Living Dreams

2

May 28, 2021- In the midst of settling back in, for four weeks or so, I took the time to work on resolving the one nagging issue that has pursued me, for three years and, most recently, across the country and back: Doing something about African poverty. To his credit, my constant correspondent has become much more forthcoming about how he specifically plans to use any funds that are raised in his name. That made it much easier for me to set up a secure transfer process, for the funds which others and I raise, from now until June 21. There are two things to consider, both matters of justice: 1. Neither I, nor anyone else, am/is obligated to send money, in perpetuity, to anyone who requests it (Calling me “Dad”, or “brother”, does not help matters any, either); 2. At the same time, neither I, nor anyone else, can simply ignore the less fortunate. I have mentioned before, that I give, locally and further afield, to a reasonable extent, so that others may realize their goals-or at least survive. This current, limited and task-specific effort is an example of that. Each person is free to pursue a dream. No one is free to bleed another person dry.

My own dreams are quite simple. Most involve building and maintaining friendships, and being there for people, emotionally and physically. So, I am present, when here at Home Base, and when on the road. This summer will be another one of “those”, which make more sedentary people roll their eyes. The fourth week of June, in Carson City/Reno and Pyramid Lake; July 5, onward, to the Dallas area, New England and several points in between, then across the northern tier to Oregon and Washington, before September beckons, and I take another Home Base respite. October, in western Poland and Germany(Mom’s ancestral region), and a zip down to Croatia to visit an online friend, is still possible. Yes, I get my fill of visiting historical and natural wonders, but I do that here, too.

Dreams are affected by the wider reality, and a relatively minor medical issue may alter my plans a bit, but in the end, the dream and the goal are the bases for what one achieves in life.

Leaning In

2

November 15, 2020-

What had been planned as a two-day visit to Petrified Forest/Painted Desert was interrupted by work, at the end of last week. Yesterday’s visit to Homol’ovi State Park sufficed, in its place. I have about a month or so left, of being available five days a week for subbing. In the second semester, my officially retired self will cut back to 2-3 days a week, and then because there seem to be so few people willing to take on the work. I am not doing any long term travel anywhere, until this pandemic lightens up enough for people to not feel leery of visitors. Right now, there is a return to Stay-at-Home orders in most neighbouring states-at least for the next two weeks. Thankfully, I can at least fly in and out of Dallas, and visit my little family, next week.

This week, though, I will be maintaining at least three days of work. Today, though I might have lazed the time away, was actually no different. A pallet-dismantling project, the eventual goal of which will be a winter residence for a homeless man, brought about twelve of us together, in a mountain community, south of Prescott. So, for nearly three hours, I busied myself with moving planks and removing nails from those planks.

The most effective way to remove nails from a board is to lean into the effort, thus putting extra pressure on the claw part of the hammer. Using a small piece of wood, as a brace, also speeds things up greatly. Of course, if I were really efficient, I would go out and get a pneumatic nail remover. The exercise was good for my upper body and forearms, though.

Leaning into any endeavour, with attention and perseverance, is the only way to approach a task. I am getting better at this practice, in my late middle age, and certainly feel an increase in satisfaction at each day’s end.

Self or Others?

10

September 23, 2020-.

I was in a group session on Monday evening, in which the question was posed, as to whether it is more crucial to care for oneself or to care for others.

The short answer to the title question is: Both. Actually, anything one does for oneself usually impacts others, and vice versa. This is especially true if one is reflective and maintains a consistent presence, in any given activity.

I have two socially-responsible lines of activity: Substitute teaching, which I did yesterday and Disaster Response, which I will resume tomorrow. A flight to Dallas, via Denver, early tomorrow morning, will begin my second Red Cross deployment, in a month. Two weeks will be spent in “Big D”, purportedly in providing assistance to those still being sheltered after Hurricanes Laura, Sally and Beta. Much of the sheltering happens after the full-on storm has left, and the floods/power outages make life continually unpleasant.

The activities in which I am involved are impacted by my beliefs. ‘Abdu’l-Baha exhorts us: “Be fair to yourselves and to others, that the evidences of justice may be revealed, through your deeds, among Our faithful servants.” It was ingrained in me, long before I became a Baha’i, to consider the needs of others, in lieu of indulging myself. That has remained, by and large, a guidepost in my life. I would have to , of course, acknowledge critics who say “Wait, you weren’t very nice to ME, not so long ago” or “I remember when …….” The goal, however, remains the same-and none of us walks on water.

So, as with my earlier deployment to Louisiana, by way of Beaumont, the needs of others will be far ahead of my own needs-this being the essence of Disaster Response.