On President Biden

Bernie and I listened to the president last night. I had posted on Facebook people should watch because it was their civic duty. I meant it, but the truth is, I didn’t watch the former president when he spoke to the American people. It had nothing to do with civic duty. I was protecting myself from what felt like abuse. I find it hard to sit in a room with anyone who gossips and berates others present or not or is basically trying to entertain people instead of being real. It is exhausting. If such a person is the president of the United States, I would rather listen to what others tell me he or she said later. Of course, this isn’t the same as having my own reaction, but it does protect my soul from being wounded.

I have always liked Joe Biden. He is a real person with compassion and lots of life experience in politics and who grew from his personal tragedies. People don’t need to agree with his policies, but at least appreciate the calmness and kindness that distinguishes him from the last president. In his message to the Nation, he refrained from blaming the opposing party for anything, even mentioned the good work of Republican leaders. Not a diminishing word!

I happen to agree with his priorities. I have to trust that those folks who know about how to manage  such huge amounts of money know what they are doing. There are just a few things I disagree with, but overall, I approve. But this blog isn’t about his policies. It is about the kindness, the peace, the love that I feel he has in his heart.

I remember when President Obama went to support the parents who lost their children killed at Sandyhook Elementary. He was brought to tears as he spoke. The response by those who were against him? “He is faking it.” They couldn’t accept the possibility that someone they hated so much could have even one good thought or emotion. This is black and white thinking. One is either all good or all bad. But this is not reality. None of is is all one or the other so we must know this is true of others as well.

I heard a commentator on TV yesterday say, “Biden is exactly what the country needs right now.” She wasn’t talking about his policies. She was talking about his healing demeanor. I agree with her. Let’s all take a breath, invite spring, look forward to reuniting with our loved ones, and appreciate the good things in life. Disagree with the President’s plans, write to your congress people, complain all you want. But follow the example of this good man. Don’t berate individuals for their beliefs. Listen to people. Speak only kind words.

You, along with our new leader, can help heal the nation.

Notebook

Writers often carry notebooks with them much like a visual artist might carry a sketchpad. I will often take notes during meetings which I sometimes have to explain to people. “I may repeat what you said, but no one will know who said it.”  It is my way of gleaning knowledge. People don’t know that they may have been quoted in my book coming from the lips of Jesus or Matthew or Mary Magdalene. Nice, thought? I hope so.

I keep a notebook in my purse, one by my reading place in the morning and one by my chair before the TV. Some of what I record are books I want to some day read or movies that sound interesting. I even recorded categories and answers from Wheel of Fortune. They came in handy when our family turned to zoom during Covid.

When a book gets filled up, I will go through it before tossing it to take out notes that I might still use and put these into a new notebook. That is what I did yesterday with one of these notebooks. As I went through it once again, I thought that some of the ideas I had were worth keeping so I thought I would share them here with you.

At a recovery meeting, someone commented on slips: “We start to depend on being able to come back until we can’t.”

“There is a committee in my head.”

“Your need is God’s Opportunity.”

“We want to be perfect so we don’t have to deal with the consequences such as humiliation, guilt, people not liking us, and harm to self and others.”

“Praying for someone I dislike is an act of humility – I admit that I don’t really know this person, but I trust God does because I believe in God’s love. I trust that there is something there to love.”

“If I am drawn to the black, I have to choose to move to right thinking until that becomes as automatic as the black thinking.”

“By avoiding someone I am giving that person power over me.”

“Of all the things I miss most in life, I miss my mind the most.”

“Capitalism is better when you mix in a little morality.”

“Sometimes discussions are more performative than informative.”

“Life is not fair, but government should be.” Anne Richards, governor of Texas.

“There is no community unless between equals.”

“The purpose of art is to describe hell and heaven as experienced in life.”

The first person to get the Covid 19 shot was Sandra Lindsey.

“Donald Trump is the Confederacy’s last stand.” Joy Reed.

“Just because you have a broken system does not mean that the everyone in it is broken. Stop defending bad cops. It is not a reflection on good ones.”

Thanks. Now I can toss that notebook in the trash.

 

What To Do About the Children

If an 8-year-old child showed up at your door, alone, what would you do? I know what I would do, I would ask her what she needs and if she said she was lost, I would invite her in, call the police and give her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

If three children, ages 7, 12, and 13 showed up, what would you do?

What if 11 children, ages 3 to 15 showed up?

And then what would you do if 63, children showed up, or 150?

And if the police said they couldn’t come because they were busy find places for the 78 kids they already picked up.

Would you scramble to get more peanut butter and jelly? Would you regret taking in the first child? Would you try to figure out why there were so many displaced children?

Children keep coming to our borders because we have a reputation for caring. Most of them have relatives in the United States but the numbers are overwhelming and we are in the midst of the covid crisis.

Rather than lock the door, we need to feed them, attend to their health needs, and find their families. We also need to discover where they came from and why they fled.

They are children, for God’s sake! Have a heart!

