grammar!)

 

 

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Prison

It doesn’t matter where they put the bars, a person’s most critical freedom is determined from within. There are prison inmates enduring long periods of incarceration who discover the value of deep freedom despite their obvious physical and financial limitations. Conversely, there are people who are in easy life situations ensnared in a prison of depression and despair. The one is content, accomplishing purposeful goals and free to be creative; the other is frustrated, restrained and deprived of a more abundant life. The former is comfortable with ‘who they are’ allocating personal energy well. The latter, seeking elusive comfort and trying to act, to be somebody else, frequently finds the personal energy tank on ‘empty.’ People who are mature in their faith got that way in part by coming to terms with, and facing the causes of, their pain from the past. Encumbered people on the other hand often ‘maintain’ those deep problems, taking them from one life chapter to the next, all the time wondering, “Why doesn’t God answer prayers?”

People with personality disorders affect everyone around them. That’s especially obvious when their actions victimize someone. But more subtly, the condition of our relationships can serve to help us see the affects and alert us to do something about them. We may not be aware that the way we relate to God, to other people and even to ourselves can be like the canary in a coal mine. In other words, personal trouble and difficult feelings that surface and resurface around certain relationships can be valuable sensors like those that detect a suffocating gas in a closed space. They alert us to engage in important heart-wound work, or else! Admitting such work can be especially difficult for folks who feel pressure to appear that they have already arrived at some standard of maturity set by an audience of peers.

The temptation to fake maturity in order to belong, or impress, becomes a barrier to working at the needed process. To purge a man’s soul of old festering sin – both his own and the sins of others that have influenced him – is a kind of ‘baptism’ where a person can trace their feelings and ultimately their relationship sores to their source. That source may be shielded and disguised by lies wrapped around deep and painful memories. (e.g., “I’m not good enough, because …” )

Someone is guilty if they have done a legal, moral or ethical wrong. It is good news that a man’s mistakes are redeemable and forgivable. On the surface a guilty person can confess, repent, make restitution where needed, and naively move on in life. Without self-examination to uncover the source of deeper scars, the growth and healing and resulting freedom can elude us. Our tendency to continue along in life with selfish and immature behaviors has a source. If we hurry past the work of locating that source it will remain rooted somewhere in memory. Demeaning behaviors and recurring moods can then lead to undesirable patterns resulting in psychological handcuffs.

What to do? Take inventory of the major relationship areas of life. If you have peace about your connections to God, to other people, you’re in a good place. If you are practicing the disciplines and satisfied with your calling, seeing fruit, you are in a better place. If you are feeling fullness from loving God and sharing your unique set of gifts with a confused, misguided and needy world, you’re in the best place of joy and creativity satisfaction.

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What Would Life “In Christ” Look Like?

Years ago, when I was about 12 years old, my family was running late, on its way to my brother’s graduation ceremony in NH. My father was driving when a police car pulled us over. My dad set the tone for those of us in the car by asking us not to say anything – to let him do the talking. I knew we had been speeding, and I was pretty sure my dad would try to minimize that fact when the officer asked about it. However, my dad did not. I gained enormous respect for him as he admitted to the officer how fast we had been going, knowing full well that the lower speed limit was clearly posted.

I’m pointing this out, not to boast about an honest father but to say how his unintended lesson stuck with me. He had often exhorted us kids to be honest, and continued to do so in the years to come, but none of those lessons had anywhere near the staying power as did that one on that NH highway.

As Western Christians, we mature in the faith from many different directions. Even salvation itself seems to evolve. It grows from decision to accept Christ to decisions to practice discipline.Worship, study, prayer, meditation, etc., help us become more capable of discerning God’s call on us as we give of ourselves in service, sometimes secret service. Ray Vander Laan, a gifted teacher helps us understand in his very animated and well-informed style that God’s overall mission is to reconcile and restore His creation – all people throughout the world – to Him and to the life for which He created them. Ray’s video series tout convincing Scriptural evidence of God’s plan, starting on Mount Sinai, expected the people of Israel to bring light into a dark world by demonstrating God’s love for the lost. Jesus was similarly introduced (Luke, chapter 1) as bringing light into a dark world. It follows even today that those who follow Jesus and his message will similarly see God’s mission as bringing light into an imperfect and needy world.

We group, we grow, we give, we go.

