holding noise

There is a constant ringing in my ears. It’s been my companion for as long as I can remember. Seriously. You know the chirping of cicadas? Or, the irritating scratchy squeal of feedback in a sound system? Combine the two and you are close to the ever present noise in my head.

I don’t say this to be whining. People have much worse to contend with. This is simply an my annoyance to deal with. It’s been with me so long most of the time I give it no notice at all. Since I can’t turn it off, for the most part, I have learned to rewire my attention away from it. It’s only at night in the quiet that the ringing demands center stage, filling up the audible space vacated by the usual hum of daily living.

I cover it up well with music. All kinds of music. Anyone who knows me knows I surround myself with music as much as possible. I like music for the sake of its beauty and for the way it inspires me, but an essential benefit is the way it takes my mind away from the ringing.

Some people like the TV on as background noise. My mother in law, Dolores, was like that. Twenty-four seven, her TV was blaring. Mostly on the shopping network. This could be one of the reasons we found eighteen purses with tags still attached when we cleaned out her condo. Her persuasive television friends no doubt convinced her she needed many things to fill the empty spaces in her life.

Maybe, though, it wasn’t actually emptiness she was trying to fill but rather, like me trying to drown out the ringing in my ear, she was trying to drown out the sound of a broken heart. She was always outwardly looking on the bright side of any situation. But, I think inside she was always trying to push away the forceful roaring of her grief.

Dolores’ heartbreak came to her as a result of being transplanted from NY to Texas and never fully making peace with the changes it brought, uprooting her from family and friends and everything familiar. It came from losing her husband in midlife and then losing her adult daughter to a disease she couldn’t conquer. No matter what the age, losing a child must be the deepest ache there is. An impossible pain to silence.

All of these losses had been beyond her control but she did her best to keep the noise of grief locked away in the quiet place of her heart. It seemed she avoided this place at all cost. I remember one time she was at our house and, of course, music was playing. Ave Maria came on and immediately she asked me to turn it off. I think that particular song was too beautiful, too soulful. It would force her to the vulnerable place in her heart she had locked away. I guess even the thought of going there was just too painful. Even though the journey through grief would be the only path to the true quiet of peace, the cost was too great for her to consider. Better to keep the TV on. Better to hide in the noise.

The ringing in my ear, this distraction I keep at bay, came to me early as a child. By the time I was two I had my tonsils removed because of repeated ear infections. Back then there was no option for tubes, at least not in Lubbock, Texas. Back then they lanced the ear to release the pressure and fluid from the infection. It hurt like hell.

I can remember once when I was about four or five my ear was so infected I heard my own voice in double. Always looking for new ways to perform I turned my malady into an opportunity and, turning the music on in the living room, I sang a “duet”. For hours. A day or so later I had the ear lanced again. I can remember the sound before the needle hit the ear drum. I’ve heard you can’t actually remember physical pain. I can feel its echo.

The many lancing procedures left a hole in my ear drum which, at some point, scarred over. Maybe it’s the source of the ringing. I’m really not sure. I just know it’s there.

Recently, after a upper respiratory bug the ringing got worse, harder to ignore. I went to the doctor and was told nothing could be done about the ringing. I was also told I have lost 25% of my hearing in both ears and the ringing is now aggravated by my ears trying to work so hard to hear. I think I understood that correctly but, it sounds weird doesn’t it; that ear noise would get louder by the ear trying to hear. I am thinking I need even more music in my life! Just not too loud. But loud enough to hear…and loud enough not to hear.

There is a writer who is credited with writing much of the New Testament scripture. He is called The Apostle Paul. He talks about a thorn he has in his side. He’s prayed over and over again for it to be removed. There is all kinds of scholarly speculation about just what this “thorn” is. It doesn’t matter. Not the point! He says in this struggle he’s been reminded God’s grace is enough. Enough to make it possible to carry on. With the thorn in his side? That’s it? That’s the answer to his prayer? Seems like a pretty crummy answer to an earnest (get that…ear-nest?) prayer.

