Monday, May 15, 2017

Judgement Unaware

Let's get real about "equality".

Have you noticed that one person's victory at feeling "equal" very often means someone else doesn't get what they want?

Have you noticed that common signifiers for equality have to do with physical characteristics and mental well-being? Things like being treated equitably despite color of skin, origin of culture and country, economic status, gender and sexual identity, feeling welcome and wanted whether one is svelte or obese, well-dressed and groomed or NOT well-groomed and offensively sloppy, obviously intelligent or obviously compromised in brain matter?

We all realize that when it comes to mindful matters, no one can SEE opinion; it first has to be conveyed. Have you noticed that when opinion IS expressed, if it does not conform to a preferred status quo of agenda, the rules change? Diversity and acceptance so fought-for across many stratums is met suddenly with resistance, with intent or hope to conform.

"That's no way to think" we might as well all say. We might as well bluntly say we will stand by people and try to help when they are being treated unfairly in ways we sympathize with--but we MUST draw the line at diversity of thought that rubs us the wrong way.

Diversity of thought, when linked to action,(i.e. any motion to arrive at an outcome) means someone's going to be unhappy, shortchanged, treated inequitably, regarded with disrespect. When rights or preferences won negate the rights and preferences of others, this is how things work; it is not rocket science.

And who is the judge of what kinds of thoughts and rights are best for all? We all know what the political divides insinuate--but clearly, identifying as a Democrat or as a Republican now is but a shadow of what it was, not so long ago.

The harder choice today is deciding if any choice we have is a real choice. We can cry "independent" and many do. But until there is substantive "clout" to being "independent" most will continue to succumb to an evolved status of being "a liberal Democrat" or a "conservative Republican", because anything in-between is like sand across wide-gapped floorboards.

Could anything be harder than sticking with a party that espouses equality while denying freedom of thought with seething judgement? On the other hand, could anything be harder than embracing a party you were raised to believe least represented the downtrodden? Sometimes a choice just doesn't feel like a choice.

We are preaching to the choir when we only seek those who think as we do. To respect an intellect only until it differs does not itself seem an intelligent response. To demean and insult, to become embittered by differing thought is clearly not an equitable reaction. It is not a "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" reaction.

If we are ones begrudging our neighbors diversity of thought and judging while at it, we are part of the problem, regardless. But an equality not freely given still requires the equality be allowed. Whether opposing action accompanies divergent thinking or not is up to the powers that be, the forces in play.

Wherefore we come from, whether we believe in a godless or a God-filled fate, "So it was written, so shall it be done" speaks to us all. All the divergent thinking in the world seems to change things only temporarily and in fluctuating stability: "the more things change, the more they stay the same."

But be without hope? Without trust that folks HAVE to have different strokes? Without certainty that no person EVER will be in true charge of separating chaff from wheat?

NOPE. Going to have trust, and derive from it plenty of HOPE. In these dark times, more than ever.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Home, my Happiest Place

Home may be my happiest place, but it would be a guilt trip if I let it.

This world has its way of pulling you in, making you take stock, measuring you up, compelling you toward something more than yourself.

This may be how it should be, but these times surprise me. I come from the freest-thinking generation I think has ever been, and I never expected to "progress" towards regress.

It used to be we could really be ourselves. We could try this or that approach to life, and whatever it was, when someone asked what drove your "spirit", their response was almost always "that's cool."

That's cool. That's fine. It's not for me, but you go right ahead. I like to do "my thing" but hey, let's do something sometime.

And we really did do something sometimes. No judging, no condemning, no trying to sway big thoughts. People really did live and let live, even if in private there were more emboldened thoughts of dissent.

Even if there were emboldened acts towards rights. Marches, protests, demonstrations, love-ins, sit-ins, hunger strikes, bed-ins ala John and Yoko. Some of this stuff resulted in not much more than raised-eyebrows, some of it resulted in real change. All of it resulted in real thought.

I don't think it's a stretch to say we've never seen an era (this one) of more "real change" occurring in a relatively short time. I also don't think it's a stretch to say that although big changes have occurred, there is as much desire to lose some of the change as there is to keep and build on it.

