Greetings from Kentucky!
I am so glad that you’re here!
Now, relax and let these words wrap themselves around your mind and create a cushion for your thoughts. This website, this blog, and this community are safe places for you.
First, please allow me to share two acronyms with you:
H.O.P.E. = Hold On Pain Ends
F.E.A.R. = False Evidence Appearing Real
That said, while you are reading right now, you won’t need to worry about protecting yourself, being angry, or having fear because this is a place where we achieve goals, overcome obstacles, and lift up HOPE over FEAR!
Now, let’s get started!
The first chapter of the book INSPIRE is brought to you by the letter I. In this chapter, I explain the importance of being In Alignment. I also wrote about the various ways that being in alignment is vital.
For example, I wrote about when I had problems with the alignment in my back, and the misalignment caused health problems throughout my body. But when the Physical Therapist was able to get my back into alignment, everything else felt better. Alignment is essential for people, places, and things. In other words, alignment is not only important in our physical bodies but also with automation. Mechanical equipment like centrifuges and automobiles need to be in alignment too.
I used to be in the Military. Many years ago, a military vehicle was assigned to me when I was a young soldier in the Army. I remember when it happened. During the inspection, the new Commander asked the First Sergeant about me. The Commander was doing an initial inventory of his new equipment, and he needed to select an owner of one of the vehicles. The First Sergeant told the Commander that I was a good Soldier and recommended that the vehicle be assigned to me. When a vehicle is assigned to a Soldier, their name is placed on the windshield with big, bold, white letters. I was so proud. Since I was assigned that vehicle, it was on my hand receipt. The monetary value of the truck was on that hand receipt, and according to the Army, as long as I was assigned to that Military unit, it belonged to me. Whenever I walked to that truck, I always walked with pride. Why? Because that truck had my name on the windshield. When someone referred to that vehicle, they said, “That’s Lowery’s vehicle!” “Yes” I nodded my head in agreement. “That’s MY truck!”
I soon understood that with ownership comes great responsibility because if anything ever happened to it, I would have to pay for it if it was my fault. That frightened me because I didn’t make very much money, and if I had to pay for that vehicle, it would take several years to pay that money back. One morning, after I completed preventive maintenance on my assigned military vehicle, I drove out of the Motor Pool. A Motor Pool is where all the Military vehicles are parked on a Military installation, and the Motor Sergeant is the lead mechanic in charge of all the Motor Pool vehicles. After I left the Motor Pool, and started driving down the road, I realized that my truck kept veering off to the curb. I thought, “Oh, no! What’s going on? What’s wrong with this truck?!” and I quickly tried to find a place to turn around fast, but there wasn’t anywhere to turned around. In a panic, I looked both ways, made a U-turn, and drove back to the Motor Pool. Nervously, I paced back and forth while I waited for the Motor Sergeant to hang up the phone. When he hung up, he started waving the oil-stained rag in the air and said, “Why are you pacing back and forth while I am on the phone? You’re so nervous, you’re making me nervous! And you’re sitting next to the AC unit in the window and still sweating? What is wrong, Soldier?” I told him that something was wrong with my vehicle. He said, “Calm down, Soldier, let me look at it.” After a short inspection, he said the suspension, which connected my vehicle to the wheels, was misaligned. I asked question after question. “Is it my fault? Will I have to pay for it? I’m going to be late for the mission. What am I going to do now, Sergeant?” While he sympathized with the fact that I needed to go on a mission, he said, "Man, calm down. No, it’s not your fault. No, you won’t have to pay for it, and I’ll make sure your supervisor knows what happened so you won’t get into trouble for being late. Just tell him what happened, and have him come and talk to me, and I’ll get everything squared away. I know one thing for sure, you can’t drive this vehicle anywhere until we can fix the alignment! Come here and let me show you what I’m talking about!”
As the Motor Sergeant explained, when a car is out of alignment, it impairs the vehicle from driving straight and pulls it from the right or the left. When a vehicle is out of alignment, it also affects the tires. The tires may squeal, and the tread of those tires might become uneven. Even more uncomfortable for the driver and passengers, the car could vibrate. In extreme cases, the driver could lose control of the vehicle. If that happens, it could cause a collision with other cars are pedestrians walking along the road. Like a misaligned car, you could veer to the left and lie to somebody. Or you could veer to the right with rage and take your aggression out on someone else. If you’re not in alignment, you could very well cause problems with other people around you if you don’t start on the straight and narrow.
