As I mentioned on yesterday’s post I am excited to be working on the final proof of my latest book, The Language of Love: Ecstatic Poems in the Sufi Tradition. This isn’t a book filled with romance and passionate liaisons. Instead it isa collection of Sufi inspired poems dedicated to the ecstatic joy of the all-encompassing love of God. The poems take their form from the works of the Sufi masters, such as Rumi, Hafiz and others, but are crafted to speak in a tone we all can understand.
My goal for the book is for readers to be immersed in the reality of God’s presence, and to understand that all creation is a love note from the heart of God. It’s a different perspective on spirituality, but one I feel is desperately needed.
I’ve attempted to cut through the heart of religious doctrine in The Language of Love, and demonstrate the pure, simple truth of our oneness with the divine. And, hopefully, in less than a month, The Language of Love will be available on both Amazon and Kindle.
We live in a world where hunger can eradicated in the next 15 years. That’s a fact, not an opinion. Why, then, are not those of us claiming to follow the Prince of Peace doing all in our power to make it happen?
We live at a time when the gulf between the rich and the poor is widening at an alarming rate. Why, then, are we are have been taught that the worship of wealth is idolatry bowing before our bank accounts and continuing to pile up our possessions?
We live in an age where so many of our leaders insist we live in fear and hatred of our neighbors. The Jesus portrayed in the Gospels taught just the opposite. As His followers, as his disciples, we are to be known by our love for each other.
Our faith, what we truly believe in, is demonstrated by how we live. Our lifestyles, the daily choices we make, determine the true depth of our discipleship.
This powerful quote by Cory Booker sums it up. Talk is cheap. We show the world what we believe by the way we live.
I have never called it duty, but I love this quote by Bukowski, my favorite contemporary poet. My entire adult life has been consumed with a burning desire to create a world without hunger. That focus has led me to over 100 countries and more areas of conflict and devastation than I can count, and it has introduced me to an entire world of caring and compassionate people who live to make a difference in the lives of those most in need.
Now, as the flames are starting to burn a little less intensely I am gratified to see that the world has finally realized that ending hunger in our lifetime is a significant priority. I am gratified to see that the United Nations has set a measurable goal of ending hunger by 2030.
Whether I see a hunger-free world or not, the ashes of my life will forever hold the warmth of all those who have given themselves to this grand, glorious and world-changing vision. Thank you, one and all, for caring enough to help end hunger in our lifetime.
Last Friday evening I was honored at a special Stop Hunger Now event in Raleigh. Even though I knew it was coming, the evening still was full of surprises. The evening celebrated my work with the poor and hungry which was humbling, but it was also an opportunity to celebrate what we have all been able to accomplish.
The evening and the event could not have been more wonderful. From the opening private reception through the evening’s program, to the reception afterward, every detail was as meaningful as it was professionally executed. (The only thing that could have made the evening better would have been not having to be at RDU at 0500 the following morning for my flight to Malaysia.)
Even though I do not like to be in the spotlight, the evening allowed me another opportunity to lift up the needs of the poor and hungry before a very special group of people.
The 200 or so folks in attendance were all friends, partners and supporters of Stop Hunger Now. And they are all special, not because they attended an event in my honor. They are special because they are true leaders in the global movement to end hunger in our lifetime. I just wish there would have been more time to visit with each person present.
I am soon starting yet another new path in my personal journey. But, I will never cease to be a champion for the least of these among us, and I will never cease working toward a world without hunger in my lifetime.
Friday evening’s celebration was a testimony that we can change the world. Working together we are going to end hunger in our lifetime. The passion and commitment of those attending my legacy celebration will help make it happen.
Stop Hunger Now is an amazing organization. It continues to far exceed my hopes and expectations of what it might accomplish when I first envisioned it. Our mission to end hunger in our lifetime continues to develop and expand as our staff keeps looking for more ways to impact hunger around the world.
I cannot say enough about the dedication, commitment and professionalism of our board of directors, our staff and our wonderful volunteers. They care. And it shows in everything they do. They are passionate about ending hunger, and everyone of them is a true leader in helping change our world for the better.
Here is an excerpt from a staff update I received this morning:
Did you know?
Stop Hunger Now packaged 5,331,376 meals internationally in 2014. Due to the hard work of Stop Hunger Now and volunteers, meals were packaged in 16 countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
Stop Hunger Now’s international expansion efforts are a significant demonstration of our leadership and the evolution of our approach to impacting apathy and generating the will to end hunger. Through the establishment of permanent international meal packaging operations, Stop Hunger Now has a distinctive ability to have a greater impact, harnessing the collective energies of populations around the world in the fight against hunger.
This is what a global movement to end hunger in our lifetime looks like. Stop Hunger Now volunteers around the world are packaging meals and becoming engaged in the fight to end hunger. Our growth is a true demonstration that by working together we can erase the obscenity of hunger in our lifetime. Stop Hunger Now has truly grown into a powerful international force for good.
Stop Hunger Now has just finished a thee-day staff retreat at Blackstone, Virgina. The 66 full time staff in attendance worked hard (and played hard) while we together. We also spent a great deal of time getting reconnected with each other and just sharing war stories. Even though we are scattered from coast-to-coast, we share close bond that keeps us centered on the wonderful mission in which we are all so passionately engaged.
Every staff retreat gets larger, with more and more new folks coming on board. That is gratifying. But, far more gratifying is seeing the quality and the unbelievable commitment of those present. Every outside speaker that presents to the staff, and every new member of the staff all make the same observation: nowhere have they felt and experienced the passion, dedication and engagement they they see in the Stop Hunger Now staff.
I totally agree. The Stop Hunger Now staff are tireless in their commitment to create a world without hunger. They are true superstars in the fight to end hunger in our lifetime. While we were together at Blackstone we celebrated a enormous milestone in the life of our organization. Stop Hunger Now has now packaged over 100 million meals for the hungry and malnourished of our world.
That is a huge accomplishment. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers have demonstrated that we can all make a difference. Working together we really can change the world.
Those volunteers were led by Stop Hunger Now staff that are true heroes in the fight to end hunger. I am tremendously proud and deeply honored to be associated with them.
Thank you team. “You are crazy good at what you do!”