the company you keep.

“Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men.  Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.” -Proverbs 4:14-15 NIV

“For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” -2 Timothy 2:2-5 NASB

I don’t care if you don’t believe in the Torah/Bible/God; scripture can offer some really good advice if you know how to read it.  For example, in this quote from Timothy, take “God” as a symbol for living peacefully and good.  It provides the same meaning and is certainly applicable to any faith or faithlessness.

How did I get these quotes?  Well, I Googled quotes that could demonstrate the idea of “the company you keep”.  And these were my favorites.

Today, I became (yet again) a victim of online bullying.  It was a rash, brash, offhand, unprecedented comment from an uninformed, unimportant individual.  In the past, I would have blown up over it.  I would have sobbed, raged, replied, and probably done a lot of things I would have regretted later.  But that was me before I started paying attention to these kinds of things.  That was me before I began thinking about the company I keep.

It made me realize the company I choose to keep does not behave like this person.
Meaning he meant nothing to me and he couldn’t hurt me.
Meaning he doesn’t know the truth but the people who matter do.
Meaning I don’t keep his company because he is not considerate, respectful, classy, and of good sportsmanship.
But the company I do keep is all of these things.

In thinking of the company I keep and who I want to be, I debated my options.  I could delete the comment and move forward.  But maybe this person was making a point?  Maybe I had overlooked something that had evoked his reaction in the first place.

Aha – indeed, I had.  I realized he was either being completely tactless and cutting me down without reason, or his tactlessness arose from a misunderstanding in what I was saying.  And yes, this was all about hockey.

First, I chose to leave the comment.  I didn’t reply.  I won’t reply.  It’s not worth it, and it exposes his lack of anything human.  And it makes me look better in the meantime.

Second, I e-mailed the captain of the team.  I thanked her for her candor, congratulated her team for their season, then made her aware of the situation in case someone else might have taken what was said in the wrong way.  I know I didn’t have to do it, but I felt like it is good to clean things up and it can’t hurt nipping a potential problem in the bud.  It also gave me a chance to explain why I left the one team for another: sportsmanship.

The comment that was left and a teammate’s supportive, subsequent reaction to that comment were the perfect parallels to the situation.  It showed how my old team lacked the sportsmanship and respect I craved and how I gained so much more in those fields and others by switching teams.

It reminded me of this past Sunday when I spent time with a friend.  I’ve gotten along swimmingly with his whole family and realized there’s a reason for that.  Kind of like there’s a reason why I can throw my closest friends from all over the world in a room together for the first time…and they love each other.

We always tend to migrate towards the same kinds of people.  And I’ve been trying increasingly harder to base my “kind” of person off of his/her character.  His/her goodness.  His/her positivity.  Even though I haven’t always been the most positive person, it’s amazing how letting go of a little negativity and surrounding yourself with good people will really change your outlook on life.

You really can change your life by the company you keep and surrounding yourself with good things.

As the quote above from Proverbs tells us, don’t be tempted by that evil path.  Just because others act one way does not justify your reaction in their footsteps.  You have to own what you do and you are responsible for the consequences.  Every step you make should be towards the kind of person you want to be, no matter how big or small that step is.

And this person’s bullying is exactly what Timothy’s quote is describing: This person may have been reacting from a misunderstanding, but it was still completely uncalled for, demonstrates his lack of good character, and proves that he is insecure about another’s accomplishments.  He had to cut me down for my pride in the wonderful people I have discovered on my new team and by the honors I’ve received for being a part of their society.  Clearly, I have a LOT that he lacks.  And he doesn’t like it.

While I can’t change him and it’s not my responsibility to try, I can just hope to lead by example and to continue supporting my teammates, choosing better, and maintaining a close watch over the company that I keep.

What Really Matters to Americans Anyway?

Today, the top headline in Google News is in regards to what appears to be a genocidal act against an innocent group of people amongst those stereotypically associated with terrorism in America.  As described by AP, “An ex-Army man who was reduced in rank before his discharge, Wade Michael Page, carried out the shootings at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin that claimed six lives, a federal official said Monday.”  Judging by the name Wade, I would venture to guess that this man had no association to the Sikh Temple apart from some grudge he held against the culture as an ex-Army man.

What is wrong with people these days?  And how must it feel to be part of a targeted group where, realistically, you should be concerned about your safety at any given moment?  At least while these lunatics are still running around.  It particularly frustrates me because I am a strong advocate of the 2nd Amendment, but these whack jobs keep sacrificing our constitutional rights to bear arms.

Of course, while these people are suffering and I am busy judging the kinds of people who commit such horrible hate crimes, I can’t help but notice what’s captivating American’s today in the news.  It’s not the shooting, that’s for sure.  It’s not Syria, it’s not even National debt, it’s just a lump of irrelevant topics.  Maybe most people get the “important” information from the TV or newspaper?  I really highly doubt it.  But, either way, here is what Americans, according to Yahoo! trending topics, care about today amongst all the global tragedies:

Celebrities.  The Olympics.  Gossip.  Oh, when we detonated a city years ago.  And diet pills.  Yes, looking skinny per means that reflect America’s shear laziness whilst the world self-destructs.  Perfect strategy, US of A.

Maybe I’m a little too bitter, but I’m simply not impressed.

Kate Middleton Deserves Some Respect

Kate Middleton is the now-wife of Prince William of England.  I knew nothing about Kate until her wedding day was approaching (a day which, by the way, fell on my 21st birthday!).  All I knew was she looked beautiful, elegant in a simple way, and has a fabulous smile.  She just looked like the nicest person I could ever meet.  Someone who interested in getting to know different people and their situations and someone who wouldn’t let the “Royal family” role go to her head.

To my disgust, the media was advertising people’s responses to Kate’s marrying Prince William as being cruel, jealous, and conniving.  You can tell how unjustified and derrogatory these comments were, I mean, they were calling a healthy size 0, gorgeous woman “anorexic” and “ugly” amongst all things!  As the wedding day approached, they picked at the issue sensitive to any royal marriage: whether or not she could have children.  They also called this Duchess of Cambridge a “gold-digger”, which led to a whole sling of things (that should be bygones in British history) regarding her background and whether or not she was equipped to be a Queen.  To read more about the insults, check this out:

Although Kate Middleton didn’t grow up a princess by any means, her family wasn’t exactly poor.  She went to boarding school and eventually attended St. Andrew’s in Scotland where she met the prince.  He was attracted to her beauty and they dated for many years.  Some people accuse Kate of a small hiatus in their relationship being her doubting he would ever propose, but I think any woman is entitled to doubt a man without being told she’s concerned his money isn’t going into her wallet soon enough.

But back to this whole “fit to be a queen” thing… it literally came up as such in the Washington Post: “I’m not against the middle class as such, but I do query whether she has the background and breeding to be queen one day,” wrote James Whitaker, a guru of royal gossip.

Why are people so judgmental?  It doesn’t matter who the prince had tried to marry, there would’ve been gossip and rumors and talk regardless.  She’s a beautiful lady and there’s nothing wrong with inter-class love.  This is no monarchy now.

On another note, I’m not much for fashion, but wow is her style incredible!  She’s so classy.  Sure, fancy hats can get overdone, but she’s in the Royal Family for god’s sake.  Her wedding gown cost about half a million, too, but, again, this is royalty we are talking about.  I just wish people could mind their own freaking businesses and stop ruining people’s lives with stupid talk.

Check out these amusing memes: