Sadratu’l- Muntaha

10

September 27, 2017, Prescott-

NOTE:  The title term refers to a tree, planted at a terminus of a road, in ancient Arabia.  It could signify either an ending or a beginning.

What, exactly, is a barrier?

Which is the beginning, and which, the ending?

I recall that every walk around Saugus began at our back door.

So, too, did every journey end there.

My formal education began in September, 1956, at the Felton School.

It ended in August, 1987, when I completed my administrative credential, at Northern Arizona University.

My time as a Roman Catholic began with my baptism.

It ended with my declaration as a member of the Baha’i Faith.

Now, I live in an apartment, in Prescott, Arizona; work as a teacher aide, at Prescott High School; am a devoted adherent to the Teachings of Baha’u’llah.

Do I still consider Saugus a place in my heart?

Am I still learning?

Do I still revere Jesus the Christ?

In each case, the answer will always be “Yes”.

Will I not again travel?

Will I close my mind to new ideas?

Will I turn aside from the Creator?

In each case, “No”.

What, exactly, is a barrier?

It occurs to me, that each barrier is a self-imposed ending.

 

The Road to 65, Mile 344: Small Circles

4

November 7, 2015, Flagstaff- I rose early, for a Saturday, so as to get up  here to Northern Arizona University, and take two of the three exams I must take, in order to obtain certification as an elementary teacher (1-8), in Arizona.  I have several other certificates:  Secondary Teacher, Guidance Counselor and Principal.  The position I am now filling, as a substitute teacher, however, is not something I can continue to do, long term, without credentials.

I also think it is high time I moved through the self-doubt cloud, and showed my true abilities, both to myself and to the world at large.  My spirit guides keep saying, “This day of yours will not be followed by night.”  I know this means that the present opportunity will not be taken from me, by shallow politics or my own tendency to trip myself up.

This time, I will be okay, work-wise.  This time, I know how to navigate the small circle which runs the school.  In the past, I gave too much energy to my being an outsider.  That status might still be extant, but the children are who matter most.  I will be standing, at the end of the term, and at the end of the academic year.

The Road to 65, Mile 316: Shots Fired

4

October 9, 2015, Chino Valley- I woke today, to the horrible news that a student at my alma mater, Northern Arizona University, had killed a schoolmate and wounded three others.  This, at one of the most congenial and intimate of universities in the country.

I studied at NAU from 1979-81 (Master’s Program) and again, intermittently, from 1983-87, obtaining my school administrative certificate and credentials for teaching learners of English as a Second Language.  Any disagreements I had with other students, usually about them being noisy after 10 P.M., on a weeknight, were easily resolved, with compromises by both parties. (i.e. my wearing earplugs and their turning down the base and treble).

When I was eleven, I went through a firearms safety and marksmanship course, courtesy of the Boy Scouts and National Rifle Association.  NRA, at that time, was known and respected for making weapons safety its main concern.  I have not generally had firearms in my home, though there was one on hand in our house in Phoenix.  It never had to be used, and was sold when son and I moved out.

The one thing that was drilled into me, over and over, and which I imparted to Aram, is that a weapon- be it firearm, blade or what have you, is to be treated with full respect for what damage it can do.  A firearm is the easiest weapon to use, IF, and only if, proper protocol is being followed.  The Boy Scouts teach their members to NEVER POINT a weapon, toy or otherwise, at another human being.  Shooting in self-defense is seen by them as something to be done, sparingly, by adults.

We are too casual, as a nation, with regard to allowing the mentally ill to obtain weapons, period.  I once had to intervene and remove several steak knives from a place where they were accessible to emotionally-handicapped elementary students, and place those knives in a locked cabinet.  I lost an adult friend because of this, but I don’t care.

How much worse is it to let those under siege, in their own mind, have ready access to firearms?  The debate will go on, as long as we regard the Federal Government as an enemy.  In fact, it reflects who we are as a people- our strivings, our conflicts (both internal and interpersonal) and our priorities.

The bottom line, impacting both mental health and the very “need” to own weapons, is our twin tendency, as a society, for anonymity and insularity.  I see it in everything from being unwilling to share a table, in a public place, with strangers, to road rage to viewing those who simply have differing opinions, in an adversarial light.  I have been guilty of all three of these, though my anger on the road never compelled me to assault the other people.  I have also been on the receiving end of all three, though thankfully, never physically assaulted on the road.

Requiring background checks on prospective firearms owners, or would-be purchasers of long knives and swords, or explosives, or copious amounts of poisonous substances, is not going to be a cure-all for violent assault and murder.  It IS, however, a DETERRENT.  That which gives a person pause, which makes her/him think twice, is worth the inconvenience of delay in purchase.  It also makes it a lot easier to live under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.