The Shortest Distance, and The Longest

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May 5, 2019-

“Civilization is precisely the human capacity to say no…….”- Rob Riemen, To Fight Against This Age

Viewing the film “Room”, this evening, I prepared myself for a variety of possible outcomes, none of them good.  Having worked for so long in child protection and recovery from abuse, I know the permutations that such cases can take.  I know that attorneys for the abuser will sometimes do their job all too well, and the cycle will repeat itself, ad nauseam.  I know that sometimes, the good guys win, and people like Erica Pratt, Jaycee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart go on to achieve at least a fair amount of normalcy and success, on their own terms.  I’ve seen a mix of the two outcomes, with identity mix-up and role confusion, only resolvable with the maximum amount of patience and sensitivity.

In a complex world, where everyone gets to jump in and have a say, many times with an agenda that has nothing to do with the recovering child, the cases can take  a long sideways route, often twisting like a corkscrew, until nothing is left.  In these cases, money is made, but no one wins.  Fame is achieved, sometimes for people who had nothing to do with the original case-and sometimes for those who did, but who have moved on, past the reality of the victim.

It’s been long enough, since the film was in theaters, that I can applaud how the story panned out.  “Jack” used native intelligence and common sense to save his mother twice- first from their captor, then from herself.  “Joy”, the mother, did well to keep both of them alive, and to recover, from both abandonment by her father and a misguided barrage of criticism from a sensation-seeking journalist.  The film is thus a cautionary tale, for several sectors of society.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  “Jack” was young enough to use that logic, in describing his former place of captivity to the police, and in avoiding the long, twisting, jagged-edged road to recovery faced by his mother.

I like to think that I prefer taking the short route, in my own life, but time has proven that sometimes, the long route has ended up being chosen.

Ever-Advancing

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May 2, 2019-

Here’s what I’ve experienced,

over nearly seven decades.

For every person who has left my side,

five more have appeared.

For every person who has stuck his foot out,

so as to trip me up,

ten pairs of hands have broken my fall.

For every voice of doom,

there have been a dozen angels,

singing of hope and gladness.

For each act of destruction,

a host of projects,

glistening with resilience,

have sallied forth.

In each person,

who bristles outwardly with hate,

I see a small shining star,

struggling to get out,

and so dissipate,

the outer darkness.

In each act of destruction,

there is the seed of recovery,

that will burst forth,

given its nourishment.

One hundred fifty-six years ago, today,

the Light of the World,

set forth, once again,

to bring hope and strength,

to creatures that their Creator

loves so well.

Through all the darkness,

into the light,

we, of humanity,

are ever-advancing.

(Today is the Twelfth Day of Ridvan, commemorating Baha’u’llah’s departure from Baghdad, together with his family and closest followers, for the north of Iraq and on into Turkey.)

 

Gratitude Week, Day 3: Health

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November 20, 2018, Prescott-

The last day of work before Thanksgiving came and went, with barely a hitch.  The students are surrounded by people who want to be working with them.  That has not always been the case, and the kids know when it isn’t.

Health, both physical and mental, depends not only on one’s genes and personal habits, but on how connected one is to those around us. I have been in good health for over ten years now, even counting the infections contracted whilst I was Penny’s caretaker and the recent knee strain.  It has been being surrounded by a largely independent, but genuinely loving, network of friends, to whom I paid homage two days ago, and to extended family, to whom I will pay similar tribute on Thanksgiving Day, which has brought me home, in terms of radiance and stamina.

A good daily balance of work and play, rest and activity, socialization and solitude has kept me in recovery from whatever ailments are brought on by aging and occasional stress.  I am grateful to do Terra essential oils, Planet Fitness and our systems of forests and parks, at all levels of government and of private landowners (Nature Conservancy, various local trusts) who allow access to their treasured sites.  I am indebted to those who provide healthful food and beverages, often but not always, free of Genetically-Modified Organisms and sometimes meatless.

I have much towards which to work, both gainfully and as a volunteer, over the next several years.  My health community is a key component of the process.

Tomorrow, I will offer a shout-out to those who have kept our communities, states and country safe and to those who work towards a safer world.

The Road to 65, Mile 56: Expectations

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January 23, 2015, Prescott- Over the past several years, I’ve learned it’s best to hold high expectations of my own performance and behaviours, while not expecting specific acts of others.  I’ve mentioned this before, and of course, taken flack from those whose view is that we ought hold each other’s feet to the fire.  The problem with that is, burnt soles make for hard walking.

I am working with a transient man who has rejected all solutions, thus far, regarding his getting permanent housing.  I sense he’d prefer to be out of doors, permanently and that’s fine.  I have pointed out, though, that  others who are helping him. and I, are not available 24/7, given our other responsibilities.  He is congenial about that, and doesn’t give us any flack.  There is one thing about expectations, though.  High hopes are admirable, yet need to be tempered with patience.  Keep your sights high, dream big, AND prepare to move forward slowly.  The progress of mankind will be constant, yet tempered by setbacks, largely due to the scarcity mentality of the financial sector and other aspects of commerce, by the limited understanding and fear of change that affect both the guardians of the status quo AND those who say they believe in new ways of doing things, even as they also believe that the bottom has to drop out of those new systems, eventually.

I believe that our expectations will lead to our future.  If you think that God provides, “kind of, sort of”, then you will get exactly what your doubt and fear are telling you will be provided.  If you believe that while, yes, it’s cold today, people might die, tragically, tomorrow and there may well be fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods and cyclones in the months and years ahead-maybe even WWIII, there will be civilized life beyond all those, then your efforts will be towards recovery and regeneration, not the doom and gloom of virtually every current religious and political system presently operating.

When the latter happens, are the pessimists going to be pleasantly relieved, or will they still look under rocks for “dark days ahead”.  Expectations do best to  seek the light, even that which lies beyond the storm.