The Assassination of Accountability

It doesn’t take much digging into the news headlines over the past several months, to see a growing trend here in America. A scary trend, that if followed, I believe will kill the concept of accountability. In fact, it didn’t just start within the past few months, but rather recent years. It’s a trend, that when I think about it’s consequences and repercussions on the way we live, makes my stomach turn. Maybe you have noticed them as well. If not, let’s just take a look at some of the things I’ve noticed.

Accountability can be simply defined by saying responsibility. Webster’s defines it as, “especially an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.” 

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/accountability

Where do you see a lack of accountability in your world today? Well, you can do a simple Google search for “lack of accountability in America,” and you’ll be given a wide variety of news articles, opinion articles (like this one), and sources that range from credible political sources, all the way to conspiracy theory websites. I dug into some of them and it started giving me a headache. If you’d like to see them all, feel free to research the topic on your own and draw your own conclusions from what you find. What you will find however, is a growing lack of responsibility within our nation.

I started noticing this downward spiral a few years ago. Seems as though we like to shift the blame for our issues onto someone else, or place the blame on a disease. Are you an addict? Alcoholic? Gambling problem? It’s not your fault some say. You have a disease!

I’ve recently heard about the sick and twisted agenda of having pedophilia listed as a gender identification. It’s mind blowing, and a lie straight from the pit of hell, to think an adult sexually attracted to a child is okay; that it is just how a person is designed. No, it is not okay folks. It is wicked, and we are being spoon-fed these lies straight from the father of lies, Satan himself.

We have a growing number of marriages ending in divorce, ripping families apart, and having a disastrous rippling effect on future generations. Has your husband let you down? It’s okay, it’s not your fault. Not attracted to your wife anymore? It’s okay man, have that affair! It’s not your fault. Children left at home without a Mommy or a Daddy, all for the sake of selfishness. It’s sad people! And somehow we expect these children to grow up without any emotional or behavioral problems.

We are focusing on this COVID-19 pandemic, while we have a bigger problem here in America. We have this growing “cancel” culture thing happening, and there’s more and more being chipped away every single day. That’s an entirely different post to dive into, but it’s a problem. Why? We are accountable to the present and the future generations, to not repeat the mistakes of the past. If you erase the past, you just might repeat the past. Nothing to look back on when there’s a blank slate!

We have some radicals in America that want to defund law enforcement. I’m not talking about Smalltown, USA. No, we are talking major cities like New York and Los Angeles. What happens when you get rid of law enforcement? Who then enforces the law? What rules are there to follow? You know what you lose? Besides protection, you lose accountability! Less than twenty years later, and we have people who want to defund the very men and women who raced into the World Trade Center towers on 9/11/2001.

We have a culture that not only wants to get rid of police, but they would love nothing more than to get rid of God from our culture. Why? Get rid of God and you no longer are accountable to a higher power. Without good, there is no evil. Well to all those radicals who think that’s a good idea, I will tell you this. God’s Word is very clear that while this earth may pass away, His Word will never pass away. Try and destroy it, get rid of it, silence it, or suppress it, but the gates of hell itself will not prevail against God’s Word. The attack on the institutions of marriage and law, will eventually lead to an attack against God’s people. If you don’t believe me, why did the Black Lives Matter protesters burn Bibles recently?

Well, I’m going to stop right there for today. In closing, we need to return to a day when we were accountable; to our spouses, our parents, our children and their children, to law, to our community, and to God. Take away all of that and remove accountability, and you remove truth. Remove truth and all you have is lies.

It’s time to stand up and stand out.

Leaving the Ninety-Nine

Seems like the “Black Lives Matter” or “BLM” movement is all people are writing about nowadays. Seems like the saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” is truer now than ever. Lately there has been a post circulating throughout social media, in which the parable of the lost sheep in the Bible, is quoted (out of context I might add), and used by the BLM followers to further support their agenda. Have you seen it?

If you haven’t seen the post, it is basically slamming anyone who calls themselves a Christian, but doesn’t get behind the BLM movement. It takes the story of the lost sheep in Luke 15, and compares it to the racism we see today in America. Let’s take a look at the passage.

