One of the most important gifts of life we have been given is the gift of discernment -- that is, the ability to not only see reality, but to be able to sort through what you see until you see the truth. Discernment requires experience, wisdom, courage and humility. Discernment also requires love. So, taking all of this given knowledge, several times during my childhood and "growing up" days, my parents were heard referring to various incidents as "That sure opened a can of worms." Ugh.

When happening, I would wonder why Mom or Dad would use that expression, as it seemed as though the expression would be used most often when it involved an issue of controversy, so, when I checked my friendly dictionary, I had a much better understanding of what that pun was used for and all about -- certainly different than what I thought of at that particular stage in my life, for then a worm was a squiggly, wiggly, ugly little thing that appeared after a rain, or what we dug up in the earth when we were working in the vegetable garden, or what we had to find when we wanted to go fishing so we would have bait to put on the end of our wooden cane fishing poles.

Webster defines "worm" as a small creeping animal; an intestinal parasite; a disease caused by parasites; something vermicular or spiral, this all in the noun form. However, look at the meanings in the verb form: to wriggle; to work gradually and secretly; to effect by stealthy means; to insinuate oneself; to extract cunningly.

After clarification of the meaning of the expression, I believe I understand the conversation a little more fully.

Minutes are ticking themselves away to a countdown. Election Day is on the horizon. It can't come too soon for me. Why the very act of reading our daily newspapers or turning on the television set makes me wonder if there ever will come a time when people will learn to live together in peace. This politician blames the other politician, refusing to accept blame for anything -- acting like little children, while bombings in this or that foreign country kills more people day in and day out. And, please, I thought the news media were to represent "all." Wrong. Pick up a newspaper, any newspaper, and a thorough reading will reveal no mincing of words as to which candidate they support -- who they blast, who they "pipe up," with the television commentators following the same trend. Watch Fox or CNN. It doesn't take you long at all to figure out which candidate, which party affiliation their news broadcasts and broadcasters focus upon. Look at the polls taken on the debates.

Heavens to Betsy, have you ever seen so many versions of a poll and its results? For once, be honest with your readers and your viewers regardless of your party preference. Candidates, do likewise. The truth, man, the truth. We want to hear it. Right or wrong. Agree or disagree. Just the truth.

Refresh our memories, what TV show was that featuring the words, "The truth. Nothing but the truth"?

Winston Churchhill can be quoted as saying: "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."

It is only of human nature that when we speak, or when we write, we say what is on our minds, what is in our hearts -- for better or for worse. We all take for granted we are free to speak -- thankful for the many who have and still are giving their lives, fight for that freedom we still enjoy today -- realizing it does come with some limits. We all reason, use our own voices while we seek stability and certainty.

And, firmly believing, as a whole, that we work for the good of the whole -- not for one politician, not for the Republican Party, not for the Democratic Party.

Herein lies a problem: We all enjoy comfort zones and most certainly find comfort among those who agree with us, but the surprising fact remains we also are able to find growth among those who don't. Timothy I tells us it is "the love of money that is the root of all evil." Wouldn't it be much nicer then if our world was built on the foundation of the power of love rather than the love of power?

The future of the United States of America lies -- right now, right here -- in the hands of each citizen of this great nation. It is time we take the bull by the horns. It is time to open up that can of worms, stand up and continue the fight for the greatest country in the world. Ask any serviceman, any veteran, they will tell you the future of our country depends on you and me -- all of us -- together as a country. Your vote does count. By not voting, you are voting for someone. You can make a difference. Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing. Remembering it is important to have a fresh, mental and spiritual attitude every single day, especially if you don't like what is happening or about to happen.

Ronald Reagan said, "No arsenal, no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."

May I take this opportunity, in agreement with each and every one of you, to say I am proud to be a citizen of this United States of America and may God continue to be a daily presence in all our lives. God bless America, and be sure to vote on Election Day.

Nadene Albrecht, retired real estate broker, lives in Russell.