family

There Was A Truck Across The Road

Yesterday morning, while I was having my coffee and smoke before work, I heard a boom. I didn’t think anything of it…till the sirens. The highway that I take to work is behind my house and the entrance that I use is about 1/4 mile away. It’s just a crossover that lets you go across 2 lanes of traffic to get to the northbound side…and someone coming south didn’t see the semi crossing his lanes. He hit the truck. He died. I KNOW that road. I know how fast traffic is. I suspect that it was quick. I hope he was gone before the flames got to him…
I don’t know who it was. It was just someone that was either coming home or going to work. No one expects that at 5:30 on a nice Fall morning that they won’t make it home from work. No family expects it…

I was going to write some cutsie pie post about a Blanket Fort…at least that was what I had been thinking about during the week. Yesterday morning changed that. I’m not going to use some person I don’t know as a tool to beat down people, please don’t read that into this.

Tell your person that you love them. Tell your people that you love them. If you’re in a fight and leave the house before you leave say “I love you”. Say the words.
Let the people that you surround yourself know what you like about them. Tell your wife she’s beautiful or your husband he’s attractive. If you don’t have either or a person, find someone and let them know.

Quit being so spiteful and fearful. Look for common ground and quit embracing xenophobic hate. Don’t consign people to Hell. When you take that stuff in, is that what you want in your heart when there’s a truck across the highway?

Let people in, don’t push them away.

*****

I like online conversations. It lets me see what I’ve missed. I’m sort of a functioning agoraphobic. I don’t ever want to leave home. As a result, most of my meaningful communication is online. The other day, I introduced someone I have been talking to for a couple (?) of years to Aj and Z. I am incredibly selective when I do that. I need to be sure that they fit. It was an emergency. My wife is feeling poorly. Just a bad cold…I think…but, I get stressed when she is because she’s my wife…anyway…
I introduced her to Aj and Z.

*When I NEED “prayer”, yeah not really Pagan but, still communication with the spiritual and not the profane, so, it’ll do, I go to Aj and Z. It covers the bases, Christian and Pagan.*

I was worried, yeah, that she wouldn’t fit, not because of her but, just because…well…Aj and Z and I respect them. My point, after I dropped offline for the night, the next day, I read back what was said.

As it turns out, much to my not surprise, she and Aj act just like old friends. They have a deep and abiding love of their Craft. They see beyond what I see. They both NEED to be grounded. Z, well, to tell Z she couldn’t get outside would be the end of her. I am glad I did and wonder why I waited. I should have known that.

What’s the point of this bit? Their worlds got a bit bigger. Mine did, too.

*****

I decided to write this to say when the end comes, the world ends, even if only for one person. I don’t know if I say it enough to them so…

You’re important to me. You, who you are, means more to me than mere typed words can express. I think about y’all all the time…and no this doesn’t mean that I think that what “I” think matters as much as that you have my, for what it’s worth, gratitude for letting me into YOUR worlds. That YOU matter. That you guys have embraced me being different and let me into your lives. If I don’t say it enough, I’ll give it one more shot. The compassion, patience, and understanding you’ve shown to my grumpy, middle-aged, hidebound, fearful, egotistical, worry-wort self, is beyond my understanding… Thank you all for letting me in to your worlds. I love you all dearly for it.

Life is vanishingly brief. It can end on a workday morning because you didn’t see the truck across the road.

 

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Underdogs

I’ve always been for the underdog. I tend to draw my own conclusions about people and the way I get to them isn’t always a mental path that most people would take.

Why does this have context here? Well…I seem to have an odd preference in my friends. You would think that, as a Christian, I would seek out my coreligionists. That my own demographic would be the group I wanted to be included in and with, yet, that seems not to be the case.

It seems that with Christians, no not all I am NOT painting with a broad brush, some Christians, though, there is competition to be the “best” Christian. That if your dogma is different than my dogma we are opponents. If we have different translations of the Bible, one of us is wrong. That who you allow to preach, meaning gender, is a cause for divide. That if I say that someone is LBGT may not be condemned to Hell makes me a Heretic…yeah, it does, by the way. That if I say that Pagans aren’t going to Hell, that doubles my heresy…again, yeah, it does double it…

The other demographic I tend to prefer is female. When I am around males, I compete. I think it’s a part of my nature. Males NEED to compete with other males. We beat our chests and strut like roosters. We have an image we need to project. I freely admit that, around guys, I do that. Yeah, it sux. It isn’t a “boys will be boys” thing meaning, women as objects or the rest of that stupidity, just having an image to project and protect. It is a bunch of damn work. It’s mentally stressing.

