Seventy-One and Counting, Day 4

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December 2, 2021- It was a fine thing, to again have hot water for my shower and for washing the dishes. It turned out that the landlord’s own apartment also had lukewarm water. That led to things being straightened out, in short order. It is also just in time, as the unusually mild weather we’ve had is about to transition to more seasonable temperatures.

Rampage. Four young people, two boys and two girls, were killed by a gunman, on Tuesday, at Oxford High School, north of Detroit. There are two counties which have now closed their schools for the rest of this week, at minimum, with either accomplices to the shooter or copycats, threatening to up the number of victims. Two weeks ago, an automobile was the weapon of choice, for an unhinged man, acting out of hatred. Tuesday, in Oxford, the killer reverted to a firearm, of the sort used so often to inflict pain and suffering, these past twenty-nine years. This is another of those instances that gives the lie to the claim that only guns can stop guns. The reality is that only mental health programs, getting to the roots of what make unstable people go over the edge, can augment firearms registration and safety training to the point where gun-based violence is a rarity, rather than a pestilence.

Choices. I have reached the point where my work assignments are going to be carefully selected. More of my efforts are to be self-care, with a fair amount of volunteer work, though that is turning out to be less than before. Keeping a healthy immune system will be the pet project for the foreseeable future. I have seen four of my most treasured spiritual teachers pass on this year, partly because they just reached an age where their systems gave out. There was, however, also the matter of compromised immunity.

“Welcome to Earth”. This is the heading on the December issue of National Geographic Magazine. It is intended to take a fresh look at our planet, with a specific focus on the Serengeti Plain ( a place I fully intend to visit, along with other places in Africa, sometime between 2024-26). There are pieces devoted to each aspect of the ecosystem-including the human element, without which no amount of goodwill and effort at saving the beleaguered wildlife will suffice to keep this global treasure for the sake of generations to come-both for the area’s residents and all those around the planet, who value the place from afar. This will be a classic edition of NGM, much like the special editions on France, Australia and The Oceans.

There is so much to be done, locally and abroad. I can only promise to take the best care of my autumnal self. From there, everyone I love will be well-tended.

Seventy-One and Counting, Day 3

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December 1, 2021- The little long-haired dachshund, standing outside the small cafe, looked over her shoulder at me, as I sat by the window, and smiled as if she knew me from somewhere. Our last dog, of the same breed, was euthanized eleven years ago, at the age of seventeen. Lady had severe arthritis at the time and could not move without screeching. Maybe canine energy flows through the Universe, the way human energy does, or maybe the animal could just sense that I was taken with her sweet expression, as her owner looped the leash around a chair leg, while he went into the nearby herb shop.

Catch-up. This morning, in particular, was set aside for paying the rent, recycling old newspapers and going through the freezer & refrigerator, to make sure any overlooked stale and rancid stuff was tossed. The afternoon was a bit quieter, visiting a bit with friends from Prescott Valley and helping my Hiking Buddy get some of her product to the P.O.

Duplicates, triplicates, etc. Checking the contacts on my i-Phone, I see that nearly all of them were entered at least twice. So, after locating the ‘delete’ tab, at the bottom of each ‘Edit’ page, I managed to start clearing the redundant entries. It’ll probably take a half hour to get through the whole list, including surname changes and removing the names of those who have passed away. This is what happens when importing data from one phone system to another, and getting no confirmation of the import, at first. Retrying was apparently unnecessary.

Stocks in Trade. It most always happens that those with a heavy investment in the stock market use the last trading day of any given month as their pay day. There is always a lame excuse: “Because of ____________ (fill in the blanks)”, but the reason is the same. In essence, this is how some folks pay their bills. The rest of us just bide our time, leave our investments alone and sooner, rather than later, the funds are on the upswing again-until the next end-of-month or day before a holiday.

Whose Body Is It? The Supreme Court Justices weighed in on the matter of whether abortion is a choice or a matter of government restriction. There was no “final” decision made on the matter, but here is the thing, imho. Life begins at conception AND the matter of whether it proceeds to birth lies between a mother and her physician, with hopefully some RESPONSIBLE and informed input from the father. A rapist, or an incestuous man forfeits any claim to having been responsible. It falls to the mother’s moral compass, as to whether the child should be carried to term. Again, in my humble opinion, genetic testing should NOT be the basis for such decision making, if gender or potential disability are the criteria for opting to abort. As a man who is past child- siring age, I recognize that my opinions are not exactly going to be solicited. However, I conclude with three points: 1. A fetus is not brain-dead, despite the statement made to that effect by one of the Supreme Court justices. The level of brain development should have nothing to do with the mother’s decision. That is the stuff and nonsense behind the odious theory of eugenics. 2. Devaluing a person because of gender is precisely the reason why pre-birth testing is also odious. People in societies where women and girls are historically devalued should not be given license to indulge in pre-birth slaughter. 3. Finally, I have yet to meet a mother who opts for abortion who is NOT scarred emotionally by her choice. It is arguably the most terrifying situation in which a human being may be placed. The last thing she needs is to have government in the driver’s seat. The forces of education and nurturance need to be in place, very early in the life of an adolescent -boy or girl and definitely need to be there for a woman who has to make the decision. Regardless of the choice made, the woman needs to be enveloped in love. Too much can, and will, go wrong when a patriarchy or detached bureaucracy-including SCOTUS- imposes its dictates on the lives of women who are of child-bearing age.

That’s my take, and I’m sticking to it.

Seventy-One and Counting, Day 2

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November 30, 2021- Son was busy, during our after-lunch walk, counting any and all critters he spotted along the nature trail that wends it way along Mill Creek, just east of the apartment complex which was, until this afternoon, my Texas home for a week. There were eight squirrels, a crane and probably five green beetles of one kind or another. Such is the condition of an ecosystem that is in the early stages of a managed recovery.

Lunch. Yunhee made her third classic Korean meal in a row. After mandu gook (dumpling soup), and miyok gook (seaweed soup) came bulgogi (the famous Korean marinated barbecued beef). Every meal taken at home was heavenly.

Farewells. I left my little family behind, after a lowkey, but well-spent week. We did not leave the house much, but did take in a few nature trails-including the aforementioned Mill Creek Trail; the latest James Bond film-replete with an Agent 007 who is not Bond, James Bond-and a JB mini-he; and a couple of restaurants-the surprisingly good Tommy Tamale and the earnest, but not overwhelming, Jake’s Burgers and Beer. About the latter, the perky server, Maria, took good care of us, when she wasn’t hanging out with her friend-but that is a maturity thing, not a matter of character. The fare itself was lackluster.

Aram and I had important conversations about spirituality and preparing oneself for parenthood-before even trying to start a family. He has a clear vision about both matters, which I find re-assuring. I was also able to give him extra moral support, while he finished a college project he found nettlesome at times. I’m ever happy to be with my little family.

Return flight. I wandered into an American Airlines bank of check-in stations that were apparently meant for connecting passengers. The agents looked bored out of their skulls, so they were more than happy to check my bag and direct me to the correct gate. TSA is a bit more exacting at DFW than at Sky Harbor. Shoes and belts still come off, and the efficient site manager has bins underneath each standing point along the conveyor belt. Woe be unto anyone who takes a bin from the used pile, which is unsanitized. The manager reminded me of Queen Latifah’s character on the current “The Equalizer”- as officious as needed, very professional and very sure of self. The confusion over a delay of the flight turned out to be confusion, and not fact. My flight to Phoenix left on time. I had a relatively brief waiting period in the boarding area and the plane was loaded on time. Nice seatmates, from Louisiana and California bantered, mostly with one another. I occupied myself by watching a silent screening of “Kong vs. Godzilla”, which I have seen as a captive audience, once before. The Hollow Earth theory is something of which I had heard before, when I was about twelve. Thankfully, it has been relegated to B-grade SyFy.

Sky Harbor. Once on the ground in Phoenix, it took only fifteen minutes to retrieve my checked bag. I had changed the shuttle time to Prescott, owing to the rumoured flight delay. So, back upstairs it was, to Blue Mesa Tacos. The new cook was being strictly supervised by the manager, but she was doing a fine job on her own-for which I praised her. The quesadilla was perfect.

Around 6:20, the shuttle to Prescott arrived. As there was space available, I made a quick appeal to the driver and explained the switcheroo. He was glad to take me along, and by 8:30, we were all back at Home Base.

All good things come to an end, followed by other good things.

Seventy-One Years Down

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November 28, 2021, Grapevine- It was the best Korean lunch I’ve had, and I am not just speaking out of prejudice. My daughter-in-law prepared a soup of seaweed, braised beef and garlic, accompanied by several side dishes (kimchi, small grilled and shredded mushrooms, grilled tofu and pressed, layered vegetable roll) and steamed rice. Yunhee has learned a highly-developed cuisine form, very well. This was my birthday meal, though we would have a late supper at a nearby burger joint, this evening.

The early evening saw us take in the latest James Bond film, “No Time to Die”, the apparent swan song for actor Daniel Craig, in the role of the legendary secret agent. No spoilers here, but it was faithful to the Bond narrative of fantasy car chases, explosions and mass disruptions of fancy, gala events.

It has been a most eventful seventy-first year of earthly life. My childhood home was sold, as Mother moved, of her own volition, into an Assisted Living residence. One of my closest cousins lost a battle with cancer. Two trips eastward, in May and in July, were both generated and affected by these events. Concern with justice, both deferred and realized, led to visits to the Greenwood community, in Tulsa and to George Floyd Square, in Minneapolis. I was able to reconnect with two cousins and their wives after many years. Strong new friendships were made at my Home Base of Prescott. COVID19, while still influential in my public and private activities, ceased to be an overwhelmingly restrictive force, especially after my receipt of two Moderna vaccines (with the understanding that these are strictly season to season in effectiveness), which combined with a proactive immunity regimen and being blessed with O+ blood, have allowed me to move along with a moderate level of caution. Three minor, but nettlesome, skin tumors were removed. Visits to Carson City, in the spring and to northern New Mexico and the San Diego area, this Autumn, were thus able to take place without any negative results.

As Year 72 begins, I join my fellow Baha’is in entering the second century of what is called the Formative Age of our Faith, a time in which its affairs are managed by ordinary people, acting in elected assemblies, following the guidance of its Founder’s Teachings, as explained further by ‘Abdu’l-Baha and His grandson, Shoghi Effendi, who served as Guardian of the Faith from 1921 until his passing, in 1957. We are all charged to advance spiritually, both individually and in groups.

My work with children and teens continues, though not on a full-time basis, given official retirement last November. So, too, does work with non-profit agencies, including the Red Cross. Hikes and travel will continue, of course, though the latter will see more use of trains and buses, with my Saturn Vue staying within the areas of California and the five southwestern states.

I look ever forward to what further challenges and blessings may arise.

Father and Son

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November 27. 2021, Grapevine- In a nutshell, I have been treated like royalty by my son, since he was in the Navy, and continuing to the present time. Truth be known, I would do the same, were he ever again in need. That has, to our minds, been the bedrock of a parent/child relationship for all time. I would do the same if I had a daughter.

Today marked the Centenary of the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, the eldest son and Successor to Baha’u’llah, as Head of the Baha’i Faith. He took the leadership role upon His Father’s Ascension, on May 29, 1892, serving in that capacity for over 29 years, until November 28, 1921. The fluctuations in the actual day when His passing is honoured stem from the use of the Lunar Calendar for this day, as well some other commemorations.

What is most important for the generality of mankind is the tenor of the relationship between the two Great Teachers. Baha’u’llah, like Christ, Gautama Siddhartha, Muhammed and Others before Him, brought a set of Spiritual Teachings, geared towards the people of His time and for many centuries thereafter. ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s major tasks were to interpret His Father’s Teachings to the world and to serve as an Exemplar, with regard to how these Divine Principles may best be manifested in everyday life. He was the first to recognize His Father as a Divine Messenger, even while still a child.

So were Their interwoven lives the stuff of both celestial spiritual provenance and of how parents and children can most optimally work in concert. ‘Abdu’l-Baha was a devoted Son to His mother as well, and a steadfast Brother to His two siblings: Bahiyyih, entitled Khanum (“Lady”, in Persian) and Mihdi, His younger brother, who died accidentally, while still young. He was a chaste and loving Husband to Munirih Khanum.

Even with the constant upheavals in the family’s lives, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, the Perfect Son in every way imaginable, walked among people of all strata of society, seeing none as an inherent enemy and giving even His detractors their due. He served the people of British-ruled Palestine tirelessly, helping feed thousands of people during the privations during and after World War I. He visited rich and poor alike, during travels in Egypt, Europe and North America, from 1910-1913.

