Here's Your 2nd Edition Of the All New
"Enlightened Journey" Newsletter
"The Greatest Of These Is Love"
Part 2 of 3
How I Came To KNOW in a Very Personal, Profound, and Life Shifting Kind of Way That "The Greatest of These is Love" ALWAYS in ALL WAYS Holds True for You, Me and EVERYONE Else...Regardless and Unconditionally
"Miracles happen not in opposition to nature, but rather
in opposition to what we know of nature." - St. Augustine
Hopefully by now, you’ve had and taken the time to read, Part 1 of The Greatest of These is Love.
If so, perhaps you've taken a bit of time to think about, contemplate and reflect on what I shared there.
If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend that you do. I do because it's going to be necessary to receive the full benefit of what follows here in Part 2 as well as part 3, which you'll be receiving in a few days.
Part 1 sets the stage, lays the foundation and will enable and allow you to better understand why The Greatest of These is Love was written at all and how it might personally benefit you.
Although the title of this edition is The Greatest of These is Love, using this timeless wisdom is not intended to be nor is it tethered to or by any form of structured religion. Religion has it's place as everything does, and there are A LOT of people who choose some form of religion as their path to learn about Higher Truth.
There's certainly nothing "wrong" with that.
It's a path I personally chose shortly after experiencing an awe inspiring event that I'll be sharing with you soon. I've since discovered that religion is a path that many choose, but it's NOT necessarily The Only Path for discovering what I like to refer to as a Higher Truth.
In fact, I found that structured religion CAN lead you "away from" the Highest Truth and have you blindly scrambling down a much longer path than necessary, simply because it's infused with man's limited perspectives, opinions and judgments. I've connected with MANY religious teachers and in MANY cases, they'll openly admit that what they "teach", is nothing more than traditionally established doctrines and dogmas that are handed down to them, just as they have been, from generation to generation for who knows how long.
Point being, what they "teach" is often blindly accepted and conveyed as "fact" by many "teachers in the world" without these teachers discerning for themselves if it's "really true."
Although I often do use timeless wisdom from various cultures, to make vital points regarding my own experiences, they are NEVER intended to be "religious" in nature nor support any specific religious dogma or doctrine.
It's "wisdom" that I KNOW based on personal experience to be helpful and true...based on my OWN experience and opinion.
It's my personal opinion that, in MANY cases, man made religion only divides and separates people in the world. The paths I've personally walked and my own experiences in life have revealed in a very up close and personal kind of way that the only One "true religion" is Love.
When you personally EXPERIENCE Love in this up close and personal kind of way I'm referring to, you learn to follow it's lead...not man's limited perspectives. Although MANY of these perspectives can assist, without an EXPERIENTIAL understanding of what Love "truly is", they can also serve to lead you down a path that's longer, far more complex and certainly more confusing than necessary to arrive at the "place" where we're ALL desiring to be.
Love is VERY simple and when you learn to listen, hear it and heed it's guidance, it leads you down the short path EVERY time. Hence, part of the reason for the title of this edition, The Greatest of These is Love.
Let's shift focus to the community as a whole for now and allow me to quickly share a few things regarding how The Greatest of These is Love might prove beneficial to you, everyone within the community and on a larger scale, the world at large.
Since you're here and are a part of the Enlightened Journey Global Community, chances are great that you're looking for some form of process, technique, answer, solution and/or some single nugget of insight that will enable you to enhance the quality of your life in some way, shape or form.
If so, you may LOVE what follows. You may, because in this edition I'm going to reveal, what I've found to be the greatest process, technique, answer, insight and solution I'm aware of all rolled into one.
It's most certainly the most powerful concept I'm aware of for enhancing quality of life whether tangibly or intangibly.
It's a profoundly powerful and transformational concept. But it's very simple too. Perhaps too simple which is why most have such difficulty seeing the simplicity which is WHY so many "seem to have" difficulty applying it in their lives.
It's just too simple. Because it is so simple, I've found that MOST people hold an "it's too good to be true" mentality.
That's why so many believe and perceive that life is so complex. It can be if we enable and allow it to be or we CAN, if we choose keep it all very simple. The simple path is the most pleasing, rewarding and powerful, I'll assure you.
In just a bit I'll be sharing my personal story that conveys how powerful it is. The story I'll be sharing enabled and allowed an event that I mentioned in Part 1; an event of "seemingly miraculous proportion" to unfold right before my eyes. It was that event that revealed how and why I've come to KNOW just how "true" that is as well as how "simple" it can be to use it.
The main take away that I hope you receive from this edition is understanding that, just as the title states...
The Greatest of These is Love.
Depending on you, what you believe and how you perceive life, that may sound a bit too warm and fuzzy. You may think it has no relevance whatsoever in your life.
Some years ago, It certainly didn't seem to have any "tangibly relevant" significance for me FOR SURE. If you're anything like me, it may not only sound too warm and fuzzy, but you doubt that it holds any power or that it can assist you in being, doing or having more in your life.
The possibilities are many but regardless of how it sounds, what you think or what you might "believe" to be true, is immaterial.
I only say that because, aside from everything that we think, believe and perceive as being so "awesome, great and powerful" in life...
The Greatest of These IS Love.
When it comes to life....EVERY aspect of life, The Greatest of These IS Love, and it not only CAN but WILL provide ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you could ever want, need or desire in life should you enable and allow it to...period. Even if you don't think or believe it can, for that matter.
The key to KNOWING and experiencing that for yourself, as I mentioned in Part 1 is aligning and harmonizing with Love, mentally, emotionally and physically.
If you choose to stay with me throughout this edition I'll show you in VERY clear and thorough detail HOW and WHY that's "unwaveringly true."
A choice to align and harmonize with Love is IMMENSELY Powerful and equally transformational not only relationally, but physically, financially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well.
There are a very broad and diverse group of people that make up the Enlightened Journey Global Community. People from every country around the globe meet here together on these very pages to read what you're reading now.
Just as each person who comes here is unique, each has their own unique set of beliefs and opinions too. Community wide, those beliefs are quite diverse as well.
Each community member is also in a different place in their growth process. You may be well advanced in your journey or it's possible that you're brand new to this form of information.
Perhaps you're somewhere in between.
One thing that you and nearly everyone within the community has in common, is the fact that you're here to gain some insight and knowledge or at the least, to explore concepts and possibilities that will enable you to be, do and/or have more of what you desire in life.
Perhaps by now you've noticed that the knowledge and insight I share stretches well outside the confines of "mainstream thinking."
I can assure you that the statement, The Greatest of These is Love does. A LOT of people have heard it, yet few recognize (let alone fully understand) the power behind that "seemingly simple" statement.
I share concepts, strategies and a way of doing things that extend well outside the box of the "mainstream" and stretch well beyond what I call "commonly held beliefs."
I haven't always. I do now because since changing, enhancing and elevating those past beliefs, I've personally experienced the power of EVERYTHING I share, write and teach about. I KNOW how powerful they are in a very up close and personal kind of way.
For some, what I share initiates a radical shift in thinking and for others a very subtle shift. It depends where you are in your journey, what you believe and how you perceive life. For you, what I share may prove to be nothing more than a timely reminder. Ironically, some of what I share, pisses some people off. That's OK, although that never has been or ever will be my intention, I have no say so or control over what someone chooses to believe.
I have no desire to change anyone's belief nor debate, argue, or convince that what I share though.
I only share what I do because this same kind of information created an immense shift for me and has enabled me to do things, see things and experience things that the "mainstream" will never experience unless and until they choose to do things differently than they have.
That holds especially true for mainstream thinkers.
I KNOW that because I used to be one of these "mainstream thinkers." which I've since discovered isn't really "thinking at all. The mainstream "thinks" it is, but it's not.
Take the statement The Greatest of These is Love as an example. I was taught and "thought" that it meant something COMPLETELY different than what I KNOW it means today. It took a number of EXPERIENCES and encounters with Love to understand that I had allowed the beliefs, perceptions and opinions of others to determine what The Greatest of These is Love meant for me.
Put simply, I was "taught and told what it meant" and I believed it. I "thought" what I was taught was "true." It wasn't my "independent thought process that had me thinking that. It was the thought processes and teachings of others that created that train of thought. Point being, I wasn't thinking independently but rather allowed others beliefs, opinions and perceptions to mold and shape my beliefs and thinking patterns for me.
I've since discovered that's where most of our beliefs come from. What others "tell us" is true.
After personally making this "shift" from commonly held beliefs and ways of thinking that the mainstream "choose" to remain limited by, I've had MANY experiences that "mainstream thinkers" refer to as miracles.
Really BIG, awe inspiriting and seemingly impossible miracles in fact.
That didn't begin to happen until I made a choice to make some changes. Serious changes. One of those changes was stretching outside of the mainstream way of thinking and believing.
I almost have to laugh because those who knew me prior to making this "radical shift" that I made, would call the changes that followed my own "radical internal shift" some really "radical changes."
They were right. But with those radical shifts and the equally radical changes that followed, I began experiencing some radically different results. The tangible and measurable kind too that revealed themselves as radically awesome events, conditions and circumstances, a size and magnitude of which I didn't "KNOW" could happen for someone like me.
The reason I didn't KNOW, let alone think such things were possible for someone like me was simply because I enabled and allowed others to mold and shape my beliefs which in turn determined what "I thought I knew."
That's one of many reasons why it's hard for the masses to grasp and fathom that The Greatest of These is Love. If those who I used to hang out with years ago, had ever heard me utter the statement The Greatest of These is Love with the same conviction and KNOWING that I share it with today, these "past acquaintances" would have threatened to call in the "men in the white suits" and have me hauled away.
They only would have though, because of what they had learned and believed to be true about themselves, others, the world and life as a whole. I believed much the same. If and when you decide to make that shift and SEE, I mean REALLY SEE that The Greatest of These IS Love, EVERYTHING changes.
Take it from someone who made a radical paradigm shift many years ago, when you begin breaking free from the "sheeple people crowd" and make a conscious choice to become an independent thinker, it can seem as if a battle's raging.
That's quite common. It's to be expected.
Not ALWAYS, but SOMETIMES. That depends on where you've been, what you've learned and what you have been led to "believe to be true about yourself, others and life in general.
But this battle is a bit different because, in more cases than not, it's an internal one. You could refer to this "internal battle" as a Heart and Mind Conflict of intense proportion.
It is a battle in a sense yet at the same time it's not. What it truly is, as I've personally discovered, is a call to Awaken.
When you first experience this "Call to Awaken", it can feel like a battle initially, but it's not. It's a calling, that over time intensifies if you enable and allow it to. If you follow it's lead, the "internal battle" eventually subsides. You begin to become aware that much of the programming and indoctrination we receive and believe is true is the ONLY thing that keeps us from experiencing lives of harmony and fulfillment.
Initially this calling reveals itself as a tiny whisper. Sometimes it's hard to hear and hard to discern where it's coming from.
It took me awhile to figure that one out. As I would later discover, the source of this "whisper" can be traced to the heart. I'm not referring to the physical heart necessarily. That's where most people point to when they're talking about feelings and "heart stuff." That's OK. It gets the point across.
But the heart I'm referring to extends well beyond the "physical heart." It's your heart of hearts. You could call it the soul, spirit, higher consciousness or whatever works best for you.
The labels really don't matter, although many "mainstream thinkers" who have bought into and adhere to "commonly held beliefs" will sometimes rant, rave and argue that it does matter. I've learned to allow that to be OK. I'm good with whatever someone thinks or believes. I personally discovered otherwise. To me, labels don't matter.
Here's what does matter...
When you've been programmed, conditioned and indoctrinated with "Mainstream thinking" as I was, it's not always easy to recognize or trace these "subtle whispers" initially.
Once they begin though, they persist. They continue to persist until you make a choice to discover what they are or choose to ignore and suppress them. We can quiet and ignore them if we choose. I think most people do.
I also believe that's why so many never get to the place where they understand..."truly understand" that The Greatest of These is Love.
It's when we tune in, listen and do our best to identify these subtle whispers when the battle begins. That's when, what "seems like" an internal and sometimes fierce battle erupts.
It's not, it's a conflict...an internal conflict that ignites due to the programming and conditioning we've received. That's where each our beliefs, perceptions, choices and actions stem from. The kind and quality of those are based on the kind and quality of programming and conditioning we receive.
Each and every belief we hold, every choice we make and every action we take is either aligned and harmonized with Love or precipitates a "fear based Pattern."
It's why we think what we think, say what we say and do what we do. That's also why we receive what we receive whether we call those outcomes good, bad or ugly.
