The Beauty in the Misery

Today many of us meet with loved ones to sit at a table and eat.

We binge eat in a sort of unwitting celebration of the largest genocide in history, in a world where currently 18,000 children starve to death every day.

In about the time it takes to eat one bite of our dinner, a child dies of starvation. Bite, death. Bite, death. Bite, death.

Yet, in this misery, we can find beauty.

It’s true; we are quick to ignore and neglect the suffering of our human brothers and sisters across the globe. We would turn away from the images of suffering and distract ourselves with TV, games, jokes, or the taste of delicious food.

However, we turn away because we care.

The psychopath has no need to turn away. Without empathy, he does not feel that gut-wrenching unpleasantness we do when we see or acknowledge this immense suffering of our extended global human family.

The hateful sadist takes pleasure in others’ pain. He feels not gut-wrenching unpleasantness but glee at the sight of suffering.

We feel the strong urge to neglect our human family precisely because we are neither psychopaths nor sadists but rather natural philanthropists–lovers of humanity.

So as we sit around our table with relatively immediate family and feel the urge to neglect the miserable horror in the world outside, let us find the beauty in the misery.

Let us give thanks, indeed. Let us give thanks to our respective more immediate families.

It is because of the inherent love of humans that any of us are even alive.

None of us could have survived without charity. We are all the living products of handouts.

My beautiful helpless daughter
My beautiful helpless daughter

We are born helpless. Not all species are like this. Humans are uniquely helpless both at birth and throughout the early years. It’s one of the keys to our humanity.

Even the toughest human baby dies without the incredible charity, the so common charity, of the surrounding humans.

The misery we feel when we resist the urge to neglect our more distant human family is a symptom of our inherent strong love. And our inherent strong love is what we have to thank for our very existence.

Whoever you are, I may have never met you, but I love you. I’m confident you’re bursting with both the pain and joy of your own beautiful love as well. Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

What do you think? Are you thankful for your family? Please leave a comment and a “Happy Thanksgiving” in the comments below.

A broken man I was when my marriage…

Guest post by Paul David Powers, author of Telly Tales III

A broken man I was when my marriage of 18 years had ended! Christmas Season was upon us and though I had been used to hardships in life. There was a three year old little girl, that needed to have something better than well wishes, God Bless You’s or Keep the Faith Slogans.

If you have ever been through a divorce, the thing tears you up inside, makes you doubt yourself, as you are stuck in a whirlwind of "Maybe if I done this, that would not have happened", but the truth of the matter was, another man was involved! Christmas would soon arrive and I didn’t know how or if we would have a Christmas Dinner or even if I would be able to get her a toy so she wouldn’t feel that Santa forgotten her!

Christina was at that age of wonder, fascinated to see the people standing on the corners, at the shopping centers, ringing those Salvation Army Bells! Broke as I was, I did have a dollar that I wasn’t sure what to do with it being alone. She did, "Daddy can I give that dollar to help needy people?" What could I say, I handed her the dollar as she pulled me closer and closer to that kettle! Giving that little gift put a sparkle in her eyes and a shout of joy that I still remember hearing ever since!

The gift turned out to be a "Personal Blessing!" Because somehow Salvation Army heard about our situation, a card had come into the mail that we were to be at the Salvation Army Building at a certain time. So we went and I filled out some papers, stating proof of income which was zero, being a full-time college student.

We stood in line at the entrance of a huge warehouse with rows and rows of boxes each filled with clothing, toy’s and other goodies. . I was handed an envelope, a fifty dollar food voucher, a turkey that weighed almost as much as my daughter! She was told to pick out two small and one large unwrapped toy. I remember a glitter necklace set, a little kitchen set and a doll that was almost as tall as she was. Thanks to Salvation Army, my little girl had a wonderful Christmas. One that we remembered for years to come!


Books by Paul David Powers

Telly Tales III ~ View on Bookshelves | View on Amazon

What can one person of limited means do?

Guest post by Kathleen Martin, author of The Halleluiah Baby

The problem of world hunger used to make me feel powerless to help. What can one person of limited means do? But I read somewhere that even the smallest gesture of sharing can create a "butterfly effect." I hope this is true. In fact, I know this is true. So, today, the day before the U.S. Thanksgiving, I donated a prepackaged bag of food at my grocery store to the homeless. Hunger is not just a third-world problem, it is also a problem right here at home in the U.S. So if we start sharing here, I’m sure it will eventually spread to the whole world.


