Societal Obituary

When did I die? For a dead person I am still very much alive. My headstone lies over an empty grave because I am not resting in peace. Survived by my mother, father, brother, sister-in-law, and four nieces and nephew my family members are not part of the places I haunt. I still occasionally get to see them, but my cats know me better. The cats are my constant companions. I had a husband once, but we parted ways almost a decade ago and possibly that was when I died. I never had children, and I am grateful for this. A ghost cannot look after the needs of others. I am a writer still, appearing and disappearing on the pages in ink. Once in awhile I travel places to enjoy the laughter and conversation of other people. They tend to forget me if I do not come around more often.  I remember my life and my temporal existence is not horribly bad off, most days. However, I like to talk about myself and what it is like to be in this way and where I was before. Other people bore by these stories and they want to discuss their children and their churches and their own troubles. I have learned to listen, as well, but a ghost must at times weep and mourn and work out his or her own chains. I have not forgotten who I am and I do want others to know me.  The trouble is that we do not connect in the same world the same way, and sometimes this frightens the living. I get cold and I get angry because I am not always happy with the way things are.  Often, I wonder if helping others will release me to a better level of comfort. Sometimes I put my energies to work following this idea and it seems that I remain the same. I am still here and I do not like the idea that one day I might not be any longer.  It is easier to write about life than to try to reclaim it. Perhaps my name and my pen are less scary to others than watching me float through their environment without knowing why I am there. Other ghosts visit once and awhile, but we are territorial and solitary because every ghost carries their own pain.  I have been told one day I will see the light. My peace is often darkness. Walking in the sun is not difficult, but the nighttime hides my decomposition and I find people understand ghosts that do not pretend to still exist in the same manner as the living. I find there is less incompatibility with others when we accept one another. The intrusions of planes of existence colliding should be handled gracefully because they remind us we are not alone. There is a reason I have not passed from the Earth, whatever the reason. I may be dead, but I am still alive.



The parable of the two pennies

Budget cuts are fearsome and wars are waged between special interest groups for the money to sustain and maintain current operations and benefits.  There are many types of justifications for what is and is not important to spend federal and state  money on…when there is any to spend: Public opinion counts, return on investment counts, social problem elimination counts, and the list goes on and on for criteria used to evaluate monetary spending by a government with precious little to spend.

This reminds me of the parable of the two pennies:

“Two children, one boy and one girl lived in the same house.  The boy was allowed outside to play and the girl always had to remain inside. They both had two pennies and they both wanted a piece of gum costing five pennies. The boy was out on the sidewalk playing and he found three other pennies. Being a good boy, he thought he would pick them up later if the owner did not reclaim them. The next time he went outside the pennies had gone. Their single parent also only had two pennies. Knowing the boy had found three pennies and missed his chance to pick them up, the parent wanted to buy a piece of gum for the girl and let the boy suffer under his mistake. There still was not enough for a piece of gum for the girl with four pennies. The parent was wise and realized the boy and girl could split one piece of gum between them if the children put their pennies together and the parent only contributed one more penny. Since the boy and girl were willing to share, this worked out and the children both had gum while the parent kept one penny.”

If there is one problem of the same nature within any suffering part of the population, wisdom does not start to define criteria for those who might have had a solution if they had done differently or been wiser. Drilling down for different categories within one problem set does not solve the problem; this just differentiates elements within the set.

We need to be careful. Solutions are better than condemnations and alienations to determine who is and is not worthy of our help. Penalizing for preventable or remediating factors does not better a situation that already exists. Judgments need to be suspended on causal factors when dealing with an immediate problem. Assistance in many areas is needed in our population crossing economic, social, and ethnic strata.  Perhaps we need to decide to allocate resources like the wise parent in the parable of the two pennies.  A parent left penniless can do no more for his or her child and the children must offer their own resources for their own benefit.

This is not a day and time of the “good” child or the “bad” child.  In our struggles to emerge in this economy it is more important that the children are together.




