Alleluia!

This is the second Easter of CoVid. How strange it feels. Last year, we understood the need for being locked down. Besides, it was only to be for a few weeks. But a year later, we still aren’t doing the usual Easter things today; no vigil service in the early morning. Easter egg hunts for children – at least public ones – are few and far between. Everything is curtailed, muffled, depressed and suppressed.

In CoVid Year 2, we need Easter more than ever. But then, we always need Easter. Right now, the message of Easter – salvation and the eternal, fierce, unending love of God – is more necessary to our psyches and souls than I can ever remember.

We are a world in uproar; a nation divided by many foolish, superficial things. “How can the saving of human lives be foolish and superficial?!” you may ask? It’s not, and I’m not referring to masks and lockdowns etc. Besides, the saving of lives is never superficial. What IS superficial is where our focus lies. This is no political commentary; rather, I believe we would all be better off if we were to focus on something other than fear, division, who feels insulted and “offended”, what someone’s preferred pronouns are – and instead focus on the promise of Easter, which is open to all of humankind, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, gender, and so on.

For those who might cry “enough of prayer and talk, we need action!” I would ask what greater action could there possibly be than a loving God who gave humankind the greatest gift imaginable?

To simplify (greatly), can you imagine this loving God saying “how can I POSSIBLY make these people understand how much I love them?!? And how much I want them to know me, to join me in heaven to be with me forever? Ah! I know, I will send my own son to earth. Maybe HE can get it through their thick skulls. I will ask him to do whatever it takes to make them realize my love.”

Jesus did whatever it took. That, my friend, is action.

Yet we divert our attention away from the most amazing, freeing, incredible gift in the history of humanity and stand around quibbling about…oh, I don’t know, the correct amount of social distancing at the Easter egg hunt?

The gift of salvation through Jesus Christ is the miracle of Easter, and the core belief of Christianity. It doesn’t matter what Christian tradition you follow, and it doesn’t matter what you read and study as “Science.” It really doesn’t. None of us gets out of here alive in body, but through the love and sacrifice of Christ, we can all get out of here alive…forever. With a God that loves us beyond all understanding. Isn’t that a relief? Isn’t that something you’d rather focus on? We cannot seek the living among the dead, and never forget that the strife and division that we see daily in our country and in the world is death to the spirit.

The cross is empty. The tomb is empty. Alleluia! The Lord is risen!

Another Easter post you may enjoy is from 2017: The Gift of Skepticism.

The Saint Formerly Known as Maewyn

Ah, Patrick! Patron saint of Ireland, and perhaps of green beer as well. Today is yet another commemoration turned into countless opportunities for marketing (and green beer). Hey, don’t get me wrong, I love St. Patrick’s day. I have my shamrock leggings on even as I write this, and my 4-leaf clover earrings as well. You won’t catch me drinking green beer, though – Guinness is too dark to turn any color but…well, Guinness.

Amidst the parades and parties is the life of a man who was an amazing figure. The nuns told us he used a shamrock to teach the trinity (no evidence for that, though – but when did that stop the good sisters?) and that he drove the snakes out of Ireland (no evidence for that either. In fact, no evidence that snakes ever DID exist in Ireland. If they also lack mosquitos…I’m moving).

You can read in many places about the life of Maewyn Succat, who changed his name to Patricius when he became a priest. (Interesting tidbit of info I found; according to legend, that was Patrick’s birth name.) It’s fairly common knowledge that he was born in Britain around the end of the 4th century, was captured and enslaved in Ireland for some years, and then returned to that country as a priest.

Perhaps a good way to celebrate this rock-star-among-saints is to read some of his own words:

Another night – I do not know, God knows, whether it was within me or beside me– I heard authoritative words which I could hear but not understand, until at the end of the speech it became clear: “The one who gave his life for you, he it is who speaks in you”; and I awoke full of joy.

Another time, I saw in me one who was praying. It was as if I were inside my body, and I heard above me, that is, above my inner self. He prayed strongly, with sighs. I was amazed and astonished, and pondered who it was who prayed in me; but at the end of the prayer, it was clear that it was the Spirit. At this I awoke, and I remembered the apostle saying: “The Spirit helps the weaknesses of our prayer; for we do know what it is we should pray, but the very Spirit pleads for us with unspeakable sighs, which cannot be expressed in words.” And again: “The Lord is our advocate, and pleads for us.”

from the Confession of St. Patrick found at Confession | St. Patrick’s Confessio

When reading the words of Patrick, I am struck by his humility and his courage. Take some time today to read a bit before you head out to drink green beer.

As for me, I’m going to read more from Patrick – and then head out to have a Guinness and listen to bagpipes!

My Body, My…wait a minute.

Have you noticed the newest greeting making the rounds? No more “how are you” and “is everybody well?” Nope, it’s have you gotten your shot yet?

Vaccination updates fly between adults as though they were a group of moms discussing their toddlers’ vaccination schedules. Well, Brenda, did you get your shot yet?

No, not yet.

And then the reactions begin. Why not? How could you? Why are you even standing here talking to me? Eeeeewwww!! Get away! Cooties!!

Well, for one thing, according to the state of Louisiana, I’m not eligible to have The Shot. I’m under 65, and while many of my age group are eligible, I’m not. I don’t work in the health field or any of the designated professional groups. I don’t have any of the long list of pre-existing conditions that put me at risk. I’ve been exposed to CoVid “up close and personal” (my husband had it) and I had a few days of feeling “off,” but no more. I haven’t rushed to get The Shot yet because for one thing, why should I (someone who’s pretty healthy) get in line in front of someone who IS high risk and needs it more than I?

Photo by Maksim Goncharenok on Pexels.com

But none of this matters. Mention that you haven’t had The Shot and people move away from you and your possible invisible CoVid Cooties. No Shot, and you are immediately cast as (gasp!!) an Anti-Vaxxer. Heaven forbid!! Outcast!!

Maybe I’m crazy (I know I’m cynical), but I’m not in a rush. If we were dealing with something like Ebola or the Black Death, I’d probably be clawing my way to the front of the line. But I’m still reading the research (you know, The Science). But until I get The Shot, I’d like for people to back off a bit.

Maybe I could come up with a slogan. You know, something catchy like… My Body, My Choice. Hey! That has a nice ring to it!

Oh…wait a minute. That’s been taken. The abortion folks have a lock on it already.

Am I the only one to see the irony of this?

Well, Brenda (or Karen), that’s different! If you don’t get The Shot, you may be exposing hundreds of people to your deadly cooties! You could be an unwitting carrier of CoVid! Typhoid Mary! Unclean! Unclean!

Abortion, on the other hand, endangers no one. Safe, harmless, “therapeutic” abortion.

WTF?!?! Mmmm, no. But isn’t it My Body, My Choice? Or is that only in selected instances?

I hear the cries of YES! Yes, because your decision could murder others! (Abortion, on the other hand, doesn’t hurt anyone. Well, almost.)

I’m old enough to have a scar on my left arm from my smallpox vaccination. I remember getting it. I remember the scab that formed, and when it fell off. I was 5. Vaccinations have made an incredible positive difference in not just public health, but private – personal – health.

So shouldn’t The Shot be personal as well?

You won’t know if I get vaccinated against CoVid. Very few people will. Why? Because frankly, it’s none of your business. It’s not the latest greeting, and it shouldn’t be. Your personal health decisions are your business. Not mine, not anyone’s.

After all, isn’t it My Body, My Choice?

Decisions, decisions….

It was one of those relaxed, sociable evenings. Conversations varied around the table. Charlotte and I were sitting at our regular Mexican haunt, a couple of friends with a couple of margaritas. I don’t know exactly how it came up, but at one point I commented that I’d been in the wrong line when boobs were handed out. Char’s reply was “I’d trade my boobs for your shoulders!” and we laughed at ourselves.

That night, I had a strange dream.

Souls were lined up in heaven, waiting to be born. I was among kindred spirits, listening with half an ear as a rather large archangel made assignments as the line moved forward.

“OK, you’re ready to go! Move to the right, please, for the soon-to-be-born. Next!!”

The Kindred Spirits and I were listening as we moved towards the archangel. Who – oh, it’s Gabriel. Michael was no doubt fighting Satan at the moment. We watched as more souls were assigned certain attributes and were directed to the soon-to-be-born line and the wait-until-later line.

“Next!” The soul in front of me moved forward, and I could hear Gabriel’s voice.