Books by Kathleen Martin

The Halleluiah Baby ~ View on Bookshelves | View on Amazon

When I was a young boy…

Guest post by Ezekiel Azazel II, author of VooDoo Souls

When I was a young boy, I would often visit my grandmother who lived in a small neighborhood just outside of Queens New York. It was a tight knit community on an island in the shadows of the Big Apple. Everybody was related, or lived like and thought of each other as such. Friendships not only lasted, but they spanned generations with children, and even grandchildren of residents growing up closely together. They would commonly intermingle, whether it be for block parties, or caring for each other through the challenging times living in their flood prone and weather battered homes. As pleasant as the neighborhood was where my grandma lived, it was not a place you’d want to be complacent.

New York in the 1980s was not the metropolis as we know it today. All too common was the fallout from tragedies that plagued the society of the time. Rampant drug use, violent murders, and mafia families embroiled in the final fringes of their turf wars led to many bodies being found by the NYPD, themselves plagued with corruption. It wasn’t unusual to discover a corpse in the marshes from the brutal mob hits, or one in the streets that had fallen victim to the many vices of the sleepless city.

I’d watch as my grandmother worked her crosswords, while we’d listen to the jazzy horns of the big bands, and the crackling voices in AM from the radio on her boat. Across the bay, the very stories that riddled the headlines of my grandma’s Daily News was taking place underneath the same hazy skyline. At night, the towering skyscrapers twinkled in sync with the stars that they reached for, while underneath, the belly of the beast glowed in crimson orange and flashed distant lights in red and blue. My imagination as to what was occurring would run wild, and the mystique of the city of Gotham really piqued my often morbid curiosity, sometimes getting me into mischief. It’s that same curiosity that would later get me into trouble in another not so pleasant land-Iraq, but it was an unlikely person who would actually help fight a war with a method that he showed me as a small boy, and one that I still use it today.

Across the street from my grandma lived a mentally disabled man named Michael. He would often pace and stare at an old marooned boat in his yard while mumbling to himself. I’d watch him from my grandmother’s porch as the older children would throw rocks, spit on, or on other days, call him names and verbally abuse him. In turn, Michael would usually cup his ears, or frantically wave his arms while wailing "Wooooooooh! Wooooh!", which would draw the attention of the entire neighborhood, and send the bullies to the wind in confusion. His younger brother was no better than his sibling’s demons, and at times even more cruel then the street kids, once locking Michael out in the snow, naked as a jay bird. He was not a well liked kid for other reasons, and known for being a "burn out" and a metal head. He ran with teens who suppressed their angst with drugs, booze, and bullying of the weaker residents.

One day while riding my bicycle, I actually stopped to talk to this curious man who acted so bizarre. Michael didn’t look at me and avoided eye contact, instead, he stared at the ground like a timid puppy. He wasn’t used to somebody speaking to him as a person, and conversing kindly nonetheless. He was actually pretty sharp…Amazingly sharp, asking me how my grandmother was, my sister, and if my aunt (who moved to Florida well over a decade earlier) still water skied. With the tact of a child, I asked him "Why do you move your arms that way when the kids pick on you?" Even at my young age, I knew I had mistakenly asked a rude question as he squirmed, and then uncomfortably rocked back and forth in discomfort. Regardless, he replied back in a monotonic chant like voice "I want to row away…I just want to float away."

Years later as a travel weary Marine, I would tell this story to my men while we sat on the border of Kuwait preparing to invade Iraq. I was a Platoon Sergeant, unpopular with some commanders for my unorthodox ways, and eccentric tactics. I was loved by the troops, and the more liberal minded officers who truly understood me. In theory, I was no different than the judgmental staff who shut me out. We had the same enemies, played by the same rules, and had men to lead into battle. It was my ways of soldiering and grooming the future leaders that they loathed, and in some cases, I believe even feared.

