Tuesday, May 31, 2011



There are many things we don’t understand, and then there are some things that belie common sense and common decency. Why, for instance, do we seem to have an endless need to be voyeurs into other people's lives, and sometimes even after they are dead.

All too often the tabloids get a hold of a sordid story and publish the alleged assignations and private life of some celebrity. Love affairs, romantic trysts, who loved whom. Who cares. Voyeur is a French name for a Peeping Tom. Can writing about it or reading about it in tabloid or book be less perverse than peeping?

It is the memory of personal good and public grace left behind by the icons of society that should be remembered, not their private choices that may be altered by gossip or greed. Do we see ourselves as better by peering into the prurient human failings of those we celebrate? Let the sins or faults, endemic to all of us, be forever buried with our bones. Remember only the good someone does for that will honor life, not defile it.

May the understanding of personal choices be acknowledged by the eternal Source of unconditional love and not vilified by those who are rudely nosy.

Monday, May 30, 2011

There Once Was A Memorial Day

So many of us were able to enjoy the weekend and today Memorial Day is a bonus day of delight, barbeques, picnics along with family/friend gatherings.

In my youth, Memorial Day was different. It was a day of remembrance, honor and appreciation of those who died in the service to our nation. We had our gatherings too, but they were always after a parade.

I lived in a small village and parades were loosely organized. School bands marched playing Souza’s tunes and the service anthems. The Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts paraded in uneven lines as the local fife and drum corps headed up the volunteer firemen and a police contingent. The Ladies Auxiliary from the VFW posts marched too. They always seem to march with a grace that the vets couldn’t muster.

My friends and I rode our bikes festooned with red, white and blue crinkled crape paper woven in the wheel spokes. We inserted a piece of cardboard attached to the bike frame into the spokes. It rattled like a motor as the wheel turned. We kids would ride between the marching groups; little American flags taped to our handlebars fluttered in the peddled breezes.

The guests of honor were always the veterans. Some wore their old uniforms and proudly displayed battle and campaign ribbons. Tight fitting uniforms kept the bulges of time from being too noticeable. Their step was proud as they kept their eyes ahead and heads held high.

The veteran contingents marched together by the war in which they served. In my small town in central New York, the largest groups at that time were the vets from World War Two; that war had ended only a few years earlier. Then came the doughboys from World War One. They were older and fewer. The oldest veterans, two from the Spanish American War rode in a convertible at the head of the parade. The next year they were gone and a Medal of Honor recipient rode at the head of the parade.

The parade ended at a local monument honoring all those from the area who died in war. Their names were embossed in bas-relief bronze on a plaque bolted to chiseled granite.

Memorial Day Celebrations in those days engendered a reverence for the fallen. Even as youngsters we felt a connection to those who had passed. We all knew someone whose Father didn’t come home and we all stood straight and still for Taps.

Little did we know then that Korea, Quemoy and Matsu, Vietnam, Iraq one, Grenada and Iraq two and Afghanistan would follow and there would be new war veterans marching.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful that in some future time Memorial Day would have no new names to remember?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Decoration Day

We used to call it decoration day, for it was a time of placing flowers and flags on the graves of America's war dead. Later it became know as Memorial Day to honor all those who died in service to their country.

And again this year we have new names and places to put the flowers and flags. The greatness of democracy is that we acknowledge the value of dissent, discussion and demonstration, but Memorial Day is not the time for that exercise. It is the time for honoring the choice of service of so many, so young that have crossed the eternal threshold to the light of another place.

In many places today along with small town parades and family barbecues and flags waving in the holiday breeze you will hear the somber, but clarion call of taps.

Daniel Butterfield an upstate New York businessman, with no musical training, who became a General during the civil war, wrote taps.

Following the Peninsular Campaign, the General's brigade was camped overlooking the James River in Tidewater, Virginia. His troops were tired and as they settled in for the night the bugler played "extinguish lights".

It's a stuffy, un-inspiring, call with no emotion.

Hearing the bugle that night, General Butterfield thought the final call of the day should bring comfort and peace to his men. Scribbling on the back of an envelope, the General wrote late into the night and the next morning he called for his bugler. He listened to his notes being played and made a few minor changes. He then ordered it to be played each night as the last call for his brigade.

Even though the term "taps" goes back to the 16th century, it soon became connected to General Butterfield's final call.

Taps was first sounded at a funeral in the civil war, when a Union captain was concerned the usual rifle volley might spark an attack from a nearby Confederate army encampment. He ordered "taps" played instead.

