Friday, December 30, 2011

Wealth Redistribution

There is an interesting article in today's Washington Post about the wealth distribution in the US Congress.  I will select one, Jim Renacci, a local Canton US Congressman whose net worth is $48 million and he is about in the middle of the richest twenty five richest Congressmen.  There are those that will read that article, see the vast polar ice caps of wealth found in our Congressional members and draw all sorts of opinions both positive and negative.  But for me the article cast light on a far greater societal issue which is the apparent strategy by the ruling class in Washington to redistribute wealth. In other words, punish the rich to raise up the poor.  That mentality, so you can know, in my opinion, is counter intuitive to the America I have grown up in and long to remain.

Wealth is a cloud that is hard to measure, harder to compare and even harder to assess implication. But what wealth does do is give us an incentive to work hard, sacrifice, strive, drive to be better than the competition.  Yes there is luck that goes with it. Yes there is manipulation that is party to it. Yes, yes, yes but at the aggregate, for me at least, wealth is a good thing if truly earned.  When I watch the machinery and the rhetoric of wanting to additionally tax the wealthy to close the deficit hole, I find myself wondering why things have eroded so far to relatively quickly!  I have grown up believing and built a career and thus a life on the pretense that if I worked hard, did my best, gave my all, I would find reward in many forms with financial being one. I did not want nor wish someone to take it easy on me, give me an undeserved or unearned break; I only sought equal footing in whatever pathway my life would take and then allow me to do what I needed to do to be, well, a success.  I believe that life has therefore been pretty good in an array of measures.  I say that with all humbleness.

Many years ago I realized, for me at least, that the definition of "rich" as getting up one morning and deciding to not go to work and it would still be alright. You earn the right to have that belief and capability to live that way.  When, today, I see so much activity of seeking to remove that aura of incentive by adding more and more and more safety nets and then wanting those that have "made it" to "pay their fair share" knowing the great, great majority of them have paid their share thus they are being targeted as the enemy of the poor and must be constrained and punished; I have great issues with that mentality.

Go to the Washington Post today and look at the richest and poorest 25 Congress folks and you assess how you feel about that.  I think that is a microcosm of our society today, frankly.  I want wealthy people to be more wealthy. A great CPA friend once told me that paying taxes is a good thing for it means, after all, you are making money. Do not punish those that rightly and rightfully earned their wealth to cover those that choose daily to not do what they can to elevate themselves; that angers and sickens me greatly.  

Hard work pays dividend.  The Bible speaks eloquently about those lazy folks and I detest laziness in people and safety nets incentivize laziness. I HATE SAFETY NETS!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Year in Review

I always enjoy the many articles and programs that focus on that very topic about best athletes, companies, events, wealth, etc. So as I sit here not feeling too well and looking out at the Northeast Ohio winter with rain and snow, my mind began to build my own Year in Review so I thought I would put it words and share with you.

This has been a very good year for the Williams home.  I think my greatest joy of the whole year was in seeing my beautiful grand daughter, Hope, my son's family adopted from Ethiopia, enjoy her first real Christmas. So full of life, loves to pose for the camera, loves to kiss and hug her Poppy (that would be me) and to see the way children, little adults, develop their own means and processes to exist in this thing called life.  Watching Hope is a joy and always leaves me with this huge smile on my face for she is such a blessing to our whole family in so many ways.

My heroes of the year would be the dozens of students I got to be part of their lives for a semester or two in some cases.  Watching them grow, develop, grasp, articulate, plan, organize, communicate blocks of work in a team-based environment is a real joy for me.  Yes there are those that stumble but the great, great majority excel in the team environment when they learn to work together. That, for me, is where education begins!

As with every semester, there are the twenty percenters.  Those that choose not to carry their load, to invest in the work with the rest of the team and the result is always so predictable and yet for me, still so very disappointing for I realize I am watching behaviors that will go with these underachievers for a lifetime. They will be the ones that feel everybody owes them some and that every problem is someone else's fault; never theirs!  The older I get the more strongly I detest wasted talent and opportunity!  But as a new year looms in a couple of weeks, I am so excited to get all the work that has been invested in the blocks of work begin to be built and delivered as the teams form, storm, norm and then to perform. It is all about performance.

