Friday, January 31, 2014

Wishy-Washy










I’m of two minds. . . often. You would think that, at my age, I’d know what I want to do, what I want to say. Not so. I am now, and I always have been, wishy-washy.

Twice in the past week I have written pieces to use in a forum and, after an hour or so, deleted them. One was about divorce (not mine), the other about abortion (again, not mine or ours).

In both cases, I wanted to write about intense feelings that I have, or have had, about these things. The pieces I wrote were honest and revealing. The “honest and revealing” part is just why I deleted them. Although my family and friends don’t know about the forum in which they would have appeared (so that I can be “honest and revealing”), one never knows what Google will do, does one?

One of my many faults: I want to please everyone at the same time, all the time. I’ve met other gay men with this same trait, and all of us have had a rough time in life because of it. When I was in school (seminary), I lived 24/7 with my Franciscan brothers. We all got to know one another really well over the period of ten years when we were together. My brothers told me hundreds of times that I was “wishy-washy.” What they saw that prompted this characterization is the same trait that made me delete these two essays. I can’t make up my mind because I can’t figure out how to do something without – possibly – offending someone who is important to me. My brothers also characterized me as “nice,” by the way. This characterization was another result of the same please-everybody obsession that caused “wishy-washy.” I have come to detest the adjective “nice” when it is applied to me, possibly because I know it is the result of a trait that isn’t helpful to me.

Enough of this.

Pax et bonum.

Ed

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Jesus and the Torah Teach Us About Immigration


Jesus said, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For. . .  I was a stranger and you did not invite me in. . .”  (Matt 25/41 & 43)

The Torah says:  “Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.  Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.
“When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.  When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.  When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.”   (Deut 24/17–22)

People are debating about our immigration policy.  Many of the most vocal voices are those of U.S. Christians who believe that “illegal immigrants” should be rounded up and deported.  No human being is illegal to the God of Christianity.  More specifically, the stranger, the foreigner, is someone God, in both Covenants, commands us to treat with justice and generosity.  My prayer for the conversion of those Christians whose desired treatment of the foreigner, the stranger, is based on racial discrimination, fear, and ignorance:  Lord, replace their stony hearts with hearts of flesh. ”I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”  (Ezek 36/26

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Saturday, 1-4-2014: Dogs

This is my Border Collie, Angus.  He was 2 years old on 12-17-2013 (he shares a birthday with Pope Francis!).  We call him Gus.


Gus & I, December, 2013
He is a smart dog. . .  one way to tell that he is smart is the look on his face in this photo.  He is not happy with the hat!  He's also beautiful.  Hardly a walk through town goes by when someone doesn't tell us how beautiful/handsome he is.  Most of all, he's a great friend and companion.  My favorite memory - so far - of Gus is a time a few weeks after my Mom died.  I was sitting outside on some steps.  I wasn't crying or making any noise, but I was grieving.  Gus came over, sat next to me as close as he could get, and stayed with me for about 30 minutes.  Just sitting there.  Just the two of us.  Friends.


We have another Border Collie, Lucky (pictured above with our daughter, Becky), who has been with us for 4 or 5 years.  Our daughter, Sarah, found Lucky wandering the streets here in town in the middle of a snow/sleet/freezing rain storm.  Sarah put Lucky in her car, brought he to her house, and tried to find the owner.  When no one claimed her, Lucky became Sarah's.  Lucky developed the habit of escaping from Sarah's yard and making her way to our house, about half a mile away.  After escaping like that for several months, Sarah and her husband decided that Lucky wanted to live with us, and she has ever since. She is smart and she is very affectionate.  She licks (something Gus never does) as a way of showing us how much she likes us.  When Beni was down with chemotherapy for her breast cancer, Lucky stayed with her in bed 24/7 throughout the four months the chemo lasted.  She didn't leave Beni until Beni was back to normal.
 
 
Our third pup is Baxter (the black lab/pointer mix in the photo above).  He really belongs to our daughter, Beni, but he's been here with us for about nine months.  Baxter is beautiful!  He's also one of the sweetest-natured animals I have ever known.  He was mistreated as a puppy and abandoned.  Our daughter found him fostered by a rescue group.  When he first came to stay with us, he wanted constant reassurance that we loved him.  He spent all his waking life pushing himself into our bodies.  He would cry a hard-rending cry whenever we left him in the house with only the other dogs..  Now he is much more secure and at peace, although he still will demand affection whenever he feels he needs it.


