It’s all in how you look at it ~ Late Evening Thoughts …



Let’s file tonight’s story as “It’s All In How You Look At It” … OK?
My good friend, also called Bill, and I were out visiting friends in low places. At the end of the evening, we stopped at the 59 Diner for some really great food and fun service. (diner waitresses you know…). We got the same waitress we had last time, who I swear is Inspector Gadget with the decaf coffee pot permanently attached to her hand….. The other waitress in our section came by the table and I asked about the big party that had left shortly before we arrived. Found out it was a party of 27 college kids, complete with their bongos (was I transported back to the 60’s?) … I could ONLY imagine how much fun that part would have been. And yes, I’m being serious – it would have been fun …
In the meantime, four fellows who had visited in even lower places came in and took a booth not too far from us. Well, took a booth is perhaps the wrong description … It involved pouring one of them into the booth.
Alas, this same one reached the end of his night and his head crashed onto the table. At this point, two phones came out and the scene is being video taped.


Now, here’s where how you look at it comes into play. All I could think of was 1) this is most likely going to appear on Facebook/twitter and 2) this kid is going to have a tough time living it down. My friend and I had some good chuckles over what he was going to be teased about when he finally “came to” and then – then – it happened.

Yes, that moment when ALL the alcohol consumed and bar snacks decide they need to come up and out for air.

At that point, I realized that his name had instantly changed to “Mr. Throw-up” and he was going to have a more difficult time dealing with that one.
Remember I mentioned diner waitresses? Well, one cardinal rule: Don’t make their life more difficult than it is. Don’t, just don’t.

She was there in a flash and informed the three to get him out of there…as in now. It was fun to watch them try to get Mr. Limp Body out of the inside of the booth, out the exit door and into the car. The three came back in and she’s standing there with a large take-out box and informed the three that THEY were to put the “excess protein evacuation”* (my words NOT hers) into the box and clean it up to not to make more work for the rest of them. LOL
She also had their food on another table already boxed up, and (diner waitresses again) asked if they wanted THAT box in a bag to remind Mr Throw-up in the morning… LOL
Meanwhile, those around are quite conscious of what happened and were chuckling some in amusement and some with rueful memories no doubt.
Here’s my point (and the world sighs – thank God) … We could have been upset, offended and Lord only knows what else…demanded to be accommodated elsewhere and a discount on the check (really – I’ve been in restaurants where that happened) But seriously, it didn’t really effect us or our meal. I know there are those who ARE but much of that is simply in their mind.
We would have had to disrupt our meal, conversation etc. and would have missed watching Diner Waitresses in action. >shrug< seems pretty simple to me.
OH, yes – as we were leaving the four were somewhat standing outside and yes – the kid was being referred to as “Well, Mr. Throw-up over there”.


“protein evacuation” was the term at Disneyland I heard only once to explain why we were being held up in line.

Seal Picture – NBC San Diego
Diner Waitress

Life Is More Than A Bumper Sticker ~ Late Afternoon Thoughts

On a site I follow daily, they posted about depression as living in the past. There’s a tremendous truth to that…However, those of us living with depression for any length of time also know “the mind is a dangerous place to wander in, unaccompanied – especially at night.” And that depression is more than a bumper sticker.

Over these last few years – you’re welcome to read about it in other posts – I’ve also discovered there’s a huge difference between the “dark night of the soul” and a “dark night”. Tuesday was one of those “nights”.

Duane Townsend (.com)

Duane Townsend (.com)


It’s a feeling of things not being quite right, of emotions that want to come to the forefront for no apparent reason. It’s a soft feeling of dread. A feeling of loneliness that may or may not have roots in reality.

It’s a terrible feeling when you that in your mind there’s no one to call … which is vastly different from the feeling there’s no one who cares

Sometimes, I set the timer and just “let it all hang out”,~ however,  sometimes – such as tonight – it’s more important to do a version of what AA calls fearless moral inventory. I do what I call a version of that because when I’m doing this inventory, I must sit quietly and track back where this is all coming from.


You see for those of us with severe depression, there is no “It will suddenly get better”, “snap out of it, quit being selfish”, “fake it ’till you make it” or “Pray and all will go away as if it had never been”. If such things had worked for me, there wouldn’t be the gash scar on my forehead or the long scar on my neck from the exploratory surgery to see if I’d damaged something after I’d tried to commit suicide.

