the IRS

And then there was this…  (from the Associated Press…)

 

Lois Lerner, head of the Internal Revenue Service that oversees tax-exempt groups, apologized today for the IRS inappropriately flagging conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.

 

Lerner said organizations that included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out for additional reviews. Speaking at a conference in Washington, she said the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati.

 

The Associated Press is also now reporting that senior IRS officials were aware in 2011 of this behavior.  There are also reports that some Jewish groups were targeted.  Wow…

 

Here is an organization that is by no means supposed to be partisan.  And here in their supposed-to-be-nonpartisan existence, they intentionally decided to scrutinize specific conservative and religious groups more.  In fact, in multiple cases, groups were asked to provide a list of donors for review, typically a violation of IRS policy.  The IRS scrutinized activity based upon any overt, conservative leanings of the supporters.  Hmmm…  and one wonders why citizens continue to lose faith in government…

 

More and more government tends to emphasize “think like me.”  “Join me.”  “Do what I do.”  “Refute the voices of those who think differently.”  “Reject the two party system.”  “One party is always right.”  “I am always right.”  Friends, one huge, massive, like-minded, political group has never proved nationally beneficial; historically, the accompanying power with a singular massive party leads to corruption and inefficiency, and yet so many still seem to strive for such a dominant arrangement.  The partisan admission by the IRS is evidence of such corruption; it is also irresponsible and foolish.

 

Who asked them to do so?  Who persuaded their partisan directive?  Who guided them (as the Intramuralitst oft likes to say) to no longer oversee a united state of America?

 

According to Time Magazine — and a reaction on both the proverbial right and left…

 

“The IRS has demonstrated the most disturbing, illegal and outrageous abuse of government power,” said Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots. “This deliberate targeting and harassment of tea party groups reaches a new low in illegal government activity and overreach.”

 

The revelation didn’t sit much better with groups on the left. “Even the appearance of playing partisan politics with the tax code is about as constitutionally troubling as it gets,” said Michael Macleod-Ball, chief of staff of the ACLU’s Washington legislative office.

 

So let me get this straight…

 

In addition to the known previous functions of the IRS, here is also now the government agency that is responsible for enforcing Obamacare.  My sense is that few Americans are aware of this role.  Beginning in 2014, this agency will be the one which requires each American to carry health insurance.  We will have to disclose our personal identifying health ID number to the IRS — in addition to the nature of our insurance and any additional information the IRS decides to demand.  The IRS is the enforcer.

 

Logical questions here, folks…

 

How can an agency that has admitted political bias be an objective enforcer?

How will we know the agency is free from continued corruption?

 

Great questions.  I’m unfortunately fearful of the answers.

 

Respectfully…

AR

to listen or reject?

On Sunday, the President gave the commencement address at The Ohio State University.  In his address, Obama included the following:

 

“Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.

 

We have never been a people who place all our faith in government to solve our problems. We shouldn’t want to. But we don’t think the government is the source of all our problems, either. Because we understand that this democracy is ours. And as citizens, we understand that it’s not about what America can do for us, it’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government. And class of 2013, you have to be involved in that process.”

 

I appreciate the President’s comment that “we have never been a people who place all our faith in government” and that “we don’t think the government is the source of all our problems.”  The balance of those isolated statements seems prudent indeed.

 

However, the Intramuralist is concerned about one aspect contradictory of our mantra…

 

“… nothing more than some separate, sinister voices…”

 

No, I don’t care about that.  There are people on the right, left, middle, all-over-the-place who call certain somethings “sinister.”  That doesn’t alarm me.

 

“… tyranny is always lurking just around the corner…”

 

Lurking?  Lurking?!  Well, maybe.  But that sounds more like an emotional plea designed to drum up passion.  The President, his opponents, and supporters all seem to resort to emotional pleas when unfortunately deemed necessary.  I, for one, believe arguments should be debated more on their logic than on all the accompanying emotion.  But alas, I again digress…

 

“… And class of 2013, you have to be involved in that process.”

 

Excellent!  We need to get the younger generations involved!  You need to understand how government works!  … it’s efficiencies and inefficiencies; it’s up to you to change this… to improve it… to be involved.  Well said, Pres. Obama.

 

What concerns me?  One line:  “You should reject these voices.”

 

As long apparent amidst our postings, the Intramuralist always — yes, I said “always” —  encourages dialogue.  The only way to encourage dialogue is to also encourage active, sincere listening — and active, sincere listening of those who feel differently than you.  If your argument is solid — absent of logical loopholes — there should be no reason to outright reject opposing voices.  While there is no doubt Pres. Obama is an articulate, intelligent man, his admonition that the younger generation should simply reject the voices of those who passionately advocate for limited government seems unwise to me.

 

If — and I realize that’s a mighty big “if” — if we would entertain why there is a vocal desire for limited government — if we listened to those voices — what would we learn?  Would we learn about where government is both efficient and inefficient?  Would we learn about history? … where some governments have overreached and thus prompted national demise?  What’s wrong with listening to those voices as opposed to rejection?

 

Listening, my friends, is wiser.

 

Respectfully…

AR

what’s wrong with this law?

What’s wrong with “Obamacare”?

 

Please.  Pause.  As always, the Intramuralist attempts to stand as a beacon of respect.  You, my friends, have done an excellent job at modeling your diversity of opinion without succumbing to the temptation of disrespect.  Far too many intelligent people continue to justify disrespectful articulation when the moment serves them well.  As best as possible, we strive not to fall so infamously far.

 

It is no secret that the Intramuralist is no fan of the Patient Affordable Care Act.  Having read the entire legislation prior to its passage, we found multiple enactments, which were are not only prone to government overreach but also social concern.  When healthcare is proposed as a “one size fits all model,” the underlying reality is that as the model evolves and impure motive sets in, perceived economic drains on the system will be extracted.  If we can ensure continued care for 100 at the same price as the one-time surgery of 1, why would we choose the 1?  Funds are not limitless.  Hence, economically, it makes more sense to care for the 100.  It’s the survival of the fittest.  It’s natural selection.  Is it moral?  Of course not.  But when a person actually reads the legislation, the embedded motive of moral behavior is ambiguous.

 

Do not allow me to suggest that I believe the creators of this law were motivated by impure motive.  I do believe, however, that as the law evolves, the exponentially increased potential for impurity exists, as money and power never fail to pollute policy.  At some point in time — with the wrong people in charge — I believe Obamacare will be a dire, iniquitous law.

 

Allow me, no less, to return to my original question:  what’s wrong with this law?  Perhaps you even question the basis for my question.  Here is the reason for my current pondering:

 

According to Politico and The Wall Street Journal, congressional leaders have been holding closed-door discussions regarding how to exempt themselves from the law.  When Politico broke the story last week, the conversations collapsed — obviously because of the complete lack of positive publicity.

 

Reports are that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) initiated the discussions, although he denies such an account; he says he simply wants the law to be “workable for everyone.”  The loophole in Reid’s claim is that when the law was being crafted in 2009, Democrats repeatedly attempted to exempt themselves and/or their key aides.

 

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had authored an amendment approved by the Senate Finance Committee that compelled Congress to partake, but yet, when brought to the floor by Sen. Reid, the bill’s language had been altered, exempting congressional aides and party leaders.

 

If this law is good, why are those who know what’s in it wanting to avoid it?

 

Oh, wait… I return to my original concerns about the bill…

 

Never mind the broken promises.  Never mind the poor P.R.  Never mind that when the town hall meetings got too tough, the town hall meetings were shut down.

 

Never mind that some Republicans seemed simply obstructionists.  Never mind that the legislation only passed through a partisan measure designed for the budget reconciliation process.  Never mind that premiums are now increasing and options for keeping existent care are decreasing.

 

This original, approximate 2000 page legislation was approved and opposed by those who never read it.  They never read it, yet they want to be exempt.

 

Hence, I ask again:  what’s wrong with “Obamacare”?

 

Respectfully…

AR

hmmm..

In all actuality, there are days the Intramuralist wonders the wisdom of what to publish.  We scan a sampling of the week’s headlines and editorials, yet quickly, we come across a slew of spewing that seems to make you go “hmmm”…

 

What do we write about?

 

Do we consider the nonpartisan Rasmussen Reports, and how…

 

“Confidence that the United States and its allies are winning the War on Terror has fallen to its lowest level in roughly two years.”

 

Or do we pay any attention to a presidential photo op, as detailed by Politico…

 

“Tuesday morning, a peculiar announcement trickled out of the White House press office: President Barack Obama would be holding a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston bombings.  At the White House.  By himself.  No press or other intruders allowed.  Except the White House photographer.

