Beware the Hate

Our beautiful world is a crazy place right now! Have you noticed?

There’s so much going on all around the globe these days, it’s nigh impossible to keep up with it all. With the pandemic still a threat and world economies struggling from extended shutdowns, did we really need the additional natural disasters of hurricanes, floods and rampant fires?

Then there’s the human factor. The social injustice protesting, the looting, the widespread violence in major cities, and the most divisive and derisive general election in the history of the United States is ramping up to a crescendo. 

The Life and Times of now are challenging, do you agree?

The social media platforms are abuzz with current events, diverse opinions, raging rants—and you name it.  It seems everyone has a cause to promote or an opinion to share. The feeds are choc a block with social and political views—and judgments.  Somewhat annoying, but all okay since everyone is entitled to voice their opinion in a free world—and what we don’t like we can scroll past, right?

What I find distasteful is the visceral hatred, especially when the hate clearly cancels out any form of intellect. Hate is destructive, repugnant—and not helpful in any way, to anyone.

Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in this world,
but has not solved one yet. 

—Maya Angelou

Hate is insidious in its pervasiveness. Spawned inside its perpetrator, it will fester and multiply. Eventually, if not eradicated it will eat its human host alive—from the inside out. Hate is greedy and all consuming in its desire to rule all other human emotions.

If left to run amok it will smother thoughtfulness and kindness. It will destroy reason and obliterate the ability to forgive. It will block truth, leaving its victim blinded, and incapable of seeing beyond the object of the hate. It serves no useful purpose. 

 

Unrestrained hate will eventually escape its boundaries of the internal being and spew its venom externally, often causing harm to others in its path, but in the end the greatest harm inflicted is to the one who feeds on it. Hate will devour the individual in which it resides. 

 

There is only one antidote to hate. It is to stop! Stop hating, let it go, and replace its presence with thoughtfulness, kindness, forgiveness and love. 

 

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen —1John 4:20

 

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses —Proverbs 10:12

Salt and Light

How many times have you heard someone describe another person as being like salt?  

Growing up, I heard that expression many times from my grandmother about someone she considered to be an upstanding, down-to-earth person of integrity who was honest and reliable. She would say something like, “He’s a good sort—the very salt of the earth!” Of course, I later realized that the saying originated in the bible, quoted from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. 

In my bible, a present from my grandfather, he inscribed, “let your light shine forth.” I expect you hear similar words spoken today that encourage you to shine your light.

“You are the salt of the earth.” Matthew 5:13
“You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14

I have had plenty of time during the three or four months of Covid-19 lockdowns to digest the tragic loss of life in the pandemic, and to observe the troubling acts of violence, looting, and blatant disregard for law and order. I have seen anarchists claim autonomous zones in cities, while authorities stand back and do nothing. Things are chaotic. Those who read my blog regularly, or who have read my book My Soul Sings for You, understand what I mean when I refer to the life and times of now—the beautiful, crazy, but often worrying, time of life in which we find ourselves today. We are in it—up to our necks! I have had cause to evaluate what is taking place in the world.

Who could have predicted all that happened so quickly? It is mind-boggling, and head-spinning isn’t it? And yet maybe it isn’t! Perhaps things have been slowly brewing unnoticed and needed a spark to ignite an insane kind of craziness that has turned the world upside down.

The world, as we knew it six to twelve months ago, is rapidly disappearing, forcing each of us to adjust our sails as the winds of change blow hither and thither. We know that a ship, without a course, is controlled by ocean currents and prevailing winds. A vessel will be tossed around at the mercy of the ocean, washing it up on a sand bar, or dashing it onto rocks, or carrying it to a distant land, depositing its passengers in a foreign place, far from the comforts of home.

That scenario is a lot like life. With no plan, no destination, no direction, no course of action, how can you steer your life, your next chapter, or determine your next move? With no idea where you are going or where you stand, how will you ever survive the roller-coaster of life today, with its numerous ups and downs? How will you navigate through the storms if you don’t see them coming, or you have not prepared?

Maybe the time has come to put Jesus at the helm of your life.