That's where EVERYTHING we do and receive stems from. We've all been programmed and indoctrinated to believe various things. Some of what we've learned and believe aligns with Love yet MOST of what we learned and believe aligns with fear. Many if not MOST of these things are "fear based."
Fear seldom reveals itself as whispers. It screams. That's what creates so much "seemingly uncontrollable" noise in our heads which is what ignites this "internal battle" when we begin to hear the whispers of the heart.
Everything we learn and experience throughout our lives is stored in the head. Fear and all it's ugly little cousins too. Their names are anger, grief, pride, doubt, worry, anxiety, revenge, competition, etc. etc.
That's why it can be difficult to tune in at times and discern the difference between past experiences that we've gone through due to fear based programming and indoctrination that's stored these "fearful memories" in our heads and the subtle whispers and "feelings" of Love that come from our hearts.
Fear and all of it's ugly little cousins are "noisy" little rascals. They're mean too. They can (and often do) make life A LOT harder than it has to be. They're also what slow us down or keep us from getting what we "truly desire" in life.
But they can be tamed. It requires a choice. The first choice is making the commitment to differentiate between the 2.
Once you make that commitment, there's a simple and easy way to tell which is which. Head based programming and indoctrination often stirs and ignites fear.
Heart based direction never does.
That's why "inner conflict" can and often does happen when you first make the commitment.
Inner conflict reveals itself in MANY ways. Way too many to list here for sure. But it ALWAYS limits what we're capable of in life and it stems from and is the result of some form of fear based programming and indoctrination.
A lot of that programming, combined with the thoughts we think, the words we speak and the actions we take, provides experiences that have us thinking and believing that our fears are rational, logical, practical and feasible.
That's why we have a tendency to justify our fear based reactions. It's why we often think, speak and act in "less than loving" ways. It's why we do what we "claim" we don't want to do. It's also what keeps us from having what we "claim" we want to have in life. It's these fear based ways of thinking, speaking and acting which take us away from rather than closer toward what we "truly desire" and would LOVE to experience in life.
Heart based direction is quite different. It feels like Love. It constantly prods us to consistently think, speak and act in ways that; if we'd only tune in, listen and follow it's lead, would enable and allow us to move toward what we love rather than away from what we fear.
It encourages us, nudges us, and does it's best to remind us to think, speak and act in "loving ways" in ALL we think, say and do...unconditionally.
It consistently encourages us to "move forward" yet fear has us consistently running the other way. Since fear is "programmed and conditioned in the head, the mind resists due to the self limiting and often times self sabotaging programming and conditioning that we've all received. But it only does that because of various experiences we've gone through in life which became REAL because of the fear centered conditioning we've received.
That's because it's fear based. It resists love in a sense and because it does, it keeps us from being, doing and having what we love.
The really COOL thing about love though is that it melts away fear. That's another reason why the statement, The Greatest of These is Love proves time and again to be true when we enable and allow it to be.
We've received this fear based programming and learned this fear based way of DOING things in our youth. In MOST cases, we hold onto to much of it. We continue to depend on it and use it to make important life choices as we go through life doing whatever it is that we choose to do.
Much of what we do We do because we "believe" it's true. We believe it's right. We believe it's the "best way" to deal with and handle people, events, conditions and circumstances and the infinite number of situations that we encounter as we go through in life.
It's this same fear based programming that we tend to use to make all, or at least MOST of our life choices by.
But, as those who choose to question and stretch outside of these self limiting confines that we call "beliefs" find, there's a better and more pleasing way of doing things. A way that provides FAR GREATER results without all the resistance, strain, struggle and "hard work" that MOST have been taught and honestly believe is necessary to receive what we Love.
Those who make that choice, understand the importance of making a "shift." It's an inner shift. Although it begins as an "inner shift", it's a shift that provides really awesome "external results" when we enable and allow ourselves to shift from fear to Love.
The shift begins to happen and intensify when we make a "conscious choice" to become aware of, recognize, acknowledge, pay attention to and act upon the subtle yet powerful direction that the heart provides...those sometimes "subtle whispers and feelings" that we hear and feel at times.
They feel like Love.
A LOT of people today are finding themselves making this shift. As a result more and more are finding themselves in a "better place." In fact, it's spreading like wildfire. The "good" kind.
I personally enabled and allowed myself to enable and allow this "internal shift" many years ago. I did because I discovered firsthand just how powerful doing so can be. In fact, I discovered firsthand just how Make you "weak in the knees" powerful enabling and allowing this shift to happen, can be.
That's the reason I've decided to write and share this edition of Enlightened Journey titled 'The Greatest of These is Love.' It's titled The Greatest of These is Love because, as I discovered it's "true...
When it comes to the internal battle that most experience initially as they "Wake Up" and begin discerning between "fear" that's stored and programmed in the head and Love that resides in the heart, those who persist and keep on keeping on discover what I and many like me have. They become enabled, empowered and clearly see that, of ALL the power and forces in the world, bar none, The Greatest of These IS Love.
It's not a limited form of power. Love is an INFINITE form of Power. It's an all pervasive form of power that NO physical form of power can suppress, control or diminish when we decide not to enable and allow it to.
It's a kind and quality of power that can enhance the physical, financial, relational, mental, emotional and spiritual areas of your life in such a way that the "mainstream thinkers" are unable to see and as a result, believe to be "impossible."
Pretty cool stuff to discover and use too. Miraculously "cool" in fact.
I'm going to share my story that reveals HOW and WHY the initial realization came to me that The Greatest of These is Love. It's a very real, true and life shifting story that I hope will reveal to you how pleasingly powerful choosing to respond in Love is. It's also my hope that you'll see for yourself how "seemingly miraculous" things can unfold in the "blink of an eye" when you realize and see for yourself that The Greatest of These IS Love, should you choose to "enable and allow" yourself to think, speak and act in that way.
It's a very personal story that reveals why and how I choose to listen to and follow those subtle Love feelings still today, rather than become or remain reactive to the fear that stirs and ignites at times when things aren't unfolding as we think they should or in the time-frame that we "think" they should happen in.
That's what needlessly keeps so many "seemingly stuck" in less than desires situations and from SEEING and experiencing for themselves that when it comes to Love and Fear, The Greatest of These IS Love.
The story that follows is where it all began for me. It was a single occurrence; the first of many that initiated my own personal heart/mind battle and revealed over time, the importance of and the transformational power behind making a "conscious and intentional choice to enable and allow the "internal shift" from fear to Love to take place.
