What Is Heaven Like?

A few weeks ago I had a discussion with my wife and kids the way home from my aunt’s memorial service.  The pastor was incredible and it prompted out conversation. A sad moment when someone passes that we love. The topic came up in the car. What is Heaven like? My daughter first piped up. “Heaven has a lot of clouds and puppies” My son said ” I think it’s the happiest moment in your life multiplied by infinity” I think these were both great and wonderful answers. I often wonder if each individual experiences their own personal Heaven, whatever that may be. Yet I believe that with God it is what it is, there is a purpose and structure and things set into motion and all are God’s plan.  I believe that when the doors of Heaven swing open for us the immense light and glory of God envelopes us and we then understand everything… at least everything that God the Father reveals to us at that time.  Here on Earth we can only envision Heaven based on faith, what the Bible tells us and what we see, hear, touch, and taste here… and our dreams and faith give us great imagination into what may be in the life and world to come…. 

 In our family discussion I think about what my son said and what my daughter said on what their Heaven might be. Two kids two years apart. Both answers with such a beautiful innocence.  Right now that is their Heaven.  I suppose as they get older that view may change but hopefully not because that innocence is lost but because innocence is everything in regard to Heaven. Childlike innocence. In Heaven you will see loved ones from your past and you will recognize them and love them but you will also feel that same love with a total stranger. That’s what Christ wants us to do here on Earth but we always fall short.

  I believe that Heaven is most certainly free of the slightest pain and worry. Heaven is free of stress and the heavy weight of worldly things.  It says in Psalm 23:2 “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”  That sounds like Heaven on Earth doesn’t it? Yet in Heaven I believe if I lie down in green pastures I won’t have the earthly troubles of mosquitoes as I lie there. I won’t have the itch of the grass. Does that make sense? 

  In Revalation 21:21 it says. “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.” So it is said. Imagine the beauty from that. A small part of what John told us about Heaven. I imagine a constant immense light brighter than the Sun, not a light that requires sunglasses or a light that makes us squint but rather a light that lets us all know of God’s eternal presence around us. We sing of His glory in that light for eternity. 

  Jesus said in Luke 18;16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. It’s the childlike innocence that I spoke of. This is how we all want to be. Here on Earth even as an adult we remember the touch and wisdom of our parents..our grandparents. In Heaven as here .. God’s children and we will be humbled in the light of God the Father and His son Christ the Lord. Free of all earthly worry and concerns and eternally praising the Lord our God. 

 There may be puppies and clouds or the greatest time of our life multiplied by 100 as my kids said. I would be okay with that. Yet I remember in John 14:2  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would
have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. I would be happy with a one room efficiency apartment if I can just get there. 

Thanks,
Jimi

 

 

 

 

 

9/11 and A First Responder For Souls

  My 9/11 was no different from many others across the country witnessing and remembering that day. It changed all of our lives and the world forever. My son was a year old and I remember racing to get home from work to him and my wife. I remember when I pulled into our drive and ran to the front door and how I fumbled around with my keys trying to get into the door. When I opened the door my wife and son were laying on a baby blanket on the floor watching the news. I remember my son lying there kicking his feet and glad to see me. I remember the smell of that baby lotion and just hugging him. I know it’s silly but it was the smell of refuge, that little guy gave his Dad strength.  I laid down on the floor with them. It was like I found refuge there, holding on to this little guy who had no idea what was going on.  He didn’t know that my life and the world I lived in was changed. He would never know any different.  He was at that moment an escape into true innocence and into what really truly matters. I remember late that night when my wife and son were long asleep I standing out on my deck having a beer and looking up to the sky. We lived in the path of planes that flew from Scott Air Force Base and not many away was  Lambert Airport in St. Louis. Air traffic was common.  That night because all aircraft was grounded I remember looking up that this bright star lit night and “seeing” the silence. It was just stars and the Heavens. I remember thinking that many across our great country were looking to the same sky that earlier that day had brought horror, but that night we were looking at the Heavens together as a country to the sky as God had made it. Peace.

 However, in my little world and experience on 9/11 there was much more going on. People that were actually there. Brave firefighter, policeman, and citizens that sacrificed their lives to help. Sirens coming from all directions. Dust and smoke, debris. Just complete carnage. There were also other first responders. First responders of the soul. Priests and clergy running not away from the carnage, but in God’s full gear running toward it. One man that though I’ve not met (yet) in person is Fr. George Rutler, a friend of mine via email. He was pastor at the time of Church of Our Saviour just down the street from WTC. He ran toward the carnage to save souls, provide comfort, give absolution to those dying or in fear of dying. I find this story incredible. A hero.

