Category: Philosophy

We are the same, MacLeod. We are brothers!

In the movie The Highlander, Ramirez tells MacLeod, ” You are safe only on Holy Ground. None of us will violate that law.” And law it has been, since the beginning of time. This is why you see those heartwarming news photos of Christians forming prayer circles around Muslim meetings, etc. Men and women from all over the globe, especially here in the U.S., have fought with their hearts and lives so that we as human beings can worship/meditate/truth as we are called to. As we need to. Yes, there are laws on the books reflecting this, but it has traditionally been a law of the heart. Of conscience. Of humanity. From what i know of such things, the law remains. It’s our heart, conscience, and humanity that have disappeared.

Nine people murdered. A staggering tragedy in just those three words. Add in the fact that those people were all members of a single race, and the perpetrator a member of a different race. It has become a “Hate Crime”. (By the way, i despise that term, “Hate Crime”. Murder of any kind is a hate crime, isn’t it? It’s not like we murder people for other reasons.)

Next, add in the perpetrator’s age. 21 years old. Barely an adult. And in the footage of him being escorted to a police vehicle, he is smiling. SMILING. He had made the comment in the church that he was doing what he had to do… But his smile seems more apropos to someone who wanted to make himself bigger britches. There are people who will blame this on gun laws and the fact that he owned one. Nonsense. There are thousands of gun owners in Charleston, many just as young as he, and none of them are orchestrating such horror. The violence wasn’t in the gun. It is in his head. The man is sick. And no, that is not an excuse. Just an observation of an adult male, raised and educated in the Land of Opportunity, who takes actions without heart or moral compass.

Now add in the setting. The man, and i use that term loosely, sat with these people, prayed with these people, in a church. Holy ground. The place where we are all supposed to be safe. All throughout history of mankind, churches (and synagogues, and mosques, and temples) have been places of peace. It is where the hungry go to be fed, the homeless go to be sheltered, the broken-hearted go to be healed. Communing with God/Goddess/Universe should be a time when there is no need to watch the door for crazed gunmen. Or, as i read in an article today, “There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture,” (Cornell William Brooks) No greater coward, and no greater violation.

The icing on this accursed cake is the fact that this isn’t the first time a black church has been violated. During the dark periods of our nation’s history, it was “logical” for white supremacists to burn down a black church. If you want to kill black people, go to where they gather without weapons. Machiavelli and Hitler would be proud. The rest of us? We are stabbed straight thru the heart.

Because the rest of us, the bulk of us, anyway, still have a soul. I’m not black. I’m not a Christian. And i’m not from Charleston. But my soul aches for those families. To be honest, i ache for our nation as a whole. Each era has the weak masses, following the indictable leaders like imprinted offspring, abusing the undesirables of the day. Over time, it has gotten easier to stand against the tide of mistreatment and speak up for our assorted neighbors. But one would have hoped that, after all this time, there wouldn’t be a need.

I believe in existential evolution. That, in theory, as our physical selves evolve, so do our minds and spirits. In the face of the Charleston massacre, and the litany of other heartless rampages that have plagued us as a nation, it is difficult to maintain this belief. The overwhelmingly vast majority of people in my life, whether i share their general code of ethics or not, are good people. Honorably intentioned. Truly human. Truly humane. But the regular barrage of bloodthirsty savagery that appears in the news makes me wonder if my friends and acquaintances are representative of the general population, or if i have simply surrounded myself with people whose hearts swell like mine. I know of no one who could walk into a church, sit for prayer, and then slaughter the congregation. It’s as if there are Kurgans among us.

Maybe it’s the media, with it’s greedy eye, that alters my growing dark perception. The joyful stories rarely make it to the headlines. It takes evil and gore to own a time slot. Maybe if journalist gurus gave the angels as much due as the devil, our country wouldn’t seem to be on the fast track to hell without even the benefit of a handbasket. The good in our country surely outweighs the bad. The benefactors outnumber the murderers. The smiles outpower the tears. Humanity usually outshines the merciless. Most of the time, the scale tips to the side of love.