“God gives you the gifts of intelligence, fortitude, strength, beauty and faith. You will serve the Almighty in many ways, in a woman’s body. Plus, you get blonde hair, blue eyes and boobs.”

I heard the soul ahead of me take a deep breath. “Umm, shoulders?” she asked.’

“Shoulders?” said Gabriel. “Look, you’ll also make many dear friends throughout your life, and have a loving family.  But it doesn’t say anything here about shoulders. NEXT!” A nearby cherubim directed the soul to the soon-to-be-born line.

NEXT!!

I moved forward.

“God gives you the gifts of intelligence, a love of music, and a pretty voice. You will serve the Almighty in many ways, in a woman’s body. You get fine hair and blue eyes, but you’ll be a chubby adolescent. Just don’t start smoking and you’ll be fine.”

“Umm, boobs?” I asked, holding my not-yet-existent breath.

“Boobs?” said Gabriel. “Hmmm, boobs not listed here. But you’ll have a loving family and make some great friends. Tell you what, we’re out of boobs, but I can give you some great shoulders. When you start crocheting all the shawls you’re gonna make, you’ll have the shoulders to drape ‘em on. NEXT!” The cherubim pointed me toward the wait-until-later line. I went, wondering when and if in life I would encounter the soul who’d been in front of me. As I went, I heard Gabriel’s words to the soul who’d been behind me. She, too, would be a woman of intelligence and faith. Gabriel’s words began to fade away as I moved to the waiting area, but I heard “…and you will rescue many cats. NEXT!” I wondered, again, when I’d encounter these and other Kindred Spirits.

I awoke with the words of Gabriel fading into the mist of a dream. As I rolled over to be greeted with a slurpy good morning from the dog (who had snuggled between me and my still-slumbering spouse), I wondered if Gabriel had said anything to me about dogs, husband and children. Probably not, no sense in spoiling the surprises that life brings. But hey, it was a dream, wasn’t it?

Wasn’t it?

Fill-in-the-blank Justice

This morning, I read something about fill-in-the-blank Justice. You know, these terms we hear so often that qualify Justice; this kind or that kind of Justice. I get what they’re trying to say, but if you have to put a qualifier on Justice, it isn’t really Justice.

To do so rips the blindfold off of Justice. She no longer holds a set of balanced scales; she now has a finger on one side. She’s looking at the situation, and gauging who’s who and what’s what. Some might argue that this is to offset INjustices that have occurred, and I get that. But continuing to call it Justice when it has a qualifier isn’t right. Call it something else, but don’t call it Justice.

Justitia by Maarten van Heemskerk, 1556

In an interesting bit of synchronicity, today’s “Verse of the Day” in my Bible Gateway app (love that app) is Matthew 7:12:

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Yes, that does sum it up. Sadly, we humans don’t always do that, which is why we have human laws and courts, and statues and depictions of Justice as blind. The prophet Isaiah wrote “Learn to do right; seek justice, defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17) Injustice is as old as humanity. Yes, we should all seek Justice, and do whatever we can to help the cause of those who are truly oppressed.

We also might miss the first thing that Isaiah says: Learn to do right. Again, like what Jesus said later, do the right thing. It’s that simple.

I read the “____ Justice” treatise in a statement issued by a large corporation, stating that they were making donations to entities and groups that fight specific injustices. That’s nice to know, although they don’t state exactly who they are donating to, and how they have vetted the organization(s). How they are just at home? How do they treat their employees? Do they treat their employees with respect? Is “treat others as you would like to be treated” a real part of their corporate culture? Is it in their employee handbook? Is be kind and fair treatment something they really take to heart and act upon every day, at all levels?

I think mosst people in this country do try to do the right thing. Sure, we’re human, and sometimes we falter and fail. But overall, most of us regular folks are trying to live out Jesus’ words of treating others as they would want to be treated. Most of us aren’t scheming to oppress an underclass or undertake a nefarious takeover of a company or a country.

It’s been said that those who loudly accuse are often the guiltiest of that which they accuse others of doing. I could expound on that, but I’ll refrain because there are plenty of examples out there. Just think about it, and remember that the next time you hear someone screaming about fill-in-the-blank Justice.

Cancelled?

