It has been too long since I have posted anything on my blog.  In a few weeks my team will be rolling out a new and more interactive web site and blog.  It promises to be set up in such a fashion to make responses easier and for information to be easily shared.  In the meantime I will resume posting on this site until the new changes occur.
      Like many of you I have nothing but good feelings having watched and listened to the Holy Father on his very first visit to the United States.  For six days we got a break from the via negative of American politics and politicians.  The Pope’s visit gave time for my dust to settle so I could really focus upon the things that really matter to me-my family, my grand kids and my friends. His visit saved me from my cynicism towards America politics and politicians that filled the airwaves more than I would have preferred.  I will write more about The Holy Father and what impact he made on me.
    I have been practicing the importance of holding out in order for me to hold on and I want to assure you it is not easy.  Over and over again I have been drawn to the edge by all that has happened since I last communicated with you.  Holding out is a discipline we should all practice.  To hold out is not to give in to anger, hate and judgment of others.  Holding out means taking the time to practice the meaning of true forgiveness. I begin with forgiving myself because I tend to be harder on myself than necessary.  I acknowledge living in a culture of mistrust.  The media is responsible for much of what ails me and tries to control what I believe and think.  I already know this so I must hold out from its seductive tendencies towards me so I may hold on to what matters most in my life.  I begin by remembering God’s multiple blessings.  It is so easy to forget my blessings and that disturbs me. By holding out and not giving in to the seductive forces of selfishness, navel gazing and tales of woes I start holding on to those simple things which sustains me and my relationships and my life.
     I did not realize how deeply I was wallowing in the political narratives that continue to fill the airwaves.  I try my best to hold on to the things that historically have made me come alive-that have made me whole and make me strong.  Why did I struggle to defeat my anger and my constant complaining about everyone and everything?  Where along the way did I not hold on to the beliefs and practices that have grounded me most of my life?  Do you know what I mean?  Unless I hold onto what is dear to me and brings meaning to my madness, I am in trouble.  And when I am in trouble I am a danger to myself and to those around me.  In holding on I seek and I find higher ground.  I yearn to stand on higher ground where the God of my life stands with me. In holding on I anchor myself in the Lord’s goodness and love.  In holding on I see my neighbor and the world with clearer vision.
     Ask yourself this?  In my house, my apartment, do I live in love and tenderness?  In my encounters with my spouse, my neighbor, my friends, my boss, a stranger, do I live in love and harmony?  Do I keep my eyes open and connect in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of refugees whose images flood the screens of my television?  As the Pope reminded me so vividly and so concretely “life means getting our feet dirty.”  I cannot hold out nor hold on unless I am willing to get my feet dirty.  I am reminded of two quotations that summarizes my thoughts right now.
Life offers us a second chance.  It is called tomorrow.
The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and the acceptance of love.  
I encourage you to hold out for love instead of anger and hate.  I encourage you to hold on to what is good and noble and fair and brings jubilation to your spirit.  I encourage you to get your feel dirty and to wallow in what is right and good regardless of the consequences.  I encourage you to hold out against everything that seeks to destroy your joy and your hope.  I encourage you to hold on to everything that makes you come alive and gives you the greater meaning and purpose.  And remember, there is in God, sufficient strength, whatever our needs may be.  And so it is!
Dr. Paul