Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy Ever After

This is repost of an old blog entry from four or five years ago.  I decided to repost it in honor of my upcoming anniversary to the greatest man I know, and also in honor of a dear friend whose daughter is about to embark on her lifelong journey into marriage.  

A bright young friend of mine recently wrote that she is pretty disillusioned about life and love.  She's had a string of bad relationships and is understandably pretty shy about getting into another one.  In the process she's gotten the idea that real "happy ever after" love is unattainable, that it's all a fairy tale and that it's cruel to raise little girls to believe in them.  It sets them up for a lifetime of disappointment and frustration.

Life is full of disappointment and frustration, and no one needs to be set up for it in order to experience that.  Granted, fairy tales do tend to mislead, but it's not what's put into a fairy tale that's the problem.  It's what is left out.  I can tell you, fairy tales are real.

The problem with reading them is that there's no time reference.  They don't tell you anything about the ten or fifteen years or more, of the most uncomfortable times of heartbreak, adjustment, pain, more adjustment, disillusionment, um... adjustment...  that fall some place in between being swept off of your feet and being happy ever after.  Diapers, dinners, arguments, illnesses, jobs, finances and all the rest of the mundane business of life.  They don't write that in the story because no one would read the dang thing!

I like it when some smart director takes a fairy tale type story and makes a good movie out of it by having one of the characters in the movie tell it as a story from his own past.  A good, fairly recent example would be "The Notebook."  There was still a whole lot of the messy business of life that was passed over, sort of left out for the sake of time, the story's continuity, and no doubt saleability, but at least it showed that the relationship was rocky.  It wasn't always magical  and happy.  They clearly loved each other, but they had times of despair and loss.  They had fights and separations.  A lot of movies have that, but the redeeming thing about this movie, the thing that made it better than so many others, was the fact that it was told as a beautiful fairy tale looking back from the end of their lives together.  When all was said and done, how did it all turn out?  How can we judge happily ever after until it is actually after?

Sadly, most people never have enough years to look back on, and they never get to see how wonderfully it could have turned out.  They quit.  They allowed immaturity and selfishness over the course of time to cause resentment and anger.  They never learn that struggle and difficulties, just maturing together, are ties that bind your lives and hearts together.  It turns out to be time, the very thing that creates the beautiful story, that defeats them.  Now that's a tragedy. 

My relationship with my husband hasn't been all roses, but he did sweep me off of my feet back in the beginning.  I was looking for the happily ever after part to be right on it's heels!  For awhile I thought I might be in some sad tragedy instead of my fairy tale!  But the happy truth is that some of the times are wonderful, with great joy and memories that I cherish.   We have more and more of those times with every passing year.  He's still my Prince Charming, and he can still sweep me off my feet.  My fairy tale is unfolding to be exactly what I hoped, happy ever after.  It's the years that make it happen. 

Monday, June 18, 2012


Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997) was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in what is now Skopje, Macedonia.

I hardly know where to start this blog.  How do you put a revelation into words?  I have had a lot going on in my mind, so I am just going to try to spit it out in this blog and see if I can make it clear.

I deal with people... a lot.  I spend a lot of time listening to and watching people.  In all honesty I have to admit going in, that for most of my life I have had a critical nature in all things.  Sometimes that is good because I can see details that need to be dealt with.  I can spot good and bad, needful and excessive, tasteful and tacky, and the list goes on.  That can be taken to a bad place when I look at people in a non-personal way and start seeing their flaws and faults and shortcomings.

It is easy for me to lose patience and compassion for some.  People are what they are due to the choices they have made.  It's their own fault and their own doing, and they are reaping their just reward.  I see them every day.  They are injurious to themselves, their families, and society.  They are a drain on everyone who tries to offer real help.  They have messed up their lives have done so because they wouldn’t listen to anyone.  They whine and pout and want sympathy.  You can't let a pleasantry like, "How are you today" slip past your lips or they'll screw their faces up and dramatically pause before they say, "Well, uh, f-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-n-e.... just pray for me sister."