So…now that there’s some groundwork laid…Why Pagans and women and women pagans?

Let’s take this out of order and start with women… It’s just easier. I can be myself. I don’t really want anything from them. I don’t want a date because I’m well and devotedly married to the Love of My Life. I will be for the rest of my life…I digress…I just also don’t need to compete with them. I know their thought processes are different. It stands to reason, there are some serious biological reasons, duh. *editorial, I am not saying anything other than *different* NOT “worse”* If I natter on about “My Sweety this..” or “My Sweety that, blah blah blah…” they don’t get tired of hearing it…and I DO rattle on about it. Did I mention that I LOVE being married?

Now another part of the thought, of all the groups in the world a Christian would find, Pagans? Well…it seems that’s an accident. It really is. I didn’t look for Pagans. Hell, the first time I talked to a Pagan, I assumed she was a Christian. I really did. I thought Pagans, Witches, were a joke caused by Halloween and mass hysteria. How was I to know? Then something happened, I wasn’t really given a choice but to believe that what I thought was wrong. That there are practicing witches. That they have beliefs and faiths that are as valid to them as mine are to me. Talk about a worldview changer. If a seemingly rational person tells you that they are a witch, what are your choices? You can decide they’re not rational or what else? I mean, it sort of factors out Jamestown because that was several hundred years ago. It takes away the stupid Halloween costume witches. What’s left? Accept that THEY believe they are a witch sort of covers the remainder…and if they believe it, either you call them nuts and wander off or, believe it, too…Needless to say, I didn’t wander off and I don’t question their sanity.

So, the original question, even though Paganism isn’t a fit for me, some of it is appealing. The ones I’m close to believe that life is interconnected. That life must have “balance”. That living in harmony with your world is a requirement. Those things appeal very strongly to me…

…and here’s what I started thinking about when I started to write…

Underdogs. I am protective of those people I care about. If I had a Spirit Animal, it would be a half Pit half Border mutt. In other words, a protective and lazy working dog. It may be nature, meaning as a male I instinctively want to protect. It may be nurture, the maddest I have seen my father was when he thought that Mom needed protecting.

My friends, read the people I love, should be protected…at least, they should have someone that says “hey y’all, why do you feel threatened by someone who’s only desire from you is to be left alone?” Since they “protect” me by letting me know that someone actually cares, without expectation of any return, for me, it seems fair that I do what little I may…

*sigh* I sort of lost the train of thought. I suppose it boils down to this. I care about the people I care about. I want the best for them. I do what I may to speak up for them. I didn’t set out to have them as people I care about but, now that I do, I’d rather you call ME out for being a Heretic and judge ME for my views than them for theirs. At least, I willingly decided to pick a path that sets me as a target. All they picked was me…and I am not physically imposing but, I’m too much of a curmudgeon to let some stranger through my thick skin…

Y’all have a nice day. Hug your loved ones. Protect your loves.

 

Other…

I was talking to a friend. She called herself “other”, meaning “different”…

It occurs to me that we are all other. I mean, even the people we think are “same” aren’t. How could we be? As far as I know, there are no cloned humans with exactly the same experiences. We might share a gender, political views, religious views, and sexual orientation but, even then, we came to those spots inside our own skins…

So, why did this idea of Other stick in my head?

It is because of this…We need to protect other. We need to appreciate the Otherness of those that are other. Gaaaaack, this seems so obvious to me. We will never be able to fully understand any human. Hell, we don’t even understand ourselves. Anyway, *sigh* to not protect Other, we fail to protect ourselves.

There’s nothing wrong with not being the same.

Current society thinks Other equals Dangerous. If your political views differ, that person must be a threat… I suppose I could go down the list but, y’all get the point…Jumpin’ Jimmeny Christmas and The Easter Bunny, being different doesn’t present an existential threat.