Or, is it? I don’t know. Maybe it is the perfect answer. Do I wish the ringing would cease in my ear? Oh, hell yes. And, still, I do find grace in each and every day. I find grace in the way I love and appreciate music so much. Perhaps I would have never become so attentive to it had I not needed it to redirect me from focusing on the negative noise.

I find grace even in the quiet when the ringing is its loudest. I can sense God’s presence with me, quieting my frustration. In those moments I feel loved in my brokenness.

And I find grace in the way I am able to hear the stories of others who carry with them a constant reminder of their frailty. No, I do not know exactly how it feels to carry what they carry. However, I can feel the echo of it and I can sympathize with the struggle to accommodate to the things we can’t change. We can hold the noise together.

I guess if we’re fortunate to live long enough we all get scars that require a certain reorientation. Whether they be physical or emotional or both we are, at once, frail and resilient as created beings. Whatever it is that hurts us comes to us as an uninvited interruption to the notion we are invincible. What I’m considering today is maybe this is the whole point. The actual distraction to clear is the false notion we are invincible. Maybe this is the path to embracing our full humanity.

Christ had a thorn as well. His was love. It was always with him and nothing could drown it out. Not the temptation of power. Not hatred. Not indifference. Not persecution. This thorn of love cost him everything. Even his life. He carried this love all the way to the cross. And, today, this beautiful, loud, and tenacious Love lives on.

I hope Dolores heard the soothing comfort of  Love as she walked through life avoiding the cries of her grief. I trust completely she feels the sound of its peace now.

This Love lives on in you. In me. In us. In the midst of the noise, pain, and distraction it is calling us to its melody of joy. Shhh…can you hear it?
Something to chew on….

Painted in Waterlogue

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Posted in Christ, community, connection, Faith, grief, Lessons Learned, Life, life and death, life purpose, Spirituality, Uncategorized, wholeness; | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

soil…ash wednesday offering

We are body of soil.
Soil, body in potential.
Christ, completion of soil.
Ground of being incarnate.

Soil fully embodied. Soil fully divine.

To nurture soil is
to thank history, our elder.
to nurture future, our child.
to love neighbor, our now.

Holiness of life. What is.

To neglect or abuse soil is
to deny one’s life
to deny one’s purpose
to deny what is holy.

Partners in creation.

Embrace the sacredness of soil.
For it is God breathed.
From it your life has come.
And will one day return again.

Eternity now. Forever present.

Death comes, a returning to soil.
Embrace the beauty of grief.
It is the labor pain of new life.
Seed’s death, fruit’s birth.
Resurrection life breaks open!

Something to chew on…

Painted in Waterlogue

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unattended

Twenty five years ago today my mother died just three days before her 66th birthday. She had been in a coma for thirteen days after suffering a major stroke in the brain stem. She died immersed in love, with her husband, her two daughters, and her only sister at her bedside.

I was thirty seven at the time. My daughter was twelve. I wasn’t ready. But, that is the way of life isn’t it. Death comes as the ultimate party crasher, changing the landscape of the heart forever.

As I sit here this morning, remembering that morning so long ago, I remember feeling the presence of God so strongly. No one would ever be able to convince me that I did not see her spirit rise as she took her last breath. There was such a peace. Such a release. And, in the days to come there was such a fatigue. The likes of which I had never experienced before.

I never heard much about the grieving process at that time. The way it affects you physically. It’s true though. I remember when a friend of mine lost her son. We were talking one night a couple of weeks later and she held her hand on her stomach and told me it hurt. That she just wished the pain in her gut would go away. Grief is a forceful reminder our body of soil and our heart of spirit are one, try as we might to separate them from one another.

My mother experienced joy in her life, but she also experienced grief. Long before I was born she endured what had to be excruciating. At full term pregnancy she gave birth to a baby boy who was stillborn. This was a long time ago and they didn’t have the same medical knowledge that is available now. Although these tragedies still happen today. To make things worse, there was a callousness, probably out of ignorance I suppose, at work against her. She was put in the room with another patient. A mother who had given birth to a healthy baby. When my mother awoke to the sound of a crying infant and asked if the baby were hers she was told no and informed her baby had died. It’s chilling to think of this even today.