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” Luke 15:4. The post that is circulating typically stops right there. That right there is the first part of my complaint. The individuals using this verse from the Bible, aren’t going on to tell readers what it then goes on to say; how the lost sheep is like the kingdom of God, and there is rejoicing over even one single sheep rescued! They don’t tell you that this parable, an illustration Christ used oftentimes to speak to those listening, was also followed by two other parables, “The Lost Son,” and “The Lost Coin.” These three parables, each describing something precious that was lost, had only one thing to do with race. The human race. What do they all mean? Each parable was used to illustrate sin, our human nature to run towards it, the cost of it, and the lengths in which the Holy Spirit will go to in order to rescue us from the depths of that sin. That’s it!

I’m all for people quoting Scripture. But it needs to be quoted in context. I used to believe a saying, that I would’ve sworn came from the Book of Proverbs. It went something like, “God helps those who help themselves.” You know what? Such a verse doesn’t exist! In fact, that thought right there goes against every single teaching of Christ, because we know that man can do nothing of himself, apart from God.

Well that’s all for this one folks. I really felt the need to clear that up, because I’ve been seeing the verse used over and over, out of context and only partially quoted, and they are wrong.

Stay safe, do great things, and feel free to comment with your own thoughts!

Depression – The Silent War

I have really debated the past couple of days on whether to write this or not. It’s personal and deep, and involves taking a journey down a road that although familiar, isn’t a pleasant one to travel. But I am a traveling man, and not all roads are easy to travel down.

Depression. Depending on who you speak to, you will get different responses regarding this word. Even within the last decade, my own personal thoughts and opinions regarding depression have changed.

Why am I writing this? Don’t I usually choose topics that are a little easier and pleasant to absorb? Yes, but I also dedicate this blog site to impacting those near and far and trying to positively influence those who read it.

This particular topic and blog entry has been on my mind constantly for the past two days. For those of you who don’t know, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2016, which led to my early retirement from the United States Air Force after sixteen years active duty. Part of having MS is trouble falling asleep. Because I have trouble sleeping, I was prescribed a sleeping medication recently. This particular medication has caused me to have extremely vivid dreams, none of which have been great dreams.

I will skip the details of the dream I had two mornings ago, but immediately upon waking, I took the contents and overall theme of the dream, as a prompt to write this and hopefully inspire others to share their own stories.

I’m not a doctor, a psychologist, psychiatrist, or mental health professional. I have zero textbook experience on the subject of depression. What I do have however, is years of hands-on practical knowledge, experience, and coping mechanisms used to deal with this silent killer.

I call depression a silent killer for many reasons. Almost more times than not, those who deal with depression will keep silent about it. For different reasons, they’re ashamed, and don’t want it to become evident to those around them, let alone themselves. These silent victims walk through their daily routines, wearing masks and hiding the pain they feel inside.

I am no stranger to wearing masks. For years, I became an expert at changing them often, and creating different ones for various occasions in life. I have never been one that is talented in the area of hiding facial expressions. Those around me could usually tell how I felt inside by the way I looked on the outside. So I created masks. I portrayed a smile on the outside while my heart and soul screamed on the inside.

Many times over the past years, I’ve talked about silent warriors fighting silent battles, and the battlefield being hidden within the four walls of their home or within their minds. They’re fighting these silent battles in a silent war, and if they make it through the night and into the next day, they’re winning. I’ve talked about this often and it’s so true.

When I was in the military, depression wasn’t something people talked about very much. The perception was there, especially in my career field and carrying a weapon, that any sort of mental or emotional health problem was a career killer. So you ended up having so many kill themselves on the inside to save their careers. With a rise in mental health awareness programs to combat Post Traumatic Stress and Suicide, the stigma has started to be shunned out of most units. Those who were in positions that did nothing but support the stigma mentioned above, have found themselves either getting with the program and following suit with other leaders, or being hidden in places where they will have minimal influence and impact on others. Good!

It’s a hard place to be when you’re standing in a room full of people, only to feel completely and utterly alone. For those who have never been surrounded but feel an intense loneliness and emptiness, it’s hard to fathom. To be surrounded by happiness and light, but feel as though you’re standing in a dark corner, is excruciating. To want nothing more than to break and scream at the top of your lungs, but thinking you can’t because they’re depending on you to be the happy person you always present yourself to be, is nothing short of painful. It’s like being stung over and over by the same bee.

Many think that someone who is depressed is suicidal. Not true at all. Someone could be in such a state of loneliness, sadness, and emotional despair, they don’t want to continue. They lay down at night praying they won’t wake up, unable to fathom another day in pain. But they’re not suicidal. They just want their pain to go away. Imagine the most excruciating toothache. Everything you tried to do to make the pain go away, failed and you’re left walking around with this pain that no one can see but only you can feel. Wouldn’t you do anything, including the removal of the tooth, to make the pain subside?