 This is an article that The National Catholic Register posted on 9/6/2011 in an interview with this humble Priest about 9/11

When Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda carried out the 9/11 attacks 10 years ago this week, America responded with a “War on Terrorism.” Father George Rutler and many other priests were at the first battle.

Father Rutler, a well-known speaker and author who is a pastor in New York City, knew that when soldiers are about to go into battle, it’s possible for a priest to grant general, conditional absolution. He saw firefighters and police officers headed into the towering infernos in lower Manhattan, in a desperate attempt to save as many people as they could. And he responded to their requests for general absolution.

The Register this week is recalling the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Each day, we are featuring the recollections of an individual Catholic who was there. We invite your own reflections and recollections in the comment boxes.

Father Rutler, host of EWTN’s Christ in the City, remembers “every moment of that day…. It’s printed in one’s mind. I have kind of a total recall.”

He had just been named pastor of the Church of Our Saviour on Park Avenue but was still at his former Church of St. Agnes by Grand Central Terminal.

“The weather was ethereally beautiful,” he recalled of that late summer Tuesday in New York. “The temperature was mild. A bright blue sky. Such contradiction to all the smoke and the horror.”

He heard a plane that seemed to be flying right over his head and wondered why such a large plane was flying so low. Then he heard the sound from downtown.

As soon as he heard that sound, he literally ran the distance to lower Manhattan, saw the building on fire and went into St. Peter’s church looking for the holy oils. The church, which is just a block away from the trade center, was empty, but he said the impact of the crash had been so great that file cabinets were pushed from the walls and everything was coated with white dust.

Franciscan Father Mychal Judge, chaplain to the Fire Department of New York, was in one of the Twin Towers ministering to the injured when an object fell on him, killing him. Fireman carried his body into St. Peter’s church.

“The firemen in shock came in with the priest’s body,” Father Rutler recalled. “He was the first officially recorded death. They put his body in front of the altar. It was very moving. There is a picture of the Crucifixion over the altar. I remember blood coming down the altar steps. I shall always remember that scene.”

Scenes of Horror

Next he saw a policeman sitting on the steps of the church weeping. “That reduced everything to a human scale,” he said. “I knew everything was bad, but at that time I didn’t know the scale of it.”

“Firemen were lining up to go into the building, asking for absolution,” he continued. “I was giving general absolution; they were going into a battlefield. One always has these mental images of the firemen going up these staircases and the people coming down.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1483) explains that in the case of grave necessity a general absolution is the recourse. “Grave necessity of this sort can arise when there is imminent danger of death without sufficient time for the priest or priests to hear each penitent’s confession,” it states, referring to Canon 961 of the Code of Canon Law. The faithful must have contrition and the intention of individually confessing in due time each of the grave sins which cannot then be confessed.

“It was almost like being on a Hollywood stage set because it was so surrealistic,” Father Rutler recalled. “It was hard to believe what you were seeing was really happening. In the smoke, twisted metal girders, it looked like one of those World War I films, a definite battle scene. Early in the day I was standing there, and emergency personnel brought a stretcher by and an arm was hanging down. The person was dead. After the priest’s body, that was the first causality I saw.”

He said that “the most horrible thing” was seeing people jumping from the upper floors of the Twin Towers, apparently desperate to escape the heat and flames.

Individual encounters were just as unforgettable. Father Rutler remembers a “young fellow in a FedEx uniform” approaching him. “‘Father, I just got married and my wife is in the building up there. Do you think she’s okay?’ I said I’ll say a prayer and she’ll be alright. As I said that, the building came down. I remember his frozen face.”

Signs of Hope

In 10 years, he has never been able to go back to Ground Zero, although he does keep in touch with many firemen. Ever since 9/11 the bonds have been closer. He’s been made an honorary fireman or chaplain of some fire departments, including the department Houston, Texas.

“New Yorkers are always great in crisis. When going well at each other’s throats, but in crisis they bond together,” he reflected. “As a result of Sept. 11 New Yorkers have been able to come together with a certain empathy. When you live in the city you can easily isolate yourself from people and get priorities wrong, about getting and spending, but Sept. 11 reminded people of their mortality. In our culture we just assume old people die, but it was very radical to have so many funerals after Sept. 11 for so many young people all in their 20s, 30s. That gave lot of people the awareness of human fragility, and people became somewhat more serious after that.”