I don’t think my mother ever fully recovered from her loss. At that time there was no one to guide her through. To tell her she must attend to her grief. To even acknowledge that her loss was worthy of grief. She went on to have several more failed pregnancies before having me. She almost miscarried me but by that time there was a medication given to prevent the miscarry from going forth. It did its job so well I was a month overdue when I was born. Which I think justifies my tendency to run a little late. I couldn’t replace the baby boy she lost, but I was loved. And spoiled.

My mother tried hard to move on. She kept an immaculate house. Was an excellent cook. Gifted decorator. Exquisite seamstress. Voracious reader. Winning card player. Agile dancer. Impeccable dresser. And, she could stretch a dollar further than anyone, balancing her checkbook to the penny ever month. As I write this I realize I haven’t balanced a check book in so long I can’t remember. Who needs a checkbook when you can look online in an instant. Things have changed a lot in twenty five years.

My mother was the smartest woman I’ve ever known. And, she loved my dad, sister, and me with everything she had.

Yes, for all practical purposes, it would appear that she moved on in life just fine. But the truth is her body paid the price for her heartbreak. For as long as I could remember she struggled with one illness or body pain after another. Frequently there would be a worried hush over the family that this time it was something serious. Something deadly. She had surgery after surgery as one thing or another failed her, and I couldn’t count the times she was hospitalized. When I was in junior high and high school she developed migraines and they plagued her for ten years. My sister thought it was her. I thought it was me. Maybe it was hormones. Thinking back, I think it was her broken heart screaming for attention.

Eventually she succumbed to high blood pressure. One can only deny grief for so long before it explodes. It gives me great comfort to imagine the baby boy she lost so many years before greeting her as we said our goodby. I’m convinced that’s why her death felt like such a peaceful passing. Such a sweet and final healing.

Grief. A necessary, yet difficult part of life. An intrusion that demands its due. I think I’lll spend some time today tending to mine.

Something to chew on….

Painted in Waterlogue

 

 

Posted in connection, family, grief, healing, Lessons Learned, life and death, mothers and daughters, peace, Uncategorized, wholeness; | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

pass the salt, please

For as long as I can remember I have had a strong craving for salt. As a child I would put it on bizarre things. Like apple pie. And dill pickles (as if they aren’t already salty enough!). Strangely, my mother wasn’t ever too concerned about it. She said she thought there must be something in my body that needed salt. Clearly she was not a twenty first century mom. Though, I’m thinking today, her intuition was probably correct.

My love affair with salt took all kinds of silly forms. Like collecting salt and pepper shakers. I have some doozies. I don’t display many of them anymore because, well, it’s almost politically incorrect to use salt. Unless it is one of those expensive fancy sea salts carried at cooking boutiques. Have you noticed? Salt has a pretty bad rap these days. There’s a restaurant I love to go to when I am in Houston but every time I have to ask for salt and, honestly, I feel shamed by the way they bring this little sprinkle of salt in a dish to me. Just bring me the dam salt shaker already! It may have been my imagination but, I’m pretty sure the server raised an eyebrow toward me the last time.

There’s a scripture in Matthew where Jesus reminds his hearers, you and me, about being the salt of the earth. He says if a salt loses its saltiness it is no longer flavorful. It doesn’t live up to its purpose. Here’s the thing. From what I can tell salt can’t lose it’s saltiness. It’s a part of what it is…salty. What in the world? Jesus was not one to deal in alternative facts so, what could he have possibly meant?

I did a little digging into salt. And, here’s what’s shaking. In ancient days salt was extremely valuable, even a currency of sorts. Sometimes salt was paid in exchange for slaves. Ever heard that saying, “not worth his weight in salt”? Well, now you know where that came from? And like me, you’ll probably never want to use the phrase again. If you are even old enough to have heard it in the first place!

Salt was valuable for its cleansing, preserving/ healing, and flavoring properties. I tried it on a pan in which I had cooked, well, overcooked an egg. And it worked! Sort of. I mixed it with some coconut oil and used it as a body scrub. I was smooth as silk and smelled like a tiki bar.

