A Step at a Time

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March 31, 2019-

I made it to Planet Fitness, despite a sense of fatigue after a trip to Phoenix and back, having attended a worthwhile, but somewhat tiring, meeting.  I was glad to have not had to drive, with a competent friend at the wheel instead.

Tonight’s workout came after a twenty-minute catnap.  I feel better, having done the 30-minute express, followed by ten minutes on the hydrobed.  Bittersweet March has thus, in the end, affirmed that there is still quite a bit left in this sexagenarian frame.  I get appreciative glances from ladies, the younger among them knowing, as well as I do, that that is as far as it goes.  It feels nice, regardless.

It is now full-on Spring.  Tomorrow, we will see what practical jokes remain to be played.  Later in the month come Chalk-It-Up, Earth Day, Easter and the Twelve Days of Ridvan, commemorating Baha’u’llah’s Declaration of His Mission.  I will get my annual physical at the VA, sometime during the month, and will visit the Grand Canyon, on Good Friday.

April, as a wise colleague once remarked, cannot be the cruelest month.  Sorry, T.S. Eliot.

Another One Out Like a Lamb

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March 28, 2019-

There is one more work day and one more trading day left in March.  A quarter of my sixty-ninth year will end on Sunday.  March has been roiling, as we have seen, in the areas of weather-based crises and human conflict.  It has also been a time of great joy for me, personally.

As I get ready for the last two months of a fairly successful work year, and begin to ponder what life might be like, after I leave full time employment and devote my time to family and to several months of the year as a traveling writer, there may be a catch.

Having said, a few times, that I am likely to leave Prescott, and Arizona, after nearly thirty years straight and thirty-eight years, all told, in the Grand Canyon State, there is the matter of who might prevail on me to remain here.  Most of my friends here will wish me well, regardless of what path I choose to follow.  There are some, not  counted as friends, who will be glad to see me leave.  One or two special people, who will remain nameless, could yet get me to stick around.  In any case, I know my meanderings would bring me back here, time and again.

This is all conjecture, at present.  I have two very full and rewarding years left, before “retirement”.  The March Lion will bow out, and April will bring pesky standardized testing, the beauty of Ridvan and of Easter, and the Proms.  May will likely see the first 90-degree day for Prescott, and 100-degree day in Metro Phoenix.  The weekends seem to be fully-booked, but I could very well get in a day trip to Grand Canyon, on the Centenary of its National Park.  This one would be to the east side of the Park, and Desert View Tower.  That was my Dad’s favourite spot, when he and Mom visited, in 1985.

Enough meandering, word-wise; I had a busy day and rest is of the essence.  See many of you, tomorrow.

And So On

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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.

He Bids Us All To Arise

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April 16, 2017, Prescott-

Today, nearly a billion people, around the world, commemorated the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ.  Many combine the sacred with the whimsical, filling baskets with candy of all sorts, making Easter the second most popular candy-eating holiday, after Halloween.  Others leave out the sacred, altogether, thus making Easter little different from the Feast of All Hallows.

Christ overlooked the faults of others, save the Pharisees, whom He scolded and the merchants in the Temple, whom He chastised more forcefully.  He was far kinder to those who committed indiscretions of the heart.

The lesson I get from this, and from His very resurrection, is that the human spirit is capable of enormous resilience.  We fall down and hurt others, either physically or emotionally, yet some of these same people could very well return to at least a modicum of friendship, over time, if we ourselves recover our moral bearings.

Christ was not only saving us, by His sacrifice.  He was also showing us, how we might save ourselves, albeit by less supreme means.  Each of us can arise, in our own way, through adhering to the Golden Rule and by making amends, for wrongs that we have done to others.

As a Baha’i, I revere Christ as Messenger of God and Supreme Teacher.  Accordingly, I know that it’s my bounden duty to serve others, both to make amends for what I’ve done wrong in this life, and out of love for them.  Love is the basis for everything the Messengers of God, from Adam to Baha’u’llah, have taught us, over the millennia. Yesterday, I had the bounty of visiting several people, at the Native American Baha’i Institute of Learning (at Houck,AZ) , in the Hopi village of Polacca and in the small Verde Valley town of Rimrock, where a longtime friend is in the fight of his life, against a crippling disease.  What I went to impart, was a very simple message:  Your life matters.

Christ said this, repeatedly, 2000 years ago. Baha’u’llah said this, repeatedly, 164 years ago.  Both gave us the admonition to say this to one another.  Both gave us the bidding to arise, to lift ourselves, and one another, out of despair and trouble.  That is the message I get from Easter.