And I've actually had a couple of these tossed my way ...

And I’ve actually had a couple of these tossed my way …

For those of us with severe depression, it’s a life-long job. And 99% of the time, it’s a job that’s actually quite easy…it’s that 1% which gets really, really difficult and makes even doing the simplest tasks a major undertaking.

And here’s the other “rub” … sometimes when we are going through these “dark night(s)” … it’s highly possible no one will know. We’re awfully good at hiding. There are those we can’t hide from – ourselves and our [don’t judge my term here – there’s a reason for it] higher power, and eventually, one of the two (if not both) will get our attention …

When I was at CRU, they gave us a tool called F.L.A.S.H to instantly check our feelings (which as you know, feelings are neither right NOR wrong – they just are.). F-fearful, L-lethargic, A- angry, S- sad. (not just “down” but sad) and last H-happy. Of course, being the sane adults we all were, we laughed quietly at such a childish idea. Childish until you realize that given the letter – you then must try to identify why. Not necessarily solve it, but identify it ….. Ah, not so childish or easy now, is it ….
So, after – OK, the truth – two days of F,S,S,F,A (FSSFA sounds like a bill from a drunk congressional committee) I can say I’m firmly in the H camp.

This isn’t a call for pats on the back … but rather part of my ongoing attempt to be honest and transparent with others …

We will now resume your regularly scheduled broadcast. 

Odd Thoughts Because It’s Been An Odd Day ~ Late Afternoon Thoughts.

There’s been a lot going on this week.  I have a friend at Stage (end) cancer, another friend that is facing what could be heart failure.  I’ve been strong and uplifting until last night …. that’s when I discovered that the well had run dry.  I’ve been around long enough and through enough (look back through this history of the blog for those episodes that really revitalized my outlook) to know that it’s bound to happen.

Even counselors know that a sponge can only absorb so much, and then all that has to be squeezed out or the sponge becomes of no use.

Today, then – became a quiet and reflective day.  However (comma) I really wanted a few things to possibly 1) kick me in the behind to make me move (LOL) or 2) make me laugh and/or 3) inspire me ….

Here’s the laugh factor …. as a preface – the Mouse House (AKA Disney Studio) is NOT known for their sense of humor in regards to what others might do with their material.  I’ve been surprised at some of what on YouTube is allowed to remain and not so surprised at what they’ve wanted removed.

In this case, they took the recording outtakes/bloopers from The Lion King and animated them and included them (evidently) in The Lion King DVD … I’m still chuckling over parts – especially the last one.  I have to admit when I saw the film the first time (and the stage show) a part of me wondered if that had ever happened.

And now – THIS video made my day just to be able to watch these folks fly … and what a rush it must have been for them …..

Let me quote:

Wingsuit flying is the sport of flying the human body through the air using a special jumpsuit, called a wingsuit, which adds surface area to the human body to enable a significant increase in lift. Modern wingsuits, first developed in the late 1990s, create the surface area with fabric between the legs and under the arms. A wingsuit may be referred to as a birdman suit, flying squirrel suit, or bat suit.

A wingsuit flight normally ends with a parachute opening, so a wingsuit can be flown from any point that provides sufficient altitude to glide through the air, such as skydiving aircraft or BASE jumping exit points, and to allow a parachute to deploy.

The wingsuit flier wears parachute equipment designed for skydiving or BASE jumping. The flier deploys the parachute at a planned altitude and releases the arm wings, if necessary, so they can reach up to the control toggles and fly to a normal parachute landing.

Now that my heart has stopped racing … enjoy…..


And They Came To Believe And It Came To Pass ~ Late Evening Thoughts

[updated video link 9/26/2012]

Hopefully, by the time I’m done this post will make sense.  Starting with Friday, this was an amazing weekend for me.  I celebrated a dear friend’s birthday, went with two VERY dear friends to Rocky Horror Picture Show with a wonderful, silly and noisy audience, and Sunday went to a club where I actually felt free to dance and not worry about the “youngers” standing on the sides going “ewwwww”!  I also, at the club had my inner theater geek (30+ years in theater will do that do you) explode as I got to see ~ but sadly not touch ~ the computerized controls for the entire light system.  Yes, it was an amazing, exhausting but fun weekend.  A true mountain top experience.

