Thursday, April 21, 2016

Left and Right


Left vs Right:

But wisdom is proved right by all her children…Luke 7:35 NIV

I have to make a confession. I thought the above scripture was from Proverbs. But, it is something that I have often thought of. I always heard it as “Wisdom is known of all her children.” Meaning that once you look at the accumulation of evidence the wisdom of an action or thought will be apparent.  For instance “Obama was born in Kenya and is actually a radical Muslim.” This is not wisdom nor is it known of or proven right by wisdom or evidence.  “The only reason people attack Obama is his race.” Again, this isn’t wisdom or true. See Hillary or Bill Clinton. See Ronald Reagan on the other side. Does that mean nobody hates the president because of his race? OH No, believe me that’s exactly where some of the hate comes from. But, not all of it.

Black lives matter: Yes they do. But, in making it an us vs them type motto I fear the exact opposite of the stated purpose is being put into play. We talk “at” each other instead of “to” each other these days. If you truly want the people you are trying  to persuade to consider your cause then making them defend themselves instead of listening to your point is more than likely not the best way to do it. On the other hand if you only want to have your side to pat you on the head then go on with your bad self.  Nothing will change and you can wallow in your self righteous indignation.  I knew two ladies I worked with a long time ago in the Etowah Count Courthouse. I noticed them one day as they were talking.  They were not listening at all. One would talk and you could see the other nodding and bouncing and just waiting for her friend to shut up so she could talk. Finally, when the other woman finished the one waiting said “okay” as if “finally.” Then she started to talk. J It wasn’t a woman thing it was a human thing. It’s what we all do to an extent.

 

Abortion is murder:  Truth is if men got pregnant you could get an abortion out of a vending machine. Sorry, it’s just true. If you really want to change things then support young mothers and try to make a way in society instead of slapping labels on them and telling them how sorry they are. Truth is that the far right wing is one reason  that some young women do abort. You put pictures of young black men in hoods on your facebook pages and say the cops made a righteous kill. You support bombing men women and children back to the stone age. You want to deport young kid’s parents and yet you say you are pro life or pro family or Christ like. You’re Not! You’re pro birth. Period!

White priviledge: You think that just being born “of color” gives you a moral superiority over those of us born white. It Doesn’t! You don’t know my struggles. You don’t know how many times I’ve been told to go the back of the line because I was not rich or powerful or had a birth defect. It’s MONEY that matters. I cringe when Will Smith or Jada Pinkett (and I love Jada) yells about racial injustice as if they have the same experience that a poor black lady in the projects has. Are they in the projects? Are they supporting black families? Or do they just want to play the race card and sit in their “ivory tower” Pun intended.

Obama is horrible: Really? Truly? You do know that he inherited a country on the brink of depression right? You do know that George Bush had the nation in two war’s and was cutting aid to military families right? You don’t? Well, I worked for the army back then and let me tell ya. We couldn’t even get @#$% toilet paper for the schools and day care’s on post because good ole George the patriot’s administration was cutting funds to the families while the fathers and mothers were sent into a war zone. I still remember mothers and fathers running to the t.v. in the day room’s of the centers because their husband, wife, mom, dad were in the unit  that was taking fire and being reported by Fox or CNN or other networks. Love Bush? Ya know where I’d like to stick Bush? Nuff Said!

Guns: Really people? Back off. I was raised in a family of hunters. I don’t hunt. I’m a hypocrite because I would never shoot a deer but I’ll eat the hell out of some steak. J  However, why not have guns registered and make sure felons don’t have the priviledge of buying legal guns. Sorry to my fellow liberals but it’s not the hunters and home owners and people registering guns that are the danger.  So, lets keep em legal and regulated and stop demonizing each other.

Here’s a shout out to my folks in Bama: Look at how bankrupt the state of Alabama is because you have given one party the absolute rule over your state.  The next  time a politician tells you he/she is fighting Obama ask them what the !@#$ that has to do with making sure the people of Alabama have clean water and good jobs and decent roads and schools. IT’s a shell game folks.

Medicaid: Health care does need to be reformed. I agree there are some major flaws in Obama Care. But, the heart is in the  right place. I was recently (at least to me it was recent) between jobs. It was horrible. My child has Asthma. If it were not for Medicaid I would have been more of a basket case than I was. I work with older people who have to have dialysis treatment just to live. People who don’t make enough to afford insurance or don’t have the blessing of working for an employer who can provide insurance. Employers who honestly can’t afford insurance. Hospitals and doctors threaten to leave and close up because they will go broke.  Please wake up!

The Border: Let me tell ya I’m glad Taco Bell was open late the other night. The Burrito’s hit the spot. Oh, that border. Never mind. J

Seriously, I do understand both sides of the debate.  However, no matter which way you come down at least have a little compassion on the poor families and children at the border. You might with good reason be alarmed at the ease in which gangs and drugs are crossing. But, do you really think that if it were you on the other side of that border and your family was hungry that you wouldn’t give it a shot? Really? I would!  One other thing from a social workers perspective. We are not standing at the border giving out free social security and Medicaid benefits to everyone who crosses the border illegally. The people who cross are having to work two and three jobs and live two and three families to a residence just to stay afloat. Now you can argue the merits of doing that. There are  arguments to be made. But, I just wanted to assure you that us liberal social workers are not handing out Medicaid and SSI benefits like candy. Just so you know.

Gay Marriage: Why is this an issue? You have evangelist standing in the pulpit while their third wife beams with pride talking about the sanctity of marriage. If Vegas and multiple divorce hasn’t damaged or destroyed marriage then Bob and Tom entering into a legal adult union isn’t going to destroy it. If the church doesn’t want to recognize it then it doesn’t have to. A church I attended in my youth didn’t recognize divorce and remarriage. So, there are people in the other churches preaching on marriage when their own marriage is a sin in the eyes of some other “Christian” denominations.  Chill out folks. Time to be big boys and girls.

Bathrooms: Honestly, I never let my child go into a public bathroom by himself until he was 12 years old. Even now I stand anxiously at the door. So, if you are afraid some pedophile is going to accost your 3 year old daughter in the restroom then I think you’re an idiot. Because your 3 year old daughter shouldn’t be going into a public restroom by herself in the first place. But, (and this will bug my liberal friends) there is an easy way to handle this. If you have a penis then use the men’s room. If you have a vagina then use the women’s room. If it’s a restroom that specifies both men and women can use it then lock the door. Got it? Good! Move on.

Just Vote: Please Don’t! Telling someone to “just vote” is like telling them to just shoot the arrow without looking. It does matter. Look at the issues. Think about what’s important to you. Hold both parties accountable. Then vote. Honestly? I’m becoming more and more cynical about voting. I do vote and will continue to do so. But, I’m not silly enough to think that anybody who rises to the level of senate or presidential candidate  is a pure and clean servant of the people.

Just some ramblings and as always. I could be wrong. J Thanks for the honor of reading my occasional rants.  Peace.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Life before, during and after.


Do you believe in life after death? No, I don’t mean are you a Christian, atheist, or new ager or Wiccan or Unitarian. I mean what do you really believe? I have always been fascinated or haunted by the reality of those two little dates on a tombstone. Born: ….Died:….

What does it mean? Wow, that’s fast. Since returning to my native state of Alabama around 2005 after living in Hawaii and Colorado and points in between I have been surprised and at times dissappointed in the meanness of religious and political views of people I have loved and respected my whole life. I have kept from commenting to often because I don’t want to hurt or belittle or distance myself from people I grew up with. Fell in love with in my youth or have the same family blood flowing though my veins. Still, some of the statements concerning the refugee the “illegal” children and homeless and poor among us make me want to say at times “Have you lost your #$%&* mind?” Have you really forgotten where you came from? Are you now that rich? That comfortable? That sure of your own rightousness? But, I don’t. I can’t. I can put it out here like this and maybe I’m a coward. I don’t think so. But, I also can’t help but wonder. What do I really believe. Some are able to say “Well, the bible says it, I believe it and that settles it.” Now, I can give lip service to that. I can say amen to that and get a pat on the head from family, old school mates and friends. But, as my momma always said: God already knows me so why do I care what you think? J So, I can’t lie to you. I don’t know for sure. I still wonder. I have really, really different feelings on things than the ones I  was taught in Sunday School or the political right wing absolutes of most of my home state. I also don’t lean left so far my brains fall out. I don’t apologize for my skin color or the so called “white privilege” birth. Nobody ever apologized for my cleft lip and pallet (not that they should) so I’m not apologizing for any so called priviledge of being born a certain Irish or European background. My maternal grandparents pretty much raised me and they were poor, applachhain survivors of the great depression. I haven’t forgotten. So, to me all people matter. All God’s children are important. Anyway, I recently finished a book on the subject of what comes next. So, here’s my “book report.” J

 

What Dreams May Come
Richard Matheson
First Published 1977
Tor Books 2004

I listened to the audio book format since these days I have a long although peaceful drive to and from work. The Robin Williams movie “What Dreams May Come” is based on this book. I honestly don’t remember that much about the movie. I remember the last part where Robin rescues his soul mate from a hellish afterlife and cut scene to a little boy and little girl meeting after both were reincarnated. Richard Matheson in his day was a prolific writer and also a contributer to the original Twilight Zone t.v. series. Richard Matheson wrote another book I believe called “The Path” where he expanded some of his beliefs and opinions about the “afterlife.” I have not read that book. This is a work of fiction but based on extensive reading of the author. I have the ebook along with the audio book and I can tell you the listing of resource material the author supplies is extensive. Since the book was written in the 70’s many of the resources are from early to mid 20th centaury so it’s also a very valuable resource to see how this subject was treated before the internet and made for t.v. and ghost hunter type stuff muddied the waters.

