Black and White, Gay or Straight?

The world is not color blind and ignorant of choice. I have neighbors who are an African American and white mixed couple. I have worked for a company that promoted a club for bi-sexual and gay people in the workplace so that we could all “understand” ourselves. To understand my point of view, there are three things to know:

1) I believe people are allowed to choose according to their sexual orientation and preferences their own partners. I am not gay or bi-sexual; I am heterosexual. I do not participate in most cross-cultural or intra-cultural dating, although I have tried it once or twice (why I found it does not work too well for me). I find my soft spot has always been most weak in the knees for blue eyed blonde men….this is not a sin. In a world where “embracing our differences” is supposed to be enlightened, I am not judgmental of the preferences of others, but I am not quite okay with the condemnation of my own.

2) People that do not find compatibility in their life-styles and levels of social involvement do not work out well together. I am divorced. My ex-husband was a high school teacher and an athletic director. I put my writing behind me to try the social etiquette of wife, working for the children’s events and social functions while holding down jobs of my own to help our own income. I found both of us miserable in part because I gave up on my own life and writing for two years to do this correctly. I do need people. I do not need to abandon my own answers to have people. I married a man not so well off, I dated a man very well off. I find that the money in the wallet is not as important as the need to value the things in our lives that are important to us that we have in common. For example: I value my home, not my freedom to travel around without one. Someone that would like to live in a RV and journey all around the United States is not a good fit for me.

3) Differences are as crucial as similarities. Dating sites try to “match up” like with like profiles. E-harmony kicked off my profile as one of the “20% that could not correctly be matched up”. None of us are exactly alike. In my last serious relationship, I would always buy two tickets to wine tastings and my boyfriend would not usually ever show up. He hated the events. I still went on my own. People do not always enjoy the same things, they do not always have the same religions even though they are together (my ex-husband was Presbyterian and I was not), they do not always agree on their politics. Differences do not mean that we have nothing in common or that we cannot be together. We do need to enjoy one another.

Life-partners find better together.

Mercy Killings

A decade and a half ago, Euthanasia was a controversial subject in the news. Today, we do not hear much about it. There is a fine line between a mercy killing and the psychopathic mindset of the decision best stated “I love you so I will kill you”. This fine line is upheld by the medical and legal definition of “mercy” as applied to terminal and suffering patients.

My grandmother was taken off her feeding tube and allowed to “die naturally” and a family controversy ensued. I did not consider this the wrong thing to do, but other members of my family did not quite agree. When a loved one is at the end of beneficial medical assistance and treatments, I do not believe it is correct to continue to administer measures that strain the wallet and the emotions of the family. There comes a time to make our peace.

Suicides can also be labeled self-mercy killings to end pain. I left that thought behind me many years ago. The moral and ethical question over “mercy” by death is a strange morass of definitions and condemnations. We do not deal well with the question of determining life and death.

I had a college class when I was a teenager where a professor posed the following question: “Ten people are stranded on a desert island with no food. In order to survive they are going to have to eat each other. How do they determine who will die to feed the others and who will live?” I had a simple answer. They all wait. Sooner or later someone will naturally die first. Then everyone can eat and starve less. The hardest possible concept to understand is waiting on death when death is near.

The problem in our modern day and time is that waiting on death is not something we do. We can cause the heart to continue beating without any other life functions. We can administer a feeding tube to an unconscious dying person and keep lungs breathing that cannot breathe on their own any longer. We can sustain life when the body is no longer useful. No medical attention administered to those we can help is considered legally and morally negligent. Overt medical attention in the pursuit of hanging on indefinitely is costly and strenuous on both the dying and their loved ones whom are ready to let go for the next answers.

In a world of aging baby boomers and an increased elderly population, the “mercy killing” factor raises crucial questions about the near future. There are no clear-cut answers that fit every situation, but there are legal and medical definitions that can be sustained. In the end, to sustain our own mental health we do not cross the lines drawn in the name of love. We risk our own sanity and the right to maintain the sanctity of non-determination in the realm of the living and the dead if we choose instead of accepting the boundaries drawn.

 

 

Apocalyptic Futures

We have all heard of the end of the world. There are many who believe this will happen in God’s time. I believe that mankind is responsible for the planet and that it is entirely possible to cause our own end. Choices have been ours, given since the beginning of time. Not every factor is within human control. One of the greatest worries we are facing concerns changes that happen to atmosphere and climate every few centuries. In the last few years, our Nation has been through devastating storms, wildfires deforesting many regions, and several natural disasters.

Futurists would paint us a picture of solar radiation, de-oxygenation, and rising oceans. Perhaps these scenarios are not just fools’ games chasing tail. Thomas J. Crowley in “Science 14 July 2000” states: “Comparisons of observations with simulations from an energy balance climate model indicate that as much as 41 to 64% of preanthropogenic (pre-1850) decadal-scale temperature variations was due to changes in solar irradiance and volcanism.” We cannot change the solar surface and its variations, but we can prepare our civilized world for the effects of the sun’s changeable, volatile nature. I do not believe that we are meant to ignore our knowledge basis in favor of Heaven’s decisions instead.

