Monthly Archives: July 2014

View from One in the Trenches

It’s a beautiful day here in central Florida; blue skies, white puffs of clouds drifiting and flittiing across the expanse of blue so like capricious children playing hide and seek. It is a bit toasty though, 88 degrees with humidity in the 58 percentile. A bit sticky one might say. The weather icon on my phone says “feels like 93”. Quite sticky I should think. DaBoys are perfectly happy to snooze on the cool lineoleum within the breeze of the ceiling fan. I do have some of the smartest dogs in this place.

The peaceful and even idylic view from my windows does not tell the whole story of this little corner of the world I inhabit with these two brilliant and oh so loving dogs. There are things here, just like in any place where human beings dwell with each other in close proximity, that belie that view.

Me and DaBoys had an encounter with some of that malaise just the other evening. A screaming, swearing, angry to the point of apoplexy, old man came charging out of his house waving his arms at the three of us. It seems that he took extreme umbridge, well lets say a bit more than even extreme, at my Yuri piddling on the City of Ocala light pole in the front of his yard. The pole was maybe two feet from the asphault, undoubltedly withing the boundaries of city right-of-way. Which meant nothing to him. It seems his grass was under his complete and total protection from being violaed by a dog taking a pee anywhere in the vicinity of it. 

Now, just for the record, I am not retelling this (as some of you might have read my Facebook post on Sunday), to garner more sympathy. I want to relate the lesson I learned from this in-your-face anger directed at me and DaBoys. 

First, there is a background for my reaction to this level of anger from another human being. It stems from childhood, as so much of our reactions to things in the present seem to come from. My mother was a very angry, frustrated person in my childhood. Her explosive anger could ignite and literaly rain down on any unsuspecting child anywhere near her at the moment of detonation. No child was safe nor were they innocent if between her and the true object of her anger. When I detected the fuse on that bomb fizzing I would hide in my closet, close the door and wait out the attack. LIterally in my own personal bomb shelter.  A response that would allow me to deflect the majority of the fallout from the explosion.

Now, back to the man charging down his driveway at almost dark. I had no bomb shelter to hide in, I had two innocent dogs to protect. So, I did the only thing left for protection—I called on God. My response to his threatening violence was to keep saying God Bless You. It was like holding up a Rosary in front of a locomotive. He just stood there and screamed at us. Deciding that retreat was in order for me and my dogs, i walked away from him into the night. 

In retrospect, I should have called on God first. Isn’t that the way of us puny humans? We try to do it first, then when we are in danger of real harm we cry out to God to fix it. That got me to thinking about that old guy with such hatred and anger boiling out from him at a stranger in the almost dark of the night. 

Maybe that was his way of crying out to God. Maybe there was some horror, or diagnosis, or tragedy, or pain he experienced that day that sent him into the not only just defensive mode, but the I’ll-get-you-first mode. And the only thing he still had of his very own was some blades of grass. His confrontation, with a huge dose of hurt coming out as anger, was his way of defending what he saw as the one thing he could defend.

And me, being just the opposite—as life taught me hiding or retreating was safer—felt his confronting right down to that inner chld’s toes. I was utterly terrified. I saw my sense of safety shattered when he charged down the drive way toward us, my sense of being accepted destroyed with his yelling and swearing at me as if I was  a Less-Than.  The same old stuff that I have been dealing with every since I can remember.  I know his pain at that moment in his life was so much greater than I could ever know. I do understand that intellectually. But that little girl who used to hide in the closet was just plain scared. 

It became very plain to me after much prayer, hours spent in front of the Eucharist, curled up on Father-God’s lap that this is not unique to me. It is how wars start. How incredible abuse and man’s inhmanity to his fellow man begins. From hurt. Not just a little owie, but that deep, penetrating wound that continues to seep for most of our existance. We see it right now, today, in those places in our world where people are not just killing each other, but they are destroying the sense of saftey and security of everyone who witnesses it. A way of confronting whole nations with rockets and raids and automatic weapons and stealing children and using innocents as shields while they continue on with their murdering of each other and holding on to the hurt, keeping it alive inside. 