If you start out crooked, you’ll end up crooked
Alignment is about being balanced. Alignment is about being straight. Alignment is also about having a strong foundation. We talked about alignment with people, and we discussed alignment with things. Now, let’s talk about alignment in places. Take, for example, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Pisa tower is one of the four buildings that make up the cathedral complex in Pisa, Italy, called Campo dei Miracoli or Piazza dei Miracoli, which means Field of Miracles. The actual construction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa began in 1173. However, during the initial stages of construction, the engineers either weren’t aware of or didn’t know that it was being built over an ancient river estuary. This unstable ground prevented the structure from starting straight. When you start off crooked, you’ll end up crooked. If you don’t start off with a well-balanced, firm foundation, you won’t be able to hide it. Over time, everyone will see that it is out of alignment.
How important was alignment to Jesus?
Alignment is so imperative that it’s the first chapter of INSPIRE and the first letter too. That’s how important it is. So, you might ask, how do I make sure I’m In-alignment?
I’ll share another Acronym with you:
B.I.B.L.E. = Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth
I do my very best to start every day with a firm foundation and a biblical worldview. It doesn’t matter if I’m at home, at work, or shopping; I give my best effort to interact with people and look at life through that lens. Therefore, with firm conviction, and without mental reservation, my first true love is for our God, and I follow the teachings of faith and love of Jesus Christ. That's why I look to the B.I.B.L.E. for my daily instructions and every day I start with Matthew, Chapter 22.
In Matthew 22:34-40, the Pharisees got together, and one of them, an expert in the law, tested Jesus with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
What’s interesting is that Jesus didn’t say, “Love your neighbor as long as he agrees with you.” He didn’t say, “Love your neighbor as long as he doesn’t drink wine.” He didn’t say as long as your neighbor is rich, poor, tall or short. He simply said to love your neighbor, and loving my neighbor by being a good human is how I try to start my day. I believe if I start out straight, by the end of the day, I’ll still be straight.
How important was a strong foundation to Jesus?
I believe that alignment was important to Jesus, and so was having a strong foundation. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus tells Peter, “Upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” What’s interesting is that Jesus chose Peter, and he chose rock. Why didn’t Jesus choose water to build the church? Jesus walked on water. In fact, he showed that to Peter during a treacherous storm. Why didn’t Jesus choose the ground? The ground can be found everywhere. Since the ground is everywhere that you look, that would increase the opportunities for more churches. Why didn’t Jesus choose the air? He is the Son of the Architect of all creation and the Creator of all that exists. So why not air? Jesus knew the importance of needing a strong foundation for the church, and He knew that without a strong foundation, the church would crumble and fall. Jesus wanted the church to be strong, and the only way for it to start strong, and stay strong until the end of time, was that He needed a strong foundation balanced and aligned with the word of God.
How can we be aligned and have a strong foundation every day?
Everywhere we go, we seek out people who have a strong foundation. So how can you be that for someone else? Well, you might be in a store and see someone who has trouble walking and needs help. Be their strength and help them with their shopping cart. Help them get up if they have fallen. Be the strength that they need and pick them up. Perhaps you’re a Veterinarian or Vet technician, and a father and son came in with the only pet that little boy has ever had. The pet is sick and might need surgery, but the little boy doesn’t want to leave the pet there by itself. Be the strength that the little boy needs. Help him know that you will take care of his pet so he won’t have to worry. Maybe your co-worker is having a bad day. Take a few moments and talk with him. Be his strength. Maybe a friend of yours is going through Chemotherapy or dialysis, but she doesn’t have anyone to take her to the appointment or talk with her while she is receiving the treatment. Be the strength that she needs. Take her to the appointment and talk with her. Make her laugh and get her might off of what’s going on. In this way, you can be the strength in the foundation of her day. If you start crooked, your day will be crooked. But, if you start your day off straight, with a firm foundation strengthened with love, at the end of the day, your day and everyone else whose lives you touch will be straight too.
How will you know if you are a person with a strengthened foundation and are aligned?
Because people will ask for your opinion. Sometimes what will be told to you will be more than you could even imagine. So don’t act surprised, laugh, or giggle. Even if it is shocking. Be the strength they need, listen, and provide the best advice you can give. Then, most importantly, please keep it to yourself. They trust you. Be strong and be worthy of their trust. People have told me things that were so shocking and shared something that I couldn’t imagine. I remained calm, listened, and answered their questions. I did the best that I could to be the strength that they needed. Then, I didn’t tell anyone about it. If you are reading this and you’ve shared something with me, you’re probably smiling because you know I will go to my grave with that conversation. But, the trust made the foundation of our relationship even stronger. And, at the end of the day, everything was straight.
As I close this blog post, I will tell you what I say to myself every day: “The best of my life is the rest of my life!” And just like it’s waiting for me, it’s waiting for you! So live your life, love your life, and enjoy the journey. You were uniquely created and creatively designed by a God who doesn’t make mistakes. You are so important that if you tell me that you want to keep reading what I type, I will keep writing for you! If so, I will meet you in the same place, and we’ll share our thoughts in the same space!
Until then, please take care, be safe, and be well.
Kindest and sincerest regards,
Lionel Quartus Lowery II