My wife and I spent this holiday season with family and friends, beginning when my daughter Jessie arrived from Arizona on 12/21. The last of our company left this morning, 1/1/2012...I know it's 2012, but it still looks strange as I write, in fact, I think I was just getting used to writing 2011 on everything. The older I become the faster this life seems to disappear, almost like the lifting of fog at the San Francisco airport. One minute you cannot see your hand in front of your face, and then slowly, but surely, sunshine begins to burn it off quickly and efficiently.
We had our life-long friends, the Mahoney's, at our home to usher in the new year. Jay and Donna have been our best friends for more than 30 years. That's probably older than most of you reading this post, but the time we shared, and the reason I am writing today, all relates to a request from Donna, or as we who love her call her, our Prima Donna. When the old opera houses in Europe coined the phrase, "prima donna," how could they have known that it would fit our Donna so amazingly well. But I digress...
Thirty year friendships are about as rare as thirty year marriages in the 21st century. As the years fly by, or "Tempus Fugit," for the Latin aficionado's, relationships change faster, jobs change faster, computers process faster, we travel faster, we get news faster, we eat faster, etc., all the while giving up some of the best parts of life. Everybody has figured out how to enhance productivity in all facets of life, ignoring any cost or downside associated with it. If you will, every yin has its yang!
For example, in days recently gone by the proper courtship of a young lady that you met somewhere other than in a bar or a chat room has all but evaporated like a distant wisp of a cloud, left lonely in the sky of time progression. In my youth you worked to get to hold her hand, and eventually you got rewarded with a first kiss. Today everyone is in a hurry to get to instant gratification, rather than waste time with the preliminaries. In fact, we now have sped up that process so that there is not only no need for a marriage, now there is no need even a relationship. Have you heard of "friends with fringes?"
And how about that strobe light we call news and never ending commercials beating us into submission quite literally every day? We used to have a cup of coffee and read the paper or enjoy a well written magazine or book. Within the next 5 years more than 1/2 of the newspapers out there right now will be extinct, and after that books will become museum pieces. We now assimilate far more, literally at the speed of light as we sit spellbound watching HDTV on multiple channels, simultaneously. It's now longer good enough to see and root for the home team, you now have split screens capable of letting you view 4 independent channels at the same time. Now that's productivity! You can watch the game, the stock market, the weather, and your favorite reality TV show all at once...Oh yes, and doing justice to none of them.
Believe me, I have nothing against the digital age. Without it I wouldn't be writing to you today. We don't write much anymore, at least not with pen or pencil. We text incomplete sentences mixed with numbers and letters to communicate faster and more efficiently than even the telephone. God forbid you actually have a real conversation with anyone. And yes, I have 2 desktops, a laptop, a cell phone and a tablet. Each one can be enormously useful in our daily lives as long as we do not sacrifice our humanity on the altar of speed.
As you continue to press on the accelerator in you life please fasten the seat belt that protects your ability to think rationally on your own, develop lasting relationships on your own, and keep fundamental decision making where it belongs, in your God-given conscience. You cannot predict the long term effect of this new found speed on you, or when you just might crash and burn.
In December, I focused on subject matter that was not necessarily positive or uplifting, despite a fresh, scripture based rationale that takes time, study and conversation with God. Today I want to discuss a virtue for the first time. It was requested by my friend above in this post and it is Loyalty...The grammar mavens would tell me not to capitalize the "L" in Loyalty, but I beg to differ. This Virtue called LOYALTY deserves all capital letters, because of its extreme importance to humanity at large; i.e., it is one of those precious, God-given tenants that He takes delight in for all time past, present and future. In fact this little word is one of the mightiest in the English language and should have been my first Blog, not my sixth. tks 2 u don. That there be texting speak for those living under a rock.
To understand just about anything, you need valid historical data for perspective. Loyalty comes from a French word "loyaute" from back somewhere between the 15th and 16 century. Early French like, "Old English" was a bit different, but the same pronunciation, "loiaute. Both words come from, guess what? Good old Latin! "Lex" is the Latin root for "law." In the old days this root was used to describe someone who is lawful, as apposed to an outlaw, and given to someone to designate them as having complete legal rights for fealty to a king or landowner.
Today we even have a video game that glorifies Mammon including all of his or its horrid attributes. Clearly our world believes in many arenas that it is possible to have multiple masters, leading directly to divided loyalties.
In truth there is only one example of Loyalty worth emulating, and that is God's Loyalty. His Loyalty passes all the tests with flying colors:
- Time-He has been loyal to mankind forever. We think in days, months and years. Think eons and eternity.
- Patience-He remains faithful, even when we do not.
- Grace-He remains composed even we commit the worst of sin.
- Forgiveness-He forgives genuine repentance every time and allows us the free will to sin again.
- Truth-He speaks the same truth all through time.
- Integrity-He will not defraud you, embezzle from you, lie to you or tell you half truths. He has wanted the best for you since you were born and given life.
As you can see, Loyalty by God's standard is a tall order. He wants your undivided Loyalty, as described above. Your loyalty may never be perfect in this life, but if do not polish off this virtue in your personal repertoire, you are a fool for sure.
One final word from God himself...Just after the day when Solomon became the King of Israel and Judah, God met with Solomon in a dream. God asked Solomon what he would wish for first now that he was the new King. When Solomon finally replied to God, my interpretation is that God was simply overjoyed. You see most of us would have asked for personal riches, longer life, a bigger house, a German car, or just about anything that would fall under the title of self-gratification, or Mammon, as it was called back then. But here are Solomon's own words, "give me an understanding heart to judge God's people and the ability to discern between good and evil."
Since he chose a selfless course before God, he was blessed with everything else that he did never asked for, because Solomon chose not to divide his Loyalty...
"Oh ye stiffnecked people", if this does not stir your hardened heart, check your pace maker!
The Digital Disciple