The Power of a Wave and a Smile


Dear Friends,

I love these hours in the quiet before dawn.  I’m sitting in my old green recliner on my second floor porch.  The only sounds are the quiet, soothing whir of the ceiling fan and the ha ha ha of Shivvy’s breathing as he snuggles next to my chair on the floor next to me. He’s not usually up this early. I guess he just wanted to keep me company for a while.

I’m opening a new category on this blog,  “Return to Civility”, though it’s a theme that runs through much of what I write.

The transformation of our country is a responsibility for every single one of us. And it happens with very simple things.

Here’s a story from last Friday>>>>

Shivvy and I were taking our morning stroll around our Cypress Chase “A” condominum complex.  On the West side of the building a Waste Management truck came rumbling towards us.  Like most dogs, Shivvy doesn’t like loud noises.  We stopped in the middle of the driveway and waited for the truck driver to proceed to the dumpster in the building opposite us.  He deftly lifted the bin and dumped its contents into the truck.

With  a bit of youthful energy  he bounded down from his high driver’s seat onto the asphalt..   He had passed us by and  was facing away from us.  He turned for a moment to look at us just for a second, turned again the other way and  with an exuberant push, (I like that word; it describes me, too, and often gets me into a whole lot of trouble!!!) he landed the heavy object back in its corral, turned toward us again and grinned from ear to ear  and a great big wave he jumped back into the truck and was gone.

Now, I just want to tell you that that ten second encounter with a stranger made my day.  I was not having the best of mornings up to that point.  But this young man who was aware of the people around him and took the time ot acknowledge us spread a positive energy around that surprised me / woke me up / affirmed me / stimulated me / and impressed me so much that I am sharing it with you several days later.

My point?  Let’s be aware of the people around us. Look them in the eye and give them a nod which says without words:  You are a person like me. You have as much right to be here as I.  And then realize the power of a Smile and a Wave.  It won’t cost you a thing.  But it will change you and perhaps another.

My friends, that’s how we’ll make it through difficult times.

We’re all in this together. We’ll survive together.P7190111

And the opposite is also true: If we do not bind up our differences and come together we are not going to make it.  I promise you that.

There’s a lot of hate out there.  There’s a lot of people who’d like to spit us out and grind us up.

There’s a lot of people out there who don’t give a damn about anyone else.

Spread love not hate by a wave or a smile or even a nod.

This is civil behavior. People trying to get along and restore our country to the greatness we once had but have sadly lost.

There are two opposing forces in the world that rub up against each other like subterranean techtonic plates.

Symbolein (A Greek word which means to draw together). This is what Jesus is all about.

and Diabolien (which means to throw out or disperse) This is what Satan is all about.

So a thought for you to think about today.  What kind of person are you?

Are you one who draws people together.  Are you one who includes or excludes?

IMG_0267Good and gracious God,

You sent your Son Jesus to live among us to teach us how to love.

You want all your children to be included in your kingdom.

Help us to be aware that we are not the center of the universe

but to be aware of others around us and acknowledge that they, too are your children,

Teach us to be respectful of every person we meet

even the ones we may find to be a pain in the you-know-what!!!

To You God of Love, be praise and glory this day.


Bob Traupman

priest / writer

areal photo of Ft. Lauderdale

Hope for America


Dear Friends,

I’ve been silent for awhile.  Been reflecting and not feeling well.  Life is settling down for me now.  I give thanks every day that I’m able to make a bit of progress in my life.  Hopefully, I will be able to write more often.

I will begin with the sharing of this amazing musical tribute to America.  It’s filled with hope.  And much needed against the background of incivility that has emerged in public discourse over the past month or so.  Guns at town meetings?  Are we returning to morality of the Wild West???

C’mon, everyone!  Let’s turn this thing around. Bind together.  And refuse to let the you-know-what get us down. Ignore them.  Don’t fan the flames.

Turn up your speakers,  open your mind and your heart.  Be prepared to be inspired.