As we all know, you really can’t live on the mountain top ~ you inevitably must go down into the valley.  And that’s where I came to today.  One thing I’ve learned is that there’s really no good grass or water on the mountain top, it’s down in the valley.  While the valley may not be totally comfortable and it’s certainly NOT the high of the top, it still is very, very important and extremely worthwhile ~ if you let it.

As I was dealing with the “down” of today, my mind went to some of my friends complaints that I have a tendency to believe in people far longer than I should.  I know that it is sometimes a problem.  I had one person I was trying to help who fell into the pattern of using me to “have a place to stay to sober-up, get a little food to eat, clothes washed and a little money” – rinse, repeat.  I have another that I have such a soft spot for…a couple of years ago, he was trying to spark a business and I made an investment.  Not in the business, but in him.  I believed in him then, and I believe in him now.  I’m seeing some pay-off from the investment, but I must be the only one so far.

But as I was wondering in my mind ~ there is a saying that “My mind is a dangerous place to wander in, unaccompanied ~ especially at night ~ I began to question my belief in people.  Then, my inner “me” took me back through much of my life … the problems in college, relationships that failed – badly, the three suicide attempts.  It was the third attempt  (which I posted about here before – feel free to read the history),  when at the CRU – the Crisis Residential Unit – that someone actually said they believed in me.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there were plenty that believed in me, but somehow I had to come to the bottom before I could really realize it.  And as I climbed out of THAT “slough of despond” I became acutely aware of how powerful our belief in someone can be.  Oh, I’ve done it before, but there always seemed to be an agenda.  Now, I’m working agenda free.

To me, that’s where the power really begins.  You see someone not just as they are, but as they could be for themselves…..not as the person YOU want them to be.  I can’t change anyone, I can only encourage and believe in them.  They may not take the paths I would have or would have chosen – but they are on their own journey not mine.

I’m going to post more on this at another time, but also during the “down” of today, I found this video.  Here’s the power of only ONE person believing in someone.  He had only one person, his grandmother…I still cry each time I watch this video.  I want my life to be as she is … in the background, but believing.  That’s one of the things I’d like to be remembered for when – in the not too distant future – I’m gone that someone will say: “He believed in me”.

First off, I’m sorry there will probably be an ad (it is from You Tube after all) and please watch it all the way through and see what terrible power being told “you’re not good enough” can have over someone.  I’m not saying we have to encourage someone when they obviously can’t do something.  There’s no way at my age and (ahem) physical condition I’ll be an Olympic athlete – but there’s other things I can do…. and so can you.

[It appears I own an apology to Freemantle AND X-factor UK …Here’s the video embedded]

See people where they are, and for who they are … and as I used to tell my speech students, don’t change the pattern, just eliminate the flaws.

Early Afternoon Thoughts ~ The Day You Think You Are Too Old To …

When I flew up to Montana several years ago to conduct my Mother’s memorial service, I stayed at her house.  On the coffee table was a book whose title I believe was “Getting Old Isn’t For Sissies“.  As I glanced through the book one statement struck me and has stayed with me since.  Part of the statement is the title of this post:

“The day you think you are too old to do something, is exactly the day you should do it …” 

That has governed a lot of my thinking over the past few years.  I love the statement “I will get OLDER, there is nothing I can do about that.  However, I refuse to get OLD.”

At my current … ahem …. age,, I know that I’m no longer 21, 31, 41 or even 51 … but I have developed a love for life and living that I pray I never lose.  That’s why, when I saw this video today, it really struck a chord with me.  I have admit I laughed and laughed while watching this.  This fellow is amazing and so are those around encouraging him.  He’s certainly not lost his love of life!!!

(sorry that it’s a link…for some reason it won’t embed!!!)

Which got me looking for some of my favorite quotations and some new ones…

Getting older is no problem. You just have to live long enough.
Groucho Marx
The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.
Madeleine L’Engle
Part of getting older is realizing that you can integrate all these different areas of your life, rather than the adolescent mindset, which for me lasted a long time, which says, ‘It’s all or nothing.’
Chris Robinson
The minute you’re born, you’re getting older.
Doris Roberts

This one is probably one of my favorites:                                                                                           Do not regret growing older.  It is a privilege denied to many.  ~Author Unknown

The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.  Doug Larson

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years.  We grow old by deserting our ideals.  Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.      Samuel Ullman

I still have a full deck; I just shuffle slower now.                                                             Author Unknown 

What are some of your favorites?