If only it didn’t regularly tip the other way.

Sold, Sight Unseen

Having lunch with a good friend today, we got to talking about pen pal relationships. We had them when we were kids. Letters written and sent to friends around the world that we were likely to never meet. Now, as adults, the wonders of the internet bring us a new kind of pen pal. The same sharing of secrets, growing attachment, anticipation of response. And still unlikely to meet. And while it is true that these social media pals can be lying through their teeth and not telling us who they really are, the same could be said of the pen pals of old. Just as we present the self we want so much to be, so do they. Excluding, of course, the criminally insane that we know are out there, but doubt-hope-pray we will never encounter.

In any case, we got to talking about the difference in depth of feeling for someone you have never seen.

There are popular theories about people who, lacking one of their senses, use the others to compensate. Never having been in that position, i don’t know if that is true. But i do believe that the theory applies in sightless relationships.

We can describe how we look to someone, but accuracy is in the eye of the beholder. When i say i have freckles, do you picture a few scattered on my nose and cheeks? Do you see a constellation appearing, or a galaxy present on my back? Or do i have so many that i appear like a Monet painting of a woman? If i tell you i am curvy, do you picture Sophia Loren, Mae West, Queen Latifah, Kathy Najimy? Or do you picture Dame Edna or Ursula the Sea Witch? If i were to describe my voice as “k.d. lang, if she were born in New England but adopted a slight twang from Tennessee”, would you have the slightest idea how i sounded? And heaven only knows if anyone who knows me would find my description accurate.

Having only words to go on forces one to dig deeper. To get to know them more in other ways. Their fears and worries, their joys and delights… These things leave their marks on the face and body and stance. Health habits leave marks on face, body and voice. Their expressions, their choice of words, their accuracy of grammar… All these things add to a visual impression in our mind. Possibly even more so than their actual description of themselves. Somehow, these things seem more concrete than a subjective description.

Perhaps this is why “Blind Dates” are usually such a disappointment: We have no chance to learn these concrete things before we are forced into closeness. We have a subjective description from one who is essentially a salesman. Hardly a source known for its honesty. Combine that with the fact that our first impression is a visual one, nothing of depth or meaning. But humans are animals, after all, and if the pheromones aren’t there, well then, why waste your time, right? But what if those attraction hormones could be synthesized from within? What if we could create physical attraction from deeper connection? Would it be as strong? Would it last as long? Would it be as real?

Assuming that all parties are as honest as they can be, within human psyche limitation, perhaps this is a better way to meet people. To start deep within and work your way out to the skin, the opposite of what usually happens. Without a tainted view based on appearance, we could learn to love the soul of the other, the part of them that continues long after the looks fade. And they could do the same with us. It could be a true, deep, lasting bond that no scar or wrinkle would impact. Stronger than any mastectomy, weight gain, or sexual dysfunction. That very rare partnership that lasts forever, thru everything. The marriage that fairy tales are based on.

Or they could look like Sloth, the monster in The Goonies, and all bets are off.

Judgement Day

I have been described as “non-judgemental” by people who know me. I have always strived to be that way, never wanting to make another feel bad for their preferences or choices or for who they are. I know what it’s like to be under such scrutiny and i would never choose to do it to another. That being said, i found myself horrified last night. Waiting at a stop light, i watched a woman come out of a local burger joint. Close to me in age with the build of a typical southern Little League mom. She had on twill shorts and a Tshirt… Nothing to attract attention. And she was obviously out with her husband and weedlings for a fun Friday evening. But what thoughts ran through my head as i took that quick glance?

I wondered if she knew her rolls and muffin-top were accentuated by that tight Tshirt. I visualized handing her a hair brush. I said a hopeful prayer that someone would send her for a proper bra fitting.