By Keith Carradine

Just a workin’ man without a job
It got shipped off to China via Washington, D.C.
And I know I’m nothin’ special, there are plenty more like me
Just the same
I thought I knew the rules of the game

I stood up for this country that I love
I came back from the desert to a wife and kids to feed
I’m not sayin’ Uncle Sam should give me what I need
My offer stands
I’ll pull my weight you give me half a chance

I went up to a congressman and said to him “you know
Our government is letting people down”
He said he’d need a lot of help to buck the status-quo
I said there was a bunch of us around

I’m a Born Again American, conceived in Liberty
My Bible and the Bill of Rights, my creed’s equality
I’m a Born Again American, my country ‘tis of me
And everyone who shares the dream from sea to shining sea

My brother’s welding chassis at the plant
He’s earning what our granddad did in 1948
While CEOs count bonuses behind the castle gates
How can they see
When all they care about’s the do re mi

It’s getting where there’s nowhere left to turn
Not since the crash of twenty-nine have things been so unfair
So many of our citizens are living in despair
The time has come
To reaffirm that hope’s not just for some

The promise of America’s surrendering to greed
The rule is just look out for number one
But brace yourself ‘cause some of us have sown a different seed
A harvest of the spirit has begun

I’m a Born Again American conceived in liberty
My Bible and The Bill Of Rights
My creed’s equality
A Born Again American, my country ‘tis of me
And everyone who shares the dream from sea to shining sea

It’s clear my country’s soul is on the line
She’s hungering for something that she lost along the way
The principle the framers called upon us to obey
That in this land
The people’s will must have the upper hand

I felt the calling once before and took a sacred vow
And faithful to that vow I have remained
I hear the calling once again, my country needs me now
And to her cause I have been re-ordained

I’m a Born Again American conceived in liberty
My Bible and the Bill Of Rights, all people living free
A Born Again American, my country ‘tis of me
And everyone who shares the dream
From sea to shining sea
And everyone who shares the dream
From sea to shining sea

Brothers and Sisters,

I want to repeat what I said in January in the run up to the inauguration:  Unless we find a way to go below the level of political discourse and bind together we’re not going to make it as a country.  Turn your TV off. And PRAY AND LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR!!!!

Here’s what I said in the January 2009 issue of Arise:

Binding us together. The first thing we need to do is bind together as one nation.
FDR said, The only thing to fear is fear itself.” Since 9/11 we have been set on a course
of fear and hate that is simply not worthy of us. As a result, fear and hate have
infected our relationships with our neighbors. My vision for 2009 is that we will
come out of our homes and bind together in our neighborhoods to help each other
through the difficult times ahead. We all have gifts to offer to the re-building of the
moral, spiritual and economic strength of our country, if only those gifts are called
So this is a call to community – to boldly reverse the trend to shut others out of
our lives. This isolation in our society is symbolized by the omni-presence of ipods
stuck in people’s ears. My vision for America and my own condo complex is that we
get out our flutes, guitars and drums and create our own music – shared music.
Ponder the ipod phenomenon and contemplate its meaning. We’re so wrapped up in
our own little worlds we don’t even notice each other. In our living rooms, we are
often focused on huge HD screens rather than sharing with each other what’s going
on in our lives.
taken on the steps of the Jefferson memorial / Washington, D.C. / October 2007
Simple suggestions that will help us begin the transformation of America. (1) Be
quick to smile or wave at your neighbors and someone in the car next to you. You
would be surprised; just that little bit of acknowledgment can make someone’s day.
It says Someone sees me as a person! Someone else recognizes my right to exist! Believe me
I know what I am talking about. I lived for two years with neighbors five feet away
who would never speak to me. The homeless live with that sort of disrespect all the
time. (2) When you enter a 7/11 hold the door for the person behind you to enter
ahead of you. I am wont to make a grand gesture with the sweep of my hat and to
swoosh them in on a small wave of exuberant energy. (Exuberance is a trait of us
bipolar folks when we’re on the up side.) (3) Realize that every person on the planet is
deserving of respect. Say hello or smile at people of a different race or culture. (4)
Catch people’s eyes across the street and give them a nod. These simple things will
transform our country like nothing else. And it requires little effort or sacrifice.

P.S. There is a second video on the web site above entitled “Broke Again American.” That is worth watching is well.

I hope this Music Video brightens your day.  It will, if you take the time to brighten someone else’s day.

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer