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Bring in the Zebras

We have presidential elections coming up. Bring in the circus animals. Elephants, donkeys -why would we need anything else?

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Black & white photo of original artwork ©Dickson

I know I can’t be the only one who sees it. For one thing, I’m not the brightest crayon in the box (humanity should be thanking God for that). For another, I’ve had multiple conversations and heard snippets of other people’s. So you see, I’m not the only one. It’s fairly plain and simple. Rather black and white.

There are rules. Laws. If it is illegal, it shouldn’t be done. If it is uncouth, it should be avoided. If frowned upon, we should walk away.

How fortunate that much has been decided for us.

This includes the political and economic issues that are becoming more critical every day. Possible war with yet another country is hardly newsworthy. After all, we have presidential elections coming up. Bring in the circus animals. Elephants, donkeys -why would we need anything else?

Debates are occurring as I write. The future of the nation may very well be at stake. Those who do not want Trump to win must be ready ro vote for Hillary; if you don’t want Hillary, you’d better be ready to vote for Trump.

Wait – What? Are we saying that there are truly only two ways of looking at the political, economic, and international future of the United States? That there are only two parties? And if there are, that these two humans are the best the U.S. has to offer?

Remember, several years ago, the British royal family was the butt of a lot of jokes. They were practically treated like the laughingstock of Western political conversation.

Well, thank goodness the U.S. didn’t let them stay on top for that one.

And thank goodness the media provides us with such unbiased, well-rounded coverage of the electoral candidates. I mean, really, there are only two political parties in the U.S., and only two ways of looking at things, right? Democrat or Republican – all of those other parties, the ones the media barely mentions, they don’t really count. Right? They “only” make up 42% of the voting public. More than either the Democrats or Republicans – but who’s counting? (Certainly not the electoral college, which often has tended to vote for politics and not the will of the people.)

Speaking of not counting, I thoroughly enjoy hearing how important the Iowa, New York, and California primaries and votes are. I mean, there are only 50 states. Four or five – ten percent of the nation – should certainly decide the final options for the presidential ballot, and then decide who ultimately wins the election. States like Alaska and Hawaii – do their votes even matter? (If indeed anyone’s does – you cheeky electoral college, you.) Think about it – the polls of all other states are closed and counted before Alaskan or Hawaiian votes can even be tallied. Good thing New York and California know what’s best.

It’s refreshing. No decision-making power,  no input to what happens in the nation we are a part of. Why worry about it? Why waste our time at all? Let other people make the decisions. Let them appoint “leaders” over us and enact laws we must follow. They know what is best for us. They know what’s right. And they know what’s wrong. After all, it’s all black and white.

Beacon – A Note to Self and Others

There is no reason not to be the sparkling light that you are, no reason to keep holding it in… Don’t do that to yourself. No more holding back your potential or stifling your dreams.

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Get back to yourself.

You are not this lost, nervous, fearfully hopeful wreck of waiting-for-something-to-happen. You are not this amorphous being floating, waiting for THAT THING that will give you meaning.

You are You. An amazingly giving, creative, thinking, working, loving being who is so much more than some outside perception. You have a purpose in life. And yes, part of your purpose is to love. Love is so much a part of the world that it transcends generations, race, religion, geography. It is so much a part of life that the experience of it can actually affect a person’s health and well-being. It is the source of much of the good that happens. And it lives in, and through, you.

You also have purpose in teaching, in learning, in growing and becoming and leading and holding. In putting into words that which is so much more, or in putting into action that which can be accomplished, or in putting into art that which can be felt. You have meaning. You are an embodiment of characteristics that combine to make one very exceptional and unique person. There are instances of kindness and love that others would never have experienced if it were not for you. You make a difference.