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The Road to 65, Mile 128: Risen

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April 5, 2015, Prescott-  Easter was important to me as a child, for two reasons:  The first was that it meant the end of hearing of Christ’s suffering, which I could not understand until my teen years and the second was that there was lots of candy.  The first part bothered me because Jesus, to me, has always been the Epitome of Love. I could not see any good reason for either the chief priests’ persecution of Him, nor for Judas’ betrayal.  The second part had a relatively brief shelf life.  My parents never bought Peeps, preferring jelly beans, Jordan almonds, creme eggs and chocolate bunnies.  I outgrew all except chocolate, and occasional Jelly Bellies (during the Reagan years, especially).

Nowadays,as a Baha’i, I recognize spiritual truth as being progressively revealed, across human time.  Christ brought a focus on letting God deal with peoples’ iniquities, on overcoming tribal affiliations, on loving others in spite of their shortcomings.  He also brought the Sword of Truth, not making excuses for one’s behaviour, but challenging oneself to rise higher on the spiritual plane.

Closeness to the Light has had its place in the hearts of men for a multitude of millennia.  There have, however, been limits to awareness, and a tendency to revert to the mores and customs that pre-date a Spiritual Messenger, as soon as that Messenger has departed this earthly life.  So it was with Moses, with Krishna, with Gautama Siddhartha (Buddha), with Christ and with Mohammad.  Those outside a given religion, or with a perfunctory understanding of it, see mythology as creed, hearsay as doctrine.

When Christ was crucified, the Romans reported that He had cried out:  “My God,My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”  In fact, an examination of the Aramaic and Greek, shows an affirmation of His role as Saviour:  “My God, My God, for this I was kept”.  His Rising, then, is a spiritual act, a confirmation that the Word of God can never be silenced.  Baha’u’llah tells us as much, in The Hidden Words:  “My Light can never be extinguished.  Why dost thou dread extinction?”  The Creator does not abandon His Creation, or the creatures that comprise it.

Easter, then, is a day to be universally celebrated, a key point along the collective spiritual journey of Mankind.  Without Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, we would have no way to comprehend the Call to Nationhood, of Mohammad, or the Summons to the entire human race, of Al-Bab and of Baha’u’llah.  Without His having resurrected the despairing souls of His Disciples, by appearing to them after the Crucifixion, there would have been no Christian Faith, and the journey of mankind would have been a more immediate, and far deeper, descent into the Dark Ages than it actually was.

These are only my own measured opinions, yet no matter how much I ponder this most essential of processes, I arrive at the same conclusion I drew as a teenager:  The Spiritual Teachers are vital to our overall well-being and there is no daylight between any One of Them, in comparison to the Others.

The Road to 65, Mile 123: Out Like A Jackalope

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March 31, 2015, Prescott-  I get a kick out of how so many groups and institutions put so much stock in the last day of a quarter year.  Ninety days is a fairly good stretch, by which to measure personal goals.   Group goals, though, being larger, are harder to quantify in such a short time.  Wall Street usually observes the end of a business quarter by indulging in huge sales of assets, as happened today.  Congress has sometimes marked the three-month point by……going on recess!  Schools don’t care so much, as their academic quarters don’t mesh with the business cycle.

The old saw about this month that is now ending is “In like a lion, out like a lamb.”  Here in Arizona, it seems March is ending like a jackalope- the legendary creature that is half rabbit, half pronghorn.  People are a bit skittish, and many aren’t paying attention to their surroundings.  The jackalope is confused as to which direction it should take, and so are many people I am encountering around here today.

I am pointing my client, whose belongings are taking up my entire patio, towards a storage unit- with tomorrow afternoon or Thursday P.M. as a goal for getting everything over there.  I am pointing myself towards a solid workday tomorrow (no joke) and a morning of service towards disabled veterans on Thursday.  Good Friday, though I don’t observe Christian liturgy, remains a solemn day, which honours the life of one of the Lights of the World.

It’s easy to get confused, this time of year.  Weather is, by turns, wintry, springlike or hot.  Snow may fall, even here, and be gone by 10 A.M.  Kids get test-burnout, as this is the time to perform on tests, to satisfy the politicians. The rest of us may focus on the secular aspects of Easter, which to me is one of the loveliest of Christian Holy Days, and concern ourselves more with blood-sugar levels, and artistry on an egg shell.  Then, there is the Full Moon, which greets us on the first day of Passover, also a lovely Holy Day.

Stay loose, as my Dad used to say, and be kind to one another on All Fools’ Day.  More about that, tomorrow of course.