Father Rutler finds a big difference between this attack and a catastrophe — for instance, people killed in accidents or natural calamities. “This was the consequence of willful evil. Totally unnecessary and gratuitous. That’s what made it more horrible.

“It may have made people more serious in their consideration of evil. How many spiritual fathers have said the devil’s greatest deceit is to persuade us he doesn’t exist? And trying to explain the motivation of people apart from the cooperation with evil doesn’t work.

“In a culture that has been purely utilitarian and falsely optimistic, the denial of evil softened people spiritually and made them naïve. There’s a difference between innocence and naivete just as there’s a difference between hope and optimism.

“We talk about naivete and cynicism, but on Sept. 11 you saw real heroism. In that sense it was a great moment.”

Certainly it was a very life-changing moment in the history of our country and in the city.  “New York, we say, is the center of the world, but we realized civilization is very fragile.”

This Sept. 17 will be the 10th anniversary of Father Rutler’s installation as pastor of Our Saviour. That day will also see the 400th wedding since he’s become pastor. Amid the chaos of 9/11, he remembers couples about to be married there asking if they should cancel the wedding — transportation was difficult, people were afraid to come to New York.

Father Rutler’s directive: “I was saying, more than ever we need weddings as a sign of real hope.”
Register staff writer Joseph Pronechen writes from Trumbull, Connecticut

God Bless America and our heroes

Jimi

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Our Vacations With The Real Griswold’s

It’s been a long time since I posted a blog but this subject was just too hard to pass up. We recently vacationed as we do each year with my in-laws. My in-laws are also our next door neighbors. Many would say “What the Hell are you thinking Jimi?” No my in-laws are essentially my best friends. I just turned 44 years old a few days ago and they’ve known me since I was barely 18. I married their daughter when I was 20. So that said, I must tell you some stories about our vacation adventures because as far as I’m concerned when it comes to vacation they are the Griswold’s and I have to be honest me and my family can fall into that category as well..  

 The first vacation I can remember with all of us together was in the pre-children days. We went to Branson Mo. Branson is a tourist trap but I love the in your face Christianity and patriotism that is so prevalent there. On our first day there we just walked around at the various shops and later in the day decided to venture off into the “back roads” to go to a variety of flea markets and craft stores. You know to waste money on something made out of sticks and mud or to walk into a candle shop that would make a french whore gag. Yet it was fun I must say. Later that day when we decided to head back to the time share it started storming very hard and we were winding through the hills. My father in law for some reason has a tendency to speed up when it rains. It was dark and you could barely see out of the windows. My father in law was riding off the side of the road in the grass and my mother in law started yelling at him and crying. “You’re riding in the grass John!” “I am not in the grass!” he said. Just then we rounded up this hill and as God as my witness we were inches from taking out the giant sign at the entrance to Silver Dollar city! The next morning the wife and I were cracking up laughing about it and went out to the car to check out any evidence of grass. The fenders were caked with mud and grass and in telling my father in law (stubborn) all he would say is. “That grass was already there when we came down here!”

 By the way, rather than keep calling my in laws Father in law and Mother in law for the rest of this post I will call them for what they are affectionately known as in our home. Nana and Papa. 

GATLINBURG
 Our second vacation (also before children or B.C.) was this time without Papa because he had to work. So my wife, me, Nana and her friend went to Gatlinburg. Man, did I love the Smoky Mountains. This is where I could retire so easily. Beautiful. Anyway, you can imagine with me and three women that there was a lot of shopping involved but we did see some good shows etc. Like in Branson we walked through the shops and bought things we didn’t need and the “Oh so and so would love this” thing took over like on every vacation and we bought junk for people. I mean who doesn’t need a corncob pipe right? Never the less it was fun. This is what we save for I suppose. One day we took this Switzerland like cable tram up the side of this mountain where they had an amusement park at the top and an ice skating rink. It was made to look like a German Alps kind of park. The wife and I went ice skating. I hadn’t done any skating of any sort since the early 80′s like back in the Bee Gee days but I was game because I am a man dammit.
Of course Nana thought it was so cute because my wife and I were skating together and was snapping pictures and filming us from a balcony. It was all good except there was one problem. These skates had no rubber bumper thing like on roller skates so I had to either wipe out or run into the boards to stop. It was a disaster and somehow I’d become the entertainment for the entire crowd there. The next day I was so sore and my ankles were killing me and wouldn’t you know the girls wanted to shop the next day. It was like I was that old man that Tim Conway played on the Carol Burnett Show. I could move only ever so slowly. I know now why some say in the old cowboy movies as they die. “No no, just go on without me” I still hurt thinking about it