We need to get back to that. We all need to quit wallowing and floundering in this narrow view of the negatives, of the problems right in front of us and the overwhelming and seemingly endless tragedies of the world. We need to get back to the people we were meant to be, once again. Quit looking at this narrow corner of life, turn around, and face outward toward the world. There is so much more out there. Immeasurable moments of joy and beauty to find. Stop waiting for the perfect love. Stop waiting for the ideal time to reach out to another. Forget holding off on doing the kind thing just because we can’t predict another’s reaction. We can nurture good by living life in kindness and positivity. Do it now.

There is so much to do and learn and experience in this life, and so many people to get to know and care about, and so very little time. Open your heart to others. Go out and do the things you’ve been wanting to do. Stop waiting on someone to give you the okay. Go and help someone who needs it. Take those lessons. Live that adventure. Enjoy that view.

There is no reason not to be the sparkling light that you are, no reason to keep holding it in, hiding it lest it get extinguished. The only one who can douse it, the only one who can really snuff it out, is you. Don’t do that to yourself. No more holding back your potential or stifling your dreams. Don’t be the one who makes up reasons not to do things that expand your ability to Live. To do so is to succumb to fear or anger or resentment – to let negative burdens be your master.

They are not.

We humans have an extraordinary capacity for love, compassion, and generosity. We are blessed with the ability to see life from another’s point of view. We can think, and dream, and create. We can hold, and laugh, and forgive. You can do all of this. You have infinite possibilities locked inside you. You are a marvelous, fantastic, unequaled aurora of potential, and You are the only one of You in all of time. No one else can do the things you do exactly the way you do them. No one else can have the same impact on the world that you can. You are an irreplaceable beacon shining through the dark.

Let that light shine.

Passage

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How does one come to this?
Child of the woods,
Running, leaping, hunting, fishing
Self-sufficient from early days
Sleeping in the open
Since four years old
So much knowledge
Wisdom gained
Skills passed on

Eight decades plus
Of independence
And contriving
And economy
Respect for the hunted
Love for the weaker
And food set out
For small creatures.

How does one come to this?
Entrapped by walls,
Groaning, cursing, mumbling, stuck
Pained dependence these later days
Sleeping in restriction
Eighty-four years old
Jumbled knowledge
Wisdom fogged
Skills confounded

Chronos counts in days
Of helplessness
And painfulness
And expense
Afraid as the hunted
Ashamed to be weaker
And food set out
For small creatures.

Burnt

What is it about our own shadows that makes us feel we are better than another simply because we have not lived their life?

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I hate them. You filth. You’re going to hell. Kill them all. These are the words I hear the people who are supposed to be my brothers and sisters saying to one another. These are the words that we use for people who don’t live life the way that we believe they should. We judge and we condemn and we pat ourselves on the back for doing “God’s work.” We sit in our living rooms and mow our lawns and play on our smart phones and pretend that we know what it means to suffer. We tell ourselves that we would never be in that position or make those choices, without knowing the pain and the backstory that another has already survived. We assume that a child who has been hurt was not being properly supervised, or an adult who is gay was not properly raised, or a human doing drugs has no morals or good inside. We decide for them that they are worthless – and unfortunately too many believe it and fall deeper into the mire.

What is there in these hate-filled words, in the strife that we stir up, in the darkness that we usher in with our actions, that even remotely brings the light of God to this world? What is it about our own shadows that makes us feel we are better than another simply because we have not lived their life? It is a disease, a plague, this Darkness of judgment and hatred that is winding its oily way through humanity. It is the insidious work of evil, and doing it “in the name of God” or any gods only solidifies its soul-eating grasp upon us.

So the next time that we feel justified in raining condemnation from our lips or keyboards, perhaps we should stop to think, “What is there in my words, in my actions, and in my attitude that speaks the love of God out into the world?” If the answer is not “EVERYTHING,” then maybe it’s better to keep our mouths shut and our typing fingers still. Rather than adding to the hostility in the world, speak words of hope. Instead of imagining violent paybacks, move with hands of comfort.

Shun the hate, Live the Love.

-KJ Roe