 

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Coming out the world of Covid feels strange, tentative like stepping out on early ice. I have received both of my shots and have gone to meetings where people either wear their masks or they don’t, but social distancing is observed. I continue to mask up shopping or going into any business. I know we have a way to go, but our family members are almost all vaccinated and we plan a late Holiday gathering in May.

I wish my mind was brighter and my mood more positive.  People have said that we have been through a long dark journey as a country, as a world, and coming out of it will take time. For many, it meant depression, a rise in addictive and violent behavior, fear and confusion. I think we are all desiring serenity and joy.

I belong to a community that has a saying : “Fake it ’til you make it.” I am going to try that today. I have several opportunities ahead when I can put on a smile,  wish someone a happy day and listen closely to whatever is being shared. I can thank God for the rain on behalf of the fauna and our feathered friends. I can sing to myself as I exercise and appreciate the tastes of the foods set before me. How do I feel npw? Not quite a perky as this all sounds, but if I fake it, what I do on the outside might sink in and become true on the inside.

Being Black in America

One of the stories in the photo journalism masterpiece by Brandon Stanton, Humans, is told by a father in Accra, Ghana. He said that he and his wife discussed whether to raise their son in Africa or move to the United States. In the U.S. he could expect better job opportunities. Both he and his wife are professors. Healthcare, he said would be better. “You don’t hear of people dying in America because they can’t find an open hospital bed.” (This was clearly pre-covid). What attracted him to staying in Ghana, he said, is there his son would not have to worry about the color of his skin. He would never have to explain to him what it means to be black or tell him the rules necessary to keep himself safe.

The father said that one day when he was living in America, he received an Amber alert on his phone and all it said was, “tall black male.” Being the only one in sight it caused him to panic. Then another day, he was walking to his dormitory at three o’clock in the afternoon and someone drove by in a red truck and threw a hamburger at his head and called him the N-word. “I don’t want to explain that stuff to my child,” he said. “It is exhausting to be conscious of your skin all the time. You either become a militant or you become defeated. And I understand why it happens, but extremes of anything aren’t good.”

This father’s story troubles me. It doesn’t make me proud to be an American. Not today, anyway.

The Joy of Being a Dog

…just watch your dog. Dog’s don’t stop the ecstasy. You get tired of them, jumping up and licking you, but they don’t. It’s pure unadulterated fascinated enjoyment being a dog, apparently. And then most of them just lie down one day and die. No drama.
The dog doesn’t question reality.
It doesn’t anguish in existential malaise, beating its paws in the dirt and asking, “Why aren’t I a duck?”
Apparently, dogs just like being dogs, mulberry trees like being mulberry trees, and bees like doing what bees do. Rje Joyed snapper does not mind if we name her ‘red snapper’, although she knows her real name. All things give glory to God just by being what they are.

Richard Rohr in Divine Dance

Courage to Push the Button

There are many things that make me feel alone, but even in my aloneness, I often find a person or a community that shares that certain something with me. It could even be the fact that I often feel alone. Meeting someone who feels that way at times, makes me feel less alone. I suspect you have had the same experience at one time or another.

I will share here what makes me feel alone currently. In the summer of 2019, I was reading books by David Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. Hawkins found a way to measure the level of consciousness in people as well as communities. I won’t go into how he did this. It seems a bit weird to me. But once I got past his method, his chart on the stages of consciousness was more than intriguing. It led me to read 6 of his books as I tried to grasp this idea of levels of consciousness.

When I was younger, I was introduced to levels of intellectual, spiritual, and emotional maturity. In each case, I judged myself to be high up there on whatever scale was offered. It made me feel good about myself, though I suspect my ego was running the show. But placing myself on Hawkin’s scale was different. I happened to be reading his books at a time when I was concerned for a dear friend who was struggling internally with a problem that she couldn’t seem to shake. She could see causes and solutions, but she couldn’t move forward. it baffled me. Hawkins helped me to understand that what she needed was courage. The fact that I could see what she couldn’t meant that I was further along on the path than she was. All I could do was listen and share whatever insights I had, knowing full well I didn’t have any power. I learned from Hawkins that this, too, is a factor in higher consciousness – powerlessness. Hawkins suggested that people who have themselves overcome a block, such as an addiction, often move from a lower to a higher consciousness. I qualified, again.

What am I getting at? I started out talking about what it feels like to be alone. One reason for aloneness might be the feeling that one feels different from others. The problems is that suggesting one has a higher level of consciousness is a pretty vulnerable thing to do. I may think twice before I publish this post. But if I don’t, I will stay where I have been that last 18 months.

When Hawkins talks about those of the highest levels of consciousness, he suggests that aloneness is common. It is a contradiction to say this, but he also points to a sense of unity that one feels with the world. This unity relates to something above, something a person may be aware of but unable to articulate. It is a oneness with all persons and things, all of creation. Oneness and aloneness? Crazy, huh!

I don’t know where to go with this. I will hit the publish button. Hawkins suggests that the move from a lower consciousness where a person drains energy from the world and a higher one where a person gives energy to the world is courage. Courage for me always means risk or it wouldn’t be courage. There has to be an unknown, a possible consequence that might be unpleasant. We shall see.