There is no greater honor than remembering in public appreciation the final act of service of others. Taps has become the prayer of sound for warriors past and present.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Memorial Day Celebrations.

Some thoughts tonight on this Memorial Day Weekend.

To date the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken over 7-thousand 219 Coalition lives as of May 25th.

This must be an emotionally raw and sad Memorial Day for the new American families who have lost loved ones in battle and conflict.

The red of our flag is a little redder this year for so many new young lives have crossed the threshold in service to country and humanity.

The Blue of our flag is little bluer this year for each death in combat spreads a painful ache across the communities of America as family and friends mourn the dead with the haunting call of taps and the silent flow of tears.

The White of our flag is a little brighter this year for these deaths were not in pursuit of tribute or territory, but anchored in the purity of securing our freedom from terrorism.

And on this weekend of honor and remembrance, we symbolically add over 4,962 new stars to the millions of others who have gone before in older wars and ancient battles for freedom. The great sacrifice of life and limb will eternally rest with honor among the fifty visible stars on our flag as it waves proudly and solemnly to acknowledge America’s warriors past and present.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Some thoughts today on the week of Middle America tornadoes.
Destruction and devastation brings out numerous emotions in people.
There is understandable fear. Predictable panic. Tears.

And then there is the silent sorrow as the living wait for word of a missing loved one or for a body to mourn. People have died, some swept away by raging winds.

There are the usual questions of why and blame. There is the weeping with anger at God or circumstance, when the bottom of your heart and home is gone, but it is only a momentary relief.

Feeling compassion and comfort through the actions of others provides a greater comfort.

We watched the images of loss. We watched the rescues, the outstretched hands of help, and even hugs of understanding for those in shock and disbelief.

We saw horror and heroes.

We saw confusion, complaints and even compliments.

But in this natural tragedy, we continue to see the greater gift of America.

Visual and generous examples of community, cooperation and concern for others. What a gift.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Public Relations?

I am tired of the public relations folks who distort, extend the negative and alter the truth of what’s going on to augment a client’s position or advance a political position. I don’t know where the following blurb will go, but it’s offensive to the truth that we all seek.

Here is a blog sent to me by a good friend and a very good PR professional. It was not his creation.

Obama Downs a Beer While Joplin is Destroyed
 While Obama visits his roots in Ireland Joplin Missouri is the scene of carnage from one of the deadliest tornados in US history.

In the world of PR perception the President loses. The images of his pub crawl is in stark contrast to the horrific pictures and audio coming over the TV , Radio, and Internet. Tweets, blogs and face book tell of heroism and despair. See how the White House spins this one.


Obama was in Ireland long before the terrible tornadoes and tragedy destroyed and killed so many in Missouri.

A pub-crawl in Ireland is far different from a traditional welcoming Guinness pint upon visiting Dublin.

The near juxtaposition of the two events is coincidental, not conflicting.

The headline is blatantly misleading and prejudicial. It’s a PR ploy to harm the image of, in this case, the President. If the Joplin tragedy had happened days before his scheduled trip to Europe, then maybe the headline would have some validity. Natural and man-made tragedies happen all the time in this world and none of us can react to all of them instantaneously.

We are a global society that’s become radically obnoxious. School systems have a no tolerance policy for innocuous events. Religions become offended because of some silly and unintended slight. Police arrest children for slapping another kids on the back and call it assault. Neighbors kill neighbors because of an argument over the flag. Countries bomb countries because they each continue to teach their children to hate.

These are the headlines that PR professionals should be presenting to the public each day, not the distortions that harm our innate desire to live in peace and love.

Monday, May 23, 2011


There are reasons to smile everywhere.

Even a slice of bread can send a message of joy.

Have a great Monday.

Friday, May 20, 2011


I won't be there this Saturday when West Point graducates toss their hats in the air, but I was there years ago to see the pomp and celebration of four years of accomplishment for the young men and women of West Point. I have also lectured at the Air Force Academy and was impressed with the collective as well as the individual dedication of the cadets and instructors.

All of the service academies graduations engender a spectacular ceremony that wells with emotion and precipitates deep patriotic pride and a foreboding bellicose prognostication.

Pride because these new spirits of the American dream have spent hard physical and mental hours over the last four years to honor their dream of an education and of service and commitment to the everlasting ideals of America. The bellicose possibilities exist because many of these men and women West Point graduates will be heading to Iraq or Afghanistan as platoon leaders and officers in the field of war. It is their destiny determined by the times.