The wildfires of Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington have left terrible consequences in their path. There are many advocates of a deteriorating ozone layer, but the devastation of significantly reduced vegetation is of more concern to the proper return of oxygen into our environments.

Ocean measurements indicate that the waters are rising, albeit slowly. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration “NASA currently has two satellite missions that measure ocean surface topography. Jason-1, launched in 2001 continues the measurements begun by TOPEX/Poseidon, which operated from 1992 through 2006. The follow on mission to Jason-1, the Ocean Surface Topography Mission on Jason-2 (OSTM/Jason-2), was launched in 2008 and will take this important data record into a second decade.” We are not a people unaware of what is happening in our world.

I believe that we can be concerned about actual problems, cyclical to our planet and crucial to our civilizations, without panic over extinction. This does not mean that we can ignore the significance of future events by denying the need to plan for better resources to equip our needs as they arise.

I can imagine a future where there are land bulwarks created for deepening oceans and dry reservoirs created to contain and use processed overflowing seawater for irrigation and energy facilities. I can dream of photosynthesis machines to replace, with man made cells, the re-introduction into our atmosphere the precious atoms we lose in our forestation when vegetation dies. I can see a future where businesses operate at night and people do not enter the sun so freely to adapt to the sun’s radiation increases.

These scenarios may sound like nightmares, but when we worry we plan against our worries and this is not always ridiculous in our nature.

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-Determination

Predestination can be defined as knowing where you are going to arrive and, at times, when you are going to arrive at the chosen location. Pre-determination is another set of definitions all together. Whereas predestination is a plan…pre-determination is a choice decided before the time to make it.

A child, in some societies, is chosen for certain innate capabilities to learn certain trades or subjects and raised, pre-determined, as a gymnast, doctor, or street worker, etc. This is an example of pre-determination. A theatre ticket can be purchased at the movie theatre for a movie chosen before someone arrives at the theatre. This is another example of pre-determination, not predestination. Knowing, when travelling, where to go and how to get there, (provided maps or GPS coordinates), may seem like pre-determination. There are no choices involved except destination and route (which affects arrival time) so a planned trip would actually fall under the definition of predestination.

Explorers do not like the idea of predestination. Traveling roads and highways, any which way, just to see what is out there with no goal in mind is something my father used to do in the car with our family every Sunday afternoon. I would be scared we would run out of gas or that the car would break down, but we always arrived safely back at home. I do not travel often without a plan and destination in mind as an adult. This does not mean, when I take a vacation, that I plan all my events and activities out ahead of time. Usually, I prefer to arrive safely where I am going and then determine what each day will hold as each day comes.

People are different. Some people schedule their days, other people never will. Some people plan vacations and surprise parties, other people like spontaneous celebrations and spur of the moment trips. These differences should be appreciated. Compatibilities should be considered before asking people to live, work, or play together.

There is an illness that causes people to be afraid of situations where they do not know what will happen and exactly how it will happen. Pre-determination allays these fears of insecurity. This type of illness usually causes immobility in any unfamiliar situation. Foreknowledge alleviates the discomfort caused by the extreme need to have a situation under complete control ahead of time.

There is a human spirit where there is free will. Our belief systems are built around these principles. If we know, we can plan. If we plan, we feel better about what we do not know. The questions I ask are not “Who has determined?” or “Who has planned?” Instead I ask human questions: “Where are my choices?” and “Do I know enough to make them?” Not one soul on the Earth is in control of every permutation, event, and decision. If we plan to travel together, it is my hope that we learn to adapt to our freedoms to choose without demanding a common route demands pre-determined decisions.

 

 

 

 

Our Own Pain

There are four types of known pain: existential or spiritual pain; physical pain; social or societal pain; and emotional pain. Pain is defined as: “trouble, care, or effort taken” in one of Miriam Webster’s definitions (there are a few under the entry of the word “pain”). The efforts of the human condition to better our situations usually include measures meant to alleviate one or more of the four types of pain. There is a need to proceed cautiously in eliminating pain and, at all costs, we must learn to own our own pain. We are on a discovery path to cure pain in medicine, politics, and religion where symptoms of pain alert us to problems and wrong situations that may or may not have a solution.

There are two categories for all four types of pain:

1) Good

2) Bad

“Good” pain is explainable by an example:

When I was young, I was a runner and I would run a mile or more almost every day. The efforts to push past tiredness and the limits of my limbs to run further would sometimes cause a type of pain. If I had the will and determination to push my body correctly and continue the run, this pain would work out and the endorphins released would begin to give me a “runner’s high”. This was indicative of “good” pain. The pain I felt did not signify injury or harm and working this pain out produced a healthier runner with stronger muscles and stamina. “Good” pain does not come from injuries. “Good” pain is a signal that keeps us correcting appropriately and “Good” pain can be worked through with beneficial results. This is why all pain must not be eliminated. We would cease to become stronger and we would not be reminded of how to work our solutions correctly.