We are just there, in the thick of push-and-pull. We are just here, in the throes of communicating as never before--and have you ever seen this extent of persuasive articulation toward respective certainties that, "THIS is the world we should all want to live in"??

I haven't, and I bite. I want to know the thinking behind what I disagree with, and I want to feel supported by thinking I am in harmony with. I love validation, as do we all, and I'm human enough to enjoy a little vindication too, when I read others' words expressed in a way I haven't succeeded with--words I can "share" nonetheless.

But the bible says vengeance is not ours. I've come to believe in the bible, but I need to undertake the full understanding that the bible might mean as little as nothing to someone else. I need to absorb this, even as I push it...because the bible tells me I must push it.

So I push what I gather undisputedly--what there is mostly consensus about, by true scholars of the book. Others push what they gather in opposition, from sources and toward ends THEY feel are indisputably more worthy. Accomplished effectively, we bring each other to pause, at least in pockets and folds.

This big war going on about who is more moral, who is more "right"....where will it bring us? What can we do to uphold the "side" we are on? What good can we do? Must the good we do be politically or religiously motivated, directly connected
to the current tides?

The "good" I've done has nothing to do with any side of any thing or for any grand end. I just have always known I liked to nurture with food! So I have prepared meals in my home and taken them to people who appreciated them. I've cooked and also volunteered to home-deliver meals for and from our local senior nutrition center, where I learned a long-ago lesson about the good we do that has nothing to do toward any grand end.

You just present warm, lovely food, and people BEAM. They light up. They receive the meal in their kitchens, because they are homebound, and usually this means they are lonely, too. They beckon you in, as if you didn't have a list of others to deliver to, as if you hopefully have time to chat a spell.

And you know you DON'T have the time, but you MAKE the time. If only for a moment. When someone really pulls at your heartstrings, you go back, on your own dime and your own time. And you are every bit as fulfilled as they are.

Except toward my family members, that is almost the extent of the good I've done in this life. I'm more of a retreater than a marcher, and cooking for others has got to be good enough!

Personally I'm fine with this "good", but there is a whole lot of pressure going on now, to march and serve on boards and demonstrate our passions in a multitude of benevolent ways. The trouble with paying too much attention to the noise is that you can't hear your own voice...and this is where guilt can rule.

I have decided not to let it! My "comfort" zone of home also BRINGS comfort to others (if mostly to my family members these days) and it has never been politically or religiously motivated.

I love that however we struggle with our places in the world, it is a most wonderful life-hack to show love without answering to people-pressures.

Now God-pressure, that's another thing...but He must love me, to have found me this answer! I believe it, and I have received it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Don't Make Me Come Over There!!

If you ARE a parent or if you HAVE a parent, you know this much: Parents never give up wanting the best for their children, in every way.

In our own parenting we "get it" more easily, but as adults we remain independently averse to following our own parents' "rule of law."

We just do. We don't have to be rude about things, we don't have to be "in-your-face" about things, but we ARE going to differ in some ways and we ARE going to act on them.

But some of us ARE rude, or "in-your-face" by stubborn, affecting behaviors--actions that impact whole families, relationships within, and respective lives involved, particularly one's own.

Our child's own life. THIS is what we care about most.

There is a story in my family, of a son who passed from this earth in self-destruction--his parents could do nothing to save him. For several years they tried every approach, and finally they came to a day of "tough love."

The stance of "tough love" backfired on them. There was no chance for reversal; the tactic brought its result, and it concluded in heartbreak. But they had one more son to save, and for him they decided "tough love" never again.

We parents, and OUR parents, just so often fly by the seat of our pants. We can go by recommended schools of thought and advisements, but most often we just have to take things one day at a time, being as proactive as our circumstances allow. So many of us do the best we can and HOPE, others do the best we can and PRAY.

I recently read an article where the introductory catch-line claimed that the worst thing people can say to others (in any circumstance) is, "I will pray for you."

The author was offended by prayer; but prayerful people would consider this the benevolent thing to do toward a loved one's interests. In a world where actions speak louder than words, even prayerful people will do what they can to promote the safety and wellness of their children.

We just do. We act, and we worry...but worry, a prayerful person knows, is the antithesis of prayer. It is the thing that undermines the mission and hope of prayer, because it implies distrust. It implies a lack of faith--first that God cares about us enough to help, and second it implies disbelief that He will help us to our end, even if we think He does care.

We are torn between the truth of other people's unanswered prayers (to the end they prayed), we are torn about being deserving, we are torn about the facts-of-life and that suffering is all around us--we are torn about many, many things.

Being torn will always bring us to indecisiveness. Indecisiveness leads to putting things off--as in putting off if we will pray shallowly or in earnest, if we will pray or believe at all.

Have you seen the movie "The War Room"? A "spirited" elderly woman serves a young "seeking" woman a cup of lukewarm coffee, and the younger turns from it in distaste. The message is we need to have "heat" (passion) in this life, for many things to be the best they will be. We need to be "on fire."

I once asked a Catholic nun what a day in her life was like. While she was (is) active and on-the-go in her Godly work, most days are spent with the majority of its hours in prayer.

When I heard this I thought, well, that's an easy life. That's a good way to live in a comfortable place with all your needs met daily. Not in sarcasm did I think that! I sincerely thought: "What an easy way to make a good life."

I don't see it that way anymore. I see prayer as something you have to be earnest about, "on fire." Prayer needs passion, and a person whose life is devoted to prayer has to feel this passion towards other people's needs. They also have to pray for people who may not even be praying for themselves, people who haven't asked for prayer but whose loved ones have on their behalf. There is no fooling God about our earnestness; this woman took a vow and has to fulfill it, always in earnest! Always in the high hopes of others.

And what about people who haven't asked for prayer, who would indeed scorn it and reject it if you ventured to say, "I will pray for you..." to them?

What about children whose very attitudes defy you to pray for them? Those whose actions make clear even if they're not entirely averse to prayer, they are not wanting the change that just might weirdly come through prayer?

I personally defer to the ultimate Parent and what He directs. If all is fair in love and the war of free-thinking minds, we who pray are entitled to pray for those who won't. I'm not sure what the contrasting response would be to this, but we who pray are called to pray, and good luck trying to tell us the worst thing we can do is what we are called to do!

And herein lies the gist of this entry: If a loving parent will always want the best for their child, it stands to reason that a loving child will always see the good their parent hopes for them. This means that prayerful people will always answer to their Parent Most High--about furthering His ways and His words to their own children.

This "I will pray for you" thing?? It's an honoring-your-parent and loving-your-child kind of thing! And don't make me come over there to tell you this firsthand!!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

It's a Dream Thing

On a gloomy day, do you ever ride the roads home glancing for lamplight in the houses along the way?

It must be a pioneer thing, but I do it every chance I get. A light in a window makes me think of LIFE, and how God intended it should be lived. A sheltering home and family within, small comforts and needed sustenance, love in its purest and most essential form.

It's a "dream" thing too, because from the beginning of time, life has always morphed into complicated.

I think of "light" as something more than wattage, of course. I think of it as adversarial to dark, as in darkness of life and global circumstances. A soft glow is all I need, an insistent, evocative lure that reassures about the sweetness of simplicity, about the good to be drawn toward.

I am the first to concede there is not much modern or exciting going on in my own lamplight. I like the modern conveniences, but even these are most basic--if there is such a thing as basic in some things "nowadays." If something comes with too many bells and whistles, I own it only because it didn't come in a less-complicated model.

My spouse and I "bypass" a lot of stuff in our daily living; we could be accused of being boring or of not living life "to the fullest." But I like to think we're attracted to the lamplight of how life was meant to be lived long ago, when there weren't so many options (in everything) to choose from.

Call us old-fashioned, which we never would have minded. Until recently, when it seems "old-fashioned" has become a loathed way to be. The term implies way too much, some of which we DO mind.

I think what all people mind most about being "categorized" is the assumptions that come with; the resulting perceptions really only arrived at by the perceptions the perceiver is limited to, by his/her own world views.

I wish this "light" bulb (of a moment for me) would never flicker, but alas, it will and does, and I venture to say in other heads, too. In my steadiest flame, I want the world to know: I know that my limitations in world view do not and should not limit others. Likewise, if I want to live within some limitations of past times, the choice of that should not be affected by the choices of others.

It should not be diminished in validation, or demeaned. A further venture is to say that when those who choose to follow older-world views are so now maligned with the "expired" date of their thinking, what do we become guilty of?

Pushback. We are pushing back, not (most of us) cramming anything down anyone's throat. But yes, it is conceded--pushing back this hard was not nearly as needed before--when we were in our "time" and element, when we were the undeniable majority--an easy place to be. Sure, we always promoted our views, a required prerequisite of, for example, our following of Christianity.

But have you lived long enough to notice that in prior decades (and certainly without social media involved) people just didn't push that hard their beliefs? Here too is a concession: disbelievers in "our" time did not feel they dared to have a "bright" place in the light, THEIR light. People stayed quieter, until their inner voices raged outward, in the company of like minds, toward modern-day issues across many stratums.

And so here we are, one (or more, let us not assume two "categories" fit all mindsets) pushing with force across boundaries that we know well and good should be respected.

Even the Bible tells us this. Humankind was not given free will so that others in humankind could damn anyone to hell. It's not our place!! We are only to lead toward the possibilities of eternal life, through God's Word, provided clearly, with very few misinterpretations abided.

This for me means I need to follow a mellow light, a golden glow of the "essentials" in daily living. God, home, its comforts and labors, family, love, sustenance as needed and in ways needed, until kingdom comes.
I love that. I love that I'm okay with a literal "less is plenty" in my experiential times on this earth. I believe it was what was originally intended!! AND, I'm going to camp with the grandkids, perhaps in a remote corner of our property (a friend just told me this is the very best place) and maybe, POSSIBLY, somewhere more exotic!!

And so, if "light" extends itself to us, I think too of people on a farm-place like ours, who lived in a time of no literal light, of the magnitude we know today. I picture the young men who traversed the distance between our house and a barn in the dark of the evening, only by the guide of a dim oil lamp. I think of the woman in the kitchen, who flicked a switch in amazement one day, after the rural electrical cooperative came in and wired for a "brilliant" bulb to light her workspace.

I think of God, who in the first place (my belief) allowed man to develop electricity, giving us greater light. The sky has seemed the limit since then, for the light we enjoy and in other modern advances--which seem to have (in time) "advanced" our general thinking and ways.

But I conclude this: in our very current times, no amount of man-made light seems to be advancing the peace and harmony of the original "glow" intended for our lives. Our Lord Jesus, sent by the Father, remains the giver of light! And while we have become accustomed to much more than the sun and the moon, His promise of being the light of the world remains.

Happy Resurrection Day to all; Jesus was and IS the Son of God--He
alone gives light to our days!!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Importance of Being a Deplorable, in Earnest

My husband was at a mechanic's garage this morning, in search of erstwhile advice before impending auto-doom.

What he found instead was THE source of doom for the last remaining threads of harmony between opposing Americans during the recent presidential election.

The "garage" is not your typical one, but it is not all-that-uncommon for Wisconsin. It is behind a pretty farmhouse in rural Wisconsin, amidst gorgeous grounds and a good piece down a country road.

In the yard is a vintage motor home the owner just purchased for restoration. Likely he could purchase a new one, but vintage is his style, he loves a project, and expects to have a magnificent travel-home in the end.

Already there is a pristine collectible automobile in one part of his garage, shiny in its perfection and almost too stunning to take off the grounds. The remainder of the vast space bespeaks investment, hard work, of a dedicated professional who has earned his stripes in respect. The man could rescue any one of us away from impending auto-doom and has saved many motorists from a crisis while on the road.

So my husband and this man are talking, and after awhile comes by a neighbor--a farmer. The farmer and the mechanic are pals; they both own substantial land and while one mechanics for the better part of his living, the two collaborate sensibly. After all, the farmer owns mechanical equipment and tends more than his own land for the better part of HIS living. Such a partnership too is common in Wisconsin.

So now the neighbors are talking and my husband is readying to depart, when he hears commentary about their mutual status as "deplorables." They are cheerful, and laughing good-naturedly, but they are clearly referring to a sore point. They exchange a few more words before Ramon is out of hearing-range, but it is enough for him to gather this much: when mocked and disrespected, people don't forget.

No, when it really matters, heels are dug in and degradation is not acquiesced to humbly.

These men are not poor, white (ok, I guess they're white) and uneducated. I can't say if the farmer attended anything but a school of hard knocks, it is true. But the mechanic doesn't mechanic by happenstance; if his education is not a four-year one, he can still preserve the whole integrity of a car owned by any person who boasts such a degree.

Trump supporters. All across America, at one point lumped into a "basket of deplorables." Were they all Trump lovers? Doubtful, because it is doubtful they approved of everything Trump did or said. Were all of them even faithful voters in all elections? According to media commentary, a lot of "deplorables" couldn't be counted on to go to the polls.

And so, it appears, they weren't counted in. But it also appears that being called a deplorable gave rise to the turning point that spurred the tide-turning poll participation. When Hillary Clinton made the now-famed comments, online vocabulary searches spiked to know exactly how she was referring to those who very well MIGHT vote for Trump.

As we know, might here became RIGHT, as in righteous indignation, as in right-leaning, as in "On election day, I'm going RIGHT to the polls to vote for Trump."

Maybe you heard, as I did, some of the mockery about "deplorables" having to look up the word to understand what they were being called. Indeed an online search TODAY (regarding this entry; I knew the meaning of the word!!) confirms mass searches at the time on the definition of "deplorable."

Does wanting/needing to know the exact meaning of the term fulfill the "uneducated" portion of the inferences? Maybe to Clinton supporters, but herein lies the ridiculousness of it all.

"Deplorable" has always, and always will be, in the eye of the beholder. Did "educated" Clinton supporters truly believe Trump-leaners didn't have a problem with many of the things Trump said or did? Were Clinton supporters truly revolted and shocked that the same persons who were so revolted and shocked by Bill and Monica and "the cigar" (look it up) now were unfazed by things said by or about Trump?

COME ON. Things were no better, no worse, but at least Trump wasn't in the White House yet. You can add in all the negative phraseology in the world into this "basket of deplorables", as HRC did--but could it essentially have been a classic case of the deplorable calling the
deplorable a deplorable?

It's all in the eye of the beholder, but very few of us have 20-20 vision. We see what is most clear, but always toward the vision we prefer on the issues we care most about. If a candidate strikes a chord or sends a chill down our spine, we respond...with a vote.

It's the AFTER-the-vote that tells us all we REALLY wanted to know BEFORE-the-vote. But we don't have the option, so we vote, in HOPE about what matters most to each of us respectively.

How clear is it that the continuing polarization is based on fear of "regression" into ways that some feel didn't make America so great, and by the rejoicing from others who feel the ways we had are the ways we need, to make America great again? With such vivid and distinct separations of agreement as to what makes America great, how can we NOT be polarized?!

When self-professed "educated" persons can't see that degradation and disrespect of others in effect spurs them to the polls, how can we not be polarized?!

When the vote is URGED, very much PRESSED upon us, but not accepted at all graciously afterward by continuing mass insult, volatile in-your-face protests, endless media that sorts and highlights vindictively, hopeful movements of ruination, how can this land not be polarized?!

We are talking hopeless, but only if hopelessness is what enough people want. If hopeless seems the only way to feel and desperate the only way to respond, we have a continuing problem. One is part of the problem if one feels their vote was the only vote to be respected. One is part of the problem when one jeers (or cheers a jeer) at the elected president speaking, just two or so months in. If one did not act to "solve" the electoral college "problem" decades ago but claims it now as a deadly force that unfairly called this election, one is part of the problem.

I think of the day I handed the keys to my café to a party who wanted to run it for me. A contract was drawn up, and I gave them my vote of confidence. In less than three months they closed up, utility and other bills unpaid, my building a mess, my clientele left in the lurch.

There was a judge and he agreed with my assessment, "Your honor, two months is not long enough a try. I expected them to try longer and harder, and they assured me by this contract that they would."

Whether our president leaves a mess remains to be seen, but is two or so months-in long enough for the good try? He hardly seems ready to throw in the towel--and he is declaring the mess already here, one he inherited. We the voters have said that about more than one election in recent history, so we cannot say for sure he didn't--and that too is in the eye of the beholder.

Despite the tone of this entry, it is neither to defend or condemn Trump. There is more than one way to bring down a country, and for me, both candidates held a little more potential for that than was at all comfortable. If moderation is a key to life as I believe it is, I very much longed for another choice.

I hope the tone of this entry instead infers this: the humanity we feel closer to is not the only humanity that matters or should have opportunities. We can't detest people because of who they voted for or for what side of any aisle they are on, and this is what the polarization is about. We can SAY or even convince ourselves that it is about the issues we care about, the issues that affect people and causes we care about. BUT. If we can care that much about a stratum or stratums of people even across the globe, why not include all stratums, and in our homeland?

Realistically we clash, but we succeeded for all the many decades preceding this one. There have been rights for humanity won and lost, lost and won. We have never stopped bringing up rights needed and we have always had legislators who responded to our hopes about rights. Rights will contrast, as they always do, and our legislators will fight the good fight, as they always have and as their constituents entreat them to.

I for one want to see a better day, when folks don't degrade and hate others because of a vote. We will see soon enough who is vindicated about the outcome of this vote, for better or worse. Will it be too late? I fear more the very possible "too late" of what is occurring now; that we fail ourselves across the board, for scorning a value we don't stress enough: UNITY

Unity in constituency may now seem hopeless, but only if enough people persist at the hopelessness.

And there's a book to help take care of that!! :)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Measure Twice, We Might Be Alright

Soon after the election of Trump as president, I told my daughter if things did not settle down soon, our country would be in civil war.

She looked at me as if I were nuts.

This morning (a couple of months in) I read that the esteemed economist Ben Stein has very recently said that indeed, this land is now essentially in civil war.

We are now so at-odds, with almost everything and anything, that it appears to even the most-optimistic, there is really very little to be done to advance harmony in the homeland. No one wants to give an inch, lest the proverbial mile be taken.

And why WOULD anyone give an inch, when each day "victories" are won and scales seem to shift? When each day presents opportunities to advance AGENDA, who cares about harmony, really?

Of course we all care about harmony. But the "cost" of it forever moves the bar, and so peace and harmony waits for another day.

Social media is prime for wearing our hearts on our sleeves. We post about what matters to us, what enrages us or breaks our hearts, what seems so evidentiary in appeal toward other minds "getting" where we come from. In the course of this, we either tighten bonds or make those who thought they liked us just fine, decide they do NOT like us, after all. OR we post light-heartedly only, selectively and about things that rile no one.

Whatever approach we take, we are not avoiding becoming informed about controversial topics and matters of the day. We have opinions on them, revealed in varying degrees and waves, according to what each day and our willingness brings.

Somehow that day has brought us if not to civil WAR, then to the civil UNREST that precedes and often does not deter the impending war.

Who amongst us ever dreamed we'd live to see this in our lifetimes and in America? Wasn't the first Civil War dramatic enough to last several lifetimes?!

But if civil war/unrest we must live with, this is my plan: I'm going to roast marshmallows with the grandkids. I'm going to see vistas I haven't seen before and make the best of my God-given circumstances, each day I am given health and wherewithal. I'm going to acknowledge that while the vitality of my circumstances hinges on my belief in one almighty power, this is just not the case for everyone.

We can all try to lead or point the way to the water, but we can't make each other drink. We can't argue anyone into the heavenly realm, and God forbid an unbeliever lead a believer toward non-belief--there's a millstone around a neck for that! (Matthew 18:7) If there's such a thing as a very liberal holy-roller, don't we still ALL have to rid the log in our own eye before trying to take the speck out of anyone else's?

We are living in times of wanting to do and be "right", whether we are biblically-inspired or whether we base our thinking on political-socio ideals of any thinking spectrum--conservative, liberal, independent, or anything in-between.

We wish all people felt our way, and it's not as easy as it used to be to "live and let live." Why is this? I think not because it's so hard to let others live as they will, but because we have come to a time where acceptance and approval is required as never before. If equality in rights were a bottom-line issue, respect of such would extend to ALL persons. We can have our courts argue constitutional, conscientious objection or freedom-of-religion rights for us, but these all involve FORCED-UPON decisions to one party or another--and where is the live-and-let-live in that?

It's all complex, and muddled. Fairness and equality is anything but easily-arrived at, because despite a system that proclaims justice for all, somebody most usually suffers injustice in the end.

As we know, the "right" side of a war is the one we align ourselves with; this is how we roll. Only time truly reveals the "wrong" side of a war, and history often debunks the certainty of even that.

Humankind was made to yearn for peace but die fighting for it. Maybe THIS war will simply be exhausting, futile, disheartening, frustrating, maddening--to each and all. Maybe there will be no body-casualties. Maybe its toll will be experienced mentally, spiritually, emotionally.

BUT. We cannot "melt", if you catch my drift. We also have to hold to honorable form, be helpful to our causes but measured in our responses, cherish what applies--God, home and family, friends, kindred spirits, the natural world and even some man-made facets of it. We have to carry on, and hold in good cheer, to hope that this turmoil will pass as it has always passed before.

We have to know: Trust is required that resolution is in progress. There is a Book that tells us this as no other, and it is ours for the picking up. In its own way it tells us there are marshmallows to be roasted, and sticky faces to be wiped!


Friday, March 10, 2017

Who Knew??

Who knew one could feel so positive about government, in the midst of chaotic government?

First, can we acknowledge government has at all times been chaotic, to one eye or another, but so often most-noted in respect to one's self?

Digression is needed: A few years ago I was in the midst of running a small café, always struggling to get the best price break I could, from my food service representative. Oh, what a losing battle that was. Only chain or "big" restaurants or institutions get the breaks, he told me. The little guy pays huge, and gains the least. They just don't really care about you, he very frankly divulged.

But the guy liked me, I could tell. He worked with me the best he could, and we laughed good-naturedly when he repeatedly said over several years, "Pick that up at the market up the road. You're just going to lose with me."

On the days I actually did rate a delivery, the truck driver was even MORE brutally honest. Just before he got to me, he'd dropped off the school district's order for the week. One morning he brought in my goods and we struck up our usual conversation, centering once again on the topic of my "minimum" order.

"At least you don't overdo things," he noted. "I just left off an extra-big order at the school, and they are scrambling now to make room in the freezers--they already have too much of a bunch of the same stuff and just ordered more."

Really? Why do they do that, I had to wonder aloud.

"Because they have a budget for it. It doesn't matter they don't need it, the money is there for ordering more, and so they do."

Wow, what waste, I thought, and is it by the school, or the government, or both? I didn't think to ask if the money could be saved or steered to another sort of purchase for the school. I wondered about it afterward. I also thought of my part-time pie baker who also substituted in the school cafeteria; she had described all the quality, wholesome and even untouched produce pitched straight into the garbage after every lunch hour, amongst other good foods and beverage.

I thought further about the customer at my shop who'd said to me her government-agency office was kept so cold that coming into my almost-warm atmosphere was kind of a relief, even on a hot summer's day. I didn't know if she was back-handed complimenting me, or pointing out that I COULD lower my thermostat just a tad bit, if I wasn't so.....cheap??

How about just struggling not to push one utility bill only partially-paid, from one month into the next? I would have liked to say this, and more. I did not. Nobody goes into entrepreneurship without a lot of optimism, and people rarely stay in it without at least a measure of negativity--negativity best left unsaid, to keep your pleasant business looking, well, PLEASANT.