I remember whenever I had a sore throat as a child my dad would have me gargle salt water. And, as far as I can remember, my throat did feel better. Ever get in the water at the beach with a cut? Ouch. Painful healing at work.

And, I’ve already attested to how highly I regard the flavor of salt! When the time comes (Oh Lord, no!) for me to go to the nursing home I will want two things smuggled in to me. Salt. And, a glass of wine every now and then.

So, I’m wrestling with this notion of being salt, not just a salty attitude, but actually being salt.

When I think of people who I have considered being the salt of the earth (there’s another one of those old sayings) I think of someone who is authentic, transparent, and well, you know, what you see is what you get. Those kind of people who seem to welcome everyone into their presence. Like a big hug. I like those people. Their being comfortable in their own skin gives me permission to do the same.

Could that be what Jesus is saying? Be who you are? If I’m simply…myself…will that be enough? Enough to bring something clean and refreshing into the dirty callousness of the world? Will it be enough to bring a healing light in to the darkness of another? Is who I am enough? To add even a little flavor into my community?

It’s hard because there is a system in place that says BE MORE. Get more. Have more. Do more. There’s a system in place that communicates being something as simple and common as salt, as who we are, is not enough.

Could it be that this more message of the system is the actual falsehood? Maybe the truth is really that simple? And, that difficult.

It seems almost impossible that just being oneself could be enough. And yet, every time, every time I have tried to be someone, something else it all falls flat. Even, loses flavor. Have you ever noticed that?

Jesus knew he would be sending his disciples, his peeps, out into a world that would insist on more. He had spent time, energy, and love in reminding them who they were and teaching them the message of love he had entrusted to them. They were God breathed vessels of grace. Perhaps his message to them still holds its flavor for us today. Be you. Regardless of color, creed, and all of the other distinctions we set up for ourselves. Be the God breathed person you were created to be. A vessel of love. A vessel of grace. Because there is something in the body of humanity that needs who you are, who you were created to be. Each one of us. Essential. Be you. Be you. Be you.

Something to chew on…..

Painted in Waterlogue

Posted in breathing, Christ, connection, Lessons Learned, Life, life purpose, paris, Spirituality, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

dispelling fear

A little over a year ago I officiated the wedding of a young couple. They have been together a long time and came to this decision to get married intentionally and unhurried. (Unlike Tom and I who were 21, barely formed embryos!) The bride was raised as a Christian protestant and the groom’s family heritage is Persian, Islamic. The couple is not particularly religious but wanted to get married by a Christian pastor and to honor both of their family heritages. When we met to discuss the service they told me his family wanted his uncle wanted to do a traditional Persian blessing and they thought maybe it could happen as an add on after the Christian service. The more we talked the more I realized the golden opportunity we’d been given. This needed to be one wedding service in which both cultures and faith traditions could be recognized, honored, and celebrated. I really sensed this was important but I wasn’t sure how it was all going to work. Walking in to the rehearsal the day before the wedding I worried how this would go. Would the uncle and groom’s parents resent a Christian woman officiating the service? Would the bride’s family think the way I handled the service be Christian ENOUGH? How would the pieces fit together in a way that would honor the love these two felt for each other, their families, and the diverse heritage they brought to the marriage?

Grace, like cream, rose to the top. A joyful partnership developed as we all prepared the service together and, in doing so, all present had an opportunity to experience love of God and love of neighbor. The venue was lit with beautiful candles. During the wedding ceremony passages from the Bible were read. Passages from the Koran were read. Christian prayers were offered. As the Persian blessing was offered, the couple sat at a table set exquisitely with candles, fruit, and sweets. Each faith tradition was celebrated with integrity and each was respected by the other. It was a little chaotic in places, maybe even a little awkward in moments as eyes and hearts were opened to the rhythms of each other’s traditions. And, Love was present. Peace was present. God, the Divine, was present. From the response of many there, I surmised it was a welcome moment of connection at a time in history when there is so much disconnect. A respite from the all too often violent polarization of the world. Connection in our joy for these two as they pledged their lives in love to one another.

