A Little Learning Goes a Long Way

What we thought we knew . . .

Evolution of our planet seems to be happening at warp speed, and in a sense, it very likely is.

I was thinking back on my own life and the values people held vs. the values we hold today. People, families especially, seemed to be one of the most important values any of us had. We had just come out of one war, and would soon enter another one, and then still another one through my own lifetime.

I have been mourning the loss of what once seemed it would last forever. Those long summer nights when we children could play safely out in the neighborhood streets and parents never had to worry about where we were, or whether we might perhaps become victims of human trafficking. The thing we played with first and foremost was using our minds to create fantasies such pretend forts or capture of the enemies, or “Red Rover.” Then we had boxes, which played a multitude of roles. Bicycles and skates and going swimming in the summer were big thrilling activities. And at Christmas, we got such simple but yet such beloved gifts – a B B gun for boys, or perhaps a new collectible doll for a girl.

TV was new and it was a thing that was already changing the family sitting down together for dinnertime. Instead, people sat around with TV trays, ate TV dinners, and no one was sharing the events of the day. I remember the family sitting around the TV, entranced by the amazing wonder of the Test Pattern. Families had only black and white, and I think it was later in my life when color TV came into being.- It was the age of “things.”

Young people called Marijuana “Mary Jane,” and in our youth we avoided those people as bad people. Getting high meant taking an aspirin and swallowing it with Coca Cola, and then spinning around until we fell down. We went to school and had really healthy lunches, and no one had to be shamed if they did not have one. They just got in line with everyone else and got a filling lunch. Teachers could make us write something on the board 100 times if we were bad, or have us sit in the corner with a Dunce Hat, or chewing gum on our noses. And they could even hit our hands if we did something wrong (or use paddles on our bums). And if we did something unthinkable like throwing spitballs, we might get sent to the dreaded office. That meant our parents would be notified, and we might even get “grounded.”

But things were changing. Parents didn’t talk about marital problems such as domestic violence or abuse of children. No one went to a psychologist; it was the psychiatrists who dealt with problems based on strange theories that not many understood. Only society’s very well-to-do went to them. Women really did not talk to each other about things that were private to their families. Perhaps some families went to their priests or their pastors, but we never heard or read about those things.

Suddenly, people were going to Space, and just as suddenly, we were frightened of nuclear power. Families everywhere were building bomb shelters, and we endlessly practiced in school how to duck under our desks in the event of a bomb. Suddenly your next door neighbors you had known for years were suspicious of you and not open to having you see the insides of their bomb shelters. There were these people called Communists, and we did not exactly know who they were, but they were people to be feared. More and more people were identified as those horrible Communists, and then they had to face having hearings on TV, that place we had once thought something so simple and so fun. Now it was full of things no one really understood, and they spoke of those people in whispers within a family, but not shared outside. We really did not know WHO to trust anymore.

And today, here we sit, almost with the same amount of fear of things not seen, but believed. Things we cannot understand, so we fear those things. And suddenly we are grasping to hold onto things that make about as much sense as ducking under our desks or building bomb shelters.

Life is moving way too fast with way too many things going on all at once, bombarding our senses as they did before, but now with warp speed unseen in our lifetimes. One day we hear a scary word that none of us understand and the next day it is killing people all over the world. Should we hide under our desks, fear everyone anywhere near us, or perhaps even kill them because they have more of something they believe will save them than we do?

Will we ever see life as it once was again, or was it simply that we we never really learned anything of lasting value in the time we have been here? How far will a little learning take us?