Early Evening Thoughts ~ The One Last Ride ~

I’ve written about my suicide several times over the last few years, but one aspect that I didn’t cover was one that I really preferred to keep somewhat unknown.  It wasn’t an attempt to keep it secret (if you’ve followed this blog, you know me better than that…) as much as a problem in knowing how to handle this.  When all was said and done, the Dr. felt that I had possibly had 2-3 concussions one right after another … as a result, for several months afterward, I had a lot of difficulty with sentences, names and remembering certain things.  It was, in all honesty, one of the most terrifying times of my life.  I was afraid that I had possibly done severe brain damage (cutting off one’s oxygen supply and hacking one’s neck with an eXacto knife will have a tendency to do that sort of thing…)

At the least, I was afraid that I might have triggered Alzheimer’s and all that would entail.  Fortunately, none of that happened.  Gradually, words, memories and such returned and I seem to hold no further problems from it.

I was and am blessed with wonderful children, and friends who simply said to me – if it happens it happens and we’ll deal with it then.  In other words sir … quit borrowing trouble from the future, you’ve got enough to deal with right now …. and how right they were.

This story, which I understand like yesterday’s has been making the rounds for sometime now, made me cry.  Not only for her, but for the blessings that I have of people around me who know me and mercifully still love me! What would it be like without anyone? I really don’t care if and haven’t looked up to see if the story is true.  The story still makes me cry every time I read it …. [update: the story is true … I just looked it up]

A NYC Taxi driver writes:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next few hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

And We Got Here How? (Part 1) ~

When I first began to gather my thoughts for this “ramble” … I was concerned with discourse, or lack of discourse.

As I thought and worked through how I want to try and connect my thoughts – yesterday, THIS report was released by the PEW foundation – which has been polling the polarization of America since 1986.  This report, which I’m going to link to in it’s entirety, shows that we are more polarized than we’ve been since they began tracking.  This does not surprise me in the least.

As I’ve said before – I’m a member of several forums, follow an insane number of blogs and news sites (and the comments) as well as being part of World of Warcraft and Pogo games.

I cut my computer “teeth” – so to speak – in the AOL chat rooms of all kinds – where one had to have an advanced degree in AOLese or AOL speak or you would be five conversations behind everyone else.  (For those who may not know, you had to learn to read through the typos/spellings and strange constructions because people were typing so fast and thinking so quickly that sometimes things didn’t quite match-up.)

All of this introduction is to simply say, I didn’t need the PEW organization to let me know “There’s Trouble In River City”, all I’ve had to do is be around people on-line and even in real life.

What has happened over the years is a steady decline in the ability of people of differing beliefs, hopes, dream, ideas, lives to even civilly approach each other.  At one time, personal opinion, you either were willing to listen to another person or you didn’t interact with that person at all.  Much of time now, I feel it has become a game of seeing who can one-up another in either hate/degradation/intimidation/provoking (not to be confused with trolling – that’s a special sub-set of behavior!!)   or proving how much more someone knows than anyone else.

Just the other day on Facebook, I entered into what I thought was a discussion involving the concept of gay marriage (how’s that for a hot button at the beginning of these postings?) and the difficulty someone had found in talking to someone else about it.  Those of us who are friends with this person and know the overwhelming love in her heart for all people, commiserated with her and offered some light-hearted and yes, even snarky thoughts to help.  Another person had entered the conversation and within two posts it had devolved into 1) necrophilia 2) pedophilia and 3) bestiality.  Even with AOL speak, I couldn’t figure out how we’d gotten there.  It became very obvious that the person simply wanted to anger everyone and bait everyone into an “argument” so that they could present themselves as a 1) winner 2) extremely knowledgeable and at the same time 3) the victim.

So, how did we get here? There were news events from when PEW began tracking the polarization: 1984 The Aids Virus is identified it is not the worldwide problem it is today. Following on from the PC Apple releases the Macintosh computer. Following the Widespread Famine in Ethiopia many of the top British and Irish USSR pop musicians join together under the Name Band Aid and record the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. Following the boycott by the US of the Moscow Olympics the soviet block boycotts the Los Angeles Olympic games. Recession continues to be a problem in the US and 70 US Banks fail in just one year.  But I think it goes back to even before that.