This little guy is Summer.  He is one of eight pups in a litter of Border Collies.  He's now four weeks old.  My daughter, Sarah, discovered this litter and asked me which one I liked best.  Sarah would love to have a third dog.  She has an older Australian Sheep Dog and a 2-year-old Border Collie.  She'd like another Border Collie.  We'll see. . .  If it were me, and I was looking for a Border Collie, this little guy would be mine!!!

We all love dogs here.  They enrich our lives and teach us how to be better humans.
 
Here is my video blog for the day.  It's about God, and it rambles, so watch it at your own risk.


Love,

Ed

Friday, January 3, 2014

Friday, 1-3-2014: Being a Geezer By God


The second day of this daily blog.  Will I persevere?  Who knows?
 
It's cold today.  The photo above was taken this morning (not by me!) on the Appalachian Trail near here.  It's beautiful, but, with wind chill factored in, it was 5 degrees at 1:15 this afternoon.  Brrrr!
 
I have posted a video blog for today on YouTube:
 
 
 
If you watch it, you'll see that I ramble.  I talk about retirement, lack of stress, being old, and so on.  What is most important to me among all those words is the delight I feel as I approach my 67th birthday.  I like being a geezer!!!  I like the lack of expectation that I have for myself, and that others have for me.
 
Most of all, I am thankful to God that God has given me this much life.  I am thankful also that God has been my mainstay throughout my life, from the time I was 3 years old and begging my mother to take me to (High) Mass on Sunday.
 
I had a very difficult time with God during the past 20 or so years since I came out as a gay man.  Very, very difficult!  I was angry with God, angry with life. . .  angry.  In the past 2 years, that has changed.  My mother's death in August, 2012, and the three months before that when I took care of her, were major factors in my "forgiving" God.  Going through Mom's dying and death with her was a huge blessing.  She and I talked about death just about every day.  We also talked about life. . .  her life and mine.  All that talking, combined with the experience of her acceptance of her dying and death, changed me.  It gave me perspective and a knowledge that I am loved, by my family and by God.  My return to a vibrant, positive relationship with God is a gift from God given to me through my mother.  It has changed me to my core.  Just ask my wife or any of my kids.  I am not the same person I was even a year ago.  One daughter said to me at Christmas:  "You are so happy now!  What happened?"  I tried to explain, but I doubt that I succeeded.
 
If you are interested - and I cannot imagine for a second that anyone but I would be interested - in how much I have changed, look at some of the posts on this blog from years past.  It's impossible for me to write anything like that kind of stuff today.  I have changed.
 
It's good to be old.  It's good to let myself be open to change.  It's good. . .  period!
 
Love!
 
Ed

Thursday, January 2, 2014

First Daily Blog: Thursday, 1/2/2104


Peter Monn writes a blog to which I subscribe.  One of his New Year's resolutions is to post video and written blog entries every day in 2014.  He's invited (challenged???) his blog readers to do the same.  I accepted his invitation/challenge.  At least for now. . .

If you'd like to get to know Peter, his written blog for today is at http://peterisms.com/2014/01/02/blogging-and-video-diary-every-day-in-2014-join-me/#more-295.

I've put my brief YouTube entry for today above.

Today:

1.  It's snowing much more than the forecasters predicted.

2.  I'm out of cigarettes.

3.  In going to get cigarettes in Virginia (where they are much cheaper), I had a flat tire.

The New Year is off to a great start!

I saw American Hustler last night.  I didn't like it.  It was a movie with hyperactivity disorder.

Our next-door neighbors, whose sex life was on view through their uncurtained/unshaded windows, have finally come to their senses and put up things that cover the windows.  I'm not sure if I'm happy about this (the Victorian in me) or unhappy (the voyeur in me).  But, as my brother always says, it is what it is.  It was interesting, I'll say that much, when we could see inside.  It was the first time in my life I ever saw humans fucking in real life!

Until tomorrow, dear reader, love and happy 2014!