Just Because…

21

July 23, 2108, Prescott-

Of course, my accounts of my travels will continue, later today.  My mind was roiling, earlier this morning, with a feeling that someone was silently accusing me of prejudice, for not settling into another relationship, for not ending my widowhood.  Penny appeared to me afterward, in my mind’s eye, and told me:

“You love, intensely.

Just because you have no romantic feelings for anyone in your present Baha’i community does not make you callous, unfeeling, prejudiced.

You are there for each person, helping each as needed.

That does not require you to fit into a niche.

You love, intensely

Just because you have a strong friendship with a woman who is of entirely different mindset, in terms of Faith, does not mean you are disloyal to Baha’u’llah.

Conversely, as I’ve told you before, you and she are steadfast friends, no more, no less. You would gladly see her find someone who will cherish her, forever.

You love, intensely.

You see your younger co-workers as if they were your own daughters.  Their struggles are your own and you help them where they need help, taking nothing from their dignity.

You love, intensely.

Each day, whether on the road or at what you call Home Base, the needs, large and small, of women, men and children who cross your path have as much urgency as your own.

Just because some are, occasionally, put off by what they see as your shortcomings or errors, does not mean you are unworthy of respect.  They have their own burdens.

Carry on, my love.  As time continues, your true destiny will keep on unfolding.  You have miles to go.”

With that, my angst subsided.

 

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.

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.

Are You Aboard?

13

April 2, 2018, Prescott-

We are entering a Spring,

when our institutions

seem ready to let us down,

big time.

Are you aboard the train

of friendship?

Are you riding in the car

of community?

We, the people

stand a chance

of surviving anything

the powers that be

throw at us,

if we ride together,

if we stand together.

Are you aboard?

Complexities

12

February 5, 2018, Prescott-

I like simplicity.

It eludes me, though.

This is a temporary state.

Day job is fairly straightforward.

DA is complex.

That is a temporary state, also.

Learning curves are that way.

Much complexity stems from

multiple parties and

organizations being involved.

A bank is involved,

and banks need time.

I suppose this is why

the Japanese take

two weeks,

to decide important matters,

or so I’m told.

Building a community

is complex.

Everyone’s input,

time and space,

need to be honoured.

Building friendships

is complex.

I want to make things simple.

So, I choose not to overthink.

I will be glad for Saturday,

and a day on a trail.

Sixty Six, for Sixty-Six, Part XXVIII: Cornerstones

4

April 28, 2017, Prescott- 

Every great edifice has a cornerstone,

from which the foundation spreads,

and the stories rise.

Every family has two cornerstones,

from whom the children emerge,

and are raised to strengthen their communities.

Every community has several cornerstones,

from whom the leaders emerge,

and rise up to keep their towns and cities strong.

Every nation has a plethora of cornerstones,

from which the generation of ideas proceeds,

and safeguards the security of the land.

Our planet has a myriad  of cornerstones,

by whom the human race can be united,

and the spiritual unification of mankind may be realized.

 

Which None Can Really Know

12

February 16, 2017, Prescott-

I work for someone who doesn’t entirely trust me,

and is constantly seeming to be under the gun.

I work with children who don’t entirely trust anyone,

and are each very much under siege.

I work in a community which thrives on trusting its own,

yet views the wider world with a flinty eye.

I am a native son of a country which is not sure who to trust,

yet asks the rest of the planet to go with its judgement.

I am a citizen of a planet which is getting more intimate,

and is entering a future which none can really know.

The Road to 65, Mile 256: Desert Wildfire, Day Two

0

August 11, 2015, Mohave Valley-  When a crisis overtakes a community, many people come together and work to address the challenges that have arisen.  There are a few outliers and conspiracy theorists who show up, and stage drama.  Then, there are the grifters, who show up and just want, and take.

We had all three types of humans at the  shelter, yesterday.  Several people, who had lost everything, including pets, came, stayed until the evacuation order was lifted, and left at that time.  Others stayed until morning.  Two who felt the world was against them, stayed the night and left at least with the feeling that our corner of it was not so out to get them.  Two others came in, filled their duffel bag with food and toiletries, and left around 10 PM.  (They were technically eligible to stay with us, but chose to go back to their powerless, water-less house, for the night).