No , this is not new. Nor will it be gone until the hurt is soothed. The wound must be brought out into the light, the anaseptic must be applied, the sting of healing from the inside out must be acknowledged. From each one of us. None of us is completely and totatally right. We are a fallen people. A people who might see the right but chose the wrong, for its ease and what we think it is affording us for the moment. Especially the belief that “I am right”. 

The old man around the corner was somehow in the throws of that wound in him. He picked me and DaBoys because we were convient. We walked down his street at a time when he was desparate for an outlet for the pain so he could transfer it to someone else, transfer the guilt in order to feel more “right” in himself. Peope who use confrontation as a battering ram at others are the ones who need the most prayer, the most tenderness, the most love. I think that is what Jesus meant when he said “love your enemies”. To love those like that man, who come at us like a locomotive with their anger stoked up. He met those in his life that came at him like that with love and prayer. He said “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”.

Mostly, we still don’t.

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Truth Seeking

I have been watching programs on my Hulu site while waiting to have my satelite feed hooked up. One in particular has captured my attention and stimulated some deep thought. It’s called City of Vice. No, not L.A. or Vegas or Atlantic City. No, this is about London in the 18th century. During the Reign of Geoge II. The king who lost the colonies that became the U.S.

It follows the creating of a police force for the city. Bow Street Runners is what they were initially called, from the street the Westminster Magistrate, one Henry Fielding (the same who was the author of Tom Jones) had his court and lived. It was a time of some of the worst crime in the city; such things as child prostitutuion, gangs of criminals preying on all of London, the general order of the day was lawlessness rampant. The nobility were quite detached from it, thinking themselves safe from the taint of crime until touched by it themselves. Their belief was they were a cut above, they were the ruling class, they were better, smarter, more beautiful—generally above all others.

This is what got me to thinking. We here in America believe ourselves to be different, well even above, such old fashioned ideas as a person’s accident of birth affording them a uniique and elevated status. We say to each other we don’t have Dukes and Duchesses or Lords or Heaven forbid Kings and Queens!

I am not so sure about that. We have politicians and Hollywood actors and actresses who believe themselves to be a cut above the rest of us. We have in these sets of people those who believe themselves to be separate and dare I say it above the law. We do not have to go too awfully far along this line of thinking to call to mind the names of some of those people.

This once great country of ours has fallen into the ancient mire of believing that some are higher than others. We fawn over a poltician who can charm and sooth us with hollow words, promising us the moon on a string, or free food stamps, or a big screen TV, or what ever is the latest “thing” to posses. It has been this way with those who seek what they see as ultimate power for millenium. This is not a new phenomonon. Just take a stroll through the pages of history, (got to say here the Real History, not the twisted and redone history), to see how this keeps coming back up over and over again.

If a society does not have what they see as an elite set said society will create its own. In Ancient Rome is was the Pleblians, in Medieval Europe it was the nobility, in these more recent times it is the politicians. That is how Hitler and his fellows of the last century came to be in a position of power. That is how and why we still have tyrants and dictators in this new century.

Today, the sides are pretty clear in the political realm. We have a president who does not wish to be confined to the laws of the country nor to the Constitution which is the foundation of our cournty. His party blindly supports and defends him, because he is head of the party not because he is right. The other side of the aisle railes and fusses and fumes, but lets face it, some of them are really just envious that they didn’t think of that manner of literaly grabbing power themselves. We, the society we have created, have elevated them all to the level of nobility.

Then, there is the Hollywood set. The people who see themselves so much above the rest of us that their money and their sometimes doubious talents afford them a Get Out of Jail Free card. People who make their millions from creating fantasies. People who begin to believe those fantasies themselves. They are actors— what is portrayed on the silver screen is not real. Thesbians have a inherent problem with this disease. Muscians have a tendancy to contract it also. They seem to have a real problem discerning realtiy from fantasy.

