When is it discrimination?

This morning in church the sermon focused on two pieces of Scripture one from second Kings and the other from Luke. Both pieces of Scripture were talking about someone with leprosy. In the Old Testament of the Bible lepers were considered unclean. Unclean meant that they could not participate in any regular community. They were outcasts. In other parts of the Old Testament specifically the Torah there are laws written concerning people with leprosy and other diseases. The law prohibited these people from being part of the community. I am sure that they were initially formed to prevent contagion and exposure to those who might pass on illness.

In Luke Jesus heals 10 lepers. According to the laws of that time those lepers must go to the priests and be properly assessed and determined that they were no longer unclean. Only the priests could make that decision. Jesus, however, asserted that they were now clean and sent them to be looked at. Jesus essentially sidestepped the law.

critical thinking

This exclusion of people from society still exists today. Laws have been written to prevent people from being excluded from life in the community. Job discrimination is not tolerated on many levels. However, often the wording of laws is somewhat ambiguous. When a law is written it is usually written in a certain period of time and to address specific concerns of that era.

Now we have cases before the United States Supreme Court questioning discrimination laws concerning sex. The laws were written in a time when Blacks and women were being discriminated against in the workplace. Now there are questions about that law. The questions really are concerning issues that we face today that we didn’t face in the 60s. So a determination is having to be made about the real meaning of the law. There are people on both sides.

think for yourselfThere has been a lot of discussion on media for both sides. “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended, protects employees and job applicants from employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.”

The law itself is not in question. It’s the interpretation of the law that is the problem. Whenever these issues come up it is always a good idea to go and read the original law in order to understand the discussion. Listening to the talking heads does not give you an accurate picture. Sometimes looking up the Constitution or other documents will give you a clearer picture. Don’t take someone else’s word for something. Read it for yourself and make your own decision.

 

Taking in strays with love

There are some days when you don’t feel the least bit creative. Recently I realized that I have written almost every day since July of 2017. How in the world have I managed to do that? I guess I can say that my brain is running all the time. I wish I could have the kind of ideas that would produce a novel but that is not me.

I think a lot about helping other people. I grew up in a family who cared deeply about others and helped where they could. Over the years I have made the comment that we “take in strays.” My parents had two war wives living with us during WWII. They were there for years until their husbands came home. They got jobs and became part of our family. For me, they were like extra aunts. I grew up enjoying a variety of people.

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During my teen years we had two school teachers living with us. They were the big sisters I never had. I learned so much from them including how to sing harmony. We washed dishes in the evening and sang.

I learned early on that for me, sharing problems made them less scary. I also was there for anyone who wanted to lessen their own stress. This was also true in college when I seemed to attract all those with were seeking a listening post.

Our travel during my husband’s military service exposed me further to different places and different faces. Life was varied and good.

My husband retired from the service after 20 years and since then we have been in one place. We have continued the family tradition and have housed friends of our kids and one friend of ours who was with us for a year after the kids were gone. People asked why we would have someone move in with us until our friend painted all my kitchen cabinets. Then they wanted to know if he could live with them.

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We have no one extra right now except for our two rescued bassets. They are such a blessing to us. I continue being a sounding board for others and am able to share my joys and griefs with friends. There are always challenges and things that make me step back and struggle but I will keep on exploring all that life will bring me.

Thank you for reading these ideas and thoughts through the years.

Opinions

The holiday is over and we are heading back to ?normal? There is nothing wrong with that but I do miss them. I used to have a sign that someone gave me to hang in my kitchen. It said: all our guests give pleasure…some by coming, others by going. These were not guests….they are family. In today’s world it is not unusual to have family living far away. I feel blessed that they are not a country away. At least I can fly there easily.

Now it is time to catch up on things that have been waiting for me to get to them. Life continues to move on and there is always something to do.

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Having a 21 year old and a 15 year old here was fun. I love ferreting out what how they see themselves. The 15 yo is an introvert and a male so feelings are not something that one discusses. I was able to sound him out about his favorite subject….biology..especially viruses and how to fight them. I can picture him working for the CDC one day. He struggles with social situations…but will learn with age. It’s funny that as we get older and find people who are like us things become easier.

My granddaughter is brilliant and hard to keep up with. She amazes me with her knowledge. She has done some modeling and can look beautiful when she wants. I like that sometimes she just wants to veg.

I wish I could say that I was able to dig into how they see themselves but that is hard to get from anyone. I have some idea from my experience of them but have fun trying to dig deeper.

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My father taught me to watch out forming opinions of others but I think our opinion of ourselves tends to shape us. The new generations have time to decide how they feel about themselves. I hope they are able to see beyond the opinion of others.

Defeat anxiety

Once again I am fighting frustration. I just can’t seem to get my health back on track. I know that it will happen but in the meantime it is such an aggravation. I hate the anxiety. It saps my energy and enjoyment. I found this quote and it is so true.

“Anxiety is a thick stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.”     Arthur Somers Roche

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This is so true. When anxiety creeps in nothing else matters. Your mind disconnects from everything else. Absolutely not a good way to live. We miss so much. We have to learn to turn those thoughts off and return to real life. Sometimes distraction works— sometimes not.

Regardless it must and can be defeated if we work at it. To allow it to rule life is not acceptable.

A pause

I have been home too much lately. When this happens I lose my perspective.  Things start to close in on me and I spend too much time in my head.

Ennui

 

The house is quiet

life is in abeyance

lightening flashes

outside

 

And yet

I don’t see

the storm

coming

 

The storm

is outside

and inside

I am numb

 

 

Time for checking in

roundtoitTomorrow is Ash Wednesday for us Christians. I actually love Lent. For me, Lent is a time for reflection…a time to assess where I am. I usually plan to take on something as well as give up something. I find it more difficult to take on something. I usually begin reading a book that I should have read already. I have books on my shelf that I meant to read but never got around to it. I have pulled two books from my shelf and would like to get through both of them. We’ll see.

