Not Throwing In The Towel

1

Towel-Dog-760x500May 25, 2018, Prescott-

An erstwhile friend has decreed today as Towel Day.  I will stay on the fringes of these festivities, as that’s how she and her significant other seem to want things.  Besides, my schedule, these next two days, is packed- as I will be, by Sunday morning.

School ended yesterday, and for me, it was as successful as 2015-16, and a far cry from last year.  I did not limp to the finish line this time.  The kids, and my co-workers, will reconvene in a week’s time, for Extended School Year.   I will sit that one out, having a major family event in mid-June. The wedding of my youngest niece will bring us all together, and will be one for the books.

As always, I have taken the steps to certify that both my car and I are ready for this year’s long road trip.  Vehicle has taken its lumps, but I have repaired most of what’s gone wrong and will tend to the cosmetics over the next day or so.  Ditto for yours truly, and while my cosmetics are showing their age, my health care providers aren’t putting me anywhere near the scrap heap.  I’m content with what I see in the mirror.

After two, and maybe three, important events here in town, today and tomorrow, I will head northwards, to Carson City, for an annual reconnect with one or more members of my extended spiritual family.  From there, the route looks like Utah, Colorado, Kansas, central Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ontario, Montreal, Plattsburgh, NY, Vermont,Massachusetts, Connecticut, West Point, eastern Pennsylvania (especially Philadelphia), Baltimore, Delmarva, Hampton Roads, across Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, southern Missouri, Oklahoma, Amarillo and Albuquerque’s Old Town, before getting back to Home Base-somewhere around July 4.

In spite of all this seems to entail, I have built in a goodly number of daily rest stops, visits with friends and family and good clean fun.  My main mode, rain or shine, will be camping along the way and relying more on picnicking, than the heavy restaurant visits of past adventures.  There will be a few of those last, though, when I can at least treat those who have been so caring to me, over so many years- and special places in my heart, like Artful Dodger, Cupcakes & Cravings, et al.  Porthole Pub, in Lynn, MA., is slated to close soon, making way for some sorely needed luxury condos. (Wonder how we’ve gotten along without them, all these years!)  I ought to prevail on a few family members to pay a last visit to Porthole.

Whether here or there, my Faith is essential to keeping me going, on a daily basis.  So, one of the events this evening is faith-based, several of the people with whom I will visit, in the coming weeks, are my fellows in faith and the Baha’i House of Worship, in Wilmette, IL falls into the middle of my outbound itinerary, as is only proper.

One way or another, I will maintain a daily presence here- letting all my peeps in on what’s going down, as in the past.  After all, there are plenty of coffee houses and such, along the way- and Good Sam Parks are reliable with WiFi, to boot. Instagram, a gift of the above-mentioned erstwhile correspondent, remains on my network.  One keeps the baby, while waving farewell to the bath water.

 

Light Time

6

May 24, 2018, Prescott-

Corruption is a terrible thing,

alluring and insidious.

It breathes noxious fumes

into our psyches,

and holds them in place,

through a constant appeal

to our sense of “What If?”

The root of this allure

is disquiet,

the feeling that

just maybe,

THIS will be something better;

just maybe,

THIS will relieve insecurity,

once and for all.

The only thing,

however,

that will relieve

insecurity,

pain,

the ongoing lack,

is faith in action.

This is the message

of the life of

a divine Herald,

Siyyid Ali Muhammad,

known to posterity

as al-Bab (The Gate),

Whose Declaration of Mission

we Baha’is celebrate today,

on Its 164th Anniversary.

Like every Messenger/Prophet

before Him,

al-Bab lived His days

in service and in courage,

giving His earthly life,

for our sake,

killed by the agents

of corruption and ignorance,

some six years after

the Declaration we honour today.

 

Putting My Foot Down

9

May 16, 2018, Prescott-

You say the only reason I am

involved with things

that don’t involve you,

is because I want to hide

from you.

You say the fact that

I do things that

are not directly

involved with matters

of faith

is because faith

is not my priority.

You say these things

and you are

just

plain

wrong.

Faith is my life.

You are not my overseer.

Faith is my life,

and I will work,

volunteer,

engage with community,

commune with nature,

travel the roads I choose,

with faith in my heart.

That heart soars, and

my feet are firmly on the ground.

Trouble Truths

10

May 13, 2018, Prescott-

Yesterday morning, whilst I was at the Farmer’s Market, some people were playing “Two Truths and A Lie”.  A little boy interjected, that he had a “trouble truth” to share.  When asked what he meant by that, he said “It’s when I tell the truth, and it gets me in trouble”. His mother promised an amnesty, so he shared what he had broken at home, that morning.