Today, I was part of a three-person tam that went out to the neighbourhoods of Mohave Valley and took stock of the damage.  I was the spotter, assessing the current state of the properties.  Another man had computer images of the properties, as they were before the fire.  By comparing the two, we were able to make a realistic assessment of actual damages. These will be useful, when claims are filed.  It may sound like we’re insurance adjusters, but Red Cross uses these assessments to determine how much in emergency aid should be given.  Most people are just grateful that somebody cares and is there for them, at a very bad time in their lives.

It’s hot here, very hot, though the cloud cover from a northern low pressure system mitigated the temperature a bit.  We were glad to let the few who remained this afternoon, stay and rest.  A couple of people were comforted by the staff and made to feel more human than they had in quite a while.  Some ladies helped a badly-shaken young woman, who was disabled, to have a mini-makeover, which probably made her year, not to mention her day.

This is the true depth of what we do- to let people know that, at their core, they are important, and valued.  The fire is mostly out, and the first responders are on hot-spot duty for 48 hours.  Tomorrow noon, we will head back to Prescott, and the local team will continue helping the fire victims, in their recovery process.

The Road to 65, Mile 138: The Best Defense

4

April 15, 2015, Chino Valley-  Whilst covering a classroom full of third graders today, I was told by two of the girls, independently of one another, that they had to run from a man who had tried to snatch them into his car.  Both said that their parents had kept them safe, once they got away, and that the police had been told.

I showed each of them, vicariously, how to get free of a person who had them in an armhold, from behind.  The heel of a shoe is a good, solid defensive weapon, when thrust backward at a would-be captor’s shin.  It is important to note that, in neither case, was a weapon being brandished by the assailant.  That, of course, is a game-changer, though not one that can withstand a little person’s ear-splitting shriek!

Today marks a year, since the abduction of over 200 school girls by Boko Haram.  The Nigerian Army has been unshackled by the country’s new President, and along with forces from neighbouring countries, may well have more success in crushing the brutes of the Islamic far right.  We can only pray, in the meantime, for the safe return of ALL children and teens who have been kidnapped or conscripted by the forces of darkness.

This brings me to the concept of defense against physical and sexual abuse of children, anywhere.  The first line is always the individual’s realization that no one, at any time, has the right to abscond with his/her body, or mind.  These are given each of us, by the Creative Force, and we relinquish them to others at our long-term peril.  Secondly, family must defend the child’s well-being, with no regard for monetary gain, promises of support from the transgressors or, in the worst case, giving in to one’s psychological or emotional weaknesses.  Thirdly, the community must support the child, hopefully with the family’s blessing, but unilaterally if the family is found to be the source of abuse, or in league with the abuser(s).  There was a movement, in the 1980’s, to shift the focus of sexual abuse prevention away from the victim, towards “giving the abuser a chance at healing and redemption”.  This was a terribly misguided effort, and set back the healing of thousands of abused children.  I was glad to be part of an education effort, in the 1990’s, which reset the focus back on awareness and prevention, with treatment of offenders conducted separately, away from the programs that were concerned with the victims.

When I was accosted by a pedophile,at the age of fourteen, I was able to stand up to him and not be cowed by his loud threats.  Nothing further came of his false bravado, and my life has gone on, with normal relationships with girls and women, in the years since.  The best defense remains a solid first response of N-O!

The Road to 65, Mile 88: Visits

0

February 24, 2015, Prescott- This afternoon, I went to a longtime friend’s house, which is in a heavy road construction zone, for a two hour visit.  She’s been deathly ill, for some time now, and only prayers, oil blend supplements (to help with pain) and a listening ear can be offered by yours truly.  After parking down the hill from her home, and negotiating the mud, above-ground sewer pipes and trenches, I brought in a small gift and heard her recollections of childhood and early adulthood.

She and her loving husband have each had a remarkable and productive life.  Her knowledge of antiques has helped preserve a great deal of the heritage central Arizona, and she has contributed much to the Baha’i community here, over more than 40 years. The tradition of elegance that emanates from this little house, on a venerable street in Prescott, will not easily fade.

Visits, especially to the seriously ill, are a key component of any community worthy of the name.  Perhaps the worst fate anyone can suffer is to be forgotten.  So, as often as we each can, the members of this little community call on one another, and keep a close watch on the ones who can’t get out.

This is actually quite a step forward for yours truly, having been happily in a bubble when I was in my twenties.  It’s probably the finest habit imparted to me by my late wife, and she would have been fit to be tied, had I reverted to hermitage.