Taking time out to reflect can be scary. It is possible to find gaps in our lives and thinking. We may uncover the flaws. This can be upsetting. Nevertheless this is work I need to do even if it finds the things I need to change.

However, it can also be a time of affirmation. It is important to also look at the good things and see where I am gaining in knowledge and strength. It will show me where my accumulated wisdom has helped me to make changes in myself and to help others.

reflection and growth

This all sounds very grand. But 40 days is a big block of time and I want to use it well. I am glad that my particular faith sets this time aside. If not I would probably skip it altogether.

Think too much!

Today I saw the new Mary Poppins movie and enjoyed it very much. I read the book as a child (in the deep dark past) and always loved the story. I adored the original film but found this one deeper and more profound. I know that I will watch it again in the future.

I am often caught by phrases spoken in films and in this film it was said “some people think too much.” I suspect that any of us who worry and obsess and have anxiety do this. We think too much.

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Thinking too much is definitely what we do when we worry. We lay out every scenario that can possibly take place. I explain to myself that if I encounter one of my scenarios I will be ready to face it. Usually I don’t face any of the things I envision and if I did I would probably not be prepared at all.

This obsessing is a venture into futility. It is a total waste of time, energy and, last but not least, an exercise in chaotic thinking. It leaves me anxious and exhausted.

It has been said that people who do this are smarter than the average. I don’t know if this is true but there are studies with that information. The reason given is that they can come up with more outcomes for any scenario.

A Mixed Blessing

If it is true that anxious people are smarter than the average then it is a mixed blessing. I might want to give it up for some peace.

The marsh—my blessing

Today I am counting my blessings. I do have many. It’s sad that we tend to think more about struggles and problems. Today I give thanks.

From childhood I have always love the sea and all things related to it. I now live where I can look out at the marsh and watch the tide. We have an eight foot tide here so when tide is out there is a lot of marsh and marsh mud exposed. I love that smell. We have floating docks since you couldn’t reach the water if tide is out.

 

egret in marsh

There is so much life in the marsh. Many different birds from marsh hens to egrets. Lots of sea birds and pelicans love to fish in the creek in front of the house. Painted buntings love the marsh but like a particular plant which is disappearing here due to building so we don’t see them often. I love to watch the birds in my bird bath bathing and coming for water.

painted bunting
not my photo

We have blue crabs here and shrimp. Fish of all sorts and dolphins swim by often…sometimes with their young.

dolphins

crabsThe tide moves very fast and if you are swimming (even if you are a strong swimmer) it can take you with it. We taught our children and grandchildren early on if caught in the tide to swim to the next dock and walk back.  We have often thought of putting in a water wheel for electricity.

Once a mama dolphin brought her children to see my granddaughters who were swimming in front of the dock. My kin almost walked on water getting out. They didn’t care that people pay money to swim with dolphins. I’m sure mama and babies were disappointed.

The beauty of God’s earth surrounds me. I need to take more time to immerse myself in it. It can help to put things into perspective. I am blessed. I treasure every moment I get to watch a ship entering or leaving port, watching the tide and just rocking on the porch. It won’t last forever but I will keep all of this in my memory-safe.

Can we learn to really listen?

Listen or your tongue will keep you deaf.   Native American Proverb

listenintg-dogFor an extrovert this is a very important statement. I am always ready to talk and I have to curb myself to really listen. Most of us instead of listening are thinking of the next thing we want to say. I still have to hold my tongue and let others share.

I once visited a convent where there was a rule about discussion. Everyone sat at a table and one person spoke at a time. After that there was silence for several minutes. Then it was someone else’s time to speak. That silence left moments for the digestion of what had been said and time to reflect on what you might say that had importance for the discussion. Many conclusions were easily reached as there was little unimportant information shared.

In social situations I can really get carried away but I am working at it. I am getting better at listening. However, I know that I am not always bad at it as people have come to me for solace or advice my whole life. I do seem to know when listening is critical.

The big difference I see at my age is that I am unafraid to speak about matters that are important and frequently avoided. I will speak out for those who are in need of a voice. There are times when this is not appreciated but I never do it in anger or an emotional state. Important things need to be spoken of calmly and rationally. Listening to others in this kind of discussion is also critical and not easy. Emotions can be triggered and I have had to learn when to just back away.

speak carefully

My father (who was amazing) used to say: put your brain in gear before you put your mouth in motion. 

Another good proverb

Learn to move on

I have been listening to an audio book by Alexander McCall Smith from the No1 Ladies Detective Agency series( Tea Time for the Traditionally Built). I love these books and the audios are so well read I think I am there.

fix it.jpgThe main character had blister on her foot from walking. She had that day put several band aids on it and it had now popped and felt better. She thought to herself (my rendering)”If we will just do what we can about a problem to fix it and move on after that things will work out.”

This thought really resonated with me. We spend a lot of time worrying about a problem and trying to make a decision. In the meantime the problem continues. If we would just determine what can be done and do it we would be ahead of the game. The other piece of the puzzle is that once we have done that we have to let it go. That is also very difficult. We would rather pick it up and chew on it again like a cow chewing a cud. Somehow we have to learn and implement these important things.

  1. Identify the problem.
  2. Decide if anything can be done.
  3. Determine the best solution (for now).
  4. Do what we can.
  5. Let it go.

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This is hard for those of us who obsess and worry. Can you do what is possible and then move on?