The other night, after enjoying my egg drop soup from Hot Wok (a local excellent Chinese restaurant), I cracked open my fortune cookie. Would I read a gem of wisdom or a glimpse into the future? Neither. It said: “you will have a successful year.”

I dropped the fortune and laughed out loud. Really? REALLY? 2020? We’d seen the accountant for the business the day before, who summed up 2020 by saying “It’s a good year if one’s still in business.” Sadly, that is true as far too many businesses (large, such as Stage Department Stores, and small, such as our former favorite Mexican Restaurant, Los Mayas) have had to close permanently. Not even an economy that was rocking and rolling at the end of 2019 survived the CoVid shutdowns.

Christmas this year has taken on a somewhat surreal aura. Some countries have embraced their inner Grinch and have “cancelled” Christmas. I understand urging people to avoid large crowds. That’s a good idea even in a garden variety flu season for people with compromised immune systems. But how does one cancel Christmas?

Every year we grumble about the commercialization of Christmas. This year I shake my head as retail outlets feature sparkly holiday wear. Where are we gonna wear the glitz this year? Matching family pajamas are quite the rage this season, as are holiday themed masks. Never doubt the power of American ingenuity when it comes to marketing even in the midst of a crisis.

I know I’m not alone when I say that the Christmas spirit has been late in visiting me. I didn’t put up the usual tree this year, just a tabletop decoration, a tiny creche, and stockings. But…no Advent music. No choir practice for Christmas. No choir at Christmas – no vocal music at all in church. The human voice is the only musical instrument crafted by God – and it is silenced.

Yesterday, music partner Joshua and I played through some Christmas music – everything from O Come all Ye Faithful to Jingle Bell Rock. My family’s Christmas Eve celebration will be substantially smaller this year, limited only to those in our “isolation pod.” We’ll play music, and yes, sing Christmas Carols. Music is a way of prayer for me. While we always need prayer, we’ve needed it more than ever in 2020.

Too, the promise of Christmas is more timely than usual: The promise of redemption, of salvation, and the mystery of grace. Christmas should remind us that the unexpected can yield miracles. The world was waiting for a savior; and it was thought that this savior would be a mighty warrior king who would save the Jewish people from the tyranny of Rome.

Instead, they got a tiny baby who grew into a man who spoke in parables, healed the sick, worked miracles, and became enraged at the money changers in the temple. He didn’t take up arms against the Romans; instead, he became a sacrificial lamb. His disciples didn’t get it until the resurrection. We don’t get it either, but such is this human lifetime, seeing through a glass darkly.

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

So much has been written by great theologians about the miracles of the Incarnation and the Resurrection. This year, though, the words of the great philosopher Dr. Seuss are most appropriate:

“Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming!
IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.
And what happened then? Well…in Whoville they say,
That the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!”

Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Joshua and I played and sang through Christmas carols, I felt my mood lighten. It was starting to feel like Christmas. No country, no government, no one can cancel Christmas. They can try to cancel gatherings, events, etc. But Christmas? No. Christmas comes just the same, and we are blessed and redeemed because of it.

Exemption: CFS

Just last week, I heard the story of a young man who was denied entry to an establishment because he wasn’t wearing a mask. “It’s a mandate!” he was told. “You have to wear a mask to come inside!”

“I can’t wear a mask,” he replied. “I have an exemption. I have CFS.”

Legally, one isn’t required to disclose a medical exemption (see Amendment IV to the Constitution of the US.) However, this young man wished to make a point. “I have CFS! CFS!”

When someone asked him what this dreadful sounding condition was, he replied “Common F***ing Sense!”

He was admitted to the establishment.

Rules about wearing masks, while certainly not the only example of common sense (or the lack thereof), can be quite amusing. Let’s put aside the questions about the efficacy of masks in preventing the spread of illness, and just look at some of the head-scratching rules and regulations.

For example…

I recently attended an outdoor event. As always, there were parking attendants. However, we were directed to park SIX FEET APART! Hm. I didn’t know that cars could contract CoVid. However, the traffic I was in this afternoon was bumper-to-bumper, and moving very slowly. I can only think that you can’t catch CoVid from a moving car, but a parked one could be dangerous.

My husband and I went out recently, and ran into a couple of old friends we hadn’t seen in a while. As we stood talking by the bar, we were asked to move because…CoVid. So, we moved a few feet away from the bar, which was fine. Apparently, you can catch CoVid right next to the bar, but not in the middle of the room.

I was at an outdoor event listening to a band. Benches for seating were marked off – “Don’t sit here!” Because – CoVid. So, the crowd stood behind the benches. There was a nearby tree with a planter around it, offering a great view of the band and unmarked seating. We sat shoulder-to-shoulder with everyone else, because obviously the tree provided CoVid protection.

Photo by Yaroslav Danylchenko on Pexels.com

We enjoyed an excellent brass ensemble. The band members were properly attired, and kept their masks in place for the entire performance. Luckily the masks had little flaps so they could play their instruments. No doubt the structure of the horns (tuba, trumpets, trombone) cleansed the air of CoVid. Further study should be done; can we find some funding for this?

You can catch CoVid from chopped salads in Texas. I ordered a salad at Subway, and asked for it to be chopped. “We can’t do that,” I was told, “because of CoVid.” Huh. OK, so the act of chopping the salad invites the CoVid virus into the lettuce. Or spinach. Or whatever.

Happily, chopped salads do NOT transmit CoVid in Louisiana. I ordered a salad at Subway last week, and I was asked “regular or chopped?” Wait – no, never mind. Chopped, thank you.

McDonald’s used to serve breakfast throughout the day. No more. Because, you know, CoVid. I could understand if they were just to tell me “we have to cut back because this CoVid merde is killing our business” – I get that. But don’t make it sound like eating an Egg McMuffin after 10:30 is dangerous.

Yesterday I saw a lone bike rider outside on a country road. Wearing a mask. I can’t count how many times I have seen a lone driver in a car…wearing a mask.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

I heard someone say that expecting a fabric mask to stop a CoVid particle is like expecting a hurricane fence to stop a mosquito. Based on what I’ve read, that sounds about right as these particles are so tiny. What happens if a CoVid cootie gets caught in your mask? And what about those “valve” masks? You know, those edgy looking ones (often black) with the round valve on the side that allows your breath to escape. Is the valve magic? Do they trap the eensy-weensy CoVid particles and allow your breath to escape?

I can wear a mask, and my glasses still fog up. This should tell you something.

We do know that we should n’t touch our faces so as to reduce transmission of ANY virus. So what do we do? Fiddle with these obnoxious, irritating things on our faces. I must say – they do come in handy when I start to sneeze.

I think that I, too, may have a case of CFS. I read the outcome of the Danish mask study recently completed. 6,000 people, and no evidence that masks make any statistical difference in disease transmission. Luckily, CoVid has an extremely high survival rate, since these masks don’t really make a difference.

Now, if people would just quit throwing them away in the parking lot. Yuck.

Mmm…bias?

Can we please call an end to 2020? Hurricane Zeta just hit the Louisiana coast. Fortunately for my corner of the universe, it wasn’t bad here (in spite of the dire warnings of meteorologists and the Weather Channel). “Life threatening conditions!!” while thousands of residents must make costly decisions. Sadly, this is just one more area where we have to sift through “fake news.”

These storms CAN be bad, and often are (in certain areas), especially if they spawn tornados. But like everything in life, one must weigh the odds and make the best decision possible with the information at hand. This is getting harder and harder; while information is almost always filtered by the time we get it, it is also usually biased – and incomplete. For example…

Monday night, after the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY ) commented that this was “one of the darkest days” in Senate History.

Really? Really? The confirmation of an incredibly qualified, brilliant jurist to the Supreme Court is one of the darkest days? I can’t imagine why. Oh, wait – it’s a “filtered opinion.”

Could it be because she’s an originalist? A Roman Catholic? She might not be in favor of abortion on demand? Could the fact that she was nominated by Donald Trump have anything at all to do with it? Could this be a biased opinion?

Sorry, Chucky baby, the days leading up to her confirmation were far darker. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) asked questions about sexual harassment – did Judge Barrett ever sexually harass anyone? Some senators used their time to pontificate. The vote itself was split almost completely among party lines. Because, heaven forbid, the fact that she is a faithful, practicing Catholic might interfere with her interpretation of the law – even though her record indicated otherwise.I’m beyond sick of division and hatred like this. During the vote, some senators were quite rude in the delivery of their votes – “hell, no” said Hirono. Others gave a nasty, flamboyant thumbs down – or worse. This, the response from many who constantly state that Donald Trump is rude, crude, and generally socially unacceptable. Ah, the irony.