It happened quite accidentally for me. I had no idea at the time when it did happen just how powerful "choosing to do so" could or would be.
Although initially it happened without my being "aware" of what had happened, WHY it happened or that what DID happen had anything to do with me personally, or that Love played the defining role, it led me on a many year journey to "figure it all out."
I explored many paths over the years, many of which "seemed to have no correlation or relevance", yet ironically and to my amazement, what those years of intense research and discovery revealed and led me to figure out is that The Greatest of These IS Love.
It also marked the beginning and served as a pivotal point in my personal journey which led to discovering and KNOWING beyond the shadow of a doubt that the statement, The Greatest of These is Love not only CAN be but SHOULD be taken literally.
It should that is, if you're sincere and serious about creating more of the kind and quality of results that you really and truly love.
It CAN be learned and SHOULD be done and used simply because; as I discovered, Miracles of make you weak in the knees proportion truly ARE possible for YOU, me and anyone else who chooses to tap into and "consciously utilize" the Love that resides, exists within and actually fills ALL of our hearts.
It unleashes an incomprehensible and indescribable form of Real Power which we've ALL been freely provided. Most just don't KNOW that. Few believe it and even fewer use it.
I haven't always believed it. That's FOR SURE. In fact, at one point it all seemed as if the opposite was "true." I personally believed that this power was limited to the physical and finite. I truly believed that our strength, our capacities to effect change and that our abilities were limited to and by our physical strength and that our choices limited to and by our physical actions marked the boundaries of what we could do and how we could impact and affect the world around us.
That's what I was programmed and conditioned to believe. Some years later I would discover that's how MOST of us have been programmed and conditioned. Because of that, we have a tendency to react out of fear rather than respond in Love.
I personally DID that for many years and experienced a LOT of pain as a result.
As you'll soon discover, that's all changed now. It's my hope and my intention that sharing my story might enable and empower you to begin seeing and experiencing for yourself just how "true" it is that responding out of Love provides FAR GREATER and FAR MORE pleasing results in EVERY area of life when you calm the "internal battle" and "allow" Love to lead in ALL you think, say and do.
I share what I do because it's my hope and intention that you might see in a very "real world" kind of way just how "powerful" it is. With that said, I hope you'll do it for yourself, those you love and on a larger scale that you might use it to positively impact in a very meaningful, significant and lasting kind of way, the world at large.
That's WHY I do what I do today and why I've also come to KNOW that The Greatest of These IS Love.
Here's My Personal Story That Showed Me in a "Seemingly Miraculous" Way, WHY The Greatest of These is Love
A little over 24 years ago my wife of the time gave me some really exciting news. She announced that she was pregnant. Not long after that exciting and heart expanding announcement, we discovered we were going to have our 1st son. Our first child, a daughter was born 4 years earlier and now we were going to have a son too. For us that was awesome news. The "heart expanding" kind. It "felt like" Love in fact.
Fast forward 9 plus months later…
I received the highly anticipated call while I was at work, that my son was ready to make his entrance into the world. I was employed as a welder at the time at a trailer manufacturing company where I'd been employed for a number of years.
I was informed that I better hurry, my wife was already at the hospital and it was happening FAST. About 2 hours later it did and our son made his long anticipated entrance. It was one of those awesome life changing moments too just as it was when I witnessed my daughter being born. Beyond awesome would be the most succinct yet accurate description.
Everything was as any parent would hope that it would be...normal. He was a happy and healthy 8 1/2 pound baby boy. I couldn’t have been prouder or happier. He was healthy, had all his fingers and toes and if I must say so myself, he was the cutest little guy you ever saw.
Life was good...REALLY good.
Then, at the age of around 1 week old, he began experiencing some health complications. He began losing rather than gaining weight. If you're at all familiar with babies, you know that a 1 week old baby losing weight isn't a "good" thing. In fact as I would soon discover first hand, it's a very serious and dangerous thing. Life threatening even.
But that’s what started happening. In the blink of an eye, life went from “good” to being a little scary, really quick.
Basically what "the problem" was, is that he was unable to drink and hold down his breast milk or any type of formula that we tried to give him. It would take him 2 to 3 hours to drink a half ounce or so and within minutes of digesting it, he would expel it in a violent manner.
No need for getting too graphic about that. You get the idea. :)
Over the course of the next few weeks, we made several trips to the doctor’s office. Each time, they’d examine him as doctors do, we were provided various "fixes"...namely a regimen of pharmaceutical drugs, none of which took care of or even lessened the "problem."
The initial concern and being a “little scared” began growing and was slowly turning into an even greater and ever growing fear when we realized things weren’t getting any better. Slowly but surely he kept losing weight. That went on for a few weeks with many more visits to the doctor.
One evening, when he was 3 weeks old, I noticed he wasn't doing well at all. My wife and I made the choice to take him to the local emergency room. Needless to say it was a choice that marked the beginning of a pretty intense and emotionally charged evening. Namely, a very intense, traumatic and fear filled evening...initially at least.
After getting to the hospital, the medical staff on duty that evening ran all their tests, made their diagnosis and we were told that surgery was going to be necessary. The diagnosis was "Severe GE Reflux" and the necessary procedure to "fix it" as they explained, was to perform a kind of surgery which entailed removing muscles from my son’s lower stomach region and wrapping his esophagus with those muscles which they said would strengthen his digestive tract.
Ouch. That certainly wasn't the kind of news we had expected or WANTED to hear FOR SURE.
If you have children, there's no need to explain how that kind of news can impact your emotional state. Imagine your 3 week old child being subjected to a serious procedure like that. I suppose you could call what I experienced upon hearing that news as being an almost overwhelming flurry of very intense and "less than desired" emotions. One of those that stood out most at the time was "intense fear."
A VERY intense and seemingly uncontrollable form of fear.
In the midst of this escalating emotional reaction, the medical staff began talking to me and my wife about the procedure, what would take place and the need for signing consent forms etc. etc. They were talking about a lot of things actually, many of which are a blur. Fear certainly does that. It blurs things. Makes them seem really complex and confusing too.
Although I didn't know why at that time, I was hesitant to listen and/or buy into what seemed inevitable at that moment. Something kept me from making a "reactive decision" right then. Because of that, I hesitated in agreeing to anything let alone signing any consent forms or agreeing to any form of surgery.
I might add that it wasn't a very popular or well received hesitation either. In fact his mother and I had quite an intense and emotionally charged conversation because of my apprehension to agree right at that moment that performing this procedure was necessary to resolve the issue.
After some "emotionally charged debate" with both my wife and further discussion with my son’s caregivers, I told everyone present that I needed some time by myself to clear my head and think. Quite honestly, I didn't know what I was going to think about. The situation, the diagnosis and the recommended remedy "seemed" quite obvious and unchangeable. But I certainly wasn't crazy about my then 3 week old son undergoing this type of surgical procedure. I suppose at the time I was just delaying and maybe even in denial about what I "knew" (or should I say, what I "thought I knew") at that moment was inevitable and necessary.
But at the same time, although I wasn't certain why, something just didn't "feel right" to me. Call it a gut feeling. The MAIN thing that didn't "feel right" was seeing my son have to go through and experience something like that, especially only being 3 weeks old.
I knew that there was nothing that I could do personally, yet at the same time I had this deep seeded feeling of apprehension about agreeing and consenting to what I was being told was absolutely necessary.
Apprehension is actually an understatement...I found myself in a state of what can only be described as overwhelming and debilitating fear. Seriously debilitating fear with a mix of intense anxiety, confusion, wonder, empathy, compassion and as any Dad who loves his family does, in spite of all the other "emotional reactions" I was experiencing, a deeply seeded, unshakable and immutable form of Unconditional Love for my son was clearly present which is what was stirring all these “less than desirable” emotional reactions. I certainly didn’t WANT for him to go through what they were describing.
After much prodding, question asking and some emotionally charged debate with doctors, nurses and my wife, I asked...actually I demanded that EVERYONE leave the room where they had diagnosed and were treating my son. I suppose at the time I just needed some time to separate myself from all the commotion, calm down, sort through my emotions and collect my thoughts so I could "figure out" what to do or at least what I was going to allow or NOT allow.
Although reluctantly, they did as I asked. When they left I immediately closed and locked the door behind them. After a few moments of doing the best I could to collect my thoughts and regain my composure, I began thinking about what I was going to do. That didn’t take too long to figure out. Within just a few minutes I came to the realization that there was nothing at all that I COULD do. Not something that I was aware that I could personally do at least that would lessen, let alone resolve or "fix this problem."
I recall thinking “You’re just a welder for God's sake. What can you as a welder possibly do to fix this?” I most definitely WANTED TO "fix it" but I came to the helpless and dis-empowering conclusion that I couldn't. And although I had determined that there was nothing I could do, at the same time I also "still knew" that I didn't want my son to have to go through what "appeared" at the time to be necessary, inevitable and certain. The apprehension to allow the surgery was still there BIG time but so was that feeling of helplessness.
You could say I "felt trapped" between a rock and a hard place.
I might add, up to that point I was always one of those macho "I'll fix it for you...I can do anything" type of guys. I "thought I was" anyway. I was raised that way. It's what I'd been taught, learned, adopted as my own belief and because of those factors, it's how I showed up in the world. I truly believed that if you were going to survive in this world, you better be rough, tough, tumble and street wise. Hence my macho, I can fix anything stance. But in this particular instance I came to the realization that regardless of how "rough, tough, macho or in control" I'd previously "thought I was", in this situation I was anything but that.
In fact a sense of hopelessness, helplessness and in this case, insignificance overtook me. I didn't know what to do.
It didn't take long to arrive at the conclusion that there wasn't a damn thing I could do to "fix this." In fact, it dawned on me that in this situation I was rendered utterly, totally and completely helpless based on my limited understanding of what "I thought" was necessary to fix things. Based on what I thought I knew, fixing things simply wasn't possible when it came to unresolvable and "seemingly uncontrollable situations" such as this. That's what I "thought I knew" and believed to be true at the time based on what I'd learned growing up. That, combined with a LONG LIST of "less than desirable experiences" I'd had over the course of my life certainly “seemed to” validate and support what I’d learned, believed and at that point led to thinking and believing there was absolutely nothing I could personally do to change things in this situation.
Bottom line I felt and found myself in a totally helpless space. Needless to say, that was a pretty "uncomfortable place" for Mr macho, I can fix it man to find himself in.
Although this totally helpless state wasn't a place that I was used to, "liked" or wanted to be in...in this case, what I liked or wanted was immaterial. It certainly "seemed that way." It was what it was and there was simply nothing I could do to change it. And where I found myself in that moment as I had in the preceding moments was in an ever increasing state of overwhelming and mind boggling fear, confusion, combined with what I perceived at that moment as being complete and total helplessness.
Although at the time I didn't and couldn't for the life of me see any "good or beneficial" thing arising from feeling fearful, anxious or finding myself in this utterly helpless state, little did I know at the time that arriving at this seemingly helpless and hopeless place would prove to be the best and most beneficial thing that could have ever happened for me.
Yes...FOR me and for my son too.
Even many years later, it's still quite clear; profoundly clear in fact just how "beneficial and quite literally life transforming finding myself in this helpless and fear based state would prove to be. In fact, this situation and getting into that state of immense fear and perceived helplessness turned out to be an IMMENSE gift. One of the greatest, most "cherished and beneficial gifts" I could have EVER received actually.
Finding myself in this helpless, immensely fearful, overwhelmed and confused state and for lack of knowing any other action to take, I entertained the idea of DOING the only thing I could think of at that moment. Call it another "gut feeling", that revealed itself as unspoken guidance and direction. What I refer to today as Heart Based Direction that instructed me to pray. And I might add it's not something that I normally did. I'm not sure I EVER did with the exception of being in one of those really scary types of situations we all find ourselves in from time to time and saying some blind and shallow prayer like "Oh God please help me and I PROMISE I’ll be good."
That was about the extent of my "prayer life" and I could count on one hand (maybe one and a half) how many times I'd done that. After all, based on what I’d been taught, believed and “thought was true”, the Big Guy I was going to be doing the praying to (if he did REALLY exist even) was pretty pissed off at me for my life choices and actions, which based on what I'd learned and "thought I knew" were enough to get me ZAPPED by a lightning bolt or die some tragic and painful death and THEN be sent into some REALLY HOT place where NO ONE wants to go.
