May You Live in Interesting Times

My friend Darity Wesley recently sent me some words of wisdom.  She said living in revolutionary times is not easy.  The Chinese have a blessing that also serves as a curse: “May you live in interesting times!”  Revolutions demand that we renounce those ideas and conceptions which keep us from moving forward. One of the most difficult things for us to do as members of the human species is to let go of old beliefs and perceptions.  History has shown that we are often willing to live unhappy, limited lives—or even die—rather than to change our beliefs, to see things in a new way, to release the old in favor of the new.

In parts of the world where peace initiatives keep breaking down over and over again, it is the rehashing of past grievances (whether religious or ethnic) that continuously stirs the fire of revenge.  Once revenge is accomplished, the opposing group wants the same thing and the strife goes on.  The only possible solution is to renounce vengeance.  It is only through forgiveness that we can find peace and freedom.

By releasing past injustices, past prejudices, and past hurts we can move forward.  Gandhi said that if everyone practiced the eye-for-an-eye morality, soon “the whole world would be blind.”  Perhaps it is natural to want to do to others what they have done to us, but it is not good enough.  It is not the way of spiritual advancement.  It was certainly not the way of Jesus.

It was his way to love the enemy, turn the other cheek, go the second mile.  He could renounce “natural” feelings in favor of spiritual ones.  Two thousand years ago he told us how to break the chain of recurrent strife and showed us the perfect example in the way he dealt with his own life.  He held out the promise of a perfect world.

Almost a century ago, another spiritual leader was envisioning a “new heaven and a new earth.”  Charles Fillmore wrote in the “Renunciation” chapter of The Twelve Powers of Man, “The earth is slowly regaining its equilibrium and will in due season be restored to its pristine golden age.”

But what is standing in the way of this miracle coming to pass?  Could it be us?

All our positive and determined efforts to make our lives and the world better may not  succeed unless we make the preliminary move of renunciation, of formally and voluntarily giving up whatever old ideas we are holding and starting with a clean slate.  I think Darity is on to something, do you?

Posted by Susan Ireland, Fairfax Rotary Club PR Chair

Why I Joined Rotary

My name is Marcus O’Malley and I recently joined the Fairfax Rotary Club. I grew up in Warrenton, Virginia and I am the sixth of seven children from an Irish family. I went to James Madison University and before graduating, entered a Microsoft competition. Four Computer Science students flew out to Redmond, Washington and won the national competition. This led us to decide to create a business called Immerge Technologies, which is still in existence today. During my time at the company I accepted Christ and it changed my life. I desired to become community focused and help others; this escalated when I heard Reverend Desmond Tutu speak of a need in South Africa for adults to come to volunteer time to work with kids in the community.  The work involved helping those desolated by AIDS to have mentors, be encouraged, and assisted in growing up. I was later nominated and selected to be part of a GSE team. However, upon praying about it I thought that I wouldn’t be able to impact the community in the way that I wanted to via the GSE group and regretfully declined the position.

In September 2008 I sold everything and moved to Cape Town, South Africa where I spent a year doing missions work. I worked with youth in the community from starting a Bible study with kids, to playing soccer and just hanging out and learning about the community. We  went on mission trips to rougher areas of South Africa to try to help and minister. We raised money to buy food, toys/games, learning tools, equipment and more to help folks that were starting after school programs, working with the homeless or under-served, orphans and other great programs. I used my skills as a designer to help with business cards, fliers, websites and marketing concepts for local entrepreneurs. Some days we made a bunch of hot dogs and drove around handing them out to the hundreds and thousands of homeless people in the area. It was an incredible journey and then I returned in September 2009 to be with my family and start a new business doing web development and marketing. I moved to Fairfax in January 2010 and reached out to the local Rotary club in which Irby Hollands invited me to and then Dr. Laura Hills encouraged me and shared about the passion of the group to do bigger and greater things domestically and abroad. I was invited to join up shortly thereafter and am really excited to be a part of Rotary moving forward.

 Posted by Marcus O’Malley, member of The Fairfax Rotary Club