Friday, December 10, 2010

All that we think we know may very well be wrong

All the divisions we create between ourselves as human beings............ are bullshit.

I'm gonna let that soak in for a moment before I say it again.

All the divisions we create between ourselves as human beings are complete, total, absolute, and otherwise completely unjustifiable bullshit.

View the video below first, then keep reading, and I'll explain why.

Special thanks to my Facebook friend M for sharing this remarkable piece, for, without seeing it, we might, for a moment, convince ourselves that we're not really all the same at the core.

But yet we are, and this man actually gets it.

I sometimes think that we who call ourselves Christians might think we have the market cornered on helping the poor and oppressed.  But, to paraphrase another friend of M, here is a man living out "Christian values" in the most exemplary way, even though he himself is not "a believer."

All this goes to show, my friends, that God works in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine, much less presume to understand or justify.

As a Christian myself, I do believe that Jesus Christ, sharing in the being, and therefore divinity, of God the Father, came into our world to reveal God's ways to us.  Likewise, I believe in the promise given the disciples at Pentecost, that God's Holy Spirit would remain with us and continue to guide us in Christ's absence.  And I believe the words of scripture where, in the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Peter says that "in truth... God shows no partiality" and "in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him" (Acts 10:34-35, emphasis added).

But can we accept this?  Can we accept that God can, and does, transcend our own divisions?  Can we who are "believers" accept that a "non-believer" can do God's work?  Can we be big enough to accept that we are small in God's plan for our world?  Do we truly believe that God is all-powerful, and can we be humble enough to accept that God is not limited by our human thinking?

I, for one, firmly believe that God, the God of Abraham and all his descendants, Jew, Christian, and Muslim alike, has chosen to work through this man, a non-believer, whether he knows it or not.  He is proof that God's Holy Spirit is alive and at work in our time, and that it continues to guide all people in the paths of righteousness.

So what does it all come down to?  I think it means we need to let go of the idea that we are somehow special because of the particular faith tradition that we ascribe to.  I think we need to keep our hearts and minds open, so we might recognize the many truly good people around us who are doing great deeds.  And, when we see them, I think we should celebrate those deeds to the fullest extent we can, spreading the news far and wide, so others might be inspired and cause the goodness to overflow.

If you agree, then go spread the word.

Good luck out there, everybody.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"What the hell's the matter with you people?"

This, ladies and gentlemen, may well be my new maxim in my life.

Cynical, I know... but I find it to be unusually fitting for so many situations... I'd like to share with you the one that really drove it home.

A little back story...
Just over a week ago, I had a delightfully light Friday in the office... primarily due to the fact that I was supposed to have jury duty, and so slammed the rest of the week in anticipation of being gone... only then I didn't have to appear... which was fine by me!  So coworker N and I decided to work through lunch in order to leave shortly thereafter.  The problem with that was that "shortly thereafter" ended up being 2:30... (sigh)... and I was famished.  I decided to hit the nearest Taco Bell on the way home.

Now to the story...
I'm in the right lane on Thomas Road, a ways back from the Taco Bell, and I cannot figure out why we are at a dead stand still.  The cars in the other lanes are whipping right on by.  I move up a couple car lengths... and we're stopped... again.  Another light cycle goes by... a couple more car lengths... then stopped.  One more round, then finally I'm able to turn into the Taco Bell.  But as I pull around the opposite side of the building to the pickup window, I can see the problem: a stalled car.

Now, to help you visualize it a bit better... said stalled car is barely past the driveway of the McDonald's on the corner, which is next to the Taco Bell... there are about 10 vehicles sitting behind the stalled car... the third in the line is a FedEx truck... and as I'm attempting to pull out of the Taco Bell, I'm close enough to see the faces of several drivers stopped in front of me... they are not at all happy.

So I finally muscled my way out of the Taco Bell and promptly turned into the McDonald's... parked my car... walked over to the stalled car... and asked the driver if she wanted help moving her car.  She put it in neutral, stayed in it to steer... I pushed car and driver backward up the driveway and into the parking spot next to my car.  All in all, this "random act of kindness" took about four minutes, including the pleasantries.

But here's my problem... this woman was stuck in traffic for almost 10 minutes (that I know of, possibly longer)... how is it that I was the first one to help her??  Surely... I hope to God... surely I wasn't the only person to think of this!  If I who am short, fat, and generally out of shape can push both car and driver to safety, I'm sure there were others who were able.  (Like the FedEx driver?  One of his job requirements is to be able to carry 75 pounds, so I know he had the ability.)  Did everyone else that had to go around her just not care?  Were they really more content to be pissed off than to actually do something about it?  What the hell's the matter with you people?!?!?

So here's the deal, folks: I'm not after your praise; I don't want your admiration; and I don't want you to think I'm a great guy for doing what I did.  As far as I'm concerned, this is basic stuff... common courtesy that normally doesn't even warrant mentioning.

But what I do want you to do is this: be kind to one another.  Convince me that my new maxim doesn't apply.  Don't be complacent; don't get angry.  Help someone who needs help.  Do something to make a lousy situation better.  Affect a positive change.

Good luck, everybody...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

We now return to our regularly scheduled blog, already in progress.

Or in other words, I've decided to return to the blogosphere.

Didn't realize I was gone?  I'll try not to take it personally.  :)

But yes, I've been absent since November 14, after what proved to be a troublesome post.
(Don't bother going looking for it... it's gone... but not forgotten.)

And although I stand by my opinion, the turmoil that surrounded that post was, for the first several days, enough to make me say, "screw it... I don't need the frustration of feeling the need to self-censor."  After all, that's not what this was supposed to be about.