When we send our men and women into battle we think of them as warriors, as skilled fighters, as cohesive units trained to win. They are that and so much more for no matter where they are the dichotomy of trained soldier and the tenderness of human nature abounds.

I have seen pictures from the AP and from Reuters that shows American soldiers at their best. I’ve seen a soldier on patrol, weapon at the ready, kneeling for a moment to pet a kitten. I’ve seen a soldier teaching a little Arab boy to slap a five. A smile on all their faces is a lasting victory. I’ve seen a soldier, maybe a father himself, sitting on the ground cradling a wounded child in his arms.

You can have the best technology to fight a war, but you also must have the best of heart to win one. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Reader's Comment

Yesterday I told you about my new website, which will also contain these blog posts. It case you missed here is the self-serving link again.


I did receive a very nice email yesterday from a gentlemen who has been reading my blog for a couple of years. I'd like to share it with you.

Dear Mr. Smith:

I hope that you are in excellent spirits and doing well. I trust that you are enjoying Spring and are awaiting Summer with great anticipation. Sir, while I have replied to many of your blog comments, I have failed to send you a note in quite a while. I do like your new website. It is more vibrant and user-friendly. I like the pictures and videos that you added and I really enjoyed reading your biography. The photos that you included in your bio on the new website are a nice touch.

I have been a daily reader of your blog for over two years now. I continue to find your commentary interesting and thought provoking. You never cease to challenge my thoughts and feelings on a weekly basis, sometimes more. I relish your opinions and observations on issues from reality television to Government. I do like reading your cantankerous rants, and, on differentiating scales, agree with you most of the time.

I now want to convey my appreciation to you for your blog. Thank You for your content, musing, and commentary. Thank you for your rants, pictures, and poetry. Most of all, Thank you for continuing to covey to your audience your true, authentic, "real" self.  It is my hope that you continue the relevant and inspiring quality commentary that presently you provide to your readers.

May God continue to bless you, your family, and your work.


Thank you Chris, your coment helps make the time and effort of doing a daily blog well worth it.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A NEW WEBSITE and stuff.

In the old days of broadcast announcements we would say, "bulletin, bulletin, bulletin, a new website now available. OK, we wouldn't say "new website etc."' but the bulletin is correct. There would also be a few audible tone beeps for emphasis.

I now have a new website courtesy of Steve Diamond and Ellen Mann. Thank you both.

Here's the link.


Again I thank you for tuning into this blog from time to time.


Stuff on the news wires:

By DARREN GOODE | 5/17/11 7:27 PM EDT
Senate Democrats on Tuesday lost in their bid to have major oil companies pay billions of dollars more per year in taxes but are vowing to keep the issue alive in high-stakes budget talks with Republicans.
By a 52-48 vote, Republicans and oil-state Democrats sank a bill repealing $21 billion in tax incentives over 10 years for the five biggest private integrated oil companies.

Democrats Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Begich of Alaska and Ben Nelson of Nebraska opposed the bill, while Maine Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe backed the plan.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55173.html#ixzz1MesXG5zm

We are in a tax and cash crisis in this country. The poor and elderly are being whittled of savings and assets and services. The oil companies are making billions and billions of dollars in profit and the Senate won’t pass an oil company tax bill. UNBELIEVEABLE!



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Planetary Emergence


I was invited to attend a weekend afternoon conversation with futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard, https://www.barbaramarxhubbard.com/. and https://www.shiftnetwork.infusionsoft.com/go/2012a/FCE/ 

Victoria and Dr. Ron Friedman founders of the Vistar Foundation created the event. https://www. vistarfoundation.org.

The discussion centered around the rebirthing of our planet after the Mayan Calendar says all ends on December 21st, 2012.

Barbara and her colleagues at the, http://www.theshiftnetwork.com/tsn/AboutUs, organization hope to have a planetary event on December 22nd in which we all celebrate the reemergence of our planet.

The room discussion on Sunday concentrated on the internet and how all of us can participate consciously to facilitate a global awareness and creation and a structure for a planetary emergence.

I won’t get into the many fine energized elements and suggestions that free floated in the confines of a  three hour discussion; perhaps a later post will have more on that. The gathering did conclude with Barbara asking me, “What would you do to give a voice to this endeavor?”

I was stymied at first! And then I said, “I will synthesize the collective consciousness in this room and give it a singular voice in my blog on Tuesday.”

As I was driving home it occurred to me that I have been prescient for the answer had come in a previous Sonnet I had written. I’ve altered the words just a bit.


