Archive for January, 2015

A Dream for Your Child??

Posted: January 19, 2015 in World On The Edge

file000676823972I love Netflix! Last night I watched “Death of a Salesman,” a classic, Pulitzer-winning play by Arthur Miller that I studied in college and never quite forgot.

The movie was beautifully acted by Dustin Hoffman as Willie Lohman, the salesman. Here is a man in his sixties who’s never quite made it because he’s had the wrong dream, trying to be a successful businessman when he was actually not equipped for it.

Unable to accept that he’s failed, Willie unloads his same dream onto his two sons, especially Biff, who Willie imagines will rise to greatness because of his looks, athletic ability, and the fact that “he was well-liked.”

The play, movie, is a tragedy, mostly I think, in Willie’s role as a father. That he loves his sons is made apparent, but the kind of love he shows them is ruinous. He has a dream for them–his dream, not theirs. And he’s a man who cannot accept the reality that he is a failure in the job chose to build his life around, so he lies to make himself seem successful. He lies to his sons, and even to himself.

The greatest love we can give our children is Truth–to show them who they are–valuable human beings created by God. But we should never sugar-coat their mistakes. And often, we do that, maybe because their mistakes are similar to ours and we don’t want to personally own up either.

It’s important that we don’t selfishly implant in children our own dreams and expect them to play them out with any success. We have to realize each child’s uniqueness. But most of all we have to realize where we ourselves have failed in our lives so far, and make an attempt to keep our children from doing the same–by being truthful, not dishonest.

Getting to know our children and their personalities is so important. We cannot guide them properly if we look through the rose-colored glasses of what WE want them to be. Always, we need to see them as individuals, children who came through us—but are NOT US.

Parents and children—and I think especially Fathers and sons—no matter how deeply they love each other, often have many regrets. But there will always be a certain bond there.

So, may Fathers and Sons respect each other for who they are, and may each forgive the other for being a fallible human being.

08fatalrhythmIn the pre-dawn hours of the graveyard shift, the ICU at the Houston Heart Institute is quiet, and quietly patients are dying. Surgery resident Joe Morales dreams of becoming a rich heart doctor. First, he must survive his assignment to an ICU rife with land mines–unexplained patient deaths, rival faculty, fellow resident saboteurs, a cost-slashing administrator, a ruthless insurance executive, a seductive head nurse, a jealous wife, a critically ill son, an overprotective mother, and an orderly distraught over his daughter’s death. To salvage the career he thought he wanted, Joe must determine the cause of the suspicious deaths. In the process, he’s forced to re-examine the ethnic and religious heritage that he had rejected.

That a healthy human heart is essential to life is surely an understatement. When our hearts are not working properly, we are in danger.

V-tach is one problem to look out for, and definitely one to repair. Ventricular tachycardia (V-tach or VT) is a type of tachycardia, or a rapid heart beat, that starts in the bottom chambers of the heart, called the ventricles, the main pumping chambers of the heart. V-tach can be a fatal rhythm because it may lead to ventricular fibrillation, and sudden death.

But we speak of our hearts in other ways besides our physical health. We also speak of our hearts in a spiritual way that has to do with love. ..love for oneself, and love for others. Whether diseased physically or spiritually, our hearts sometimes need repair. Fatal Rhythm, Ron O’Gorman’s new novel repairs the hearts of its characters in both ways.

If you like a roller-coaster novel with a genuine hero you can pull for, then Fatal Rhythm is the book to read. The well thought-out twists and turns sit right alongside the quiet, sweet, tug-at-the-heart moments until the last page is turned. In fact, the novel was chosen “Best of 2014” by Suspense Magazine.

You will want to read it! Click on the cover to order the book.

R. B. O’Gorman obtained a PhD in Biochemistry from Rice University and studied cardiovascular surgery under Dr. Michael E DeBakey. FATAL RHYTHM is a medical suspense/mystery based on his training experience with Micahel E. DeBakey, called the “greatest surgeon ever.”

Having a Dark Night??

Posted: January 16, 2015 in World On The Edge

file3501291129123Have you experienced a “dark night of the soul?” Deep depression, a spiritual crisis, the collapse of meaning and purpose in your life, the loss of something, or someone, who meant everything to you?

I have experienced something like that. And I can tell you that it is temporary. You will come out of it. And you may be a better person because of it. You may even be a totally different person than you thought you were.

So, hang on.

Trust in God.

Even if you feel completely alone. Even if you think no person and no thing can help you. Even if you’ve tried everything, but there’s nowhere to go, no one to turn to, and you feel helpless. And even if you think you’re defeated—hang on.

And in the luck of night
In secret places where no other spied
I went without my sight
Without a light to guide
Except the heart that lit me from inside.

It guided me and shone
Surer than noonday sunlight over me,
And lead me to the one
Whom only I could see
Deep in a place where only we could be.
………..two stanzas from Dark Night of the Soul, by Saint John of the Cross

No one can actually see your dark night. You can create an appearance that all is well, while inside your heart is breaking. At times, I even thought if I had a fatal disease, it would be better than what I was going through–at least it would be apparent to someone. But what I didn’t realize is that I wasn’t alone. Even if I couldn’t see where I was going myself, someone was seeing me along the way. I trusted I would be lead. And I was.