The next part of this thought is, how do we develop and mature our own views if we are so hidebound that we refuse to listen to difference? If am so unwilling to listen to dissent and become so defensive of my own views that I refuse to admit the possibility that I could be in error, odds are that MY views are less valid than I think. Perhaps it’s just me but, I do make mistakes and continually look for holes in what I think and my personal philosophies…and adapt when some Other shows me error or invalidity…

*****

Other is also a trap when you apply it to yourself…

“I am Other and they’re all the Same so, they couldn’t possibly understand me…” That’s what a kid says to their parents and a 20-something says to someone in their 50’s…Not realizing the oldsters survived what they are living. I know I used the section up there to point out how we’re all different but, which in this case doesn’t mean “please disregard”, in quite a few ways we are the same. We all started out pooping our pants. We all want whatever form of “success” we deem. We all want to love and be loved. We will all face the same end…

…and not to drop into “politics” because I have avoided making any indication of any “political” view I might have…

…Our parents survived the Cold War. *I was born in 1963*. Their childhood was filled with above ground Atom Bomb testing. Their parents were the generation of WWII. The parents of kids today, are children of the Viet Nam Era. The World has been filled with “threats” to us since before the Dawn of History…

We, humanity, will survive and adapt. It is our nature to do that…

*****

Other, hunh? Celebrate it.

Other, hunh? Protect it.

Other, hunh? Ignore it.

Other, hunh? Learn from it.

Other, hunh? Yeah, and Same…

Being a Reasonable Person

I quit writing earlier this year. I hit burnout. It felt useless to write because of several reasons the primary ones being that I was, and still am, tired of everything becoming politicized and that the vilification of differences of opinion makes debate seemingly impossible…

Which brings me to why I decided to break my silence. Being a reasonable person is hard. It requires me to assume the person I am talking to is also reasonable. It forces me to maintain the idea that their beliefs and convictions have come from as much thought and internal debate as mine have and it means that, even if I disagree, I have to credit them with intelligence and rationality…

I’m fair minded enough…I hope…to believe that I am capable of being mistaken. I know that I have mad mistakes and will again but since I make mistakes and want my failings forgiven, I must be willing to return that same grace. It would be far easier to be a mean-spirited cynical old b****rd. It would simplify debate if my answer to anything I disagreed with was, “are you f**king stupid?”…and it would make lie to my claim and desire to be reasonable and occasionally rational…

My father says, “everyone has their flat sides.” The way I think he means it and the way I take it is to read that there are imperfect parts to all of us. I KNOW, read “bedrock belief”, that I have mine, see “mean-spirited cynical old b****rd”…and I struggle against that. I enjoy being that person. He’s comfortable. Part of that struggle is to, pardon the trite expression, I have to clean my side of the street before I worry about yours. If I decide to be against something, in Millerspeak, to be an “anti” I have to be sure that what side I take hasn’t done the same or worse than what I’m against. Just because I support something or person or view doesn’t give them a free pass…in fact, it means I hold them to a higher standard and if they fail, I reevaluate MY position.

Being reasonable both simplifies and complicates things. I’ll explain. It simplifies because I have zero tolerance for people that aren’t willing to be and return the same. As a result, I refuse to engage them in conversation. It complicates because, when people disagree rationally and reasonably with my views, I have to give some credence to their view and explain my view in a civil manner, see my comment are you f**king stupid?”…

Anyway, life is too short, my life is at any rate, to be more hypocritical than I can avoid. My own code requires me to give the same consideration and respect that I would want given to me. My friends and loved ones were too carefully allowed into my life to have me want to drive them away because I just decided to be a twerp. Live yours as you wish but, for me, being a reasonable and calm human is a worthy goal and part of my chosen path…

It isn’t how you treat the people you like that matters. That’s easy. What counts, what reflects on you, is how you treat the people you despise. That’s the hard part…

What I’m For…

I’ve written a truck load of protest posts. I’ve chastised and criticized and satirized. I’ve attempted to defend and offend. I think I’ll just say what I’m for…

I’m for families. They don’t have to have kids. They may be of the same gender or different genders. It makes me no difference as long as it is two humans that have committed to being a team.

I’m for hugs and kisses and cuddles. I’m for any two people that find comfort in the contact of their human making what connection they may. Life is too short to not feel the warmth of a person you love.

I’m for a belief in something greater than yourself. I’ve seen the pictures from space. Those photos don’t show humans, they show a rock full of life. We didn’t make it. It was here for us when we got here and it’ll be here long after we’re gone.

I’m for finding common ground. I believe in looking for the things in people that bring us together. We don’t have to share gender, orientation, or faith as long as we recognize the worth in the other person.

