40 Years in America

Paul Carlson

I believe that many factors shape our lives, and our personal characters. We have different backgrounds, experiences and opinions. Recently Iíve devoted a great deal of ink to "intellectual" matters. However, Divine Principle makes it clear the "Heart is subject," and it is Godís most essential aspect. Some things cannot be planned. God, and life send us many types of experiences. Iíll write about some of my more memorable ones. Some were long ago, some recent. And one happened to a friend of mine.

From my Grand Canyon days, I have a very favorite ice cream shop in Sedona. One day, I was fundraising there. Sure enough, I came upon that shop! The man happily donated, and I mentioned that his place was really my favorite. Then, he offered me "any item, on the house." Well, that day I was fasting, as my team was taking turns. I told him, and he said, "Well, we canít have you breaking your vows!"

Spiritual life comes naturally, to some people. One friend of mine had an unfortunate experience. Such have been all too common, although I cannot speak from personal experience. Late one night, he was fundraising outside of a coffee shop, on Federal Road in Denver. Along came a burly, surly fellow, with his lady friend. First, he grabbed my friendís flower bucket, and tossed it into the street. Then, he hauled off and socked him in the jaw. Next, he turned to his friend and said, "Donít worry, heís brainwashed and he canít feel pain." In the past, Iíve mocked the dewy-eyed idea of "sensitivity training." I still donít know what it is, but I do know that goons like this could sure use some!

Iíve had many heart-warming experiences. One of my favorite times at Principle workshop is "testimony time." Iím sure that, while reading this, youíve recalled many similar experiences in your own life. When was the last time you shared them with others? Sometimes, Unificationists have a tendency to berate themselves, while forgetting what a high standard we hold ourselves to. When have you considered what youíve learned, and who youíve become, through your experiences? We can look beyond the "daily grind," and be grateful for the many heartfelt experiences God has sent our way.

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