But alas, the ideas didn't stop flowing.  There's still things I want to write about, however more or less inane.  Now I just need to find the time to do it again.  (Should prove interesting with Christmas coming up...)

So, for now, anyway, there will continue to be a "B-Side".
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Two years

2 years
24 months
730 days
17,520 hours
1,051,200 minutes
63,072,000 seconds
that we have lived with diabetes
not turned our back on it
not let it out of our thoughts for even a moment
kept our son happy and healthy in spite of it
kept our son alive in spite of it
tomorrow will be another day
and the next after that
and the next after that
then three years
then four
then ten
and we will be here
we will always be here

Saturday, November 6, 2010

When it rains...

Well, our family's been pretty lucky so far when it comes to the old saying (knock on wood).  But we've been there.  I remember 2008, albeit not very fondly, when daughter JC broke her leg in April and son JF was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in November.  That was some heavy rain.

I can't help but think about this in the bigger picture though.

It started when another family we know, who also has a T1D son, thought their daughter might have celiac disease.  Now celiac and T1D are both auto-immune disorders, so it's not unheard of that they can both occur in the same child or same family.  But the irony is that a discussion aobut celiac came up at work this week, too.

As I mentioned before, I'm one of two staffers that handles all things related to worship at our church, and we've been considering the need for a "low-gluten" communion wafer to be available for our community.  We discovered that celiac, in varying degrees of severity, affects roughly 1 in 150 people, depending on the source you're reading.  But still... that's more common than T1D (about 1 in 600), which I thought was pretty remarkable.

Then I started to think about other problems... how many people I know personally that are battling cancer and the scores more I hear about on our prayer chain... how many people I hear about suffering from dementia or full-blown Alzheimer's... the people I know or hear about with psychological problems like ADHD or bipolar disorder... the list goes on and on.

And it makes me wonder... are all these things becoming so widespread, or is it just that we hear about it more, and we're generally more aware?  (I liken it to a discussion I had with a friend some time ago... whether cohabitation and pre-marital sex really didn't happen 50 years ago, or if it only seemed that way because nobody dared talk about it.)

But consider... our medical technology is so advanced that now we can identify and treat things like never before.  It used to be that you just dropped dead and nobody knew why, you were senile, or you just didn't know how to apply yourself.  But now, we know what these things are, and can find them earlier.

I think we're more open about our personal lives now, too.  I'm sure most of us can recall something as we were growing up that the entire family just rather ignore than discuss with anybody, including other family members.  (I remember my uncle's "roommate" always coming to family events when I was growing up... uh-huh... sure...)  Even our medical maladies are not the "top secret" personal information like we used to treat them.

And if we are generally more open with other people, then modern communication has made it so we can talk about things faster and with even more people.  Consider the Diabetes Online Community that wife D is a part of.  Like we would have ever found so many friends from coast to coast who are going through the same things we are if not for Facebook and Blogger!

I really do hope that all this really is just an increase in awareness, coupled with an increased willingness and ability to communicate... because the alternative is kinda scary.  It would mean that, as a whole, our bodies are deteriorating at an astonishing rate, and that it is continuing to get worse.

But I'll choose to believe otherwise... and should I be proven wrong, then I'll hope that the same technology and ingenuity that give us the awareness of these things will help us make it through the rain.

Friday, November 5, 2010

SPAGHETTI... in HD!!!!

Okay... just remember... I did warn you before that this was a place for random musings... and this definitely fits the bill... :)

Now being the geek that I am, I love my technology... perhaps more than any married man really should.  And yes, HDTV is one of my particular joys.  Even though I've been watching TV in high definition for about four years now, I still find myself tellng D, "Wow!  Look at that!" and "Damn, that looks good!!" and "Hey!  Let's get Harry Potter on Blu-Ray!"

Alas, my friends, when I titled this "Spaghetti in HD", I am not talking about Food Network.  Not even the new Cooking Channel.  Not even anything TV-related.

No.  In this case, "HD" stands for "half digested" and refers to our wonderful little vomitting stint we had with daughter JC last night.  D and I were up for about 2 1/2 hours starting at 1:00am this morning, from initial cleanup, through bathing child, washing pajamas, washing bedding, a second cleanup, more pajamas, and finally a third cleanup, whereupon we just figured it would have to be "good enough."

Suffice it to say, the house didn't smell like puke in morning, so we must have done a pretty decent job of things.  But in our sleep-deprived stupor this morning, both D and I started to come up with creative ways to describe what happened... and we both found this title unusually funny... so I thought I'd tell you all.

Aren't you glad you read my blog???

Farewell for now, friends... and may you never have to witness anything you've cooked "in HD."

Monday, November 1, 2010

So you want to write a blog, eh??

Part of me thinks I need this like I need a hole in the head.
One more thing.
That's what I'm always complaining about to D.

So why am I voluntarily doing this?
Well... I dunno... maybe I need an outlet... a place to process things.

There are certainly many things in my life I could write about.
I'm half of a two-man team that leads worship at a well-known (and therefore, unnamed) church in the Phoenix area, so there's plenty to talk about there.
I'm the father of 4-year-old twins, JF and JC, and JF is a type 1 diabetic, so there's even more to get into there.  (Actually, wife D writes about this at her own Sugar Kids Blog.)
And frankly, sometimes there's just things I think about that, perhaps in my own vanity, I think other people might like to think about too.

So I guess that's it.
It's the flipside... or B-Side... to my wife's experiences.
It's my space, my time, my thoughts.

So let's see how it goes...