The “group” step is critical because, like the task of buttoning a shirt, if the top button isn’t in the right button hole, the rest of the buttons don’t have much of a chance to line up well. In community, we learn values like simplicity, patience, sharing, and the more complete meaning of peace (shalom). We catch the higher vision of letting go of the shallow surface, the material and other competitive values of out culture, growing instead into unselfish, unhurried, generous people who trust in God. We need each other. As we learn to forgive, accept and support each other we demonstrate to an anxious world what applied light of Christ looks like. We become skillful at being who we are, as opposed to being who our culture tries to make us. We admit failure when we fail. We give more than we take. We see our roles as stewards more than owners. We slow down and listen to opposing positions to resolve conflict by consensus as opposed to a method of lobbying to gain majority vote. The idea is to give to others unconditionally, unselfishly motivated without a desire for payback or applause. Over time, folks who are watching, and who may be struggling in a darkness from this troubled world, will get an accurate view of what God can do.

This is not work for one or two ‘heroes’. This work is a community call.                  In 151210_Light of Christcommunity, burdens are shared, reducing negative impact and joys are shared and hence multiplied. Community brings the safety, support, collective experience and creativity of all, to all, and is therefore more effective. The complete Body of Christ needs the eye, the hand, the feet and all the types of giftedness given to people to show that the light of Christ really has come into the world.

 

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Persona

My son once told me, as he was about to play a high school hockey game, that the coach insisted that the players put on “a game face” before they left the locker room. Moreover, they were coached to never show any signs of pain after a hard board check. He said the coach claimed that showing pain would undesirably increase their opponents’ confidence.

A prison guard I knew years ago acted like John Wayne while on duty, but was much more “himself” when participating as a volunteer doing yard work on weekends. One of my friends consistently exudes a kind of “sicky-sweet” atmosphere when entertaining guests, but she acts rather mean and even rude when she complains about some annoying habit of her husband. In New Hampshire, where political candidates can be close up available, I once had a 5-minute one-on-one chat with a presidential hopeful. He seemed very down-to-earth, genuinely engaged, when suddenly someone came rushing by and told him, “We got the feed!” I was caught off guard because of my naivety; I didn’t realize how important, (or even what) the feed was. But once the precious TV camera with its red light lit pointed at him, his mask instantly slapped into place; Mr. Future President began smiling from ear to ear, grabbing hands to shake, spouting trite phrases and thanking people for God knows what. It was a good thing for his campaign that the camera moved off of me, because my facial expression would’ve been saying, “Where the hell did he go?”

Apparently we sometimes carry what psychologists call a persona, a kind of mask intended for the outer world to see while observing us. The term can also apply to a similar aura we tend to assign or project onto other people based on our expectations of them. For example, when approaching the guard shack of a military base, we really wouldn’t expect the Marine standing at attention there to slap us on the back and say “Hey – how ya doin’ Buddy?” Even though he might be a regular Joe, we’ve been condition to be aware of the important security responsibility people in his position have. Hence we expect him to be formal and to the point. Each time we encounter such a guard, we reinforce that persona in our memory and eventually no longer see him as a person, but only as a soldier.exaggerated sunglasses

It’s useful in the quest for authenticity to become aware of when and why persona tendencies manifest, since doing so might assist in identifying barriers to wholeness. The mask we wear can be useful when it communicates for us, encouraging efficiency in certain public roles. It may protect us at certain times when we need a thicker outer shell. But it can also become problematic if a persona habitually replaces the genuine person. If there is a difference between the person and his or her persona, it becomes difficult for people to relate to them.

Conversely, if we exercise the skill of becoming aware of any habitual masks that we might use as we go about presenting ourselves to others, we can figure out what motivates us to do so. Aware of being aware, we can decide to become more genuine. Jesus’ use of the word truth (Aletheia; literally: without veil ) in the Gospel of John is worthy of reflection when considering the role of our persona: “. . . you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:32, NRSV)

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At Sea with a Paddle

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The first season of kayaking was serene, partly because of my ignorance about small boat safety on the ocean. Paddling out from shore with the sunset producing its captivating sky coloring, one island after another moving astern so effortlessly in the flat calm water, I eventually found myself alone. The silence was literally golden at that time of day. No power boats in sight, no wind for sailing, too far from shore to hear road noise, I could become aware of where I was and my thoughts turned to the water itself. It seemed cold. As the sky faded, the water too was getting dark. For the first time since leaving shore I became aware of the tide moving and the depth of the water beneath me, now well over 100 feet.

