Samaritans

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

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

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

Keeping the Fire

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January 29, 2021- One of the things about the pandemic is that those of us who are officially retired from work are still needed in our professions. This is the sort of thing which happens, especially to nurses and physicians, but also to teachers, EMTs and a variety of people in supporting roles. So, I have gone in, to cover for those sidelined by COVID-19, those who have pandemic-related medical appointments and a few other situations.

One of the features of working with children, in the present environment particularly, is what I see as the need to encourage young people to stand their ground, to speak their truth clearly and not be cowed by any attempts, by ANYONE, to intimidate them into letting go of what they know is deserved. This does not mean that a child should be taught to act in an unbridled and irresponsible manner.

When a person, of any age, does speak the truth to a situation, it is the mark of authenticity, for anyone who hears that truth, to have the speaker’s back. In this school, particularly, those who have stood up and insisted, properly, that matters be handled a certain way have been my greatest allies and have made all the difference between the good days I have had and days that might have gone off the rails.

Even in the rough-edged years, of the 2000s, I still recall those forthright children whose outspoken and compassionate manners bridged the gap between my shakiness and being able to pull things together , not wasting the class’s time. With all to which this generation of students is being asked to endure, that forthrightness, that fortitude that flame, needs to be enkindled more than ever before.

I remain on call, for this, and other acts of community service.

The Road to 65, Mile 245: Fragmentation

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July 31, 2015, Prescott- I had a lot of time to think, today, about the recent controversy over whether it is possible to care about animals, when so many people are suffering.  This is the dream of the charlatan:  Get people fighting over compassion, like toddlers over toys.  Then, with everyone screaming at one another, ad nauseam, achieve the power-building agenda, sight unseen.

For the record, I care, equally, about wild animals, fetuses, children, teenagers, women’s sense of well-being and dignity, men’s sense of being relevant, maintaining a healthy environment and a healthy diet, and  my own personal growth.  It is called living a full and balanced life.

No one, not the advocates of one cause or another, nor their opponents, nor least of all the wirepullers, who would be thrilled to see total confusion and lack of progress, lest their seats of power become upended, will get me to favour one of the above, to the detriment of the others.  We can’t care about everything, simultaneously, but we can take time for each – just as we eat at certain times, then do our jobs, then rest, then exercise, then play with our children or pets, then read,  then sleep.  What parent worthy of the name exclusively attends to one of their children, and ignores the others?  It is the same with the various aspects that present themselves to us.

I care, intensely, that whales  and lions are being slaughtered for sport; that people are videotaped making glib comments about dead fetuses (though the authenticity of these videos is suspect); that armed criminals can blend in with mothers and children, cross an international border (for a second time, after having been deported) and kill innocent people at point-blank range; that religious zealots can oppress people, at will; that many women, and more than a few men, feel disempowered by capriciously-applied rules and regulations.

I was born caring, and will stay that way.