And why? She didn’t appear miserable. In the half-second that i saw her, she appeared to be having a good evening. Her husband and boys didn’t seem to take any notice of those things. So who the hell am i to pass judgement? When it hit me that i was criticizing a woman i don’t know for not meeting some arbitrary standard of mine, as i said, i was horrified. I had become the judgemental person i reprimand.

Thinking over it later, i realized that i do it more often than i would have thought. The rotund girl in the daisy dukes. The insanely busty woman who goes braless. The gal in the Sponge Bob pajama pants at the grocery store. The one who wears the fluorescent orange eye shadow. The sandal-clad broad with hobbit feet. The stranger at the beach who appears to be smuggling a rabbi in her swimsuit. I have shaken my head at every single one of them. How dare i.

It’s not like i haven’t gone out in public, seen pictures later, and wished i could take it back. I have. And there have been times when i didn’t care. I didn’t feel well. I was in a hurry. Or i was in such a good mood that i didn’t notice. I wonder how many people shook their heads at me at those times? I have pictures of me in cutoffs where i think i look happy and beautiful, and pictures of me in elaborate gowns where i look defeated and dumpy. So who is to say which outfit was the better choice?

We say that we should be allowed to dress up or not according to our own taste and comfort. That clothes do not make the woman. That our style should be a reflection of who we are, not what others expect us to be. That we should dress to make ourselves feel good. But we also say that we women should take pride in ourselves. That we should make the most of what we have. That we should dress to impress and to project our best selves. To do all of those things seems like an inherently impossible task. Some of those things are mutually exclusive for most of us. And most of us don’t have just one “self” to project.

There are two women whose style and carriage i admire, but whose approach to appearance is diametrically opposed to each other. One is a very regal black woman. She favors flowing skirts, long jackets, precise makeup, and heels. Her fingers and ears twinkle with baubles and gems. When she enters a room it is impossible not to notice her confidence. She is kind and gracious and all those things that a lady is supposed to be, and you can tell it from the way she clothes herself. I’m not sure i’d recognize her in pajama pants.

The other woman is equally arresting, but for a totally different reason. Generally found in jeans and a casual Tshirt or flannel, devoid of makeup, straight hair sparkling clean but free of adornment. Her only jewelry, the wedding band to her beautiful wife. Her wardrobe is distinct in its non-descriptness. When you meet her, you are struck by her confidence, her comfort in her own skin, and the blue of her eyes that rings clear like the perfect spring sky. If i saw her in a classic shift, i think it would stop my function cold.

Is the former too involved in her appearance? Does she deserve to be criticized for refusing to answer the door without lipstick? Does the latter deserve any disdain for preferring a well-tailored suit and brogues to a chiffon sundress and sling-backs? Of course not. They are both stunningly beautiful, and their choices are perfect reflections of who they are. So why is it when i see a woman with children in hand and a smile on her face, i can’t think the same of her attire? If i took longer than a second to look at her, really LOOK at her, would i accept her choices more readily? Am i criticizing her, in effect, because i don’t know her? Because i can’t justify her choice based on my knowledge of her? How condescending of me.

I may never get to the point where i can accept leggings and a sports bra as clothing for anyone who isn’t immediately pre- or post- run. I may never be able to overlook ripped and filthy clothing on anyone who isn’t involved in laborious work. I think those things are too entwined in my beliefs on self-worth. But i can most certainly train myself not to dog another woman for committing some fake crime of fashion. I can teach myself not to assume that, just because i am not aware of them, there aren’t reasons for her choices. And i can learn to accept the fact that i have no right to pick-apart a woman’s wardrobe like some over-zealous editor of Harper’s Bazaar. Not only can i, but i must. As hard as it is to kill an old habit, it is even harder still to allow myself to be something i revile.