My Prayer for Those Who are Homeless

Oh God, today I looked out into the hail and the sleet and the thunder,
And I felt safe and warm inside with my animals.
But then I thought about all those who are without homes or shelters.
I thought of all the people in this world who go to bed hungry and cold,
Or without something to help their thirst.
I thought of the little children, who live in rags, dirty, and perhaps without shoes.
And I felt ashamed, God.
You created this world full of people of every color and culture, every language, every political and spiritual or religious belief system. You created all the creatures on this earth, and all the plants, and everything including the tiniest grains of sand.
And it was good. We were all meant to be on this earth and to help it survive, or we would not be here.
But instead, we hate those whose languages we cannot speak, whose cultures and spiritual or religious beliefs are not ours, and we seek ways to overcome every enemy, when in fact, our worst enemies are those in the compass of our hearts and our minds. We want to destroy those whom we believe are against us, and worst still, we create people who are invisible to us. They cry out in the streets, and in the bare spots along the train tracks. They look up with hope, but instead find empty stares, or people who don't even look at them. God, we have done shameful things to our fellow human beings, and to the creatures and the plants, and perhaps even the tiniest grains of sand. As we looked past the invisible ones, God, we looked past you. We go to churches and cathedrals and to our places of worship, and we proclaim loudly that we love you and we praise you, but we look right past you as you sit in the street with an empty cup, or we turn away in disgust at a mother with nothing to feed her child. We perhaps throw a rock at a stray animal, and God, you are in all of us, so we cannot say we love you when we have made you invisible. You created us ALL in your image, and so God, you are all the people who live on this wonderful earth, and you never told us that you loved everyone but the invisible people.
Help us to truly open our eyes, God, and to open our hearts and our minds. Help us to see that every human being, every creature, every plant, and even the tiniest grains of sand are you, God.

Is this familiar to you?

Bars and Melody – “Hopeful” – courtesy Pixabay.com

I like to write upbeat things for all of you, but this is heavy in my heart and I want you all to read how important this message is, and to do everything you possibly can to help.

When we think of bullying, we automatically think of it happening only to children, but it is not at all true. It happens at all ages, all races, and all cultures. It happens in schools, in workplaces, and out in society in general, as well as with seniors in senior living centers. It happens in the military and in places of worship and spirituality. There is not a place that is safe from bullying.

I have seen it first-hand and have been subjected to it as a child, as an adult working, and definitely as a senior in my living places. And I have seen first-hand what it does to others in my area, from 13-year-olds committing suicide to adults jumping off the overpasses on freeways, or on a lesser scale, children taking away the food of other children or soiling or tearing their clothes, or sometimes breaking glasses or destroying the school books and tools of others. It is perhaps one the most widespread things happening to people today.

What can you and I do to help stop this horror? What causes it? Are the people doing the bullying lacking in what they need to the point where they are taking it out on others? Lack of food, clothing, or perhaps lack of appreciation of them as human beings at home or on the job or jealousy of them in their neighborhoods when they have achieved something good. A man is bullied in his own yard by neighbors and by the police as he picks up trash. The newspapers are full of these situations.

Let today be the day I stop any bullying I see or hear. Let me be brave and not afraid to face the bullies, even those who have bullied me. Let me not wait for someone else to do it. Let it begin with me. And so it is. Thank you most kindly.

Unfinished

Unfinished Aung San Suu Kyi by Anne Copeland

      Thumbing through a newspaper one day, I was stuck by a photo of this truly incredible woman.  So petite and delicate in appearance, who would ever imagine that she is the national hero of the people of Myanmar, Burma, and that this woman almost single-handedly has led the people in her area toward a major resistance against the military regime that has so consistently prevented the people from gaining freedom and that has consistently brutalized and murdered the citizens in that country for so many years. 

     To read more of her story, go to:  http://burmacampaign.org.uk/about-burma/a-biography-of-aung-san-suu-kyi/. Like this art quilt above, this story is unfinished, but it is good to know that in these difficult times, someone is willing to sacrifice everything for her country and the people in it. 

     Women are rising up in this world in so many ways to fight for rights, and many like Aung San Suu Kyi have dedicated their lives to help others in their countries to be able to live fully without fear.  I would love to hear about your special women heroes in this life and what they have done. We need to make others aware that freedom is not free. Like the many male heroes who have given their lives to give this greatest of  gifts to all of us, we need to find ways to ensure that they are never forgotten.