Here are three images and comments that will start this series of posts ~ and hopefully, you’ll forgive the length of this one…

At this point in time, we as a people were pushed into the realization that those dedicated to protect us, could indeed seem to turn against us.

Kent State by John Filo

Add to that another realization that perhaps our view of life wasn’t quite so quaint as we wanted to believe.

Birmingham Alabama 1963
I don’t know whose picture this is


And lastly – an event that shook our already shaky belief in our government.

So bear with me, and more on this journey of thought over the next few days ….

And So I Begin ~

Over the next few days, I’m going to take one of my rambles.  As I’ve been reading and listening and watching I’ve been disturbed by the discourse, or rather the lack of discourse that seems to be permeating everything.  I’m a member of several public and private forums, a long time member of Pogo games, I’m on Facebook and have a pretty extensive list of blogs and magazines that I follow regularly – OK, daily.  There are several places I generally stay out of the comments – YouTube, for instance – as I don’t expect any level of civility, reason or coherent thought.  But over the last few years, a lot of places have degraded seriously …


I have some thoughts on why – unfortunately, I’m not sure I have any solutions …. but, perhaps as I write – some will come to me….

Please Pass (Over) The Nuts ~ Late Morning Thoughts

Christian Hate And Christian Witchcraft

Christian Hate:
This week the Westboro Baptist Church (God Hates Everyone Except Us) founded by Fred Phelps ( tried to go into Canada to hold a hate-filled protest at the funeral of the innocent man who was decapitated on a bus trip. Quoting from Paul Gackle,Winnipeg Free Press as published in the National Post:

Residents rallied Thursday to protect the family of a young man murdered on a Greyhound bus last week from a posse of radical religious protesters planning to portray Tim McLean’s death as God’s wrath.

Earlier this week, the Westboro Baptist Church – an organization branded as a hate group and infamous for protesting the funerals of slain U.S. soldiers – announced they would picket Mr. McLean’s funeral to let Canadians know that his decapitation was God’s response to Canadian policies enabling abortion, homosexuality and adultery.

But Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of church’s founder, Fred Phelps, said a small group of protesters was stopped at the Canada-U.S. border on Thursday afternoon.

“They won’t let us in, but we have a group that will cross in another spot,” she said. “They’ll have to strip search everyone who crosses that border or they won’t know who we are. They’ll have to see the WBC (Westboro Baptist Church) tattoo on our butts.”

The resistance to the planned funeral protest started on Facebook yesterday morning when Jim Cotton, a resident of Winnipeg Beach, launched a page asking city residents to help protect Mr. McLean’s funeral. . .

. . . Mr. Cotton was outraged and asked Winnipeg Facebookers to circle around the seven picketers tomorrow and pray for Mr. McLean’s family.

By mid-afternoon Thursday, Mr. Cotton’s page had over 100 friends. Rodney Taylor, an Ottawa resident, found the page and pitched in.

Mr. Taylor phoned the Prime Minister’s Office, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day’s office and border services, asking them to keep the Westboro group out of the country. He also created his own Facebook page urging other offended Canadians to follow his lead.

“These people are callous, vicious and shouldn’t be let into our country,” he said. “We have freedom of speech, but they are inciting hate.”

Mr. Taylor’s plan worked. Winnipeg NDP MP Pat Martin said his office was flooded with phone calls yesterday from angry Winnipeggers.

“These people [from Westboro] are almost as crazy as the murderer,” he said. “If they are here to disrupt the social order, that constitutes grounds to deny them entry. There is no redeeming virtue in the message they are bringing.”

According to Mr. Martin, Mr. Day’s office sent an alert to border patrol to “look out” for people with signs and pamphlets that fit the hateful messages that the church promotes and to keep them out of the country.

“In the opinion of his office, coming up here with the message they’re articulating constitutes hate speech,” said Mr. Martin.

Members of the Kansas-based fundamentalist sect were already planning to picket in Canada prior to last week’s bus slaying. The group was scheduled to protest in Toronto Thursday night at the opening of playwright Alistair Newton’s “The Pastor Phelps Project: a fundamentalist cabaret”, which satirizes their leader’s fervent anti-gay stance. . .

. . .In 1999, the Canadian government said it was powerless to prevent Mr. Phelps from entering the country when he was planning a protest in Ottawa over a Supreme Court ruling extending rights to gays and lesbians.