In recent days I have watched in sadness the result of fear of the “other” in the world and the negative impact it has on us all. My hunch is we all participate in it in one way or another. Recent actions and events force me to look in the mirror. I am confronted with my own wall building fear of the “other”. I fear the “other” because I don’t want to be hurt, to lose, or to be outsmarted. I want to be safe. And I want these things for my family. I suspect the “other” fears me for the same reason. And, tragically, increasingly we are being conditioned to fear each “other”. Instilling fear of the “other” is a powerful tool of oppression. The “other” way of thinking. The “other” way of believing. The “other” way of seeing and living in the world. What better way to weaken us than to divide us by our fears. Whether that be with physical walls and bans, or with ideological constraints and the silencing of voices, the results are devastating to our shared humanity.

I know, in my heart, there must be a better way than following fear. I remember back in the 1980’s (I’m an old old dog!) there was a woman in an aerobic class I taught who practiced Islam. (Did I, by admitting to wearing leg warmers for a living, just lose whatever little credibility I had with you?) We struck up a friendship based on something we saw in each other that was appealing in our shared humanity. Maybe it was our common desire to be fit, or love of 80’s music. Whatever it was, we intentionally moved closer to the “other”. We talked about the difference in the names we used for the Divine, but in a way that sought connection not division. I’m not sure why she came to mind today but I guess it is God’s way of reminding me that curing the fear of the “other” begins with intention.

These fear induced and pride filled divisions in the world are complicated and I know there are no quick solutions. And yet, as a living breathing creation of God, breathing the same air with all “other” creations of God, I believe it will take each of us and all of us setting our intention and moving beyond our fears and angers, not being ruled by them, to establish any kind of lasting connection in the world. I guess many would disagree with me but I saw sprouts of this in the women’s march and in the presence at airports. Yes, there were angry speeches and ugly signs. And yet, in spite of hate, I saw the fragility of the collective human spirit taking beautifully awkward steps of love toward and on behalf of the “other”, an awakening of sorts.

Regardless of our differences, many as they may be, we already have the common ground set before us. We are all human, created in God’s image, given breath and purpose for connection. We all have the capacity for fear and hatred. We all have the capacity for pride and stubbornness. We all have the capacity for remorse and forgiveness. We all have the capacity for courage and love. And, we were all created by Hope. Hope that we would find a way to love one an-“other”.

Something to chew on….

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Posted in Christianity, community, connection, country, current events, life purpose, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

to live resilience

Well, good morning! It’s been three months since I have written a post. Some blogger I am, huh. A lot has happened in three months hasn’t it. Our world has changed. Some think for the better. I wish I could agree. I grieved the presidential election in a way that was shocking to me. Don’t worry. This won’t be a political post. Although, I guess most things are received politically these days.

The holidays were different this year. For the first time in over twenty years I did not host Thanksgiving. My daughter and her husband did. It was lovely and fun and felt in many ways like a rite of passage. A little sense of loss of position (and control), and a whole lot of joy and thanksgiving for the amazing hostess my daughter and her husband have become. This was the perfect year for the handoff. Oh, I still helped with the turkey and still made the dressing. I’m not ready to give up all control yet!

Christmas was different too. The first time in twenty-five years I wasn’t with my sister. She was at home with her family and I was at home with mine. Again, it felt right. Right and sad and perfect. We enjoyed a morning of chaos and fun, watching our granddaughters open their presents. Squeals and delight, and the usual overwhelmed hyperactivity we are all vulnerable to when we receive too much at once. We enjoyed a lazy day and then gathered for an evening meal at our house. Again, a change because for the first time in about thirty years we did not eat at our dining table. I didn’t even get out the Christmas dishes! We didn’t go as far as paper plates but it was kind of fun to be casual and relaxed.

