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Saturday, November 26, 2022

  





“We appeal as human beings to human beings;

           remember your humanity 

               and forget the rest.”    - Albert Einstein


     This past Sunday, a cold, destitute, homeless man

named “Robert” wandered into our church. The public library

was closed and escaping the single digit temps outside

made perfect sense.

     While we gathered around the social hall table - he took

In one warm cup of coffee and let out three napkins full

of regrets. His story was patchy, sad, and discombobulated.

With surprisingly little effort, I was able to imagine

myself in his well-worn shoes had I not had so much support

from my very imperfect family & friends - - - and the random 

kindnesses and decency of everyday people.


     Examples of these wonderful human encounters will be 

introduced in some of my subsequent posts - Please stay tuned.


https://www.janery.com/blogs/news/9-ways-to-help-the-homeless-this-winter



Thursday, November 24, 2022

 


 Giving Thanks - For What?

     As the gray hairs replace those that were so recently brown but originally red, I’ve noticed that what I value has changed.  Sure, there are the usual - family, friends, and stuff.  Then there are the things like freedom and good health - which I’m not so quick to take for granted. Then there are personal gifts I’ve been blessed with.  All of these are still very important.

     At one point, I thrived on, and looked forward to, big family get-togethers, traveling, and all kinds of new experiences - I still do.  But good friends and my parents have moved on to greener pastures and perspectives change.

     Nowadays, I’m more inclined to savor time with individual people, and those random encounters with beauty or kindness.  And then there are moments of sheer joy as I connect with those closest to me - like holding my granddaughter’s hand and watching my grandson’s beaming smile as we watch the end of the movie “Lyle, Lyle the Crocodile” - and Lyle SINGS!

     Some of my greatest gifts these days are simply moments for which

I am eternally grateful. 



Wednesday, October 26, 2022

                                "Only a fool learns from their own mistakes...   

     
                                   

                                    ...The wise man learns from the mistakes of others".

                                                                     Otto von Bismarck

                                                                    

     These days, it is especially poignant that we at least learn from our own.

    Six years ago,  few would have fretted over the thought of Roe vs Wade being overturned after decades of established precedent. All it took was three Supreme Court candidates lying while under oath to accomplish just that. Though abortion is an extremely complex and emotionally laden issue, more and more state legislators think otherwise and are working to completely ban all abortions.  Ironically multiple polls show that roughly 75% of Americans believe abortion should be legal during the first trimester if that pregnancy either places the mother's life in jeopardy or is the result of rape or incest.

     In 2022 an amazing 157 out of 211 House Republicans consider dismantling Social Security and Medicare as core tenants of their proposed budgets if they take the majority of the House after midterms.  Most Americans have contributed to these funds their entire working life.  And most use it as their main source of income as they retire.   Lots of complacent folk feel we shouldn't get all worked up - "the Republicans would never take away those programs".

     Please remember Otto's words and do everything you can to -

                  TURN OUT THE VOTE!



                           



Sunday, September 11, 2022

What Would Bill Do?



     Many of us are blessed to have wise friends or mentors that keep 

us grounded - or at least try to do so.  They're fortresses in the midst

of chaos.  Yesterday, I could have used one.

    My bride and I had two separate disagreements that devolved into 

arguments which by nightfall were upgraded to Class 3 hurricanes with 

crushed spirits and remorse but no apologies .  The latter was uncommon

for us.  After a poor night of sleep  and lots of reflection, I realized my 

old friend Bill could have rescued us.  He would have listened very 

attentively.  Then he would have let out a long "Hmmm" followed by 

something simple like - "From what I've heard, it seems like each of you 

were mostly right." Then he would have asked a simple but thoroughly 

annoying question such as - "Did I just hear correctly that you both had 

major spats with your best friend over five minutes of waiting,  and one 

brief scene in a movie?" 

    As I stepped back  I would have realized he was right....  and then 

recognized that the proverbial slugfest we had endured, had way more 

to do with the particularly challenging stuff we were living through than

any wrongs committed by either of us.

     Sometimes it's even healthy to pretend that we have a wise friend to

bounce thoughts off of - some of their wisdom might still be with us,

even if they're not.

     

   

Monday, August 8, 2022

               All Are Not Created EQUAL 

    Imagine that you were born into a conservative family in a conservative town, taught by many teachers who had rarely traveled more than 50 miles from home. Imagine hearing war stories from four out of five male family members and then watching a brother go off to Vietnam with the Marines.  Then imagine you became a 17 yo private pilot only to have your dreams of flying in the USAF crushed because of a pair of glasses.
    That was me, but my second dream was to become a doctor.  Instead of following in my father's and brother's footsteps, I became the black sheep of the family and went off to a liberal arts college for my undergrad education. To make matters worse for family relations, I learned to ANALYSE and QUESTION.  I had to read twenty books for one mandatory class the first term and learned that few things are as simple as they seem, and that truth often lies in the details.      
     Fast forward to 2022.  I'm frequently tempted to demean, if not despise, gullible people who believe anything and then pass on emotionally laden lies as fact.  However, if I had had perfect vision in high school, I could have easily become one of "them" - immersing myself in the same fear-mongering, anger provoking news and social media that so many good intentioned people are addicted to.  Our own experiences, insight, intelligence, education, family, and local culture effect how we think, yet most of these aren't earned. Fellow Americans have different filters, but they are not our enemies, regardless of the pressure to believe so. Our challenge is to truly listen* to their concerns, and maybe dislodge the filter or two that are blinding them (or us) to reality. This is admittedly a difficult task, but our country's future is worth the effort.

   A wonderful and enjoyable book to help prime the pump is: