The Long and the Short of It: Part II

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May 11, 2021- I was able to locate the Windows service for deleting temporary Internet files, so let’s see if that helps with the configuration issues that have been irksome, over the past few days.

The Elantra is ready for its first cross country jaunt, since 2019. It was found that the small brake light bulb, that kept burning out , is simply not well-made, with small filaments that don’t handle the bumps and lumps of our rougher roads-and those are the ones that are paved. It’s a nuisance, but also a First World problem.

The lack of regard for the safety of children is not just an American issue: Eleven people, many of them children, were shot to death yesterday, in Kazan, Russia. I can’t say it enough- It is not the God-given right of mentally ill people to bear arms. This does not mean those who have been successfully treated for mental illness can’t own firearms, but those still certifiably afflicted are a public safety menace, when given access to guns and ammunition.

It’s time to end the “audits” and voter restriction bills that seek to undo the results of LAST year’s election and/or prevent American citizens from voting, based on any number of anticipated, but unlikely, “potential frauds”. If anything, voter protection needs to be expanded. If that means there are laws passed that I may not like, then let the courts determine whether these are/are not constitutional. It is not up to state legislatures to circumvent the right of the people to vote as they please.

It’s starting to get warm here again, and I see that just as I am preparing to head out of town, the fires are kicking in. This time, I am taking care of family matters first, and pray for the safety of those in the back country, who might be affected by the present wildfire. My journey does not mean I don’t care about our County.

Onward and outward, it is.

Further Changes

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May 8, 2021- I received a supportive message from the principal of the school to which I referred yesterday. There will be some discomfort, for some people, but the children will be safe.
In a few short days, my mother’s life will become more secure. I will be on the road, towards my childhood home, and will help with whatever needs to be done, for at least a week. This was not expected-at least not this month, but life does not compromise with want-only with need.

I received word, this evening, that her next door neighbour of 66 years is dying. He is in hospice- a man’s man, reduced to lying in a single bed. I can only hope that his extended family, his cousins and closest friends, can be with him. If he is still with us, when I get to Massachusetts, I will pay a visit and thank him for being a faithful friend of our family, like his parents were.

The next few days will see preparatory activities- a Mother’s Day call, a dental check-up, a car servicing, laundry and packing. There will be time, tomorrow, for a visit to a magical place: Montezuma Well. My Home Base will be secure, while I’m gone, and there will much to be done, when I get back .

School, though, will wait until Fall, or maybe Winter, as I honour marching orders, sent from a place unseen.

Pasch

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May 2. 2021

Freedom of worship makes for a magnificent tapestry of holy days and festivals. The past month has brought us Passover, the Eastertide, Ramadan, Beltane, Vesak and Ridvan. Soon, it will time for Eid-at Fitr, the end of Ramadan.

Today was Pasch, the Eastern Orthodox observance of Christ’s Resurrection. I have an eclectic group of friends, observing various ways of honouring the Creator of us all.

My Eastern Orthodox friends are every bit as dear to me as all who pass my way. This confirmation of Jesus’ promise thus augments, and never contradicts, the strengthening of His Teachings on how we may renew ourselves,

No matter how far back, in the mists of time , a Faith goes, the way in which it honours the Almighty is its proof.

As with all the holy days gone before it, a Most Joyous Pasch!

Elbow Bumps

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May 1, 2021- May Day has traditionally been a day when I have looked back on my year of work, with a view towards successfully summing up what has been achieved and what remains ahead. This year will more or less conclude on May 7, the end of my series of special projects that has followed retirement. There could be other, unanticipated calls between now and May 27, or at different points next Autumn, and beyond. My major focus, though, will by and large be more a more fluid effort at community service.

Today was spent running a duffel bag filled with “Days for Girls” washable and reusable feminine products to a couple who met us in Flagstaff. The woman receiving the items was less than thrilled that I was the one who had driven them up there. Perhaps she was just embarrassed, though we have had a few issues in the past. We got the mission done, and a friend retrieved her truck, which had been used for water delivery on the Navajo Nation. I helped several girls and a long-time friend, which is what matter most. Connecting two equestrian friends was also accomplished, and I got to visit a bit with two wonderful horses.

