The Hotel Project, Day 3

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September 27, 2020, Dallas-

Sundays in a hotel are fairly quiet-with many in their rooms watching Pro Football or some other sport-or in a house of worship, honouring the Creator. Some find time for both.

My sole concern, from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., is the well-being of our clients- especially of the children. They are certainly showing all signs of being mentally and physically healthy, so the families, which are mainly extended, are doing a fine job, in the midst of recovery from the set of storms.

People will begin to head back towards the storm-ravaged areas, during the course of this week, as the wheels of the Federal bureaucracy grind on, and assistance becomes available for home and property checks-as well as intial plans for moving forward.

A solar storm may upend things a bit, but right now, the weather trend is for continued dry weather, throughout the area-at least in tems of the oceanic patterns. I saw a bit of emotional charge, this evening, so we may yet have conflicts to help settle, over the course of the coming days.

I am hoping to arrange a day off, possibly next weekend, the goal being to at least connect with my family at least a bit. This sort of thing is always in need of careful choreography, so to speak. The week is bound to bring plenty of both forward movement and a few setbacks.

Fortnight of Transition, Day 14: Equinox, 2020

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September 22, 2020-

The day of equal amounts of light and darkness has come just a tad later, this year. It’s just as well-too many things have been dumped on us, without warning, the first three seasons of this earthshaking year.

For me, autumn has ever been my favourite season, being the time of my birth. Gradual cooling and the vividness of colours have energized my being, after the increasingly extreme heat of summer, as much fun as the season just past brings with it. Bracing for the season of earth’s rest, that is winter, and the eventual promise of spring, makes “Fall” a most purposeful time, as well.

A few sprinkles fell, in our area, yesterday afternoon, as I was returning from a dental appointment, in Phoenix. My time in the Salt River Valley is limited, by choice, especially when temperatures remain in triple digits. Here in Prescott, we may expect temps in the 80s, until about mid-October. It may or may not rain, on any given day, though the National Weather Service rather lazily just pushes the button that says Sunny, as a default, most days. I imagine budget cuts and executive fiat may have something to do with that-as with the Post Office and FDA.

We all make choices, and as Penny would say-“You get all that comes with those choices.” She always made her own decisions, though asked what I thought, matter-of-factly, before doing so. Conversely, she expected me to do the same, and, after a previous life of bullheadedness and unilateral decisions, many not very well-made, I learned the wisdom of consultation.

I think of the above, as the inevitable debate about the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and HER choices, ensues, this still being America. I disagreed, vehemently, with her take on abortion-though the role of men in that matter is largely one that ought to be performed LONG BEFORE any plug is pulled. Those men who raise their daughters, support their sisters and value their mothers, in the girls and women making their own INFORMED choices, are doing their jobs well. Those who downplay the intelligence and capabilities of the females among them, and pretend this is merely a man’s world, should not be surprised by anything at all that happens, as a result. Many, if not most, of the fetuses that have ended up aborted, (and whose souls no doubt greet those who aborted them, in the hereafter), would likely have either not been conceived in the first place, or would have been given an alternate path to life, had their mothers been raised in a place of love, empowerment and security.

The other real sticking point I had with RBG was her, take on “In God we trust”, which she saw as antiquated. I respectfully decline that observation. The Eternal cannot be so lightly dismissed, even in the name of free expression. In the end, though, “God hath no need of His creatures”; it’s very much the other way around.

Autumn plans? Well, I am spending today working with a Special Needs child. My Red Cross on-call status renews, tomorrow. During Fall Break, 10/12-16, I may go off on a sojourn, somewhere else in the West-and ditto for Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving/ 70th birthday weekend. In any case, days and nights will remain productive and largely other-centered. (More on that topic, tomorrow).

Fortnight of Transition, Day 7: Evolution

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September 15, 2020-

Today marks the midpoint of September and the midpoint of this fortnight. My mood has been, variously, one of gratitude, at having been given another day’s work, which was not strenuous-just being present for three classes of college-level students and a forty-minute lunch monitoring; then, a bit of befuddlement, at reading an e-mail from someone who is of the opinion that the Baha’i Faith does not allow for human evolution.