Being relaxed turned out to be a good state to be in because as we were finishing up dinner the phone rang with news of my favorite aunt’s death. We’d been expecting it for a while but the news hit hard just the same. It’s odd, the impact of finality. Christmas, the time of celebrating birth, just didn’t seem like the time for anyone to die. Even someone who had lived a long and rewarding life as my aunt had. Ninety-five years had been her portion. And only the last couple of years had been confining. But Christmas?

The next morning we made the trek to west Texas to be with family, to unite in our mourning, and give thanks for her life. My aunt was an amazing woman. She had been given the gift of resilience. Coming of age during the time of WWII she married a handsome pilot only to be left behind a few years later, with a three year old daughter and and baby boy in arms. She was a working single mother and set in her resolve to provide for her children. I never saw a thread of bitterness in her. Rather, she developed a deep joy for life, people, and travel.

My aunt, Patti, took me on a cruise for graduation from high school. What a gift! We traveled the Caribbean for a week stopping in ports I had only imagined before. She made friends easily as there was a beautiful openness about her that was hard to resist. I, at that time, was evidently not so much fun. I was much more of a worrier back then than I am now (recovering!) and at one point in the week one of our table mates looked at me and said, “You’re cute, but you’re a pain in the ass.” My aunt endured me. She chose joy.

My aunt, Patti, adored her grandchildren and as the years went by she became Nana to all in her community. I was beginning to tell you how many people were at her funeral but with the recent ridiculous focus on crowd size I, thankfully, stopped myself. You are welcome.

The church was decorated for Christmas. None of the flowers had been brought from the funeral home. Her casket was there amidst the beauty of the trees and greenery and candles. As I sat there I realized that her dying on Christmas was absolutely perfect. She had been born on the fifth of July and her birthday had always been an extension of the holiday celebration of the 4th of July. How fitting it was that her life would have holidays as bookends, for I never knew anyone that celebrated life the way she did. No matter what the difficulties, she chose joy.

I heard somewhere that the beauty and fragility of life are inseparable. This is truth. This is gospel. Maybe the most misunderstood gift of the cross is the gift of resiliency. Hmmmm…something to chew on…

Painted in Waterlogue

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a citizen’s confession

Chewing the Cud was created to be an outlet to process things that are happening in life and faith in such a way it might connect with others and, in the process, bring encouragement to us both. Having said that, I’m having trouble figuring out how to process my experience of the presidential campaign.

I’ve watched the debates and the debates digested. I’ve watched the news accounts of the latest mudslinging between camps. I’ve read so many posts, articles, rants, and tirades that I’m weary of the whole thing. And, I’ve expressed my opinions verbally to family and friends, and, no doubt, been wearisome in the process. This usually happens while drinking wine on my front porch when I am at my wisest. I would love to blame it on Trump (oh, would I love to blame it all on Trump!), Hillary, the broken governmental system, the crazy ratings and profit hungry media, our good for nothing back sliding culture, or even the devil.

I would love to find somewhere to project the blame for the way I feel. But, the question arises in my heart…what part am I playing in this dis-eased state in which I now find myself?

I went back and listened to President John Kennedy’s speech in which he exhorted the citizens of this country to …..not ask what this country could do for us, but rather ask what we can do for our country. He then expanded his exhortation to a global vision.

He told the world not to ask what America could do for the world, but ask what we all could do together to better the world for humankind. He called us to service. He called us to work for the greater good in connection with one another. Which is the same thing Christians are called to do. Which is the action of loving God and loving neighbor.

In that speech he also talked about the course he wanted to set in his presidency in which all kinds of good things would happen for humanity. Things that would oppose the tyranny of oppression, poverty, disease, and war itself. He stated clearly that this would not be something that would be accomplished quickly or, eerily, even in his own lifetime. His speech was full of all of the idealism of any political leader fresh to his or her position.

I’m guessing each new president approaches the office with enthusiasm, hope, determination, and usually darker hair than when their term is over.

What strikes me now about his speech is that it was a call to service and an invitation to be a partaker in something good and honorable, humanity joining together to bring about hope and life to all. His speech was nothing like what I’ve heard from either or our two major presidential candidates thus far. What the heck.

