I Know (The OTHER 99%)

8

May 10, 2018, Prescott-

I know that there is no one place on Earth, where the sunrises and sunsets can’t be spectacular.

I know that there is much to do, in any community, whether one is a resident or a concerned visitor.

I know that there is no time or occasion, when the flag or anthem of this country is being presented, that I will not stand and either salute or place my right hand over my heart.

I know that there is no time or occasion, if I am visiting another country, and its flag or anthem is being presented, that I will not stand in respect.

I know that if I come across anyone in distress, anywhere, I will do everything in my power to secure help and relief for that person or those persons.

I know that there is no work day that is unimportant, whether it is a regular academic day or truncated schedule.  Each day’s routine and challenges deserve to be met.

I know that there is no “day off”, where I can throw all caution to the wind, ignore those around me or pretend I am the only one who matters.

I know there is no legitimate bill for services that can be just ignored.

I know there is no honest work that deserves to be denigrated.

I know there is no sentient being that is unworthy of love, at some level.

Where I Need to Go

14

May 4, 2018, Prescott-

I went back onto a Facebook site, where I had been inexplicably trolled, about a week ago.  There are just too many good friends on that page, and the one troll is probably gone by now.

I went into work, a half-hour early, as is my practice, so as to set things in place for a successful day.  We had carnival, this afternoon, and one of the students spotted the rides, whilst we were on our daily walk.  That took us to carnival early.  It was no use trying to talk that student out of heading onto the carnival grounds, especially once she saw the Tilt-a-Whirl.  Three rides sufficed, though, especially when our weekly movie and popcorn were mentioned.  The needs of our students are relatively simple.

I am headed down to Tempe, tomorrow, as the Baha’i meeting planned earlier, will take the entire day.  The Prescott area is where I need to focus, most of the year, for the next three years.  Of course, emergencies could always happen elsewhere, and plans change.  Right now, though, I am fine with being here, eleven out of the twelve months.

My head and my heart are pretty much in sync, after all the fumbling and misinterpretations into which I have fallen, during my extended period of mourning.  I’m grateful for the large number of friends who have surfaced, from every corner of the world.  It’s said:  Quality, not quantity.  Well, I can testify that one does not negate the other.

I am letting necessity determine my locus and love light my path.

NEXT:  Catching up with Antonio

Chains: Part 1

20

April 26, 2018, Prescott-

I walked, and stood alongside, my co-workers this morning. We are among many, in several states, who are making a statement in favour of actually showing the nation’s public schools that they are important to our nation’s security. This includes granting teachers and other school workers a living wage. By living wage, I mean that a family of four can pay its rent/mortgage/ property tax, insurance, utilities and basic living expenses, which include savings and modest leisure pursuits, without the need for one or both parents to hold down two (or more) jobs.  Most people in this community get that.  There are a few who think otherwise, and I note that they have theirs.

Let’s be clear:  I believe in EARNING one’s way. I do not believe in indentured servitude or de facto slavery.  A job well done should be a job well remunerated.  A few conservative thinkers, believers in the free market system, have shown how this can be done- without shorting the colleges and universities, or the public health system.  (Both are cited by some legislators, as reasons why the schools should make do with less.)

I do not buy the argument that “only Communists” want teachers to get higher pay. (Yes, this has been advanced by some legislators here, because ONE teacher admires Noam Chomsky.)  For the record, I have co-workers who love President Trump and who are adamant about raising revenue to improve the schools.  Also, I am a political independent, who loathes dictatorships of any kind.

There are other chains I want to break.  More is coming, as is Part II of the Antonio Ribeiro story.

Whither Goest Thou?

12

April 21, 2018, Prescott-

I was brusquely informed, this morning, that I was headed for Hell.  My crimes? I believe in the unity of spiritual truth.  I believe that it was last revealed to mankind by God, come in the Spirit of the Father, in the person of Baha’u’llah, just as it was revealed to us, some 1, 987 years ago by Him, come in the Spirit of the Son, in the person of Jesus the Christ.  This is a threat to those whose purpose is to keep us divided.  This is a dire catastrophe to those whose grip on power over the common people depends on a belief in us vs. them.