Two miles behind, the shore near my home was visible with houses lights beckoning the dinner hour. Finally, as the night replaced afternoon, it occurred to me that no one knew where I was. And since I had no radio, no phone, no charts, no compass, no knowledge of how to re-enter a capsized kayak, it made no sense to be so far out. Wondering how I had let myself get into this position, I turned toward home, paddling gingerly to keep the boat upright. The breeze on my face was cool now, and the entire scene was feeling substantially less friendly than it had earlier. The tide was not especially strong, but it seemed to be resisting my motion; I wondered if my paddle strokes were making enough progress.

These concerns had not grown into anything close to panic but they did cause a definite “edginess” as the superimposition of one thought after another began to convince me that it would be wise to sign up for a kayaking safety training before the short summer passed. Then the edginess turned to panic.

The monster must have sneaked up behind me after I turned toward shore. I had no warning. An enormous thud and loud splash occurred close behind me, in that kayakers’ blind spot where in order to see, turning the boat is required. It sounded as if a rock the size of a bathtub had dropped from the sky. By the time I got the bow around far enough to look, it was very quiet, except for the pounding noise of my heart. The only evidence of the event was a rapidly expanding series of large ripples.

Experiences like that are good for us humans. At least they seem good after the fact. The marine creature, probably a seal, was letting me know who called that particular latitude and longitude home. Since there are no elephant seals in the Atlantic, he didn’t weigh tons after all. He was more likely in the range of my own 200 pounds. Being in a heightened state of awareness from just having taken inventory of my paltry safety preparations, my ‘flight or fight’ response registered him as angry giant rather than playful water dog as I have since come to recognize. I later thought to myself, “I wonder what they think about humans during their times of relaxation out on those calm shoals?

When back on shore a half hour later, the encounter with the seal was remembered as the highlight of the trip. The solitude and the radiant sunset were valuable to be sure. But thanks to that assertive seal, the ocean took on a new relationship characteristic for me. I can’t swim like a seal. I can’t fly for miles over the water like sea birds do so easily. Perhaps the solitude was an important prerequisite to the wider experience that evening. Exercise, sunsets, looking at a clear moon, observing wildlife of all kinds each can remind us of life’s greater perspective. Those spontaneous experiences can ignite the realm of spirit. Not at all religious, it is that spirit within,  the one that relegates one’s ego to a properly subordinate status and position.

All boat treks from that harbor cross that territory. When in a kayak there, I now can’t go by without thinking of, appreciating, and hoping to greet that vivacious, healthy and personally instructive sea mammal.

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View From On High

View From Google Earth

Some people prefer aisle seats when they are traveling by air. There’s more leg room and getting out is much easier when no one else is required to make room.

I prefer the window seats. My fascination with the view from on high started from listening to my dad tell stories describing the experience of being an airline passenger. He reported that while you are speeding along at hundreds of miles per hour the overall landscape view appears to be motionless. He also offered the solution to this paradox by lining up the edge of the wing with something on the ground and compare the speed of that changing line with a fast moving vehicle. I couldn’t wait to get a chance to see that for myself.

Maybe that’s where the pull of the window seat came from; it’s buried in my subconscious mind even though the long awaited test was performed and verified over 60 years ago.

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What I see now is maps without political demarcations. Montreal, Quebec looks a lot like Burlington, VT.  It isn’t obvious from afar that they speak different languages and use different road sign conventions. Instead they look alike; it appears as if the people there have a lot in common.  The clouds, the rivers, the color of the fields are the same.

Changing perspectives once in a while is a healthy act. Especially if doing so replaces habitual perceptions with higher reality and makes clear the way things really are.

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Heaven is Now

If heaven is now, why then is there so much trouble?

Trouble, you say; what trouble? Well, for one, I recently learned that there is some kind of epidemic, mainly in Uganda, where kids are slipping into a kind of seizure and nod off as if in a trance. Millions of kids are somehow being infected with this nodding disease causing parents there to be living in horror. Surely heaven is better than that.

Most people treat heaven as the future. We live here in a flawed world, we die, and we suddenly wake up in heaven. Today we know the world can be difficult; no one has to look very far to find evidence of evil and travail. Surely a mind-picture of a pleasant place with no tears and no hardships to follow this difficult life is one way to cope. Some religions – most religions – use such a future-based vision as incentive: just do well and you’ll get in. (Jesus did not offer heaven as such a carrot, but people in many Christian denominations seem to act as if he did.)

