“I’m so beyond debating this…”

“Wisdom is better than weapons of war…” – Ecclesiastes 9:18

I’m so beyond debating gun control. While we’ve wasted time back-and-forthing the pros and cons we’ve lost more lives. Guns do not belong in the hands of terrorists and people who are mentally unstable. This seems like one of those “duh” things to me. Assault rifles – designed to kill large numbers of people in a very short time – do not belong in the hands of anyone except law enforcement officers and the men and women in the armed forces. Again – this seems like a “duh” thing to me.

Last weekend my community experienced tragedy when a rifle got in the hands of the wrong person.

This morning Houston is experiencing tragedy.

When is this insanity going to end?

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More Guns Is Not the Answer

I found out about the shootings on Facebook. A friend messaged me to ask if my husband, Scott, a photojournalist, had gone to the Mall to cover the shootings for his newspaper. I called Scott to find out where he was and learned he was on his way to the shootings.

He’s home now – finally walked in the door at midnight.

There are four dead. Another critically injured. All had been in Macy’s.

Right now I don’t know anything about the victims, other than their genders. I don’t know if I knew them. I don’t know their ages. I don’t know their names. But I was in Macy’s a couple weeks ago and I remember the young woman in the shoe department who laughed with me when I teetered around on those 6 inch heels she brought out for me “just for fun.” I remember the older lady  who was so helpful and friendly when she rang me up. I remember the pretty ladies in the cosmetics department – and, although I didn’t stop to do any cosmeticking, they all smiled at me and wished me a good day. All of them – every single one of them – added something happy to my day. I believe that nothing good anybody adds to the world is ever lost.

Some of my Facebook friends are suggesting that if everyone at the Mall had just been carrying a weapon the shooter wouldn’t have gotten far. And… really?!! I picture it – guns coming out of everyone’s holsters, shots being fired in rapid succession as the “target” moves through the store, bullets zipping past the shooter and hitting innocent people. The store becoming a war zone – a scene from the wild west.

No. I do not believe more guns is the answer to our nation’s problems.

 

I know this may come as a shock to you…

To the folks driving the truck through the Fred Meyer parking lot – a big beautiful flag of the U.S. flying on the one side, and an equally big flag of the Confederacy flying on the other –

I don’t know how to break this to you, but someone’s got to do it, and I guess it might as well be me: The Civil War ended more than 150 years ago. The Confederacy lost. The slaves were freed, slavery was made illegal, and people of all races and ethnicities are now viewed as equal according to the laws of the land.

Just thought you should know. In case… you know… you didn’t.

Alrighty. Carry on then…

 

I still have all my teeth…

Life and goodness are immortal. Let us then shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight.
– Mary Baker Eddy

A few years ago there was a news story about an “elderly woman” who got swept away in a flood. I felt so terrible for this poor elderly woman when I started to read the story – I could picture her frail elderly arms struggling helplessly against the flood and my heart went out to her. But when I got to the end of the story, the writer wrote, “The sixty year-old woman…” and… yeah… although I still felt horrible for the poor lady… WHAT THE HELL?!!!… the writer considered this sixty year-old woman ELDERLY?!!!… SERIOUSLY?!!!!!

That story stayed with me.

Last week I turned sixty.

None of my other birthdays freaked me out – 40? I had a two year-old at home – who had time to think about getting old?? 50? Piece of cake – I’d just gotten my Master’s, published my first book on Amazon, and was about to have a story featured in *Newsweek* – the fifties were looking good. But 60 – the prospect of turning 60 was freaking me out big time.

Coincidentally, I’d been asked to do the readings at church on the eve of my birthday. Seeing as how my readings are usually “all about me,” the topic I chose was – duh – “aging.” I read the story of Abram picking up and moving cross-country at the age of 75 and his wife, Sarai, giving birth at the age of 90. In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy, I found: “The measurement of life by solar years robs youth and gives ugliness to age… Manhood is its eternal noon, undimmed by a declining sun. As the physical and material, the transient sense of beauty fades, the radiance of Spirit should dawn upon the enraptured sense with bright and imperishable glories.” And: “Never record ages. Chronological data are no part of the vast forever. Time-tables of birth and death are so many conspiracies against manhood and womanhood. Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than threescore years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise. Man, governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and grand. Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness.” And in the next paragraph: “Life is eternal. We should find this out, and begin the demonstration thereof. Life and goodness are immortal. Let us then shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight.”

I thought of my 98 year-old dad. His life didn’t stop unfolding “wisdom, beauty, and holiness” for him when he hit 60. He’s continued to paint his watercolors, and explore the world, and learn. He’s grown in wisdom, patience, and appreciation for others through the years. His life hasn’t been marked by borders of delineation between “young” and “old” – it’s been one continuous, flowing unfoldment. I believe that, had he appeared to “pass on” at 60, his life would have continued to unfold on “the other side” and brought him to the same place he is here and now at 98. I don’t believe death could have stopped his unfoldment, any more than age has.

Putting together those readings was really helpful to me.

I like to think that as the distractions of youth – vanity, ego, and so forth – fall from me, I will find a freedom and lightness I didn’t have earlier in my life. I like to think Mary Baker Eddy is right about aging, and that I will continue to unfold in “wisdom, beauty, and holiness.”

And here’s some good news:  When I woke up the morning after I turned 60 I was delighted to find that my teeth hadn’t all fallen out during the night and I appeared to still be ambulatory and stuff.

So there’s that…

birthday-schmirthday

900

Okay – this is kind of cool: It’s taken me five years, but my blog now has 900 followers. Which… I mean… 900 is three times as many as the number of Spartans who beat King Xerxes. 900 is more than the margin between Bush and Gore in Florida in 2000. 900 passengers won’t fit on the biggest passenger airplaneTony Hawke landed a 900 at the age of 48 and made a youtube about it – yes, that’s how cool it is… of course… 1000 followers would be even cooler (hint, hint), but still…

Ahem. Just had to share this momentous WordPress moment with you. Alrighty. Carry on then…
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