The fact remains- I will continue to work with everyone, serve anyone, love even those sworn to enmity- because Baha’u’llah said so; because Jesus said so; because every religious Teacher since the world began has said so.  Only the inner cravings of humans, for power, for control, for dominance, say otherwise.  Our lower nature-personified, in the Words of Zoroaster, Christ, Mohammed and Baha’u’llah, as Satan, the Demon, is behind all work to maintain division.

So, I’m not concerned with the allegorical Fire.  I won’t stop serving, loving and looking towards the Light, in this life or the next.  My next act of non-remunerated service will be among Baptists, in fact, on Monday evening, helping my friend, a Baptist youth pastor, named Randy, in his humble soup kitchen.  Randy doesn’t care that I am Baha’i.  To him, it is our shared love for humanity that counts the most.

Funny, that my accuser of this morning should have touted her admiration for the late Billy Graham, whose attitude in his later years, towards the advocates of division, was: “Get thee behind me, Satan”.

That’s the end of my preaching and screeching, for now.  I just needed to clear the air.

Day by Day

6

April 3, 2018, Prescott-

A friend referred to things being too crazy.

Yes, we can see it all around.

The President supports this bill.

No, wait, he’s against it.

There will be negotiations with a foe.

“Are you kidding?  We can’t possibly do THAT!”

The stock market is headed for an epic crash!

Oh, well, that was yesterday.

Maybe again tomorrow, though.

“The Constitution says that mentally ill people

are entitled to possess a firearm,

for their protection.”

So much for a well-regulated militia.

Day by day,

it’s enough for me to love,

educate

and safeguard

our four charges.

It’s enough for me to serve

the Lord of the Age,

and work to unite

the human race

against the Forces of Darkness.

It’s enough for me to tend

to my own healing

and  that of my community.

The craziness will run its course,

and our Sun will continue to shine.

And So On

13

April 1, 2018, Prescott- 

Happy Easter, and Passover, one and all.  I have spent much of today, fighting with my WP feed, trying to go back to those posts I missed, last flipping weekend and onward.  I have hit upon keeping one window open for my Reader- and one for this side of my site.

This laptop will need to go in for repair soon. To do that, I will finally re-open my account with Geek Squad, the Best Buy Technical Support arm.  This will do one of two things:  Either my 7-year-old laptop will continue to support my photo posts, or it will need to be replaced.  Either way, it’ll be a week before I post any photos on these pieces, as Windows File Explorer is constantly in buffering mode, which tells me my old friend is very sick.

I haven’t done much today, but then again, yesterday found me in Phoenix, walking with three other people around a neighbourhood called Sunnyslope, which is an important place in the annals of Penny’s and my last ten years together.  I am glad to have helped install 13 smoke detectors, in 7 of the 25 houses we visited.  6 went in one house, alone. The most important were those placed in the bedrooms of youths.

Visiting a friend in Superior, and finding her working alone, on a Saturday afternoon, was bothersome.  I stayed long enough to enjoy a nice lunch and to help her just a bit, with tidying up and offering moral support.  This person is going through something similar to what I endured, with a spouse suffering debilitation.  I hope her co-workers will get a grip and start pitching in more.

Today, though, I am thinking of someone,  very far away, whom I have never met face to face.  Something about her, though, has drawn me in.  Like anything else of this nature, we’ll see.

I watched a short video about the Sumerians.  It challenges conventional wisdom about our origins as a species.  I have one question, though:  If there are some beings that are responsible for our intelligence, and they “civilized” us, then left, why aren’t they back?  Perhaps, they know better.  I think I will stick with my God, and the God of us all.

My Memorial Day to Independence Day travel schedule is mapped out- Nevada, Colorado, eastward through Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ontario, Montreal, New England, Pennsylvania, down the Delmarva, Hampton Roads, across Virginia, the Carolinas and Tennessee, before an I-40 zip, back to Home Base and Prescott’s fireworks.  Most of this route is to see friends and family-some of whom I have not seen in a very long time.  Good Sam Parks and hostels will be well-researched and penciled in, beforehand.  There will be a birthday party or two, a family wedding and a Xanga/Facebook gathering.  If this sounds like a lot, it’s because it is.

In the meantime, we have a month of standardized testing at our high school, which means unusual schedules.  Then, there is Graduation Month.  In both April and May, I will also be occupied with Baha’i activities, to boot.  I would not miss any of this, or rush through it, for all the world.

The Fast: Day 18-Continuity

8

March 19, 2018, Prescott-

Today found me back at work.  Spring Break was restful, if as fast-moving as the Academic Year itself.   No matter who a person is, how old one gets or where s(he) finds self, there are certain constants.

Mine are waking at or near dawn, careful bathing and grooming, devotions, nutrition, focused prayer, communication with friends and family and some act of daily service.  Work, in the Baha’i Faith, as in Christianity and several other religious traditions, is an act of worship, when performed in service to humanity.  This goes for manufacture, public service and parenting.  That implies a goodly amount of integrity, in all one’s acts while on the job, or while representing one’s place of work, or one’s employer.

Continuity is also a sign of cognitive awareness, when performed in a logical and mindful state.  So, as my sixties roll on, I’m glad to be at work, winding down my third-to-last physical 19-Day Fast and being in good company, wherever I happen to be.

 

It Goes Without Saying

9

February 26, 2018, Prescott-

I’ll say it, anyway-

Today was the first day of Ayyam-i-Ha, the Baha’i period of gift giving and gratitude for what we have.

I gifted an intentional community, north of here, with a stoneware baking dish, because they have been jerry-rigging their baking efforts.  Plus, I love those kids.

Actually, I love all kids, and have for years.  Even the ones that others call misfits and brats deserve love and encouragement, though not coddling.  Nonviolent discipline is a vital part of love.

This generation, which some call The Founders, will have its work cut out for it.  How much work, will depend on how much their parents’ and grandparents’ generations put up a fight against their efforts (see #CameraHogg and other noisome garbage that various “Old Guards” are spewing forth).

It will also depend on how seriously the children come to take their own pronouncements about inclusion.  Splitting into cliques and putting up walls will just be more of the same.

“Hallelujah” and “The Sound of Silence” are among the most beautiful songs in the English language.  They’ve been on my evening’s playlist. Then, there is this:

The Baha’i Nineteen-Day fast is coming up, starting Friday, and lasting until sundown on Tuesday, the twentieth of March.  I will refrain, to the best of my ability, from eating or drinking, between sunrise and sunset, for those nineteen days.

Guns don’t kill; hate kills.  Guns make killing easier, as do bombs and flammable liquids.  The bottom line is, though, it’s a hate thing.

I could not live, easily, in a world without women.  It started with Mom, and Grandma, in the early mists that I knew as Saugus, in the 1950’s.  That brings up this:

The harbour lights and the campground lights have meant the same thing to me, over all these years:  There is love and safety ahead.

Know this, my friends and family:  There is not as fine a world, if not for you.  Self-battery should never be an option.

 

 

Valentine

17

February 14, 2018, Prescott- 

While there were many Roman Catholic holy men named Valentine (from the Latin valens (worthy, strong, powerful), the one most commonly associated with this day of celebrating romance, and. more recently, other forms of love was a Roman priest of the Third Century, who gave his life in witness to the Faith of Jesus the Christ.

It’s said that the most powerful love is indeed that which is given in sacrifice.  We all know of parents and grandparents who sacrifice their all, for the welfare of the children they love.  Countless spouses put all they have, and more, into their marriages.  Siblings go the extra mile for one another.  Service professionals, in the military, first responders, educators, health care professionals, social workers, more often than some believe go way beyond their job descriptions- even if it means ignoring said documents, in ensuring the welfare of their charges.