Another common misconception seems to be that society is evolving to a constantly improved status. We are working to get it right, they think. That is, in just a hundred years or two, more people will be educated, catch the Golden Rule vision, be nicer to each other, enjoy benefits from ever-increasing technology and share all around. It probably seemed that way to people after World War I too, but when the best-educated nation on Earth unleashed a violent torrent of destruction on its European neighbors, that concept proved to be flawed. It too needs to be rethought.

But if history is to be anything but meaningless, if we are to expect a more purposeful result than just a smoking pile of ashes at the end of time, there must be some sort of heaven to aim for. But that heaven is now.

Imagine a top-notch medical rescue team being “inserted” into Uganda. People equipped with knowledge and tools – “weapons” to combat the frightening nodding disease. As this medical team hunkers down, it establishes some safe zones and begins to learn what kind of bacteria is causing the disease, where this bacteria lives and what feeds it. Millions of people are still being affected, but more and more are not! How exciting; a breakthrough or two.  What’s more, the few rescued folks who are no longer being adversely affected are finding ways to communicate to others what they in turn can do to create and maintain their own safe zones.

Now imagine critics coming into this situation after a time. These folks observe and want to see the nodding disease wiped out, but it is still rampant across most of Uganda. Yes, but is the medical team there now? Is the medical team learning how to, and teaching others how to, restore the life there to a healthy standard? Well . . .   ya.

Okay. There you have a symbol of how heaven is now. Heaven later is going to be complete; whole. The eternal heaven will completely eradicate the real suffering and evil, but the heaven now is a step in that direction. Is it perfect? No. Can we make it perfect over time? No, we can’t, but the one who created life itself can and  will.

When a chess player moves during an early turn, the game is not won. But the plan could be in place to insure victory. The opponent could still have a few turns remaining without realizing he is not going to win. It’s over before it’s over. It’s now and it’s in the future. It looks different then, as does heaven, but it’s also now.

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Akron Woods – Orientation

 

 It was the 5th grade in Salisbury, Massachusetts in September 1954. My parents announced that we were relocating to Kent Ohio, a small town near Akron, the tire-making capital of the US.

Within weeks I was torn from my classmates with whom I had shared a lifelong (well, 48 months to that point) friendship, and painfully said goodbye to my teacher, a young red-head (she looked exactly like Teresa Brewer) with whom I had just fallen in love. A few days later, I found myself as a “new kid” unfamiliar in every setting – school, church and, by winter, the Boy Scouts Troop 210. Feeling lonely and unconnected, I signed up for a winter log cabin retreat in the Akron woods with 30 other scouts and 5 adult leaders.

On Saturday afternoon of that cold weekend, the Scout Master scheduled an outdoor orientation contest. It was designed to teach us map-reading, distance-measuring and compass skills. He handed out a list of instructions which contained wilderness vocabulary and useful landmarks. He then split us up into four competing groups of 7 or 8 kids each and discharged us to the wild on our own.

The group to which I was assigned had 8 kids between 10 to 14 years old. I was 11. The oldest (and tallest) boy in our group, obviously popular, became our accepted leader. None of the kids questioned his decisions as he deciphered the list of instructions. Instead, oblivious to its distance and bearing details, they scrambled along in the ankle-deep snow to keep up with the leader as he raced through the instructions. The younger (and less fit) kids trundled along behind the group complaining about the cold snow that was creeping into their oversized overshoes. I listened to the older boy’s rationale as he checked off each clue, step by step. He performed the tasks well in my opinion, up to a point at which he was required to pace off a 50-yard distance.

That became a moment of truth.

The group was off course. The impatient leader, in his hurry, stumbled in the deep snow more than once as he paced off the 50-yard instruction. The resulting error skewed his next compass aim, pointing us toward a birch tree that was not on the list. The correct birch tree, just out of sight, looked very similar but was several compass degrees to the right. We could not find any more landmarks because they were all linked to the birch tree we missed. We soon realized that we were lost. Running out of options, the self-appointed leader suggested we accept what we had for the desired clues and keep going.

Trusting the big kid, the other scouts faithfully followed the leader. Since they had allowed him to do all the mental work along the way, they now had no idea of how to troubleshoot the flawed clue situation on their own. The younger kids, cold and embracing their negativity more than ever, also conformed just to keep moving toward any conclusion of what they considered to be a miserable exercise from the beginning.

