Calling All Ancestors Sleeping in the Past

My stories emerge from parts unknown to teach me something new to remember. Memory, the greatest teacher, hopes to entertain and celebrate, but more importantly, to learn what may help me avoid new mistakes. Reflecting on pains and sorrows of the past may in fact bring new pains and new sorrows. After all, healing often relies on the narcotic arts of forgetting. A fresh start. A clean slate. A new birth unburdened by the sins and sorrows of the past. It may be shallow. It may not last.

This new face to greet the many faces of the waking world may find itself a mask, disconnected to the roots and fruits of wisdom acquired in countless skirmishes in the past. This mask may seem a beautiful face, thoughts carefully managed so not to reveal a busy storm of doubt and confusion, unsure of safety, fearing trust. The forgotten challenges that were unwelcome, fought and lost in the past, may still lurk in the unconscious valleys of regret. The tears never cried may never be dry, never washing away the lingering truth of invisible sadness.

Wearing this disguise, the honest art of human love can become an effort to overcome the loneliness of numbness. Like armor covering painful wounds, the cover plate is a scab missing sensitive nerves which feel the difference between pain and pleasure. Trust is replaced by insistence on certainty. Beauty is a test of pride. Seduction is a test of ego, not a union of passion and compassion. Only one person, invulnerable, lives behind that stony eggshell. One deeply longing self in the vast universe imagines a custom soulmate that only exists in dreams of the perfect beloved.

To what end will I aim the arrow of my conscious life? That is the hero’s journey. There is wisdom in trusting the honest heart, beyond the fears and anger learned during those lesser lives that live on in subconscious dreams and imaginations.

In order to shape the priorities of a new day
many fractures of the shattered mirror once clear
offer myriad confident senses of wonder
pointing in fear, blaming anger as truth
integration, perfection of all that has passed
embracing tenderly a new heroic adventure.

Grief Sorrow

Is there no time for me in this brief stretch of grace
to relax in the arms of my beloved’s embrace
and know there is paradise growing securely…
to look out at the seeds I have sewn to cure the
fears of the days with my spirit determined
to lift up this world which is not predetermined.
Oh wound that never heals please release me.
Oh sadness that never ends, relieve me.
Best is not last, and best does not last.
I weep for tomorrow as I weep for my past.
I am giving my life to my love completely.
Even if my love is to die well before me.
My grief, after blinding my eyes with tears,
I believe after finding my heart for years,
is a strong and long teacher, seeming not a good friend.
Yet showing me in brevity that each moment must end.
And I for my part, must mend.

Tears Now, Until Tomorrow.

She sleeps raw everyday

There is a girl who sleeps under flowers in a field that sees all the lights of stars. The flowers of this field are the homes of many bees, especially those who like quiet time for their personal thoughts. Each lady bee visits each flower each day, finding sweet pollen to eat and carry back to the hive, where the young bees live and the children of bees are made strong by queens laying eggs and mothers who feed them with honey and dance and song.

Tiny crystals of sweet sugar, these flying bees shower in the powder of the flowers. They fly from ecstatic red to red to orange to yellow to blue, tending to their flower garden, listening to birdsongs, dusting every open bloom with the fairy dust that transforms blushing roses into erotic aromas and falling petals that literally litter the field with wind blown colors.

The eyes of the ancient stones look up from the treasure of the soil each night, remembering the long songs of the past. The very long song of the ancient stones has sung this world of ours into existence. The very long song of the ancient stones began at the very beginning of everything that ever was, ringing first as a light vibration in an infinite sea of spacious time, a very very first ripple of the tiniest thought wave of God expanding forevermore into every outward surface of a pulsing spherical particles in the simple repeating sound of the ever amplifying resonant drumbeat released from the center of this primary source to the unending journey of freedom found only on the newest edge of the omniverse

Aware Always

If I were a seed, asleep in the soil,
Which sense would awaken the life in my soul?

Each evening cycle of cooling condensation,
Each morning welcoming warming dew,
Which feeling would cause me to say to myself
“it is time to stretch, to yawn, and open
the gifts of life I received from my mother?”

