N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

Posts tagged “decisions

Hard Things to Understand

We don’t usually like things we don’t understand…especially when those things become personal.  We want things to make sense, especially in our thinking about faith and beliefs.

The fact is that some parts of the Holy Scripture that hit a raw nerve and seem to be totally against the loving, compassionate God that we believe in, we recoil and would rather be like Scarlett O’Hara and think about it another day.

As an example, priests and ministers of most Christian churches have a Lectionary of Holy Scriptures that are followed weekly when preparing for the message given to the congregation. It is often difficult for a minister to follow faithfully these Scriptures and to find something to tell the people sitting in the pews that might have an inspirational meaning.  Some are quite difficult, such as this one: Luke 14:26

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”

Hate is a very strong word.  Did He really say that or did the translators of the Greek get it wrong?  We’d like to think someone flubbed up somewhere or is there an underlining meaning to these hard sayings that we are missing? Family people I know would do anything for their children, spouses and parents. Turning the back on any of them would be out of the question. Yes, there are family divisions, but it usually is not in order to serve Christ.  To say that this particular Scripture is a “hard one” is putting it mildly.

Stephen Dass, a priest and his wife are missionaries to the street children, teens and young adults of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He writes in part these words about this difficult teaching of Jesus:

“Jesus demands that we give up everything that we possess including our families. It sounds like Jesus is going against everything that the modern church has termed as “family values.” Jesus tells us that they are a hindrance to our salvation. No one in their right mind would think that these so-called “family values” are wrong, even the Pagans would agree with us. They (families) are the fabric of every society.

Nevertheless, Jesus always swam against the current of cultural norms. He challenged whatever our culture told us was right and good. Almost every saint in our church calendar took these words of Jesus literally and seriously. We can try to make it more amenable in order to deal with it. This attempt would only serve to dilute the intensity of the gospel. These words are what they are. Therefore, we have to do something about it.

Most of us are just common people. We are not saints like those in the past. We sense a responsibility to our family. We need to have possessions in order to survive in this world. Yet, we want to follow Jesus and take His words seriously. There are no easy answers… We need to think and struggle with these difficult issues. There are no easy answers. Perhaps, there are no answers at all.”

I think that this last sentence might hit the nail on the head.  There are some things that we will not understand.  Perhaps, the most simplistic way to phrase it is that Jesus doesn’t want anything…wealth, friends, family, vocations, or…ANYTHING to get in the way of a person following Him and the Gospel of love and salvation for which He died to redeem man.  If we are drawn away from Him by even the most treasured thing, we must rethink our relationship to it.

Christ was clear that “Where your treasure is…your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6:19-24 is not only the chapter of the Bible with “The Lord’s Prayer” but gives some stern warnings that also use the word “hate” which is a word so abhorred today.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,  your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (or any other thing that comes between you and Christ)

Ultimately we decide what and Whom we will serve. We choose the road we will follow. One of my favorite poems is by Robert Frost. His choice made a difference to him…and so will ours.  Give this some thought. 

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves, no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

 

Video:  Turn up sound


A PLEA to MOTHERS who don’t want their babies or CAN’T KEEP THEM

babiesA horrifying, graphic video surfaced in China recently that led me to write this to all pregnant women  who don’t want their babies or for some reason cannot keep them.   This message is also for the fathers of the child who often “ride into the sunset”, leaving a woman to struggle with this situation alone.

You may be  a young woman who  finds yourself pregnant…. whether from a one-night stand; a longer relationship or you are  in a country where  there are rules that families should only have a certain number of children.    Whatever the reason, this is not a judgment call….but A PLEA to you as a human being…maybe even a good human being who  finds yourself in a  situation that is tearing your life apart.   Reach out to an adoption agency.  

There will be people around you who will want to send you to someone to abort this baby. This may seem a  simple way out, but psychologically, it may haunt you the rest of your life. Those people will not have to live with this burden as a mother will.  I will add here that there are women who have had an abortion and through faith in God and prayers for forgiveness, they  have found peace.

Whether you are a  teen or a woman of any age that is terrified about your situation… not knowing what to do… seek help in finding a safe, good home for your child.   By doing so, you will have made a good thing out of  what could be a tragic decision.

There are families who will fly to China, Russia, Africa or to one of the states here in the USA to gladly give your  child a chance at life.   This is what they dream of …wish and pray for…and plan for.   JUST GIVE THEM A CHANCE TO LOVE  THE BABY YOU CANNOT KEEP.

MIRACLE RESCUE

(To understand the unfortunate penalties on this social issue in China, go to the following link .Chinese policies and abortions)



The Dignity of the Elderly….and Their Rights

Probably one of the hardest things for a family is to see an older loved one deteriorate in health or mental capacity.  Nevertheless, when one is just this side of even thinking of themselves as elderly, it is a big question about how one would want to spend those last “golden years”.   A younger person never gives it a thought.   Maybe we should.

