I’m always struck how our artificial human constructions, a state line, a new year, reflect deeper, less explicit, but more persistent realities. Driving west on US Route 412, leaving Arkansas into Oklahoma, within the space of 20 or 30 miles, you go from the Ozarks Mountains to the Great Plains. One day on that route, I crested a rise and for the first time could see for miles. It was a clear blue day, but the horizon was so far away that I thought I could see the curve of the earth. Continue reading
You may not have noticed my absence. In the last six months or so I’ve been mostly off Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and the like, unwilling to support their ever more apparent and pestilent dark side. It was a huge relief once I’d fully detox’d and wasn’t worrying about what I might be missing (only to look and find the link and meme encrusted feeds having reached new lows in signal to noise and civil discourse to polarization ratios).
But the passage of time time relentlessly changes us all. Free willed or not, accepting or not, we are made different as we are carried along by time. We are like stones in a river bed, polished without willing it by flowing experience, by our very presence or lack of it. So it was with me and the evil phenom known as social media. Continue reading
Heavenly Father, we come before you on this day of thanksgiving with heavy hearts. We are grateful for the bounty of this table and company of those around it, but we are also full of longing for those who are not with us, for Bill, for Artie, for Tom, for George and all the others who have gone before us even as they are folded in your warm embrace.
Comfort our hearts and lift our eyes to the abundance you have placed in our lives.
I believe in this reality of the world we see day to day, this world of work and play and rest, this world of offices and fields, of shining aspiration and shuddering loss, of space and of time. I believe in this world we live in, but also believe it is a poor reflection of a fuller reality, unbounded by our conventions of time or space or life. I believe this deeper reality is sentient and purposeful and loving in ways completely beyond our understanding.
This world we see with our eyes and even with our souls, is the thinnest veneer on that deeper reality. Our sorrows and our joys are a direct measure of how well this daily reality we are always constructing aligns with that broader, timeless real. Even that most human instinct to transcendence is a mere reflection of our connection to that place that is more like home than any place in this world.
Like it or not, we are, all of us, always in the company of the dying because we’re all headed there sooner or later. If we’re fortunate, our lives fill up the space and time between us and death with delightful meaning and reassuring connections. But that moment will come, for each of us, when the living is thrown into stark counterpoint to the dying.
For me that moment came when my father died. I’d been to funerals, even lost a friend or two, but somehow those didn’t drag life into the presence of death, didn’t undeniably illuminate that intimate tango in a way that held my gaze, would not let me look away. I had the privilege of sitting with my dad for the last two weeks of his life, but that feeling of privilege came later, after the late nights by his bedside, after he finally asked for an exit, after driving around Jackson Mississippi just before sunrise hoping I wouldn’t get stopped when I realized I had several empty ampules of morphine in my shirt pocket… “Honest, Officer…”
From the Gospel of Matthew:
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Biblical yes, but intelligible to believers and non believers alike. And brought here, I humbly suggest, as a useful lense in this election season, for the believers and non believers. Continue reading
Those who know me well, know there are few things that will unhinge me and overwhelm my civility editor more than double standards. Neither left nor right is doing themselves credit in this regard in this election cycle. That said, Mr. Trump stands apart for holding different standards for himself than for anyone else. The latest incident around Ms Machado (Max BMI 25.06) and Mr. Trump (BMI 29.5) has tripped and perhaps broken my double standard trigger.
First the Polling Part. So quick now. Don’t think about it, just answer as your heart directs.
Does your shit stink? ___ Just Roses Here ___ Um, Well, Yes
The on-line tabulators are working… Our data scientists and statisticians are pondering… Lights flashing on the faces of computer banks… Continue reading
Hey. HEY! HEY IRS!!! I got me an idear! You’ve got this audit running on Mr. Trump. He says that’s the reason he won’t release his tax returns.
Offer the man a deal. He releases his returns and the audit’s called off, done, no action against him.
See the way I see it, no matter how bad the man done cheated, even if he never paid a penny of taxes on that mountain o’ money of his, it’s a greater service to this great ol’ country of ours to see his tax returns prior to the election than any amount you might recover via audit. If he’s clean, no audit = no harm. If he’s not, having that known prior to the election is a greater good.
So. Call up his lawyers get it in ink and see what happens…
A common thread that joins the supporters of Mr. Trump, Ms. Stein, and Mr. Johnson is a burning desire to up end the status quo. That is also a key motivator of a common disparagement of Ms. Clinton.
So riddle me this… Taking a 10 year view, which candidate is most likely to bring real change? Continue reading