Never Pretty. Always Beautiful

I am not a pretty woman. From what we see and hear in our world, beauty is about a flawless, symmetrical face with a tiny waist, rock-hard bum, perky breasts, long, flowing locks and an age that is never more than 28. I have lines and crags and freckles and scars and dry skin and smooshy parts and a barely-there bum and I have never found a way to defeat gravity. But as depressing as that is, I take comfort in the fact that most women are like me.

Tho we women flog ourselves daily for not being pretty, no one else seems to care. We scrub and scrape and color and cut and spackle and Bond-O and nip and tuck. We squeeze ourselves into shoes that will eventually deform our feet. We inject ourselves with plastics and poisons. We paint ourselves with chemicals known to cause cancer. We pay good money for just the right amount of radiation burn.  We strap ourselves in and suck ourselves up and point ourselves out just right. Every day. All in hopes that someone will notice and think we are pretty. And yet, I’ve never heard a man say that any of these things impresses him enough to call it love.

And really, isn’t that what we are all wanting? The need to feel pretty isn’t about knowing that we are Vogue-worthy, it’s about getting the attention of a love interest. One who is smart and handsome and well-off and well-appointed and romantic and rugged (No small amount of pressure for our menfolk there). But those men aren’t after the young and palpably sexy blonde, so why do we strive to be like her? I don’t deny those women are pleasing to look at. And I don’t deny that I, given the opportunity, wouldn’t want to take one home myself. But is that walking list of beauty editor favorites any more likely to find love than we are?

I have known a few truly pretty people. Men and women both. And none of them is any more successful at love than the rest of us schmoes.  I think, and as I get older, I am really starting to believe that what attracts love is beauty. And, honey, beauty sometimes ain’t pretty.

The ones I know who appear to truly have found the sort of love we all seek won’t be on the cover of Vanity Fair. They have wrinkles and sags and mommy-tummies. They aren’t always decked out in their finest. They burp and sweat and have strange laughs and morning breath and sometimes forget to shave. They dig in the garden, nurse their children, clean the bathroom, scoop the innards out of the turkey. In other words, they are schmoes just like us. But if you look closely, you will see something else. And if for some reason you can’t see it, you can tell that their spouse does.

Ask the spouse and they’ll tell you. It’s in the way she laughs like Cliff Claven on Cheers. It’s the way she yells at the TV when her team makes a great play. It’s the fact that she can fix both the ceiling fan and a standing rib roast. It’s the way she closes her eyes when she eats something decadent. It’s in her intellect, her humor, her goofiness, her character. But, mostly, it’s in her eyes.

As much as the eyes are the window to the soul, they are also the window to love. And tho it would seem logical to compare it to a magnet or a tractor beam, it is really more like the sun. When she glances over at him, sweaty and stinky and covered in grass after playing with the kids on the front lawn, her eyes appear like a sunrise. A glowing beam of warmth and respect and genuine affection. When she glances at him, his evening drink in hand, legs kicked out on the back porch while listening to cicadas and tree frogs, her eyes become like a sunset. Deep and rich and dark with the promise of stars soon

And, oh, she can bring him stars. The more-than-ample bum becomes exactly what he likes, regardless of the fact that she often wishes it were smaller. It is what he wants because he has seen the sunrise and the sunset and the lovely afternoon in between. Because, though he, too, wishes he were taller and thinner and somehow better, in the end, all he wants is to see that look in her eye.

Following my logic so far, to be beautiful, we have to find love. And to find love, we have to be beautiful.

Hey, I never said my theories made sense.

But if I had to come up with a way to make it make sense, perhaps the love we need to be beautiful isn’t the love for another, but a love for ourselves and for life. A love that allows us to take joy in a fragrant blossom, a delicious flan, a sweet kitten… A magnificent thunderstorm, a kick-ass guitar lick, an unlikely touchdown. Maybe that’s the kind of love that brings it back to us.

And if that’s the case, then we all have a chance. Even those of us with rolls and gas and hairy toes. Even those of us with chapped lips and unibrows and back fat. Even those of us who are old or chubby or plain. Even those of us who aren’t pretty.

Thank God

The Breakfast Cereal Aisle of Life

I remember years ago reading an essay by a man who was born and raised in Soviet Russia. He was describing his first visit to an American supermarket. He said he nearly had a breakdown in the cereal aisle in the face of so many choices. He was used to choosing between two or three. Over 100 choices available? Just for breakfast cereal??? It was overwhelming.

At the time, i found his crisis humorous. Too many choices… What a problem to have! With my second decade thinking, it seemed unfathomable for variety to cause an existential crisis. But now, at this moment, i get it.

While in the throes of panic from my middle weedling leaving the nest, i find myself in the midst of a unique opportunity. My oldest weedling is on her own, more than capable, and on her way to making her own niche. My youngest is about to embark on a transition year. And as for me, for the first time in my life, i have to make a life choice that has no connection to a man. Not  being happily married, not unhappily married, not wishing to be married… no man at all to consider. Just me and my own future. The immediate vision is like that of Montana in the springtime… Fresh new grass and budding stems for as far as the eye can see. How exciting! I can go anywhere! My life isn’t tied to any stake at all! The possibilities are endless! Yeah, baby!

And then i start to consider them. All those possibilities. And i feel like the man in the supermarket.

While it is true that my choices are narrowed somewhat by the need to have an appropriate atmosphere for my son, that really only takes the raisin bran off the shelf. There are still so many other choices! Too many. So i take away any place that has bad memories. Wheaties, off the shelf. Places with no work for me. Mini-wheats, off the shelf. Places too difficult to travel from. Cheerios, off the shelf. But there’s still Life and Apple Jacks and Sugar Smacks, and Cap’n Crunch. There’s still Special K and Chex and Cornflakes and Lucky Charms. All these choices. Each with their own taste and appeal and price. The pragmatist in me has started making lists and charts, comparisons of the many brands available. The gypsy in me visualizes the many bowls of color and texture. The child in me sits on the floor of the store and weeps in fear and fluster.

To quote Maria Von Trapp, “When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.” Only in my case, he has flung open windows, doors, hatches, chimney flues and skylights. So many escape routes, and nothing actually chasing me. Oh, the irony. The only thing i know for certain is that i have been given this opportunity for a reason. That God has trusted me with something very special – my own future. A blank slate, a full buffet, a veritable Kellogg’s factory of choices. And i take the responsibility very seriously. After all, after i buy the whole grain goodness, i’m the one who has to eat it.

So the Gypsy picks the child off the floor. The Pragmatist makes a list of the cereals that meet the nutritional, flavor and price requirements. And all three of them will converse til the choice is made. I’m sure the dry-goods manager and the other shoppers will find this amusing. But, i suppose, so what? You could say, “What’s the big deal? It’s just cereal?” But me? I say it’s life.

What The Flock

It’s an ovine world. A sheep’s world, that is (Don’t feel badly – I had to look it up, too). And most of those sheep are white.

The white sheep, they do what is expected. They live the WonderBread life. Work, spouse, kids… They vacation in Florida, they organize church picnics, they coach little league, they go to the gym . They invest our money, clean our teeth, teach our kids, run our cities. They are the bulk of our country.  And they are wonderful. They are the backbone on which our society stands. Yes, they sometimes follow each other off a cliff, but it’s that loyalty that keeps the nation from falling apart in times of strife.

The black sheep… Well, they come in shades from tan to jet, and they are ones exuding a passion. The actors, the musicians and dancers and artists… the ones who make us dream. The cops and firefighters and soldiers… the ones who keep us safe. The revolutionaries, the visionaries, the idealists, the life-poets. The movers and the shakers. And they are wonderful. They expand our field of vision and keep the white ones from becoming stagnant. Yes, the fire inside them sometimes burns too fiercely and they are removed, or remove themselves, from our world. But their legend and purpose live on.