A Good Place to Lie Down

My cat scratched at a piece of paper laying on the coffee table, kneading the page into a good place to lie down.  This reminded me that most of us want a comfortable resting place when we are tired or ready to sleep and that usually we have prepared such a place kept ready for our needs.  The United States Baby Boomer population is aging, our economy is in a state of barely possibly recovering, and the children from our generation are playing games on their iPods and Game Boys.  Where is our comfortable place to lie down?

According to the US Census Bureau, The United States population within the 30 year-50 year age range comprises approximately 25.3% of the people. We are the middle-aged children coming into their own without a comfortable answer. Our parents gave up their retirement funds to help us out and make ends meet and they are still working even though they are at an age to leave the workforce. The younger generations are up and coming and they are techno savvy in a world changing constantly with plenty of opportunities for those young enough to keep up.  In the past, by the time someone was 45 they had made their answer in life.  Their job, family, and social standings were stable and it was time to relax and know the comfort factor of solid achievement.  We don’t have that in our world today. The next answer and the next answer is all we keep reaching for without finding our answers.

My age group is a minority (I am 43).  We are one fourth of the people and we are responsible for three fourths of the population, younger and older, whom rely on our incomes and our resources. Our decision making capability is hampered by an aging population that will not let go of position and taken out of our hands by a younger population that does it faster, easier, and cheaper. When they ask us why we are about ourselves, we can answer truthfully that if we are not we won’t have anything to call our own.

Most of us intend to retire as soon as possible.  We do not want to work, like our parents, until we have no choice- because we have no choices.  Our kids are better at the games than we are, and they don’t care too much about our answers. Mostly, we don’t connect. Truthfully, they can have the world- as long as they don’t expect us to provide it.  We are taking care of ourselves.

In this economy the question is crucial: “When we get where we are going will there be any place left?” I don’t know.  In a world where responsibility is illusory, money isn’t working, and technology leaves tired people trying to understand the next development tomorrow- some of us just want a good place to lie down.  Once we find it, most of us aren’t getting back up.



Today, Tomorrow, and the Future

The present day was once the future of the past, and the future of today is our present tomorrow. When considering our present tomorrow, or our futures, there are sociological, economical, ecological, and theological elements to consider. Human questions we ask: How will we interact? ; What will be the quality of life? ; Where will we dwell? ; Why will we believe in our beliefs?   However the question, “When will the future arrive?” is hardly ever a spoken question.  The future never arrives.  We exchange one present day for the next until we die. The future is always for our children when we are no longer around, for then it is not the replacement of day after day but a day we do not see.  Rapid changes in society, technology, and environmental surroundings have occurred just within the last thirty to forty years of our life spans. We are so eager for our futures that we have forgotten the future was never ours. Tomorrow becomes today; the future always is ahead.

Visions of how we may become or where we wish to be move us into our tomorrows with answers and more questions. To truly decide on a future is to influence a world we will never see.  We wish to leave some part of ourselves behind, to protect our children when we are no longer there, and to leave better answers in place than we were given to begin with.  There are those who would argue that we have not prioritized correctly, or that we have used and wasted our resources. Others would reply that we probably should not care so much about a future in the face of our needs today.  Viability of the human race depends on perpetuation.  There is a catch in perpetuity in that it does not last eternally.

Planning for tomorrow is not accepting or reaching toward a future. It is the reason our todays are not always the same.  This is how we improve and it is how we deteriorate, we plan for tomorrow. There are two reasons the future is not recognized as a worthy endeavor: 1) Complacency and cognizance that today does not need to change and 2) anger at today’s answers that desire a different tomorrow.  Both of these reasons require tomorrow, not the future. To become more than ourselves, when we are no longer a concern, is beyond both of these points of view.

To truly strive for the future is selfless.  There also can be no tomorrows without today.  When our tomorrows end the future begins. We must not forget our today and we will always plan for our tomorrows, but the future is not ours. In the hope of eternity, we dream for the future.  However, our eternity is not now, it is not in the present of today, and far removed from our achievements and our struggles is the forever of the days we leave behind us.  We remember and we will be remembered.