Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:                                                                                                                          Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” James 1:19 ****************************************************************** For the past 2 1/2 weeks, I have been speech impaired as a result of muscle weakness. This happens intermittently as muscle weakness is part of a progressive neuro-muscular condition I have lived with for 32+ years. This condition causes me to be on a bipap respirator about 14 hours per day and includes challenges in swallowing, talking, and walking during exacerbations, as is the case right now. Clearly a significant setback, one that must be dealt with head on. Though this condition presents many unwelcome difficulties, there is a silver lining. It has taught me the value of humility, patience, and helped me find strength in adversity, and courage I did not know I had. Above all, it has taught me the value of active listening. When my speech is impaired, I am most careful not to waste precious air on anger or speaking ill of anyone, as I chose my words wisely. Unable to clearly express myself with garbled, slurred speech, I am humbled, and even more aware of the need we all have to be heard. Frankly, I pray more when my speech is “out,”...

Healing Baltimore

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”  John 14:27 *********************** This past week, Baltimore experienced extreme violence and anarchy  in the streets after the burial of Freddie Gray who died in police custody. Only with the passage of time will we truly be able to understand what transpired prior to and during the unfolding events. Some news reports say that bus loads of people were bused in from other areas, even other states. Others say that Baltimore has been a hot bed for poverty and racism, a prototype of sorts, for long standing hatred and racial inequality that exists within the US. Even and especially in the age of technology, it is hard to really get the unbiased facts from the news, as media outlets often focus on certain aspects while omitting important facts. With modern technology, we not only are hammered with images and posts about what happened, the world and neighbors alike watched it as it was unfolding! How frightening that must have been for those living in close proximity…But now it is time to put aside all fear for healing Baltimore. With that said, we recognize that there is never a good reason for violence. Having grown up in abject poverty myself, I know well what it means to go without. I know the uneasiness of going to school and to bed at the end of the day hungry ~ Very hungry~ day after day. I know well the privileges lost by not being a person of means in...