 
The main character is Chris Nielsen who has been killed in a car accident. The story opens with his brother receiving a visit from a very reluctant psychic who far from trying to take advantage simply wants to be rid of the whole affair. The spirit of Chris Nielsen is very persistant in wanting to tell his story and pretty much hounds the psychic until she channels the account for his brother to read.
Ann who is the wife of Chris is grieving so horribly that she just can’t seem to go forward. They were so close in life that even though she has children she just loses all hope. She isn’t religious and doesn’t really accept that there could be such a thing as life before or after death. It makes her grief all the more crippling.


There is a scene at the gravesite where her teenage son has brought a psychic or a medium who sees spirits. The medium sees the spirit of Chris but Ann is not comforted at all. As a matter of fact she is angry and calls him a fraud. Later in a scene at her house Chris has gone to the bedroom. He comes down the stairs and sees the same psychic trying one more time at the sons insistence to convince Ann that Chris still exist and isn’t annihilated. However, this time the medium sees a pale robot like shade that only he can see. This creature is a product of the medium and perhaps Ann’s own subconscious making. Chris is disgusted and tries to get through to the medium that this creature isn’t him. Creepy scene and you would just have to read it. It’s hard to convey because the way I have told it sounds like a grade b horror movie. I assure you it isn’t.

The afterlife in this telling is shaped by the thoughts and desires of the deceased. I would recommend (although, it’s Christian themed so you may or may not like it) “The Great Divorce” by C.S. Lewis. At least on the shaping afterlife aspect. Other than that this book has nothing in common with the Lewis book. What Dreams May Come is not a religious book.


The afterlife in this book has a summerland type environment but also hellish regions depending on the spirit and thoughts of the deceased person. Ann eventually takes her own life and that is when Chris begins his journey with the assistance of his spirit guide. There is also a brief encounter with his deceased father where while civil also makes a point. The fact that you are related by blood doesn’t always mean (and that’s okay) that you are spiritually connected in a soul mate or even group soul way.
There is a library where you can read the “true history” of earth as opposed to the text books and accounts that we have here. Reincarnation is also touched on and reasons for reincarnating. It’s not a book about reincarnation per say but it does have something to say on the subject. Especially at the end.
The book is a little dated and I found myself glad to be listening instead of reading through it. But, as I get older I get more easily distracted so some of that my be me instead of the dating of the book. I do highly recommend the book and I think the author has something important to say.
I once read an account of someone speaking about the bible. It might have been the American political commentator George Will but I’m not sure. Anyway, the quote was about the bible. It could well apply to many things including this book. The quote: “Important, if true.”

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter


Some years ago I stood before my grandparents grave’s in Altoona/Walnut Grove, Al  Cemetery. I stood there and in my head these words were so clear. Happy Easter. I knew in that moment that they were home. Not in a cemetery. I could stand there and maybe in some way that we don’t yet understand there was a connection between this reflection of a greater world and the actual world of spirit.  All I know for sure is that they are safe. A part of a Great Cloud of Witnesses. In my very spirit. In the silence of my own mind and the middle of the night or the middle of a summer’s day I know. I’m thankful.

I’m not much of a bible thumping, fundamentalist these days. Matter of fact I keep most of what I believe to myself or to a few people in like minded facebook groups or the times I run my wife crazy with a rant on reality. Don’t ask. J We just don’t always agree these days on the mysteries of the universe. But, that’s okay.  So, my thoughts don't come from a place of my way or the highway. It's part of my journey. One of the few  things I think I know is that one size doesn't fit all. But, this is a part of my experience.

Some years ago a friend in Colorado who I respect made a statement while we were talking. He casually said something about us “not being Christians.” He was rather surprised when I said “But, I am a Christian.” I guess he was surprised because honestly? The Southern Baptist Church where I was baptized as a child would at the very least consider my views heretical as would my grandmother’s Church Of God. My friend just assumed given my very liberal view on culture, religion and politics that I couldn’t be a Right wing republican version of a Christian. He was and is right about that. But, I did grow up in the family and I'm not so far removed as to be alien to it.

Anyway, there are two things that have remained precious to me in my journey through life.  One is communion. No, contrary to the atheist and intelligentsia I don’t literally believe the body of Christ is in my hand or my mouth. But, on the other hand I honestly believe the body and the blood of Christ is taken into my own body symbolically, spiritually and with much hope. You don’t have to take communion or be a Christian or even be a religious person for me to respect your journey. This is more than likely the only place where those fellow travelers of my youth would still agree with me. So, I’m not trying to defend or attack religion.

The second and most important thing I’ve taken from my journey and still hold onto is Easter. I say Easter instead of resurrection because of the literal and fundamentalist mindset that entails. I don’t recite creeds. I don’t personally think bodies and molecules and sexual parts knit back together in some magical way on judgement day. But, remember my take on communion? Same thing. I believe the reality of Christ as the elder brother who stepped into this reality for a while and showed the way to honor and love this life while holding to the most important part of it. The preparation for our real home. Narnia, Heaven, Afterlife, Pure consciousness. So, anyway as I look on this season I’m not interested in the arguments for stopping the pagan holiday. I have no problems with pagans myself. J I’m not interested in convincing anybody of anything. I’m just thankful. Thankful that it’s a Happy Easter for my grandparents. Thankful that Easter comes to us all. I hold to that.

So, from this heretic. This “liberal.” This spirit in need of angels on my way home I say:

He is Risen. He is risen indeed.

Peace!

Monday, February 15, 2016

God, Unitarians and Stephen King.

In your head, in your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie,
ey, ey, ey. What's in your head,
In your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie?
ey, ey, ey, ey, oh, dou, dou, dou, dou, dou...
The CranBerries.

  I was hearing this song in my head today. Back when we were first married Cindy would play this and sing on her acoustic guitar. She even hit the Irish accent on some of the lyrics. Maybe due to the Scots/Irish roots of both family trees? I doubt it. I think she just liked the group. ;-) But, I digress. When do I not?

I have a running dialog in my head. Always have. As I get older I have to be careful it doesn't spill over from my head to my mouth. One of those moments when I think to myself. Did I say that out loud? :-) 
 Anyway, yesterday I was having the usual dialog in my head during a time of being in a Unitarian Church service. A Unitarian services is certainly different from the fire and brimstone of my youth. But, it's also more boring. Lord help me I was thinking while they were doing some vacuous meandering that wouldn't it be crazy if one of the people from my Grandmother's Pentecostal church happened in after 35 years and started speaking in tongues. :-0
Well, it wouldn't be boring. :-)

 That's the kind of thing my mind (Cindy says it's adult ADD but, it's always been there) gets up to when I'm bored. Now, don't get me wrong. I think these folks are well educated and smart and I like them. Great folks to sit around the table and talk lit and history and civil rights with. I'm no fire and brimstone evangelical these days. Still, it's not really my cup of tea for acknowledging the holy or the mystery of being.

Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see that it makes no sense at all,
Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor,
'Cause I don't think that I can take anymore
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you...Stealers Wheel

Well, so there I am and their talking about fish being our ancestors. Now, look I'm as well educated as I can be. I'm reminded of Jerry Clower's great quote: "Some people are educated above their intelligence." Even in Alabama we know that once ya get past the third cousin it's a very tenacious bloodline. Not that gives an excuse for some of our inbred politicians in this state. But, again I digress. :-)

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry
No, I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me...John Lennon

 I still feel that presence, that inner dialog. It's going to be okay. There's a place and a realness inside me that says Helen Keller is right. No matter how many fish cousins I have. :-)

 "Death is no more than passing from one room into another. ... Because in that other room I shall be able to see." - Helen Keller.

I'm still freaked out when I look in the mirror though. I mean there's this little fat man with very little hair and I'm wondering where I went. But, then again I go back to my inner dialog and I know I'm still here. Along with the cast of characters in my head. But, lets not go there. I'm a social worker by trade and I'd hate to seem like I go around talking to myself. :-) Who said that?


Open up the window, let some air into this room
I think I'm almost chokin' from the smell of stale perfume
And that cigarette you're smokin' 'bout scare me half to death
Open up the window, sucker, let me catch my breath

Mama told me not to come
Mama told me not to come
"That ain't the way to have fun, son"
"That ain't the way to have fun, son"...Three Dog Night

I don't know for sure. But, I think it's okay to have fun. But, here's a secret. Being addicted to something isn't fun. Took me years to understand that having fun isn't trying hard. It's just letting life flow. I still don't always get it right.

My favorite author (Stephen King) tells a story or did in one of his books or a interview or something. I forget just where and it may or may not be original with him. But, it goes like this:
So, Job after all his trials looks up at God and says: Why have you done this all these things or allowed all these things to be done to me? Why?
 Out of the darkening sky thunder rolls. A deep (cue Charleston Heston here) voice rumbles in answer.
"Because ya know Job? Something about you just pisses me off!"

:-)

Yeah, I know. That's not very reverent is it? Well, neither is asking God to destroy the Palestinians or let the conservatives bomb third world countries to oblivion in Jesus name either. I mean I see a well meaning artist depicting Jesus Christ holding the constitution. Give me a frickin Break! But, lets (meaning me) back away from the politics. My voice gets a little shrill and my self righteousness meter starts to go up. Not cool or funny.

But, anyway when I'm not thinking of how much fun it would be to see staid social gatherings interrupted by human passion or thinking about crude jokes while in a department meeting at work while the supervisor is asking me how my case load is doing. (it's that dang inner dialog) mental Stevie just can't sit still. ;-) How old am I? I think and that starts it's own trail down the rabbit hole. :-0

  These days I'm learning the joys of over 50 (some odd years over 50 but lets not split hairs.) body movement. I'm going to have to stand up in a crowded room and try my best not to fart! True story, I never know what the ole bod is about to do these days. ;-)

 When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons
Now I've got that feeling once again
I can't explain, you would not understand
This is not how I am
I have become comfortably numb

I have become comfortably numb...Pink Floyd


Well, at least my comfortable numbness these days isn't from artificial means. I would pass all blood test  unless they make coffee illegal. :-)

Anyway, it's a fun, wonderful, tragic ride and I'm still up for it (Thank God)
People are crazy and evil and wonderful and caring and racist and stupid and smart. I do think it's more than a sperm lottery. But, I don't know exactly what it's about. I have intimations of immortality. I also have to watch when I stand up fast these days. Also, when I sneeze hard. :-)


 There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear...Buffalo SpringField.

So, have a Coke and a Smile and remember the world is Strong enough for a man. But, made for a woman! Okay, that makes no sense in that context. Well, maybe it does. :-)

Peace!




 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Years Walk!

Back around the late 70's or early 80's I started my own personal tradition. I don't think I started it with a "tradition" in mind. Just a one time thing that lasted into parts of three decades or so. I would go into the woods or somewhere quiet and walk and think and pray and try to make sense out of my life. I loved to walk up at Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, Alabama. The falls were a part of my youth just as they were for countless Gadsden/Etowah County kids and families growing up. They weren't the only place but they were the most relaxing place for me to walk. Black Creek was narrow and swift and cold and I would walk the woods and the rocks and while it might seem crazy today. I felt no need at all in my late teens or early twenties to tell anybody where I was. This was my time to open up to God and to myself about the deepest thoughts and problems and hopes of my life. The coming year and all the people and experiences of the past year. So, I have walked in North Alabama and the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii. The woods around Altoona, Alabama and in Colorado. Life has taken some twist and turns I didn't expect.

I don't walk in the woods much these days. Don't get out as far by myself as I once did. Meditation with ear buds has replaced long walks and silent prayer has replaced at least to some extent the verbal out loud talk. Believe me talking to God while walking beside a swiftly running creek or walking the beach with waves breaking is a much easier thing than talking out loud in the grocery store. :-) The beach and woods and creek cover nicely. The store might get ya a day in the Psyc ward or at least a visit from the nice officer to make sure you're not volatile. :-)

Anyway, as I thought about it today I started thinking about old times. I thought about people that have been in my life. Some for just a moment and some shaped and molded my thoughts and actions for a lifetime. All are and were important. I have been able to reconnect with some people on facebook that I never thought I'd talk to again in this lifetime. I have also been able to come to a peace about my life. I don't hate the past and I don't regret the people I've known and cared about and if I do have a regret it's how I missed so many relationships or treated people shallowly and missed the dance of life by worrying so much.

I don't smoke these days at all. Not tobacco and not anything else either. :-) My 58 year old lungs would give out if I tried. Breath is a precious thing these days. Believe me. I don't drink except for the occasional glass of wine with my wife on special occasions or maybe a single beer on my birthday with a birthday dinner. My stomach will not tolerate alcohol well these days.  My brew is coffee and Colombian means coffee these days. ;-) So life is different. But, regrets? Some yeah. I would do some things in moderation and some things I wouldn't do at all. But, it's not my wild and lonesome frustrated vices of my youth that I regret. It's how I looked at people and if I treated people well that I would change for the better if could.

I once thought that if only I had the right home, job, bank account, city to live in that things would be okay. Now, I realize that I always had the right home, city, bank account and job if I could have just looked up and enjoyed the dance instead of waiting for the "right" time. Oh well, there's a reason they call it youth.

I worked for Child and Youth Services in Fort Carson, Colorado for a little while several years ago. The director there had a monthly meeting and she always had a segment called "Lessons Learned." I like that. I use it myself sometime. So, here at the end/beginning of a new year are some lessons learned. But, these are lessons learned over not only a year but a lifetime. I think about that sometimes. What would I say if an angel came to me and said "well Steve, it's time." What have you learned in this lifetime? Lets wrap it up. Well, after groveling and "Slangin Snot" as the old folks used to say in my southern youth. ;-)  I think I would say some of this.:

Lessons Learned:

1. Made peace with my past: The people and relationships and mistakes and regrets of the past have shaped how I am evolving now. I went for a time in denial and shame of where and what I had been. I had an old nickname back then that I completely refused to talk about and knew people I completely refused to even think about. I was so scared that by thinking about it I would feel that old helplessness and I would lose myself. Superstition? Yeah maybe. Denial? Yeah. But, finally I made peace with it. It doesn't bite. Some of the people I have loved the most were back there. Some of the most frustrating things in my life were back there too. I recently took my old nickname and decided to own it. To make it positive. Not to call myself that. My name is Steve. But, at least to use it in a fun way to celebrate my youth and life. There's an old saying in baseball when a batter hits a home run. "Touch em All." Meaning of course to touch all the bases on the way around. If you don't you can still be called out. It's also a celebration of hitting the home. Touch em All. I do that now with my past as well as my present. It's all important. I touch em all. :-)

2. Treat people the way you want to be treated: Harder than it sounds believe me. But, I do try to treat everybody with respect of the Divine within them as well as me. We are not bit players in each others movies. We are all on the journey and how we  treat people that have no power to pay us back or give us something in return says everything about us as human beings.

3. Forgiveness isn't the same as saying it's okay to be an asshole. I try to give people room who have hurt me. I try to give them room to be human. I can honestly say I don't hate anybody. I can give them room to be themselves. But, it doesn't mean that by forgiving that I have to say what they did was okay. That's still something that they will have to work out someday. God doesn't balance his books every Tuesday but he does balance them. However, I try to live my life and not wait and hope to see the ones who hurt me obliterated or hurt or get theirs. Hate just eats away at the one who does the hating. So, I release my "right" to have revenge. Now, understand that doesn't mean that you let somebody keep abusing you. It doesn't mean you can't take a stick and get em off you either. :-) It just means you don't give them the "power" of having you dwell in hate toward them.

4. Pray: This is the most important thing for me. I don't prescribe to a religious dogma these days. I have my faith and belief but it's not so fragile that I have to beat others over the head with it. I also don't need the approval of others in authority to verify my own life and spiritual journey. But, I will say this. In my opinion (That's imo for you young age of the internet folks.) :-)  Prayer isn't a shopping list to a cosmic Santa. For me it's calling on the very source of my being the very real maker of my soul for help in this life. I heard a scientific type person say once that he didn't understand how but he had found that there is a power and if you will call then you will get help. Sometime all I can say is "Oh God, Oh God, Oh God." But, I know I'm heard. I am trying to learn to live in mindfullness. To remember to breathe. To worry less.

5. Honesty: Now I know people like to say "I'm honest" but lets get real. There are things in life (or at least there are with me) that we don't share with others. We can't because others aren't in our skin and couldn't possibly understand all our reasons for everything we've done. But, I do believe that God esteems honesty. I lived so much of my life trying to please others. So, the church would think I was a good Christian. The girl would think I was a good guy. The friend would think I voted for the right canditate. That God would give me good stuff if I thought the right thoughts. It took a while and it's still ongoing. But, I try to be honest with myself and therefor with God or my Source of being. It's liberating in many ways because I no longer have to pretend to believe something I don't believe just to please people. I don't have to be close minded either. I can pray and meditate and do an honest search for sanity and clarity.

So, on this New Year's Eve I pray that I am open to the voice of the only one who has the authority to know my innermost person and thoughts. I pray for enough.

 I read something on the internet the other day. An older lady was saying goodbye to her daughter at the airport. She told her daughter that she wished her "enough." Her daughter said the same to her. A man later asked the lady why she said that to her daughter. She replied that she was terminal and going home to die. She wouldn't see her daughter again in this life. So, she wished her enough. It was something they had always wished for each other. Enough resources to live and have food and shelter. Enough hope and love to go on. Enough rain in each life to enjoy the sun. Enough lack to enjoy the good times. Enough darkness to enjoy the coming of the light. Enough. I pray for enough this year. Because if we look up and if we can keep going there really is enough. But, I'm not naive and I know that crap happens. I also am reminded of a youtube video of the great psychiatrist Carl Jung. He said that he didn't believe in god because he knows there is a God. Belief is not knowing. He said I know. That when he talked with his elderly patient's they didn't talk hopelessly about an end. They talked about looking forward to something better. So, yeah I admit that life isn't always going to end in prosperity or good health or another new toy. It's not wrong to seek prosperity or even to play with a new toy if we don't harm others to get it. But, it's also true that humans need hope. So, if I've learned one thing in my 58 years so far. I've learned that hope is eternal and we are more than brain chemistry. I wish you hope this year.

Eagles: "I Wish You Peace"
 
I wish you hope when things are goin' bad,
kind words when times are sad.
I wish you shelter from the raging wind,
cooling waters at the fever's end.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Jesus Laughing!

I am poured out like water and all my bones are out of joint.My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me: Psalm 22:14


Wait, I'm fifty eight years old. I have a family and health needs and I'm way to old to be out looking for a job. It's coming up on the holidays. Oh, God, my lips are numb and my mouth is like cotton. I've never been this scared in my life.

I had a dream shortly after that on a restless night. I was in my truck but it was losing power. I thought "well, this can't be good." Then I was in my old workplace and a friend was there behind me. "Wait, I shouted there's a giant hole in the floor. Don't move! We were on the second floor in the  dream but the actual building doesn't have a second floor. Still I was grabbed from behind. Forcefully but yet with strong and sure presence that I was safe. I was taken down the stairs swiftly and out the door. I heard every footfall my rescuer made on running down the stairs. I was put into a strong speedy vehicle and delivered where I was supposed to be. I jumped out once the vehicle stopped and went inside.

Wow, on waking up. Was that you God? Was that my Guardian Angel? Do you have this? Still, fear and confusion would follow so many nights of :

Whatif? whatifwhatifwhatif, What If? What if I never work again? What if I get sick? what if my wife or child gets sick? What if we lose our home? How will we eat? How will we live? Crazy time. I can't breathe. Can't sleep! What if?


 If someone asks, 'What are these wounds on your body?' they will answer, 'The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.: Zechariah 13:6

My child has Asthma. But, he is now on All Kids. But, what am I reading from this good Christian conservative now on facebook? It's a shame we have Medicaid? Really? So, my child should die of an Asthma Attack because I no longer have my Blue Cross? That's God's Will? That's what our nation was founded on? Oh Jesus have mercy. I've worked for the past 30 years and now I'm a moocher because I want my child and wife to have health care? Onward Christian Soldiers.

Meditate, breathe, thank you Wayne Dyer for the youtube video that helped me with my breathing and calming down every evening and morning. Peace. Still whatifwhatifwhatif!

Job Interview: I have my license ya know. LBSW! But, everyone here is younger than me. How long do I think I can work? Why do you ask that? I'm afraid to say that out loud but it's pretty clear. They need a younger social worker.

Wait, waitwaitwaitwaitworryworryworryworry.
Whew, my wife got a job in her field. Not a high paying job and no benefits but it will help.

Letter from first job interview: Thanks  for applying. Better luck next time.

Second Job Interview: At least I'm not the oldest one at the table this time. The social workers and director are older than me. Good sign. I'll be glad to use my experience and yes I am licensed.

Wait,wait,wait,wait

Third job interview: I'm the oldest here again.
Wait,wait,wait.

Thank God, Second interview called. I got the job. So blessed. Now, I can breathe. Also, I have seen how tough it is to get work This sounds brief but it took months. It was a up and down and panic in the night soul numbing time. I can't put it all in here. I'm not ready to do that may never be.

Jesus Laughing:

I saw this and downloaded it. I thought the day might come when I can use this Picture.  I thought about it once I was looking for work, I thought about what it might mean.Jesus thinking before his trial Crazy Time!  Gone to the garden. Oh God let this pass. Thoughts: "Ya know your not anything special don't ya? You will die like all the rest and go into oblivion. RUN!

I can't run. I have to do this. I was born for this. "Are you Crazty?" Run!
Oh, God, whatifwhatifwhatif. Run! Let this pass from me. RUN!