Examples of “filtered information” are countless. Tuesday night I watched Tucker Carlson (Fox News) interview Tony Bobulinski, former business partner of Hunter Biden. That name may not ring a bell with some, although it should be on the lips of every American.

In case you don’t know, Bobulinski was approached by the Biden family (yes, that Biden family) to be CEO of Sinohawk Holdings, a partnership with the Chinese. Bobulinski is a legitimate businessman with experience in international partnerships. (This is simplifying things, but there ARE details available.)

Equity arrangements included Joe Biden, even though Biden has denied that he “never took a penny” from a foreign government. Biden has stated again and again that he has never discussed business with his son Hunter. Bobulinski stated that this is simply not true; he was present at two meetings where this business was discussed in depth. There were plenty of discussions.

It’s not simply a case of he-said-they-said; Bobulinski has presented all documentation, emails, texts, and even recorded conversation that clearly show the Bidens’ corrupt business practices. Bobulinski, not intending to make waves, became a whistleblower when Representative Adam Schiff (D-Ca) stated that implications of the Bidens’ deep ties to the Chinese government (the business they’re involved in is controlled by the Chinese communists) were part of a “Russian-orchestrated smear” on Joe Biden.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty tired of hearing “the Russians! The Russians!” every time I turn around. Seriously, are we in the McCarthy era?

Bobulinski is a navy veteran, and held very high security clearances. He is clearly a patriotic American and a solid, factual witness (and by the way, a Democrat who has supported and donated to Democrat candidates), and he was, essentially, accused of treason by a United States Representative. He contacted one of the business partners and demanded a retraction from Schiff. The response was basically ain’t gonna happen.

Now, Bobulinski had already questioned the ethics of equity being “held” by Hunter for his father. About 3 years ago, he asked, basically, won’t your involvement with a business so closely connected to the upper echelon of Communist China look bad if you ever decide to run for President?

Nah, he was told by Jim Biden. “Plausible deniability.” Heh heh heh.

Yep. Plausible deniability.

Bobulinski’s frustration is palpable in the interview, and I don’t blame him. He was brought into a business deal based solely on Biden family connections. They approached him because of his expertise. When details began to come out, we heard about it only through the filter of THE RUSSIANS, and this veteran (who comes from a military family) was basically accused of treason.

Does the term thrown under the bus mean anything to you?

I’m glad Bobulinski has the courage – and the evidence – to show these shady dealings of the Biden family.

You can learn more here:

https://nypost.com/2020/10/27/hunter-biden-emails-tony-bobulinski-says-he-was-warned-about-going-public/

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2020/10/27/tony_bobulinski_my_meeting_with_joe_biden_at_the_beverly_hilton_hotel.html

“[Vice President Biden] is lying about the fact that he said he never spoke to his son Hunter about his overseas business connections.”

“What we’re really finding out is Hunter really cracked the code somewhere around 2013, 2014, in terms of how to really vacuum up these dollars and how to attract money from people that wanted to have influence, and utilize the Biden name.”

“Take a look at all of these glaring conflicts of interest, all these foreign entanglements. At a minimum it is grotesquely sleazy and that’s who the American people are going to polls voting for or against: somebody like Vice President Biden who’s involved in incredibly sleazy, possibly illegal dealings.”

–US Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis)

T

The interview with Carlson (OK, link blocked because of copyright. It’s on YouTube.)

Most of the media is ignoring this story (there’s another biased filter for you), brushing it off as “Russian interference.” After all, it may be unethical, but is it strictly illegal? After all, no one is “bribing” Joe Biden. Sure, there are emails that show “influence peddling.” These are old tricks in Washington. Route the money through the spouses and children. Why should this matter?

It matters because this would influence Biden’s dealings with China.

And good grief, peddling influence?

We hear about “fake news,” and this isn’t “fake news,” but it is irresponsible reporting. So is the glossing over of riots in many of our larger cities, describing them as “protests.” Philadelphia has seen “protests” destroy and loot businesses, with several deaths. As I write this, the riots continue. Oops, I mean “protests.”