At that time, the government said the minister could only make exceptions at the border to grant people entry who might otherwise be denied, not deny people entry who would normally be admitted. . .

. . .The Winnipeg Police Service said they were not planning to block the funeral protest if the group successfully crossed the border, but they were prepared to be on hand if necessary.

This hate group was a no-show at the funeral ~ citing concerns for their safety – but in actuality they must have realized that they lost the opportunity for publicity as 250 Winnipeg residents were on hand to protect the funeral and the family.

What troubles me so much is that this group – while spewing hatred for everything and everyone that doesn’t believe in them are now trying to export this brand of hatred. Adding insult to injury, they are also spewing in the name of God, that God has already decided who is going to Heaven and who is going to Hell, so it makes no difference what you do – (unless you’re a Westboro church member – which automatically grants you access through the Golden Gates). I’m not going to get into the murky waters of predestination and/or pre-ordination. But rather the manner they are going about it.

The church itself (as a non-profit organization) is supported by the donations of its members and those who share their perverted view of God’s law and God’s attributes. And without publicity, their donations would, in fact, start to dry up. Trained as a lawyer, Fred Phelps was disbarred in 1979 by the Kansas Supreme Court, which asserted that he had “little regard for the ethics of his profession.” Which says a lot to me.

Once a group moves from sharing what they believe and trying to beat people into submission of ONLY what they believe ~ they have moved into being a cult, not a belief. But to this group of hate-mongers it makes no difference. They have become publicity whores and donation driven. How else could he and his family afford all these trips to perform at “20,000 protests” (their claim) and put fairly well done videos on the web? Being non-profit gives them incredible tax advantages which helps fund their activities.

But here’s what troubles me the most. What is it within people that makes them believe in this kind of activity and speech? Is it within each of us to fall into this kind of trap? Is there something within me that festers and decays that would allow me to live in that kind of hate and fear? That’s the troublesome question. I have some very strong held beliefs, could those turn into a driving force pushing me “over the edge?”

–thus endeth part one of today’s meditation

A Small Parable ~ Early Evening Thoughts

He sat on the bank looking longingly at the water. The sky reflected on the moving surface created a continually changing pattern – sometimes calm, reflective and sometimes dark, foreboding. But always, the water seemed inviting and yet, challenging. He’d been warned that the water was dangerous. That it was deep, full of currents – riptides that would pull him under. However, as he looked he could almost hear music that the ripples and/or waves made as they pushed against the shore.

Then, as sometimes happens – a storm came up. There was tremendous wind, thunder and lighting. It should have been impossible to hear anything above the fury of the storm, but he was positive he could still hear the sound of the water against the shore.

As always, the storm finally faded away – and peace resumed again. The water looked as if it had never changed. The sound of the ripples against the shore line moved him to stand and move toward the edge.

“There’s nothing in there for you.” said a voice behind him. He turned to look. “Nothing in there but deep roiling currents that could take you and smash you against the rocks and crags. Leaving you broken and possibly dead.”

“This kind of water is best left alone.” said another voice. He moved his head to one side to see the speaker. “This kind of water offers nothing …nothing but – well, they say it has poisonous properties that can eat away at the flesh. This kind of water supposedly has sharp microscopic animals that dig in and cause great pain.”

He shook his head in disbelief. “Have either of you ever been in the water?” was his not so subtle challenge to the two speakers. He was met with silence. “I thought so,” he finally said to them.

So, he turned back and watched the water under the setting sunlight. The rays of light skittered across the surface and seemed to dance before his eyes. Then he saw it. In the middle of the water was a small boat, and standing in that boat a solitary person. This person seemed to be looking directly at him. (If the truth be told, it was too far to be sure that’s what the person was doing, but to him it seemed as if he was.)

With only a moments hesitation, he took the first step into the water. It was warm, pleasant without sharp creatures. He took another, then another. Finally the walking placed the water at his knees. He continued to move into the center of the water. He now was creating ripples that pushed toward the shore and toward the small boat in the center.

The water was now up to his waist and yet, all was peaceful. With his eye on the target, he moved further and further away from the shore. Suddenly he realized – the fear of what he didn’t know had been keeping him back on shore. The advice of those on the shore could have kept him there and he would never had tried.

He was approaching the small boat and its occupant. The water was no higher than his waist. The depth and fear was nothing more then an illusion. He realized he could handle this. This was manageable and would provide many memories in the days to come.