I still found myself greeting my Dineh friend, in Flagstaff, with an elbow bump. We wore masks, for the benefit of those who remain immuno-compromised. Even if that benefit is merely psychological, it is worth their peace of mind. The residual effects of the virus will be with us for a short while longer in the U.S.-and longer still in countries, like India and Brazil, where it is still raging. While one can look beyond the present status of the pandemic in this and other countries, where it is under control, we must not lose concern for the well-being of the planet as a whole.

Elbow bumps will be a thing, for some time yet to come. We will, however, prevail as a species.

Renewal

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April 28, 2021- So often, when I think there is not much that might change in my little corner of the world, new experiences offer themselves-as a way of refreshing, renewing. There is also the continuing clean bill of health, from my chiropractor at least-and, I am anticipating, at my dental check-up, in two weeks. Sleeping more soundly is something to which I credit both the Thrive vitamins that are now part of my evening regimen and the letting go of left-over guilt, from not having met some people’s expectations.

The school year is winding down, with testing drawing to a close-and the focus being more on final class projects, at the intermediate and secondary levels. I am helping with intermediate students, working on science projects this week. Encouraging them to see the science behind everything from video games to pond scum is an exhilarating experience.

Next week, going back to primary level classes, will also provide some novel experiences, as the younger students, also, will be wrapping up some small exploratory activities. There is no end to what each of us can discover, as the world slowly opens back up, even as the technology which has sustained us through this pandemic offers new ways to maintain long distance connections.

I hope this last is not lost on many people.

Ruling Myself

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April 20,2021- Today was essentially a good day-for my own self-control, in accepting the reality of a friendship’s nature. It was a good day for widening the scope of justice in our struggling nation. It was a good day for the Baha’i community, as we observed the First Day of Ridvan, the twelve-day period that celebrates Baha’u’llah’s declaration of His mission.

It was also a challenging day, in which someone on the edges of my circle told me, very bluntly, that he regarded himself and his children as my personal responsibility. To some extent, I have my own efforts to help him contact aid agencies to blame. I also recognize that he is an orphan, and as such cannot help but latch onto anyone who shows him kindness-demanding more and more, until the cord ends up being cut. I am playing out my endgame here, with a GoFundMe campaign and a continuing effort to match him with financial entities that are far better equipped to help, than is any lone individual.

I have waited a long time to be the ‘captain of my soul”. My actions will remain rooted in service to humanity-but NOT to anyone who barges into my space and expects fealty. I am involved in a far more global long game. Perhaps this is just another case of my holding someone, who wants to get close to me, at arm’s length-as another such individual told me, just before I blocked and deleted her from my life, nearly three years ago. More likely, I am figuring out how to handle someone who MAY be a grifter (most people who hound others for money ARE grifters). More likely, I am standing up and saying that my primary duty is to the Lord God; that my secondary duty is to my (biological) family and not to any interloper, no matter how many years he/she has been seeking my help.

As I said, today was a mixed bag-and this month, or next, may well end with some very emotional volleys being made.

Tomorrow Always Comes

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April 15, 2021- Despite the best efforts of the naysayers, or perhaps because of their incessant reminders, there is always a bright sun shining.

In spite of the pain we may feel, or perhaps because of its calling attention to a place that needs growing, there is healing that brings solace.

In the darkest of night, there is ever a glimmer far to the east that calls to the soul, saying: “Rejoice, for the tidings of strength, vindication and resilience are nigh, would you but be open to these.” Tomorrow always comes, if not to the body, then surely to the spirit.

Sane and Intelligent

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April 13, 2021- I watched a small segment of a newsreel from the World War II era, which included a Disney cartoon, promoting payment of taxes as an act of patriotism-one of many ways in which the average citizen of that time could support the war effort, through personal sacrifice. Along with dehumanizing the opposing forces of the Axis (Germany, Italy and Japan), the appeal to acceptance of taxation, recycling, conservation and not spending on oneself was made so that the bulk of the nation’s resources would go towards support for the Armed Forces.

Defeating the most formidable opponents the forces of democracy had yet known required a fair amount of such sacrifice-and the burden was shared by Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and several smaller nations. The Soviet Union was our ally, but its citizens were already living under onerous conditions-and knew little of personal freedom. Stalin’s sole recognition of individual dignity came in his decrees that men and women were equal under the law and that every child was entitled to a free education.

We, on the other hand, found some of our freedoms temporarily curtailed-as a means to focus the nation’s energy on defeat of the totalitarian enemy. That presented a conundrum to some people. As the bulk of the opposition to this temporary halt of free expression came from people who were not altogether opposed to the Fascist cause, it gained little traction. Besides, President Truman restored civil liberties, once the war was over.

Baha’u’llah teaches that the practice of a sane and intelligent patriotism is essential, for avoiding the evils of excessive centralization. This makes such a practice all the more vital, for the time, in the distant future, when a system of international governance becomes established. The Baha’i view of such a system is that it is built from the ground up-and thus, the more basic units of social structure: Family, community, city/town, county, state/province/prefecture, nation never lose their legitimate powers. The governance of the planet as a whole depends on the strength of the layers of society on which it is built.

There will always be times when temporary sacrifice is needed, in order to defeat a common threat. Certainly, the current fight against Coronavirusdisease2019 is such a time. That we are learning to make these sacrifices, and are making slow headway in overcoming this threat to public health, is a good lesson in learning what is sane and intelligent, in terms of patriotism.

Islands In The Stream

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April 12, 2021- Most people I encountered today were on point with how their lives intertwine with the wider society. All of the students with whom I worked, save two, were focused and completed their tasks in a timely manner. Of the other two, one is a recent arrival from another country and not sure of his feelings towards this one, as yet. The second has focus issues and is given to being sneaky-which, he found, just brought about more vigilance on my part.

I did my weekly laundry run, after work. There are, quite often, some interesting characters at the laundromat. An inquisitive and energetic five-year-old decided I had a kind face and engaged me in conversation, a couple of times asking if I would join her outside in the “fresh air”. I agreed, the second time, after letting her mother know that we would be just on the landing outside the door. Of course, the Mini- Explorer wandered down the walk, just far enough to bring her mother outside, with the command to get back indoors. I knew she was safe, but it was more essential for Mommy to feel that way. Of course, also, the “Village Watchdog”, a woman slightly older than me, assumed the worst, began scowling at me and muttering about perverts. God only knows how far off the mark that woman was.

People whose sole frame of reference is themselves, whose views on anything under the Sun are rooted in fear and ignorance, are like islands in a slow-moving stream. My mother raised us to try to see other people as they see themselves. It is possible to do that with those who jump to conclusions, yet I always have this feeling that their game of parkour may find them falling short of the next roof, and on the sidewalk far below.

Samaritans

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April 9, 2021- There is a story of a man from Samaria, a region of what is now Syria and known for its enmity with Judea. The story goes that he stopped to help an injured man, on the side of the road, after the man had been left to die, by bandits. From his kind actions, we get the term Good Samaritan. Over time, “samaritan” has come to mean someone who helps strangers who are in difficulty, often stranded in a remote area.

There are many stories of people coming to the aid of the unfortunate. There are all kinds of samaritans: Some, with low self-esteem, seek praise, adulation, recognition and even a reward of some sort. Others may keep a tally sheet, and while paying it forward, seek recompense later. There is the “no-good-deed-goes unpunished” crowd-wanting any misdeeds to be overlooked, just because “on balance” they have helped some people, sometimes. The key to authenticity is knowing just how well one accounts for transgressions, without falling back on what one might have done for others.

I can only make sense of one course for my own state of being. Yes, I know there have been times when I have done good for people, without being asked. There have also been times when people have been hurt, on my account. The one good thing about “samaritan” acts is that no one needs to know about them, other than the recipients of such help. They need not speak of it.