Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Steve's Ramblings.

Who would you like to spend a day sitting and talking and hanging out with? I hear and read variations of this question often on the internet. “If you could spend one hour with anyone alive or dead who would it be? “ I don’t often answer it and honestly I give it little to no thought. But, once in a little while I think about it. I don’t know about an hour. We humans love to put limits on things. I read sometimes where people will look at the evidence for something that they are really skeptical about. For instance the reports of the Near Death Experience.

I will often see people say that it seems we continue to exist in “some form, for some period” after the brain stops. They (and I admit my self here also) have a real problem accepting that maybe we just are. We are still us when the brain stops. Conscious and unique.  But, no.  Folks have to have limits. Religion, Scientific exploration even with some people has limits. There is a theoretical Physicist named Michio Kaku who some have compared to Einstein who says something that I really like when he talks about scientific knowledge. He often says “This is what we know now.” In other words he doesn’t  put limits on exploration or possibility. I like that.

So, who would I like to talk with for as long as I wanted to talk and Listen? Well, I’m a pretty well educated (not high level but pretty well) American male. I’ve traveled the world and the seven seas. No, I  really haven’t but my little earworm started singing The Eurythmics song in my head. You’re welcome. Agggh! But, I digress. Again.

Anyway, I’ve traveled a little in the U.S. and I have questioned most of what I’ve seen and learned and heard along  the way.  I can’t call myself a “Evangelical Christian” or an Agnostic these days. I have seen too much to be either one. Sorry I don’t mean to sound arrogant. I’m just speaking for my own journey. Right now. In 20 years if God allows me to still be here I might say something different. I doubt it. But, I might. I’m sure my view on things will continue to evolve.  Anyway, I thought about the people I would talk with. Some close family that I miss who have traveled on. Some old friends and some classmates along the way  that I might not have even been close to in this lifetime. But, I have a few people that I would love to talk with.

1.       Jesus: (Bet ya saw that one coming since I am a product of the American South and the Bible Belt.) But, I really don’t mean the sanitized Sunday School version. I mean the actual man who walked and lived and died and was either the very incarnation of God (heretical thought here, I think we all are incarnations of source to some extent.) Or a wise teacher and Rabbi. I don’t know that I would ask many theological questions as far as churchy stuff. But, I would love to discuss the nature of reality and God and Spiritual views with him. Sometimes I meditate and picture myself coming into his presence and just listening. But, then again. I am a space cadet to some folks. My mother once said (while she was still fairly young and divorced and not adverse to going out on a Sattidy Nite.) Anyway, she once told some older loved ones who had questioned her “God already knows what I do. So why do you think I care what you think?” Well, sometimes I have to remind myself when I write something like this. I can just hear certain lifelong friends of mine saying “Steve, you need to get back to a biblical or church or more fundamental mindset of Christianity.” I always think “Ya know, God/Universe/Ground of all being already knows what I think. So, why should I pretend just to make someone else feel better about me theologically?


2.       Ms. Woods: Who is Ms. Woods? My sixth grade teacher at Walnut Park Elementary way back in the very late 60’s or maybe it was 1970? Years go by so fast. She was the first black person (no disrespect intended  but, Ms. Woods would not have called herself African American at that time. Black was not considered a slight and as a matter of fact people had just come into the realization that “Black is Beautiful” and not something to be ashamed of. So, I use it in that way. Ms. Woods was the first black person that I had really known that was in a position of authority in my life. You ever hear the expression that people don’t always remember what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel? Well, that’s true here. I just remember this very warm and yet no nonsense teacher who instilled the importance of each and every child in that room. By doing that she also instilled her own importance. Later in life when growing up in the south there would be times when I would be in the middle of racial strife or at least watching or hearing it. Whenever, I would hear something disparaging about black folks or even if I got angry I would always see Ms. Woods face in my mind. It certainly put a new light on the subject. Yeah, I think it would be tremendous to be able to speak with her and hear more of her journey in the early 20th century in the American South. How did she do that and still not project any resentment at all to those little white faces in her classroom? Couldn’t have been easy. Yeah, we will talk one day. Once I cross that river.