Truths emerge, reality bites, we do our best, we eventually move on, if into retirement.

Retirement is a great place for soaking and absorption of the many things that affected your earlier life. It is a time to say: "If I knew then what I know NOW, I think I should have...."

Which takes me to another aspect within school corridors, the current displeasure so many have with what it means to have "school choice."

First let me say I love (good) unions. A good union (my spouse's) is what has made for our good retirement thus far; if I could promote unions like his I would every day of the week. I have family members who rely on their good unions, teachers and otherwise, and I am not about to bash a union mindset!

I AM about to say I know many people whose children suffered at length in a non-viable (for them) public school situation, mine at times included. I know dedicated parents with innate teaching "credentials" that surpass some of those within school walls, who have the interests of their children at heart and who tailor their lives to act on this responsibly and with integrity.

These parents pay into the system but do not use it, at least not to a close measure of their "allotment". They are billed (taxed) for the school-related expenses of their communities, and pay out-of-pocket as much or more to home-school, enroll privately, or transport/enroll their child toward an alternate venue...IF their circumstances allow.

Like you, I have also seen the wonder of really good public schools and their professionals, of late more so than ever. Dedication here too is impossible not to recognize and appreciate--but like the café owner who saw the divide between self-supportiveness and others' reliance on government tax dollars to operate comfortably, I see that many families really WOULD benefit from some aspects of school "choice."

So I don't know the whole picture of anything...we rarely do until something affects us deeply. I am saying the obvious, we can't know what we don't know firsthand. It is hard to walk in someone else's shoes when our own are ill-fitting, but we're still intent on breaking them into a more comfortable walk--to our own struggling end.

How does all this tie into being happy with a government that seems so chaotic, of late more than ever?

Well, I want you try feeling (it's not hard!!) disgruntled and hopeless about something governmentally, and then (with reason and forethought) contact your local legislator. I want you to present a (real) problem that bespeaks how poorly an entity is run, or how short-changed or over-charged you feel. Take something legitimate, and don't whine or cuss or threaten, don't offer which political party you belong to, don't offer who you voted for, don't offer if you believe in God or are atheist. Also don't look for the "R" or the "D" on their letterhead, or wonder anything personal about THEM, either.

Just present your humanity. Just present yourself, in an attitude of, "I hope I am not alone in this."

My spouse and I did this recently. We didn't know we could walk unannounced into a congressional office; we certainly didn't expect anyone to do anything other than take our phone number and say perfunctorily that they would get back to us.

But a huge governmental entity had made a big error against us, one that was going to have a terrible (and not-correct) effect on us, for years to come. The entity itself was not helpful; we had just left its regional headquarters with a "Sorry, there's nothing we can do," declaration.

We took a wild stab, and walked into this office. Two hours and much conversation later, we drove home--to a phone call from the office we had just visited. We had left with a sense of wheels spinning, but the congressional aide notified us she was beginning to sense "traction" and would be working in the coming days toward our concern.

Two letters and about four phone calls later, our issue is being resolved.

Do you know how wonderful it is to not feel alone? Sure you do, but this mostly hinges on your family members and your friend's care and concern for you, perhaps your reliance on the Higher Power. I think the last "entity" I hoped for the sense of help from was my government, especially in these troubled and chaotic times!

Obviously the good and fruitful outcome cannot always happen, and there are bigger fish yet to fry for matters more world-impacting than ours. But this encouragement I give: all is not lost when people look at people as PEOPLE FIRST and not as "I wonder what side of the divide" they are on!

I love this. I hope for more of it. For one thing, if I'm going to be indoctrinated by a "side" I want it to be from the Originator of Indoctrination (the Almighty Father I believe in) and not by scores and scores of fallible, opposing minds. These would be the "authors of confusion" we are warned against!

For me, the Source who has proclaimed from the beginning of time that we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves is the Indoctrinator worth listening to. Somehow and through the ages, He has imparted that we should look to each other as people first, and leave judgement of affiliations to Him. Send souls to His word, yes, and always be guilty of looking at people as people first!!