NEWS FROM GABBY GRAYWHISKERS: we are family

Folks, Gabby is saddened today reading all the bullshit coming from the leaders of the world.  It’s kinda like watching  a backyard brawl of 8 year olds bad-mouthing each other.  “My guns are bigger than your guns.  My daddy’s got more money than your daddy.  I’m smarter than you.  I’ll wipe your ass off the face of the earth.”

I go to music in the bad times.  How about you?  The theme of this blog is John Lennon’s “IMAGINE” , but one of my favorites is the song below.  Crank it up

NEWS FROM GABBY GRAYWHISKERS: howdy, howdy

I sure do appreciate the opportunity to entertain all of you with my rants and raves and plain ole drivel.  My creator, LarryPaulBrown, says he is a weary old man who needs a break from all the twaddle that passes as news and all the news that is nothing but twaddle.  I asked him what the hell “twaddle” was and he advised me to look it up in the Merriam Webster.  Actually what he said was, “Doofus, there’s a dictionary on the desk; use it.”

I’m not sure how long he will be in a bad mood, but, from the looks of the political scene, it could be a long time.  Now, as for me, I ain’t the brightest bulb on the string, but I know fer a fact some of them old farts in Washington DC got less sense than my jackass standing yonder in the pasture.  Maybe we can talk about it sometime.

You may have read a few of my guest posts over the past few months.  What’s that you say?  Don’t remember em?  Probably just as well.  Larry asked me to clean up my act a little bit since his readers is nice, proper folks who don’t appreciate swearing and dirty talk.  “Well hell,” I says, “ain’t nothing wrong with a little naughtiness once in a while.”  He says he’s gonna keep an eye on me.

So, afore we get started, I thought a cute lil joke would be a good icebreaker.

There was this old farmer who lived alone with his aging daughter.  She was none too bright and  downright ugly.  The farmer was concerned about what would happen to her when he passed on to his glory.  So, one day a smiling, horny, vacuum salesman stopped by.  The farmer noticed that his daughter was taking a hankering to the handsome man.  So, he hatched a plot to trap the salesman into having sex with and then marrying his aging daughter……whaaaaat?  You’ve already heard this one?  Ok, let’s just move on.

I ain’t no big fan of restaurant eating these days.  Especially them fast-food places like McDonalds and Burger King.  Ok, so you order a deluxe burger, fries, and a pie.  You look at the register and it’s telling you $6.49.  Then you say, “and a large Coke, please.”  All  of a sudden that total is $10.49.

“Miss, I think you made a mistake.  $4 for a Coke?”

She looks at ya like you just escaped off the turnip truck, people behind you are grumbling, your wife is fussing and you just tuck tail and fork over $11.00.

“Sir, would you like to donate the change to the Whasahootsitz Childrens’ Fund?”

“Hell no,” I fire back to her and then notice the big bubba standing aside me in a wife-beater shirt glaring down my skinny little shoulders.

“No, miss, but I sure would love to donate $5 to the little angels of Whasahootsitz.”

All’s well that ends well. YessireeBob.  Now you might ask, “But, Gabby, what about your wife?  You didn’t order anything for her.”

Y’all don’t know my wife.  Truthfully, I don’t know her anymore ever since she had that change of life thing.  I know now why they call it change of life cause my life has sure as hell changed over the past few months.  Just a fussin and bitchin about everything.  She don’t want sex then accuses me of having an affair because we don’t have sex anymore.  Go figure.  And you ask what has that got to do with eating at Burger King?

“Have it your way.”  Remember that jingle from years ago?  She was in one of her pissy moods, I starting singing “have it your way” and now she won’t eat at Burger King.  I don’t get it.  C’mon, men have change of life issues too, I mean, let’s get honest.  Plumbing don’t work like it used to, more hair growing out of the ears than on top of the head and how about that libido, guys?  It don’t go away, it just gets put on the back burner to simmer on and on and on…….and on.

Hey, did ya hear the joke about the old farmer who had a gay bull?

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Dhammapada 1: the twin

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Even if the thoughtless can recite many of the scriptures,
if they do not act accordingly,
they are not living the holy life,
but are like a cowherd counting the cows of others.

Even if the faithful can recite
only a few of the scriptures,
if they act accordingly,
having given up passion, hate, and folly,
being possessed of true knowledge and serenity of mind,
craving nothing in this world or the next,
they are living the holy life.

Doesn’t get any simpler than that, does it?  I believe in American culture we would say, “Talk the talk and then walk the walk.”  It’s all about the journey which we walk and not the scriptures we have read.  Some of my friends are well versed in Christian scriptures and they do indeed live by the principles.  Surely they will be blessed.

But, we increasingly witness the preachers of the “talk” who haven’t a clue nor a desire to live the “path” of the Buddha nor the “way” of Jesus of Nazareth.  Their talk is big while their performance is dismal.

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD.  Jeremiah 23:1

To my friends in recovery programs, this is not religious stuff; this is the essence of the program we have learned around the tables at our meetings.  Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson did not pull their life-saving principles out of thin air.  No, they took the wisdom established centuries earlier and transitioned it to fit contemporary society.

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nothing to prove, nothing to protect

“When you can become little enough, naked enough, and honest enough, then you will ironically find that you are more than enough. At this place of poverty and freedom, you have nothing to prove and nothing to protect. Here you can connect with everything and everyone.”  RICHARD ROHR @ CAC.ORG

“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”Dave Ramsey, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness   

“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”  Janis Joplin ME AND BOBBY MCGEE

Same message, different messengers.  Fr. Richard is speaking to our sense of spirituality, Dave Ramsey is addressing rampant consumerism, and Janis….well, we’re not quite sure which drummer Janis was following but all three of them speak of freedom from ourselves, from that inherent, squeaky, little voice which tells us that who and what we are is just not good enough.  It’s the voice that enslaves us to religious doctrine, to consumerism and to self-doubt.

Fr. Richard is of the Franciscan order and a proponent of the ancient mystics including Jesus of Nazareth.  He teaches that rather than climbing the ladder to heightened spiritual awareness, we need to descend, to strip ourselves of ourselves, and recognize our Oneness with all of humanity.  When we lower and join into the world of poverty and oppression with the masses we then become One.  When we earnestly harbor compassion and good will for all of God’s creatures, when we strip of worldly desires, we have nothing more to lose and thereby become free.

Like most of you,  for me to grasp this concept of our reality is difficult.  It requires a revolutionary definition of self which is totally alien to modern Christian orthodoxy and absolutely anathema to today’s popular “prosperity Gospel”.  Mother Teresa, of course, would be an excellent role model.  But, we cannot all give up jobs, families, commitments to go work in the slums of a 3rd world country.  However, we can make a conscious effort to eschew the trappings and trap of wealth and consumerism by recognizing the wisdom and truth of the ancients and by living lives which uphold and honor the rights of all of God’s creation.

“…..nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too…” John Lennon IMAGINE” 

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silver lining

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Hello from Florida, the land of the powerless and sweat-soaked.  Nice to be back.  I once again have AC and internet.  Yes, those conveniences were missed, but, the days without them forced an adjustment in daily chores and in priority thinking.  Neighbors helping neighbors, people being courteous, washing dishes in the sink, turning t-shirts inside out for another day’s wear, and cooking campfire coffee somehow take a man back to the truly important things in life.  Providing for basic comforts and needs is relearned from a childhood spent dealing with the capriciousness of farm life.  Summers without adequate rainfall meant sponge baths in the sink instead of a tub bath because the scant water supply was needed for the livestock; a poor corn crop meant no  new school clothes; sinking commodity prices meant repairing the old worn out refrigerator rather than buying a new one and making the 20 year-old-tractor last another year.

My grandfather and great-grand father with whom I lived as a child knew a hard life.  Farming was never accredited with the appropriate respect for the risks taken to provide food for their families and the city folks.  There were no guarantees back then on investment return and we were all called hicks and hayseeds.  But my forefathers were as dedicated to their life’s calling as any college degreed professional.

They were devout men.  They were earnestly sincere, devoted, godly, reverential, genuine, ardent, and true.  They were not religious although they supported the local church and its ministries.  They were pacifists who rejected the ideology of war and the country’s war machine.  They quietly raised their families to be loving and compassionate.

When times like this past week enduring hurricane Irma strike and force us to our knees, I catch glimpses of many years ago living in better times in a benevolent community of godly people that understood who they were and what their purpose was on earth.  The religious pomposity and hypocrisy we witness in today’s sects can’t hold a candle to the goodness of my people.  The corruption of today’s government would have been a mere side note in my grandfathers’ daily life.  They had more important things to consider.  They had families to enjoy and communities to build.

Irma has shown a silver lining to this simple farm boy.  I hope to return to those boyhood times more often now, to draw upon the wisdom and compassion of my folks, and to hold in proper perspective the noise and stench of our world today.  Even as the internet lights up my computer screen again, I will seek the inner knowing and the wisdom of my forefathers to maintain a grasp on the truly important things.  They were a happy, content community poor in materialism but wealthy beyond any of the glitz ruling our society today.

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go away, Irma

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There is a group of religionists who gained notoriety by protesting the funeral services of military members killed in action.  They laid the blame for these deaths on an America which condoned homosexuality;  God was having revenge on the rampant sinfulness of the country.  Carrying their placards near the funeral route, they spouted a brand of hatred which was based on their interpretation of Biblical verses especially from the writings of the Old Testament.

I remember many years ago viewing one of my mother’s favorite televangelists offering his explanation for the severe weather patterns touching the East Coast.  It was the punishment of an almighty God upon a sinful population in the major cities.  Yes, those folks in Charleston were simply having too much fun.

Well, folks, I guess Florida takes the trophy for sinfulness.  We’re gonna get nailed and honestly, most of us don’t really have that much fun to brag about.  I just want to know how their God decides what type of punishment to use.  We have our hurricanes, the Pacific has typhoons, Japan has earthquakes and Oklahoma….well Toto….this ain’t Kansas.  Ever set directly under a tornado?  I have and immediately confessed my sins and begged for deliverance.  Then I watched the light show from the exploding electrical transformers a half mile away and I knew God was going to keep me around for another day.

Don’t want to step on anyone’s toes….well, yeah, I do…..but, the concept which I name God has a terrific sense of humor.  If not true then surely he/she/it would have blown all of us to smithereens by now.  Would anything other than a gracious and benevolent God process all the shenanigans happening in this world and not pull the plug?  Remember the simple meal-time grace we recited as kids….”God is great, God is good; let us thank him for this food.”  We also need to add, “and thanks for loving me enough not to feed me what I deserve.”

Irma is heading this way.  There will be billions of dollars in property damage, lives will be changed forever, and unfortunately some will die.  But, it’s a force of nature, possibly a result of climate change, and it doesn’t matter from where it has come.  But, woe unto you religionists who tell me it’s a punishment.  Shame!  I hope Irma lays a big booger on your pillow this weekend.

 

relevance

CANDLE

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

Does anyone else remember that verse from childhood days in Sunday school class or perhaps vacation Bible school?  Yes, we would all stand up in front of our families, friends, and neighbors gesturing in unison our hands uncovering a candle being held.  The parents, the teachers and the preacher smiled in appreciation for our efforts.

Several weeks ago after church service I shared with a friend that I was feeling extremely irrelevant in today’s world, that a majority of my neighbors followed the beat of a different drummer socially and politically, and alas, even within our congregation there was division and discord.  We talked at length about the political climate, the lack of congenial discourse, the increase of violence.  From previous conversations I knew she was on the same page as I regarding tolerance of and inclusion for differing walks in life.

We talked awhile consoling each other when she twinkled an eye and began singing softly, “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

Yes, that is what we do as messengers of a Higher Power which embraces things not born of this worldly system, but extremely relevant to our journey.  We shine forth with what we know as truth.  In our AA literature humility is defined as “a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become who we could be.”

All too often we view this “humility” thing as a negative, we see it as needing to release pride and self pursuit.  But, if we recognize the greatness which God has empowered within each of us, if we realize the inherent spiritual connection, then we can begin to feel and believe that we do indeed have something to share with the world in which we live.  We are relevant to today’s worldly problems when we understand through genuine humility who we truly are and what our purpose is.

I don’t need a lighthouse, a beacon on a hill, the bright lights of fame, nor the adoration of the multitudes to walk this path with purpose or relevance.  I’ve been given my own personal little candle to hold and, by the grace of God, I’m gonna let it shine.

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sobriety’s promises

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1. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
2. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
3. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
4. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
8. Self-seeking will slip away.
9. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
10. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
12. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Alcoholics Anonymous p83-84
Reprinted from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.

When a volunteer reader recites the promises of Alcoholics Anonymous and reaches the last sentence, “They will always materialize if we work for them,” the group often responds with, “work, work, work.”

Therein is the secret to a successful recovery: work, work, work.  For us to undertake the work of the AA program with courage, determination, and dedication is  beyond anything we have previously attempted.  It is a life-changing, challenging endeavor which requires total commitment.  “Half measures availed us nothing.”

There are no compromises.  The promises listed above are realized when we are willing to say yes to a Higher Power, when we are willing to listen to long-term sobriety speaking, when we are willing to work our butts off to reach a state of clean and serene.   It works if we work it.  Alcoholics Anonymous is a very simple program to understand, but, for most of us, it is the most difficult  thing we have ever done.

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