And what of the sheep that are blue? What of the pink ones or green ones? The ones who think so differently, are filled with such uniqueness, that the masses don’t know what to make of them? The ones whose personae are so vibrant that they can only be viewed through photo negatives or cheap sunglasses. The perpetual Rudolphs. What of them? Tho they have a common bond of uncommonness, they are no group, no flock. They are the wanderers, the gypsies, the witches and hobbits and sprites.  No, they don’t build empires or paint chapel ceilings or run congressional committees. They don’t have typical attitudes or ideas or lives. They make us laugh, they make us cry, and they keep us paying attention. And they are wonderful.

I am the zebra striped one with the chartreuse legs and the tangerine tail. Which sheep are you?

Come On

(Another oldie of mine. )
I see the sun setting on the horizon, beyond the green fields and gardens ahead… Yes, hills and valleys and roses and weeds and both stepping stones and some slippery slopes along the way. I can see it all laid out before me.

In my gut, i know that sunset is my sunset. The glow of me as i become one again with the cosmos… And for the first time in my life, i see a clear path to that destination, and the path is wide enough for me to share with others. No longer am i winding alone on a narrow and hidden and sometimes scary path. This is open and airy and free… Free! And so much along the way…

I’ve never seen my sunset before. You’d think it’d be scary. But it isn’t. In fact, it has me in wide-eyed awe. It’s so warm and bright… I am not afraid, but not eager to meet it. I just am comfortable walking towards it… enjoying what i pass on the way. And knowing i’m sharing it with those who see the significance of the destination.

I am being called down this path. Called by an energy much bigger than i am. It comes from within the sunset itself. It’s telling me to come on. To take my time and pace myself, to really see the sights along the way, take the hands given me and use them for strength and comfort when the path gets slippery…. But come on. Come on. It’s time.

And so i go… i set out on this path with my eyes wide open, taking in the beauty around me and loving the glow that the setting sun casts on my path, and my companions, and, i know in my heart, on myself. Bask in the glow. Take all the time i need. Enjoy the walk. Come on. Come on.

The Little Brown Man

October 28, 2014 at 8:22pm

I kiss and hug my friend, Superman, at the rotunda and we each head down our respective concourses. I am exhausted. My feet hurt. My chest feels like it’s been filled with the stuff that makes fart noises when you pack it into its container. But i’m smiling. I’ve had a most awesome weekend, and i’m on my way home to my weedlings.

I stop at the Starbucks and order a tea-latte-formerly-known-as-London-Fog and a scone. Make my way to the gate. It’s pretty crowded, 30 minutes to boarding, but there’s a seat by the windows. I plunk my tired arse down, smile and nod to the other passengers around me, settle my bags and dig into my scone. It tastes good, but as scones are wont to be, it is rather dry. I start to cough. Take a sip of my TLFKALF, but it’s piping hot, so it doesn’t help. Still coughing. It sounds terrible, all wet and gunky and crumb spewing. It hurts even worse. People are staring. My abs, or what passes for them anyway, are clenching. It stops long enough for me to catch my breath and grab a pack of kleenex from my purse.

Then it begins again. My eyes are watering, my nose is running, and i think i may have wet my pants. This is the cough to end all coughs. I can’t see. I can’t breathe. I’m so hot that i’m certain my clothing has caught fire and my own sweat has put it out. My rib cage is ripping in half and my trachea is exploding. People are picking up their bags and moving away as i cough up Jimmy Hoffa. Pleasegodpleasegodpleasemakeitstop.

And it does. For about 15 seconds.

Then it’s a tsunami of force from my gut so hard that i nearly blow a hole in my sleeve where i have buried my face. All of my senses have deserted me, i most certainly have wet my pants, the other passengers are cowering in the corner no doubt thinking i have ebola, and the ticket agent is on the phone, i am certain, with the TSA. I cough until i there is so much negative pressure in my lungs that if i could breathe, i’d likely suck in the racks of chairs around me with my next breath. I desperately try my drink one more time. It helps. I sip again. it starts to wane. I wipe the snot from my face with my kleenex, stuff all the icky ones into my starbucks bag, wheeze in some blessed recycled airport air and slump down in my seat. Then i hear the voice.

With a backdrop of horrified passengers, a tiny man appears in front of me. Indian, Armenian, something short, dark, and kindly like that. And in his sweet, lilting voice, he says, “I think you need this.”

He drops a Ricola into my hand, smiles with genuine empathy, and backs away.

I am so stunned by the smallness, and yet hugeness, of the gesture that i am at a loss for words. I clasp the cough drop to my chest, look at him, smile and nod, and then gather my things. I will clean myself up, drink my tea, and the world will be right again. All because a little brown man gave me a piece of Swiss corn syrup.

It isn’t the medicine that heals, it is the kindness.

Musings on Christmas Eve

December 24, 2014 at 9:39am

Ok. I’m not a traditional Christian. Perhaps i have no right to expound on the meaning of the holiday. Perhaps my ideas are off base and totally wrong. Perhaps no one gives a flip. But i’m going to write it anyway because in the wake of the violence and chaos of the year, i need to put out some good stuff to the cosmos.

So here’s a holiday with two large scale traditions. One religious, one secular. The birth of a man that started a whole new faith of peace and love. The dedication of a man who wanted happiness for all good children. Both present concepts that make us better people.

First Jesus. Whether or not you believe he was the Messiah, consider this. The history / tradition / faith of this man was about the one simple thing that makes us human. I don’t know that there is an adequate word for it. The Buddhists call it “Lovingkindness”. Be good to each other. Take care of each other. Stand up for each other. Respect each other. Protect each other. And above all, Love each other. And on Christmas, we mark the birth of the man who reminded the world that these things are our purpose. Not as Christians, but as people. Not to simplify it too much, but i believe that the goal is to treat people like our dogs treat us… With unswerving love and forgiveness and gratitude. And each year at this time, we all take that message closer to heart and try to live it. (Unless we’re looking for a parking spot at the mall… Then all bets are off). And this spirit is infectious. Each bit of warmth we share, it has the potential to go viral like the latest Miley video, but with less tacky and more love. Especially in this era of war and heartache and division, we need more love. As much as we can stand. And Christmas helps to inspire that. This year, i hope to keep this message in my heart and my actions for as much of the year as i can manage. After all, as a Theist, i can celebrate the concept of Christmas whenever i want 😉

As for Santa – Well, in some ways, he’s a secular example of the same tradition, isn’t he? Reminding people to be good to each other, reminding children to be respectful and do what they should. Would that he’d remind adults to do the same. (Can we say “Politicians”?) Tho granted, especially by the time we’re adults, we shouldn’t need the promise of presents to walk our talk. We should do it to preserve our humanity. But we don’t. Or at least I don’t. Not as often as i should, anyway. I see so many selfless acts in my day to day life and know for certain that i could – and will – do better. And to note – Since there is no such thing as a perfect human, take solace in this, one of my favorite holiday books… How Murray Saved Christmas ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdC6cxUeQZo Not the best reading of the book, you really need to buy it and read it for yourself 🙂 )

All in all, what i get from Christmas is a renewed sense of purpose. Of charity. of Humanity. Sort of like a spiritual New Year. And all of my shortcomings from last year… Well, i get a chance to do better. A renewed vow to myself and my God. A karma do-over. Break out my existential chisel and sandpaper and gorilla glue and do some improvements on my heart and soul. And just as importantly, allow others to do the same. The birth of a baby and the charity of an old man are the benchmarks for the best of Humanity. The spirit of Christmas brings the hope that we all can meet those benchmarks. All humanity has a chance to clean their soul windows and let their love shine. Lets see how long we can make it last this year.

Love, Light and Laughter, my friends. For this Christmas and for Always.