Sunday Sonnet
© 2011 Rolland G. Smith

There gathered in a room a group of souls
Intent upon the action of a choice,
Aware the intellect has cosmic holes
To swallow up the weary human voice.
Some words are said without a structured text
In hopes of a result—to then refine,
Creating new a path to see what’s next;
Then hold the vision up to what’s divine.
We are the songs within diversity
And harmonies in living tones of time,
But do we have a noble clarity
To hear the needed cries of the sublime?
A planetary birth is set as theme.
Now let us move it past a holding dream.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Reason and Common Sense

Look at the reality television shows today masquerading as redeeming entertainment. Watch the violent talk shows, listen to the argumentative broadcast pundits. Read the headlines, look at the covers of the national news magazines. Most of what we see and read is based on contention, conflict, and conquest.

Perhaps we have become a society of contentious citizens, of non-compromising ideologues; a land of absolutists. If so, we might want to rethink our stand for cemented thought always hardens into a shape that may not fit the future.

Our founding fathers demonstrated that noble ideals and practical principles are to be incorporated into the rule of law with compromise and even compassion and valued for their contribution to the whole even though their singular intrinsic value may be less than desired.

Shared ideals are the essence of collective growth, for they are not only the building blocks of freedom, they nurture hopes and wishes and encourage individuals to let go of demeaning selfish evaluations and dangerously passionate certainties. When that is done the two things left are reason and common sense and with them comes the understanding that grace and elegance are the only ingredients that can raise us individually and collectively to the realm of greatness. I suspect the choice is easier than we think, we just have to remember that it is.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday 13th

Today is Friday the 13th.

Worry not! It’s never been unlucky. It’s a myth.

Since  “Blogspot” has been down for hours, (Yep, Friday the 13th) I hope to post this when it’s back up.

Here is a link on Friday the 13th. It’s interesting.


See you Monday.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Peaceful Day

I really enjoyed my cantankerous rant the other day. I must do that more often.

Yesterday was a peaceful day. It was sunny and pleasant and I did promise a more spiritual post today.

I sat in an easy chair on the back deck. Spring zephyrs nudged the newly leafed trees to wiggle and stretch the winter kinks out of their limbs and branches. I felt a sense of peace in my conscience meditation.

My muse was present too.

Do we not know they are like us;
Our friends the trees of many kinds.
Why is it man will just not trust
The truths we know within our minds.

Each tree and we are part of all
As we each grow within the light.
Our seasons too bring both a fall
When spirit's colors bright ignite.

I love the newness of the green
As leaves arrive in early spring.
Their flowers too are clearly seen
With scents of sweetness that they bring.

Yet trees and man are oft alike
Each standing strong against life's storm
But trees each year will change their haik
As man relearns his spirit's norm.

In my peaceful state of mind, I once again reminded myself that all is right with the world. All is as it should be as we spiritual beings housed in a material body experience the growth of situations, conditions and outcomes that we create. What a marvelous gift the All That Is has given us.

We create our experiences, but we deny we own them, so we blame our situations on someone or something else or we create rules or doctrines or dogma that eliminate our authorship and say this is the way to believe.  Thus our responsibility for negative thoughts and their subsequent manifestations pass into the night of illusion. I think it's changing and we are seeing that we are the creators of our condition and that if we want to change it...change our minds.

Me and Rip Van Winkle

Darn....I must have been asleep and didn't know it.

When did we elect House Speaker John Boehner President of the United States? The way he's acting you'd think he has all Americans behind him.

Question:  When any kind of talks begin in order to solve a pressing problem how can anyone begin a dialogue when sides demand a conversational criteria?

Observations:  President Obama made a good speech at the Mexican border about immigration. Did anyone listen?  It's a problem and walls are not going to solve it.

I thought Donald Trump had a big ego until I read why Newt Gingrich believes he is the only GOP candidate with in-depth US foreign policy experience.

BTW Mr. Trump is thrumping his potential presidential candidate's platform as an opponent of big government. How do you think he got his empire where it is today? Tax breaks and federal funding come to mind.

What's some of the other good news this Wedneday morning?  Let's see...

The Postal Service reports billions in losses. Be helpful. Send a letter.

Oil prices rise because of the Mississippi floods. And I thought the oil companies were sleeping with me and Rip. They found a new assinine reason to raise prices. Want to do your part to balance the budget? Support those who want to fairly tax the oil companies and other biggies too.