In fact, human evolution is one of the cornerstones of our Faith. Without knowing what the individual’s definition of evolution is, I can’t rightly respond, but ‘Abdu’l-Baha points out: “Man is endowed with an outer or physical reality. It belongs to the material realm, the animal kingdom, because it has sprung from the material world. This animalistic reality of man he shares in common with the animals. The human body is like animals subject to nature’s laws. But man is endowed with a second reality, the rational or intellectual reality; and the intellectual reality of man predominates over nature. . . . Yet there is a third reality in man, the spiritual reality.” (`Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, 51)

So, feeling better after a pleasant dinner and a bit of exercise, I leave the questioning soul to self and ask God to be their guide. I do feel that our third, spiritual, reality is coming that much more to the fore. Some call it the Fifth Dimension and I can sense a much stronger connection with people, in a purely “thought-wave” manner, these days.

May the second half of September, and this fortnight of transition, bring more of a modicum of peace to more people.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 80: As Decades Have Passed

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August 19, 2020-

I have been pondering, since early this morning, as to the nature of my decades, lived thus far.

Young mother, anticipation, rough birth.

World still aflame, born under the element of Fire

Walking alone at age of three; hairbrush to the backside

Loved pictures and songs; pile of 45s in a memorized order

Family in a ramshackle house, which soon became a decent home

Three became four, then five.

First grade, morning bell rung by teacher

Second grade, more families in the neighbourhood

Third grade, began reading like a pro; teacher was like an angel

Fourth grade- Sometime tyranny, worn-out, angry Reading Instructor, Long Division

1950-59 was the decade of inception.

Fifth grade- Hypersensitive, wary of the Principal, death of Grandma

Sixth grade-Attention Deficit Disorder, hospitalized for colon issues

Junior High School- Mischief, girls mattered, one fire followed another,

High School- Best years ever, I-the Individual, clueless about attire, scattered work habits

Post-Graduate- Flubbed first semester, Demon Alcohol, lack of coordination, Army Basic Training, Postal Clerk at Fort Myer, Saw Moon Landing, Missed Woodstock

1960-1969 was the decade of formation.

Army Years- Lost buddies in VietNam, protest marches and intel duty, personal investigation of combat theater, clueless in Sydney

Community College- Series of dates, series of flubs, community involvement, living away from home, living back at home, Quebec-Ville and Montreal, hitchhiking across the continent

University- Dorm year, rooming house, apartment life, incompetent as editor, successful as student, so/so as teaching intern, summer hotel work, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Maine years- Staying distant when asked, substitute teaching, tutoring, Teacher Aide, more Demon Alcohol, visits with extended family, two siblings married, all over the state and the Maritimes

Villa School- Saved by the West, attempted Math instruction, dormitory watch, all over the West and the country, San Diego and Disneyland

1970-1979 was the decade of instruction.

Graduate School years- Town House in a quiet neighbourhood, Zuni, Baha’i Faith, first real adult love, Master of Arts in Education (Counseling)

Tuba City Years- School Counselor, Newlywed, Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, London and Canterbury, death of Nana, death of a dentist friend, deaths of children, Guyana, wedding of Glenn & Barbie, Pine Ridge, Omaha Nation, Columbus Youth Conference, death of my father

Jeju Island- House husband for a semester, Work Visa wait time, grappling with cultural baggage, Baha’is of Korea, troubled expatriates, Visiting Professor of English, training teachers, birth of a son, back and forth across the Pacific, Baha’i International Pioneer

1980-89 was the decade of maturation.

Jeju 2.0- Facing the culture of sexual harassment, empowering women students, enjoying life with a toddler, standing at the Demarcation Line, honouring our elders

Navajo-Hopi 2.0- More School Counseling, active child protection, rescuing two girls, saving our son, losing youngest brother, addressing ambition, Lady the Dachshund, Baha’i homefront pioneer, Principal in two schools, Keams Canyon, Jeddito, Chilchinbeto, Salome

1990-99 was the decade of professional success.

