Wednesday, December 26, 2018

New Years Walk!

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven…The Byrds


I remember around the late 70’s or early 80’s I started a personal tradition. I called it my End of Year Prayer. I would take an early morning walk in the woods every New Year’s Eve. My favorite spot was Noccalula Falls in the city of my birth Gadsden, Alabama. The falls are a 90 foot waterfall and the park and campground surrounds it In the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain chain. Last time I was up there the city had of course screwed it up. But, back in the day you could go up under the falls and you could follow Black Creek and explore and when the water was rushing the narrow creek made a really impressive noise as it rushed ahead to the falls.


A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep…the Byrds


Back then I was struggling with whatever young adult males struggle with and also with my own unique struggles and journey. So, I would take that day to look back at the year just past and look forward and make my case to “God” for the coming year. I saw some things as incredibly important back then that I can’t even remember now or I assume they were important since I say I can’t remember. I was still learning that there would be a time to plant and a time to reap. I’ve never actually killed a human but I’ve had relationships die and wither on the vine while I passed the time.

I really did find a time to heal back then. My worldview was different and still being established and even now is in flux but I do have a more steady philosophy of life than I did then. Prayer has always been important to me. It’s how I clear my thoughts and my head. It’s how I find balance. The particulars have changed. I no longer have such a fundamental Christian view of the world. But, the healing and the real experience of prayer now combined with meditation has kept me sane. Kind of odd when you read and hear about the religious excesses of people but the truth is I became more spiritual and less religious through prayer. I stopped taking the bible as the absolute text book of God after I read it. Sometimes it just works that way.  I’ve found different  times to weep and different times to laugh. I sometimes mentally tremble at how blessed I am. How many bullets I’ve dodged. I also struggle at times with how much I’ve gone through and especially when I hear some millennial idiot of about 25 years tell me how “privileged” I am. I always think “Child if you had of had my life your young ass would be over in the corner in the fetal position instead of standing there making sure you are counted as a victim of oppression. Which of course doesn’t negate at all the fact of people who have been oppressed throughout history from slavery to the holocaust and beyond. It’s just that some people try to make excuses for being angry by playing on the misfortunes of others. But, I don’t really want to get in a discussion of the pros and cons of political correctness. Because both pro’s and con’s exist. I think it’s wonderful that some words that defame others are no longer accepted in society. But, I also think people need a little thicker skin and less “safe places” to deal with the world.


To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven…The Byrds


I really do think there is a purpose and a reason why we take this journey. But, I also believe shit happens. It’s how we deal with it and how we bring meaning between ourselves and our own spiritual connections or how we choose to look at life that matters.


A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing…The Byrds


I think in the end we each have to be honest with ourselves. If you love then say you love. If you hate then admit you hate and take it to your own source be that God or scream at the sky or whatever works for you. But, don’t wallow forever in the hate. It can cause you to wither from the inside if you let it.


To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late…The Byrds


I’ve tried so hard to be things I thought other people needed me or wanted me to be. One of the good things about getting past the big 6-0 is that I no longer worry much what everybody else thinks I should think. I’m not trying to step on anybody else to get up the ladder. I’m not trying to get the girl or impress the preacher or the boss at work. I’m kind of looking at things from a little more mellow perspective. I’m thankful for the years in my face because everybody doesn’t get the privilege of growing old. Not that I feel old but the road behind me is now much shorter than the road in front of me. At least where this life is concerned. So, what’s beyond the next hill or the next curve?


To be or not to be.  To die — to sleep. To sleep — perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub!...Hamlet (Shakespeare.)


That’s always been the point of it to me. What is over the next hill? I’ve always felt and still do. That this world with all of it’s beauty and tragedy is just a pale imitation of my real home. If I could just meditate hard enough or look more clearly at the world that I could see the real world right there at the edge of this imitation one. I know I may sound a little loony tunes there. But, isn’t that what faith is about? The hope of an eternal home after the wandering through this land?



Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Warning: Not rated for general audiences.


If you are my friend and a conservative republican just skip this part. It will only anger you and cause you to either unfriend me or at the least think of me as a vulgar little left wing commie:

God! Dear GOD! This fucker works for DHR as a food stamp worker and pastors a church where he will proclaim the love of Christ. The other one is a staunch republican and loves the reason for the season!  Both of them are as mad as wet hens (as my grandma used to say) because the state is giving poor families an extra $700 dollars in food this year.

They were not just irritated they were MAD! They were trembling in the hall with rage that people who got food stamps would sell them. Now, I’m not saying some people don’t sell their stamps. I’m not stupid and I may have rode in on the turnip truck. But, I came in the cab. I didn’t fall off the back. But, really if you have 10 hungry children and three  adults sell their stamps for money but the 10 hungry kids get fed then yep I’m good with that. If you begrudge the poor but you voted for a man who has paid women to get an abortion and evicted people and not paid his taxes and not paid his debts then what the fuck is wrong with you?

I pointed out to the good reverend that Gov’na Bentley and the GOP machine for the past 8 years regularly used state money for trips to Vegas for Bentley’s mistress and made sure her and her husband had cushy taxpayer funded contracting jobs for hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. But, that didn’t’ bother the good reverend because Bentley is anti abortion don’tcha know? Doesn’t matter if poor people go hungry as long as we don’t allow even one or two scum bags to sell their stamps. By the way I’ve been on food stamps in my life and I needed them to feed my family. But, ya know what? I was desperate and yes I did go back to work and I was blessed to get my state job again. But, what if I hadn’t? Should my child have gone hungry?

Look I understand getting mad about welfare cheats. I understand that we have to have borders in this nation and I understand we have able bodied people on disability. But, most of them really are not able to find and do 40 hours a week and feed themselves and their families. Do we begrudge the next meal a child gets because of some scum who abused the system?

My main issue was that these right wing gawd lovin folks were not mad at government abuse or waste. They are not trembling at congress having lifetime benefits and a huge pension for the rest of their days. They were trembling (and I’m not exagaratting) in rage because a poor hillbilly from North Alabama or a person in the hood in Tuscaloosa was going to get a little extra food this year.

Finally, using God’s name in vain is not saying G…amit. God’s name in vain is getting behind a pulpit and preaching the love of Jesus while begrudging the food a poor person puts in their mouth.

Jesus Wept!