Saturday, March 30, 2024



Less than six months ago voices were chiming in to promote a proper respect for the late December Holiday.The familiar, "Jesus is the Reason for the Season." and "Keep Christ in Christmas." became the seasonal mantra. As it is the weekend when Christianity (at least a segment of it) recognize Jesus' exit from a tomb, either I am not listening or there are no chants to properly respect this pivotal Holy Day of the Christian faith. Jesus is still the reason for this season, I believe. Maybe, "Keep East in Easter." isn't as catchy?

Personally, my faith life isn't dependent upon certain days, religious dictates disguised as mantras, or any other trappings. I enjoy celebrations. Any reason to join with others around food and conversation is good enough for me. I also find amusement in our capitalistic, consumer driven culture when it comes to these identified sacred days. Observing the array of products adorning the front shelves of stores is entertaining.

Here is a photo dump of some of my favorite items related to or promoted as Easter appropriate.

Even being chocolate, it seems strange to nibble on something either seen as an instrument of death or jewelry worn on a lanyard.

Speaking of chocolate, those eyes staring at me with such precision is rather creepy. What part of a chocolate rabbit do you eat first?

Could Snap, Crackle, and Pop represent the Holy Trinity?

Far from being a religious purest, I marvel at how we meld, explain, and justify so much stuff to have particular meaning. Obviously the Candy Cane has religious significance.  Here is a short YouTube video so we can indulge guilt free into jelly beans.  

So with this spin-off on the never stale Peeps, do you bite off the Sour Patch Kids head first (similar to the chocolate rabbit)? Or maybe just consume the whole thing at one time? Rather strange for a holiday which symbolizes life that we eat kids.

The list could go on, but you get the point. No matter how you choose to spend this weekend or mark Easter Day, do so in the joy of relationships and the support of community. Life is to be lived with gusto embracing respect, grace, and integrity.

I leave you with one final picture and the question, "What Would Jesus Eat?"  

Thank you for reading!

Sunday, March 24, 2024

What's the Problem?

I am not asking a snarky question in response to a perceived glare from another person. It's not that I'm above doing so. I've reacted that way too many times. Instead the question is posed as a general observation of our culture. Whether it be personal, societal, economic, or work related we live in a quagmire of problems. We focus on problems, real or imagined. We believe these problems demand our immediate attention. We believe we are solution oriented. The label "Problem Solver" is something to be tattooed where everyone can see it. If it weren't for problems to solve, what would keep us busy? 

The problem is the need to be perceived as busy. As I not only look at life currently, but as I recall the past decades have significant problems been solved? Yes, certain real problems have been eradicated. Advancements have been made in agriculture, medicine, and technology. Yet food deserts, news deserts, and geographic deserts are expanding. Problems are outpacing answers. If more problems can be solved sooner by fewer people we will catch up, correct?  This chasing doesn't seem to convince people in the United States that problems are being solved. If so, wouldn't individuals feel more secure and exhibit more happiness? Is contentment increasing? A recent survey measuring happiness between age groups and countries indicates that the United States has dropped overall. Our lives are busier. There are certainly multiple problems to solve. Yet this appears not to add to our satisfaction in life. The viewing of screens, video conferences, and endless email threads create busyness, but lack solutions. 

I have intentionally decided to get off the "busyness train." My desire is to explore, as well as contemplate the world in which I live. Instead of attempting to solve perceived problems, I will investigate and embrace them. In developing relationships with reality and making meaningful connections, not simply scrolling and searching online, I believe satisfaction increases. The internal need to appear productive still exists. It has been fed and exercised for years. However, I am challenging that aspect of my life. I cannot solve major problems by increasing my pace. In reality, I cannot solve major problems. Major problems are addressed 

King's Cross Station in London
through collaboration of people who have had time to think and explore multiple dimensions. Part of staying off the busyness train is meeting with others in a relaxed, unencumbered setting. The buzzing phones, the twisting of wrists (not to see the time), and the need to leave in order to get to the next meeting will not be in that environment. Retirement doesn't equate to retreating and decomposing. I see retirement as a time to get reacquainted with a part of myself which was left on the platform when I boarded the busy train years ago. I am content to let that train leave the station without me!

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Windshields and Rear Windows

Rear facing 3rd seat
Many road miles were viewed as they passed into the distance. This awkward and sometimes nauseating view was experienced from the rear facing seat of a 1960 Ford Fairlane station wagon. As a child it was a treat to get away from the adults in the front seat and my brothers in the second seat. It was also a respite from my dad's choice of AM radio stations. There was one speaker on the top middle of the dashboard. The sound did not travel to the third seat. Watching the world move away from me held some intrigue, but overall it was disorienting. It was the price I paid for space to myself.

Over the years vehicles have changed, but it remains that the windshield is larger than the rear window glass. I rarely look out of the rear window other than with the rear view mirror. In so doing my vision of what is behind me gets very limited. On my latest vehicle, the backup camera gives a wider perspective, but what is behind me still has a limited context. Along with a narrow perspective the rear window often gets obscured by various forms of dirt and grime. Instead of a clear view, what is past gets filtered with an impaired perspective.

As a college history major, I have an interest in the past. The interest lies not in data and dates, but in the 

Wiper cleans some dirt
human actions and responses. The adage of "history repeats itself" has little correlation to specific events. Its connection is deeply rooted in human behavior. The social and psychological influences of individuals and groups remain constant over eons even as technology changes the environment. The need for security as fear is promoted has always narrowed and clouded human action. Seeing through the murkiness of social agitation in order to navigate a forward direction has to be an intentional endeavor. If not, our actions and attitudes turn to the past. We begin to believe that safety and security is found in what is behind us. Just like being settled in the rear facing seat, there is some temporary relief in solitude. Yet overall, we become increasingly nauseated, willing to seek answers from the self-serving and unexamined promises of others. 

As I continue my journey in life, my steps have slowed. I experienced more aches and pains which never fully subside. I trip over slight imperfections as my feet don't rise and flex as they once did. Each step is more plodding and less nimble. There are options and purveyors of promises to make my life better. All I have to do is take a back seat.  However, I choose to sit in the front seat with a vast panorama ahead of me. Even as the siren song of the "Oldies" engulfs me from the surround sound speakers, wooing me into nostalgia, I choose to continue forward. Life, the full spectrum of life is ahead of me. I desire adventure with its freedom and its detours. The windshield provides hope instead of the queasiness of looking at what has passed me by.  

Looking toward what is ahead