The Active Urban years- Y2K, Mingus Mountain Academy, Kingswood Estates, Mesa Community College, substitute teaching, El Mirage Elementary, Fuhr chiropractic, Phoenix Baha’i newsletter, Sierra Pines Apartments, the house on Solar Drive

The Caretaker Years- Penny’s two falls, my fall into despair, more substitute teaching, WIS International, Southwest Network, Ironwood Elementary, Palo Verde Middle School, poor career choices, ASU West, President Obama at Penny’s graduation, two wrecked cars, Dr. Yau, hyperbaric oxygen, Stem Cell Therapy, six family weddings, Aram graduates High School

2000-09 was the decade of reckoning

Caretaking and Losing- Trillium Specialty Hospital, renovating and painting the house, MRSA, Dr. Desvignes, Chapter 7, John C. Lincoln Hospital, facing my demons, Odyssey Hospice, turning sixty, Durant’s Steak House, Penny’s transition

Feeling My Way- Aram in the Navy, Kim & Stu, short-selling house, Louhelen Baha’i School, meandering across the country, helping in-laws, moving to Prescott, Willow Creek Gardens, Pacific Coast and interior Northwest, Texas Circle, wayward Vision Quest, emotional overkill, death of father-in-law, D-Day Anniversary, Berga, World Cup celebrations, Rouen landmarks, Paris by day and night, Luxembourg National Day, Iolani Palace, Waikiki, Tiger Cruise

Settling in My Space- Arizona Avenue, Prescott Circle Trail, Black Canyon National Recreation Trail, southeast Alaska, BRIDGES Program, RISE Program, Prescott High School, southern California beach towns, Aram to Korea, Carson City-Reno family, Gulf Coast journey, cross-continental journeys, loss of two cars, break-in to a third, Red Cross, death of mother-in-law, semi-retirement, Do Terra Essential Oils, Aram & Yunhee, return to Korea

2010-19 was the decade of resilience

2020- 29 is the decade of endurance

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 79: That Which Hangs Heavy

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August 18, 2020-

The air before a thunderstorm tends to sit, held in place by an almost perverse high pressure system, of anti-gravity. Eventually, as the sun’s influence wanes and evening draws near, the barometric pressure often falls, and the moisture being artificially held in abeyance will be released.

The same is true in human affairs. Those who thrive on artifice, and control of the masses, have gone to great lengths to devise systems by which this control may be monitored, adjusted and synthesized, so as to fit the ever-changing state of affairs, which seems to elude their initial grasp.

There is an old joke about the Brass Ring, that it is thinly coated with brass and is in fact largely iron. It comes with a magnet, carefully placed above it, which unseen manipulators swiftly lower, grabbing the ring and raising it up, away from the longing hands of the underdog. It’s a variation of “You can’t beat the system”, “Murphy’s Law”, “Business as usual is the only business that counts”, “Corporations are people, too”, “You can’t always get what you want”-and so on.

There are a couple of other truisms at play here: First, patience is a virtue. The young, and those who have waited forever for their just desserts, are understandably short on patience. We see this in the outbursts that initially came after the deaths of George Floyd and Brianna Taylor. We see it in the outbursts that continue, seemingly without purpose or direction, in cities like Portland and Seattle. We see it in the outbursts that DO have purpose, in Beirut and Belarus. Patience is a virtue, but so is purposeful, constructive action. The trick is in knowing when to turn off the patience and turn up the heat-without unintentionally scalding or singeing innocent bystanders.

Secondly, those whose purpose lies in control of others are not going to lie down and play dead-ever. The Far Right has been masterful at playing Donald Trump’s ego, and his insecurity, like a fiddle. It has been ingenious at drawing in the fanciful minds of the New Age community, the orderly, obedient and heartfelt members of the Fundamentalist Christian and Orthodox (as well as Conservative) Jewish communities and the business-minded, obedience-oriented legal immigrants from Asia and Latin America. It has an End Game, summed up by “He who has the gold, makes the rules”. It foresees an America divided into palaces and favelas. It envisions a gradual elimination of those who deviate from what it defines as the norm. It will play the Master Race card.