Our founding fathers knew the danger of seeing a group of people as not only above us but excluded from the laws they demand we follow. As it has been said “absolute power corrupts aboslutly”. We have examples of this all over the globe, right now, today. We have some of the adherants of the striving for absolute power sitting in our Congress right now. We hired them, we can and should, fire them. The words written by those founding fathers are “everyone is created equal”; it does not say, but hey, if you are rich, or an actor, or a politician you are a cut above.

The United States is a republic, not a monarchy, nor a dictatorship. If those in the senates and house of representatives from the bottom up to the US. Senate and House just don’t get this send them home to go and learn it. Learn it, absorb it, take it into the heart of themselves. If they cannot have the courage to remove someone who is so very obviously setting up a dictatiorship then we the people should send them home and send others who can see more clearly.

Do not fall for the silver tongued speech that clouds the truth. We have no Kings here.

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The Open Door

The Open Door.

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The Open Door

There is nothing quite like a nice, long, leisurely walk to clear ones head. And to open up thoughts that might have been lingering in the wings, sort of a hovering mode, just waiting for the clouds to clear so it can present itself.
I just noticed the reality of the truth of a particular thought. It is this: there a people in this world, in my life actually, who will never, not ever, come to see me. No matter where I am living. no matter what conditions I am living in. No matter how many times I offer. They just won’t come.

I think these people like most of the people they come in contact with in this world. They are just not visiting people. Oh, they do so enjoy people comeing to their places, eating, enjoying the commaraderie of the group as everyone chats and laughs and joins in the moment. They will give you the shirt off their back, make the room up for you, feed you until you end up a loaf top not just a muffin top.

They just won’t come to your house so you can do the same for them. There is no reciprication for you to show how much you appreciate their giving to you. Oh, they make the appropriate noises when you issue the invitation. The “how nices”, the “sounds greats”, the “maybe soons” all sound so very promising on the first go around of invitations. The fourth or fifth time the light begins to flicker in the back of your head that maybe those are just platitudes to put you off.

In their defense I must say they are just not the kind of people who can go to someone else’s house and feel comfortable. I am not sure what it is; maybe not visiting too many times when a child, not really wanting to see anything but their own back yards, feeling so very much out of their element in a situation and a place that is way too foreign. Probably. Most certainly those have a hand in the putting off of the visit. Maybe a visit there is just too uncomfortable for them. (I wonder what the psychological term for this is?) There is a element of control here too I think. In one’s own house the control, the orchestrating, is certainly in the hands of the person whose house it is.

It is very hard for me to understand, this sinking down into one place. (hmm, could be why I have such a need to see what is down the road?) I don’t think we really did excessive visiting when I was growing up. Heck, before we moved to California the only time I slept over at a friends house was with my friend Mary. And then only because her Mom and my Mom were such good friends. (Her Mom, Mrs. Whitaker would come and stay with us at our house if a hurricaine was predidcted because she was absolutly terrified of them. We kids would all crowd in to the front window so we could see what was happening while she sat on the couch with a blanket over her head moaning and shaking.)

We did move a lot when I was growing up, seems like every three years or so we would pull up stakes, pack up everything and move to another place. Once we even moved across country, I mean from one coast to the other. It could be where my wanderlust was sparked. That and my Mom’s unbridled enthusiasm for “Sunday drives” Preferable if she was behind the wheel.

In that transient sort of growing up I learned to be flexible. To adjust. To make the best of what was in front of me. To see things as they are too. To take to heart and inside what is the best of a place and discard the rest. Like the years spent in Escondido. Not too awfully pleasant to live in a sixty year old, falling down in places, wind blowing through the walls in others house with a really grumpy Gramma and a severly depressed Mom. But in the time I spent in that little burg what I remember the most, what I tucked into my heart and never, ever will be without is the wonderously fun and love-filled times spent with my cousin Jan at her house up the hill from us. There I got to sleep over a lot.