May I ask you a couple of questions? Are you ready to abandon fear? Will you banish anxiety and stand firmly on faith? As a seed of God planted here on earth, are you prepared to share God’s Kingdom wherever you are and whenever you can? Will you be the example of salt and light? What if you were born for such a time as this?

The whole earth is groaning. Do you agree? Perhaps God is calling each of us to embrace our identity as His sons and daughters—to set aside the complacency we might have felt before the pandemic hit so we can fulfill our destiny and purpose at this time.

Is He calling your name? Will you answer His call?

The enemy, Satan, is trolling for souls. He has an evil plan—to turn nation against nation, destroy family relationships, and seduce humanity to revolt against God. He influences all who are willing to succumb to his deception, evil ploys, and temptations. While some are focused on protecting and preserving their lifestyle, the enemy is busily implanting the spirits of fear, sickness, confusion, and distraction into those who are blind to his antics. He will cunningly divert your attention from God, shake your faith, and confuse you.

Are you reeling from all you see and hear right now? Do you find yourself asking questions like, “How could they do that?” or “What, were they thinking?” or “How can someone in authority make choices like that, or say what they did?”

If you are confused, and nothing seems to make sense, or if you are baffled by irrational behavior, causing you to think the world has gone crazy, it’s not you. If you see that right and wrong have flipped places and are mixed up in the chaotic craziness, know that it is the way the enemy works. He influences even intelligent, educated people who fall prey to his wickedness. That is why discernment and truth are paramount.

I know you might read this and disagree, or find it hard to believe. So be it. I am merely a humble messenger. If you are a nonbeliever, I hope you will seek God for yourself. If you choose to reject God, that is your prerogative. Please understand that if you accept a living God, then you know that His enemy, Satan, also lives and plots destruction to the earth and humanity. There was a time many years ago when I dismissed thoughts about the devil, but since then, I’ve had personal experiences with his evil, so I must share what I believe to be the truth about events in the world.  

We must immerse ourselves in Christ and put on His armor. Go forth as the salt of the earth and shine your light in the darkness. Spread hope in the world.

Do you hear God calling you by name?

 

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.     —Romans 8:19-22 (NIV)

He’s Just My Dad

A vivid memory captured my thoughts today and along came a flood of emotion.

I recalled a scene from the past. I was standing in the reception line in the church hall, following my dad’s celebration of life—an incredible ninety-seven years! His friends, one after another in quick succession, each expressed their heartfelt condolences for my loss as they shared encounters with my dad that had endeared him to them. I was grateful for each interaction, and the unanimous outpouring of admiration for the man they all knew as a friend, neighbor, mentor, client, customer, or Fleet Air Arm veteran. Some only knew him in passing, as the “stooped old gent” from Bridge Street.

The man I call Dad.

My father was a familiar and highly respected figure in the community, and those who knew him treasured his friendship. As a WWII veteran, he was considered a national treasure, someone to be revered, and it was evident in the way others addressed him and treated him that he was. There were many genuine reasons for people to love and admire my dad. He was an engaging conversationalist with a brilliant mind—a compelling storyteller with a vast repertoire of interesting topics and real-life personal experiences. One never needed to worry about pauses in conversation when Dad was in the room. Whether the listener was a stranger or adoring grandchild, my father captured their full attention. They hung on his every word and were always left wanting to hear more—they were enthralled by his narratives.

Dad was an educator with a lifelong thirst for learning and an unlimited capacity to retain information. He was also motivated to share his knowledge with anyone who listened, and he conveyed what he knew in story form. Hence, they understood and remembered what was said. Ironically, people would learn without realizing he was teaching them. He was a multi-talented and accomplished artist and potter. He was a prolific artist who painted an extensive gallery of artistic expressions depicting his life experiences—his unique story in paint and brush strokes.  

It has been two years since my father died.

How can it simultaneously feel like yesterday, but seem a thousand years ago? Because life is like that! One can be sad but joyful, be old but youthful, so why should time be exempt from life’s contrariness? On the day of Dad’s memorial service, time itself seemed to stand still while my emotions raced out of control. You might say I was overcome when conflicting feelings collided. I was happy, sad, stressed, and joyful—all at once! How can that be, you ask?