Dark nights are temporary. I can’t stress that enough. On any day— within a minute, or second— what was so dark can take on light again.

You are loved. Don’t give up. Surrender to divine guidance. And Trust.

Want Revenge???

Posted: January 15, 2015 in World On The Edge

file6231273266536Wrath, also known as “rage,” is one of The Seven Deadly Sins. It may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. Of course, we all get angry, but anger–when it is acted out–can lead to serious consequences

Feelings of anger can manifest in different ways, including revenge.

People cheat, lie, steal, and kill out of revenge.

Sometimes we take revenge on someone we say we love. We see many disturbing news stories about one jealous family member killing another he is supposed to love. Revenge is the instigator.

But–out of revenge– we can also destroy a person with gossip–nasty words to kill his or her reputation. And that, too, is serious stuff.

How and why does this happen?

True love never breeds Revenge. It breeds forgiveness. Getting revenge, holding a grudge and refusing to forgive are all born of anger. These seemingly little acts of anger grow up to be big acts of anger which have the potential to hurt many, including us.

An obsession with vengeance is about finding an object on which to pin all our anger and fear and rage. Revenge is the inability to understand that we can’t punish the natural world, and that Nature isn’t specifically malicious, just impersonally brutal at times.

Revenge can eat away at us until it becomes something separate from our own personality. We don’t think clearly, speak rationally or feel compassionately. We are not ourselves. In fact, we are destroying ourselves.

We may not have control over the things other people do which anger us, but we do have control over what we do when we feel angry.

When our “anger button” is pressed, our immediate reaction may be to strike out and “get back” at the person who hurt or offended us. A big challenge will be to take time out to cool down before we take any action. This step demands much self-discipline, self-control, prayer, and a strong desire to become a wholesome person.

When I’ve been so angry that I’m on the verge of revenge, I remember this old adage.

“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” — Confucius

Carrying On???

Posted: January 14, 2015 in World On The Edge

file0001758663318Life is never without its problems. Things happen.
The beauty of the human spirit is that we are able to live through them. We are able to carry on.

How do we do this?

How do parents who’ve lost a child carry on? Or the person who’s lost a job, a livelihood his family depends upon? How do we get through injustice, lying stealing, cheating, killing?

Our world is full of these things–yet most of us carry on.

We carry on because we have Hope. Despite all of the above, and more, we believe there is goodness in the world, too. Goodness in our lives.

Oddly, the things that happen to us, often bring out our goodness, more than they bring out our hatred, or vengeance, or lack of forgiveness.

This is what Hope accomplishes–a conquering of self-pity. It stirs courage within us to go on with our lives and make the best we can out of them.

And where does it come from? We are born with it. We are created in its image. We will be guided from within, if only we let ourselves be.

So whenever the holes in our lives appear, remember the Hope we have inside to fill them. Stir that hope, and keep stirring it, through prayer, through positive people, through continuing to love others. Stir it until courage comes, to begin again.

St. Louis conference
On Saturday, January 10 at 1:30 pm, I’ll be speaking at the sixteenth annual Saint Louis Marian Conference. The conference this year, which runs from January 9 – 11, is entitled after my first novel, A Hunger in the Heart. I’m humbled to be included among celebrated speakers such as: Dale Ahlquist; Bishop Robert Hermann; Father James Kubicki, SJ; Kevin O’Brien; Father Mitch Pacwa, SJ; Deacon Jack Sullivan; Father Tom Sullivan, CPM; Father Charles Becker; and Msgr. John J. Hickel.

My talk is: God Loves You Madly, So let Him! Here’s an excerpt:

“We’ve heard many times that God is Love. And we know that’s true. But it doesn’t mean God is a big, immobile valentine. God is not stationary—because Love is not stationary. God is active. He actively seeks us, each and every one of us. He is truly hungering for our love. And because we are made like Him, we are hungering for His love.

Often we don’t realize that God is who we are looking for. We reach for situations and things that we mistake for love. But the Truth is: we have never quite departed from the newborn baby we once were, lying in our cradles, craving to be held and touched, reaching up for our parent. In other words, from the moment of our birth, we are reaching for love. This is the way God planned it. He planned for us to love Him, to seek him—because he IS madly in love with us, and He wants us to be madly in love with Him.”

Two of the videos I’ll be using are created by Dan Severs–and they are beautiful and evocative. One of them follows.

If you’re in Saint Louis, I invite you to come to this beautiful conference begun years ago by a woman of great faith.

Worth Dying For?

Posted: January 8, 2015 in World On The Edge

baby fatherDying for a beloved is the theme of legends. We’ve seen it in books, movies, poetry, and song.

Dying for a beloved is what we hope we would do if the need arose. We hope we would be selfless enough, forgiving enough, and brave enough for this higher kind of love– a love so overwhelming that we might call it perfect love.

But how does one go about the pursuit of perfect love?