I have known many such people, among them one Augustine “Gus” Belmonte, a police officer in my home town of Saugus, MA, who was killed in the line of duty, on February 16, 1969, whilst responding to an armed robbery, at a local restaurant.  I knew Gus as the consummate neighbourhood patrolman, usually on duty in Monument Square ( “the Center”), in the afternoons and evenings, when many of us would congregate near Sanborn’s News or McCarrier’s.  He was strict with us, but never rough.

Later that same year, on a jungle path in VietNam, Private First Class Stanley Egan was walking point guard for his squad.  He was mortally wounded, in an exchange with the Viet Cong, and died several days later, in hospital.  Stan was a year my senior, and was ever both the life of any party and putting the welfare of others ahead of his own.

In August, 1984, a humble Indian Health Service dentist named Gordon Tong was attempting to get his truck out of the mud, on a back road in the central Navajo Nation.  In the back of his vehicle were three of his four children and two elderly Navajo women.  I had been riding with Gordon, and had been helping him get the vehicle unstuck, when his oldest son decided to run off and “go get help”.  I left in pursuit of the child, and a short time later was met by a vehicle, driven by another friend, who had the boy with him, and informed me that Gordon had passed away, at the scene of the mishap.  He had suffered a heart attack.  This was the final sacrifice of a man who, with his wife, had given countless hours of his time and energy, in service to the Navajo and Hopi people, in the name of his Faith.

There are many others I know, who have given their all, while short of giving their lives.  “Living sacrifice” is as meritorious as death, in a good many of their cases, as the lives they impact in a positive manner are ever stronger and happier.

So, in the name of a love that is far more basic than any romance, have a blessed Valentine’s Day, everyone!

One, Two, Three, Four- The Plans

21

January 22, 2018, Prescott-

Every so often, I come out with details of my plans for this or that.  One year (day, month) at a time, I have been advised.  That makes sense for anyone my age, on up.  So my plans for this year, 2018, ought to be a foundation for what comes next.

This year, I will work, diligently, both at my day job- which will see an uptick in the number of students we have, come August, and at my financial effort, which is, admittedly, still in its fledgling state ( I can hear the Boo Birds, now- “There he goes again!”), but is being pursued, carefully, with a lot of expert support.  This will bring me to San Diego, the fourth weekend in March, for a mentoring conference.  Prior to that, I will have had nearly 60 hours of training and mentoring calls.  I have detailed other travel plans, in a previous post, and those still stand for next month, and for May-June.  An uptick in income would also allow me to join other mentoring events.

That covers the number one.  “Two” takes in 2019.  Next year marks the Bicentenary of the Birth of al-Bab, the immediate predecessor of Baha’u’llah, and His Herald.  This event, marked in late October, will be the overarching event of the year, for me and for millions of others.  My summer travels will bring me back to the Pacific Northwest, and southeast Alaska.  My work and financial ventures will continue apace. Then, too, who knows what the Universe will add on to all that?

“Three” brings us to 2020.  As I turn 70, in November of that year, its March will see my final physical Fast, under Baha’i law.  The Fast will have spiritual import for me, the rest of my life, but abstaining from food and beverages will not apply, once I reach the age of seventy.   I hope to be at, or past, my financial goals by New Year’s Day of that year.  Travel wise, I am looking at a Trans-Canada (BC to Newfoundland) road trip, in June and July.

“Four” means 2021.  This year will mark the Centenary of the Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’u’llah’s eldest son and His Successor, as Head of the Baha’i Faith.  My longtime readers may remember that, in 2012, we commemorated the centennial of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to North America.  2021 will, thus,also be a special year for us Baha’is.

For me, personally, it will bring the end of my full-time employment as an educator.  I have ambitious, but still tentative, plans for international travel.  Besides those, I will be more active on the volunteer front, in whatever community (ies) I may find myself, once “retired”.

So there are the substances of numbers one through four, as they pertain to my humble life.  Many of these could very well come to pass, though the Universe does throw a curve at each of us, every so often!