Friday, August 31, 2012

Roadside Grace

We often forget just how fortunate we are in our ability to see beauty. In many ways I think we incarnate for the sole purpose to create beauty out of the wandering thoughts that move through our minds.

I was stopped at a crossroads waiting to pull out into traffic. I had the window of the car open. I looked down at the side of the road and there festooning the dusty dirt and grim that edges the side of all roads was a collection of Queen Anne’s Lace and the light blue blossoms of wild Bachelor Buttons.

It was beautiful. Then as I drove on the country road for a few miles to my destination I noticed these two flowering plants gilding my way. What a treat.

Along the Road
© 2010 Rolland G. Smith

Bachelor buttons and Queen Anne’s Lace
Astride the ways to every place.
Crocheted in white the doily blooms
Beside the lanky Bachelor Plumes.

Both thrive where few would like to be
Along the road for all to see.
A gift of grace for passers by.
Their whites and blues reflect the sky.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Civil War - A misnomer.

Why do we call them civil wars? There is nothing civil about it.

The Latin term “bellum civile” was first used in the roman civil wars of the 1st century BC and it’s been adopted for other historical conflicts.

If you look at the pictures of slaughter and the mass graves coming out of Syria you wonder how such cruelty and dispassion can exist in this day and age.

If you know your history you know that all wars are bloodied in cruelty. Our weapons are more powerful now, but it is an individual who gives the order and it is the individual who pulls the trigger.

All wars, all battles kill. They kill the combatants and they kill the innocent. Compassion fails when death and weapons  surround you.

Power struggles and ideological survival always corrupt the divine within each person and the innate kindness of life disappears into the dark chambers of the heart. Only to surface when remorse releases the guilt into a hope for forgiveness.

The American civil war was no exception. Our history books are filled with civil war atrocities on both sides. The South and the North killed indiscriminately and cruelty was a weapon employed by both sides to both soldiers and civilians alike.

Many people believe that Americans are the paragons of fighting a fair war. They think we have ethics in battles and morals in capture like John Wayne and Audie Murphy and Alvin York and we give quarter and ration. That’s the stuff of movies and propaganda; there are some exceptions, but historians will tell you it is rare.

There were 31 civil wars around the globe from 1800 to 1945. There have been 66 civil or internecine wars in the world since 1945 and nine of them are still going on.

It does not speak well for humanity.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Keeping One's Word

Im thinking about a phrase that I don't hear too much anymore.

"You have my word."

Remember when someone's word was his bond? The word was sacred and nothing else mattered, but the fulfillment of the word.

For years in our grandparents time and maybe even in our parents time if you gave your word on it it was as binding as any legal contract we have today. It was binding because it came from within the moral and ethical essence of the heart. More often than not the agreement was between two people. No witnesses, no notary, no piece of legal paper.

What happened? Where did the trust go?

In the days of long ago exchanges of service and barter the promises to pay were not sealed with a legal piece of paper they were cemented agreements with a handshake. 

If a problem arose, you didn't have to press one for account balance and press two to record a message, and never get to a live person, you went to see the person, looked them in the eye, and talked and the word was held sacred.

Our country was built on handshakes. I remember my father saying, "it is something that I must do, I gave my word.

To my mind these days we need less legalities and codicils and addendums and contracts and more handshakes and "you have my word." 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lies, Slander and Rumor

I’m still getting anti-President Obama emails from well-meaning friends. I have asked them not to send me these Internet generated pieces of prejudice and false statements filled with rumor, innuendo and disrespectful diatribes, but despite asking I still get them. I also get anti Romney falsehoods and I feel the same about them.

When I can I refute the false statements if listed, I copy everyone on the senders email list with my corrected litany of the false statements.

Based upon the number of emails I have received so far this election season from people in all walks of life, I am convinced there is seething prejudice in America against races other than white being President of the United States.

I am ashamed of all latent prejudice, political or otherwise, wherever it is and however we find it.

I have no quarrel with discussions on divergent political paths on issues of the budget or how to run the country. Those are legitimate concerns for debate and will be settled in the voting booth, but to oppose a political ideology solely on race or creed is immoral and un-American.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, died the other day. He was 82 years old.

I can imagine the journey and the reception for his homecoming to that other place.

Passing through the proverbial tunnel of light he probably said, "This is nothing, try blasting off in a rocket that takes you out of Earth's orbit" or "Try wondering if you'd ever leave the moon's surface after a few days of enthralling mankind."

Can you imagine the reception he got in the spirit world; so many old friends and family, Sally Ride, Grissom, White and Chaffee were probably the first one's there to greet him as he arrive home as were so many others from later space disasters. What a party! It's probably still going on.

I imagine the wise elders in the spirit world and the angelic souls and guides who watched over his corporal life were there to say, "Well done Neil and welcome home."

He might say in response, “It was a glorious life with some tough choices, but I did the best I could."

Neil Armstrong learned to fly when he was sixteen. He went on to be a combat pilot in Korea and a test pilot later and then commander of Apollo Eleven and then to be the first human to set foot on the moon.

Can you imagine his wonder and awe at seeing the vastness of the universe from a spiritual perspective and what that kind of omniscience brings to awareness?

Perhaps where he is now if you think about a place you are there. You can be on the Moon, or Mars or Alpha Centuri in an instant. Why not. In that other place, the other side, maybe all things we can imagine are possible. What if thought is the genesis of creation? I like to think it is.

Maybe my imagination of that other place is not much different than his was as a teenager dreaming that one-day mankind would step on the moon.

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