My seed skin feeling warmth and wetness
of living minerals blanketing me
Offering me an underground breakfast
Also offered to early birds and worns.

Lifting the blankets, insects and wind
introduce me to the cool light of the moon.
The waxing and waning would clue me in
to the shifting gravity of time.

I wait and dream of many lives under light and heat from a nearby star. Then one day, feeling ready to enter my own world of daily changes,
I lift my sprouting wings to the blue sky and the orange purple pink sunsets, and marvel at the ocean of stars.

Jack & Jill’s Artist in Residence Program

Providing Intelligent Studio and Home Spaces that Enhance Creative Human Beings through Inspirational Residential Opportunities

In the hope of offering something of value to humanity, every generation faces unique problems, and responds in new ways to understand and address the issues of the day. The times we are in call for a new artistic vision for humanity. We need to address a complex array of problems, personal, planetary, and inescapable. And yet, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Without clear ideas how to proceed toward positive change, we continue outdated lifestyle practices and we cultivate harmful economic beliefs and choices. We over-populate our planetary habitat, and manage our environmental nest eggs inefficiently at best, and destructively where pursuit of unfettered profit removes common sense restrictions on diminishing natural reserves. Where can we successfully seek an alignment of individual freedom to prosper and sustainable collective stewardship of our world, divinely endowed for future generations?

The poet Robert Sward says “a man needs a place to stand.” We wake up everyday, humans seeking our purpose, our livelihood, and our breakfast. And home is where all the designs for our time begin. The great ideas which advance our civilization are formed in the calm space of knowing that our roof is secure, our bills are paid, and there is time for what must be done. In an age where machines are preferred to wage earning humans, the challenge we face as responsible humans is solving the wholistic problem of offering a means of survival that both keeps us safe and warm, while also supporting the self actualization of individual potential in a functional community setting. So, how to solve this problem with efficiency and intelligence?

The Artist In Residence Program

Research, whether academic, scientific, or creative, is an activity that forages into unknown areas of knowledge, intending to bring back new insights, innovations, and inventions. The person best suited to this unstructured process of discovery is, at heart, an artist. When that artist is freed from the daily distractions of living to pursue their unique quest for understanding, it clears the way for a drop of infinite purpose to be created in the ocean of existence. The divine art project grows more beautiful, drop by drop.

Fire on the Mountain, Ready Set GO!

On Sunday April 26, 2015, a dozen Two Bar Road neighbors gathered to meet with San Mateo-Santa Cruz CAL FIRE (http://www.fire.ca.gov) Forrester Richard Sampson, Chief Gonzales and three other seasonal local Fire Fighters from the Saratoga Fire Protection District. The fire fighters passed out Home Defense checklists, and educated us about the “READY SET GO” details of fire preparedness. They answered questions and advised us about the current drought challenges of Fire Season in our wilderness area, which is expected to last indefinitely in the future if climate changes continue to worsen.

Here are some useful items from the meeting:

We live in a wildfire area, and living here means that seasonal fires are inevitable. We must be able to anticipate, prevent, and survive them when they happen. The priorities of firefighters during a call in our area are to defend lives and property, create safe zones and defensible access/retreat paths for trained personnel to fight the fire, safely redirect uncontrolled fires away from people and structures, and finally, to contain and control the fire until it is over.

When it comes to fire safety, people can help most by taking care of their roads and property BEFORE there is an emergency. PREVENTION is the best way to HELP fire fighters to save lives and property, and may ultimately tip the odds favorably in an uncontrolled wild fire situation. A large safe “Defensible” zone around the house which will not ignite will be less vulnerable to wind born embers from a fire, making it easier to defend in an emergency.

One hundred feet of defensible space around your dwelling is meant to be a source of security if conditions force you to evacuate your property, and in a last resort, may be the best way to survive a fire if escape is impossible. Fast burning grass and flowers are safer than bushes and more woody plants, since they may burn faster and cooler, thus avoiding ignition of longer burning or hotter branches, logs and trees. Trees should be “Limbed” up to prevent branches igniting from natural landscaping below.

The FireSafe Council accepts applications for free brush chipping from residents in our area who create defensible space around their homes. Information and applications available at http://www.saratogafire.org. This program brings a chipper and crew to your property to chip material you have prepared. It seems the 2015 schedule is closed, but new requests can be scheduled in the future.

Several pamphlets were passed out at the meeting. CAL FIRE’s Homeowner’s Checklist advises Exterior and Interior cautions and remedies. In summary,

1) Within 30 feet of home, create a “Lean, Clean and Green Zone” with no flammable vegetation. Flowers and grasses are ok, and limb trees up 10-15 feet so they don’t catch fire from below. Remove dead trees and branches overhanging the roof. Store firewood safely away from the home.

2) Plan and Practice Fire Escape, and Post-Escape Contact and Rendezvous Plan. Fill a “Go Pack” with necessary medications, pet food, and carry-able items needed for up to 10 days. Close doors and windows. Unlock and close doors. Turn off Gas and Power. (Know the procedure for shut off and restoring each.) Unlock Gates to provide access to emergency vehicles while exiting the property.

3) Home Fire Safety Planning and Maintenance: Assure you have an accessible shut off for gas and power, and remove debris piles and any hazardous fire ignition sources to create a 100 foot perimeter of Defensible Space. Within 100 feet of the house, provide driveway access for Fire Truck (with 2 1/2″ fire hose  connector nozzle in wilderness areas) for gravity fed tank or pool source of water.

3) Provide Easy Road Access: Clear Large Address Signs, Good Lighting, Trim overhanging tree branches above roads, Two Lane Roads, Turn Arounds for Emergency Vehicles, Signs to show traffic restrictions such as dead-ends, weight and height limitations.

Fire Safety information is available online (http://www.readyforwildfire.org), at the local fire station, and summarized in this article. DURING a fire emergency, people should execute their pre-established EMERGENCY checklist, gather themselves and their animals, and get out of their property as early and safely as possible. This means planning to escape (with animals, if needed) ahead of time, and following safety preparedness guidelines.  If escape is impossible, the safest place may be to wait inside the home, if the home has been properly prepared with a defensible perimeter.

In our area, large wild fires happen primarily when seasonal North winds blow to the South, and dry conditions allow embers blown from a smaller fire to ignite debris or structures as much as a mile from the source. The worst threat to a building on a steep slope is from fires approaching from below, which can preheat the air, and dry out the flammable materials ahead of it’s path. Removing firewood and debris piles from areas below the house or under a flammable porch is a sensible precaution.

Time is of the Essence when a fire begins. For Fire Fighters, finding the fire and getting to it are the first priorities. In our area, we need roads that allow an engine that is Twelve (12) feet wide and Fifteen (15) feet tall to get to a position that is 100 feet from the fire and/or onsite water source to fight the fire. Overhead branches or narrow bridges or cars parked on a single lane road can make access impossible. A house with onsite water tanks should have a 2 1/2′ fitting, since the rigs used here are for Brush/Wilderness fires. Even though housing code requires the advised 4″ fitting, we learned that 4″ hoses are used in city based fire trucks, not our local rigs. Apparently, the best solution used by our neighbors is a 4″ pipe from a gravity fed tank source for max pressure during emergencies with a screw on fitting for the 2.5″ hoses used in our area.

Poor road maintenance or inaccessible conditions often cause Fire trucks to lose vital time at the beginning, when slowing the fire can be the difference between containing it or losing control. Locked fences can be very problematic, so it is a good idea to assign a person to unlock them if there is a fire emergency, and make that part of the Home Defense plan.

In addition to leaving early and safely, it is advised to plan not to return until the fire has run its course. Some of the worst and most dangerous situations for fire fighters and people occur when people get stuck escaping, or try to return after the fire fighters have secured the area. There may be traffic jams on narrow roads full of fire trucks and other fleeing vehicles, or increased risk from efforts to rescue animals with inadequate planning or preparation.

Fire Fighters can be stopped if cars, horse trailers or even a whole bunch of Fire Trucks are stopped on a narrow road, blocked from arriving or leaving. To address this, the fire team suggests making sure there are frequent turnouts on a narrow road which measure in a circular radius of Thirty-Seven (37) feet from the center of the street, allowing Fire Truck turn around or parking without blocking the road for other vehicles.