Another tremendously rewarding part of my life is my church, The Canton Baptist Temple, where it is always such a joy to get to know and be part of some of the greatest people I have ever known.  The music that I get to sing is a part of my life that still astounds me at how much singing has come to define me and for the record, I love being defined by that for I see so many times and ways how music will touch a hurting heart and soothe a burning soul. Singing is a joy and a blessing God has granted me and I realize as I sing at more and more funerals and other events, it has nothing to do with ego but more with the blessing of ministry with a gift God has granted me. What a joy!

I would be remiss in not mentioning getting to be a small part of the home going of one of my military heroes, General Donn Starry.  He was a man of great intellect, and drive and touched the lives of millions in his lifetime.  Pray for his wife Karen as she finds her footing in a world without her husband and friend.  

I will close with the joy of my family! It has been a good year from a health perspective for all of us which is a praise.  Seeing the five grand kids grow and mature is a joy. Seeing their unique talents develop and evolve is simply amazing to me.  They all love each other and really being with each other.  I love how my three grand daughters loves to style my hair, brush my back, work on my fingernails; what a blessing!  We are close!!  Those three words are, well POWERFUL.  When I see so much hurt and disappointment and anguish around me, I am always reminded how great it is to sigh the words, We Are Close and know that we all are.

Thank you for being part of my life and my family. My family grows exponentially with each passing semester and I am looking forward to this nearly one hundred more family members I will link up with Jan 9. It's going to be good!

Our world is in pretty serious, dire strait and it is easy to get angry or worse, ignore the whole thing.  We live in a great country and I know this for I have seen many others.  Pray for our leaders as this new year dawns for we are direly needing leaders that will lead and not campaign of the next money-driven, lobby-driven, election; THAT SICKENS ME!

In 2012, be a special blessing to someone! It is a choice!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Power of a Name ...

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace .... if you have ever walked by a church at Christmas time or listened to a Christmas cantata, no doubt that passage has passed your ear drums. His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Might God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace ... wow! Makes me wonder about the names people call me as it should each of you reading this, I believe! 

As this Christmas time is upon us this early Thursday morning, there is excitement in the air.  This morning I will be singing at the funeral of a lady, 89 years of age, I have never met but what an honor to be asked to be part of her celebration of her home going!  Her name is Mary.  My mother's name was Mary and had my mother lived, she would be 89 as well.  But the real common bond between these two ladies and me is that we share a common name in a fallen world and that name is Christian!  Every time I am asked to sing for a funeral, I find myself so humbled by that.  I always get to the funeral early so I can watch those that pay their respects and find ways to talk with the family but especially the eldest child if they are there. I love to ask the question, "what is the one word you would use to describe your mom / dad?"  That term becomes a beacon in a dark night of the loss of a person that made their life what it is today for that is what parents do; they give direction and light to a pathway, the pathway of life.

When I got the call yesterday about the funeral singing this morning, I had two of my grand kids with me for a second day in a row.  When I hung up the phone, I gathered them both into my arms to just hold them and tell them how much I loved them for what a blessing to have these young minds and bodies be such a part of my life.  As I approach sixty-four years old in a few weeks, the precious nature of life is made sweeter at the passing of another, at the words and expressions of my grand kids, at the excitement I still find in readying for a new semester, at watching my wife busy herself in making Christmas a time of near perfection for all of us.  A name above all names; that is my Jesus and it is that celebration of His birth that gives us this time to stop, reflect, celebrate and enjoy those we love, respect and admire.

Most of us have seen the Griswold's CHRISTMAS VACATION movie a million times and each year I know my wife wishes I could be more like Clark in his bumbling exuberance but, well, I am not.  But what most do not realize is that I do get quietly excited, giddy and tearful at the blessing of this time of year.  Normally my life is filled with music and no more so than this year and I love that for music soothes me, elevates me, takes me to that place I could otherwise not get to.  But then, when I least expect it, the anger, frustration and angst of my many childhood Christmases creep into my mind and I have to do something to remove the feelings that are reflected in my memory bank.  I am not whining please know for I detest whining.

There is far too much commercialization of this special time yes and especially this year I have had this tugging in my heart that next year I want to take the money we expend on Christmas and provide a special Christmas for a family not so fortunate as we; never had that tugging before! Guess it is the age thing! Or maybe it is the real essence of what Christmas is and should be for those of us that proclaim Christ as our Lord and Savior! Yes, I like that option best.

I would challenge each of you to take a few moments and determine what Name best describes you as this holiday period begins its unfolding. I can tell you mine now; HUMBLED!  This is such a humbling time for me for I realize how truly unworthy I am to have so much in materials things, security, health and a family that is close, loves each other and we all love the Lord.  I will end this with the lyrics of a great song, not a Christmas song, but entitled TREASURES UNSEEN. I have included the link so you can watch Greater Vision sing this great song. Let the message of this song warm your heart as it does mine.


























Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I find that word very interesting.  Have you ever marveled at something or someone?  Marvel is defined as: Be filled with wonder or astonishment!  Hum, pretty powerful words, filled with wonder and astonished, right!  I have a very high threshold for finding the case of marveling my the world around me. I marvel at how a person can change their life if they choose. I marvel at how Man has an innate yearning for freedom that is evidenced by the terrible pain of childbirth for that new baby really wants to stay right where it has been so being forced out of that cocoon is tough for everyone but I marvel at the process of a child. I marvel to define love that I can sink my teeth into for, like the wind, you cannot see it but you know it is there!

So to the point of today's blog ... I found myself today watching the Senate vote on the debt reduction bill that was defeated; that did not marvel me but I tell you what did; the very public display of what I consider a very ineffective, inefficient, collegial atmosphere of how laws get made in our country; that is a marvel to me.  I watch these Congressmen on television and if I closed my eyes and just listened, they are all making the exact same case with great articulation, pretty poster boards, well dressed, educated men and women all focused on the reality of our national debt crisis.  But then this strange thing happens; they vote!  And in watching the vote I find myself reviled by the hand shaking, joking around, back slapping, joke telling, etc, junk by and with these same people that have bashed each other's ideas, approaches and fixes. That for me is a marvel of inefficiency and ineffectiveness and who loses? We the People!

It is my belief that the Founders were an amazing bunch of men, not overly educated, not overly political, not overly rich, not overly anything that were asked to come together to do a job for The People even though sent by their respective states but to find consensus for the greater good of the country.  These Framers built a written document called a Constitution that is the anchor in the storm of a new democracy. We can see the same process after an overthrown dictator and the anguish, blue-tipped voter fingers voting for the first time around the world.  ALL SEEKING FREEDOM!

But here we sit in America, the shining light on the hill of a democratic system designed for me for I am one of the WE THE PEOPLE and I have never felt less free and even worse, all I see, SEE, is entrenchment, rancour and strict party line votes.  Something has changed since the days of the Framers and I think it has come it starts and stops but glacially cutting its way into the real meaning and intent the Framer used in crafting that Constitution.  I do believe the tripartite system is a functional system but the piece of that system not spoken of enough, as bad as the Executive and Legislative processes are is the Judicial process for they are the real makers of the law when you realize their function.  Their function, simply, is to take a passed law that gets contested and then through hearings move to consensus on what the Framers really mean in the context of that case brought before them. That is called MAKING THE LAW thus nine unelected but politically appointed justices have the power and do make the real Law of the Land. Did you realize that?

Of late I wish at time the folks that Framed this document we have fought for many times could show up for a couple of weeks to view their handiwork three hundred years hence.  I would imagine they, like I, would be shocked back to the grave.  We have created a monster that is very likely untamable whether we wish to believe it or not.  It really angers me and sickens me at the same time of how such a systemic cancer can be allowed to metastasize in full public view and it just keeps getting repeated with each election cycle. That is a MARVEL to me. I plead guilt to my lack of injection into this failed system and yes, I believe the system is in a fail mode. But the guys and the girls are still patting backs, giving Fives, telling jokes, reading speeches written by staff shoe clerks. You know, I feel I deserve better than that. I feel we pay a great deal of money for a process to work; not to play the games of partisanism that irks me to no end.  And the lobbying system; don't get me started for that is the most prostitutional institution ever assembled so, for me, the entire K Street in downtown DC can be made a hand grenade range as far as I am concern as it relates to my freedom.

Bottom line, WE THE PEOPLE DESERVE BETTER! That is no marvel to me!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Baton as Progenitor ... what a sacred trust!

A progenitor is a person or system the creates a beginning that continues forward or it is a person who originates an artistic, political, or intellectual movement.  Let that sink in for a moment!  In the presentation of a Christmas musical, SEARCHING FOR A KING, at my church this past weekend, I was honored to be part of the presentation.  The drama is a story of young soldier who witnessed the death of his childhood friend from an IED explosion that also killed a little girl he was bent over comforting.  The trauma of the surviving friend was amplified knowing he was faced with returning to civilian life to talk with the killed soldier's mom that had known them both since childhood. Touching? Extremely. As the conclusion of the performance, the mother of the dead soldier is talking with the surviving friend who cannot shake the horror of the realness of the death of his best friend.

The dead soldier's mom asked the surviving soldier if he remembered running the 440 yard relay with her son, which he did.  She asked if he remembered waiting for her son to finish his leg of the race  to hand the young soldier the baton to ignite his leg of the 440 which the soldier, Benji, remembered well. The mom asked the silver bullet question, "well Benji, was the race over then?  Certainly it was not for life goes on until the finish line is crossed. COMPELLING thought isn't it? 

I awoke this morning still affected by the poignancy of that brief few moments and the term progenitor come to my mind as I ready to administer a final examination for the semester this morning in thinking about these lives and the thousands of lives I have been given access to in so many ways through this journey of life.  I looked up the definition of a Progenitor: A person who originates an artistic, political, or intellectual movement.  So I asked myself the rhetorical question then, have I been able to originate an artistic, politic or intellectual movement in these minds and lives God has gathered around me adequately and rightly?  That really changes your sense of worth and value as you ponder the depth of that question doesn't it?

As I near sixty-four years of this journey called life, it is simply astounding at the lives one touches in a very unique manner for, like fingerprints or eyeballs, it is a very indivdual, unique chemistry that is unleashed in that "touch" in the passing of the baton of life from me, having run my leg of the race, and hand it to the generation just beginning their leg of the race!  Wow, that is truly an amazing metaphor but yet, a snapshot of a strong reality isn't it?  So I find myself this morning assessing just what values, learning, hope, tools, desire and belief has been and will continue to be embodied in that paton of life in each of the waiting hands to receive the paton received from me as they seek to win their own race of life?

It is in that context that I am yet again reminded of the potency of the touch of a caring teacher, leader, parent, friend on every life that is brought into the vortex of other's lives on their unique journey.  I guess this weekend with the hours of preparation for the delivery of the musical, having family around me and enjoying memories, the laughter, the warmth that can only come from family, has really taken me to a place I do not visit enough in my heart which is a deep appreciation of family. 

So the question, how would you describe your baton in terms of its worth, its value and capability to alter a wrong path of the waiting runner?  When the level of importance of that touch of the baton on another's life or lives is realized, then the sensitivity and perfection of the hand-off is made more acute thus making me work harder to be, not better, but to seek to be the best I can be for those awaiting that hand-off.  True, I am only one professor in an array of teachers and professors in a student's life but still I am one that is put there for a most unique time in each student's life.  Nothing happens by accident I believe so it is made very real to me that each student that chooses to take the journey of learning with me also shares a common purpose with me. There are no accidents!  That knowledge is simply phenomenal in its gravity for the tomorrows I believe!

By the way, you do not have to carry a title of teacher or professor to pass your baton of learning to others for the world is populated with people yearning to know, to understand, to want a better life.  So my challenge this morning as progenitors, do you realize the sacred nature of running this race of life embodied in the perfect touch and timing of the hand-off of our baton to the generations before us.  When I look at my students, I look at their children and grandchildren for I realized long ago that things that are learned in our own unique way of teaching reaches far beyond that person sitting in that chair for this is a generational hand-off!

THAT is called a phenomental trust to me and I seek God's Will and Blessing with each student and the baton I am challenged to hand-off in hope and belief that each student will finish his or her race well as they prepare that baton for their hand-off that comes all too quickly.

Train well!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Work ethic!

I was watching a clip of Newt addressing some group and what he was talking about and how he addressed it really caught my attention.  He asked the rhetorical question, "how do you teach children how to work?"  He went on to talk about at age five his grandfather paid him a dime for each errand he ran for him which taught him to earn, work ethic and how to save.

Ever since I saw that clip, I have found myself thinking about work ethic in myself, my family, and most importantly, my students and grandchildren; you know, our future!  Work ethic is one of those American traditions that supposedly made us great, once, but seems to have waned in the last generation or so.  At least that is what the media would have use believe but hey, we'll get back to that maybe! 

I guess a right first question is, how do you measure or assess work ethic in a person?  I would answer that, rightly or wrongly, on how strongly does the person really focus on the job to get done and then how efficiently and effectively the fruit of the labor turns out to be. I think that is a good avenue for this thesis; FOCUS ON THE WORK TO BE DONE!

As I look at my family which is my wife and our two children, I see very real, positive work ethic in how we approach work. Whether teaching, counseling, singing, preaching, cooking, cleaning house, etc. each of us in my family devote tremendous time, effort, energy and yes, FOCUS, to the work at hand.  As the patriarch, that makes me quite proud and I believe the DNA from my mother streams through her legacy as does my wife's father into her and to our children.  During my Goodyear nearly four decades, in reflection, hours or time of day or time zone were never a real thought for it was the work that drove me and for the most part, I loved it.  Goodyear, as a Company, breeds a heavy work ethic captured in the simple slogan, "Protect Our Good Name."  I believe that same slogan applies to my family for we seek to always "Protect Our Good Name" in all we seek to accomplish.  Yes, as the father, I am very proud of the work ethic I see in my children and their spouses.

But let me now spend a few lines on general observations of the vast array of students I have experienced now for approaching ten years of university teaching.  I speak a great deal about Pareto's 80/20 for that is an absolute reality.  Eighty percent will never create issues for they will get the work done as it should be.  Yet, the ever present twenty percent will create eighty percent of the issues and require eighty percent of leadership's time in trying to right the ship in moving the twenty percent to the eighty percent group.   In the twenty percent, normally very predictable at the launch, you find bad work ethic, poor study habits, difficulty in meshing into a team of peers, see no real reason to have to come to class, be on time and ready to go to work.  It is that same twenty percent that I now wonder, where did they or why did they not learn how to work?

Here is my point; work is learned behavior. I do think it is not a natural bent for Man but it is learned first by watching those around us as they work and some magical dust rubs off on you or not.  I saw my mother as an extremely hard working woman that sought to provide and to protect her children at all cost. I watched that. I emulated that. I programmed that into my hardware and at nearly six-four, I see the result of the magic dust still in me and my family  Further, when I look at the twenty percenters that come before me and watch the struggle within their assigned teams and in them as they feel the rough side of me due to their not being part of the team performance calculus, I more and more realize most if not all of them have not had a model or a template to watch and try to fit in to for this thing called work.

Do I think the world or Man needs a few twenty percenters tossed in for salt? Absolutely not.  What I realize more and more is that we, as a nation generally speaking, has lost the enjoyment of work and worse than that, we have lost a generation that have not seen role models and thus a pattern for them to seek to fit into as the years roll by. I see it every day and so do you if you think about it. So think about it!

My classes are not easy for they, all of them, are founded on a set of hard principles with the first one being, THE WORK WILL GET DONE WITH YOU OR WITHOUT YOU.  From that point on, the models, the work ethic, the desire to drive for the finish line, to constantly improve, to have no finish line and if it isn't broken; then break it mentality begin to fall into place. 

Work ethic is learned behavior!  Never forget that, please. There will no doubt be those that will disagree with my belief about poor performance but hey, it is my blog and that is my belief and my heart. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Life of Goodbyes ..

A young lady headed to Central America as a medical missionary used that term tonight at church in an interview with our Pastor when asked about the hardest thing about leaving.  She said her life had been "a life of goodbyes .."  That term really hit a deep point inside me and I realized that that very reality is what I would take a few minutes to write about as we move into the Christmas season. 

When you think about life, all of it, you realize life really boils down to relationships. It begins with parents, siblings, extended family then to teachers, schoolmates, pastors, bosses, leaders, etc, etc.  With the ebb and flow of life, the order of magnitude of "goodbyes" exponentially increases but as a natural, not without pain at times, course of events for you move on to the next band of friends. If your life encompasses a career of station movement, then the trajectory and velocity of the goodbyes escalates even more quickly.  Natural, normal but at times unsettling.

Then there is the great separator; death.  Part of this I realize is the aging process as you look back and parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, school friends, church friends all begin to populate a list that seems to increase with every increasing velocity.  Being in a great church with a large segment of older friends and singing a good deal at the church, I am asked to sing at funerals of these sweet people.  Singing for my mother's funeral was one of those really significant moments in my life to be singing songs she loved standing next to her coffin but able to smile knowing she would have been pleased.  Death is no respecter for we will all face that in one way or the other so it is about not avoiding the reality but believing there is truly an even better life after this one.

A "life of goodbyes" is a wonderful sentiment when you think about it.  I will always remember Traci Warner for  using that great term for when I think of the hundreds of thousands of people I have been blessed to experience in my life and so many ways, it simply amazes.  Facebook is a great example to let you realize the essence of the importance of friends. How you can reach out to encourage, to educate, to teach, to laugh, to cry; the whole spectrum of life is about friends when you really stop and think about it.  But the most cherished band of all is the family!

I watched a mother's tears tonight as her daughter Traci, spoke and you could feel the pain of knowing her sweet girl was about to be gone for years to a far land.  I honestly had not stopped to think about what my parents must have felt when I began my life journey with moving all over the world.  I now even more realize how blessed we are to have our two children and their families so close to us and what a joy that is but so easily taken for granted.

So I will close with asking you to take a few minutes and think and reflect on the many lives that come into and then out of your life journey and how you left that touch.  Tomorrow as a new week begins, look around you at the lives you are touching and how you are being touched.  I love to tell the story of the graduation speaker at Kent State when my son graduated. I was jet lagged and did not want to go but did. I saw the speaker was from India with a name that was fifty letters long and that many letters of Phd's next to that.  He came quietly to the platform and said, "I am a part of every person I have ever met ..."  BAM, he had me for that is so very true.  My students, the people I sing to, work with, meet, pass on the street; all are part of the journey so enjoy the journey. I will for I realize more richly, life is a set of goodbyes!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Funny thing about right .. it is always right!

When I think of the word "right" I always think of the word "light."  When I was a little boy about six years old, my father would load my sister and mother and me in the car, drive sixty miles to a "wet" county and leave us in the car outside a "honky tonk" for hours while he would drink beer and then make the long trip home.  He would throw us a barbecue sandwich and I still detest the smell of barbecue for that Pavlov Dog time in my life.  I remember laying in the backseat looking up at the stars as the car sped back home never feeling really safe with the drive. While there was much I did not understand about any of it, and hate to this day, I remember wondering why places like that were always dark from the outside with no windows to let in the light .... think about that for a minute. How many "beer joints" have you ever seen with bright, shiny windows for the world to view into it? Not many, right?

Yesterday a young person God has brought into my path over the last year learned some rather painful, frustrating realities about this thing called light I believe.  For the learning, simply, is that right is always right and wrong is always wrong.  One can rationalize wrong to right but the wrong is still wrong.   That may sound confusing but it is so blatantly simple that it is frightening at the implication.  This is all a tremendous spiritual matter for I have learned that when one's life is spiritually right and aligned with God's Will, great things happen. Conversely, when they are not, no good things will happen over time.  In some rather stern dialog yesterday I indicated one cannot dance with Satan and Jesus at the same time for in that dance, everybody loses.!

In this life as failed humans, and we are due to Adam's fall, we have a natural sin nature so keeping it in check and righted is a choice but with that choice means to constantly seek God's Will for each individual life and journey.  I know I am preaching to a large choir but the reality of working with a spiritually immature person causes you to step back and try to grasp just how deeply the other person is or can fathom the depth of poor choices spiritually.  The Bible speaks strongly of Christians moving beyond the milk of spirituality which is good for babies in the faith to more meat of doctrine as a mature believer.  If you feed a baby meat, it chokes and that is what I witnessed firsthand yesterday but from the journey of yesterday, right decisions were made and initiated ... a Praise!

Living the Christian life is, well, not easy at times. The benefits are great but the wages can be hard earned and fraught with anger, pain and frustration.  I am so very proud of this young man with the decisions he chose to make by days end and that he realizes that I as the older mentor only wanted the best for him spiritually. I went to bed feeling lifted and so happy for his step toward the "meat" of spiritualness.  The journey is far from complete for both of us, and you, but the journey is moving in a right direction so there is light that abounds.  Seek the Right and you will see the Light!