Now they want help, that is, as long as you don’t you expect them to change anything or actually do anything for themselves. They want everyone to fix it for them.  They expect handouts and charity in whatever currency they recognize, whether they are fulfilled by draining others emotionally or financially, or tapping into the entitlement mindset of 'you all owe me something' because of a bad break or a tough life, ad nauseum.  They are stubborn and practically unteachable, they get angry if you miss your cue and don't perform, and yet I am supposed to reach out to them with a heart of love and help them.  I don't always want to.

At what point are we making the problem worse by catering to them? When have we crossed the line from caring to enabling?  This is a hard and valid question, however, this is only one side of a coin.  The other side may seem a little less offensive on the surface, but just as self-indulgent and counter productive.

There are those in this world who truly are compassionate and honestly care for the hurting and the unfortunate people who live among us.  The likes of Mother Teresa come to mind first.  A true servant of humanity, her heart was a giving and compassionate heart, and her life's work and her legacy reflect that.  She served others out of genuine love.

Unfortunately, service is so often given to people because of the way it makes the giver feel.  I'll step way out on a limb and say that most of the  people I know who appear compassionate are actually operating in this fashion rather than the other.  It's a selfish thing and not an offering or a service at all.   It is a self gratifying, self elevating act of false charity that's worn like a badge.  It puts me in the mind of the scripture in the Bible that speaks about how the Pharisees like the best seats in the house and how they blow trumpets to announce their arrival to pray.  They pray loudly, "Oh, Lord, I am glad I am not like this poor sinner!"

From this group come people who believe you can pass enough legislation to force charity.  They work tirelessly to get laws pass that force others to do what they think should be done for the poor unfortunates.  First off, no one can pass a law that will force others to care, as if caring could be a law rather than chosen attitude.  Gravity is a law; jumping is a choice.  If you push some one into falling is NOT the same as making them want to jump, and it will only successfully anger them.

Secondly, most of the people who want those laws passed are only doing so to make themselves feel good, fulfilled or important, and to relieve a sense of guilt.  If their concern were genuine they would be much busier about doing the work of a servant, like Mother Teresa did.  They would be manning the soup kitchens, distributing clothing,  bringing homeless people under their own roof, baby sitting for the single mother who has to work two jobs, sitting up late nights watching over a vomiting drunk in an alley until he is well enough and able to find a place to lie down in safety.

They don't do these things themselves because it's tacky, dirty, scary, costly, dangerous; because their motivation was wrong  all along.  They want you to do it.  Make it a law for 'someone' to care for them!  'Someone' (else) should do something!  That isn't caring, that is appeasing a guilty conscience.  It is selfish and self indulgent and benefits no one.  It is despisable.  It is THAT mentality that is the cause behind the entitlement mentality, and it is a self-perpetuating, unproductive cycle.  Both sides grow weaker and more self serving and the problems get increasingly worse.

So, seeing the problem doesn't fix it. Feeding the problem doesn't fix it.  Throwing money at the problem doesn't fix it.  "Raising awareness" about the problem doesn't fix it.  Problems need solutions.  What can possibly be done to remedy this situation?  Everyone has their own point of view, their own opinion, their own 'feelings' on the subject.

Modern society would have us believe there are no absolutes because of the fact that we have our own beliefs and opinions, and judging someone else is always wrong.  It is hateful and closed minded, because we base our judgement on our own ever changing perspective or preferences; our prejudices.  How ridiculous!  We judge everything in our lives!   We would be fools not to.  If we didn't, we would do whatever popped into our little minds without care or concern for cost or consequences.  Good reason, bad reason, poorly thought out, overly analyzed: all of a person's decisions are a result of years of training, hours upon hours of life's experiences influencing thoughts that we don't even realize consciously that we have.  We are judging, so telling ourselves that we can not judge is futile, and frankly, stupid.