I’ll share more about that in a future edition. For now I’ll just say based on what I was taught about things growing up, the Big Guy, if he did exist certainly couldn’t and wouldn't be very happy with me and in fact, I was quite convinced that He was really pissed off at me if He did actually exist. Sometimes I hoped He didn’t yet at other times during those few “God please help me” moments I was hoping he did, would intervene and get me out of my “self chosen messes.”
But nonetheless I hit my knees and did the first thing that crossed my mind. I began making heartfelt pleas to something or someone greater than myself, although I wasn't really clear on or certain about what that Something or Someone was, just how pissed off HE was at me, or that HE even REALLY existed at that point.
But, under the circumstances I was facing, I just didn't know what else to do. I didn’t have anywhere to turn, so that's what I did.
Alone in this room with my son, Mr macho man knelt down beside the little incubator type bed they had placed him in and did the only thing I knew at that time to do. I began praying. But there was something different this time. I've since realized that it was a MUCH different and FAR MORE emotionally charged kind of prayer than I'd ever prayed before without a doubt. In fact, I think it's safe to say that it was the most earnest, emotionally charged and "heartfelt" prayer I had ever prayed in my life. There was CERTAINLY a lot of Love underlying the earnest and heartfelt words that followed which stemmed from who I was doing the praying for. My son.
Nonetheless, I began earnestly praying all the while "hoping” that if a God did exist and could hear me, HE would hear me and help me and my son out of this "seemingly hopeless and unresolvable mess." I reiterate that as I hit my knees, I was terrified. I was anxious, confused, and as a result of being rendered and feeling totally helpless, I was overwhelmed by and filled with a VERY INTENSE form of fear.
It seemed like only a few moments had passed, but once I had finished communicating what I had to say, I remember getting up off my knees, looked at the clock and realized I'd been praying for almost 30 minutes. To this day, I’m not sure why the time seemed to go by so fast. Maybe just my confusion and fear and being so earnest and into what I was praying about. Anyway, when I was finished I got up.
Nothing appeared to have happened that I was aware of. Although I did feel a little calmer internally, I was still quite shook up and the intense fear still filled me and again began to intensify as I thought about making the decision that "I just knew" was inevitable since my actions didn't "appear" to have changed anything. In fact I was ready to agree to the surgery, sign the necessary consent forms and get the scheduling of the surgery underway.
Although reluctantly, after a few more minutes of processing what I "perceived" as being "obvious and apparent" and deciding that allowing the procedure was the "best, right and ONLY thing" to do, I unlocked the door and called the staff and my wife who were waiting in the hallway back into the room.
I don't remember verbatim what was said. But I do remember telling them I was ready to agree to whatever was necessary and that I would sign the necessary forms.
I still didn't WANT TO but based on the seriousness of the situation, decided that I HAD to.
For some reason though, before signing I recall asking the physical therapist that was present if she'd bring me a bottle of formula. I wasn't sure why, other than the fact that I wanted to make absolutely certain that what I was getting ready to agree to, was in fact necessary. At that moment I had decided that it was.
A few minutes after asking for the bottle of formula, the physical therapist returned and handed me a bottle that contained around 4 ounces of formula. I recall picking up my son, holding him close to my chest and putting the nipple in his mouth...
What happened next would prove to be the catalyst of my search for answers that entailed a many year journey of discovery that followed over the next several years, which unbeknownst to me at the time would provide the foundation to build upon and solidify what I KNOW today, which is...
The Greatest of These is Love...really and truly.
Here's where it all began...
After placing the nipple in my son's mouth, to my amazement as well as the amazement of everyone else who was present, my son began "gulping down" the formula like he never had before. He hadn’t eaten like that since he was born. In fact he sucked down all 4 ounces of the formula in a matter of just a few minutes.
That little guy was DEFINITELY hungry!!
I suppose due to the shock and surprise the room grew silent. Everybody just kind of looked at me, at each other and my son, all of us speechless for what "seemed like" an eternity. At some point the silence was broken, conversation ensued and the doctor asked for us to stay for a while so they could watch my son, ensure that the formula stayed down and make sure everything was OK.
As instructed, before leaving that emergency room, we waited a while to make sure that he held the formula down. He did and needless to say I didn't sign any consent forms. After a short period of time (a few hours) we walked out of the hospital that night and took our son home.
There's more to the story that happened afterwards; MUCH MORE almost as mind blowing and "miraculous", but I think this is an important place to stop for a minute and make a "potentially important" point. A point that reveals how and why our conditioning and programming can, and more times than not does attempt to override and diminish what we KNOW in our heart of hearts to be true.
My Old Programming Kicked In as I Tried to “Figure Things Out” and Come to a More Rational and Logical Conclusion Regarding What Had Really Happened
Even after seeing what we all had, I do recall the staff recommending and writing some prescriptions before we left in spite of what we ALL had just witnessed. And the next day I did get them filled and began giving them to my son as instructed. The question I began asking myself a few years later was WHY? Why would I do that after personally witnessing what we ALL had? I asked myself that same question many times over in the years that followed.
Here's what I've since discovered and it's VERY interesting and may prove to be helpful for you...
Although in the first hour or so after this “seemingly miraculous" event happened, I was quite sure of what had taken place. It was quite obvious in that moment that a miracle of profound proportion had taken place. But then, as I began to think about it the idea of a miracle unfolding began to "seem" unlikely and perhaps impossible even. The more I thought about it, the more I began to question it, the more the doubt grew.
But WHY? I knew it happened because I watched it happen. I hadn't had time to think about and analyze it to that point. Call it shock, call it AWE, call it "relief" or whatever you want to call it. This condition called "severe GE Reflux" was there and then it wasn’t.
Having never witnessed anything like that before and not being absolutely certain about HOW or WHY it could take place, I began "thinking about it." I began analyzing it, breaking it down and trying to "figure out" what REALLY happened. It certainly didn't make logical sense based on what I was taught, believed and "thought I knew." I’ve since discovered that was the KEY to my doubts, apprehensions, wondering and “trying to figure out” in a more rational and logical way what had "truly happened." It was nothing more than my learned and "habitual way" of looking at, perceiving, seeing and doing things that served as the cause for my "needing to figure out a more logical, practical and "realistic" conclusion.
Because of the kind and quality of programming and conditioning I had received as a child and throughout most of my adult life, my mind took over, began processing and analyzing all that had happened. Because of that programming, I "thought" I wasn't worthy. I "thought" that if there was a God that he was pretty (and perhaps VERY) pissed off at me. I “knew” he had no desire to help me based on my life choices. Point being, I thought, I thought and I thought.