Boulder Creek Fire Protection Dist.

Kevin McClish, Fire Chief
13230 Central Ave. Boulder Creek, CA 95006
Office: (831) 338-7222
Fax: (831) 338-7226
Emergency: 9-1-1

Dept. Web: http://www.bcfd.com
Facebook: Boulder Creek Fire Department
Twitter: @BoulderCreekFD

General Email: Pat Johnson, Administrative Secretary, pjohnson@bcfd.com
Personnel: Volunteer Fire Dept. ID: 44020
MACS Designator: BOU
County: Santa Cruz
Office hours 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. Monday through Friday (Lunch is typically 12-1:00 PM)
Chief Email: kmcclish@bcfd.com

Luck

Three short stories of Luck, one of the least and greatest invisible entities that earthlings know and often believe in. (And, in service of the short bursts of LUCK, some long thoughts and related personal history.)

First, a few definitions.

My father and mother gave me, upon my graduation from College, an OED (Oxford English Dictionary). I am touched that they were listening when I described my fascination with the etymologies of words that were uniquely available in this old 20 volume dictionary, more than one hundred years in the making. Here is a bit of background from a perusal of Wikipedia.

[Circa 1860] The dictionary began as a Philological Society project of a small group of intellectuals in London (and unconnected to Oxford University):[13]:103–4,112 Richard Chenevix Trench, Herbert Coleridge [grandson of the famous poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and “technically” the first editor of what ultimately became the OED], and Frederick Furnivall, who were dissatisfied with the then-current English dictionaries. In June 1857, they formed an “Unregistered Words Committee” to search for words that were unlisted or poorly-defined in current dictionaries. …On 7 January 1858, the Society formally adopted the idea of a comprehensive new dictionary.[13]:107–8 Volunteer readers would be assigned particular books, copying passages illustrating word usage onto quotation slips.

Did you know that there were NO standard spelling dictionaries of any kind in the English language until 1604.

Before Samuel Johnson’s two-volume A Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1755 and considered the most authoritative and influential work of early English lexicography, there were other early English dictionaries: more than a dozen had been published during the preceding 150 years.

Schoolmaster Robert Cawdrey, a contemporary of William Shakespeare, authored “A Table Alphabeticall,” considered by Wikipedia the first single language dictionary.

Previously, in 1538, Sir Thomas Elyot, High Sheriff of Oxfordshire and Berkshire, and representative of the borough of Cambridge in Parliament from 1539 to 1542, published a Latin/English dictionary dedicated to Henry VIII.

As a prose writer, Elyot enriched the English language with many new words. In 1536 he published The Castell of Helth, a popular treatise on medicine, intended to place a scientific knowledge of the art within the reach of those unacquainted with Greek. This work, though scoffed at by the faculty, was appreciated by the general public, and speedily went through seventeen editions. The first edition copy of his Latin Dictionary, the earliest comprehensive dictionary of the language, resides in the British Museum, and contains an autograph letter from Elyot to Cromwell, to whom it originally belonged.

Elyot received little reward for his services to the state, but his scholarship and his books were held in high esteem by his contemporaries.

Thomas Elyot was a supporter of the humanists ideas concerning the education of women, writing in support of learned women, he published the “Defence of Good Women.” In this writing he supported Thomas More and other humanist authors’ ideals of educated wives who would be able to provide intellectual companionship for their husbands and educated moral training for their children.

Around this time in history, Henry VIII abandoned his role in the Roman Catholic Church as “Defender of the Faith” and  rewrote laws so that he could divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and in the process initiate the Protestant Church.

The title “Defender of the Faith” was granted on 11 October,[1]1521, by Pope Leo X to King Henry VIII of England. His wife Catherine of Aragon was also a Defender of the Faith in her own right.[2] The title was conferred in recognition of Henry’s book Assertio Septem Sacramentorum (Defence of the Seven Sacraments), which defended the sacramental nature of marriage and the supremacy of the Pope. 

Following Henry’s decision to break with Rome in 1530 and establish himself as head of the Church of England, the title was revoked by Pope Paul III (since Henry’s act was regarded as an attack on “the Faith”) and Henry was excommunicated. However, in 1544,[citation needed]the Parliament of England conferred the title “Defender of the Faith” on King Henry VIII and his successors, now the defenders of the Anglican faith, of which they (except the Catholic Mary I) remain the Supreme Governors (formally above the Archbishop of Canterbury as Primate).

King James V of Scotland was granted the title of Defender of the Faith by Pope Paul III on 19 January 1537, symbolizing the hopes of the papacy that the King of Scots would resist the path that his uncle, Henry VIII, had followed.[3][4] James’ father, James IV, had been granted the title of “Protector and Defender of the Christian Faith” by Pope Julius II in 1507.[5] However, neither title ever became part of the full style of the monarch of Scotland.

It would seem like all of this has nothing to do with LUCK, right? Yet, I had to wait a long time to consult a copy of the OED, so I followed my nose to these stories, which have always fascinated me. Famous Henry VIII had to execute his wife to get a divorce. That fact has always blown my mind. Yet, in the discussion of sexual equality, it is one of the foundational issues. If women are sexually equal (or even superior) to men, then what? Of course, it is all mixed up in controlling birth and wealth, and passing peace, prosperity, and property on to heirs in future generations. So it is no surprise that these are the big concerns of powerful people as they wane in their creative years.

Starting from this moment and staring forward into the future, the past was settled in the past, and the issues we are considering today are not quite the same ones which were settled back then. The relationship of Words, Power, Morality, and Faith are all mixed up in the Luck wave of history.

Divorce is a major issue among people in religious communities. The world we know today took many turns due to a simple matter of Luck. The arranged marriage of British Monarch Henry VIII and  Queen of France Catherine of Aragon gave ruling powers to England instead of the Emperor of France.  These warring countries traded queens for peace so that kings would not try to conquer their neighbors, and the universal church inherited from the fallen Empire of Rome was meant to be the referee. Giving birth to a male heir ensured that a man could rule the roost during those years of declining power, while a woman in this role would inspire rivalry and war. Look at the sagas of Queen Elizabeth or any number of examples of women as head of state.

Civilized people with very high moral thoughts were not always able to prevail in circles of power and influence, and sometimes those tragedies changed the course of human history. As luck would have it, we inherit the world as it is today. And yet, we are also authors of our own stories of luck.

I must share a few more dictionary factoids discovered as I perused Wikipedia while awaiting the download of my electronic version of the epic historical OED. For those unfamiliar with this voluminous reference, I encourage you to read more on the wiki page for the Oxford English Dictionary. Suffice to say, this work of history on the origins of English words had many contributors engaged for decades.

The first OED dictionary fascicle was published on 1 February 1884—twenty-three years after Coleridge’s sample pages. The full title was A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society; the 352-page volume, words from A to Ant, cost 12s 6d.[16]:251 The total sales were a disappointing 4,000 copies.[19]:169

By early 1894 a total of 11 fascicles had been published, or about one per year: four for A–B, five for C, and two for E.[15]   [After firing the production manager who was harassing the scholars about the costs and deadline extensions] the [Oxford University] editors felt that the dictionary would have to grow larger, it would; it was an important work, and worth the time and money to properly finish.

Neither [principal authors] Murray nor Bradley lived to see it. Murray died in 1915, having been responsible for words starting with A–D, H–K, O–P and T, nearly half the finished dictionary; Bradley died in 1923, having completed E–G, L–M, S–Sh, St and W–We. By then two additional editors had been promoted from assistant work to independent work, continuing without much trouble. William Craigie, starting in 1901, was responsible for N, Q–R, Si–Sq, U–V and Wo–Wy.[15]:xix Whereas previously the OUP had thought London too far from Oxford, after 1925 Craigie worked on the dictionary in Chicago, where he was a professor.[15]:xix[16] The fourth editor was Charles Talbut Onions, who, starting in 1914, compiled the remaining ranges, Su–Sz, Wh–Wo and X–Z.[20] In 1919–1920 J. R. R. Tolkien was employed by the OED, researching etymologies of the Waggle to Warlock range;[21] later he parodied the principal editors as “The Four Wise Clerks of Oxenford” in the story Farmer Giles of Ham.[22]

The dictionary’s latest, complete print edition (second edition, 1989) was printed in 20 volumes, comprising 291,500 entries in 21,730 pages. The longest entry in the OED2 was for the verb set, which required 60,000 words to describe some 430 senses. As entries began to be revised for the OED3in sequence starting from M, the longest entry became make in 2000, then put in 2007, then run in 2011.[9][10][11]

Volunteer readers would be assigned particular books, copying passages illustrating word usage onto quotation slips.