We’ve all heard 1 Corinthians 13 many times, often at weddings where love is in the forefront. But read the verses again. Is this the sort of love we honestly carry through our life? As for me, I know I fall far short of the deep, genuine love this calls for.

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.–1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)

In truth, there is only one perfect love, and that is God’s love–a love that never changes no matter our sins. The only thing that can keep us from His love is OUR refusal to acknowledge it in those around us. How many times have we refused to love those He has put into our lives?

Standing Still with Fear??

Posted: January 7, 2015 in World On The Edge

file0001331552939Every day we have the capability to be different—fresh opportunities to improve ourselves, and maybe, even become holy. Alternately, we also have the opportunity not to better ourselves by sinking into the bleakest parts of human life.

God’s Grace is ever-present, always here for us to take. It’s around us like the air we breathe. But, there are times when our own bodies obstruct our breathing. For example, when we are sick with some ailment, some disease, respiratory problems often occur. That’s what happens with sin. Sin is the disease that keeps us from taking advantage of Grace, and breathing in the daily presence of God.

If we want to better ourselves, God will show us the way to do it. Be still and listen. Be observant and watch. He will give us the car, the vehicle to use that will take us to a better place in our lives. He will provide the gas. He will show us a map for the trip. But……
From then on, it’s up to us. We must be courageous.

Because unless we get into the driver’s seat and behind the wheel. Unless we turn on the ignition and step on the accelerator, we will go nowhere.

Sadly, many of us never turn on the ignition, never step on the gas.
We may hesitate out of laziness, or fear, or an intense desire to keep hold to something we know isn’t in our best interest.

How can we find our way out of those shadowy situations?

Luckily, every day also signifies a new beginning for us–no matter the shadows of the day before.

When the dawn comes and the sun begins to rise, let’s be courageous enough to look at our new day in a new way. Let’s honestly try to see in the slant of fresh sunlight, the possibility something different, something better. Let’s take notice of the highlights in its colors, the intensity of its brightness, and then put ourselves within it and let its light–the light of God’s grace–shine upon us.

Grace needs only our acceptance, and our courage.

It’s Amazing!!

Posted: January 6, 2015 in World On The Edge

 

reach

There are many aspects of life that we don’t understand, yet accept. Those things we can’t see, those extraordinary and inexplicable things that sometimes happen to us. Amazing things, because life itself is a miracle.

Here’s a passage concerning some of those inexplicable events from one of my novels, historical fiction, entitled, The Wind That Shakes the Corn. The narrator is a determined woman who has been through a lot in her life, including the American Revolution. The headstrong character, James, is her grandson. The boy, Story, is her great grandson, and the son of a very unsavory British officer who the narrator has murdered.
    

 I could not shake the notion that the constant chill on the back of my neck was Story’s un-dead father, waiting in the offing for his chance to do us dirt. I’d revealed to no one the strange, extinguished campfire I’d seen just beyond the mouth of the cave, or that when I touched it, the ashes were still warm. I did not mention my distress when, on the very next night, I saw its glow creep around the aperture in the rock and heard a sound of cynical amusement rise from behind the hedges. The dead do not come back, I told myself. Nevertheless, my fear of it remained.

I came close to cautioning James about the danger of the un-dead, but he would have ridiculed my warning as only a daydream. Already, he scoffed at the idea that his healing was a miracle, as did his nephews. Self-importance did not allow them to recognize the extraordinary, but whether they gave it credence or not, James’s cure and mine were far from the ordinary.

Always, I accepted the presence of miracles–that water flowed, that air moved and fire burned, that seeds grew in the earth, and babies formed within women. But I had paid little heed to other phenomenon, that part of our nature that draws from the divine. A man can love, beyond hating. He can hope, beyond despair.

All life–the seen and the unseen–is truly amazing. But do we see it that way?

Do we notice the goodness in others or only their pettiness? A person can be both, of course, and that in itself is amazing. It’s called ‘free will,’ that gift God gave us because He loves us so.

God wants us to love Him back, wants us to seek Him out in every aspect of our lives. How amazing is that?

The fact is that God is with us every minute of our lives. His hands reach out for us continuously. Sadly, we often don’t care enough to notice. We turn in an opposite direction, a direction that is superficial and plays only to our temporary life on this Earth.

God offers us more. He offers us Eternal Life.

Now, that’s amazing!

Got Connections??

Posted: January 5, 2015 in World On The Edge

DCF 1.0It’s hard to believe that someone could be totally lonely in our busy—and seemingly connected–world. There are so many ways to communicate with each other. At least, electronically.

But is it ‘real’ communication? Haven’t you noticed people sitting in restaurants, across the table from each other where conversation would be easy? But they are not in conversation. Instead, they’re fiddling with their iPhones. Each of them, hoping to connect to that piece of equipment for some message they perceive as important–while missing connection with the person directly in front of them.

We are all meant to connect. Truthfully, we’re all connected to each other. Not by cell phone, or Facebook, but by the fact that we’re created in the image of God and because of that, our creation has a common purpose–goodness. (more…)