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The Weight of Life
THE PERSO NAL T HO UGH TS O F TIMOTHY VA LENTINE
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You Can’t Handle The Whole Weight
Written By: Timothy Valentine

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The heaviest thing to carry through life is a grudge. Some carry them because they are unwilling to forgive. Forgive not only the person(s) who betrayed you, but yourself. We rather seek the comfort of anger, hate and resentment, instead of love, acceptance and peace of mind. Some choose to carry a grudge for the appearance of strength. We see this in politics often. You did this to me, so I’m going to do this to you, because I’m bigger, stronger and more stubborn than you. During our lives we all encounter people and conditions that betrayed us in some way. It may be deliberate or not. It may surface from a misunderstanding or a lack of communications. It is you who decides to take the path you will take. So many people burden themselves with carrying the heavy load of a grudge. If you think about what happens to the individual who carries a grudge it can be scary. They begin to do irrational things. They become sort of a pathological case. They begin to lose the center of objectivity when you hold a grudge. Reality is distorted, the true becomes false and the false becomes true.

When you hold grudges it ultimately destroys you as much as it does your spirit towards the one you are begrudged to. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with getting mad or upset with someone or something. What’s important is why you’re upset and what you do afterward. When you see something happening that is wrong, what will you do about it? Do you sit quietly and say or do nothing? Do you stand up for truth regardless of whom it is? We all know people who hold grudges. The question you need to ask yourself is what if tomorrow never comes? Why do you hold a grudge or malice towards someone in your heart? What you hold in your heart today may be the deciding factor that leads you to where you will be tomorrow. Live, speak, and uphold the truth in all that you do and you will find that life becomes much easier to live. When you live in truth you have nothing to hide or run from.

Aim High
Written By: Timothy Valentine

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You normally learn who your real friends are in times of controversy, crisis or personal accomplishment. These are the people who will have your back and will be happy for you. This is also the same time you learn the true agenda of your critics. If you want to learn who is really your friend and who isn’t simply dream big and tell someone what you are doing. Observe the relationship or interaction. Everyone can not see their future because they are too busy looking back at their pass. When you believe in yourself, have the faith to speak openly about what you are trying to accomplish and have the courage or how I like to say, the testicular fortitude to set out to make reality of what is just a dream, you will encounter opposition. When you become comfortable with your station in life it is difficult to hear someone who is singing a different tune. Often they are afraid to go any further than where they are today out of fear of what they may lose instead of focused on what they may gain. So your dreams, aspirations and ambitions are seen as challenges to them and their way of life. This makes them uncomfortable. I say to keep dreaming, keep seeking, and keep moving forward even when no one wants to move. Make the path not only for yourself, but for others. Some will just look at you like you’re crazy. Those who you thought were your friends will demonstrate their interpretation of the friendship by the measure of their support. Few may laugh, mock or regard you as just a utopian dreamer and seek to bind you by their definition of existence. Others will support your efforts and even fewer with help, but when you’re comfortable with yourself you find all the support you need.

One thing that I’m learning to do with more confidence is looking a person in the face. (I am not suggesting that I avoid literally look a person in the face. I’m speaking about addressing who they are.) Just like many others, I was uncomfortable addressing the faces of fear, hopelessness, doubt, insecurity, hate or success, because I was afraid of what I might see. We do this because we are afraid of the image of what I am or who I could be. So we avoided it. We flee towards the comforts of where we are, what was and what I am to avoid what we could or should be. I revert to something my father said to me awhile back that made sense when I listened to its meaning. This is where I will end this thought. I'm not sure who may get it, but this is a point of inspiration for me. So in what I've written I hope in sharing it may be the same for you. "When you have a vision, keep in mind that not everyone will be able to see it. Don't give up. Never lose sight of your dream." - Bishop Andrew Valentine Be the first to believe in yourself. Be willing to stand alone for what you know to be true. No one can see your vision without you leading the way. I know of a few people who set out on an improbably journey. They endured some bumps and collected some bruises along the way, but in time, with patience and hard work, others began to see the same vision. So when you have a vision, keep in mind that not everyone will be able to see it. Some are blind to progress, but even the blind can recognize greatness. You may not be where you want to be today, but you will never get there if you do not Aim High and Don't Look Back.