One prolific [OED] reader, W. C. Minor, was a criminal lunatic.[13]:xiii Minor, a Yale University trained surgeon and military officer in the U.S. Civil War, was confined to Broadmoor Asylum for the Criminally Insane after killing a man in London. Minor invented his own quotation-tracking system allowing him to submit slips on specific words in response to editors’ requests. The story of Murray and Minor later served as the central focus of The Surgeon of Crowthorne (US title: The Professor & the Madman[13]), a popular book about the creation of the OED.

So, there you have it. To get this definition of Luck, it took far more than luck!

The OED Definition of LUCK

luck lʌk noun. l15.

  • 1 The action or effect of casual or uncontrollable events; the sum of fortuitous events affecting (favourably or unfavourably)a person’s interests or circumstances; a person’s apparent tendency to have good or ill fortune; the imagined tendency of chance to bring a succession of (favourable or unfavourable) events. l15.
    • b A piece of good, bad , etc., fortune.m16–e17.
    • c Chance regarded as a cause or bestower of good or ill fortune. (Sometimes personified: cf. Lady Luck s.v. lady noun 5a.) m16.
    • d An action or event regarded as bringing or presaging good or bad fortune. e20.

    Shakes. Com. Err. I have but lean luck in the match. J. Davidson I don’t allow it’s luck and all a toss. E. O’Neill I’ve tried to keep things going in spite of bad luck.c I. Fleming As luck would have it, there were no vacancies and I had to turn him down. Evening Telegraph (Grimsby) Valentinos Joy…had luck on his side.d OED You should never put boots on the table: it’s bad luck.

  • 2 Good fortune; success, prosperity, or advantage coming by chance rather than as the consequence of merit or effort. l15.
    • b An object, esp. an heirloom, on which the prosperity of a family etc. supposedly depends. l18.
    • c A piece of good fortune. Also, a lucky find. Scot. m19.

    V. Woolf What luck to find you alone. M.Fitzherbert For an amateur journalist it was a great piece of luck. Z. Tomin She had had all the luck. She had never had to get her hands dirty.

Phrases:

bad luck!, bad luck to you!, bad luck to it!, etc. colloq.: expr. ill will, disappointment, etc.

beginner’s luck : see beginner 2.

devil’s own luck uncannily good luck.

down on one’s luck in a period of ill fortune.

for luck to bring good luck.

good luck!, good luck to you!, good luck to it!, etc. colloq.: expr. goodwill, encouragement, etc.

hard luck worse fortune than one deserves.

ill luck : see ill adjective & adverb.

in luck fortunate, enjoying good luck.

just my luck, just his luck, just our luck, etc.,typical of my, his, our, etc., bad luck.

luck of the draw: expr. resignation at the chance outcome of events etc.

nigger luck : see nigger adjective & noun.

no such luck colloq. unfortunately not.

one’s luck is in luck is on one’s side.

out of luck having bad luck, in misfortune.

press one’s luck, push one’s luck colloq. take undue risks.

ride one’s luck colloq. let favourable events take their course, not take undue risks.

Saltash luck

the best of British luck : see British adjective 2.

the luck of the Irish very good luck.

tough luck : see tough adjective.

try one’s luck make a venture or attempt.

worse luck colloq. unfortunately.

Comb.:

luck-money, luck-penny

  • a a piece of money given or kept for luck;
  • b hist. a certain sum required by local custom to be returned by the seller to the buyer, esp. in the sale of livestock.

ORIGIN: Low German luk aphet. from geluk, in Middle Dutch ghelucke (Dutch geluk) = Middle High Germangelücke (German Glück good fortune, happiness), fromge- y- + base of unkn. origin. Prob. orig. a gambling term.

luck lʌk verb intrans. lME.

