the doormat

angry emojiI’m sure you have seen innumerable variations of me laying in front of the entry door to your friends’ houses.  We come in all shapes, colors, materials, configurations, and sizes.  Some of us are woven, some are shaggy, some sport a “WELCOME”  in large white letters. I am a luxurious green astro-turf square about 2 feet by 3 feet with a lovely white daisy in the corner.  My well-to-do cousins cover the playing fields in various stadiums.

Yes, my task is to collect the grime and dust off dirty shoes as they enter the house.  Most visitors are considerate enough to wipe several times before crossing the threshold, although a few will step over me in attempts to avoid my purpose in life which is to keep my owner’s sanctuary free of unwanted mud and dirt.  Although just a lowly piece of manufactured green astro-turf, I see and know every one who enters my house.  I am the front door sentinel who extends a welcome and says good-bye.  I am just a doormat.

I recently overheard my owner exclaim excitedly, “What am I, just a doormat?  Do they think I am here for them to walk on?”

I don’t understand it.  I am a proud doormat who provides a  valuable service to everyone who enters the house.  Without me the home’s floors would be filthy.  Without me the soles of visitors’ feet would probably never get cleaned.  Without my lush grassy texture people would miss the massaging action of my fibers.  What’s so wrong with being a doormat?

I guess humans simply don’t like being used as a doormat.  They don’t enjoy being stepped upon and used indiscriminately by selfish visitors.  Being a depository for other people’s dirt, grime, and bad habits doesn’t fulfil their reason for existence on earth.  Humans were not created to be good doormats.

That makes me happy.  It’s job security.  As long as the people in my house place value on their inherent integrity and as long as they maintain a reasonable level of self-esteem and respect, I don’t need to worry that I will be replaced with a talking, moving, thinking human model any time soon.

Next time you visit my house, don’t mistake the owner for me.  He’s the bald-headed guy living inside.  I’m the bright green piece of astro-turf with a daisy laying outside the front door.  I am much prettier.smiley 3

silver lining

silver lining

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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take stock & regroup

When I undertook this format for writing several years ago, it was with the intent to share my experience, strength, and hope in my personal quest for sanity and serenity as a recovering alcoholic.  I had no aspirations for a blog that would draw thousands of readers or ambitions for a post that would go viral.  And, I have not been disappointed.

The events of the past year have tilted my concerns and attentions to the political arena.  Certainly my personal opinions are valid, my voice needs to be counted, and my vote will continue to be registered, but, continual attention to a situation which is beyond my control exacts a toll on serenity and composure.

Today, I realized that common sense will ultimately prevail, that goodness and mercy will prevail, and that life will go on with or without my input.  But, I also came to understand that our culture ( Western, specifically American) is driven not by a sense of spirit, but rather by a sense of self.  We are a culture of egoism and self-absorption.  It is the only explanation for the politicians we have installed as leaders of the free world.

A wealthy friend, let’s call him Joe, is a minor millionaire who spends more money on a pair of shoes than I can spend on monthly groceries.   Joe has called our current President a pig.  He has questioned our President’s shady connections.  He is one of the voters who voted for the least worst of the worst candidates in decades.  Yet, Joe confided that the stock market is doing great, he is making money and therefore he is happy with the pig with shady connections who is currently posing as POTUS.  Another pair of designer shoes for Joe and maybe a Rolex are in his offing.

Yes, today has been a time of refection and redirect.  I know who I am in God’s world, I intend to strive on for a compassionate, caring, communing interaction with the world’s peoples, creatures, and environment.  This is the only wealth which is worth chasing, it is the eternity detailed in the chapters of the great scriptures, it is that which the greatest of God’s messengers have attested as truth; it is the way of Jesus, the path of Buddha and it is available to all who will subdue themselves to the greater power so simply presented in the recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The Oneness which we call God, or Allah, or Brahman will continue with or without us.  The universal, omnipotent power of the Oneness will do this…with or without us.  Our reason for being here on this earth in this life is to promote and assist the physical/spiritual welfare of our brothers and sisters, to cherish the creation and to protect the environment.  We are not here to promote our version of God, to defend our version of God, or in any way assist our version of God.  The one you name as God, the one I name as God is perfectly capable of handling those details.  Let’s appreciate the simplicity of our solidarity.

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