Losing My Religion

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Written By: Timothy Valentine

Why does what I believe matter to you? Isn't the relationship a far more important thing to concern myself with than to waste my time arguing with anyone whether there is a God or isn't a God, whether Jesus is the savior of us all or a prophet? It's OK for you or me to curse, but I'm damned if I say in Jesus' name. Why should that change the way you treat me or I treat you? If I am to be true to what I believe, then I can love you for who you are above what you are. If you are to be true to what you believe, then why spend eternity debating what I or you should do with our free-will? Believe what you choose to believe. My faith is strong enough to love you even if you can't love me the same. You can believe that what I believe is crazy. That's fine, that's what you believe. I will only be judged by what I believe and practice. I am not here to judge you. Relationships are built upon mutual respect of, for and towards each other. No two people agree absolutely on any one thing. So I have no problems being friends with someone who is not a Christian, because as a Christian I must strive to be like Christ. Which includes the practice of love for one another. A value I'm sure you have practiced yourself. You may more in common with what I believe than we give each other credit for. I openly acknowledge the role people who calls themselves Christians has played in the erosion of morality within the Church. Free-will allows that possibility, but that doesn't mean it agrees with it. What we get caught up in is ourselves. This is true regardless of what you have chosen to believe or not believe.

We spend more energy in opposing and hating than we do loving and accepting each other. We form our groups and uphold the "Us against Them" mentality. We have to stop God damning each other for not being what we want them to believe or not being more like you. Mutual respect has virtually been at a lost in discussions regarding Faith, Religion and Spirituality or whatever you call it. We try to persuade each other with our words, arguments and beliefs about what is true or untrue about what we believe, but never place much emphasis to what we are to what we believe. Never offering consideration to the relationship, just our own selfishness. I God damn you, then you God damn me, but neither realize that when we do this we are both damned. If you or I are confident in our beliefs, then only the experiences of life will move you, not a person. This doesn't mean you can not be challenged in your faith, but do it with respect and with the intent of uplifting than tearing down. It doesn't make you any less or more of a person. The war has been fought and won, why are we still fighting? Put your weapons down and live your life. I can accept you for who you are and what you believe, the question is why can't you do the same towards me? I have made my decision and I welcome you to join me in my journey as long as you're willing to go, but if you want to go another way I can sincerely say in love that I wish you well. I'm going to keep walking this way.

Someone Told a Lie One Day

| Written By: Timothy Valentine

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Photo Credit: Normal Rockwell

The American Dream has been translated into many languages. It rests its claims to be the beacon of hope, liberty and freedom, but that’s not completely true in terms of reality. The opposition to change for some is simply a demonstration of who they are; a group of individuals who has yet to realize the entirety of what is the American dream. Someone told a lie one day. It was directed towards you and me. It was a lie that leads you to believe that you could be anything you set your mind to, because you were not like me. Don’t misunderstand that statement, because when referring to me that could be referring to you or me depending on how you read it. Although this isn’t about politics or any individual politician, allow me to use a reference that has political implications to it. But don’t become entangled in the example more than its meaning. Some were told that they could grow up and become the President of the United States if they put their mind to it.

Unfortunately for generations those were just nice words used to encourage, not to be taken seriously or ever realized. This is true by those who believed it and those who thought they would never realize it. But someone told a lie one day. When is it acceptable to associate yourself with someone or entity who stand silently on the sidelines without demonstration or sustained audible opposition to the injustice? What will it take for some to understand their role in history or how they’ve been bound by it? Why remain imprisoned with the mentality of hopelessness or captive to the thought of believing better days have past and the future is grim? Someone told a lie one day and you believed it. The regressive ideology that has essentially taken hold of the modern day political scene has in fact rendered many apart of the problems instead of being part of the solution. What have we become when we are silent when it calls on us to speak?

Someone Told a Lie One Day (Continued) | Written By: Timothy Valentine

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What is lost when we can accept losing our integrity in order to win an election? Racism, Race Baiting, Fear Mongering, Xenophobia, Homophobia and other divisive and coded language is not new to politics or religion and no matter of sophisticated or subtle it is done why have we given it a place in our discourse? No American political party can be exempt for these practices in any election to date. Any given Saturday or Sunday throughout the land we can find segregated sanctuaries. Whether unintentional or unconsciously practiced, it happens. We say how terrible it is, but what are we doing to make it any better? When speaking of politics this comes into play whenever there’s a serious contender. Typically of another race, culture, gender, religion or class that dispels the socially or communally accepted misconceptions, inaccurate accusations and bigotry that has been psychologically accepted in America towards anyone who isn’t like them or the whole of their base support. Why should we worry about anyone with a clandestine mentality who harbor hatred even when it is unconsciously or uninformed because they disagree with me? Why concern myself about the silence of the sympathizers, apologists or the puppeteers of hate? When you know who you are in addition to whose you are you see through the transparency of the character, opposition and reality of those who are committed to hate of any form. So I will leave you with the question needs to be answered. That is essentially one that ask, how do you move the unmovable?