So many factors influence our character and our perspective that we can not know who has a proper perspective and a correct understanding of things.  Our perspectives are constantly updating and changing with new information and outside stimulus. The fluid nature of our perception really can't be trusted.  Situational ethics and so-called neutral morality stem from this line of reasoning, and you can see why it might, but it all sounds pretty unstable.  It is.  It's very unstable.

It is wrong to judge people on your own criteria.  First of all, it's a personal perspective and a private interpretation, and secondly, more importantly, it's wrong to look at another human being with no more regard, no more respect and no more value than to sum them up, critique them and close the file.  Part of the problem is that we've been conditioned to make snap decisions on the spur of the moment with little or no thought.  It is habitual; it is as natural as eating or breathing.  We determine a persons worth, whether to cast them aside or not, in the blink of an eye, almost unconsciously.  This is horrible. Horrible.

Unfortunately, there is no standard held by all of society.  If there were no standard of measure by which a carpenter constructed a building, it would have no soundness or organization.  If there is no standard by which to measure our selves we will also be unsound without arrangement, and confused.  Everyone would do what was right in his own eyes.  The strong will dominate the weak, the many will overrule the few, and the powerful will dictate to the masses.  We know that in our world we have to have standards.

We have standards of weight, volume, time, and distance.  We have industry standards, standard currency, standard forms to fill out, standard of living, 'old standards', double standards, standard issue and standard poodles; everything in our world has a standard, yet, we have decided that there can not be a standard by which we are to judge or to measure humanity.

There must be a standard.  

Without a standard there is chaos, instability, confusion and strife.  There must be morality and ethics and rules and procedures.  There must be or the structure of our societies will not stand.  We have to have a standard.  Where do we begin?  We are told to be good stewards.  We are told to make good decisions, to discern good from evil and right from wrong as pertains to any situation we find ourselves in, and to any people we enter into relationship with.  Wait-- who  decides good and right?   We do.  Each of us are to judge everything carefully, sometimes in an instant, to do so correctly, all based on the knowledge and understanding we have accumulated from our personal experiences over the years of our lives.  Who told us what or how?  Who told them?  We are told to do something that can not be done without a common standard.  If we use any standard at all, a good one or a bad one, then we are narrow minded, exclusive, intolerant, haters: pick your tag.

Political groups and ethnic groups all jockey for top position on who is going to set that standard.  They start everything from protests to wars and still can not agree on a course of action.  It is because there is no way for mankind to come into agreement.  Despite all the sensitivity and acceptance it isn't going to happen.  For ll the chanting of the 'coexist' mantra, it is just not ever going to happen, and no amount of legislation will force it to.

The beginning of wisdom and the beginning of knowledge is the fear of God, and in knowing Him.  He, His Word, is the Standard.  I realize that many find that unacceptable.  I realize that in modern times the Word of God is archaic and irrelevant to most people's way of thinking.  I also realize that before our society adapted that attitude about the Word of God, and before we became too smart for Him, things hummed along pretty smoothly in the arena of man caring for man.  We didn't need governments to tell us to watch over our neighbors.  We didn't need half hour television infomercials to tell us we should send help to poor nations.  We didn't need court ordered counselling for drug addicts or child abusers.  We didn't concern ourselves about possibly having to attend sensitivity training for pointing out bad or unlawful behavior, and we didn't call people who knew right from wrong 'haters' or judgmental'.  We didn't need to have a confab to decide if we were free or not.

We didn't have to be taught the obvious because our culture passed on what was expected of us as far as social behavior was concerned, and we were shunned if we were wrong.  Yes, wrong.  Not situationally wrong, or wrong in my perspective, but wrong.  Those who were wrong were not lauded for our diverse perspective, or supported for our differences.  Right was right, wrong was wrong, and structure and stability was our strength. Our society was shaped by the Word of God, and our people had self-discipline.  SELF discipline, as in able to discipline ourselves. It wasn't until we strayed away from God's Word, whether in the town square or in the pulpit, that our fabric began to fray.