I know there are people who cannot stand the thought of voting for a Republican. Personally, I can’t stand the thought of voting for these people – who happen to be Democrats. I can’t support a party that supports this kind of corruption…that supports abortion-on-demand…that would smear anyone for no good reason (think Coney Barrett, Kavanaugh, Bobulinsky for a few current victims)…that supports socialism. If you don’t know what I mean, review the party platform. This is NOT the party of JFK. This is not classical liberalism.

Put party aside. The Biden family members (and particularly Joe, the “Big Guy,”) have made fortunes from corruption and peddling influence. To anyone with money.

I usually stay away from politics in this blog, but I can’t shut up if I want to sleep tonight. I woke up at 3 AM with this in my brain, and finally got up at 4 AM to start writing. I let things sit for a while, then post.

Those who disagree with me (or think I’m overreacting) are welcome – URGED – to INVESTIGATE some of the links above, and review Biden’s record. I have a fair number of dear, very beloved friends that are Democrats and tend to vote that way, and we often avoid discussing politics too much because hey, there are more critical things in life, right?

But…sigh. Do you want to keep living in a free country? I know you, like my Democrat friends, are smart, caring, and want the truth. Seek it out. You don’t have to tell anyone how you vote if you don’t want to.

But…do you want to become a country where people of faith (such as Amy Coney Barrett) are attacked because of their faith? Don’t we Americans support the free exercise of religion? As an individual, I cannot be “me” without my faith. I cannot separate that from who and what I am. I trust the moral character of such a judge – and what is more sacred in choosing a judge?

America isn’t perfect – far from it. Our elected representatives aren’t perfect (pardon me while I laugh hysterically), and some are downright rotten and corrupt to the core. Some are trying their best to do the right thing in the quagmire of Washington, DC, and I support and salute those that do.

So…as you cast your vote, remember that elections do have consequences. Please, think long into the future as to what those consequences may be.

I can contrast four years of progress (in spite of ZERO positive media coverage, unbelievable circumstances, including a “faux impeachment” – remember, there was NO (zip, zero, nada) evidence of “Russian collusion”) against 47 years of doublespeak, flip flopped issues, and yes, corruption.


I can contrast someone who, in spite of being occasionally “rude” and “unpresidential,” made his money in business and then came to politics with someone who got rich on a Senator’s salary.

Shouldn’t that tell ya something right there?

A Samaritan Woman is a graduate of Loyola University, New Orleans with a BA in Mass Communications, and a graduate of Louisiana State University with a Master’s Degree in Social Work. She is licensed in the practice of Clinical Social Work.

Delta Force

Be careful what you ask for; you may get it. Perhaps too many of us have been wishing for a break from the nonstop news of violent protests in major cities, Coronavirus, elections and candidates. If 2020 hasn’t been fun enough already (NOT), we have yet another hurricane breathing down our necks. Or should I say, up our bay.

After a storm in the early 1960’s.

The past 24 – 48 hours have been filled with the autopilot exercises – literally, battening down the hatches and prepping home and office for high water and heavy winds. The most difficult thing for many on the Gulf Coast, though, is the question: Should I stay or should I go?

I have friends (who live on higher ground and much farther inland) who will scream (or text, or message, or email) “YOU CAN’T BE THINKING OF STAYING!!” and then quote the weather channel, the local news, etc. “Life threatening storm surge!” “Deadly winds!” “You could die!!”

Well, that’s true. But for those who think that we along the coast take such things lightly, let me tell you: It’s a tough decision, and not one made lightly or in ignorance (regardless of what some in the media will imply).

Hurricane Hilda. This is how the National Weather Service used to track hurricanes. 1964.

I’ve always said I prefer a hurricane to an earthquake, because at least you know a hurricane is coming and you can prepare for it. You watch every update carefully, compare it to other storms in memory, and hash it out again and again with family, friends and neighbors. “Remember when Rita came in right at Sabine pass?” “Yeah, but that thing was HUGE, and it moved slow. The winds blew for over 24 hours.” It gets a lot more detailed than that. Sometimes I think that those who live in hurricane alley have as good an instinct as professional meteorologists. After all, it’s our butts on the line. If they’re wrong too many times, they lose a job. If I’m wrong, I could lose a lot more.