I'm beginning to think we don't have a government "for the people and by the people." We have a government of mega companies for mega companies.

In tomorrow's post I'll try to get back on a more spiritual understanding of all the negative stuff out there.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spring's Spirituality

 I am thinking this morning of the simple spiritual things I experience in nature.

The lower meadow needs mowing. The grasses have grown to twelve or more inches. It has been so wet that the last time I drove my mower tractor into the meadow I got stuck for two days. It will have to wait.

I did trim some Wisteria vines and pulled some ambient seedlings from the various house gardens and planted Petunias.

I again thought of man’s proximity and connection to nature’s constant spring birth and how we attempt to manipulate the natural beauty of spontaneous chaos into the patterned form of our symmetry and color.

I watched and listened to the bubbling warble of the House Wrens building their nests in a tiny birdhouse hanging in the Hackberry Tree over the Spirit Garden and in the Buddha Garden on the other side of the house. Their little brown bodies belie their feisty demeanor and territorial defense.

In the eves and beams of a large portico over the front entrance is a Robbins nest tucked in the center of a hanging fern; they built it in three days. A Turtle Dove is nesting on another eve. The Doves are squatters in an old Robins nest.

I am reminded again, as I am so often of Shakespeare’s line. “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” I hope your spring days are just as profound.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Overweight, Fat, Obese

So there I was sitting in a Coldwater Creek store encouraging my wife to choose some gifts for Mother’s Day.

Most of these women’s stores have a couple of easy chairs in which men can sit so that they can do their thing while their wives or loved one’s shop. Some guys read, some play with their I phone’s or Blackberry’s and some snooze. I just sat and I watched!

I was comfortable where I was. I’m old enough to not be embarrassed anymore or need to immerse myself in an innocuous activity or a fingernail check when I am in a feminine environment foreign to my every day experience.

Lingerie departments in big chain stores or in specialty stores like Victoria Secret stores are just a couple of places where I once would wait at a safe place outside the store or department.

I am sitting in this store and just observing the young women who are picking, pawing, and holding up various garments to their upper or lower bodies to see if it’s a go or if it’s a put back on the rack.

I have always been a man who appreciates the female form especially the derriere of the species. Some men are legmen and some men are breast men and I am the other location of appreciation on the female body.

What I saw in my sitting observations was not pleasant. Plump to large to very large to huge Gluteus Maximus muscles stuffed into overly tight jeans that did not nicely accessorize the young female form. It’s OK to be a big person, but not to amortize it in tight pants; it seems that defeats the purpose of slimming accessoriziation.

This is true for guys too; do we not see our bulges, our undulating rolls of excess fat, and the disproportion of middle to the top and to the legs?

The basic fact is that too many young Americans, male and female, are fat. Too fat! If we want to be healthy, svelte, trim and all the other adjectives of slim, we need to exercise and eat better.

A friend of mine recently sent me a cartoon depiction of Michelangelo’s David. The caption was “David” after two months on an American fast food diet.

I am not condemning fat people. I am suggesting there is an alternative life style that may help eliminate the condition.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Power of Thought

Note to Congress:

Please take note of a Reuters report from Pakistan.

1. A senior Pakistani official says the U.S. troops killed Bin Laden in cold blood.
2. A Pakistani army statement threatened to halt cooperation (with the U.S.) if we repeated a violation of sovereignty.

Note to Pakistan:

Go ahead! There are many in the U.S. who find your integrity suspect, who think you have been duplicitous in your efforts to find Bin Laden, who think you are pandering to both sides for your own agenda, and who think the billion dollars and more we send to you each year is a waste of our tax payer dollars and it should cease.

Note to self and all:

There are many consequences that none of us know about or possibly even understand that effect the security of the United States by not buying off Pakistan each year or by cutting and running from Pakistani involvement.

If the current Pakistani government fails and radical contingents gain power…we need to remember that Pakistan is a nuclear power.

It’s complicated. So what’s an alternative?

If we choose to stay the same, we stay the same. If we choose a higher path of understanding and a willingness to be intuitive, then solutions will be presented to the little minds of humankind that will take us to a spiritual level where global ideologies will be comforted by diversity, but not confrontation.

It’s a thought!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Photos of a Dead Man

The selective clamor now from some individuals and from some in Congressional authority is to publically see the photos of a dead Osama Bin Laden.

I can understand it from Al Qaeda sympathizers for they have lost a demonic leader and would love the pictures to incite and condemn and build a martyred cause to attack anything American.

