Today is Election Day – so, naturally, my mind goes to thinking about the cows I saw this morning on my way to work.
Now I am clearly not a vegetarian (not even close) – and I frankly haven’t cared enough to give a lot of thought to the philosophy of PETA followers – but, I do believe that daily lessons are delivered DAILY (and today it was cows). So here goes.
I like politics – enjoy the political process (hey, I’m current listening to “The President’s Club” on Audible) – and can participate in an impromptu debate/discussion on social and economic issues at the drop of a hat. I’m fiercely patriotic and get choked up seeing soldiers return to their families from deployment and hearing the Star Spangled Banner. I believe with ZERO DOUBT that the United States is the BEST country on this or any planet and that our role in the world is God-ordained and vitally important. I am absolutely convinced that voting is a privilege, a right and a responsibility.
This election has polarized Americans in a lot of ways – and without a lot of reasons – we really don’t “know” which guy is truly the best. We can easily hear what both sides are saying – we’d have to be deaf, dumb, blind and living in a non-Internet accessible cave to not hear. We are being fed a near constant diet of sound bites (or Tweet-sized) packaged to not only “inform” us of candidates’ key positions on important issues – but to further explain why the other guy has it wrong, is misinformed (or just doesn’t understand life). We are all aware of the impact of “Electoral Math” which allows the people of Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan to have much more importance today than usual (or is really deserved for that matter). We know that the President will play basketball today, we saw the Romney’s vote LIVE, and we trembled upon hearing VP Biden hint about 2016. We’ve heard about voter fraud reports where recently deceased convicted felons in this country illegally have voted more than once in both Florida and Ohio. (I even posted a picture of an “I Voted” button on my Facebook and I won’t be voting for 4-5 hours). But – do we really know which guy’s team is going to make a difference? Is my life better because Obama won last time? Will I be happier, healthier and be living a more rich life if the Romney / Ryan ticket wins? What will change? How will we survive?
Fortunately – I know the answer.
My life will be better in the years ahead because I choose now to embrace how blessed I am. I have a family that loves and supports me – a beautiful and brilliant wife that I adore. She’s a spectacular mother, a true partner that makes me better than I can hope (she’s a MUCH better wife than I am husband). I have six amazing children (yes, I count the daughter-in-laws as mine) who somehow, defying logic and all common sense) think I’m smart, cool, talented - a pretty decent guy. I have an adorable 5 year old granddaughter and two beautiful, brilliant and yet unborn granddaughters. I have parents and siblings that helped me become who I am and repeatedly resisted the frequent urges to smack me on the head with a very large shovel. I get paid to do a job I totally love that makes a difference in the lives of others. I AM BLESSED.
So tomorrow (or Thursday, or next week, or after the December 17th vote by the electors of the Electoral College) when this great country has decided on the president – I will continue to love my family, go to work and do my best, continue debating the issue that matter to me (even when I don’t have all the facts) and continue to embrace the CHOICE that my freedom guarantees.
As for the cows – on my way home I will see those same cows. They will look up as I drive by without even a little clue as to what is happening today in America or in my life for that matter – and then resume their mission to consume their full body weight in grass. They will wake up tomorrow and continue doing what they do – they will stand in the cold muddy field, eat, lick on giant pieces of salt, drink un-fluoridated water from a puddle and watch the likes of me drive by.
The lesson: Today is today and tomorrow is the day after that – What do I choose to do with it?
When did telling the truth become obsolete ?
It seems as though being honest, having integrity, doing what you say you’ll do and being honorable no longer has any value. This makes me sad . . . no, it makes me angry . . . no, it makes me worried.
I think it’s important to note that being truthful is MORE than just not lying. Remember when President Clinton was having his Monica Lewinsky woes? His now famous, “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” (Bill Clinton definition of “is” – Slate) statement exposed a whole new world of “truth” understanding and rationalization – and not in a good way. We frequently ignore lapses of truth – in politicians (of course they lie, it is what politicians do) – in advertising (it just isn’t possible for this gadget to do all that, end world hunger, cure cancer and so much more for just $19.95) – in celebrities (naturally, they’re acting, playing a role) and even in business (Enron anyone?). But, when did it become so easy for us – basic, non-famous, ordinary humans? And, when did “lack of truth” become our first choice – even when the consequences of telling the truth were trivial or even non-existent? When did we place a moratorium on guilt and place such a minor penalty on this type of infraction?
Kidding aside – lying is wrong. And I mean lying in the fullest definition – including misleading, creative fact interpretation, revisionist history, reality omission, and of course just plain lying. We teach our kids to tell the truth, we preach it in our churches, we encourage it in society – I think it’s time we make it a priority in our DAILY LIVES.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I am so far from perfect in this regard. I have too often fallen into slanting facts, shading the truth, telling half the story, spinning details like a hyperactive politician and outright lying – I am not proud of it. In fact, I get angered by these actions when I see them in me – I should be better than that. I WILL be better than that. How about you ?
Do you ever look up and watch the birds ? Other than looking out for a “bomb” or two – there is some real value, gain and perhaps some MUCH NEEDED wonderment to be had in pausing for a minute and taking a look. Remember the lessons we learned from Finding Nemo – “Birds are friends – not food” (except for chicken and turkey of course because their not “really” birds).
Birds in flight
- It amazes me that you don’t see, or hear of for that matter, more mid-air collisions involving birds. There don’t appear to be any lanes, traffic lights, turn signals or the such. Mostly looks like some sort of free wheeling, free-spirited, wide open hippie approach to the whole traffic control thing – and yet even when thousands of birds are flying by you don’t see them dropping out of the sky with injuries 0– very cool.