Let me explain. I adored my dad, and I missed him with all my heart. The stories people shared were overwhelming and lovely. They touched my heart and re-introduced me to my dad from their perspective. They affirmed all the characteristics I already knew, admired, and respected about Dad. He was everything they said and more. It was the more part that gripped me the most. When death stripped away all else, what mattered most to me was who he was, and what he meant, to me.

He is just my Dad.

I was thrilled that so many attended to pay respects and to support our family, yet I was sad to bid farewell to him. It signaled the end of an era. I was joyful for him to be in heaven with my mother, yet the stress of what lay ahead (settling his estate) weighed me down. Hearing all the beautiful stories of the lives my dad touched made my soul sing for joy, but a gut-wrenching sadness gripped me deep within. The loss hit home hard.

No more stories. No more paintings. No more belly laughs. That quirky grin—gone! No more morning cups of tea with him.

In his one last breath, all of who he was to me faded away. All except the memories—and my love for him. It is true that his knowledge and talent left with him, yet so much of him remains—entrusted to me for safe keeping. My father left stories that tell of bygone life and he wrote firsthand accounts that uphold historical facts about WWII, all brought to life in articulate words that paint a picture of life as it was. And, he left paintings that speak louder than words.

As I fast forward to the present, I am more determined than ever to publish dad’s stories in his biography. I started the manuscript earlier this year, but then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and life changed. The extended lockdowns to safeguard health and save lives, the economic turbulence, followed by outbreaks of civil unrest and violence, all added up to unfortunate and very real distractions. Ultimately, I placed my writing on the back burner.

Today, on this Father’s Day 2020, I pledge to fulfill a promise to myself—to honor my father’s memory by sharing some of what he left behind, written in his words. I’m ready to share his WWII stories. Time to write anther book—my dad’s biography.

When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.
—African Proverb

Despite the truth in this African Proverb, perhaps I can resurrect one book from the ashes of the proverbial library. I feel sure many of you relate to what I have shared here. You all have or had a father. Our fathers each carry with them meaningful stories that deserve to be remembered, and retold.

If your father lives I encourage you to love on him. If he has passed on, honor his life and his memory.

Happy Father’s Day to all dads everywhere.

 

Insight Over Incite!

What are you thinking?  What are you feeling?

These two questions belong together because we can engage both the heart and the mind as we seek insight into the life and times of now—the beautiful, resilient, but often confusing, turbulent, and broken world in which we currently live.

Today, I am breaking silence. Why now, you ask? The answer is simple. I am ready to share some thoughts on recent events. I’ve held back as I am not one to rush to judgment or react impulsively in the heat of the moment. With that said, do I sometimes post a hasty comment on social media? Of course! I can get sucked in, but generally, the contemplative side of me refrains from doing so.

I much prefer to dive deep into thought—to process what I am seeing and hearing. Knee-jerk reactions and hastily spoken words often arise from strong, visceral emotions rather than thoughtful consideration and insightful responses, so I usually opt for the latter. Sometimes that means I must wait for my mind (thoughtfulness) to catch up with my heart (emotions). On other occasions I hit the pause button to seek God’s counsel. I patiently await wisdom and discernment from Him. In His timing.

I hope you don’t interpret my quietness as being fearful of speaking my mind. That is not the case. And, lest anyone should think I’m avoiding controversial topics, or fleeing from the condemnation of any social injustice, please rethink. Again, that is not the case. Lastly, should you wonder if I have chosen to ignore the tragedies, violence, and chaos of the last few weeks, nothing could be further from the truth. I have taken time to collect information, observe unfolding events, and evaluate the world at large. I have tapped into my intuition and formulated what I consider an insightful opinion.

I stopped commenting on my blog for a while and limited my social media posts to words and pictures of encouragement, hope, and love. I avoided subject matter that might incite further anger or had the potential to fuel heightened emotions. I refused to like, post, or forward anything based on what someone thought I should post. I will never publish something simply because it is popular, expected of me, or supports any cause that I believe is divisive or incites racism, hatred, and violence. I strive to choose words, tone, and expressions that produce calm and unity.   