Being mildly autistic, I’ve said my share of trouble truths, both as a child and adult.  They have brought me my share of trouble- everything from admitting that I was rough with my little brother, when I was ten, to saying, when I was in my forties, that I was not physically attracted to women of size.  That last rankled some people, but Penny was dedicated to keeping herself fit and was glad I wasn’t drawn to anyone but her.  (Of course, when she was paraplegic and her condition changed, I remained steadfast and faithful.)

I am a bit more circumspect, in late middle age, and while I’ve noticed that many senior citizens are more outspoken than they were in their younger days, I am moving in the opposite direction.  Unless I sense that a person would benefit from hearing something that might be hard to take, I am not as likely to just blurt it out.

Sometimes, age brings wisdom.  Other times, I just pick up on subtle hints.   To all mothers, I wish you a joyful and safe day.  To all my Word Press family, I wish you a fruitful and productive middle of May.

Twelfth Day

0

May 2, 2018, Prescott-

The weather cleared,

the waters receded,

and it was time to go.

Baghdad had started

to feel like home,

and that was too close

for the comfort of

the powers that were.

He mounted his

roan horse,

and rode out of

the Ridvan (Paradise) Garden.

Friends and family

rode and walked

along with

the Light of the World.

Through yet more

mountains,

across more rivers

and the searing

Anatolian Plain,

one and all

heeded the edict

of the Ottoman Sultan.

The Black Sea would be

their host, from Samsun

to Constantinople.

The Ottoman capital

would be His residence,

for a scant four months.

Baha’u’llah,

the Messenger of Unity,

never added to discord.

May, and I’m Not Away

4

May 1, 2018, Prescott-

There are 3 1/2 weeks left in our academic year.  I have two days off left- Tomorrow, for a Baha’i Holy Day- the Twelfth Day of Ridvan (more at that time) and a dental appointment, in two weeks’ time.  Otherwise, weekdays will find us finishing what we started, for our four remaining students.

I won’t leave the state of Arizona until Memorial Day weekend and another “Where’s Waldo?”month.  There is so much yet to do and to thoroughly enjoy, in the meantime, that I am hard put to make preliminary arrangements for June.  You know, though, that I’ll get ‘er done, in plenty of time.

I’ll be back in Tempe, on Saturday, for a daylong Baha’i conference.   Sunday will be spent reconnecting with a few long-lost friends, and honouring a very special young lady, on the cusp of her high school graduation.  Mother’s Day weekend means Prescott Valley’s 40th anniversary.  I may also head to Tucson, to see an ailing friend, if he’s up for a visit.  The third weekend will be mostly Baha’i business, planning and prepping for the summer months.

One of my friends here has posted about making a Vision Board.  I might try my hand at that, either next week or the following.  It’d be good to do this in the presence of our peer tutors in the classroom, as it might inspire them to do the same.

May is sweet, hot (at least after this coming Saturday) and a time of culmination.  I intend to truly savour the blessed days.

The Kiosk

3

April 30, 2018, Prescott-

(This piece is based on real events in my life, recently).

As Gregory was walking through the Saturday Market, he noticed an unusual kiosk, offering raw  cacao beans and blended products.  A winsome lady smiled and beckoned him over, then proceeded to explain the efficacy of cacao, as a health aid, whilst offering samples of both the raw bean and blends.

“I’m Greg, and these are delicious items.  Let me buy this peanut butter-cacao cup and a bag of maple infused flakes.!”  “Thank you, Greg.  I am Medina.  It’s nice to make your acquaintance.”

“And I am Gerhard”, came a deep but not unpleasant voice from Greg’s rear.  “Geri is my beloved”, Medina interjected, “We work together on this project.”

Gerhard changed the subject, inviting Greg to sit, in the back of the kiosk. “Gregory, we know who you are.  I have been watching you since the tragedy.  You have done well, keeping your health, as Leanna would have wanted.  You have branched out some, traveling widely and learning to not let naysayers tie you down.”

“Yes, it has been a time of growth for me.  I know Lee wants me to do these things.”

Gerhard held up a hand.  “You must visit this kiosk, every Saturday that you are here, for the foreseeable future.  On each visit, you will encounter an angel, who will teach you a key step in your continued growth.  You will also encounter a challenger, who will try to ensnare you with the darkness of your past environment, making it seem like a way to pleasure. Medina and I will witness, and the beings may interact with us.  You, though, will make the choice.”

Greg felt a wave of reassurance, and on each subsequent visit, he indeed met both teacher and charlatan.  He listened carefully to both, whilst making a decision to more carefully honour the angelic.

