Mac Davis. “O Lord it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way” is the first line in a song made famous by Mac Davis a long time ago. Putting the lousy theology aside, the song is a fun song.

I thought about a modification of the song after hearing our pastor’s sermon on Sunday: O Lord it’s hard to be optimistic with so many problems in the world. She made me think about many of the problems in our world today.

Drought in California— 25,000,000 people depend on Lake Meade for water. The lake is 143 feet below full. The lake is at 36 % capacity and dropping. The people and agriculture of California and other parts of the southwest are in peril.

Flooding in Tennessee— At the other moisture extreme, we have flooding in Tennessee. Seventeen inches of rain in a day left 20 people dead, many more missing and widespread devastation.

Hurricane in the Northeast— Hurricane Henri brought heavy rain and damaging winds to densely populated areas. The last hurricane to reach landfall this far north was 30 years ago.

Fires in the Northwest— Fires are demolishing entire towns in California and damaging property in other states. The air quality is very poor over a wide area of the Northwest. By some reports smoke from the fires has been detected in Europe. I was shocked when I Googled wildfires and saw the map of active fires in the United States. There are many occurring in many states.

Haiti— Most Haitians live in extreme poverty. Their president was recently assassinated. A 7.2 earthquake left over 2,000 dead and widespread devastation. Two days after the Quake, tropical storm Grace dumped torrential rain and added to the devastation.

Closer to Home. COVID is rampant in Mobile. Hospital beds are full. Ambulances are often not available. Elective surgeries are postponed. Some of the hospitalized are vaccinated, but the overwhelming majority are not.  Misinformation is flowing.

Jeny received her third chemotherapy treatment and this was a rough week.

My brother has cancer and will require radiation and Chemotherapy.

My first cousin’s husband is a lung transplant recipient. He had a relapse but had trouble getting back into the hospital because the beds were full of COVID victims.

More unnecessary deaths. In major cities the murder of innocent children continues. Politicians blame guns; I blame people.

Afghanistan. Hanging over all is the pall of Afghanistan. I wish the Taliban had more respect for women. I wish their interpretation of Islam was more loving. I wish they did not believe in Theocracy.  I wish they were more tolerant of other religions and perspectives. I wish their economy did not depend so heavily on heroin. I have many wishes, but unfortunately, I do not believe they will come true.

I am very sorry for the losses of life and limb suffered by our brave military men and women— needless causalities in a losing cause.

I am sorry for the trillions of dollars wasted in war.

I am sorry we went to Afghanistan in the first place and so I would like to see a withdrawal, but I would like a withdrawal that gives dignity to our military— that protects the lives of Americans— that protects the lives of Afghanistan’s who risked their lives on our behalf— that does not let our weapons and technology fall into the hands of the Taliban— that supports the Afghans who are willing to fight the Taliban. However, the current withdrawal appears to be a disaster.

My outlook. So, if I look around— O Lord it’s hard to be optimistic with so many problems in the world.

But if I look to my faith:

I am optimistic. I see the opportunity for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, tolerance, strength and self- control— and many opportunities to serve the needs of others.

I am humbled. I see that I have sufficient food, more than adequate shelter, good health for an old man, a loving wife and family, many friends and a caring God.

A good friend sent me a note this week telling me how much he was getting from reading the 4th chapter of Philippians. Despite all of the troubles of the time the people were reminded to … “fix your minds on whatever is true and honorable and just and pure and lovely and admirable.”

Thus, I try not to worry not about the big problems out of my control. I try not to dwell on the mistakes of politicians and others.

I look for the good. I do what I can to control my own life and meet the needs of those less fortunate.

I encourage everyone to join me— we can make a difference.

A new adventure. To help me have the discipline to write a long essay (or short book) I have been considering for a long time, I am committing to writing a small segment every week. I will put the segment at the end of my blog. Thus, if you do not want to join me in the venture you can read the blog and then skip the developing essay. I am hoping enough people will be interested in my topic that we can have a good dialogue and those interactions will strengthen the work. I will begin that process next week.

Peace,

Jerry


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