Really, guys, it’s simple. If we look at things as divisive, they will be. If we look to include, we do. My faith teaches love. That’s the message I need most. I am capable of being as grumpy and xenophobic as anyone, so I, me, Miller, this human in this skin, needs this lesson as much as anyone. At the end of things, I’ll go to my Maker alone. Till then, I’m for sharing my world with some people worth caring about. I didn’t pick the ones I share it with but, I am entirely grateful they picked me.

I’m the One That’s Abnormal…

Interestingly, this should follow my last three posts…“I Want Z Back”“Because Aj and Z”, and “Aj Was My First Pagan…”

Aj did set the stage. I learned, and still learn, from her. I learned that it is possible to be “not Christian” and still be a moral person. I learned that innate goodness can be a quality that exists apart from my own moral construct. That a strong view of good and evil does not have to include the Christian concept of sin. She didn’t teach me to be “open minded” as much as less caring that some people do things differently than others. That my way is not necessarily the only “correct way, it’s only correct for ME…

Next was Z. When she came out to me, I was “flustered” for a couple of days…then I realized not one thing about her or our interaction was different…*editorial, I lie, we do interact differently because of this blog…I give a further lie to what I just said in the first post in the list above “I Want Z Back”* What I should more correctly say is “she hasn’t changed” and I had to adapt to knowing something I didn’t know.

Anyway, the basic truth is, Aj was the first Pagan I was close to. Z is the first Lesbian I was close to. Z is a trusted friend and a Treasure. She owns a place in my heart reserved for loved ones. *other editorial, “love” is a word never used casually* I digress…She is also “normal”. Being Lesbian doesn’t change her morality. She’s Christian and, yeah, I had to adapt my thinking…again…to fit that. I had to learn that being gay does not mean you can not be a Christian. It just means that some people say you can not, that’s all…

So, I started writing this blog and along came Kelly. After one of my first posts she made shared it with the comment, paraphrase, “he sees me as human” or some such, with a real sense of wonder. Kelly is both Pagan and Lesbian.

Funny thing, when I write about Aj, the underlying context is Pagan. Here, she’s the thought for Religious Freedom. Writing about Z puts her in the “Lesbian box”. As much as I wish it didn’t. *other other editorial, not that I have a difficulty with her being gay, just wish it wasn’t the only thing that comes up. She’s far more than merely that part. Kind of looking at one petal and missing the rose*

Back to Kelly. I just see “Kelly”, not the aspects or “context”, just her. I see her family pictures. I see Kelly and her wife and outings, cookouts, and trips with their kid…and it’s normal. It’s just a family with a kid they love. Sure, there are two moms but, so effing what? It’s a family. I love watching them. They’re fiercely protective of each other and the kid. It’s what a family does, they love and protect and enjoy being a family. Nothing immoral. Nothing different than any other family that does things right…because they do. Kid’s gonna grow up to be a good adult because of the way the kid is being raised. Moms are gonna make sure of that. Just a family…

So, I’ve grown. It isn’t that I “adapted” or fell into the “trap of the gay agenda”. It’s just that I had to learn. I had two choices reject people I’ve come to love or change to be able to keep them. Easier, far easier, to change me. More to the point, I never want to reject someone for something that is innate to them and makes no difference to me. Tossing away someone because my normal and theirs aren’t in lockstep is stupid and short sighted. They are not immoral, just not the same as me. That’s all…and the funny thing is, they are EXACTLY the same. We have the same wants, needs, and desires in life.

It doesn’t matter that we share a faith, that doesn’t instill morality. It doesn’t matter that some are gay and I’m straight, that doesn’t change the condition of the heart. It matters that they love their faith. It matters that they treat me with dignity and respect for being different from them.

You see, to them, I’m abnormal. To the Pagans, my faith has persecuted theirs. To the Lesbians, straight white males have denigrated, slandered, and repressed them. By all rights, they should have a prejudice against ME. Yet, they don’t judge me, they accept and embrace me. They call me “loved”. They are more willing to love me than my past as a homophobic male has any reason to deserve…

I’ve learned. “Normal” is the most subjective of words. Who are we to impose our view of it on anyone else? Aj taught me that Pagan is normal. Z taught me that Lesbian is normal. Kelly taught me that families are families. They are all Treasures. They allow “abnormal” me to share their lives. They have been more patient with me than I deserve. For that, and their lives, they have my gratitude.