“Bad” pain is the opposite of “Good” pain. “Bad” pain signals harm, injury, or intolerable conditions. “Bad” pain cannot be worked correctly for benefit. Often “Bad” pain indicates that assistance from elsewhere is needed. The root causes of “Bad” pain must be found and remedied to prevent further damages. In lesser amounts, “Bad” pain can steer us away from dangers that might cause further harm.

Owning our own pain saves us, in many ways, from misinterpreting the causes and origins of our pain and the problems signified by our pain. When I visit a doctor in pain, I have to describe my pain. I have to know what hurts, how it hurts, and the level of pain I am experiencing in order to give the doctor a place to start searching for the root causes of the “Bad” pain. In any of the four categories of pain, we can go awry if we cannot describe our own pain, understand our pain as we experience it, and feel the extent and intensity of our pain within our own parameters. To my mind the most deadly words on the planet are “Let me make you comfortable.”

 
 

 

 

In Response “When Will I Be Loved?”

“When Will I Be Loved?” Never. “Being loved” negates the process of loving one another. Love is a two-way path not working in one direction. “Being loved” is not possible without loving in return. It is not a question of “Am I loved?” but a truth of loving one another.

Fine years of marriage and a divorce taught me that love without being loved in return has no hope for love in either party to survive. The actuality is that love is reciprocal. Hard reality has taught me that to love in the face of not “being loved” only causes hardship, anger, and loss of life. This is evident on a larger scale in regions such as Israel and the Middle East.

We can pretend. Civilization demands certain obedience to conduct and manners that gloss over our true feelings in the matter when dealing with other people. This preserves peace.

When I was twelve and thirteen, I prayed every night for the same boy in my classes in Junior High to love me and notice me. He never did. We cannot make someone love us. This is not an excuse for never loving someone other than our selves. Life has taught me a few lessons:

  1. Do not be afraid to love others.
  2. Do not continue to love when you are not loved.
  3. Do understand that human love is not perfect and that we must work at love.

I see that I can involve myself in the process of loving one another and find love.

Being famous and in the public eye does not change this. There are people who hate and people who love. The whole world never loved anyone and never will. We lift up people that care about what we care about and follow those that give us reasons, whatever those reasons may be, to pay attention.

“When will I be loved?” is a question that cries out for help. It states that there is not enough love from others to sustain the love we give. It is unfair to demand that all the love we need is provided from one other person. In our honest human nature, we do not always love one another and we need the love of others to keep our love together.

I have found it harsh that we segregate and talk about those we may or may not love when we love certain others. I do understand, in my own nature, that there are exclusive types of love (such as husband and wife) that preclude others having the same relationship. “When will I be loved?” is sometimes a question of individual loves and at other times a question of a broader nature asking for people to understand a need for us all to be together. I will never “be loved”…but I do intend to love and care and make a difference- as long as hatred is not all I find in return.

 

Find other essays by other authors on this topic at: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/when-will-i-be-loved/

 

 

Individually Wrapped Pieces of Candy

I am too old to like candy as a reward or a treat, but occasionally I still eat a piece. In the old General Stores, (almost extinct now) there were large barrels of different types of individually wrapped pieces of candy. I am too young to remember General Stores, but when I was very young the equivalent to a General Store was Woolworths. There were not specific items on specified aisles. All the goods in the store were piled haphazardly around. My mother would take us downtown to Woolworths to go through their bolts of cloth to find material for her next sewing project. The toys in the store were wonders that could not be found at Sears or JC Penny’s and the only thing missing was the barrel full of candy.

When I became a teenager, most of the Woolworths had retired and were no longer open for business. I started to worry about things. “Did my blue jeans have the right name sewn on the pocket like everyone else?” and “Was I seen in the Mall at the stores my schoolmates liked?” I started to conform my idea of shopping to the ideas of my peers so that I could have the correct status in a difficult world of children trying to find where we fit in. However, I never quite forgot that my ideas needed to remain my own.

There was a smoke shop downtown throughout my teenage years that sold tobacco, cigarettes, and pedaled a huge candy counter for the children (although there was no Woolworths). My younger brother and I saved our paper route money and walked downtown to pick out candies that you could not find anywhere in the grocery stores. Names like Zotz, Sugar Daddies, Nerds and jawbreakers and pop rocks were only available at the smoke shop. Underage children were allowed in the store, but only for purchases of candy. We were good children and we did not hang out to try for young adults that would “help” us to other items in the smoke shop that we could not buy yet.

I remember that I grew up in a world different from our world today. When I want a piece of candy, I wonder where all of the choices that I had as a child have gone. I never want a whole bag of Tootsie Rolls or butterscotches. We do not sell candy by the piece anymore. Perhaps this is the lesson I was learning as a teenager: we choose our favorites, but we commit to more than just one choice for one short mouthful of sugar. Maybe one day we will not be so afraid of the individually wrapped pieces and we will return to more choices. For now, I only eat candy when I have a special occasion to buy more than I need. Children like candy. I have grown up and candy is optional, but I will not give up on my favorites when my sweet tooth calls.