Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The responsibility of abundance

I had a simple fish chowder last night, and it was filling and fine.

I thought of those throughout the world who have little or nothing to eat and where starvation is a constant worry. Too many count the grains of rice for the pot to feed a family and deal with the ache of hunger as the body eats itself in a wrenching dichotomy to stay alive.

My simple meal was to millions of souls around the world, a feast.

I went to the doctor the other day for a routine check-up. There too I thought of the ease with which I got an appointment and the pharmacy choices I could go to fill a prescription. There are so many millions in the world who have no access to even simple medical treatments let alone to modern medicines to cure or ease a pain.

To get the same medical expertise, most of the world would have to walk for days or suffer in place.

I have a nice home — good neighbors. I have heat, electricity, and freedom from fear. I know millions love their families as I do mine, but who have no permanent home without the hostile and real intrusion of terror and war.

With all these realizations, there comes a moment when I must ask the question, “Why me?” “Why do I have so much and so many have so little?”

I don’t know the full answer, and I suspect I never will until I get to the other side. I do know there are responsibilities that go with abundance.

Giving from substance.

Compassion and aid to those who suffer.

Tolerance of other’s beliefs.

Awareness of need.

Monday, January 7, 2019

The New Congress

Vision is the process by which we construct the future. It is the substance of creation and the positive possibilities of what we can be. From the daily diatribes out of Washington, I do not hear the visionary words that engender the structure of common hope on the foundation of realistic wonder.

From the new Congress, I want to hear reinforcements of American ideals and the legislative action to sustain them. I want all branches of our government to paint me a picture of a sustainable future and color it with ideas and the fragrance of action. I want the genesis of solutions on immigration, health care, ongoing wars, affordable housing, and the litany of other issues entrained in our common society.

Mostly what I glean from ongoing debate is the darkness of past thought, the detritus of false words and the uselessness of egoic pride.

When Alexander the Great became ruler of the world, he came upon a philosopher who was lying upon his back in a meadow and mediating. Having become powerful and wealthy, Alexander became a patron of the arts and intellectuals. He stood before the philosopher and said,  "I am a patron of culture and will gladly underwrite any project you may select; name your wish."

The Philosopher thought for a moment and said: "You may do one thing for me, your Highness. Please step aside; you are standing between me and the sun".

Our Congress and our President must step aside from blocking the lights of compromise, compassion and courtesy and lead us to our grandest vision of ourselves.

Friday, January 4, 2019

A Thought...

Have you checked what’s essential to you lately? To go right to the immediate national issue: When you think about it, do we need a multi-billion dollar wall along our southern border?

In practicality, we need our infrastructure replaced, repaired, and renovated — our bridges, tunnels, railroads, and airports are in terrible shape. Compared to other countries with a far less gross national product we are far behind. I can understand protecting our borders from real and the figmentation of attack, but that can be done, as best as any border can be secured, at a far less cost.

Society functions and grows on the success of the mercantile system. Fear inhibits the creative gestalt and thus progress. All of us are more creative, happier, comfortable and content when a peaceful environment sustains our daily living.

Since the election of Donald Trump, we have been a contentious society. Yes, the market soared and rallied. Yes, joblessness is is at a longtime low, those are fleeting successes.

Long-term prosperity is only measured by our children’s potential to reject a climate of fear and live in an atmosphere of competitive growth.

Politics used to be the energy for the common good. Today it is the constipation of compromise. It is time it stopped. The political obstructionists are not the ones in pain.



Thursday, January 3, 2019

Things Change...

Tomorrow would have been my 55th wedding anniversary had my Annie not moved to the other side. Her spirit still thrives. Only her body died.   She passed over three years ago from Cancer. I miss her but know she is onto new awarenesses in the benevolent comfort of unconditional love.

Thinking about our many years together and the institution of marriage I've concluded that marriage is an ever-changing contract. It’s never the same for it changes every moment you commit to the well-being of your partner.

Love, as it is perceived through the union of marriage, is ever expanding provided it is nurtured with courtesy, communication, and kindness. How many of us, whether we are one day married or 50 years married, remember to say thank you for even the very simple courtesies of life. Cooking dinner, looking nice, taking out the garbage, struggling to make it better.

 Marriage can be, should be, the constant exponential appreciation of the other, if we see our partner through the eyes of wonder.

 And wonder becomes radiant and lasting when we give rather than demand and when we appreciate rather than expect.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Reminders

Every so often we each need to be reminded of something greater than ourselves. The benevolence of All That Is constantly nudges us to see and then be the grace of the subtleties that come our way each day.

We, however, have to choose to be sensitive enough to notice.

It’s always in the little things that the reminders come to us. A song on the radio that conjures a memory. A fledging birds first encounter with flight. A baby’s infectious laugh. A pet’s greeting when you finally get home, the blast of a fragrant aroma when you first open the door to a flower shop, the lingering descent of snow on a windless winter day, the first taste of a fine wine and the harmonic drift of choir practice as you walk by a church.

It’s the little things that slam into our hearts.

Appreciation is the only response.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019

We did it! We said goodbye to the old year and welcomed in the new. We've been celebrating endings and beginnings since ancient times.

The tradition of New Years Eve celebrations also stems from old beliefs and superstitions. Noise making goes back to the ancient custom of using loud noises to drive evil spirits from a house during the times of festive celebration.

Many nationalities and cultures still use noise to celebrate. America has her ratchet rattles and noisemakers and fireworks.

Denmark smashes in the New year. People go to friends' houses and throw bits of broken pottery that they have collected throughout the year at the homes. They also bang on the doors to make noise.

The Dutch love to celebrate New Years. It was one of their favorite holidays when they settled New Amsterdam in the mid-17th century. When the English took over the city in 1674 and called it New York, the authorities were going to keep to the British custom at the time which called for celebrating the New Year on the Vernal Equinox, March 25th. The Dutch populace so loved the holiday on January 1st. They convinced the British to move their New Year celebration.

Traditions have to start somewhere. The ball dropping tradition at New York's Times Square began in 1904 when the Times tower was constructed. At the time it was New York City's 2nd tallest building, rising to a height of 375 feet.

Adolph Ochs, the then young publisher of the New York Times, moved his paper into the new building on New Year's weekend and decided to celebrate the event with a New Year's eve rooftop fireworks display.

It was spectacular, but it was dangerous. The following year the fireworks were replaced by the descending brightly-lit ball.

A tradition begun.

Friday, December 28, 2018

The New Year

    Some thoughts on this New Year.

    Beginnings always have an expectation. Where do we go from here? What happens next?

    In 2019 there is hope that tough times for those that have them will end.

    The teen decade of the new century is at its end, and we are still searching for global sanity. There are still too many regional wars infecting the planet, and it's people as we struggle with the belief that security is having more.

    There is always hope that the litany of Pandora troubles in our politics will transcend into the common good, but let us not forget that hope without action is arrogance. We each have to work at finding harmony in chaos.

    Harmony is there; we can feel it when we give from empathy and not reward; when we resolve not to be discouraged, not to speak in anger, not to blame, and not to judge without the truth of looking within first.

    Maybe this is the year that unconditional love and appreciation will guide the hearts and wills of humankind.

    Maybe!
 
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