 One night we went to see Lee Greenwood. He has a theater down there just outside of Gatlinburg. It really was a spectacular show. He did a little bit of everything and the patriotism was overwhelming as you can imagine. I mean after he ended the show with “God Bless The USA” one puffed up with pride. When we were leaving my wife saw this really cool jogging suit thing, outfit or whatever that was red white and blue. She had to have it. (hasn’t worn it since) She saw that Lee Greenwood was signing  autographs and I said well let’s have him sign your jump suit thing. When my wife got up to get her autograph I said. ” Consider yourself privileged Mr. Greenwood, I don’t let just any man sign my wife’s pants” He looked at me like I was an idiot. To add insult to injury, Greenwood being a tiny guy from California, he overheard Nana say “They sure don’t grow em’ very big in California” So we left pretty well certain that Lee Greenwood hates us.

 Our second to last night in Gatlinburg my wife, me, and Nana’s friend were out on the deck playing Blitz. Nana having the natural instinct to take care of everyone and make the snacks etc was inside and talking to us as we could hear her through the screen door. She was making a cheese and crackers plate. She was telling us that she saw in the elevator on a flyer that they were having a wine and cheese social as she was walking to the deck and walked right through the screen door. So needless to say we did not take Nana to the Wine & Cheese social advertised. 

 BRANSON AGAIN

Another trip to Branson. This trip is with little tiny kids and unforgettable to say the least. Like the visit here before we saw shows. Mickey Gilley was excellent and Papa and I went to see Boxcar Willie (year before he died) while the rest of the family went to see Jim Stafford. The next day we had tickets reserved for a theater that was all celebrity impersonators, you know Elvis, Marilyn, John Wayne etc. It was storming and when we got to theater we saw billows of smoke rolling out of the roof. Lightening had struck the theater and that night’s shows were cancelled. Papa was pissed because he’s a huge John Wayne fan. So with time to kill we went into a T-shirt shop. A shop with a variety of T-shirts we all know and love. “I’m With Stupid” etc. Papa found some western shirts he likes and some polo shirts too. One thing you should know about Papa is that he likes his clothes tight. Somewhere in this 73 year old’s mind he thinks it’s still 1975, God bless him. We told him they won’t fit, but he didn’t listen. When we got back to our room he showered and put his knew shirt on. My wife nudged me and pointed at Papa sitting on the couch. She was laughing so hard she was crying and couldn’t make a sound. I went over and sat by him. I noticed that his shirt was so tight that there were gray chest hairs were sticking through the fabric of his $7.00 bargain rack shirt he was so proud of. He still insisted it wasn’t too tight, I think he still wears it to this day.

 Later that night. We went to another show it was called Country USA I think. It was kind of hokey but fun none the less. When we got back the kids were tired as we all were. We cleaned up and started getting ready for bed and the fire alarm went off. My daughter (so sweet) all of maybe four or five years old was all concerned about Dad. She said ” Dad get your flip flops on and grab your stuff!” She grabs my hand to head out the door and says “WHOA STOP! My American Girl Doll! Dad go get it!” So I run back in the room and grab it and bring it to her. “Dad, you saved my doll’s life!” she says.  The alarm was ultimately someone in the building that had burned pop corn, but I was rather proud of our reaction time. I also realized how hard it is even at a slight jog in flip flops. 

 DISNEY WORLD

The Griswold moment that stands out the most on this vacation happened within the first 15min we arrived in our room. Like anyone else part of the anticipation of vacation is to see what your lodging is like. We walked in and it was awesome. Large, big kitchen. Two nice big bedrooms and flat screens etc. What’s the next thing you do for Ooooo’s and Ahhh’s? You walk out on the back deck to check out the view. Me, my wife, our two kids and Nana and Papa walk out onto the deck and the sliding door locks. Papa insists that he shimmy down the deck pole and climb the fence and go around and let us in. So as we roasted in the Florida heat and humidity, Papa was determined to rescue us and he did. By the way. I do love Florida.