 

That Obama assumed Americans would want an iconic photo of him privately mourning the victims of the bombings was emblematic of a kind of hubris that has enveloped the president and his White House as the president commences his second term.”

 

No, those aspects aren’t that important to articulate.

 

How about the news as reported by Salon…

 

“So I’ve found it a sad commentary on GOP rebuilding that there’s been so much talk this week about the likelihood and desirability of a Jeb Bush candidacy.  And apparently one influential Republican, his mother, Barbara, agrees with me.

 

‘He’s by far the best-qualified man, but no,’ the former first lady told NBC’s Matt Lauer when he asked if she wanted her son, the former Florida governor, to run for president. ‘I really don’t.  I think it’s a great country.  There are a lot of great families, and it’s not just four families, or whatever.  There are other people out there that are very qualified.  We’ve had enough Bushes.’”

 

Am I the only one who thinks we need no more family ties to the Executive Branch?  No more Bushes and Clintons or Kennedys and Obamas or anyone else who has already occupied the oval space…  Nope.  Love that Barbara Bush… love how agree with her or not, she never seems to hide how she feels.

 

What about the news from Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and his notion that the media enacts a double standard for Obama and Bush actions in regard to the situation in Syria…

 

“What’s the difference between weapons of mass destruction and weapons of chemical destruction?  One gives you an excuse to bash a Republican president.  The other an excuse not to bash a Democratic president.  Nevermind this president drew the line in the sand on mass destruction weapons.  Democrats were all over that former president for getting wrong what most of they themselves were convinced George Bush had right.  And now they aren’t saying boo to this president that his worst fears are right.  So now repeating, that president is bad for pushing us into a war most Democrats supported because it sure looked like Saddam had bad stuff.  In fact, they used bad stuff.  This president is not bad for ignoring his own threats of consequences.  Now that we know Bashar Assad definitely has bad stuff.  I’m not saying one is right and one is wrong.  What I am saying is the double-standard in the coverage of each is very wrong.”

 

Does there exist a double standard?  I can’t answer that question.  Just the pondering is confusing.

 

So what can I answer?  2 things this day…

 

One, I can see why many persons intentionally choose to pay no attention to the news; it could drive a person crazy (… just sayin’).

And two, some things will always seem to make you go ‘hmmm.’

 

Respectfully… always…

AR

the enemy among us

Extending the conversation from a wise friend in cyberspace, we were discussing the nation’s response to the tragedy in Boston.  We discussed Tuesday’s concept of whether or not we would simply forget the learnings after the “music fades,” so-to-speak, and return to our unfortunate, engrained, far-too-often divisive and defensive standing.

 

My wise friend made an excellent observation and then asked an even better question…

 

I am reminded, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’  As long as we cannot come to some workable agreements on important issues among ourselves, it seems we leave ourselves vulnerable to destruction.   

 

My question is, without that tangible adversary, can we agree on what the ‘enemy’ to rally against is?  Is there a common goal that we can rally around without a tangible face of violence?  And even better than a common enemy, is there a unified love to rally for…?  Is there a common respect for the sanctity of life…?  Or is it ‘every man for himself’?  … each out for his own right to his own idea of liberty… her own idea of happiness.  Is there a higher standard we can agree upon?

 

Friends, just as a common enemy united us in Boston — going forward — what is it that propels us?  In other words, if a common enemy unites us like nothing else, who is that enemy as we continue forward?

 

I think we have two authentic, current challenges in this area:  we either deny the existence of an enemy — or we identify the enemy as someone who it’s not.  Allow me to respectfully share with you who it’s not…

 

It’s not the Democrats.

It’s not Pres. Obama.

It’s not the Republicans on Capitol Hill.

It’s not those who oppose gay marriage.

It’s not those for or against gun control.

It’s not the NRA, the ACLU, or any passionate, partisan advocacy group.

It’s not the teachers’ union nor Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin nor any other governor.

It’s not the academic elite.

It’s not even the uneducated.

And it’s certainly not any rhetorical 1, 2, or 17%.

 

No, it’s none of the above.  And until we recognize that, as a nation, we may forever be both polarized and paralyzed.

 

Who is our enemy?

 

It’s no longer the Soviets.  We no longer face a Cold War.  But we have to quit insinuating or proclaiming that the enemy is something or someone it is not.  Such may serve to net votes and drum up passion, but such is not wise; and such is not a process nor practice dripping of integrity.

 

In reality, the “enemy” can only be equated with one thing…

 

That one thing is not partisan…

That one thing is not an opinion…

 

That one thing is only one thing; it is evil.

 

The men who blew up the streets of Boston were motivated by evil.  Evil is prominent in more ways than we can ever know.  Evil is real.  Evil is the complete absence of God.  Evil is deep.  It dwells deep within the heart of far too many.  There is, no less, no such thing as any “lesser” of two evils.

 

That’s hard; it’s hard to specifically quantify.  But evil — yes, evil — as we are calling it what it is — is prominent in more ways than we know; we have to be willing to see it and say it, for that is our common enemy.  That is the enemy which unites us.  And that is what we must combat and God-willing, attempt to extinguish.

 

Respectfully,

AR

unchanged?

After the music fades, what do we do?  Where do we go?  How do we act?  How do we now converse with one another?

 

Do we simply go on with life as normal?  Do we forget the music even ever played?  Do we deny the song’s existence?  … even though we were changed by the content of the song?  What do we do?  … after the music fades?

 

I love the lyrics from Shaun Groves’ popular song…
Much more than just a melody.
Please take me and break me;
Right now God, I don’t want to leave Unchanged;

I never wanna be the same.

 

The key A-ha?  “I don’t want to leave unchanged.  I never wanna be the same.”

 

If we walk away from the week in Boston forgetting the murderous marathon… forgetting the fatalities… forgetting the horror… forgetting once again how a radical Islamic devotee desired to wreak havoc on American innocence…

 

If we walk away from the week in Boston forgetting not only the tragedy but the unity in the hours that followed… forgetting how so much of the piddly, weekly, stereotypical stories were put away for real news… forgetting how, as the President reminded us, we are Americans first… forgetting the common purpose… forgetting the common goal… forgetting the patriotism and shots heard ‘round the nation… forgetting the spontaneous celebration when the second suspect was apprehended… forgetting our resounding, obvious, corporate strength…

 

If we walk away from the week in Boston and forget, we will have failed to maximize the moment and learn from the tragedy.

 

It reminds me of one of my “Bible nerd moments.”  Yes, it’s true; I am affectionately what some may call — or at least, I call — a “Bible nerd.”  I recognize there’s tons of wisdom in that book — and there’s tons I don’t even come close to comprehending.  Hence, I am intentional in trying to understand.

 

If this lovable nerd was asked to sum up the Old Testament in only a few poignant words, I would simply suggest:  “Don’t forget.  Don’t forget about me and what I’ve done for you.”  We should never forget the reality of God.

 

If we forget what happened last week — meaning we go right back to our passionate, partisan, and often stubborn and selfish ways — we go right back to judging our brothers (even though we like to say we don’t) — we go right back to chastising and blaming as opposed to listening and learning — we go right back to the divisive crud so many espouse, proclaim, or defiantly repost — we go right back to carelessly handling all words of truth — then, I’m afraid, we will have far too soon forgotten.  Yes, we will have forgotten.  And dare I also conclude, radical, violent Islam will have once again won.

 

More of Groves’ song…

 

I wanna sing.  I wanna fly.
I wanna see from Your side of the sky.
I wanna love.  I wanna stay,
Wanna be close to You
Long after the music fades.

Lord, I come To give You
Much more than just a melody.
Please take me and break me;
Right now God, I don’t want to leave Unchanged;

I never wanna be the same.

 

Yes, “unchanged”…  that’s the word.  After last week in Boston, as a nation, I don’t ‘wanna be’ unchanged.

 

Respectfully,

AR

distinction

At times like this when we witness the wounded lives and hearts of those among us, there is no distinction between…

 

A Bay Stater and an American.

Black and white.

Man and woman.

Democrat and Republican.

Legal and illegal alien.

Red Sox and Yankees fans.

Young and old.

A Harvard and Yale grad.

A feminist and stay-at-home mom.

Conservative and liberal.

A Duke and North Carolina fan.

Cops and robbers.

Cowboys and Indians.

 

There is no distinction.  We are Americans… persons each created equally, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights.  Those rights were tragically infringed upon on Monday.

 

Yet while there exists no division in the distinction between who we are, there is a distinction in how we behave…

 

There are those who weep… and those who can’t.

There are those who trust God… and those who won’t.

There are those who shake their fists at Him… and those who quietly mutter “help me understand.”

There are those who want immediate revenge… and those who recognize that prudence is most effective.

There are those who wish to enact legislation to ensure something like this never happens again… and those who acknowledge that no legislation completely curbs the heart of an evil man.

There are those who passionately articulate… and those whose passion is silently spoken through streaming tears.

There are those who speak foolishly in the aftermath… and those who intentionally encourage those around them.

There are those who seek to numb the pain… and those who know that numbing is never effective for the long term.

There are those who ache… and those who walk alongside them.

And there are those for whom we have abundant compassion… and those for whom we find great reason to withhold.

 

The reality is that over the course of our lifetime, we have each most likely behaved as each of those above.  Hence, it may be wise to give a little more mercy and grace to them all.

 

Respectfully… as a still sober nation…

AR

what do we know for certain?

As the answers come in but the shock ceases to subside, it is time for each of us to initially pause, recognize we don’t have all the answers, and refrain from rushing to judgment.  Hence…

 

What do we know for certain?

 

That bad things still happen.  Last I looked, planet Earth could not be equated with heaven, paradise, nor even any Garden of Eden.  This isn’t it, folks.  And until heaven is reality, we shouldn’t mistake Earth for something it’s not.

 

What do we know for certain?

 

That suffering continues to occur.  This may be the hardest thing we ever have to wrestle with, friends, and this post won’t begin to do the topic justice.  I don’t like it; none of us like it.  A wise man would wish suffering upon no one; that said, few life circumstances teach us more.  We are a stubborn people.  I admit it:  the Intramuralist can be stubborn.  Yet the painful paradox exists in that suffering often manifests itself as life’s most effective teacher.

 

What do we know for certain?

 

That so much on this planet obstructs the truth.  Perhaps most bluntly put, humans often get in the way.  For example, too many utilize their 15 minutes of fame or moments before the mic to rush to incomplete (and thus typically inaccurate) judgment.  Note MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, only a few hours after Boston’s bombing, saying, “Normally, domestic terrorists, people tend to be on the far right.”  Mr. Matthews, your response is not helpful nor wise.  You are thus potentially impeding truth.  Please listen to Pres. Obama, who wisely reminded us all yesterday to not “jump to conclusions before we have all the facts.”

 

What do we know for certain?

 

That evil exists on this planet.  Yes, again, this is no happy, oh-so-joyful analysis; as I believe you are aware, we will never intentionally circumvent truth amidst this blog’s dialogue.  Evil is real.  Immorality, sin, and depravity are not merely themes embedded within Aesop’s Fables; they are bona fide motivations on this planet.  They are hard to acknowledge, and they are motivations that will also not be extinguished simply by crafting new legislation or enacting creative government controls.  We are not capable of extinguishing all evil.  Hence, let me add a related tangent…  the Intramuralist does not care if the existence of evil stems from foreign or domestic sources.  We don’t distinguish whether the wickedness manifests itself within an Islamic Jihad, the Klu Klux Klan, or the hatred so often selfishly spewed, masked as a justifiable, passionate response.  Evil is evil.  It is the complete absence of God; it also then equates to the complete absence of good.

 

What do we know for certain?

 

That life should never be taken for granted.  What happened in Boston yesterday was awful.  Tears again flow when I think of the 8 year old boy, killed in the Boston Back Bay section’s blast.  Was he there to witness a parent or friend finally complete the grueling race?  God grant unprecedented peace to his family.  I cannot imagine the level of grief now lingering in the absolute pit of their hearts…

I think, too, of my dear friend, Leesh, who had just finished the race, picked up her medal, and was turning to walk back toward her husband when she witnessed the bombs’ blast in her spouse’s direction…  no doubt she is hugging him tightly this night…

 

What do we know for certain?

 

That there are more important things on this planet than politics, games, and division among good people.  God be with us.  My sense is we need him.  Daily.  Desperately.  I also deeply, totally, respectfully desire that we all know that for certain.

 

Respectfully… always…

AR

iron lady

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher passed away Monday at the age of 87.  The iconic conservative led her country by embracing free markets and individual liberties.  She held office for 11 years — longer than any other British leader in the 20th century; in the opinion of a strong and vocal many, Margaret Thatcher undoubtedly led her country well.

 

As I pondered her passing this day, part of me wondered about her potential, initial heavenly encounter with the most likeminded leader of her time.  Imagine greeting Ronald Reagan at the gates.  I have little doubt it would be uniquely warm and reflective…

 

The race is over, Maggie.  We’re done down there.  So welcome!  It’s absolutely great here,” says the former president with that squinted-eyed smile.

“But Ronnie, there is so much more to do.”

“The question is not whether or not there’s more to do, Margaret; the question is whether or not you used your time well.  Have you used your time on Earth well?  It’s limited, you know.”

 

At that point perhaps Reagan would remind his British counterpart of her many wise words and her impact beyond liberty in London…

 

“Being powerful is like being a lady.  If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

 

“Pennies don’t fall from heaven — they have to be earned here on Earth.”

 

The two would undoubtedly pause and mutually ‘amen,’ as they then methodically recollect Thatcher’s comments on socialism — especially noting how more and more persons in the 21st century are naively dismissive of socialism’s persistent, lasting perils.  Why has socialism become so attractive to some?

 

Said Thatcher…

“To cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukemia with leeches.”

… or…

“The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

 

Ronnie and the infamous Iron Lady would then acknowledge some of Thatcher’s comments which were funnier for what they didn’t say, as opposed to what they did…

 

“You and I come by road or rail, but economists travel on infrastructure.”

 

“To wear your heart on your sleeve isn’t a very good plan; you should wear it inside, where it functions best.”

 

“Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.”

 

Most of all, no less, my sense is that Ronnie and Maggie would note Thatcher’s poignant sharing of truth…

 

“Where there is discord, may we bring harmony.  Where there is error, may we bring truth.  Where there is doubt, may we bring faith.  And where there is despair, may we bring hope.”

 

“My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with:  an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, live within your means, put by a nest egg for a rainy day, pay your bills on time, support the police.”

 

And yet, my sense is that their focus on any Earthly efforts would very quickly fade…

 

“You know, Maggie, people just don’t get it down there.  They’re so focused on self… what they can accomplish… how they are significant… how they must pursue their own path to happiness.  They just don’t get it.  Here, we don’t focus on self so much.  And it’s amazing how freeing it is… how peaceful… how incredibly, incredibly beautiful.”

“Speak it, Ronnie.  Speak it.”

“Love your faith, Margaret.  Welcome.  I’m so glad you’re here.”

 

Respectfully… always…

AR

Kevin Ware (yes, again…)

Of all the heartwarming insights and anecdotes shared regarding University of Louisville basketball player, Kevin Ware — the guard with the gruesomely shattered leg — the wisest words I’ve yet to hear have come straight from the young man.

 

After surgery to repair his compound fracture, Ware was asked what it was like to awake and see the regional championship trophy, which Coach Rick Pitino had personally delivered to his room.  Ware said, “It brought tears to my eyes.  It was one of the greatest moments of my life.”  He continued to cry, when asked about the encouragement he’s received from his teammates.

 

In other words, here when one man has the motive and moment to…

 

… play the victim…

… focus on the negative…

… claim ‘woe is me’…

 

Or when one could easily…

 

… blame someone else for his circumstances…

… shake his fist at the divine…

… or deny his current day reality…

 

Here is this 20 year old college sophomore…

… with negative circumstances suddenly thrust upon him, who has remained upbeat, thankful, encouraging, and even, actually others-focused.  Ware poignantly added in this week’s ESPN interview, “I know my situation isn’t the worst.  I’m truly blessed.”

 

How many of the rest of us — perhaps even older than 20 — continue to count our blessings when the consequences seem bleak?

 

Not Ware.

 

Earlier this season, Kevin Ware was suspended for 1 game by Coach Pitino for “disciplinary issues.”  At the time Pitino said Ware “isn’t coming back anytime soon.”  While the specific details of the suspension were never released, those close to the program believe it was due to an attitude problem.  Upon his return, Ware said the circumstances prompted him to re-evaluate his priorities and his place on the team.

 

Note:  once again… no victim, negative, nor ‘woe is me.’  Note also… again no blame nor shaking that fist at God.

 

Looks like we can learn much from young Mr. Ware.  Looks like he continues to see how the negative can become a positive… how each of us can learn and grow from the most challenging of circumstances… how always, no matter what, we are truly blessed.

 

I pray Ware continues to heal.  I pray the world continues to watch…

 

… and hopefully we’ll listen to him, too.

 

Respectfully,

AR