The Far Left, no less authoritarian than its identified opposite number, has mastered the Game of Shrillness: It has capitalized on the lingering fears of Nazism and Fascism, which are ever-present among both those whose lives are well-ahead of them and those whose best years are behind them. It has owned the Megaphone, snatching that device away from White Supremacy, while being careful not to give it up, too much, to Black Lives Matter. It has dangled the nebulous term “Antifa”, in front of people whose own mantra is “Just let me go to work, come home and enjoy my family.” The idea is to cow people into submission, by shouting: “What are you, a bunch of Neanderthals?”, to anyone not toeing the line of its agenda. Its End Game is that-It has no End Game, except perhaps that same, pesky, Master Race card, which will be face up-should more people buy into the false dichotomy between the lives of children and the rights of women, the concept that ridding mankind of the congenitally-disabled is a key to a healthy community, or the equally false notion that religion cannot co-exist with free will.

Time hangs heavy-just like precipitation that is stuck inside a cloud.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 75: Three Tyrannies

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August 14, 2020-

When I was around thirty-one, I learned to play chess, by watching two chess masters teaching a group of Dineh boys, in the school where I worked and in the neighbouring junior high school.

Chess is a game of high presence and stealth. Many times, a player becomes absorbed in own feelings of cleverness and innovation, until the more present opponent makes the winning gambit, and announces “Checkmate!”. Chess can morph into Covert External Tyranny.

There are, essentially, three forms of tyranny: Overt External, Covert External and Self-Imposed.

Overt External is most often aimed at transforming the person subjected to the trials. It is never intended to permanently disempower its target subject. Basic and advanced military training; team coaching-in fact, any sort of “Boot Camp”, headed by a hard-nosed, but self-effacing, task master, exemplifies Overt External Tyranny. It occurs for a specified period of time, has specific performance goals, and once these are regarded as having been met, the subject is congratulated, the tyranny lifts and all participants come to know one another on a more equal level. A variation on this is SOMETIMES shown by our current President-hardly a self-effacing man, at least on the surface, but one who does, privately, give credit to those who have taken, and met, a challenge he has thrown out. The peace agreement between the State of Israel and the United Arab Emirates is an example of this.

Covert External Tyranny is illustrated by the common method of preparing crustaceans for food. The animal is placed in a pot of cold water, under which a flame is then lit. The water slowly heats, and the animal, being sensitized to the rising temperature, shows no distress. Once the water is heated to a point that no longer sustains life, the animal’s awareness is negated. It loses consciousness, it is boiled to the point where its flesh is safe to eat and the tyranny, in this individual case, comes to an end, only to be replicated, thousands of times over, with different crustaceans.

In the human world, a budding Covert Tyrant will study the target population. The interactions, mindsets and approaches to new ideas, of those intended to be subjugated, will be closely watched and a plan of action will be gradually devised. The Covert Tyrant will appear on the scene as a friend of the people, who will call attention to real and imagined difficulties they have faced. S(he) will then suggest ways to solve these problems, which look great, at first blush. A critical mass of the target group will be elated, extol the virtues of the newly arrived saviour.

The deception has thus started to embed itself, and ere long, as the people give up more and more of their prerogatives and freedoms to the Covert Tyrant, and regime, the rules and the penalties for non-compliance become more stringent. Before long, the tyrant and successors have cowed the populace, and the true intention, usually to enrich themselves, at the expense of the populace, and in perpetuity, is revealed. It is the boiling water, but the semi-conscious victims barely take notice. To those few who do raise a protest, the tyrant responds either with brute force or by disparaging the critics, rendering them as pariahs to the wider community. The current President has followed this pattern, as well. It is my view, though, that he is not the prime mover of the stealthy oppression. He is a bit player. Those who are really working behind the scenes have done their homework, have carefully worked, at state and local levels-and in the judiciary, where lifetime appointments are not easily abrogated by the voting public.

I have mentioned a right-wing claque, led currently by Charles Koch, in previous posts. They are seemingly opposed by an opposite, but more loosely-organized, oligarchy. Both, however, seek the disempowerment of the common man, with a view towards dominance towards their own ends-whether personal power and comfort for an elite, as defined by themselves or for the dispiriting of the masses, who will then grovel and serve without complaint. The enslavement of Africans and certain others, from the 17th-19th Centuries, is a prime example of the latter. Low wage employment and human trafficking, in the 20th Century and presently, are examples of the former.

These are made possible by the third form of tyranny: Self-imposed. Every human being has a modicum of desire to please those close to self: Child to parent and, sometimes, the reverse; spouse to spouse; worker to supervisor, or both, to employer; citizen to public official, and again, sometimes in reverse; friend to friend.