Birds on a wire
- This is where the idea of individuality is on display. Look at a herd of birds (I know it’s supposed to be flock but herd seems like a better word) sitting on a wire – 96.3% are all facing the same way. The remaining 3.7% are facing the other way. Here’s the important questions: Are the 3.7% rebels ? Are they on assignment to keep a look out ? Are they just stupid ? think about it and get back to me.
- Lost ? Lonely ? Depressed ? Anti-social ? or are they alone by choice. Do birds feel the need for some “me time” like people do ? I think they are just more enlightened than the rest – and empowered to be what they want to be where they want to be it and when they want to.
- Not long ago, while driving to work (through the countryside), I hit a bird. It wasn’t deliberate, and I did feel briefly sad about it, but I really had no choice – he hit ME. So, what motivated this bird to play “chicken” with a speeding automobile ? What role did mental illness play in the action ? Did he (or I guess it could be a she – I just usually think of males as the bigger daredevils) regret the decision in the seconds just prior to the inevitable crash ? The same questions arise when you think about the birds that jump in front of jet planes – really did they not see or hear them (my experience has them pretty big and very loud) ?
- Set the scene . . . it’s Saturday morning, you’ve had a rough week (unreasonable boss, sick child, money worries and such) and you’re sleeping in . . . or you thought you were. Right outside you window a bird decides to practice her singing (see here I generally apply the female pronoun to a singer – odd) and she REALLY needs the practice. On and on, over and over she drones on with such lack of skill that you think you’re watching an episode of American Idol. So much for your much-needed sleep – you’ve been cheated, ripped off and disappointed by a bird.
- The infamous gesture known by the “flipping the bird” is odd to me. Does it even look like a bird ? Does it have ANYTHING in common with a bird ? Can we begin a campaign to change the name (so that the real birds of the world are no longer maligned by this negative connotation ? Why is this even in this post ? Answer: It had the word “bird”
Perfect (and typically “safe”) times to look up – at a stop light (don’t miss the light changing green or you may have to deal with “The” bird), in traffic (please be careful), during lunch break (you don’t always have to eat), at a sporting event (GO team!), on vacation (this is a BIG one), on a walk (yes, some people still do this), while doing yard work (it makes it more enjoyable), and many more – please use your imagination here.
So here’s the goal for today: If you truly are interested in being a better employee, husband, father, wife, mom, sister, brother, troublemaker, pain in the _____ , friend or just a better person – there is a lot to be learned from birds if you just take some time redirect your mind and take it in. Do it.
While cleaning my son’s aquarium recently, I had a rather uncomfortable encounter with one of the “residents”. It troubled me – and started me thinking.
- What is it like to be a fish in captivity ?
- Is it different from being in a zoo ?
- If you’ve always lived in such restrictive surroundings, do you know enough to “dream” about being free ?
Now I realize that your typical aquarium dweller did not arrive in our tank by pure happenstance. They were each purchased at a pet supplier – from an aquarium and to ours (with a brief trip in a water-filled plastic bag). I further realize that these fish were born in an aquarium – in fact our home has been “blessed” with new babies being born on several occasions – and I understand that this life is all they know. But, do they wish or dream about something more ? Is there an analogy to the evil that was slavery in the United States to be seen here ? Is it just their place in the universe ?
When these fish swim around and see me walking around – what do they think I am ? Are they fearful at my enormous relative size (compared to them) ? Are they in awe of my ability to walk on legs ? Or my proclivity or breathing air ? Do they view me as some kind of freak or oddity ? Or, do they view me in the context of God or a higher power ? So many questions – so few answers.
What if our world is really like that. Like in the movie “Inception” – where life was dreams inside of dreams that were inside dreams. Maybe we interact with the fish in our aquariums and are in turn being watched by even bigger “creatures” who wonder about our dreary existence in much the same way we look at the fish. Do we yearn for freedom that we don’t understand ? Do we live contentedly because we just don’t know anything else ?
Will it ever make sense ?
“Behold a spec of dust
Floating gently through the air
Suddenly, without warning
It gets in you eye.”
Now I know that there probably isn’t any well researched data on the lifespan of a dust spec – but, logic would suggest that at the very least this little story reflects a life cut unexpectedly short. So, here’s the question – here’s what I’m wondering – What is the spec thinking – what is it feeling ?
Questions to ponder (and thoughtfully consider):
- Is there sadness in the family of the spec ? Or, perhaps joy and a sense of pride (he gave his life doing what he loved or the like) ?
- Was the plunge into the eye a long sought after goal ? Part of a bigger scheme ? An afterthought ?
- Was this a misguided attempt at getting attention ? Was there a girl involved ?
- Is that really “all there is” ? Where do specs go when life is done ? Is there an afterlife (heaven, hell or other) for specs of dust ?
I’m a huge supporter of perspective – it represents one of the best protected bastions of personal expression and allows us to be truly unique (something desperately lacking in this Internet-based, social media enveloped world. I encourage YOU to stretch your mind – choose to seek out ways to view the world and your life from a different (and possibly “odd”) perspective.
Break the mold – be unique !!
To say that I have an “odd” perspective is a huge understatement. In fact, for much of my life, I had considered this oddness to be a flaw in need of fixing – an error needing correction – a habit that must be broken.
Lately, however, I am realizing that hiding it, ignoring it or pretending that this “perspective” was a problem was actually becoming the problem.
Today I break free.
No longer burying it in the shadows of my mind – no more pretending – let the real (and mildly confusing) words flow.
So, be ye prepared for a look at the world from a different point of view – with a different slant – from a previously unconsidered angle. You will wrinkle your nose – furrow your brow – gasp in horror (or at least in disbelief) and, hopefully, perhaps smile. Life is too short to be serious all of the time – serious has a place, JUST NOT HERE.