How does one prepare?   My husband and I decided we would look at finances; get an insurance plan in case we needed to have extra assistance, and we’re taking a  doctor’s advise.    The advise was to live every moment one can…prepare a “bucket list”, so to speak, because it is more than likely the hips or legs will eventually give out…and we will not be physically able to do those things.   Take a trip to places not seen; work on woodworking; become the best one can at an interest.  In my case, it is writing, photography, and music.

Did I say music?    Of course, I have always loved listening to the great composers, as can be seen on this blog site, but  actually make music by myself?!    Well, why not?    When I was a child, I went to a private boarding school far from home.   It was a lonely experience, but the one thing I had there was Mrs. Tollison, my piano teacher.   Funny that I can still remember a person who has probably been dead fifty years!    I learned the basics and even did a recital, but when I went home to my single parent mother, she could not afford a piano…and could not get one up the steps to our apartment even if she could pay for one.   That was goodbye to learning how to play, so I turned to art lessons instead.

A few years ago, I sat down at the keyboard and found out that some of what I had learned at age 10 was still there.   Then just this Valentine’s Day, my dear husband, who had seen me watch Beethoven’s life ( Dearly Beloved, the movie) over and over, surprised me with a piano.    How blessed can one be to have such a husband?

Mary Kantorowsk 98 years old and living alone which is her choice.

All this leads me to the first topic…what about those last remaining years of life?   I have included a video below that is at first glance appalling…even though I do not know all the circumstances.    It does, however, beg the question….Why are the elderly often treated like children? 

My mother, who passed away this year at age 93, read four or five books a week.  Her mind was alert to the very end and she did have help with meals and the love of her family and friends, but I fought tirelessly to see that she kept her dignity until her last day on earth.   She would have had it no other way.  She refused medications that put her to sleep and even told the nurses , “I’m not taking that tiny one” when they brought them anyway.  Dignity and alertness was important to her.  She had a right to her own decision making.

Sometimes people wonder why the elderly get crankie or hard to live with.  It may be medications…or it may be the loss of what was rightfully theirs all their lives…freedom to make decisions on their own.  It is becoming clear that more and more society has its expectations. Even government wants to tell us what to eat, drink, and much more.  Individual freedom may be at risk.

Sometimes we, as family members  need to take a deep breath and sit down. We may need to say to this person  getting up in years, “What do you really want?   If we have someone come in to help out once in a while, will this be what you want..and need? ”  There may be the tendency to want to take control without asking the hard questions. Most of us know when a person is able to function…even if the memory is a little diminished.  If you have been a son or daughter who has not spent time in building a relationship, do you really have a right to tell a person what they should do or not do if they are in a relatively good state of mind?   My advise would be to carefully consider how you are treating the ones in you life that will soon get to the last stages of theirs.

You view the video below and tell me what you think in  “Make a comment”.   I would be interested in the opinions from around the world:

  •   What does your culture say about the elderly?
  •  What is your “bucket list”?  For those who maybe have not seen the movie with the same title, it is about two men who decide to do everything they wanted to do before they died.    That is a “bucket list”.
  •  One thing we know is fact.   We will die.  Nobody wants to think about it…but we should.   Not morbidly, of course, but if we can…..we want  that moment to be with dignity.

Click on the video link below.  (Turn on sound and forgive the commercial with this video.  All these clips seem to have them…if we use them.)

Side-note:  After viewing this, one may want to be careful about who we sign over our property to or what we put in our wills.  )

98 year old Mother and the family


Trusting the Pilot to Decide

Did you ever think what kind of decision making is going on in the cockpit when you are leisurely drinking  your coke, reading your book or  magazine in your seat? 

   It’s those unusual times like 9-11 when airplanes were told to land immediately and the in-coming international flights were sent to Canada or the nearest place possible.   One rarely thinks that an emergency situation can change everything and those in charge of our  lives must have their wits about them!

I read this account about  the air traffic coming into Tokyo when the earthquake hit.   What would it be like if the airport is closed or other airports are full….with fuel at a premium?

  I thought it would be good to appreciate these people who do not quite get the same acclaim as Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger on the Hudson  River.    However, quick decision making and perhaps a little creative thinking  is a must!   Here is one pilot’s first-hand account:

 “I’m currently still in one piece, writing from my room in the Tokyo/Narita crew hotel.
It’s 8am. This is my inaugural trans-pacific trip as a brand new, recently
checked out, international 767 Captain and it has been interesting, to say the
least, so far. I’ve crossed the Atlantic three times so far so the ocean
crossing procedures were familiar.

By the way, stunning scenery flying over the Aleutian Islands. Everything was
going fine until 100 miles out from Tokyo and in the descent for arrival. The
first indication of any trouble was that Japan air traffic control started
putting everyone into holding patterns. At first we thought it was usual
congestion on arrival. Then we got a company data link message advising about
the earthquake, followed by another stating Narita airport was temporarily
closed for inspection and expected to open shortly (the company is always so
positive).