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Stand up, straighten your back out and speak out against the lie instead of lying prostrate before truth. Someone told a lie one day and you believed it. We all have the desire to be heard, but who listens anymore? When those who are least affected stand taller and speak with more passion than those most affected by the lies that are told, then we will have justice, then we will experience truth. That's it. I'm done. Thank You for reading. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Can I Count On Your Vote?

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Written By: Timothy Valentine

I have had many people say to me that their vote doesn’t see color. I have to take them at their word and let their actions speak for themselves, but does your vote see sexuality?
I’ve always found it interesting when people who I don't know if they were seeking acceptance or approval who tells me that they didn't vote for President Obama because of race. I typically listen closer to them, because if you didn't vote because of race why say that you didn't? It obviously was a consideration if you have to say it. What is more interesting and funny is there assumption that I voted for him because of race. So when I ask why is it that race isn't attributed to White candidates as it is to everyone who isn't? I can never get a honest response from them if any. I’m not convinced by your words, but by your behavior and actions. I usually would reverse it by saying that I didn't vote for John McCain, but it's not because he's White. I assume you voted for him because of race? They typically change the subject. Beyond race is the question of gender and sexuality in politics. I do not want to get caught up in a discussion of politics and race, but politics and sexuality. This is where I want to rest my thoughts today. I use the story of Iceland's Prime Minister as example in asking what matters to you.

Can I Count On Your Vote?

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Written By: Timothy Valentine

The honorable Johanna Sigurdardottir became the Prime Minister of Iceland in 2009. Prime Minister Sigurdardottir who has children from her previous (heterosexual) marriage is the only openly gay head of state. What I found interesting about this story is the proof of Iceland’s lack of anti-discrimination hypocrisy by never publicly making an issue of Johanna Sigurdardottir’s sexuality as a wedge issue for political advantage. I use the term anti-discrimination hypocrisy not insinuating to practice of anti-discrimination is hypocritical, because it isn’t. I fully support antidiscriminatory practices and policies, both public and private. What can make antidiscrimination hypocritical is when those who preach it do not practice it. For any antidiscrimination practice to be true, the philosophy must be applied to all, not some. So I want to pose this question to everyone, regardless of where you live in the world. Perhaps we can learn a valuable lesson from our Nordic friends in terms of true tolerance and true acceptance. When our consideration is allowed to roam beyond the narrow confines we apply it towards, (Ex: Within our political, business, educational, economic, social and religious applications) then we get to see the person for who they are above what they are. For those who have said to me that they don’t see color, but the content of a person’s character, then this is an excellent measure of your sincerity or commitment to those words or your understanding of the statement by considering the possibility of a future President or Prime Minister of your country being elected by the content of his/her character and not the color of their skin, religious practice or sexual orientation. It is only my opinion, but I would expect that if a future Presidential Candidate was honest enough to admit they were gay, lesbian or bisexual, I believe the powers that be would demonstrate the truth of who they are. Their hopes of freedom and equality will essentially

be publicly voted upon by those who say they are. The reason is that many are not even honest enough with themselves to admit their biases, whether it is overt or unconsciously practiced. We say one thing, but practice another. What if a future President or Prime Minister was openly gay? Would you vote for him/her? I use sexuality, because it is not typically obvious of a person's sexuality. You can look at someone and assume their race or ethnicity. You can listen to someone and assume their intelligence. You can work with someone and learn their capabilities. You can talk to someone and assume what they believe, but you can't always figure out a person's sexuality. So I will conclude and allow you to chime in, but I leave you with this. Do not concern yourself with the social perceptions of others, just be true. When you are true to them, they have little choice but to be true with you. Tell me what you think? It's not about your religious beliefs, political affiliation or even sexuality. It's about your position on the boundaries of discrimination. How would you vote? If it is really just about the issues, then supporting someone who is openly gay shouldn't be an issue, should it?

Work Cited AAP, "Iceland's gay PM weds partner ". The Age. June 28, 2010 <http://news.theage.com.au/ breaking-news-world/icelands-gay-pm-wedspartner-20100628-zfbd.html>.