I cannot understand it from some American citizens, politicians and the public pulpit opinionates whose very breath into the partisan microphones they control drip with distrust of anything the Obama administration says or does.

I would guess there are probably a hundred people or more in the American military, including the members of Seal Team Six and their command and control personal who have seen the dead body and body wounds of Bin Laden.

There are many notable and distinguished Americas serving in posts and positions in the Obama Administration that were there in the situation room or at the CIA headquarters to watch the operation in Pakistan.

Do you think that any of those people, including members of Seal Team Six, would lie just to say we got Bin Laden?   Good sense and logic tells you no they would not. Personal integrity is important to all of these people and we have no reason to question it.

Those who want to see the pictures of a dead man are voyeurs with a penchant for ghoulish photographs. Grow up!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The South and Tornadoes

The few images of need still coming out of the South are powerful. They affect us all.

Along with the tornado destruction of homes, crumbled buildings, and bodies, come the tears of the living. Sometimes they come in sobs, sometimes in wails of disbelief. The old cry for the loss of memories, hoping for the strength to start again. The very young cry not fully understanding the new memory of loss.

There is worry from all, especially for and from the children for their security of a familiar bed or toy vanished with an ill wind that claimed so many lives. Parents do what they can to comfort the little ones, to reassure, but the eyes always mirror the fearful heart.

Right now Alabama and beyond scream, you can feel it, as victims search for their lives in the puzzle of rubble and find yesterday's peace is tomorrow's uncertainty.

As we hear the stories of those in need, as we become numbed by the statistics of loss, we cannot feel secure because we have normalcy, because we have shelter or we have food, or because it didn't happen here.

Instantaneous response to need defines true service. Despite the difficulties the victims of both political and nature's wrath must know they have not been forgotten by the collective healing spirit of what we call community...of what we call the humanity of humankind.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama Bin Laden

Bin Laden is dead! How we choose to react to the news of his death is what is interesting in our evolution as a society and in our personal attainment and awareness of spiritual oneness.

Osama Bin Laden was filled with hate and he spread his brand of funded terrorism to many and any throughout the world. He killed Muslims and Christians alike. It didn't matter as long as his personal vendetta was assuaged with the blood and carnage of the causes, culture and people he hated.

I don't regret or mourn his death. I pity his life's choices. He was born into privilege as one of many siblings of a prominent Saudi Arabian family. And like all despots and inhumane rogues of history something triggered a dispassionate detachment from the innate God-goodness that is within each created soul who incarnates into this earthly environment.

To me that is sadness for if one of us succeeds via good works then in some small way all of us succeed. The corollary is also true. If one of us chooses hate, prejudice, and the infliction of terror on humanity as a life choice then again in some small way all of us are diminished in our collective advancement toward the Oneness of All That Is.

While I welcome his death for what his life perpetrated on so many, I must also acknowledge that all judgment belongs to a Higher Authority whose infinite understanding and omniscience of our human failings far exceeds anything we can conceive.

There is another issue in all of this that is troubling. Pakistan. Despite it's public pronouncements that it is fighting terrorism, its actions belie that statement. Some official factions in Pakistan have aided and abetted Bin Laden and Al Qaeda for years. Few in the world believe Bin Laden could live in comfort with his family merely 40 miles from the Pakistani capitol and not have some collusion with the government.

We, the USA, give them billions of aid dollars each year for any number of reasons and it is time we stopped and demanded accountability.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Neighbor

A neighbor died the other day! He lived in a rooming house not too far away. He stopped to talk to me a few years ago, but I don't remember his name. I wish I did. Death always needs the dignity of a name. He drove a cab for a living.

He was a young man probably in his early forties. He was heavy, somewhat unkept, but always friendly. He'd drive his cab past my house everyday and, if I were out, we'd wave to one another.

I don't know what the cause of his death was, but I was saddened when I heard it.

There are many souls like this man who live quiet lives, unassuming and going about their business doing everyday jobs that serve their fellow citizens. Jobs of service. Jobs without acclaim. Jobs rarely appreciated. Often when these souls pass to that other place few notice and fewer still mourn the passing.

e.e. cummings once wrote: "Small service is true service...even the daisy by the shadow it casts protects the lingering due drop from the sun."

It is my belief that angels hide in commonality. They do so to give the rest of us the opportunity to be gracious, to be empathetic, to be loving, compassionate and caring. I don't know about you, but I've missed many humanitarian opportunities from angels that have crossed my life's path.

The death of my neighbor reminds me that I need to try harder.

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