This is a little embarrassing. I typed in the wrong domain name for my blog Website and came up with someone else's -- remarkably similar to mine, about spiritual journeys and such. For a moment I thought, someone's stolen my blog!! Then I remembered my website name was different and breathed a sigh of relief. That was a close one. If you never hear from me again, that means I've forgotten my blog location for good! Feel free to steal away at that point, but only if you're a decent writer on all things spiritual and can continue in the fine tradition I started.
I live in fear that all my well-thought-out and highly complex, strong passwords to log into all my web addresses (FB, LinkedIn, email, bank, 401K, insurance, etc.) will be wiped out in some disaster. You see, I have gotten so creative in the naming of passwords that I can't remember a thing about most of them. I rely on certain methods that I cannot disclose here (I don't want any government agencies getting hold of my methods and hacking into all my sites, after all) that are not entirely foolproof. At work, I am required to change my email password every 60 days, which I hate. After all, it requires the effort of thinking of a brand-new, strong (i.e. hard to commit to memory) password and then remembering it! The amount of creative effort in generating a new password so often is just daunting. Yes, there are websites that promise to generate and store passwords for you, but I don't trust them. Another NSA (or could it be IRS? SSA? etc.) trick to gain access to our private information!
I'm being tongue in cheek about the whole governmental spying thing. At this point in my life, I am much more concerned about finding terrorists than I am about bungled government spy programs. Maybe the fact patterns will change as new information emerges, and I will feel differently in the future, but that is where I am now. It's interesting to try to figure out where conservatives and liberals stand on the whole lack of privacy issue. My opinion is we surrendered our privacy when we equipped all our electronic devices with smart technology like GPS. To me, there's just not much difference between a private company having all that data and the U.S. government.
I also can't understand why conservatives think it is perfectly OK to legislate bedroom behavior or a woman's reproductive decisions, if they also believe it's not OK for the government to have access to phone and email activity of citizens.
But that's not what brought me here today. I have been in the throes of judging my adequacy as a parent, now that my children are nearly grown and it feels too late to fix any mistakes I have made! (Yeah, oh now I decide we should have been much stricter with the 19-year-old who will move out in August. How's that working out?)
I don't have many memories of my childhood, and I think partly that was a protective reaction. My parents fought often and loudly, and it was frightening and traumatic to me. It was almost like this was an old, bad habit they developed -- their only way to relate to each other was by fighting. Mom would find something to belittle Dad about, and would keep on and on, trying to get a reaction from him, until he would explode (though sometimes he would sit back and take the abuse, and that was perhaps worse.) My home rarely felt like a safe place to me. I know my parents loved me, and in some ways they even loved each other, but that is how I reacted, the particular sensitive soul that I am. Another child would have felt differently. Now my parents are both dead (my Dad since last November), and that is part of the processing that is also occurring in my life. They are gone now. I forgive them both, and love them both more than ever. So now I can say some things about my experiences living with them, speaking from my current adult perspective, without having the same level of emotional pain and blame that once existed.
Here's one little thing I remember. (Sister, this may be too hard for you to read, so skip this paragraph.) A few little details, but I think they say a lot about the nature of the home environment when I was a child. We had a dog who, I believe, was named Mitzi. I never was responsible for taking care of her, or if I was, no one particularly enforced it or made sure I did take care of her. I remember one time, discovering that her food (which was canned, at least that time) had maggots in it. That's how long it had been sitting out. The thought, now, makes me so very sad. My mom got rid of Mitzi -- either took her to the pound, or gave her away -- and it took me a few days (or longer) to notice and ask where she was. That makes me sad, too.
Here's the point of that one little sad story in a sea of much worse stories that play out all around us, every day. If I have taught my children nothing else, I have taught them how to take care of a pet properly. I drilled it into them that our dog and cat, as well as parakeet, must be fed and given fresh water every single day, that our pets can't do this for themselves, and their very lives depend on it. They are helpless and at our mercy. (The dog and parakeet, anyhow; Cassius just pretends to rely on the food we give him.)
This one thing, I did well. (Of course, it's not the only thing.) I think by extension, I taught my children something about love in action. Love, without action, is no love at all. It's such a small and seemingly insignificant act, to teach the proper care of pets. And yet, and yet ... if everyone had been taught the proper care of all creation, how much better a place the world could be. It starts at home, though it certainly should not end there.
The painful places in my life need to come up and be expressed, or they corrode my soul. I hope that my writings can help others, even one other person, as well.
Should I share the story idea I had? Or is it so good that someone trolling through blogs will snatch it up and make it their own? (I should be so lucky that someone would save me the hard work of actually writing a decent story) Here's the story line. It's actually about you. Say your life has been wonderful, productive, and you are a caring and compassionate person, working on self-improvement and helping others. Except ... for that one terrible thing you did. You know what I'm talking about. It sometimes keeps you up at night. It happened years ago, yet it stays with you, a drag on all your subsequent efforts. It actually is haunting you, a ghost that you cannot purge. During the day, it's fine and you can keep yourself together. There's a gloss of normalcy over your life, but underneath there is this area that seems to be rotting you away, from the inside out. Can you ever really consider yourself a good person, after all, or does that one event define you, forever? Does it create so much bad karma that no subsequent efforts on your part can ever make up for it, and the world would have been better off without you? How do you ever know?
I am speaking of something similar to Paul's "thorn" which is endlessly fascinating, because we don't know what it was. It is also universal. We all have that thorn, that place of sin and regret. Some have a larger one (or more noticeable) than others, for sure. But examine your life, and you will find a tender place where it hurts when you poke around, where you feel that you've been an utter failure, or worse, done something that was actually evil. It's not hard to do something really bad, in the heat of the moment. I am one who believes for sure, "There but for the grace of God go I." I believe that as human beings, we are all capable of atrocities under the right circumstances. The world is full of examples of decent, upright people who did unspeakable things to others, because of the moment they found themselves in. What happens to these people after that, for the rest of their lives? Do they continue to justify that horrendous act or acts? Is there any way to actually atone for a wicked action?
There it is. Send me the full story as soon as you finish it! You can put my name in the acknowledgements, or maybe dedicate it to me.
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