Magnolia trees The Danny Sims Blog

Here are my occasional insights, stories, conversations, perspectives, ideas, reflections, theological musings. And whatever else I might post.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Care Enough to Stand Against the “There’s Nothing I Can Do” Deceit

With all the trouble in the world it is tempting to do nothing.

Really, what can I do about Putin invading Ukraine? Not a thing. Does it matter if you and I decided not to watch the Olympics because of China’s continued genocide against the Uyghurs? Not to China.

ISIS atrocities against the Yazidis began in 2014 with the murders of thousands. It continued with kidnapping and sexual violence against women. Many were trapped on Sinjar Mountain with no food, water, shelter, or clothes. The world was rightly horrified. But what could you and I be expected to do?

When Syrian President Bashar al Asaad gassed his own citizens in a suburb of Damascus, we saw pictures of the little children among the dead. We were sickened. Outraged. But what could we possibly do about it?

The women and children who trek across Mexico for weeks, fleeing the gangs and cartels in Central America because staying home means rape for their daughters and kidnapping for their sons... What can we do for them? I’m all for securing the border. But what can I do about that?


There is something we can do. And we don’t have to be experts in geopolitics to do it. I’d like to say it is easy, but it is not. It costs space in our thought world, our emotions, time, energy, and assets.

Care. Care deeply. Give your personal support. Be generous with your emotional energy. This is what empathy looks like. It costs in your brain and soul and heart so much more than your wallet. Sure, you might donate to certain causes. But the far more expensive result of caring is waking up at night and thinking of people imprisoned by fear and hardship.

When you and I develop our own personal plans for justice, we might lose sleep. You’ll find you think of people you never thought of before, never even knew existed. You’ll pray for them. You’ll care about them. And this will shape the way you think about yourself and your family and the way you interact with other humans. This is what being a good human looks and feels like. It’s not cheap.

Standing against the “there’s nothing I can do” deceit means there is one more person standing up for right in the face of so many wrongs. Caring won’t bring back to life any Syrians or restore the innocence of any Yazidis. It won’t solve the border crisis or make even the tiniest of dents in the Russia-China-Iran alliance.

But caring will prompt a change in me. That’s the point.


Monday, February 21, 2022

I Was The Faultfinder

Of all the changes in my life, choices that have unshackled what bound me and given me freedom and joy, this might be number one. I'm not complete, but I'm moving forward, one day at a time.

I once was “the faultfinder” and am so thankful I woke up. Kudos to my wife and kids who were patient with me and helped me.

Today’s entry in “For Today” is so great. A portion is below.

I still have a few faultfinders in my world. Irony is, naming them as such is, in and of itself, finding fault. But take caution because faultfinders can present serious relationship challenges.

If it was raining $20s faultfinders would complain it wasn’t $50s! I was in conversation with a serial critic, someone I've been close to most of my life. He was naming a few of my character flaws. So I described my commitment to change and my growth as a result of work in a 12 Step Program. His reaction? He belittled my recovery experience and named more of my failings, ones I hadn't mentioned.

I didn't argue. I told him he was right, and there were even more. That was it. Sadly we don't talk any longer. I awoke to the reality he is what I once was. Of course for so many years I didn't see it. And I have no idea if he sees it or cares. But now it is so clear to me.

My advice: make your own change. All you can fix is you.


“The faultfinder will find faults even in Paradise.” Henry David Thoreau

Finding fault is a habit, like having to be right, or telling people what to do. As a faultfinder, I can be on the offensive and no one has a chance to criticize me. Finding fault is easy; a child can do it, particularly a tired, cross, frustrated child.

Chronic faultfinding is a flaw in my own makeup, and has nothing to do with people and things outside myself. It is a habit that needs the scrutiny of a personal inventory and a good step-five airing.

For today: Growth in the program allows me to see with new eyes: feeling good about myself makes me less critical of myself and others.

 FOR TODAY, Overeaters Anonymous, Rio Rancho, NM, 1982, February 21 entry, page 56.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

This Is What The World Needs. No Joke.

You probably know someone who quarrels over each issue that comes along. They can be on the left or on the right of any spectrum, that doesn't matter. It's the culture warrior guy who argues with anyone who holds a belief or opinion different from his.

That guy. He knows it all. Or behaves as if he does.

He’s an armchair theologian or Google doctor. A yet to be discovered UN strategist. A self-anointed expert on cancel culture and cryptocurrency guru. He’s loaded up on the second amendment, has a ready oral dissertation on the first amendment. He knows the Bible and, if you have a  minute he will explain how easy it is to understand. If you want to avoid the fires of Hell, you'll agree with him.

He has an answer to each scenario for the 2022 midterms and the 2024 general election. And the supply chain? He knows what to do and he also has the price of gas covered. The border? A simple fix. Immigration? See the border.

Abortion? He has one view. It’s the right one. Race relations? He knows the answer. Same with climate change, conservatism, progressivism, health care, religious freedom, sexual orientation, welfare, and election integrity.

There is one unarguable answer to each issue. The irony is the guy loves to argue.

American author F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

Cognitive dissonance is also emotional maturity. It’s first-rate intellect but it's also first-rate kindness. It's being a good human.

Fitzgerald’s quote continued. “One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.”

The cartoon gets to it. Apologies to the creator... the original includes a final line that speaks about not being the south end of a northbound donkey. I removed that line because I like the ending better this way.


Humans of first-rate kindness don’t just allow room for disagreement, they embrace diversity. They see many sides. And they have empathy. They understand they don't know it all. They listen. They read a variety of sources. They reflect. They think. They are "both/and" people in an "either/or" world.

Yes, some questions demand answers. Some issues require a clear position. And at times there is only one suitable position or response for you. But even (especially?) then, look for the tiniest parcel of common ground. If there is none? 

Be first-rate smart. And kind. 

This is what the world needs, no joke. 

And it starts with you. Or not.