What I would come to understand years later is that my "learned beliefs"; more specifically my cynical and pessimistic beliefs" resurfaced, my habitual cynical, pessimistic and short sighted way of thinking took over, kicked in and I began processing thoughts that were attempting to downplay what had actually transpired.
What I personally witnessed and SAW with my very own eyes!!
So after a few hours of doing that as we waited for the "observation period" to end, I followed the advice of those who I presumed at that time, knew much more about health and what was necessary for my son's well-being than I did.
Now On To the “Rest of The Story” That Made it VERY Clear What Happened and Validated Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt That a “Really BIG Miracle” Actually DID Take Place
You would think that this experience in and of itself would be, or at the least SHOULD be validating and profound enough to know that SOMETHING beyond common reasoning, rationale and logic did happen. And it did actually. You'd think I would "know" that without questioning it or "needing to figure it out. But I’ve since come to know WHY we do. As we humans often do, we often begin to think about, process, question, rationalize and attempt to downplay what we don't understand; especially when it stretches well beyond what we "think we know", we have a tendency to question it, try to "figure it out" and look for a more logical and rational conclusion that better fits the mold of our acquired beliefs.
I’ve also found it’s not limited to really big miracles. We get some inspiring insight, some awesome idea, some spark of genius that could propel us to the next level in life and then as we think about it and try to figure it out we bury it beneath layers of stuff that we’ve learned, believe and think is true. The spark goes out and we go on about life as we have in our "seemingly limited" and habitual way.
The next day after processing and thinking about our experience in the hospital the previous evening, after analyzing and running the occurrence through my mind over and over and over again, I found myself in that same place...more analyzing, more trying to "figure things out" and more attempting to rationalize and downplay what had happened.
It just wasn't "logical, rational, practical, feasible or even possible" based on what I "thought I knew" at that point and so...like many of us do I found myself attempting to "figure out" a more "reasonable and realistic” explanation as to what had REALLY happened.
All I knew at that point was that my son couldn't eat and digest when we took him to the hospital, the staff told me what needed to be done and later that night, he could and we walked out of the hospital without doing what they said needed to be done. Now I was trying to “figure out” why.
That "insanity" went on for the next few days.
But it wouldn't be long before all these "cynical, pessimistic and habitual patterns of thinking" which led to my rationalizing and attempting to "figure out" a more "reasonable, logical and practical" answer would be replaced and overwritten with a sense of awe, assurance and unshakable certainty. Because a few days later, what would take place would provide; in a profoundly validating kind of way the “Real Answer” that couldn’t be disputed, downplayed or diminished. It was an answer that met me where I was, unfolded in the way I personally needed it to and provided me with “make you weak in the knees proof” of what had "truly" taken place in the hospital that evening.
You could say, it provided further evidence; a tangible and measurable validation of sorts that met me where I was at the time. A validation that I considered to be of ALMOST equally miraculous proportion based on my understanding (or the lack of) at the time. And it was a form of validation that enabled me to know beyond the shadow of any "learned or inherited" beliefs or the doubts, cynicism or pessimism that stemmed from them, exactly what had happened that night.
And I might add, it was an occurrence that not only made me weak in the knees but broke through my tough outer shell and led to "Mr. fix it" bawling like a baby which isn’t something that “Mr. macho guy” did.
Here's what happened as well as how and why I came to KNOW that what happened in the hospital that evening REALLY DID happen as illogical, irrational and seemingly impossible as my “intellect" attempted to convince me to think and believe it was. And although I DID question it even AFTER seeing it I still enabled and allowed that, temporarily, to downplay what I have since discovered, many years later to be the unwavering, immutable, All Encompassing and ALL Pervasive Power that was behind it...
Here’s The Rest of My, The Greatest of These is Love Story
I had befriended a guy a year or so earlier who worked as a saw man at the same trailer manufacturing plant where I was employed as a welder at the time.
His name was Eddie Hinton.
Eddie was a very religious minded, cheery, positive, chunky guy with one of the heaviest Southern Mississippi accents I had ever heard. And when I say “heavy” Mississippi accent, that’s really an understatement. He was also one of the most loving, caring and compassionate people I had ever met to that point. He had an aura about him and it didn’t take a psychology major or personality profiler to clearly see that he cared a lot about people.
Bottom line, Eddie and I had formed a strong bond at work over time. It was an unlikely bond due to the fact that how we viewed life and a lot of other things, not the least of which was the choices we made and how we chose to live our lives was quite different to say the least.
Although he worked as a saw man full time, on the weekends he would engage in his Real Passion, which entailed traveling to various places throughout the U.S. preaching at Pentecostal revivals.
Yes, he was a Pentecostal preacher. And I was about as far away from THAT sort of thing as a guy could be. As I've shared already, I was rough and tumble, a partier, quite "street wise" and a kid who grew up with an "only the strong survive and get by in life" philosophy. My life choices clearly reflected that philosophy as Eddie’s choices reflected his.
Here's what I mean by growing up VERY street wise...
I'd "learned" growing up and "believed" that it was a dog eat dog world out there. And because of what I'd learned and believed, I "knew" you'd better get strong, stay strong, be macho, be tough, stay tough, stay street wise, and be ready to do whatever it took to defend your territory when the other "dogs" showed up. It was a "survival strategy I'd learned and used to ensure that I would survive and remain on top of the food chain when the other dogs who wanted to be on top of the food chain too, came calling.
So, point being, Eddie and I were definitely an unlikely pair to form a bond.
As I think back, it's funny in a sense that he was always trying to get me to listen and see his perspectives regarding religion, God and life. His approach always came off in a "very religious kind of way", meaning in a fear based indoctrination kind of way sometimes which was somewhat similar to what I'd been taught bits and pieces of as I was growing up. It was a message of fear, guilt, unworthiness and judgement for the most part. He wasn’t being disrespectful or mean or anything like that. He was doing it because he cared and due to what he believed and how he had been raised, he thought it was the right and best thing to do.
He was NEVER cross, forceful or judgmental in his approach with me; not blatantly or intentionally anyway. From time to time he would just make very direct and sometimes very subtle comments. He'd just "sneak in" a phrase here and there when he felt the timing was right I suppose.
Although I never bought in and really had no interest in knowing any more than "I thought I knew" about that sort of thing at the time, I'd make some snide rebuttal comment, sometimes integrated with language that his type wasn’t very fond of, and he'd always just smile, we'd laugh and reengage in our typical man to man "buddy" conversations.
But here's where things get REALLY interesting...weak in the knees interesting.
A few months prior to my son's ordeal, Eddie had taken an extended leave of absence from the trailer manufacturing plant we worked at so he could spend some extended time on the road engaging in what he was "truly passionate" about. His passion entailed traveling around the country preaching at various revivals.
I hadn’t spoken to him since he left and we had no contact whatsoever. He knew nothing of my son being born. So obviously he had no idea that my son had been experiencing any medical problems let alone that I had taken him to the hospital emergency room that evening.
But a few days after our experience at the hospital that evening, my phone rang and upon answering I discovered it was Eddie calling me from Tennessee. He told me that he had been preaching at a revival there.
This was somewhat odd; actually very odd simply because he had never called me at home before. We were "work buddies", and because of the difference in our life style choices, how we viewed life and our obvious differences in how we showed up in the world, we just weren't hang out and call each other buddies.
But nonetheless he did call me that evening. During this conversation he told me that he was walking down the street and "felt drawn" into a gift shop. He said he didn't know why and wasn't certain what he was going to do once he got in there. He said he just followed the lead he felt he was getting. He went on to tell me that he was drawn to an isle within this gift shop and was drawn to something. He said that he "felt that he was being led" to buy it and that he did in fact, end up buying it. He also told me that what he bought was intended for me. He didn't tell me what it was or why he bought it, only that he had bought me something. "I'm not really sure why, I just knew I needed to" is what I recall him saying.
At the time I just figured that he had bought me some souvenir. And although I thought that was pretty cool and I was grateful, I didn't ask any specific questions or even give it a lot of thought. We engaged in a little small talk for a few minutes, he told me he'd be back to work in a few days and shortly after we said our goodbyes and ended our conversation.
A few nights after that initial phone call, at about 10:30 PM in the evening my phone rang again. It was Eddie. He called me to let me know that he had just gotten back into town and needed to come by and deliver this gift he had told me about a few days before. He wanted to do it then.
I was actually getting ready to go to bed and told him that it was a bit late and asked if we could just get together the next day at work. He was persistent and insisted that he come by that night saying that he really felt that it was important that he deliver it then. After a little coaxing and persistence, I agreed, gave him my address, provided him with directions to my house and that conversation ended.
About 20 minutes later he showed up at the front door, I answered it, he apologized for imposing and coming by so late, and as he did so he handed me a box and immediately followed up with...
"I'm not sure why, I just knew it was important."
The box he handed me was about 12" x 8" and about an inch and a half thick. I thanked him, took the box, opened it, looked at the contents and was immediately overwhelmed with what I saw. An overwhelming flood of intense emotion overtook me. Although this flood of emotion was of a much different kind and quality than those I experienced in the hospital emergency room a few nights before, they were equally intense. A sense of awe, assurance and understanding flooded every part of my being.
All the events that had taken place in the emergency room a few nights before flashed through my mind and suddenly; you could say, “in the blink of an eye”, all that had transpired over the past week became crystal clear and made "perfect sense." Any further need to doubt, analyze, rationalize or "figure things out" regarding what had happened in that hospital emergency room were also gone in an instant with no hope of EVER returning.
This gift he handed me was a wooden plaque with the picture of an opened and outstretched hand with a verse from the Judeo Christian Bible inscribed just above it that read...
"See, I will not forget you, I've carved you on the palm of my hand." Isaiah 42-15
Here's a scanned image of the actual plaque he gave me that evening which to this day hangs beside my desk.
Before I'd fully read it or reached the end of that sentence I knew what it meant, what was happening, what HAD happened and I was blown away. Actually, "blown away" is a gross understatement. I knew and had just experienced something that I'd never "known", experienced or even thought was possible prior.
Needless to say, it was a very intense and emotional few moments that followed and the tears welled up in my eyes, started overflowing and pouring down my face. Eddie looked a bit shocked and bewildered initially. This definitely conflicted with my predominant nature and Eddie had certainly never seen this "soft side" of Mr macho man. So, with a curious look on his face, he just stood there for a minute looking at me as I did my best to gain my composure.
After gaining my composure a bit, I explained to Eddie all that happened recently. I told him that my first son had been born, the series of events that had taken place over the past weeks, my son's diagnosis and what had happened in the hospital a few evenings before. I told him of the doubt that surfaced almost immediately after witnessing what I had.
I made him aware of the enormous value that he provided to me through his "seemingly simple gift." A precious and treasured gift that I initially thought was nothing more than an act of kindness shown through the giving of a souvenir from a work buddy. I explained the validation it provided to me to KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt, what took place in the previous days.
Well...it wouldn't be long before we were both teared up, choked up and letting the emotions fly. There's NO DOUBT in my mind today that God (or whatever the Source of your understanding might be) meets us where we are REGARDLESS of where that might be.
That includes you.
I also KNOW that He/She/It uses us, (when we're open, willing and receptive) to meet others where they are. That's what Eddie and the direction he received and FOLLOWED did for me. That one "seemingly small gesture" has led to MANY insights and discoveries since, not the least of which is the FACT that RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW three things ALWAYS remain: faith, hope, and love. But...even when hope and faith seems to elude us, although fear, doubt, worry and anxiety may temporarily overtake us and suppress our hope or our faith, The Greatest of These IS Love.
I've since discovered that Love NEVER fails, it NEVER wavers, it Always is, always has been and always will be "unerringly and unwaveringly true"...unconditionally.
As a side note; To this day that plaque hangs right beside my desk to serve as a constant reminder that even when things may "seem" horrifically out of control at times, regardless, there's always "perfect order" and a "greater good" that can be seen and realized even in the most fearful, seemingly horrific and challenging of circumstances.
Tomorrow we'll conclude with Part 3 of 'The Greatest of These is Love' where I'll share HOW this "Highest of ALL truths" can assist you in being, doing and/or having more of what you "truly desire" in your life if ever and whenever you choose to allow it to.
Stay tuned. I believe what I have to share will; or at least CAN assist you in a BIG way. I hope so.
See ya then…or not.
In the meantime...
Here's To Love, Miracles and You Being, Doing and Having More of What You Truly Desire in Life,
Enlightened Journey Enterprises
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