Baby Steps to Justice

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February 22, 2021-

I spent most of today waiting for my tax return to be done. I ended up having to make a certain adjustment in my personal financial structure, so as to be in compliance with government regulations. It will end up costing the government more, in the long run, but who’s counting?

After that, I checked on my jury interview for tomorrow, and it’s still on. If I get chosen, it will likely be my first and last time, given that the pool is large and I have only five years until the cut-off age of 75. So, I will go and get at least a taste of the selection process.

Justice, at least in the human realm, is an odd thing-as everyone’s concept of it is different. Even among those who adhere to the Golden Rule, there are varying notions of what justice is, and how it ought to be applied. I have, by and large, been fortunate in the course of life events. When misfortune has happened, though, it has taken some time and effort to overcome the urge to deflect blame and to focus, instead, on how I might learn from the unpleasantry.

The lessons I have acquired and internalized, however, made today’s challenges much easier to face and the tasks brought on by them quicker to complete.

What Mom Said

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May 10, 2020-

My mother is the last person to want gratuitous or “obligatory” sentiments, on her important days.  Either MEAN it, or leave it unsaid.  Our gathering, this morning, brought the majority of extended family to their screens and a delighted matriarch was honoured by each.

I recall the things she said, along the way, that have impacted how I face life, even to this day.

“Look beyond the length of your nose”.  This appeal to carefully investigate truth and to not be impulsive, in seeking to find answers, has paid countless dividends.

“Strong arm stuff never wins any victories”.  So true, the use of force does not breed the sort of loyalty that brings the rewards one truly wants.

“A man was once killed by ‘I thought’ “.  Acting upon assumptions can often be woefully counterproductive.

“Staring at the tree won’t get you any fruit.”- Getting up and acting upon one’s desires is the only real way to achieve anything.

“Have adventure in your soul”- She told me this, with regard to being bold enough to get out of my shell and approach girls, for friendship, in my teenage years.  I have taken it  more broadly, in my maturity, in looking far afield at what I can do in life.

“A male is not a man until he’s forty.’- She saw that men need a broad variety of both successful and adverse life experiences, before becoming truly mature.

“Drinking gives false courage”- Isn’t that ever the truth!

There were many other admonitions that my mother has offered, in her ninety-one years and eight months on this Earth.  I look forward to hearing at least a few more.

The Road to 65, Mile 202: Southeast IS Northwest, Day 11, Reflections While On The Inland Passage

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June 18, 2015, Off Campbell River, BC-  On a full day of being ferried through the Canadian section of the Inland Passage, the focus turned inward.  Fleeting glimpses of places like Bella Bella were more a diversion than the main attraction, on this misty day.

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Three central issues in my life flowed along today:  Worthiness, safety and perseverance.

In my late teens and in my twenties, I was a train wreck. I was taught social skills in my childhood, but never quite internalized them, until about age 30.  The less said about all my missteps and accidents in that decade or so, the better.  Things went along well, in my thirties and forties, the prime years of our marriage, and of careers.  My fifties were another rough patch, yet there I did learn perseverance, and that it is the natural outgrowth of commitment.  My family and friends have stuck with me, through all of it, and each of these years passed before me, in reflection, during the course of this day.

I have had a hard row, in feeling safe, in certain places, during the course of my life.  I felt alternately safe and threatened, growing up in my hometown, but learning to face adversaries is an all-too-common part of life.  I certainly feel secure, when in Saugus, now, of course.  So, too, has the list of places where I feel at ease and free from harm, been growing, over the past few years.

Maybe that’s the real reason why I have been in so many places, since 2011.  I have always wandered, as has been mentioned before, but perhaps the only way to know for sure as to security, is to go to a place, follow the normal protocols of safety and courtesy expected there, and prove to myself that all is okay.

Now, on my way back to the more contiguous reaches of North America, I am reminded of perseverance.  There is much ahead, in Prescott and vicinity, across Arizona, and around the southwest quadrant of the United States, over the next many months.  Family events will take me away, for a few days here and there, but the main focus will be the life of community.

So, as I read “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Book Store”, and “Crota”, my mind considered the sacrifices made by the protagonists of both stories, the triumph over almost insurmountable challenges, and the three-dimensional nature of the antagonists.  My mind considered what I had overcome, when I had been a protagonist of sorts, and when I have been cast as the antagonist in an event- which has happened, more to my chagrin than I sometimes care to think.  Nothing beyond the mist is as foggy, or as clearcut, as we sometimes like to think.

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Many things go on, like the lives of whales, largely beneath the surface.

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Then, the truth surfaces, and distant realities also have to be considered, even as we marvel at the sight closest to our eyes.

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I started to refer to the town visible from our port as “Port Hardy”.  A gentleman who is more seasoned on these cruises calmly stated the town was Campbell River, and that he had camped there in his RV, on a few occasions.

Oh, the joy, and humility, of seeing illusions evaporate.  I placed the freshly-completed copy of “Crota” back in the Purser’s library, and donated “Mr. Penumbra” to that collection.  It will appeal to at least a couple of inquiring minds among the ship’s crew.  In the morning, I would see the sight of Fairhaven, the ferry port at Bellingham, WA.  It is time for filling in the gaps, of my map of the Evergreen State.

The Road to 65, Mile 98: Past Square One

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March 6, 2015, Prescott- Two events that occurred today, made me think of the need for perseverance.  The individual whom I’ve been helping, these past four months, made a heartfelt solicitation of work this morning, while we were heading back to his campsite, to retrieve my car and other items he had left in the area.  We had circled around the park, so as to determine a closer route to his campsite, in forming his game plan for this evening.  This made going around the long way to my car, necessary.  He took interest in a home that was in serious disrepair, and seemed to connect with the owner, and to have obtained work.  After  I left them to discuss their business arrangement, one disagreement after another ended up derailing the whole thing.

The second was an e-mail from a prospective employer of mine, which had been stalling on calling me for an interview.  The message essentially said that those in whom the employer was interested, had already been called, and interviews were being set up.  Since none of those was yours truly, I will move on and contact the area charter schools, after Spring Break, so as to add to my job options, besides Prescott and Chino Valley Public Schools.

I spent the better part of today listening to my de facto client, working through some of his long-standing issues. Some of these got in his way, in today’s effort to find work; others have just made him miserable for a lot longer.  While I remain a solitary figure, by choice, a balance is being struck with the legitimate needs of those around me.  The person with whom I am working right now does have serious boundary and transference issues, and it has taken the patience of Job, at times, to maintain my life of choice. I think he is coming to understand me, and respect my choices.

The silver lining is that he has gotten me to take care of a few practical organizational matters, which I might otherwise have continued to blow off.  There is value in all things.