On the penultimate kiosk of the winter season, Medina cautioned Greg.  “You are in late middle age, yet you are attractive to several women-other than me.  Some are close at hand; others far away.   Towards some, you will feel a like attraction; others will not entice you in the least.  Some are close to you in age; others could be your child..  You must, of course, treat each and all with profound respect.”  “My mother always told me these things, when I came of age”, Greg replied, ” I have held them in my heart, all these years.”  “Yes, and you were most loving to Leanna”, Medina intoned. “Soon, though, you will encounter five women.  One, a decade your junior,  will be your prime mentor, and will alternately encourage and chastise you.  Another, very young, will love you from a safe distance, always wanting your attention but feeling guilty about it, with all the drama this conflict entails.  A third, also a decade your junior, will want you to return to the Faith of your past, as a condition of friendship.  The fourth will correspond with you for a time, and will prove a challenger, enticing you, then disappearing.  The fifth, close to you in age, will dally with you from a distance, and will ignore your lack of interest in romantic interlude with her, pleading, for what will seem like an eternity, that you join her in the desert.  You will choose among them, but I must caution, as your mother surely would, to hurt none of them.”

Greg was taken greatly aback by this admonition.  He vowed to not let either his attraction or disinterest lead him astray.  A few years earlier, after all, his mourning for Leanna had clouded his vision, and caused two fine women considerable harm.

Across town, Nikki thought of the older man who frequently came into her store and had been uniformly interested in her as  a person, if shy.  She wished he would come by this day.

Not Blustery

4

April 29, 2018, Prescott-

While it is a bit windy, outside

and there is a fire threatening

folks in a rural area up north,

I find myself in a calm mood again.

I was shocked to learn,

yesterday,

of a trusted friend’s

mid-life crisis.

The person is

taking steps , though,

to deal with some

deep-seated issues.

I went to exercise

at my local gym,

and then watched

“Inifinity War”,

the latest comic book-based

film saga.

Sleep came fairly easy

and was intense.

A pleasant breakfast,

and a nice greeting

from a new friend,

who’s far away,

made for a relaxing morning.

This is the Ninth Day of Ridvan.

On this day, in 1863,

the weather cleared

and the flood waters

subsided,

on the riverine island,

where Baha’u’llah

and His family/followers

were preparing for their

journey from Baghdad

to what is now Istanbul.

I will join several friends

in mid-afternoon,

to commemorate the occasion.

Now, though, it’s time

to honour those whose

service to the Red Cross,

this past year,

has been above and beyond.

I’m not blustery inside.

 

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.

Answers to “Getting to Know Me” Query

20

April 20, 2018, Prescott-

The day begins with the news that there will be a teacher walkout, across Arizona, next Thursday.  What that means for us, at Prescott High School, remains to be seen.

In the meantime, here are some answers to questions posed by gaillovesgod.

  • What are my strengths?
    • Faith in God
    • Steadfastness
    • Love for humanity
    • Being proactive
    • Adaptability
  • What are my short term goals?
    • Serving my school and community, for at least the rest of the academic year
    • Visiting friends and family, across the continent, between Memorial Day and July 4
  • What are my long term goals?
    • Remain faithful to the Lord God
    • Finish my work in Prescott
    • Itinerant service, through Workaway, or a like organization
  • Who matters the most to me?
    • God
  • What am I ashamed of?
    • Not treating others as I wish to be treated
  • What do I like to do for fun?
    • Hikes
    • Writing
    • Game Night with friends
    • Drum Circle
  • What new activities am I willing to try?
    • Anything that elevates the human race
  • What am I worried about?
    • Being careless
  • What are my values?                                                                                                                       Honouring human dignity                                                                                                         Developing my strengths                                                                                                             Good stewardship
  • If I had one wish, it would be…?
    • To do what God expects of me, without fail
  • Where do I feel the safest?
    • Anywhere in His Light
  • What or who gives me comfort?
    • God’s Love
  • If I was afraid, I would…?
    • Pray, and get myself into a safe place
  • What is my proudest accomplishment?
    • Having helped raise my son
  • Am I a night owl or early bird?
    • Early Bird
  • What does my inner critic tell me?
    • Bring self to account each day
  • What do I do to show my self, self-care?
    • Bathe and groom
    • Start day with devotions
    • Take natural supplements, each evening
  • Am I an introvert or extrovert?
    • Ambivert
  • What am I passionate about?
    • Life
  • What do my dreams tell me?
    • My spirit guides are with me
    • My life will unfold in a good way
  • What is my favourite movie?                                                                                                         The Fisher King
  • What is my favourite band?
    • Arcade Fire
  • What is my favourite food?
    • Fiery chili
  • What is my favourite colour?
    • Navy blue
  • What am I grateful for?
    • God’s Revelation is continuous
    • I have many good friends
    • Large extended family
    • My good health
  • When I am down, I like to:                                                                                                                 Breathe deeply
  • I know I am stressed when
  •          I start making odd mistakes
  •           I get tongue-tied