Ack!  I have to go to the store.  This was a thrown together blog, and it's a bit disjointed, no doubt.  Sorry.  Maybe I'll come back to this.  I'm sure I didn't get it all out of my head right.  lol

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I gained a new follower this week.  WOOHOO!!  Ten followers on my blog!!!  Now we're talkin'.  ;)   I'd like to thank you by name, but the follower' widget is not working.  Thanks anyway, and welcome!  Feel free to comment so I know who you are. No prizes, just... howdy!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Honk! Honk!

They say the first casualty of war (and moving half way across the country) is the plan.

Once the final push to move was on, I formulated a tentative plan.  The first thing I decided I needed to do is to pay off all the small local bills and the credit cards.  Done!  Now that the outstanding bills are all paid I will have my truck serviced and made road worthy.  I had the brakes done last month and I put the truck in the shop yesterday.  Next, I will save money.  I need enough to fund the trip: gas, food, hotels, a small emergency fund, enough to pay to have the big trailer hauled, plus enough for rent on a lot in Texas.  Altogether I should have about three thousand, maybe three thousand, five hundred dollars to make the trip.  I will need to make fast the things inside the trailer, and put everything that is left in the storage trailer, hook up, and go.  Just a few short weeks and I'm gone!  That sounds like a good, doable plan.  All this as soon as I get the truck serviced.  Simple.

Well, in theory.

Close to nine hundred dollars later, my truck is back in the shop and no one seems to be able to tell me what is wrong with it.  This time I took it to a specialty guy.  He should be able to pinpoint it and let me know. It is suspected that it is something simple to fix, like a sensor or a computer module.  It's just a matter of narrowing down the problem and then fixing it. I just wait now, until I know something.

At times like these I could kick myself for getting rid of the old '62 Ford I had back in the day.  Three on the tree, sweet, mint green pick up truck with no computer modules or sensors and nothing that a standard set of tools and a little elbow grease couldn't fix. Parts were cheap and plentiful, gas mileage was decent, reliability was outstanding, and it already had a moderate ration of scratches and dents so I wouldn't be fussing over the paint job.  The stress factor was so much lower for the owner/operator/chief mechanic of such a truck.  I think if a deal had presented itself to me today I would have traded!

Don't get me wrong; my truck is nice and I'm thankful for it.  It's low mile, good looking, fast and powerful for the kind of truck it is.  It's just that I can't look under the hood and identify much of anything.  If it's broken I have to rely on someone else to fix it, and extend trust to him, someone I don't know, that he will deal with me with integrity and honesty concerning something I can't verify is accurate or fair.   I was blessed today to have a friend, 
who is a pretty fair mechanic himself, follow me over there to drop it off.  He talked to the guy in my stead and translated it into less technical terms for me, but he won't be here when I pick it up.  I'm at this guy's mercy-- not a position I am comfortable in.  God, go before me.  I leave it in your hands.

To add to the problem, every time I shell out another couple of bills, I rob my moving schedule of another day or so, pushing it further away. It costs my husband another day on the road.  It keeps us apart another day.  I'm not usually whiny, but I am NOT liking this. Not a bit.  My head can be logical and say, "What's another week?"  
My heart wants to go be with my husband. 

Another aspect of this I don't much care for is the hold it places on the rest of the plan. I don't consider myself a schedule Nazi, but I do like to have a general timetable.  I can't plan for saving the cash or paying final bills until I know the final cost on the truck repairs.  I can't estimate a date to make the move until I  know how long it's going to take me to get the cash together. I can't reserve a driver to pull the trailer or a lot to park it on until I get the other things squared away.  I can't put or extra belongings in the storage trailer, I can't pack the tools or the barbecue grill, and I can't stow the gear.  I can't re-arrange the scheduling of any of the other parts of "the plan" until this obstacle has been overcome.  Bottom line?  I have to wait... some more... again.

Alas... this too shall pass. Despite the discomfort and aggravation, I am confident and know that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord.  It ain't nuthin' but a thang, chicken wang.  A good night's sleep and things will be much brighter tomorrow.

Good night.