From our perspective things were obviously looking a little different. The
Japanese controller’s anxiety level seemed quite high and he said expect
“indefinite” holding time. No one would commit to a time frame on that so I got
my copilot and relief pilot busy looking at divert stations and our fuel
situation, which, after an ocean crossing is typically low.

It wasn’t long, maybe ten minutes, before the first pilots started requesting
diversions to other airports. Air Canada, American, United, etc. all reporting
minimal fuel situations. I still had enough fuel for 1.5 to 2.0 hours of
holding. Needless to say, the diverts started complicating the situation.

Japan air traffic control then announced Narita was closed indefinitely due to
damage. Planes immediately started requesting arrivals into Haneada, near Tokyo,
a half dozen JAL and western planes got clearance in that direction but then ATC
announced Haenada had just closed. Uh oh! Now instead of just holding, we all
had to start looking at more distant alternatives like Osaka, or Nagoya.

One bad thing about a large airliner is that you can’t just be-pop into any
little airport. We generally need lots of runway. With more planes piling in
from both east and west, all needing a place to land and several now fuel
critical ATC was getting over-whelmed. In the scramble, and without waiting for
my fuel to get critical, I got my flight a clearance to head for Nagoya, fuel
situation still okay. So far so good. A few minutes into heading that way, I was
“ordered” by ATC to reverse course. Nagoya was saturated with traffic and unable
to handle more planes (read- airport full). Ditto for Osaka.

With that statement, my situation went instantly from fuel okay, to fuel minimal
considering we might have to divert a much farther distance. Multiply my
situation by a dozen other aircraft all in the same boat, all making demands
requests and threats to ATC for clearances somewhere. Air Canada and then
someone else went to “emergency” fuel situation. Planes started to heading for
air force bases. The nearest to Tokyo was Yokoda AFB. I threw my hat in the ring
for that initially. The answer – Yokoda closed! no more space.

By now it was a three ring circus in the cockpit, my copilot on the radios, me
flying and making decisions and the relief copilot buried in the air charts
trying to figure out where to go that was within range while data link messages
were flying back and forth between us and company dispatch in Atlanta. I picked
Misawa AFB at the north end of Honshu island. We could get there with minimal
fuel remaining. ATC was happy to get rid of us so we cleared out of the
maelstrom of the Tokyo region. We heard ATC try to send planes toward Sendai, a
small regional airport on the coast which was later the one I think that got
flooded by a tsunami.

Atlanta dispatch then sent us a message asking if we could continue to Chitose
airport on the Island of Hokkaido, north of Honshu. Other Delta planes were
heading that way More scrambling in the cockpit – check weather, check charts,
check fuel, okay. We could still make it and not be going into a fuel critical
situation … if we had no other fuel delays. As we approached Misawa we got
clearance to continue to Chitose. Critical decision thought process. Let’s see –
trying to help company – plane overflies perfectly good divert airport for one
farther away…wonder how that will look in the safety report, if anything goes
wrong.

Suddenly ATC comes up and gives us a vector to a fix well short of Chitose and
tells us to standby for holding instructions. Nightmare realized. Situation
rapidly deteriorating. After initially holding near Tokyo, starting a divert to
Nagoya, reversing course back to Tokyo then to re-diverting north toward Misawa,
all that happy fuel reserve that I had was vaporizing fast My subsequent
conversation, paraphrased of course…., went something like this:

“Sapparo Control – Delta XX requesting immediate clearance direct to Chitose,
minimum fuel, unable hold.”

“Negative Ghost-Rider, the Pattern is full” <<< top gun quote <<<

“Sapparo Control – make that – Delta XX declaring emergency, low fuel,
proceeding direct Chitose”

“Roger Delta XX, understood, you are cleared direct to Chitose, contact Chitose
approach….etc….”

Enough was enough, I had decided to preempt actually running critically low on
fuel while in another indefinite holding pattern, especially after bypassing
Misawa, and played my last ace…declaring an emergency. The problem with that
is now I have a bit of company paperwork to do but what the heck.

As it was – landed Chitose, safe, with at least 30 minutes of fuel remaining
before reaching a “true” fuel emergency situation. That’s always a good feeling,
being safe. They taxied us off to some remote parking area where we shut down
and watched a half dozen or more other airplanes come streaming in In the end,
Delta had two 747s, my 767 and another 767 and a 777 all on the ramp at Chitose.
We saw two American airlines planes, a United and two Air Canada as well. Not to
mention several extra Al Nippon and Japan Air Lines planes.

Post-script – 9 hours later, Japan air lines finally got around to getting a
boarding ladder to the plane where we were able to get off and clear customs. –
that however, is another interesting story…”

Boyer Writes wishes you “Happy Flying”   May you have blue skies; the wind behind you, and the right pilot!  

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