An imbalance in this desire, often sparked by low self-esteem, can lead to tyranny towards self. I have browbeaten myself, on occasion, for not having pleased a person whom I had held up as either a real or imagined authority figure. I wanted to please my parents, close relatives, those bosses for whom I’ve had genuine respect, my driving instructor-back in high school, my late wife. It was only when I learned to love and accept myself, within my own space, that this tyranny became unnecessary, and faded away.

There is much that we could discuss further, along these lines. I am still resistant to uninvited critics, who seek to impose their will-either overtly or covertly. Only by examining their motives from a safe distance does that change my response.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 74: Breaking the Terror Chain

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August 13, 2020-

The self-styled “enlightened one” launched into her dire warning: “If you vote against your current president, you will be voting for the Cabal.” With that, sick to my stomach, I cut off the video. This, sadly, heartbreakingly, is what the New Age is offering us. I have not made up my mind about my vote, in the coming election. There is a long time, in real terms, between now and November 3. Yet, having just finished reading “Democracy in Chains”, by Nancy McLean, I see that there are, in effect, two “cabals” vying against one another.

The bona fide claque, whose puppet master is Charles Koch, a man with little in the way of either love or trust in the common people, is angling for control of this nation, and it has come a long way towards achieving its ends. It has now cultivated a band of what Vladimir Lenin (actually one of the idols of Koch’s former chief ally, the late James Buchanan [the Nobel Laureate economist, not the former President], called “useful idiots”. These are put forward as Cosmically-Connected, enlightened souls, with a tie to the supernatural. Koch’s understanding of New Age philosophy is spot-on. All he had to do, to get these individuals to march in lock step obedience, was cast the sitting U.S. President as a chess master, a “Light Being”, who will save us all-and do it while appearing to be a dim-witted oaf. He had only to bring up deep-seated, if somewhat justified, fears of secret societies, such as the Masonic Temple-and there they were, his enlightened army-who could bring the young and idealistic into the fold.

Baha’u’llah forbids us from joining secret societies. He also discourages Baha’is from dabbling in psychic phenomena. He calls on us to eschew involvement in partisan politics-the raw material of division. The above series of events stands as a good example of WHY He gave this admonition. Our 3D mindset cannot understand the dimensions beyond, which are true states of light. It can, and does, mimic 5D- primarily among those who are convinced of their own virtuousness. 5D reality, to the extent that it does envelop a physical being, does so slowly, methodically and in a state of heart-mind balance. The intellectuals who are now being duped by Koch-or by his opposite numbers in the group that very loosely functions as a cabal-type oligarchy, are captives of their own egos.

I am hardly a saint, but cannot deny my own love for humanity, for the sake of supporting either oligarchy. I pray that the younger generations, and those of us elders who are not yet deluded, will see through both deceptions. Let us develop our individual sense of responsibility, and build a truly enlightened, inclusive society, beholden to no oligarch.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 71: Each One’s Path

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August 10, 2020-

The sojourner faced east, and saw the Sun rising, Venus setting, a group of deer grazing and a Muslim, on a prayer rug, greeting the new day with his first devotions of the day.

The sojourner next faced south, saw the white Moon, with a barely discernable Jupiter to its left, a group of javelina headed uphill and on a quiet street, a small group of Christians walking to their morning devotions at the neighbourhood church.

The sojourner turned to the west, witnessing a still sky of cerullian blue, a chevron of geese rising in the sky, off to a day on a nearby lake, the stewards of downtown heading to their places of work and a trio of Buddhists taking their places on mats, crosslegged, in earnest meditation.

The sojourner finally turned northward, seeing the distant clouds, which would tease the mountaintops with a fog of verigo, a vaguely discernable black bear trudging along towards the forest, a line of cars coming into town, for their day of earnings and sacrifice and a lone Wiccan, eyes closed and hands gently tapping on a hand drum.

The sojourner saw truth in all, but dared not let them know, lest their minds become clouded with fear, and their hearts turn from the blessed focus with which they had each begun their day. He returned to his center and gave thanks unto the Source of all being.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 69: Lions Gate

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August 8, 2020-

The eighth day of the eigth month of the year finds our Sun in alignment with Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky. This arrangement is believed, by astrologers, to generate an energetic effect across Earth, as this planet is also aligned with Sirius, at this point in time. As the zodiac is now in the sign of Leo (Lion), this alignment is known as the Lion’s Gate.