If you’re reading this and can relate, I’m here to tell you there is hope. I can also tell you that you can think all the happy and positive thoughts in the world, and it isn’t going to work. Why? Because that’s not you and that’s not how you were wired. And you know what else? That is okay!

I started this post by telling you I am not a doctor and have zero professional experience in the case of mental and emotional health. But I have experience, and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here writing this for you today. I’m going to talk about things I’ve done to help in my next entry. It might just save you hundreds of dollars or another long period of pain and darkness. Maybe you won’t have to wear that mask so much. If none of the above, at least you will know that there’s another person fighting alongside you and cheering for your victory.

What is, a “Traveling Man?”

“One travels more usefully when alone, because he reflects more.”

Thomas Jefferson

I, like most people, enjoy traveling. Since my days in the military, I haven’t traveled to a foreign country; but I enjoy traveling within the United States, and even here at home within New York State. I enjoy traveling with my family, but there’s something about traveling alone that really clears the mind and refreshes the soul.

Most of the local traveling I do is during the months when snow and ice isn’t slowing me down and limiting me to distance. I enjoy driving up into the Adirondack Mountains, taking a scenic drive along Lake Champlain into Ticonderoga, along the back roads of Saratoga and Washington Counties, and occasionally crossing the border into neighboring Vermont. If it’s a nice cool day, I enjoy the windows down and breathing in the country air.

Many probably come to this site because they’re looking for travel photos and a blog about traveling to different destinations. Oh, but a man or woman can be a traveler, even if they never board a plane. You can be quite the extensive traveler and never leave your own home. Destinations don’t always have to be places that flash across a screen in an airport, or cities and towns printed on a sign on the side of a highway. They don’t have to be white, sandy beaches or snowcapped mountains.

I travel on a weekly basis and seldom leave my local area. Sometimes the most worthwhile trips are the ones where I’m alone. Many of my greatest trips where I discover the most, are done without leaving my house.

Like Thomas Jefferson stated, one who journey’s alone spends more time reflecting. I spend a lot of time in thought; thinking about the present and also the things to come. While I believe I have no control over tomorrow, I am convinced there are things I can do to help shape it. I can do my best this very moment to live a decent life, to love those around me, to be kind to both stranger and friend, show compassion, be humble, and more.

What is, a “traveling man?” In my case, it’s a person who is always exploring; not just the world around them, but also within themselves. It’s a person who is always moving forward, never desiring to go backwards and having to retrace their steps. It’s a person who is on a constant journey to be better tomorrow than they are today.

Travel wisely my friends.

The Things That Divide Us: Part I

There are things in this life that divide us and destroy us. In this entry I want to talk about something I’m all too familiar with, as I am sure many of you are as well. Lies.

As a child and growing up, I was always told the Bible verse that states the truth will set you free. I was punished as a child for lying and told that if I had only been honest, the punishment would have been much lighter. Sure, there would still be a punishment, but maybe there would be a little redemption due to my honesty.

I learned as an adult what my parents were trying to teach me about. The small lies about stealing a cookie or getting out of bed to play with toys when I should have been sleeping, are on a much grander scale as an adult. The lies as an adult carry much harsher penalties and there’s always so much more at stake.

I recall in a previous relationship I had, the amount of lies I was told. Each lie, as you know, compounded into another lie until eventually it snowballed out of control and there were so many lies just to bury the one simple lie in the beginning. There were so many lies that it became hard, even to the author, to determine where the truth ended and the lies began. For such people as this, their life ends up becoming one big lie. They lose the truth of themselves because they’ve had to fake things for so long.

Lies don’t just hurt the person telling them. Lies hurt the person on the receiving end as well. Lies sometimes have a ripple effect and can hurt people as the snowball rolls downhill out of control.

I know all this probably sounds simple, but if it is, why have you and I been hurt so much over a three letter word? If lying didn’t cost so much, why is the devil himself called, “the father of lies?” If lies didn’t sting so bad or have such hefty consequences, why are there broken families all over the world, because of something that started as a lie? If lying was the just thing to do, why are we punished as children for doing just that?

Lies destroy and lies divide. If you’re caught in that web and you’re struggling to get free, just start by telling the truth. It may mean you have to swallow your pride a bit, and others might be angry or hurt. But please stop the cycle before someone is destroyed.