George Floyd’s unjustified killing was brutal and gut-wrenching. It was heartbreaking and inexcusable. I condemn the excessive force, and brutality dealt him by the four police officers now under arrest and rightly charged. There is no place in our society for “bad” cops, and I renounce and abhor all forms of racial injustice. Whether George Floyd’s vicious killing was racially motivated, or perpetrated for some other reason, there is no doubt in my mind that the murder we saw in the horrific 8-minute video was unadulterated evil in action. My heart goes out to the Floyd family. I am so sad for their loss. I believe justice will be served through our court system, but the family’s loss will be felt forever. May George Floyd rest in peace.

I am disgusted at the senseless looting and destruction of entire communities in Minneapolis. What began as lawful, peaceful protests against the brutal killing of George Floyd, accelerated into angry cries of racial injustice and police brutality, further degenerating into acts of outrageous violence—even as the Floyd family pleaded for calm. As the world looked on in dismay, hostile activism spread wildly from city to city across the nation, and even globally. I cringed as I saw neighborhood businesses demolished and burned to the ground by enraged mobs. I understand the anger at injustice, I condone the right to peaceful protests, but how can anyone justify the destruction of one’s community? It is hard to fathom. Perhaps you’ve wondered if the outbreak of riots and violence that spread rapidly across the U.S. and into other countries is organized by entities who have a plan to divide nations and incite civil unrest. If you’ve thought this, I believe you may be on to something.

I believe we need insight over incite. The former leads to understanding, the latter to hatred, division, and violence.

The cries we heard for justice and demands for police reform soon became a repetitive chorus for retaliation against the police. The riotous looting and violence turned into physical revenge against law enforcement officers, seemingly with no regard to race or color. The loud accusations of racial injustice and police brutality incited further hatred toward police—sadly not only toward corrupt cops but towards law enforcement establishments in general. The calls for revenge resulted in indiscriminate, brutal murders and widespread injuries of innocent police officers—random, intentional, and ruthless killings.

I condemn those who incite others to violent acts of civil unrest and killing.

Those who serve to protect the population are now the targets of hatred, while angry protesters in city after city demand to defund or abolish the police. In Seattle, militants seized the police station and declared a 6-block cop-free zone that is fenced off and lawless. It is anarchy in Seattle. There are cries for dismantling the police in other cities. The Minneapolis City Council unanimously voted to abolish its police department and replace it with a community-led public safety system—while NYC leaders push the plan to cut $1 billion from the NYPD budget. Really?

Do people not understand that society cannot live peacefully under anarchy? A free society must have thoughtful laws in place to protect the population. Likewise, we must have honorable police officers to enforce those laws and keep peace in their communities. Yes, there are some bad cops, and that needs to change. They must be removed from the profession. It is my experience that no one hates a bad cop more than a good cop. There’s always room for new reforms and better training, but defunding and abolishing the police will only serve to make matters worse for society. There will be more crime, violence, and injustice under lawlessness.

Have you noticed it? There are wicked people in the world, found in all walks of life, in all professions. In case you haven’t encountered any in a while, let me remind you that there are bad doctors, bad attorneys, bad business owners, bad politicians, and the list continues.    

Did you sense this coming? I did! I alluded to it in a couple of chapters in my book, and also in this blog post.

No, I am certainly not a soothsayer. I cannot foretell the future, so when I say I sensed something coming, I did not know the precise triggers that would unleash the unrest. I had no fore knowledge of Covid-19, nor the killing of George Floyd. I did not anticipate the nationwide looting and destruction, nor the racial strife, nor could I have imagined calls for the defunding and abolition of law enforcement. I saw none of that coming.

However, what I did sense looming on the horizon, and wrote about in my book last year, was a vast divide between left and right political agendas.  I felt it would lead to civil unrest, fueled by willing agitators and media bias, resulting in hatred, lies, deceit and persecution. We live in a time where right is wrong and wrong is right—and evil runs a muck wreaking havoc in the world. I think the stress of Covid-19 pandemic, the lock downs, job losses, and economic struggles opened the door to pent up emotions of suppressed fear and anger. Then the outrage at the brutal killing of George Floyd, coupled with accusations of racism, incited further by outside militants, paved the way for violence and rebellion against the law.