Every now and again, I envision a lighthouse, and I can almost hear a distant ships horn bellowing through the foggy salt air while memories of Michael ripple through my mind. I’ll never know if he ever made his journey through fair winds and following seas, but at least one Marine was touched in his home of port.


Books by Ezekiel Azazel II

VooDoo Souls ~ View on Bookshelves | View on Amazon

Those who condemn wealth…

Guest post by Y.T. Whitemansson, author of Obadiah Spelter vs. Stephenie Meyer & Her Hepatic Majesty

A while ago, I read this quote in the Forbes Magazine (they choose one for each edition), I don’t know by who, but Forbes obviously thought it proper to display:

Those who condemn wealth are those who see no way of obtaining it themselves

Or something like that. Pretty illustrative proverb, I’d say, for defending greed. Which is not against the law, in most cases, but causes probably more damage to the world than all criminals united.

There are two ways of obtaining wealth: sell a lot of something to those who already have plenty, or use poor as a labor force, but make sure they stay poor. A lot more can be said on effects of capitalism on the third world, but there’s no need for me go there, all was said already and so many times.

I’ll just take a moment or two to reflect on birthrates in developed (read: rich) and undeveloped countries. Poor India’s and Africa’s and so on’s, populations are rapidly growing, children are born into poverty to live and often die into poverty, while the developed world has ever declining birthrate.

I read a crazy article about some tourist agency from Denmark, telling Danish mothers to send their daughters to summer vacations at sea, because that way they have more chances of getting pregnant. Imagine that.

Imagine the future, if you can.

If the wealth doesn’t really start pouring over, we’re gonna have a future that will make Hunger Games look like an utopia.

Just a thought.


Books by YT Whitemansson

Obadiah Spelter vs. Stephenie Meyer & Her Hepatic Majesty ~ View on Bookshelves | View on Amazon

Maniacs in the Fourth Dimension ~ View on Bookshelves | View on Amazon

Ask anyone in the world if they want an end to poverty…

Guest post by Rivka Levy, author of Causes and Cures of Depression

Ask anyone in the world if they want an end to poverty, suffering, human rights abuses, war, starvation and child abuse, and probably every single one would say ‘yeah, of course!’
But then, if you asked anyone in the world WHAT THEY THEMSELVES could do to bring that about, that’s when you’d probably hear a deafening silence.

I mean, what can I possibly do to stop all these things from happening? I’m not a prime minister, a billionaire, an influential celebrity… So what on earth can I do to prevent these things from happening?

The answer is deceptively simple: I can work on myself. I can see the areas in my own life and my own environment where kindness, charity and peace are ‘lacking’, however you care to define that, and then I can try my darndest to fill those gaps.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: how does it help starving people in Africa if I stop blowing up at my work colleagues, children or spouse? How can I put an end to poverty by curbing my own tendencies to judge other people harshly, want my own way, and to complain whenever I don’t get it?

There’s a few answers to this, but in the spiritual realm, every human being, every soul, is linked to every other.

We’ve all heard the example of how a butterfly beating its wings in one part of the world can cause a hurricane to form in another part of the world. I don’t know if that is literally true (although I’ve read things claiming its a ‘scientifically-proven’ principle, whatever that means.)

But what I can tell you for sure is that spiritually, that’s 100% what’s going on.

Every tiny action you take to put more peace, love, compassion, understanding, kindness and healing into the world doesn’t just affect and impact you and your surroundings: it effects the whole world.

Think of it like a gigantic scale, with ‘good’ on one side, and ‘bad’ on the other. Each of us is responsible for bringing the good to the tipping point, where it will become the prevailing spiritual mode in the world – and the opposite is also true.

Every time we hate, blame, lie, steal and hurt, we’re adding more fuel to the flames of global suffering and evil. It’s a huge responsibility.

So next time you hear a story of human suffering in a foreign clime, or see a newscast of a terrible event, know that there is something you can do to bring evil and suffering to an end, and to start to tip the world over into a space that’s only good: work on yourself.

And the more people who do that, the faster that time of global bounty and bliss will happen.


Books by Rivka Levy

Causes and Cures of Depression ~ View on Bookshelves | View on Amazon

The How, What and Why of Talking to God ~ View on Bookshelves | View on Amazon

The Happy Workshop ~ View on Bookshelves | View on Amazon