3.       My maternal Granddaddy: My Granddaddy (that’s what I called him. Not grandfather or any other name) was a survivor of the great depression. His family was Black Dutch and Cherokee. If you google Black Dutch it means a Germanic people that were not pure blood and had married darker people along the way. He looked Cherokee. He wasn’t or at least not full blooded but he had the high cheekbones and was darker than my Irish Grandmother. She was grandmaw. Not grandmother but that’s another story. She was also a pillar of my life.  My Granddaddy was a coal miner and a hard drinker. He had a tough time and his health was bad due to lifestyle and hard work. But, he was kind and he loved his family. Especially his grandbabies. I was a moody and angry teenager and a lost and angry youth. But, I felt him on the day he passed. I’ll just say I look forward to seeing him without the bad health or the demons of addiction and the beating that life can give a person coming through here.


There are other people that I’m not going to list here. I really don’t look much for guru’s in this world. I don’t really think anybody else knows anymore than  I do (which means they don’t know much) about the mysteries of existence. I keep my dialog in my head and in my prayers and meditations. It’s taken me a long  time to be able to put away the bullshit and just be me. At 60 years old (next month) I no longer have to pretend to attract girls or be a part of the group or make the preacher and the church happy. I no longer have to worry if the boss likes me or if I am going to be able to get that promotion. I have financial and personal  and family obligations. But, I don’t have to be “on parade” and that’s a good feeling.  I really think it’s how we treat others and how we respect ourselves that counts. 


So, eat that desert but, walk a little afterwards. Pray that prayer but don’t think your version of reality is the only way to go. The history of that book you are thumping? Well, it’s not a novel or a science book or written by one guy or girl in one setting. But, I’m not going to argue with you about it. Don’t be afraid of truth. Respect the scientific method but remember there is no single entity that answers to the name Science. It’s a method, not absolute way of being or person. Be honest with yourself and take it one day at a time. One moment at a time if you have to.


If you disagree with me that’s fine. We can still be friends (at least on my end) there are things I don’t understand. I don’t know how anybody can look at Donald Trump and not realize he’s a lightweight thinker and was born halfway to home plate and thinks he hit a home run. But, I would never abandon my friendship or love for another person over him or any other political figure. I can’t get the image of that idiot making fun of that disabled reporter out of my head. But, on the other hand I hope he succeeds wildly or the country does under his watch. Because at the end of the day I want what most people want. A place to live and clothes to wear. Food to eat and a little left over for fun. 



Friday, February 24, 2017

Yeats and Me.

William Butler Yeats:
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
1. This is my favorite poem. Which might not be saying much since my relationship to poetry is about the same relationship “Gone With the Wind” is to great literature. A little dramatic and a little exaggerated but not to be confused with real deep.  
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
2. But, this one really does resonate with me for some reason. 
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
3. I remember seeing people in later years that I had known in my youth. I remember family members as they aged and I even see it now in my own face. I think love is a word we pass around a lot. Honestly? If you really love somebody then you don’t stop because they vote for a different political party or find a different religion than you.
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. ...W.B. Yeats
I see a lot of religious post on my friend’s pages. I don’t always agree but, I don’t challenge their beliefs because I don’t know all the answers. Now, if we were talking over a  glass of wine or a cup of coffee or a beer then I would gladly discuss what I think and listen to what they think. But, a short facebook “gotcha” post just seems pointless to me.
Anyway, back to the poem. I once read someone say it was a sad poem at the end. But, I  don’t believe that. I think Yeats was optimistic at the end of the poem. Love (could be romantic and in this case is. But love none the less) is not dead or hopeless. But, waiting amid the infinity of the stars and the cosmos until it’s time to come back around. 
I think this poem captures me because of certain events in my own life. Because of certain memories that I had as a child that allows me to look forward to the coming around again.
A dream as the thunder wakes her
And her highwayman disappears
On a life already lived before
In eyes welled with tears…Stevie Nicks