Could there be something to dig into here that would help me make sense, even if it’s just a little, of what is going on now? I’m trying desperately to find meaning in the current chaos of disgusting-ness.

According to the online dictionary a consumer is “someone who purchases goods and services for personal use”. And another, “a person or thing that eats or uses something.” According to the online free dictionary a partaker is “someone who has or gives or receives a part or a share. sharer. participant – someone who takes part in an activity.” (you can google it, I did)

There is something key here. We are called as citizens of our country, world, and as people of faith to be partakers. Participants. Giving and receiving. Sharing. There is an understood interdependence and connectedness in partaking. Giving and receiving require a certain level of openness. Vulnerability. Hospitality. Generosity. Compassion. Even selflessness. And the root of all partaking is gratitude. When I’m grateful I’m not clutching. When I’m grateful I’m aware my plenty is there to share.

When I think of partaking I am reminded of the holy reverence I feel when going forward every Sunday at the Episcopal church my family attends and receiving communion and making way for people beside me to share.

I don’t see the same thing in consumerism. Looks to me like consumerism is all about me. What I want. What I can pay for. I don’t see any connectedness in that. It’s transactional. It’s one directional. It’s about using, not sharing. It’s about buying not giving or receiving. Perhaps the root of consuming is a feeling of entitlement. I want what I want when I want it. I’ve worked hard and I deserve this.

When I think of consuming I think of Black Friday. Which in many stores now starts on Thursday. Thanksgiving Thursday. What a perfect example of consumerism invading partaking when I consider cutting Thanksgiving dinner short in order to go stand in line for the big sale, where I will get the most of what I want for the least amount from me. Maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe there really is some great family time standing in line!

I learned recently that up until the 1980’s there were intentional regulations in place by the FCC to ensure that the news would be reported as factually and fair and impartial as possible. There was even a fairness doctrine in place in the 1940’s for a short time that banned all editorializing in the news. Ha!! Can you imagine?

It’s not hard to see what happened once the news was deregulated. I find it nearly impossible to get anything other than editorials. What was put in place to protect from the temptation and practice to only give one viewpoint gave way to just that. The same events are reported but are done so from different, and even polarizing perspectives. So, if I am ultra conservative I can tune in to one station that will affirm and confirm my already set in stone viewpoint on any given subject or person. And, if I am a lefty liberal I simply tune in to a different station.

Consumerism at its fullest! Confirmation of my opinion. So, not only at Burger King can I have it my way but I can have my news the way I want it as well.
And I really can’t blame the media because they are simply selling what they know I am looking to buy.

Even as I write this I am convicted that perhaps the anxiety I am experiencing at this election is my unwillingness to look into the mirror at my own need for repentance. If I’m unhappy about the state of affairs why I am not doing something to change it?

I can’t do anything to stop the war in Syria. And, I can’t do anything to stop the madness in the presidential campaign. Although, maybe, just maybe I can pay more attention to the choices I make each and every day.

Even the seemingly insignificant choices determine whether I will consume or partake. I need to have the courage to discern if I am appreciating and savoring what I have received and if I am sharing and contributing to the greater good, to loving my neighbor.  Or, am I simply eating and using? Am I participating?

I’m going to turn off the damn news, no longer buying the anxiety feed it is selling me, and give this a try. (This will no doubt be a process!) Who knows, maybe if enough of us do this it will make a difference.

Politics is meant to be about the way we live together. It’s time to take responsibility instead of expecting the professionals to sell us what we want. Wouldn’t it be something if the course that John Kennedy talked about. The course of stopping oppression, hunger, disease, and war itself. Could happen. Wouldn’t it be something if, together, we had the courage to consider….not what can be done for us…and, rather….what we can do for our neighbor.

Wouldn’t it be something if we quit worrying about what Donald or Hillary will do for us and started participating in what we can actually do right at this moment and right where we are. Together. Lord knows what might happen! May it be on earth as it is in heaven.
Something to chew on….

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Posted in boomers, community, connection, country, current events, Faith, fear, Lessons Learned, life and death, life purpose, peace, people, Uncategorized, world peace | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments