Archive for February, 2009

A BRIEF BIBLE-STUDY

This morning, before going to sleep, I thought of a statement Jesus makes.  I don’t know why I thought of it, but this is quite normal for me–I constantly think of things, having no idea what triggered the thoughts.  Jesus says the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.

This had always puzzled me–ever since I learned it, at the Christian school I attended for nine years.  Because what was previously first is now last, and what was previously last is now first.  So now what was previously last becomes last again, and what was previously first becomes first again!  

Then it hit me–that’s exactly right!  Although Jesus doesn’t mention it, this is an infinite cycle!  The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.  Then the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.  Then the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.  Then the first shall be last, and the last shall be first…

And I was reminded of the yin-yang symbol (what I consider to be the closest thing to a picture of God).  The caption on my poster of it reads, “…The yang force [is] the light, active, generative essence.  The yin force [is] the dark, passive, receptive essence.  From their interaction all things come into existence and are dissolved.”

On my poster, as well as a bookmark of mine, yang is on top.  But I’ve seen other depictions in which yin is on top.  I think both are accurate.  There’s a parallel here.  The first (yang) shall be last, and the last (yin) shall be first.  Then the yin shall be last, and the yang shall be first.  Then the yin shall be first, and the yang shall be last.  Then the yang shall be first, and the yin shall be last…

Yin and yang are not stationary–because they could not interact if they were.  The yin-yang symbol is constantly revolving, so that yang is on top (first), then yin is on top, then yang is on top, then yin is on top…

I find such parallels constantly.  And they convince me that the different religions and philosophies of the world have far more in common than we realize.

INSIGHT-OUTSIGHT #3

We have much control over our actions.  We have some control over our thoughts.  But we have no control over our feelings or beliefs.

TEMPTING FATE, IN REVERSE

My singles group held its annual Mardi Gras dance last night.  (A plug for my hometown: Mardi Gras originated in Mobile, not New Orleans!  This is why Mobile is known as the Mother of the Mystics!)  The turnout was disappointingly low–all the attractive women had dates (I realize the shallowness of that statement; but even the most profound of us humans are shallow, to some extent).  So I just sat, nursing the Guinness Extra Stout I’d brought.

Shortly Delbert sat down, and we got to talking.  Delbert is the only other member under 50; but I asked him his age (I’d forgot), and it was 49.  So sometime this year (I don’t know Delbert’s birthday) I will be the only member under 50!

Eventually Sheila–whose date, Charles, was otherwise occupied–motioned, from their table, that she wanted to dance with me.   And Sheila’s quite attractive!  Now I like Charles, as much as I like Delbert.  But we men have to compete with one another, just as women do (an aspect/example of what I call the “Dark Side of God”).

Of course we talked as we danced, and I dreamed of “stealing” her–until Sheila revealed that she lived in Virginia, and was just visiting for a few days (ouch)!

Then I noticed another woman, who had just walked in, an hour after the dance began.  She was cute–possibly even in her 40’s!  Her name was Frances, and she had read about the dance in the “Weekender” Section of the “Pensacola News Joke Journal”.  Already, John was wooing her. 

I asked her to dance, and as we danced I found we had a great deal in common–she was a violinist, as I was a writer, and we both loved classical music!  She was also a schoolteacher–as I was, in my previous job! 

I invited her to sit near me, as John had apparently given up on her.  But then another John–my best friend in the group–sat beside her!  Every man for himself, indeed!  Still, I kept asking her to dance, and she kept accepting.  I even said to her, as we swayed, “You know, sometimes I envy women!  You have three suitors, at the same time–it must be nice to be adored like that!”

Frances replied, “Yeah, but the grass is always greener–alot of men take you for a ride.”

“That is true,” I said, “all I can tell you is that I’m not one of them.”

After several dances, I sat beside her.  I’d won (so I thought)–John was helping take down the tables and decorations, since it was after 11:00, and the dance was ending.  (I used to help set-up and take-down too, at the dances–until I realized that not a single person ever thanked me.)

Frances gave me her number, at my request, and I walked her to her car.  Then I came back home. 

I called Directory Assistance to verify that her number was legitimate, and it was.  I decided to call her this afternoon, hoping she’d pick up.  And Frances didn’t answer.  I left a message that I’d call again later.

I called her this evening–several hours later–and she didn’t answer.  I left my phone number on her machine, then put her number in the kitchen garbage can (as I’d done with countless other numbers, most of them bogus).

If she calls, I’ll be quite surprised–very few women have ever returned my calls.  If she doesn’t, at least I’ll save money I’d otherwise spend on our dinner.

I didn’t plan this post until something occurred to me.  What if I “tempted fate” (see “If Anything Can Go Wrong, It Won’t!”), in reverse–by writing a negative, though true, statement about my life?  Hey, it’s worth a try!  So here goes:

With women, I am the unluckiest man I know.

Now we’ll see…hold on, I hear something.  What the hell?  It’s voices–women’s voices!  Seems to be coming from the backyard, let me open this blind…Oh, my God!  It is women, a crowd of them, and they see me now…uh oh, they’re pounding on the glass door!  Sorry, but I have to cut this post short!

QUESTIONING MY BLOGGING ETHICS–OR LACK THEREOF

I have just deleted Jan’s last name from my posts regarding her.  I was neither advised nor forced to do this.  But I felt that revealing her last name was going too far–she’s not a celebrity.

I also hope I have not done a fellow blogger wrong–not by using the title of one of his posts as the title of a hard-copy essay–but by  including the title, in publishing my essay on the Internet (see “Long Overdue”).  In fairness to myself, I wrote that essay before I began blogging.  And it was not written for the Internet, but for the monthly newsletter of my writers’ group. 

Still, I thought alot about that one, even as I posted it.  But I couldn’t find a way to change or withhold the title (“Obama, Save Us!”) without deleting the first paragraph.  And the first paragraph is essential to my essay, because it sets up its direction (i.e. what I’m writing about, where I’m going with this).  And I still can’t.  So I hope this now-fellow blogger understands that I mean no harm–and that, in using his post title for my essay title, I am actually validating it.

I know only one other person, personally, who reads blogs at all. Apparently, from what I hear, most people think negatively of blogs.  They seem to consider blogs frivolous, non-literary ramblings of lonely people who have “nothing better to do.”  It is obvious they have never read any blogs!  I find the majority of bloggers to be very intelligent, creative writers whose only “offense” is publishing their writings on the Internet, in addition to, or instead of, in literary journals or books.

Yet, perhaps because of the general public’s attitude, there are no manuals on blogging ethics, to my knowledge.  It seems we bloggers have to learn blogging ethics through our own experience.

I once saw a placard for sale, at Cracker Barrel, which read:  GOOD JUDGEMENT COMES FROM EXPERIENCE.  EXPERIENCE COMES FROM POOR JUDGEMENT.  There were no quotation marks enclosing this, and no author was mentioned–indicating that it was meant as a quaint joke.  Though humorous, it is no joke.  It is a profound statement by which we can live.  “Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from poor judgement.”  We learn far more from what we’ve done wrong than what we’ve done right!


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