 VIRGINIA BEACH 

This was by far the best vacation I’ve had in years. I took two weeks off in what seemed like an eternity. One week at Williamsburg and one week at the beach. We went to Busch Gardens and rode the Apollo coaster which just days before Fabio rode and was smacked in the face and got a broken nose from a wayward seagull. We got a kick out of that story. Shame on us. We got to see Colonial Williamsburg which is just full of history and I’d recommend it to anyone. Love it. The next week at Virginia Beach was spectacular. Loved it. I could easily be a beach bum I tell ya. Our room was right on the beach. Walk out the door and there you are. Hot sand and cool waves (I just sounded like Jeff Spicoli no?) We got there at a perfect time. They have this thing called SandStock. Up and down the boardwalk at all the bars etc is every kind of music and food you can imagine. Just add the occasional sound of roaring jet fighters flying over from Norfolk. Awesome.

 I do not tan for long. I mostly burn and peel. Yet I was determined to forego the sunscreen and be the bronze God that I know that I am. My wife and kids were really on my case about that. The Sun was intense on the beach but with the breeze and being in the water you really can’t feel it. Until you get indoors, and ouch…shower. I peeled so bad that every morning we’d have to vacuum the floor. No joke. I was like this lizard man guy. 

 Along the boardwalk you could rent SeaDoos, bikes, and also these six man car bike things that you pedal. They are replicas of a Model T etc. Nana insisted that before we leave that we as a family rent one and ride it down the boardwalk which is 3.0 miles. So we did.

 After about the first half mile guess who was doing all the pedaling? Yep, you guessed it, me and Papa. We were sweating our balls off and steadily running out of steam while the kids, wife, and Nana were yelling “Weeee” just like that little pig in the Geico commercials. To add insult to injury we got a flat tire and had to walk and then try and find a shuttle bus back to our room. “Weeee” my ass. Something else to laugh about I suppose. 

 I’m leaving out many instances of our vacations with and as the real Griswolds. I could write a book I’m certain. 

However, the anticipation of a vacation no matter what it might be, we all have a bit of Clark Griswold in us. We want fun. We all have our Russ & Audrey and even our Aunt Edna or Uncle Eddie moments. You know that moment when Clark stops the car and says “I think you’re all F***ed in the head. We’re going to have so much fun we’ll be whistling Zippidy Do Dah out our assholes!” It’s America. We all enjoy that drive down Holiday Road. 

Jimi
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

An Easter Mass To Remember

Like many around the world today we got dressed in our Easter Sunday best. My wife and daughter were dressed to the hilt big time and my son and I who are similar in what “dressed up” means put on our best jeans and finest shirts, with collars even. Normally, when I walk into church I stay focused on the Crucifix and listen to the music and the homily. It’s the Crucifix that always draws me in. Each Easter our church covers our life size Crucifix with a pink or vibrant curtain. The church is decorated with pastels and “happy” colors. The rotunda of the church which shines a bright light onto the altar had ribbons and tassels that hanged down around the altar. It was beautiful. We got there early for Easter crowd. The first thing my daughter said was ” I’d love those tassels in my room Dad”

There were trumpets and brass instruments being played and music that was great in uplifting spirits.Father Chuck announced something special before Mass. He said that Morgan who’s grandmother died not quite a year ago was going to sing a song that she sang at the funeral and inspired so many that day and thought it perfect for this Easter day and he commented on her voice and piano playing. Morgan sang “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. We couldn’t see Morgan from where we were sitting but it was the voice of an angel and I got teared up as my wife did and my daughter, and my son was trying to hold it back as I looked at him. When the song was over Morgan’s father grabbed her hand and walked her back to the pew and right by us. She could not have been fore than fourteen years old. She was blind and as I looked around the church there was not a dry eye to be seen. I wish I could have recorded the beauty of this music and moment.

My favorite part of every Mass is the homily/sermon. Father Jim’s homily compared our regular lives to our front yard and backyards. In a nutshell he said that our front yard is for show with flowers and groomed lawn etc.and our backyard is where we really live our real lives. A privacy fence, eating and drinking and being merry not so manicured etc. Good times and bad times. He said. (We’ve all heard this) “How many times have you been told or been asked to not come through someone’s front door but come through the back?” He asked that when we pray to always ask Jesus to enter our backyard, that’s our real life where our real life is. Not to be ashamed and not to fear our real lives with Him. Open up.

