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bible

I spent a lot of time in the bible growing up.  I’ve read a lot of it, but I don’t think I can say all of it.  It was a constant companion as a teenager in high school and a bit of college.  

My Mom has a degree in theology and studied early translations of the bible, first translations.  She started in me, not questions of doubt, but question of context.  Context of time and place.

I started reading more.  I’m not a good reader, so that’s always a challenge, but I read all I could.  Concepts, philosophies and world religions. 

Then second round of college.  Philosophy of Religion, Religions of the World, exploring beliefs around the world. Hindu Upanishads, Daoism, Sufism, Buddhism, Merton, Thomas, Jung, The Tao of Pooh… For me the definition of religion is maybe a bit abstract. For me this also includes, ethics and morality.

Those two concepts, ethics and morality I have more issue with today that straight up religion. What I see today as acceptable ethics and morality are far from my understanding of either concept. Yet, it feels those have been replaced, even dismissed for one thing.

I felt myself moving away from the bible.  The more I read of other religions, the more judgmental christianity and the bible felt. Others too sometimes, I feel that is wrong. Then I discovered something. Humans are judgmental regardless of what they have been taught or read. And yes, I will acknowledge this is a judgement. That said, I’ll say it feels different that what I see and hear.

I was feeling that what carried me through my youth was actually counter to what I thought I had been taught.  What I had actually read. The actual teachings of Jesus.

Through that format “Facebook” I was seeing and reading the thoughts of many that I thought were on the same page as me when it came to what we should do with and for others. But I was reading the opposite of what I thought from those, some of which I spent not just time with in groups in high school but sat next to in the pew, Sunday School classroom and weekend retreats. Their new philosophy was diametrically opposed to where I was and it, well it was shattering. Don’t spend a great deal of time now on that format. Honestly, it’s heartbreaking.

Humans are judgmental. Most can’t avoid it, can’t escape it. What I see and read recently, over the last few years is angry judgement. Anger that is so extreme, so directed, so specific. That anger is what I fear.

“Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.” ~Khalil Gibran

Religion is a belief in worship of a superhuman.  Religion is a system.  Religion is a concept, an idea, that creates difference, divide and inequality.  And interpretation today is just as troubling as early translations.  

What if it is all fiction?  All of it?

It’s words that for the most part, none of us know who wrote the words or truly know why they were written.  You really don’t know me, really and you probably don’t know why I am writing this.  What prompted these words out of me?

Religion does nothing for us. Maybe it’s done something for you, but what about us? All of us? Well, as I see it right now, nothing good.  It pulls us apart.  Creates false equivalents to non-realities and gives some weak ground to stand on to support their ideas they want pushed onto others.  Often ideas based on nothing real and lack the effort to understand beyond the surface what it as stake. And in my opinion, nothing scarier then an angry Christian, (oxymoron).

Religion causes wars.  Religion right now has us calling each other names and making accusations based on information not based on facts. Some are assuming the worst when for the most part truly only the best of intentions are meant. But it somehow doesn’t fit into their box, their way. Some of us, a few of us have decided they are the ones to decided what is right for all the rest.  And some basing thoughts and ideas on what one person is saying, (Jim Jones?).

One side is so afraid of fear that they can’t think past that.  Their hearts are closed and even hardened.  Eyes closed, arms crossed and pass on harm, even trauma human to human. So much for, ‘all gods children’.

What are you afraid of?  The unknown I guess can be scary, but the unknown you fear now is craftily hidden in lies and the perpetuation of non truths by lost fearful people. (another judgment, yes)

We lack confidence that people are good and know what is best for them and lack imagination or an interest to seek truth.

The bible, some read it cover to cover.  Some read the words.  Some like my Mom, go deeper.  Context.  Who was it written for and why?  What was happening that needed to be addressed all those many years ago?

It’s not even a complete document.  Who chose the books and why?  Why not the others, the Apocrypha?  Why were those left out?  The last book, why is it last?  Did it almost not make it in?  What, who and why is it in the order that it is?  What was the intention of those people?  

Fear is blinding.  Fear is not productive it will end us all.  One by one, restriction by restriction.  It will keep us in fear of a fear that is not a reality, but again just a lie that one needs to keep their ego feed and their place in a world that they were lost.  

Who benefits from the sale of bibles?

Bible for sale, gently used.

-I am afraid that through others fears I will somehow be relegated  to a confinement or restrictions based on my beliefs, not my actions, but my beliefs.  I fear this for everyone, family, friends and those now pushing their beliefs on me. That laws will without provocation be passed that will have restriction and disenfranchise many like we have never seen before.  Don’t we have enough of that already with our history? And within those restrictions, those who feel they have a religion to back up their law, I feel will one day be surprised at the laws that follow that will restrict their own life.

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To my aging friends with kids

This is one of those, not so fun topics.  However, I’m not having any fun, so here we go.

If you are my age or older, even before actually, 50’s, 60’s and I’d say no later than 70’s.  Please consider this.

Sit down very soon with your kids and have the conversation about what happens when the body and the mind start to fail. And this can be a two way conversation. It can happen to the kids too.

Have a will, a Power of Attorney and be sure that the POA and all of your financial holdings play nice together.  Actually, I’m not sure that’s really possible. Anyway, this means you may need to update them on a regular basis. How does the POA work when all of a sudden you are incapacitated or worse, you and your “agent” mirror declining cognition and your alternate has to pay the bills or make decisions.

And, don’t forget the Health Care Directive. (I guess those are still honored? (Unless SCOTUS finishes their path of personal destruction of individual freedoms).

If you or your partner get a diagnosis of any thing closely resembling Dementia, or any cognitive issue, start right then and there to find a place that can care for you until end of life.  House or apartment, to assisted living, to nursing home, to memory care, etc.  AND MOVE!  And do it within a year. Do not wait.

Know and recognize that the pace of Dementia is not up to you.  You have no control over how quickly you or your partner will no longer know simple things like, how to use a phone, address, what day it is, where they are or how long an hour is.

Make these decision together and before they have to be done alone, by the kid or someone else for you. And DO NOT AVOID it! Live in reality. And if you live to be 120 and have no issues, you’ll still have a place to live and do whatever the hell you want when you want to do it!

While this is me saying this, and I know there are lots of thoughts about this, there is no shame in admitting the inevitable.  When you sleep, eat, watch TV, sleep again, what does it matter where you do that? If you travel, well you can travel from anywhere! For me the shame and guilt is what I had to do in May. 

My parents 10 years ago did make a decision to move to a house in a community that essentially has several levels of service, homes to end of life care.  What they didn’t do was make the last decision for themselves while they could have.  I will say, not that I didn’t try to make that happen.  One thinking the other was worse off, when all along they were declining just as quickly together.  They may be smart, or clever, but the brain is unforgiving.  Be direct and ask tough questions. Especially if you aren’t there in person to see or watch what is happening. The brain is in charge and will take its course as it chooses. No shame, no guilt, just what it wants to do.

If you don’t do this, then prepare the kids(or yourself) for days, weeks and potentially months of guilt and being talked to like they are a scammer or a criminal when they are just tying to take care of you and get what is rightfully due you that can be verified by the facility they are in or the doctor you’ve provided to them to verify.  Or worse yet, not being able to find a nice, clean place to care for you. I’m calling this, prancing through the dog and pony show…biting my tongue all the way. Hoop after hoop after hoop.

Be careful how you handle bank accounts, retirement accounts. Any action there, depending on how you are listed on an account, they say, will be perceived as a gift it you try to do things, like request a live check to be direct deposited. That would look like a gift…cause it’s all a huge f*cking gift!

I know some will say, I got this.  It’s all under control.  I’m going to say, no it’s not.  No you won’t. Take care of it yourself and your kids when you can, NOW.

There is nothing that I know that prepares you for or helps you through any of this. To my knowledge, there is no one source that you can go to who can offer you, step, 1,2,3,4,5… And I have to say why not?

Where my parents are is okay. I am sure there are nicer places and certainly worse. But my question, why do they not have an advocate there who could help me through each step? Have a list of resources to point me in the right direction to ensure they have everything they need and deserve. I signed a lot of papers, but none of it was, now here are the things you will need or want to do, this insurance, this form, that form, this agency, this legal aspect, how this bill gets paid, how this claim gets filed. I am flying blind and further, deeper into a space that makes me just want to turn it all off and run away.

Yes, there is Elder Law. I’m now on that path, but they don’t cover it all. It’s not inclusive. That I can tell.

Be kind to yourself and to those who will have to take care of things for you.

P.S. beware of the address change via USPS. Somehow…I do not know how yet, but those non-profit, bulk mailings that are received, the ones that come with the labels, note pads, dollars, magnets, stickers and calendars, they somehow get the new address from somewhere and will now be sending your kids or who ever is getting your first class mail ALL of that! Not forwarded, sent directly to them and your address!

Three days of mail. THREE!! All non-profit asking for money. Thanks Mom…

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lost holiday

I ended my last post with a quote;

“Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”

~ Bryan Stevenson

When it happens to you, you do look at it differently.  Certainly when it happens to someone close who you love.  When what happens is done by someone you  love, you still look at it differently.  I think you discover who you truly are in that reality.  Maybe even who you have been all along and then wonder, why wasn’t I vocal about this earlier.  Not just because it’s there in front of you now, but maybe because it doesn’t actually do what it is supposed to do, justice.  While not exactly, but kind of like what is said in the face of of the tragedy or sadness, why did “this” have to happen to bring us together, why did we wait? Then the question, does it really bring you together?

Regardless of what it was or is, there are layers.  There are parts that not everyone knows about.  Or may ever know about. There are parts that because of how we let others tell the story based on others stories, the story our story is rarely told in truth and often lost because it’s something no one wants to touch.  Or because of the story, told as is potentially while true, again isn’t the whole story and creates a shadow.  A shadow that without further analysis, is extreme.

This is the weekend our lives changed.   Easter weekend.  Easter used to mean something when I was a kid.  I think?   Now,  it’s an  annual  reminder of an arrest.   A shift in our fabric, in our comfort.  A shift that still years later,  has no real resolution.  No real answers except the judgement of one man of another who decided that 360 months was the answer.  No help, no therapy, no rehabilitation, 360 months.

Some will say it is just.  Some, maybe me, think it extreme.   I will fully admit that is based on what I know, who I know and not the whole story.  The whole truth.  Yet I still believe that it is extreme.  Incarceration, more often that not doesn’t solve what the real issue or trouble is that lies within.  It feels the easy way out, lazy.  Quick answer, done, next.

~~

Why do we avoid conversation or the person with an indiscretion?  Or those close to that person? Is it fear?  Guilt?  Thinking, am I like them?  Guilt by association? Not knowing what to say?  Believe me, I don’t know what to say either. The impact of silence and isolation pile on to an already enormous mountain of fear, question and guilt in itself. And the silence is … can’t find the words yet to describe.

It is an enormous loss. 

The impact is enormous on everyone on all sides. 

Three hundred and sixty. 

Thirty years.

Thirty. 

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i can’t

In an effort to try to understand the other side, well the saying goes,

I can’t. (sorry Grandma)

I’ve decided that life is too short and hard enough as it is, so I will respect others and stop trying to figure it(them) out.  I have plenty on my plate.  

I will not devalue or do anything to disenfranchise another human in anyway in word or deed.  

I will not impose or proclaim my beliefs of truth, equality and fairness on adversaries.

I will live true to that which I have held in high regard for years as core values, love, compassion, acceptance, tolerance and inclusion.

I will acknowledge that those values I hold true are and will to me feel diametrically opposed to some I know or thought I knew.  Them to mine.

I will acknowledge and honor that every single one of us has within us basic goodness. Even within the greatest of division.

I will live on the side of love, compassion, acceptance, tolerance and inclusion. 

“May you be safe. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you live with ease”.

“Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”
~ Bryan Stevenson