Saturday, February 6, 2010

Why God?

Why God? Why all the wars, the murders, the assaults, the rapes? It's so very hard to understand. It is obvious that God has given us Free Will (perhaps too much Free Will) to do as we please; to learn as we go through life. For some reason, far beyond my comprehension, God has given us free reign on this earth... to make it a Heaven or to make it a Hell.
Whatever God's plan may be, I am committed to make my little corner of this world a place of Peace and Serenity.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

200 dancers delight surprised commuters at Central Station Antwerp

200 individuals volunteered their time to rehearse and make this performance without any compensation. All that the dancers received was the joy of bringing joy to others. Isn't that wonderful?

It ain't the money, Honey...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

God's little creatures need a helping hand...

I placed 5 bird feeders by the front door of our home, but the birds didn't come. I think it was way too close to the building for them to feel comfortable. So, I placed a few dead branches in the bushes in front of the living room window. Eventually, the birds would land on the branches and when they felt secure, they would hop on to the bird feeders. Nowadays, the birds - some 30 to 60 of them - just hang around the front window. They love the free meals and I love to see them as I sit, stand or lie down in the living room. Sometimes, I just listen to them chirp and sing.

Not too long ago, I used to go out into Nature. Now, Nature comes to me. I love seeing all my little feathered friends.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

So alone at Christmas
I used to see Bill at the Cancer Center. He was a very friendly man who kept me company as we waited in the lobby. He was in his 80s when he died just a few weeks ago. For the first time in over sixty years, his wife will be spending the holidays alone. I can't imagine how difficult it will be for her. Eating meals alone. Sleeping alone. No longer anyone to be her constant companion. No one to talk to, to laugh with, to hold.

Should she put up the Christmas tree or just leave it in the box? Christmas will never be the same without Bill's kind smile. All those wonderful days of love and friendship are now in the past. How many wives have lost their husbands in recent years? How many husbands have lost their wives? The holidays will be very difficult for those who have lost their life-long partners. I just hope their kids and other family members will remember them. No one should be alone at this festive (and often painfully sad) time of year.

So lost and lonely

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Is it Evil to be Merciful?

Mercy or Evil

"In our society, a murderer gets more compassion than a person who has led an exemplary life and becomes terminally ill." - Marvin C. Arthur, Las Vegas, in a published letter to TIME Magazine, Oct. 9, 2000.

Is it Evil to be merciful?
Is it Good to ignore those in Hellish pain?

Years ago, on March 31, 2005, I wrote...
"Is it kind to starve the teminally ill to death? Is it kind to let the terminally ill suffer in agony? Horses with broken legs are shot. Dogs and cats who are seriously ill and in pain are put to sleep. Murderers, convicted of capital crimes, are given a lethal dose, so that their death is not considered cruel by the federal courts. Yet, the terminally ill are often "sentenced" to a slow and horrific death without remedy or relief. This is a matter of compassion and mercy. Do we love enough to care?"
No one, not one child of God, should be forced to spend the last days of life in pain and suffering.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

For the first time in my life, I am no longer able to work for a living. I managed to work a full year while being terminally ill, but I just don't have the strength to do it anymore. I closed my business and warehouse in August, 2009. But the bills are still coming in and I don't have any way to pay them. This weighs heavy on my heart, but there is noting I can do about it. I don't have any kind of savings or retirement fund. No stocks or bonds or real estate. I didn't expect to get sick. I cerainly never expected to become disabled.

If you would like to contact me, write me at: Put in the subject heading: DO NOT DELETE so that I know it is a personal message and not spam. My snail mail address is: Glenn Friedman, P O Box 1112, Bourbonnais, IL 60914. I rarely ever use my phone in an effort to save minutes and money. Click here for information about Myelodysplastic Syndrome posted on Wikipedia.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

We cannot know for certain how long we have here. We cannot foresee the trials or misfortunes that will test us along the way. We cannot know God's plan for us.
What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose, and love, and joy. We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them, and treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves. We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures.
And we can strive at all costs to make a better world, so that someday, if we are blessed with the chance to look back on our time here, we can know that we spent it well; that we made a difference; that our fleeting presence had a lasting impact on the lives of other human beings.
- U. S. President Barack Obama at the funeral of Senator Ted Kennedy, August 29, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

What good is accomplished by being brutally honest? Is it really worth the risk of destroying a relationship with a co-worker, friend or loved one? It doesn't matter if you are 100% right. Once you act like a jerk, you have already lost the fight. Sometimes, it's best to just let it go.

Since July 30, 2008, I have received 40 units of blood during 21 transfusions of red blood cells. During the same time period, I received 15 transfusions of platelets which may have come from as many as 60 individuals. It is probable that over 100 unknown donors have been keeping me alive. Knowing that the end may be near, I have treasured each precious day of life. I filled them with music and books, Nature walks and kayaking, family and friends. When I finally kick that proverbial bucket, I can say that it has been a wonderful life - thanks in no small measure to all those who made the last 12 months possible.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

God cannot make a peaceful world unless we, His children, help Him by rooting out hatred from our hearts, the prejudice from our mind, the injustice from our society...
God cannot build a happy home unless husband and wife work with Him by bringing to it a spirit of sharing, mutual respect, a binding loyalty, constancy and compassion. - Sidney Greenberg

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Today is the Day

There are many fine things which you mean to do someday, under what you think will be more favorable circumstances. But the only time that is surely yours is the present, hence this is the time to speak the word of appreciation and sympathy, to do the generous deed, to forgive the fault of a thoughtless friend, to sacrifice self a little more for others. Today is the day in which to express your noblest qualities of mind and heart, to do at least one worthy thing which you have long postponed, and to use your God-given abilities for the enrichment of some less fortunate fellow traveler. Today you can make your life... significant and worth while. The present is yours to do with it as you will. - Grenville Kleiser (1868 - 1935)
The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop -
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own;
Live, love, work with a will.
Place no faith in tomorrow, for -
The clock may then be still. - George H. Candler

Monday, June 29, 2009

I am one of the lucky few. I am afflicted with a terminal disease, but there hasn't been any pain or suffering. Unfortunately, many who are facing death have to endure agonizing torment as they deal with unmanageable pain. Sometimes, the meds only "take the edge off" or give little relief to the pain. It seems to be a horrendous way spend the last few days of one's life. We are kinder to murderers on death row than we are to our own loved ones. We show more compassion to cats, dogs and horses. This is madness. Our sense of morality is so off kilter. Mercy killing is not murder. Showing compassion is not criminal. Our laws which do not allow for death with mercy are immoral, unjust and incredibly unkind. Perhaps, most Americans can't relate to what I am saying, because they haven't experienced constant pain and agony. Perhaps only those who have watched a terminally ill suffer beyond reason will understand the need for more options for the terminally ill.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I am still alive and kicking one year after being diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome, a bone marrow disorder which, in my case, affects all three types of blood counts: white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Due to the severity of my disease, I was given a median life expectancy of 3 to 5 months. Not quite sure why I am beating the odds. I don't have a positive attitude concerning the prognosis. There is not much room for optimism after much research and study regarding my type of disease. I am, however, accepting of it and have been rather serene from the day the doc broke the news to me. I do not fear death though I am not anxious to kick that proverbial bucket. I am neither depressed nor worried about my imminent demise. Instead, I strive to enjoy every single day I have left and to keep the beauty and the fun in living. My two oncologists are doing their best for me, but we're not at all certain if the chemotherapy and the experimental drug combination is working. Just can't figure out why I am still alive.
There is one thing that is very clear and without equivocation. I am the beneficiary of the kindness of an indeterminate number of total strangers during a total of 35 transfusions since July 30, 2008.
I wish I could thank all those kind souls who have kept me from death's door. They are my unseen angels of mercy and love.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I placed a bumper sticker on my van, right after 9/11/2001, which read "God Bless America." Surely, after this horrendous tragedy, Americans, more than ever, needed God's blessings. We needed God's guiding light. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the whole world seemed to be in darkness and in desperate need of God's light. But "God Bless the World" just didn't have the same ring to it. It seemed an awkward phrase. Yet the more I pondered it, the more I realized that there is not one patch of Earth - anywhere in the world - that is not in need of God's goodness and love. We all really need God's direction in our lives.
We have many religions, yet we all have the same Creator. Each of us is a child of the same Father in Heaven - even if we call Him by different names. It doesn't matter if we are Muslim, Christian or Jew, we are - like it or not - all brothers and sisters. If we can somehow open our hearts to the divine brotherhood of Man, we open up the possibility of a world where there will be more understanding and less prejudice, more justice and less intolerance, more peace and less war.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Hannukah!
May there be Peace upon Earth
with kindness & goodwill toward all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mary lost her mother and her very best friend early this December. Just the thought of Christmas brought tears to her eyes.
Glen will be alone on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. He saw his kids a couple of weeks ago. Maybe, he'll clean his office or work on his motorcycle - just to keep busy.
Pat lost her husband over 14 years ago. Time is supposed to heal all wounds, but at Christmas-time, it's still hurts. It's a pain that just doesn't go away.
Fred's son and grandson lost their jobs on the very same day. How are they going to pay their bills? In this economy, how are they going to find new jobs?
Nancy, a 59 year-old Kindergarten teacher in the Chicago suburbs, was told on December 10th that she has pancreatic cancer. That is certainly not the type of Christmas present she ever wanted.
Tammy is still languishing in prison for a crime she committed 21 years ago. Her family lives many hours away and she expects to spend the holidays alone.

At Christmas-time, we can't see the pain and suffering that's all around us. We can't hear the hushed cries of the heart. We can't feel their loneliness. Bankruptcy, foreclosures, lay-offs, pay-cuts, illness, death seem dim and barely noticeable under the bright and festive holiday lights.

There really isn't much that most of us can do to ease the pain of family, friends or neighbors who are suffering at this time of the year, but perhaps, we can pick up the phone, mail a card, send an e-mail or give a big hug. We can let them know that they are not alone; that we care. In these difficult times, it helps to have the support of loved ones and friends.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Let our young people learn from their mistakes...

Kids don't learn as much from textbooks and classroom lectures
as they do from personal experience.
A major part of learning and growth is through trial and error.

Most kids and young adults, who get into trouble with the law,
are usually acting on impulse without any criminal forethought.
Perhaps, we can say they are "good kids gone stupid!"
Ofttimes, they foolishly ignored the serious nature of their actions.

Since most people learn best from their mistakes,
let's allow our young people to learn and to grow
without, whenever possible, the heavy hand of the judicial system.
Let's be tolerant of their mistakes
and let's be generous with our guidance and our mercy.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Turn down the dial of your expectations! It's a simple lesson that has had a powerful impact on my life. When I accepted friends and family just as they are, I vastly improved those relationships. I don't let politics or other view-points bother me. I don't take offense at off-color jokes. And I don't get hurt by unintentional, hurtful remarks. I recognize that God created us all different. We are all unique. And we are all wrong at one time or the other. God didn't create any of us as perfect specimens of goodness or wisdom. We all tend to err and to fail.
Jesus, the Great Teacher, admonished us to forgive 70 times 70! That's a hell-of-alot of forgiving! It's certainly not at all easy to do. But it really has its benefits. I don't harbor any resentments or hatred. Therefore, I am more at peace with every one I meet. I try to be quick to forgive others and I try to be just as quick to ask for forgiveness when I have offended someone. I feel that this compassionate understanding and tolerance of others brings me closer to the Divine Desire for "Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We live in a very cold, cruel world. It is up to each of us to warm it up. Give a little kindness where-ever you go. Be compassionate to those less fortunate. Be sympathetic to those in physical or emotional pain. Be forgiving, because if you think about it, we’ve all fouled up from time to time. We all can use a little mercy. We may have different life-styles, beliefs and politics, but we ought to try to be more understanding, more tolerant of each other. The world needs a lot more peace and cooperation. There is enough hatred and violence. There can never be enough kindness.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Time reports: Violent crimes have dropped 25% since '87, but harsher sentencing for lesser crimes has caused overcrowding and fueled a thriving private-prisons industry.

Pew Report: 1 in 100 Adults in Prison. Click here for details:
“For all the money spent on corrections today, there hasn’t been a clear and convincing return for public safety,” said Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I placed five bird feeders on the front porch and three more in the front yard - all of them close to the front bay windows of our house. I also placed branches that have fallen off our trees among the evergreen bushes close to our front windows. It sure looks a bit odd, but the finches love to rest here. Sometimes, I have over 20 birds at the feeders and on the branches. Sandy, the name I give to every squirrel in the neighborhood, also comes to feeders. I used to chase them away, but then I realized that these little critters get hungry too and they are really quite adorable to watch.
I feed the birds quite alot in winter when they need it the most. During the rest of the year, I limit the amount of bird feed so that birds do not become solely dependent on the feeders. There's just enough so they get a treat during the day, but then, I let them go empty - especially during the Summer.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Humanitarian agencies reckon that there are 750,000 Iraqis in Jordan and 1.5 million in Syria. Fewer than 30,000 have returned, and many of them will simply join the ranks of the 2.4 million who are classified as "internally displaced persons." - Bobby Ghosh, Time, Dec. 24, 2007 issue

This humanitarian crisis began when Bush invaded Iraq - supposedly because of Saddam Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Now there is mass misery. America should not be making war. We should be making peace and rendering aid.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I have had one of the toughest years of my life. After 25 years, I decided to close down my business because of a severe decline in sales. I spent months (and over $4,000) preparing for a new career which didn't work out. Finances have gone from bad to worse. Job-hunting has been fruitless. Out of desperation, I reopened my business since a little income is better than no income at all.
As bad as my finances are right now, I am very thankful for a loving, supportive wife and a comfortable home filled with love and laughter. I fill my day with music and, thanks to Howie and Lynn, I now have an iPod so I can take my music wherever I go. In August, I got a kayak and have spent countless hours paddling on the Kankakee River, taking photos and enjoying the beauty and wonder of Nature. It's been good exercise as well. I've trimmed about 12 pounds. It's also been good for my spirits. Regular kayaking trips have worked wonders for my depression.
Yes, life is very difficult, yet life is good. I am very grateful that at age 56, I am still active, still healthy, still learning, and still enjoying life.

Friday, November 16, 2007

It all begins with love...

Everyday, we have opportunities for kindness. Chances are, most opportunities slip right by without even a thought. While we are driving, do we cut people off, honk our horns or give the finger? Are we so big on justice that we forget about mercy for the offender(s)? Do we only care about our own? You know, charity begins at home, but it isn't suppose to end there. Do we ever worry about the Iraqis who are living under hellish conditions? Do we care about the Palestinians? Can we, will we increase our capacity to love the unlovable or the unlikeable?