Baha’is believe that Divine Teachings constitute all the necessary portals or gates one needs to advance, spiritually. We are discouraged from placing much stock in astrology, as well as from dabbling in the supernatural or in psychic phenomena. These are primarily intended for use in the next level of life, beyond the present physical realm.

Energy does present itself to us, however, and often comes on numerically auspicious days, such as the “doubles”: 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, et cetera or the “triples”: 1/11 and 2/22, These may be individual events. For example, Penny and I were married on 6/6 (1982) and our son was born on 7/7 (1988). They may also be days of societal significance-as 6/6 also marks the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, during World War II and a quadrupal numerical date, 11/11 (1918), marks the Armistice that halted World War I.

Numerology in the Baha’i Faith assigns numerical values to alphabetical letters, according to the order in which they appear in the alphabet. So, the numerical value of A is always 1; that of B is 2; that of Z is 26, and so on. 9, the largest number to have value, in and of itself, is a sumbol of unity and completion. Numerology has an esoteric quality to it, as does astrology, so that in and of itself, it has no scriptural or divine authority.

There is much talk of this or that portal, to increasing spiritual understanding. As said above, though, energy portals are intended for Light Beings, who have left their physical bodies behind. They would be cumbersome, indeed, for corporeal beings, such as us humans, to attempt to cross, back and forth.

The eighth day of the eighth month passed quietly, and pleasantly for me: A Farmers Market visit was again beneficial; I got a fresh tray of Wheatgrass from an organic farming friend; I paid a visit to Synergy Cafe, in Sedona, as the owner is back from a much-needed vacation.

Auspicousness is sometimes merely what you make it.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 68: Staying Authentic

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August 7, 2020-

There is a fact of life, especially in today’s America, that owning one’s viewpoint, life choices and spirituality comes at a cost. There are always going to be those who think they know your needs better than you yourself know them. Being in charge of own life is not a cakewalk. Others, especially online, will appear, with demands, expectations and preferences, which may or may not dovetail with what one has planned.

You may say, “Well, isn’t that how it is, in ANY social situation?” Yes, and with seven billion and umpty-ump million people on the surface of the Earth, it will get more intensely so. The fact remains, however, that at the end of the day, it is whether I can look in the mirror and honestly say that I lived the day in a state of integrity, hopefully tempered with humility, that makes the day well-spent, or not.

I have been questioned, recently, as to why I might agree with points raised by conservatives, on one day; then agree with points raised by progressives, another day. The answer is easier than it looks. Neither group is qualitatively engaged in refuting the other’s points, with regard to those points with which I am agreeing. For example, if I say an unborn child ‘s life is worthy of EVERY reasonable effort at maintaining its efficacy, that does not mean I am advocating vicious hounding of a woman who is heading into an abortion clinic. In reality, that person should not be HOUNDED or pressured by EITHER faction in the matter. She should be enveloped, bathed, in love and have all options presented to her, in a pressure-free, NON-MERCENARY atmosphere.

If someone asks me to approve or disapprove of the current sitting President, I can honestly say I approve of his work in stemming the trafficking of women and children. I honestly approve of his working with the governments of Latin American countries, in stopping the flood of people from out of those countries and stemming the influence and aggressive behaviour of gangs-especially in Central America. There are other policies of his, of which I vehemently disapprove- such as the sending of a large corps of armed DHS agents into some of our cities-without first coordinating the effort with local governments. That situation seems to be getting more consultation-based. The COVID-19 response is a whole other can of worms-and much of the difficulty lies in both individual mindsets and in the diversity of local situations, across the country-but I digress.

Essentially, my life is not meant to be lived by going about and seeking to be a font of agreement, with each person, on each issue. I have, however, the conviction that each person who crosses my path does have points to offer, that may well be of help, in making my life more authentic. This life is still a work in progress, as is everyone else’s.

My Faith will remain as is; my heart for people will stay in place; my mind will remain flexible, as we have learned that anything can happen.