And I got to give it back to her and her husband Dave when I lived in California between her house and her in-laws house. They would stop, have a sleep over, drink some Tobin James wine, snack, stritch dogs ears, Dave would take them out at dark for a last health break (my two were just tickled pink! Mom never did that), Visit with doggie cousins, turn off the Tinkle Fountain and rest. It wasn’t the actual hours that made it such a treasure, it was the two of them and my being able to give them a small bit of what I always have gotten from Jan.

Those people in my life who are putting off and sidesteping my invitation to visit are missing out on a good thing. Give and take is what makes the journey through this life so much better. In the give and take is the connection between human beings. That connection is what is so desparately lacking in our world today.

I will always be someone who issues invitations to come and see me, stay a while, take your shoes off and wiggle your toes, bring your dog and just relax in my little house. I’ll even open up the Tobin!

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One woman’s thoughts…

I am always amazed at how the liberalise ideals are sort of hand fed to the general public. Especially in any sort of creative endeavor we are tutored and nudged and coerced into following along on their ambiguous and narrow in so very many ways beliefs. One example of this leading of thinking is abortion. We have been hand fed, stuffed at times, battered with it others that it is a true and definitive need for so many women.

What a crock! The real true need for women is to be valued for who they are. Not to be brutalized into believing killing their babies is “for their own good”. Pshaw!

The argument that poor women need it the most does not hold water. What poor women need is not to live in poverty. They need good jobs, or their husbands do. They need good child care that is not a break the bank item. They need a voice of their own to express the truth of who they are without being shuffled to the side of life for expressing that voice. What women need is to be recognized, celebrated, loved and accepted as exquisite, beautiful, unique creations.

What they don’t need is for anyone to lead them to believe that what their bodies, and only their bodies, can nurture is not wanted. It isn’t convience that is the real killer of babies, it is the idea that a pregnant woman is a problem. She should be met with joy and congratulations when she says “I’m pregnant”; not with a frown and the question “do you want to keep it” In her heart the answer to that is yes. In our society, she will say no in order to keep her job, her man, her status, her life.

We have killed our future. Oh yes, this country has been misled and lied to in order to be destroyed. Not through an out and out war, where one can see, recognize and defend against an enemy. No, our enemy is our minds that have accepted that dismembering a baby in its mother’s womb is an action that is not abhorred and railed against. This, by an industry that is making billions upon billions on the bodies of those truly innocent. If this was done after these human beings were born the outcry would be heard around the world. If we could see, on the evening news like we did the Vietnam War, my guess is there would be protests in the streets just like against that.

In those 60 million, and counting, babies that have been murdered in the sterile rooms of the abortion clinics across this country was the future workers, innovators, musicians, dancers, scholars, teachers, presidents, inventors that are gone forever. We are a society that is schizophrenic at its best, down right crazy at its worst. Our young people think nothing of opening fire on each other because we have showed them that life is not of value. We have created a society of darkness, death and destruction out of our disregard for the incredible gift of life itself. We shuffle off the oldsters to places where we don’t have to see them or deal with the realities of growing old; so we can pretend that we will be young forever, all we need is the right cream, ointment, pill or exercise program.

We send out opposite vibes to the young. Telling them that its ok to have sex anytime with anyone–afterall we have the corner abortion clinic to take care of any “problem” that might come out of that. We attempt to show there is not really any difference between the sexes, but exploit and exaggerate both sex’s bodies in film, theater, even TV and advertisements. Gotta have the perfect, sexiest body to be valued. There is even a disturbing trend in the athletes, most noticeable the women, to look strikingly the same as a male athlete. A woman does not have to look like a man, in any place or profession There is a lot of lip service to being yourself, but look at the money trail. It goes to the conformist. The ones who look the right way, smile the right way, use the right toothpaste, go to the right gym, have the right relationship (of which homosexual is the “in” one today) and live according to the latest craze.