At times such as these, we must strive for calm and unity. It starts with personal responsibility. So, it behooves each of us to exercise restraint, to refrain from insults, angry accusations, and divisive slogans that incite further violence. We each must strive for insight into the truth.  

What is the real origin of this chaos? Who or what is at the root of it? We must act appropriately and be unifiers and peacemakers, choosing language and terminology that respect equal rights among all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, or age.

Now is a good time for us to seek God. God loves humanity. After all, He created each one of us. He commanded us to love one another, but because we live in a sinful, broken world, and we are imperfect beings, we can fall short. Satan, on the other hand, is the arch-enemy of God and he hates God and all His creation. The evil one is active prowling the earth in search of human souls.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
—1 Peter 5:8 (KJV)

The following is a passage from my book, My Soul Sings for You**

“I am blown away at the widespread naiveté regarding the existence of evil forces. Satan is alive and plotting destruction. He hates God. He hates anything that reminds him of God, especially those created in the likeness of God. Yes, my friends, that means you and me! The evil one is prowling the earth, devouring souls, and using any tactic available to him and his fallen cohorts. Be aware that we all have an enemy bent on destroying us, deceiving us, hiding from us, and attempting to convince us he’s not even there. He’s a master at cunning and deception.”

Wake up, people! There is a spiritual battle raging between the forces of good and evil. What you see happening in the world right before your eyes are the works of Satan. He uses any and every dirty tactic in his arsenal in a desperate attempt to take down God’s creation—the earth and everything in it. Think about recent world events. The Covid-19 pandemic, economic collapse, racism, brutality, violence, hatred, and widespread civil unrest—these things are rooted in evil. The devil eagerly exploits the weak and sinful nature of humanity, using people as instruments of his hatred. Do not be deceived by his many disguises, his masterful lies, and relentless attempts to win cohorts and supporters. He rejoices in broken relationships and nations at war. He is gleeful when the world is in chaos. He thrives and grows stronger in environments where mass confusion is rampant, and where hate triumphs over love. 

God has already won the spiritual battle in the long term. In the meantime, let us not permit evil forces to tear our nation apart. United we stand, divided we fall. It’s time for all Americans to unify as one nation under God. Our politicians must stop the infighting and partisan divisions and come together for the good of the country. What we most need right now are powerful prayers for peace, love, and unity.

May God bless the United States of America and heal our land.

Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
—Romans 12:16-18 (NLT)

** Author’s note: Recommend you purchase a copy of my book and read the entire chapter beginning on page 151. For sale online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and signed copies available directly from me.

Catch the Torch! Lift it High in Honor of the Fallen

I love red poppies! They are scattered strategically around my house in various arrangements. In my office and entry way, etched into a glass plate and painted on a porcelain jug. A beautiful watercolor featuring the paper-thin red poppies adorns the wall in my dining room. These blood-red beauties are my all-time favorite flowers. Like life itself, they are fragile. Don’t even consider picking one—the bloom will bow its precious head and die within minutes of being plucked. Continue reading →

The Birds Are Still Singing

Our feathered friends are still singing!

Today, their melodious songs are unmistakably loud—and persistently cheerful, just like any other day. Two of our resident squirrels pause for a moment to tease the nesting mockingbirds but quickly return to stealing nuts and seeds from the swinging feeders. We strategically placed the feeders out of reach of the squirrels, but the furry rascals manage to find a way in! Annoying the birds has become the playful critters’ daily ritual in and around the magnolia and crepe myrtle trees. As I glance up at the majestic magnolia, I note dozens of bulging buds, announcing their readiness to burst into flower. Of course! It’s almost May—the month the magnolias bloom every year. Continue reading →

What Will Your Take Away Be?

How are you using this stay-at-home time to think about your future?

Will you make changes going forward? What will they be?