My mind works at a rapid pace, through all this emotion and wise words I’m thinking about baseball starting this week and trying to stay focused and also trying to stay focused on Fr. Jim’s homily and I kept hearing the family next to mine sniffling and crying. I could understand I suppose because it’s an emotional day for Christians. As Mass ended I noticed the family next to us break down as memorials were being mentioned. The family was that of Marine Corporal Aaron Ripperda. He was killed in the mortar shell explosion last week in Nevada. a> It was so touching and I didn’t know what to say as I walked by them other than God Bless. http://www.ksdk.com/news/article/372671/3/Volunteers-plant-flags-to-honor-fallen-Marine

This Easter has been a blessing in so many ways, different than any other. I believe that the main thing in joy or pain is that He Is Risen. That’s really all that matters. Our country is so blessed to be blessed by God and the people that very blessing has awarded us.

Jimi

Thoughts On Newtown Tragedy

I’ve been mulling over and sifting through my feelings on this horrible tragedy. I’ve watched over social media and watched the news and thoughts roll through on my Twitter feed. I’ve read heartfelt and genuine posts and tweets. I’ve seen some of the most vile and horrific acts of humanity online as well and look no further than WestBoro Baptist Church for example. I’ve spoke to friends and family and felt the need to write on this just one time.

When I heard about the shooting like everyone else I thought of my kids. I thought of my wife as she’s a kindergarten teacher so throughout the day I thought of her and her tiny little people in her class. The tiny little people that each night I hear funny stories about when she comes home from work to talk. Little innocent babies that are just trying to learn the simple things to get their lives started in education. Little things like learning how to line up or coloring between the lines etc. This is what I thought of. I was listening to Dana Loesch’s show on the radio hearing the news as it rolled in. One thought that I can’t and probably never will get out of my head is wondering of the terror and helplessness that these babies must have felt in their final minutes on this Earth. I ran through every scenario in my head of what could have been done and of all things what I could have done. Like a child myself I wished in my head that I could had been Superman and flown to that school and rescued them. Silly I know but that’s what I wished. Then I thought of another vision that will never leave my head, a documentary I saw on the tragedy in Beslan. A school that was taken over by Muslim extremists. There was a small boy that climbed out of a window and landed on the ground and sat for a moment while onlookers and officials yelled for him to run toward them. Instead scared he climbed back into the window back into the carnage. I don’t know if the boy survived I just pray that he did.

I thought about a line in a song by the band Train “When children have to play inside so they don’t disappear” I thought of Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven”. This is how my mind works just trying to gather and reach out for some sort of sanity in an act of horrible insanity. Reaching out for anything to hold onto to gain some sort of mental footing. I am one I suppose who’s quick to emotion. I’m quick to anger, quick to sorrow, but also I’m one quick to reason and always try and get back to a joy that no one can steal away.

Late Friday night I reached out to a friend and mentor a well known and prominent Priest in New York City. A 9/11 hero and no stranger to tragedy. I sent a short message about the shooting and expressed my sorrow and asked for direction. He essentially told me to spare him the hysteria and to keep a stiff upper lip and to see the big picture. One thing he said was ” A lunatic has created lunacy” He told me that other countries on a daily basis go through these things and they mourn and they move on. He expressed his concern that neurotics and sentimentality are destroying this country and that stronger countries are watching us fall. He later told me that we must toughen up and pray and stay focused. In other words don’t be shaken and that we have too much at stake now. Hold onto what built us or we will be conquered.

Though initially I felt scolded in a way, I then realized that he was right. America has become soft in many senses of the word. We are the most powerful country militarily but little be little our strength within is being eroded and we are finding ourselves second guessing who we really are. There will always be patriots among us and we won’t always be popular in our views but with our Constitution under attack and our 1st Amendment being dragged through the mud and our 2nd Amendment now the focus of knee jerk politicians it’s now more than ever needed that we do keep a “stiff upper lip” as Father said and see the big picture. It’s important to look to our past and what we’ve overcame and lives lost so that we can enjoy freedom as it was meant to be.

This thought process does not mean that we cannot protect our children or are hindered there, but within the freedoms that God has given us and blessed this great country with we owe it to future generations to hold onto what built us and what we are indeed blessed with. Whatever one might think of the causes of this terrible tragedy or what you may deem a solution? Allowing the tearing down of the Constitution is not the answer. It is the life blood of our country and has also initiated valiant acts for freedom and protection of others around the world.

In this tragedy. Mourn. Think of those babies lost. Protect your own. Through God’s love let them hold onto their innocence as long as they can and we should take great joy in it. We all have innocent qualities and we find strength in our children’s innocence. We are essentially children ourselves… God’s children. Yet as parents as Americans we must stand strong and defend what built us and what made us great and make no mistake we are. God bless the tiny babies lost and those that held them dear.

Jimi