Meaning of my profile picture of Jesus laughing:

Some people see Jesus as the virgin born son of God. I was raised Christian and even though some of my more liberal views would be thought heretical now, I still identify so much with the one who walked and lived and died to show me the way home. So, here's what I think about when I see the picture of Jesus laughing:

A long time ago I saw a cartoon in a Christian magazine of a man who had just gotten to heaven. Somehow, the artist managed to catch the worn out weary person who has just come through life. But, at the same time the "Rest and healing and Whew, that's over" feel too.

So, I think about Christ. The journey finally done. The voices finally stopped. The fear finally faced and victory hard won. The weary hard dry journey over. The loss of everything and everybody he loved finally shown to only be temporary so what does he do?

He Laughs. With JOY! With Life! With relief, with Hope! With Love.


And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; Job 19:26


So, even before I make my last journey. Even now I can Laugh!

God doesn't balance his books every Tuesday. But, he does balance them. Peace!








Sunday, September 27, 2015

Truth!

38Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, "I find no guilt in Him.: John 18:38


This particular bible verse has always resonated with me.  No matter what your view of truth is this is an ironic moment and a very human moment. A man, a human being who has temporarily been given fallen into or whatever a position of "authority" has just asked one of the most important questions a human can ask. Depending on your own world view he has at the least just asked the wisest most devout and holy Jewish Rabbi/teacher a question that has cosmic implications. At the most he has just asked the very manifestation of all that is love, being, wisdom, life the very image of "God" the most important question a human could ask. But, what does he do? He turns away and walks back out to the crowd. So very sad and so very human. He really wasn't looking for the truth. He was looking for his own political and personal absolution of responsibility. In other words he was just doing what "we" do.

"You can't handle the truth." ....A Few Good Men

That one has fallen into the great American quote book.But, the thing is the character was having a melt down. He had "his" truth and it should have been self evident to all the "idiots" he was talking to at that time. Again, it's what we do. We talk at each other not with each other. 


"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."...Albert Einstein 

So many people give away their power and their soul to political agendas and religious teachers and pop scientists masquerading as philosophers. I see so many facebook quotes of people yelling at each other. Calling names and saying "Well, Bush, Clinton, Obama, Nixon and on and on and on" did it first. So What? Does that mean you give your "team" a free pass? That's a dangerous road folks. Hold em all accountable. I have a secret for you. Anybody of any party that has ascended to high state or national office is indebted to some other power, money or group. So, stop acting like they are angels sent from the forces of holiness and hold em all accountable. But, I digress. Often. :-)

I have a secret that some of my brothers and sisters in Christ or the church that I grew up with will find heretical. Now, I'm not one of those former Christians that became an angry atheist. I'm not angry or atheist. But, I have to tell ya something that some of us "formerly fundi" folks think. At least I do. The angry god that you worship? The one who is a meglo maniac and burns poor sinners in hell forever? The one who can't even look at the creation "he made" and the one who is always smiting enemies and cursing people and making you bow and scrape? He's not someone that I would want to spend eternity groveling in front of. 

I thought of this when I think of my son. If I made my son come to me and say "Father, I am but a worm in thy site. Deserving of eternal pain and torment. Filthy and wicked and unworthy of thy love. Please accept my undying worship and love" What do ya think would happen? He would either hate me and wish he could just tell the truth or some where down the line DHR would be called. 

I'll tell some of my "science" minded friends this. A world where the only goal is to procreate and head to personal oblivion isn't a world I would ever want to be born into. You can use jargon and high sounding words. But, if you put lipstick on a pig you still have a pig.

So, what is truth? I find truth in being honest and open in my own meditations. That doesn't mean taking a guru or making a fourth person of the "godhead" out of the bible. I find truth in looking at the night sky. Not, in the myth of it all being a chemical reaction in my brain. 

 
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things....Philippians 4:8

So, if you find the bible to be inerrant then I'm fine with that. Just understand that I don't take your judgements or interpretation of the bible as having any authority over my mind or life at all. If you think Carl Sagan or Richard Dawkins are all wise on all things outside their own narrow field of expertise then I'm fine with that. Just know that I don't share that bleak and narrow worldview for my own soul. If you think Obama is a Kenyan and Bush was a patriot for flying planes from Texas to Alabama during Vietnam. But, Kerry was a coward although he went to Vietnam then I'm fine with that. But, I don't share your worldview about what makes a brave American. If you think everyone who disagrees with the president is a racist backwoods hick then I'm fine with that. But, I don't share such a stereotypical worldview.


So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets: Matthew 7:12 ESV

That's my truth. That's my religion these days. I often fall short. I often treat people the way they treat me. Which isn't the same thing. :-)

Peace!