  • 1 Chance, happen; turn out well, ill , etc. Also impers. in (it) lucks etc. obsolete exc. dial.lME.
    • b Be lucky; prosper, succeed. obsoleteexc. dial. l16.
  • 2
    • a Foll. by upon, up on : chance to find or meet with. colloq. l17.
    • b Foll. by into, on to : acquire by good fortune. colloq. m20.
  • 3 Foll. by out: achieve success or advantage by good luck, esp. in a difficult or adverse situation. Also, experience (extreme) bad luck; be killed. N. Amer. colloq. m20.

ORIGIN: Perh. from Dutch lukken, formed as luck noun.

I saw the Light, I saw the Light

I woke up this morning after a night of research into my own options for Affordable Health Care. My options are not affordable, not healthy, and there is no one who cares. However, I discovered a fascinating call from my old friend Jesus on the journey of discovery.

There are some Christian organizations offering a sane alternative to the corporate model of mandatory insurance with unlimited premiums. They are called an Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries. The only problem is, they rely on honesty and trust from their members. They also rely on Jesus, and the bible, and the volunteer work of the people who make it go in the spirit of giving glory to God. It is possible they are Christian Scientists, but it seems there are many other Christian groups and individuals who fit their membership profile. Membership is based on a professed belief in Jesus and the Bible, including the resurrection of Christ, his actual human life on earth as Son of God, and his virgin birth, among other classic articles of faith.

I am someone who has a love of Christ, Mary, Joseph, and the family of humanity-with all the many ways we express goodness as Christianity, or any other sincere religion of kindness. I must admit, though I am a modern woman and a scientist, I know a secret resonance with the teachings of the mysteries of faith.

However, when it comes to faith based organizations, even my own family tradition of the Catholic Church, I get tripped up on many of the ways that truly faithful people scorn and belittle those who are not in their church, or who question the beliefs of their traditions. I am a questioner, probably the kind that was burned in witch hunts of history. I can go deep in understanding why things are as they are, but I can’t rest at the status quo as the final stop on the divine plan.

I see religion as my mother described it, a community of people who can trust each other, and know that their children will be surrounded by folks with good values. There is no sword or threat of hell fire that keeps it together, just a trust and confidence that people are essentially on the same team, doing the best they can with their own gifts and light, available on a volunteer basis to help shoulder each other’s burdens when times are tough.

I don’t relate much to the many ways that the goodness of the church is maligned and devalued due to historic and modern day abuses. It is easy to blame a source of power for problems that exist…An institution that is everywhere and which does not tolerate dissenting views is a big target for people who want to blame the whole group for the crimes of heartless individuals. And people see themselves, with all their passions, poisons, strengths, weaknesses, devotional prayers and unacknowleged shadows in the mirror of their faith. Religion is a container for the expression of all that is humanity, great and small.

Still, as a spiritual witness with many stories of miracles and wonder to my name and in my life, I walk in a world where my optimism for the future is belittled and ignored. I just cannot get behind the greed machine as the truest expression of my human potential. “Generous to a fault” is a quote from a hundred and fifty year old newsletter about my great great great grandmother, and I guess it still runs in the family.

There is a hard lesson about generosity in a world of capitalism… the takers take, and the givers end up broke and powerless. So how do we keep the best of our love of sovereign independence, while honoring our human need to be selfless and loving at times? Our economy is meant to create blessings of Exchange, so that the natural creativity and abundance of our lives can be shared and multiplied. And accounting was created with the best intentions to be fair and smart and beneficial–to count up the scarce resources and preserve them for a time of need, and to allocate them fairly among the family of interdependent creatures, and to keep track of what we traded over time so we can even up the score after a while. But without generosity, or a loving invisible hand at the wheel of the marketplace, the decisions we make tend to favor the selfish instead of the kind. So, how do we fix that?

That is where my arrows of intention are pointed, and I have my eye on a prize that will bring the full blessing of goodness to the helm of this whole world. First, the golden rule, LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF, DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU, updated to say the hippocratic oath, DO NO HARM.
So that is where my quest for health care brought me this morning. Comments?