When Baha’u’llah transcended in 1892, and His eldest Son, in 1921, hundreds of people, from the political leaders of Palestine to farmers, fishermen and labourers in the streets, gathered to pay their respects. Their Family had come as prisoners of the Sultan, but focused Their energies solely on bettering the lives of those among whom They lived. That effort was not lost on the people, and remains to this day as a prime example for all who call themselves members of the human family.

The Essentials

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November 26, 2021, Grapevine- Writing about little stuff, whilst in Texas, is not as much of an oxymoron as one might think. The Lone Star Empire is made up of a mass of minutiae-all of which lend their parts to the legend.

This leads me to the logical codicil to yesterday’s gratitude post: The basic things that warm my heart and keep me going. Here are a dozen such, written Letterman-style:

12. The Cosmos. Any night that at least features the Moon, Jupiter and Venus (at least until February) is a fine one. How much more pleasant is the early morning, with a mass of heavenly orbs! Even the coldest of nights is more comforting, when there are gleaming stars all around.

11. Friends randomly made. The saving grace of seeming inconveniences, like lines, traffic snarls, postponements, crowded conveyances is that they often introduce me to people with whom I may not have anything else, inherently, in common. I recall times, like the three hours spent in the corridor connection of a train going between St. Lo and Paris, in 2014. The families who were huddled there will always be among cherished friends.

10. Friends digitally made. There is a lot of which to be wary, when it comes to social media. One must always be on guard, against the forces of manipulation and invasion of privacy. The upside, though, is the number of potentially close friends who might not have been made, otherwise. I think, especially of five of my closest friends-three women and two men, who were met online.

9. Cozy establishments. Living alone means that gathering spots are important. This is true in my Home Base, and it’s true everywhere I go. A comfortable couch or easy chair, or a well-placed high top table, make for an enjoyable meal, or evening of music.

8. Variety of scenes. The immense number of different landscapes, and seascapes, across the planet, has contributed to my learning and sense of well-being. The same is true of the human landscapes, from crowded cities to isolated farms, ranches and mining sites.

7. Variety of viewpoints. No matter how much I think I know, there is always something to be gained, from encountering a different perspective. Even something that is odious or toxic can, if regarded from a safe distance, show me what NOT to adopt as my own.

6. Health practices. Keeping an open mind about different methods of maintaining stamina and avoiding addiction has led me to a relatively robust autumn of my years. I am ever grateful for those who led me to essential oils and natural supplements.

5. Imagination. My vivid mindset has led me down some crazy rabbit holes, but with the understanding that the way in is also the way out. Imagination leads to creativity, which is often the only key to problem-solving-and God knows, we need that ability, almost on a daily basis.

4. Presence of children and youth. The value of spirited energy to a full life cannot be minimized. Kids have been urgent to my well-being, since I was one, myself. I have never been particularly athletic, but being around team sports and activities has been a tonic. It took me a long time to relax enough, within myself, to take part in group dances, yet when I am among a group of young people who are reveling in their musical surroundings ( except for thing like mosh pits or crowd surges), my body and soul are soaring. The delightful energy and perspectives of children are ever a treasure, even to just watch.

3. Family. From the time I was small, I have liked, as well as loved my parents, grandparents, and siblings. It has not always crystal clear to some, that this is the case, but in my core I stay true to my roots. From family, I have learned that there is always a solution to what life throws at me. Dad, with his emphasis on making responsible choices, and owning them and Mom, with her admonitions about keeping an eye out for opportunity and for loving who I am, are largely responsible for my even being here to this day and time.

2. Spirit guides- Those who have gone on, even those who I never met in the flesh, have looked out for me and constantly send messages. They have prompted me to act, in matters profound and mundane-and have consistently helped me set my path.

1. Faith- This is what ties everything together. All the foregoing items emanate from my faith in a Higher Power, Who I believe has shown us the way to building a unified planet and has been ever guiding Creation in that direction, from the very point in which it was renewed-so many eons ago. All the Spiritual Teachers the human race has ever known emanate from this One Source.

Ten Gratitudes

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November 25, 2021, Grapevine- One of the inherent goodnesses of this day, that is so strangely placed one month after the last harvests have been completed in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere, is that so many people nonetheless stop to count their blessings. There will always be those who say they have none, but that is a topic for another time. The Universe will see such people along, in its way.

I spoke with my mother and each of my siblings, earlier today, and being comforted by the overall spirit of optimism that was conveyed. My little family and I had a lovely Thanksgiving Dinner, which they put together nicely, within the framework of the usual lunch hour. The meal set me to thinking of those aspects of my life that generate gratefulness. These are what come to mind, in this time of ongoing crisis and victory, and in no particular order of importance:

  1. I am more accepted and honoured, by more people, than at any time in my life. Those who once found me strange have expanded their own viewpoints, either by dint of enlightenment or by virtue of going through life’s inevitable grind. I also find it easier to understand their pain.
  2. My judgment is clearer, more focused than it has been in times past. A good part of that comes from moving away from overthinking.
  3. Every person dear to me is in generally good health. Some are getting over mild cases of COVID, but that is more incidental than chronic. They are recovering and will be back in good stead, very shortly.
  4. Humanity is moving in an essentially positive direction. Problems of living will always be with us, and there will ever be the challenges posed by the wayward, the disgruntled and the egocentric. By and large, though, we have as a species made great strides in facing the gauntlet of a harsh world.
  5. I find much to admire, in a broad cross-section of humanity. The groundedness and tradition of conservatives meshes far more easily, in my mind, with the inclusiveness and innovation of progressives than either group sometimes can countenance.
  6. The youngest generations, even in the one-step forward, two-steps back matter of overcoming prejudice, are showing more maturity, at a younger age, by and large.
  7. It is easier to ignore the wirepullers and shrill voices of negativism than it once was for me. Keeping eyes on the prize of a better world is the only true path.
  8. People at the grassroots are taking back their communities, and not in an exclusionary or hierarchical manner. The elites will find that they must meld with the vast majority of humanity, not the other way around-despite the temporary trends in some areas towards control by artificial intelligence and autocratic structures. As people get over their collective fears, they are banding together in a united front.
  9. The growing awareness that the human body has what it needs to heal itself, and that all that is supplemental to this healing may be found in nature, is a corollary to this grassroots renaissance.
  10. The great Spiritual Teachers, speaking with one Voice, are showing us the way towards an even brighter future for this abundant planet.

A Child Is A Child

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November 19, 2021- I have friends and family, on both sides of the Chasm, when it comes to discussions of race. Just so we’re clear, I am dead set against ANY policy or action that limits or prevents a person from following his/her life plan-so long as that plan does not itself involve limiting or preventing another person from following theirs.

It started, in a sense, with Emmett Till. When he was killed, I was four. An older cousin saw the news on TV and commented: “That is just plain SICK!” I asked what was sick and he told me that a kid, not much older than he, was killed by some crazy people in a place called Mississippi. I knew that name, because the older girls in the neighbourhood spelled it out while jumping rope. It bothered me, from that time on, that adults would kill a child.

As time went on, I witnessed and experienced all types of adult behaviour towards children-mostly good, but some very wicked things as well. I was, thankfully, never beaten or abused-but I knew plenty of boys and girls who were.

Growing up in a mostly White town, I saw and heard people of all ages-including some of my mates, express hostility towards people of other racial groups. In fairness, they were just as caustic towards people of other European ethnicities. I never felt such animosity towards anyone, but as the saying goes, “You stand in chalk, you inhale the dust.” It took time in the Army and frank discussions with people of other backgrounds, in which I chose to listen more than talk, for me to truly understand their experiences.

It is the duty of adults to teach teens in the ways of maturity. Maturity, as my father explained to me, means not rushing furiously into a situation, unprepared and likely overmatched. Now, we see what happens when the reverse is true. Kyle Rittenhouse went into battle, in his own mind, against an imagined foe that he barely understood, and of whose diversity he was completely ignorant. Someone in his life owed him a hand of restraint- not a violent hand, but a firm one.

Like many people in adolescence, he seemed to think he was capable of rising to the occasion and fending off those who had trouble in mind. Ironically, it was not the thugs on the periphery of the social justice movement whom he faced down, that awful night. It was three grown men, who likely fancied themselves allies of that movement, coming at him, a boy of 17.

I question how he was able to bring an AR15 with him, when the minimum age for BUYING such a weapon is 18. Yet, there it was, in his hands, after who knows how much training and practice he had been given in its use. Even people in the military, who are, with rare exceptions, 18 and over, have to have a minimum of eight weeks of training in the handling, use and maintenance of firearms, especially automatic weapons. Kyle should not have been there alone. Adults should have been with him, and then as a force of restraint.

There is, additionally, the research into the maturation of the human brain. The brain is not completely formed until the age of 25, if then. I look back on myself, in my teens and twenties, and sometimes shudder that I am still alive- my parents’ best efforts to raise me aside.

We are, however, in a crisis of adulthood when, once again, people at the street level are left trying to explain to the wider society why People of Colour are frustrated and angry-while not exactly hearing the voices of reason from those above them, in the halls of power. We are in a crisis of adulthood when a child is castigated in the court of public opinion, publicly coddled by a sitting judge and probably just as confused as he was on that awful night. We are in a crisis of adulthood when the voices of the nation’s leadership use vitriol, rather than step back, breathe deeply and foster healing. We are in a crisis of adulthood, when we just go back to the same sides, across the Chasm, that led us here in the first place.

A good-hearted, gentle family member remarked this evening that she just wants to see love for everyone. She is a conservative Christian. I am a gadfly, who leans progressive, in most matters. My sentiments, though, are the same.

A child is a child; raise him (her)!

Musings On A Day of Rest

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November 18, 2021- As I was leaving the clinic yesterday, the nurse responsible for wrapping the stitched area with gauze and bandages had done a seamless, excellent job. She gave me instructions for carefully showering, not exercising or doing anything strenuous and leaving the covering on for at least 48 hours.

As I had more or less cleared my calendar of work, for today and tomorrow, this set of instructions seemed fortuitous. Although I tend to march to my own drummer, when it comes to following a regimen prescribed by a health professional, there is no question of adherence. It’s just nicer to be around, and fully functioning, for a while longer.

So, I sat inside most of the day, moving around enough so that I stayed relevant. There was the simple task of putting the trash barrels back. There was light food preparation. There was making sure the temperature on my water heater was raised (so that showers are no longer tepid). Most every other activity was mental: Planning Thanksgiving and the days around it, with my little family; sending out notifications for activities this weekend; watching a commemorative video about ‘Abdu’l-Baha, as the Centenary of His passing approaches (November 27).

Life is ever a trade-off. Tomorrow, at 4 p.m., the bandages will be carefully removed, and I will look to be the walking wounded for a week or two. That’s okay. The seasoned doctors and the nurses who tend, very carefully, to the varied needs of their patients deserve nothing but respect and appreciation, the kind that comes from following instructions; the kind that comes from not second-guessing and casting aspersions on their motivation. It’s all just another variation on the conviction that every person, from a student to a retired volunteer, who lives and works honestly, will have my support and encouragement.

Tomorrow will see a bit more activity, but this day was a good one-and productively healing.

Exhausted

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November 15, 2021- The young woman looked at the police officer who had come to her assistance, and said, flat-out, “I am just…so…tired. There is no end.”

I am not exhausted, though there have been times….. Dan Rather posted a provocative essay, entitled “It’s Okay To Be Exhausted”, in yesterday’s edition of the Blogsite “Steady”. He listed all the things that this modern world has thrown at us, which lead to so many being at the point of zero returns. Part of the issue is the ubiquity of information. No matter where one lives in the world, he or she can be, and often is, bombarded with the plights of those less fortunate-often with urgent pleas for help (preferably financial), on the double. This, on top of politics, social (in)justice, false equivalence, restrictions on travel, restrictions on parental involvement in the schools, ham-handed governance (from both ends of the spectrum, and all points in between), climate change, pro-choice, pro-life, Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, vitriol, supply chain issues, inflation, Paul Gosar’s anime, AOC’s pickle jar, Michael Flynn’s Theocracy, income inequality, double taxation of estates. I almost miss the days of “Where’s the Beef?” Wow, I didn’t even mention the pandemic.

What matters to me the most is the well-being of those around me-either physically in the community, by my side when on the road, and children/teens-anywhere I happen to be. What seems to matter the most, to those with whom I talk, is being heard and respected. None of us really need to be told how to raise our children. None of us really need to be told to look out for our sickly loved ones. None of us really need to be told that we’re doomed unless we follow _______________ (fill in the blanks).

What matters most is love-the only source of energy that can restore the exhausted ones who are all around. It is not a product of ideology, of lifestyle choices or of political affiliation. It is not demonstrated by giving all one has, willy-nilly, and making oneself a ward of someone else. It is bestowed on us at birth, and hopefully nurtured by family, community and one’s affiliates-near and far.

“Love gives life to the lifeless”-‘Abdu’l-Baha