We have created an alternate reality that is completely false. Don’t believe me? Check out the latest, most popular video games, movies, music and art our younger set watches and buys. The whole premise is that life is disposable. The crack in that reality is that life cannot be “done over”, it cannot be resurrected by mere man. It is the very best, most efficient way to conquer a people, to have them take into themselves, to believe completely, that life is not worth living. They will destroy each other and themselves. There is no need to fire one shot. They do it for the enemy.

So, to the poor woman who is thinking about aborting her baby I say this: what you can do with your life and the life of the little one you are nourishing in your body is priceless. Your child, each and every one of them, has the potential to change this world we live in. All they need is for you to believe it. Get out there, demand better treatment of them and you. Don’t allow anyone to make money off of your childs blood.

Every child is precious. The only way to turn this society we live in from darkness and death is to turn one person at time into the light. One child at a time, one baby at a time, one mother at a time, one life at a time.

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Life is just that—Life!

Life is just that—Life!.

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Life is just that—Life!

This is a different life than I thought. Not a true surprise, well not really anyway. Just different. It is an improvement in some things. Things that my soul could just not deal with. Things that my heart was being chipped away of peace and harmony and light and love. In others it is more of a cost. Some of that cost is extracted from that same soul that so despartely left the cold climes of the north.

On the plus side: daily walks with my dogs, meeting other dog walkers, getting to know just how far little legs will be able to walk in this place of warmer weather, along with how far the New Equipment Leg of my own will walk; finding God in the little things here—clouds that change and move and drift every few minutes, people who nod and smile at me and DaBoys as we walk this place, being allowed to teach at my chosen parish; finding my Florida legs so to speak.

On the maybe not so plus side: most of my goods are still stuck in Ohio, waiting patiently in a couple of storage units for liberation. The living day to day with three spoons, one fork, one knife, no real diner plate, two pans (both small), one coffe cup, two (just purchased at the Dollar Store) glasses, a coffee pot (thank you God for that insight), an Aero bed to sleep on (quite comfortable actually), one chair, one ottoman (thank you Jed for getting them in the car), puppy things (most important) and the small sort of traveling items one always brings with one to any place.

It is a life of forced simplicity. Something we all keep striving for, that simple unencumbored life. But living it, actually living without those things we are so used to reach our hand out and picking up—that is a whole different sort of life than we envision when the word simplicity is said.

It it a life that the truly poor in our world, and lets face it, our country live every day, all day. This living without can happen at any given moment to any one of us. The bottom falls out of the stock market, the economy tanks, the country is invaded (yes, even here), everything is gone.

What is left after that? Well I can tell you what I have left, I can’t speak for anyone else, just me and my two dogs. We have each other, we have that incredible love exchange between us. We have a God who loves us so much more than even these unconditionally loving, simple creatures love. Every moment, every second of that moment, even in this seemingly adrift and lonely and singular life, God is here.

So, me and DaBoys just keep on keepin’ on as the song says. We cuddle, we take lots of strolls, the last in the evening the longest when it is cool enough for fur-babies, we accept each day as it comes. Somedays require more stubborness on our part. Some require more patience, more quiet resolve. Some require us to stand up and defend and be heard. Some require more creative abilities than others. Not really so much different than any one else’s life.

And you know, living without so much “stuff” is teaching me that maybe, just maybe, I only want to truly keep the things that are the very most valuable. Steamer trunks, children’s special boxes, certain pictures of people that I can’t talk to any more, puppy’s things that I can’t pet any more. Valuable items of life that have more than just memories attached but have the essence of those who touched, wore, used and owned them. More than just items on a list.

I shall engage this life, such as it is, such as it comes to me. Engage it with a sense of not only adventure but of acceptance for life is just that—life. Unpredicable, changling, surprising and gloriously wonderfully exciting. I want to live it to the end with my feet planet firmly on this earth, my head in the clouds and my heart open to every incredible moment. And maybe slide into Heaven with a whoop and tiny cloud of dust with St. Peter grinning and signaling “Safe” as I land. Safe indeed!

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