I’ve been knocked to my knees or had the stuffing knocked out of me many times, humbling me and causing me to rethink my priorities, my lifestyle and where I was headed. I’ve had to change direction. These are valuable tipping points. It’s happening again! And this will not be the last time, for undoubtedly there will be more times. It is ever so in this life. Are you feeling it too? Continue reading →

The Life and Times of Now

Greetings! In this post you will find one of the stories in Life’s Lessons, Chapter Five of the book I published last year entitled My Soul Sings for You—Spiritual Peace in the Life and Times of Now. The story below is on page 151 in the paperback version and, while I read excerpts from it in my video book reading, it is written here in entirety as was published in 2019. 

During these unsettling times of battling the ramifications of this virus Covid-19 on human health and the world economy, millions of people across the globe are feeling stressed, confused and troubled. I understand. The unknown is always scary, but I want to encourage you to take heart. Have hope. Turn fear into faith. Our country is strong. We’re uniting and pulling together. Look for something positive in your current situation. Make a gratitude list! Believe that you and your loved ones will come through this. I pray you feel a sense of peace amid the chaos. A living, loving and powerful God is working it all out. Good things will emerge from all this. Continue reading →

Fearless Friday

Are you superstitious? Personally I’m not, but some people are and they tremble at the very thought of anything that relates to the number thirteen—hotel room numbers, floors in a building, street addresses, dates on the calendar, and even the military time of 1300 hours! I’m sure you can conjure up your very own connotation of the number thirteen.

Today is Friday Thirteenth, and as if that isn’t enough to unsettle those of you who are overly superstitious, there’s a new bully on the block terrorizing mankind. Covid-19 is on the move, swirling its evil tentacles around the globe, wreaking havoc with human health, creating turmoil wherever it goes, striking fear into the hearts and minds of millions the world over, and infecting thousands with its virulent virus. It’s all part and parcel of The Life and Times of Now!  Continue reading →

My Book Review from Kirkus

I’m thrilled to announce that Kirkus has reviewed my book and you can read their assessment below. I feel the review is an accurate description of the message I dreamed of portraying through the stories in my book. This link will take you directly to the review as published in their site.

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/anthea-gillian-tripp/my-soul-sings-for-you 

MY SOUL SINGS FOR YOU
SPIRITUAL PEACE IN THE LIFE AND TIMES OF NOW
BY ANTHEA GILLIAN TRIPP  RELEASE DATE: SEPT. 18, 201

Book Review

A motivational guide to simpler living that taps into its author’s experiences. 

In her attractive nonfiction debut, Tripp draws in part on her time in East Africa in the 1950s, recalling some straightforward advice she was given about hippos and alligators. Gators, she was told, are very dangerous and live in swamps—so stay out of swamps if you don’t want to get eaten. That advice is typical of her direct approach. “Please don’t overlook the wisdom in simplicity,” Tripp writes in a sentiment that runs throughout the book. “If you don’t want to set yourself up for pain, don’t go where you know the potential for pain exists. If you don’t want to be eaten by alligators, do not venture into the swamps, at least not willingly.” She calls her book an “anthem to my Creator” and draws heavily on her life story, emphasizing optimism and flexibility in the face of life’s uncertainties. “I’ve learned always to expect the unexpected,” she writes, “and to smile at my Creator’s sense of humor.” Her book frankly acknowledges that modern life seems designed to attack and destroy peaceful simplicity. She reflects on how plugged-in she once was to that world, with feeds and notifications constantly bombarding her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, and elsewhere until Tripp felt like she was “ADHD on steroids.” She bravely took a step that others only dream about: “I announced on my Facebook profile page that I was reining in my activity on social media to passionately pursue the business and personal goals aligned with my purpose.” Through life lessons and her Christian insights, she seeks to provide antidotes to that continual noise and chaos. Her narrative voice is inviting; her candid optimism will likely comfort even her non-Christian readers, though her sentiments can range from the biblical—“Love never fails”—to the familiar-but-ridiculous: “That which doesn’t kill us can make us stronger.” She urges people never to underestimate the power of prayer or the value of friendship, and such ideas, though commonplace, are always worth repeating.

A calming and gently thought-provoking reminder that the simplest wisdom is often the truest.