Sunday, July 25, 2010


What is it to “believe”? I believe that if I strike this match and touch it to a candle, it will burn. I believe that I will have a job next week. I believe that if I call a friend to tell a problem, that he will listen. I believe that I will have money to pay my rent next month. These are all things that I believe. Some of my beliefs are based on science and what we have come to know as fact. Some are based upon reliable trends and my own abilities. Some are based on faith.

Some are based on faith – there’s the rub. What if we change the word “faith” to “probability”? What’s the difference? There is no scientific proof that my heart will continue beating through my sleep tonight… but there is probability. I believe I will wake up tomorrow, but is it because of probability or because of faith? To look at it another way, perhaps we have faith in certain things precisely because the alternative is simply unthinkable. Is it considered faith to believe a random meteor will not strike the Earth in 82 hours and destroy all life on it? Perhaps not. We have heard of “blind faith”, which could be construed as voluntary ignorance. To actually believe – based on faith – perhaps is something we accept as truth which is contrary to or outside of accepted probability.

This does not have to be a religious argument; however that is where I derive this insight. In reading Luke 8 of the Gospel, the overriding theme to me was the power of believing. A storm was calmed; demons were banished; a sick woman was healed; a girl was brought back from the dead. Jesus is quoted in the various stories: “Dear woman, you are made well because you believe”… “Don’t be afraid. Just believe, and your daughter will be well”… “Where is your faith?” Faith is what gets us through the storm; faith is what makes us well. Faith is not something to which we cling, but it is something that drives us and indeed something that defines us. Truly believing on faith is a special confidence, not just in our own capabilities, but in some outside influence not under our control. This requires an immense humility. For not only must you realize that you cannot do it alone, you must trust that God, nature, and/or circumstances will and must, in fact, intervene to make it happen.

What do you believe?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sam I Am

Life’s a journey, not a destination. That’s what Aerosmith says. I agree. There is something very special about a traveler. Now, everyone makes a journey in life whether it’s on one island or to one hundred peaks and valleys. A traveler makes a decision that there are some things not found in books, and there are some sights not seen in photographs. A world traveler is part of a special breed of human that looks at the globe as an opportunity, and they just hope life grants them enough time (and good luck) to explore as many places as possible. He may truly love his home and its comforts, but he feels a special kind of alive in undiscovered territory not knowing what he will see or whom he will meet next.

We all learn in school, growing up, about travelers. Some sailed, some flew, some rode on horseback… some blasted into outer space. One day in grade school, many children my age and I witnessed a horrific disaster replay throughout the day when the Shuttle Challenger exploded while making its ascent from Earth. What went through many minds that day was the question of why it was even necessary to take these risks and make such a journey – seven astronauts died that day. That evening, our President Reagan came on television to help mourn our nation’s loss, and to the nation’s schoolchildren he explained, “It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the faint-hearted; it belongs to the brave.” Now, a trip to drink wine in northern Italy hardly matches the famous explorations of honored travelers-past. However, we all know that there is always value and always risk in our journeys. Every time we venture out into the unknown, we pay homage not only to those who went before us, but also to God who gave us so much to discover. Every time we go out into the world we become more a part of it… and a part of history. With that distinction, we also take on a responsibility for that world. True world travelers are ambassadors of humanity.

My uncle Sam is a world traveler. I cannot tell you how many sunsets he has seen or how many friends he has made, but I can tell you with great probability that he is behind every stamp on my passports – now, and for as long as I may roam. We all make our own journeys and all have our own reasons. Perhaps it’s escape; perhaps it’s discovery; perhaps it’s a beautiful woman; perhaps it’s a great friend… perhaps it is conquest. I cannot recall Sam ever sharing his reasons, but he is a good man – a fun man – and it seems to me it is one of many ways he simply enjoys life. He is a world traveler, and by all accounts he has made a good journey. So, we continue. We expand our horizons. We live until our Destination finds us. May it continue to be a beautiful ride…

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Well Deserved Visit

Well, lately my travels have taken me to Galt and Lodi! No, these are nowhere near Alderan or Tatooine... and no, these aren't the droids you're looking for. If the only reference you got there was "droids" and you're thinking "cell phone," then... nevermind. Actually I am in Northern California visiting my uncle Sam. He should never be confused with the other Uncle Sam who always asks for money, drafts teenage boys and shaves their heads, and points way too much. My uncle Sam is a peaceful World Traveler with a great sense of humor, and he has never, ever, sent me a tax bill.

Galt and Yoda... I mean Lodi (sorry) are towns south of Sacramento. Lodi is an up-and-coming wine appellation, and I was lucky and happy to visit some old friends there for dinner last night. It was a cook-out, so everything was grilled - even the fresh peaches! It was a slightly cool, breezy, perfect summer evening... a much welcomed change from the sauna otherwise known as "Washington, D.C." Galt is nearby, and not nearly as far away as Dagoba (I'll stop now), but smells of a different agricultural aroma, so I don't think they make wine. However, my cousin lives in Galt, and from what little effort I have expended to ascertain such a conclusion, I think he smells just fine. It's been a lovely time with him and my mom; I have even created an english muffin breakfast bruschetta! It's a quiet town, and I'm sure sure you can see stars, but I'm tired and going to bed. DC and SoCal friends may never have seen these "stars" of which I write, but just google them. Back east tomorrow. Think I'll do the english muffins with strawberries for breakfast... delicious!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Traveler's Prayer

Dear God,
Thank you for this wonderful gift of flight. May all Travelers reach their destinations safely and soundly today. May Your breath be the life in our wings, and in the end guide us softly home. Amen.