As we started off into a random direction, I spoke up. My logic was: unless we figured out what had gone wrong, it would be unlikely that we could get back on track. Conceding that it would indeed cost us time, I petitioned the group to nevertheless go back and restart from the last trusted position.

As you can probably guess from my description of the group, the idea was quickly voted down. Tall Boy’sreputation had been challenged and at age 14, he lacked the ego authenticity to own an error. He surmised that it was not him but the instruction list that was inaccurate. The Follow-the-Leader scouts, having abdicated their own responsibility to understand the problem and its range of solutions, became an insecure committee. They were a majority, rejecting any idea that did not align with the group as led. The Cold Kids complained that it was getting dark and we should just quit, head back to the warm cabin and become sure losers.

I asked the leader if I could use the compass, going back to pace off the 50-yard task a second time. He agreed, but while I was re-stepping that link, the group’s impatience sent them marching off without me. I found the other birch tree and located the rock, which buoyed my confidence. I shouted for them to come back and join my trail. Locked in the grip of false confidence, where the leader’s determination was ratified by an ignorant majority and then, in turn, served the majority it’s need for security, they declined. I suppose the group had by now developed some skeptical thoughts about this kid from New England who had the audacity to leave the safety of the herd to pursue a quality result. Besides, they were comfortable with Tall Boy’s decision because, after all, it was affirmed by 7 of the 8 scouts which was clearly a mandate.

Since I was unfamiliar the adults, I was not at all sure that my solo work would be recognized or even accepted at the finish line, but it was. Fortunately the last step on the instruction revealed a cached, four-sided trinket as proof that the accurate destination had been reached. The exercise was designed to confirm that if the team had accomplished every skill in the competition they could produce the trinket. It would prove completion of all the steps for them and gain respect for quality from all who participated. At the conclusion of the event, when the Scout Master asked if anyone could identify this unusual piece of jewelry, our team won and was recognized for accomplishing the key lessons required to successfully reach the goal.

It’s a wonder that I wasn’t hated by my teammates, who accepted my contribution with grace. The experience helped me shed the newcomer status in the troop and gave alert to the kids who had trusted the majority without thinking on their own. It also set a permanent caution in my heart to be skeptical about the popular perception that a majority is always right.

Henrik Ibsen, in his famous 1882 play, An Enemy of the People, created a character who’s role is to help the reader wonder if the majority does always rule. His point: it is an age-old lie that the majority is always right! In fact, he asserts via the character’s lines that the majority is usually wrong!

At 11 years old, philosophy was not my concern. However, having watched the process of decision-making on so many boards and committees over the years since, I often wished that more of those members had been with us in that cold Akron wood in 1954.

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Integrity

Integrity verses Honesty

When the virtue integrity is mentioned, the concept of honesty often comes to mind. However, integrity and honesty are quite different.

Webster’s New World Dictionary defines integrity as “being of sound moral principal; state of being complete, unbroken.” A person’s integrity reflects his or her soundness of mind and soul.

The US Navy uses the term integrity to describe the seaworthiness of a ship. A vessel with questionable integrity would be at risk in a rough sea. Its hull may not be expected to hold up to a constant pounding of waves, or for some other reason it might lack enough integrity to keep seawater out. A ship with integrity is completely ready for sea.

Honesty is a good word too. People who are honest refrain from deception. They are more forthright in relationships, less apt to cut corners or conform just to be politically correct. Honesty is a personal character trait that is part of one’s reputation. It is a trait that wears well on others even in the case where hearing the truth is painful. Using a military example again, the Navy demonstrates its value for honesty at commissioning ceremonies when it asks its prospective leaders to take the oath , “An officer will not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those that do.”

Although honesty is not synonymous with integrity, its absence certainly indicates a lack of integrity. If a person has a reputation of choosing to lie, cheat or steal, that person almost always lacks some type of integrity. When someone demonstrates that they cannot be trusted their dishonest behavior usually reflects a history of unresolved heart wounds. It can be assumed that unless and until such a person engages in a process of facing that history, separating what was true from what was untrue around the circumstances at the source of those wounds, that person will not fare well in the storms of life any more than a weakly built ship would stand the storms of sea.

Integrity: the personal state wholeness; complete. Being strong enough to be honest, open and candid regardless of the temporary cost.

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