We’ve left before. For Andrew, for Lily. It’s a sick feeling when you nail plywood over the doors of your house right before you leave and you wonder what will be there when you return.

What’s most important? What do you bring with you? Where do you go? We are fortunate to have a range of family and friends who offer their homes, but many people are stuck with shelters. CoVid has made that even more challenging. If you leave, you could get stuck in traffic for hours. If you leave, you may not be able to get back because the roads will be closed. Sadly, there are those who know that people have evacuated – and will take advantage of that fact.

If you stay, be prepared to be without electricity, water, and perhaps even without cell phone. If there is a storm surge, be prepared.

Making this decision is never taken lightly. But when you do stay, there is an eerie beauty to a hurricane. We’re powerless in the face of Mother Nature, and I have sat in awe on my porch as the wind bends the sugar cane and the trees. I have felt sick to my stomach watching the water rise higher and higher, with no idea of when it would stop.

There are funny things, too…like the time my brother, dressed in his nightshirt, carried his dog (a 60 pound pooch) alllllll the way out of the yard to the middle of the highway (the ONLY spot NOT underwater) so said pooch could go potty. And my husband “boatlifting” my parents with their cat to the house next door because it was a bit higher than their house, and the water was getting too close for comfort. (The cat was more freaked out than anyone.)

My husband and I spent our 18th wedding anniversary ripping up soaked carpet and throwing out ruined furniture from our office. Happy Anniversary, hon. We – with family and friends – went to Chili’s in town that night, as they had a generator and AIR CONDITIONING. Everyone in the place was grungy, sweaty, dirty because no one had electricity or water at home. No one cared. I still think that may be the best tasting margarita I ever had.

Anyone who lives through hurricanes on a regular basis has their benchmark storms. Hilda, Andrew, Rita. There were many others, but those three stand out in my mind.

After the storm surge passed, Hilda, 1964

Andrew tore our roof off, one year after we’d moved into the house. I was 7 1/2 months pregnant at the time. Every guy in the family came to the house the morning after the storm and got busy with solid-sheeting the room and covering it with tar paper.

My children remember Rita. We had fairly high water, and they enjoyed paddling the boat around the place. That was also the memorable 18th wedding anniversary.

The kids enjoyed the storm surge with Rita. BTW, that’s our yard.

Hilda – ah, Hilda. Winds of 125. It was a few weeks before my 5th birthday, and I vividly remember it. We left to go to central Louisiana to stay with family, but heard the storm had changed course so we returned home.

Then it changed course again. We went back home. (This was in the years before storm tracking apps and websites – we waited for the next coordinates and tracked the storms on a chart…using the same chart for years so as to be able to compare storms.

My aunt after Hilda

Then, Hilda changed course again and came right in our backyard. We were without power or water or telephones for two weeks.

I’m not sure yet exactly where Delta will show up, but I hope her wind speed drops. At the moment, it’s going for Cameron and Calcasieu parishes – which got the worst of Laura.

Praying for Divine protection of life, home, and property.

Clanging cymbals

Right now, our world is running on hatred and fear. Just look at the news (you can’t escape it), and you’ll see riots, destruction, fear spreading and a focus on division.
I am told by talking heads and pundits that I should “speak out.” Others say that I have “no right” to say anything. Don’t forget – I am also told that I should stay home to avoid being an unwitting spreader of a deadly virus. I am told that I should/should not/should/should not wear a face mask.

I’m not alone when I say that I am tired, weary, and worn out.

iris small

 

People are asking a question that is hard to answer: How do we fix the many wrongs of the world and of our society?

In this cacophony of voices crying for attention, we really need to hear this:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

~ 1 Corinthians 13:1 – 13

We usually hear this passage read at weddings.  But interestingly, Paul’s letter was sent to a church that was experiencing – you guessed it – division. It is timely, and timeless.

I’m sure many will say this approach is too simplistic and downright impossible.  Please, please – go back and read it again. Let it sink into your bones. Let this be our starting place and returning place for healing.

It’s difficult, I know. As humans, we may never have enough love. But if we draw from the endless well of the love of God, we have a never-ending supply of love and compassion. That’s what we need.

Because without love, we truly have nothing. And only with the love of God can we have any hope of making sense of this mess.