Thursday, February 15, 2018

Draft of a draft of a draft... a stew of thoughts

No, I haven't given up blogging for Lent. 

Yes, I'm sick of winter. Yes, I'm staying up too late watching the Olympics. No, I'm not exercising enough at all. Yes, the puppy is still chewing things apart. No, the kids haven't magically grown out of arguing and complaining about doing the routine Stuff of Life that we do. 

I'm just heavy hearted.

No, not just because of, dare I say it, the latest school shooting, though I find myself morbidly addicted to returning to the timeline here on CNN. Like everyone and their mothers, I'm praying for peace and healing to the families of those with injured or lost family members, for wisdom and sense for our lawmakers who have been and will be meeting to discuss what needs to be done to prevent this from ever happening again in our great nation, but I'm seeing clips like this, also from CNN,  and am just as discouraged as the next person about the likelihood that it will be on the news again far sooner than I'd like. In fact, that is discussed here by someone with far more expertise than myself.

Parenting is far more complicated than I ever imagined. I don't know if previous generations feared or doubted or second guessed the wisdom in sending their children to school, but I'm supposing not. I also tend to doubt that they would ever think that their child athlete would be molested while they were in the same room as their family members, but we've seen in the Larry Nassar case that that is not out of the realm of possibility. To those amazing girls, you are survivors. I'm not as worried about you as I am for your parents, who will hold themselves to a standard of guilt that you are free from. To have a supposedly trusted doctor affect so many children in such a despicable manner just takes my words away. My condolences for what you've gone through, which I can't imagine, and my awe and amazement that you continued on to become stars in your sport and for the rest of us on behalf of the USA. Incredible. 

Through an email, I found this link which made me furious. The previous evening I had attended a PTO meeting in which some of the primary teachers were talking about mini grants and if the roughly $730 left in the literacy line of the budget could be used for them to buy books for their classroom through a separate book supplier than the one which was used previously. I heard numbers like $350 to $750 thrown around in that video clip and thought, "how are some males spending that much in one meeting when there are teachers who could put that money to use immediately and for years to come?" And then I thought about churches. And shelters for humans or for animals. What must $350 look like to them? How many dogs can you feed with that and for how long? How many books could a library purchase? How many school lunches could you buy? How many meals for the homeless could you serve? What about with the $750? And 
that money was spent on one... here words fail me. Encounter? Those women spoke of repeat customers. Imagine having that money to spend, repeatedly. You could start a scholarship for a kid at a school. You could send kids to camp who couldn't otherwise afford to go. You could pay a single parent's car payment for a month or two. There's truly no end to the possibilities of what one could do with the money that one is instead spending on oneself while contributing to the enslavement/humiliation/repression of another human being.

"But some women spend that much on handbags. Or makeup. Or shoes."

Okay, that's valid and yes, there are very likely underpaid women and children and maybe men who are working in conditions we would call inhumane and backward and unfair and whatever else. True. I agree. We should all be more conscious of where and how our belongings are made, yes. Made for Freedom is one such corporation dedicated to fairness and freedom which I would urge you to look into. I own a pair of their most excellent charcoal pants which I would recommend every day of the week. 

I guess the difference is, even though all sin is equal in God's sight (1 John 5:17 All wrongdoing is sin...), being awful to a woman who is right in front of you versus one who is in a factory or sweatshop or in some other conditions which we don't ever see... here's where I get stuck, so bear with me. You may not be able to fix the part about the sewing woman, because she is so far away, other than with your purchasing power. However, the act which you're purchasing in the here and now, with against a woman who perhaps has tried to run away, is an immediate act which you are in charge of and can see immediate results. Obviously I'm still working through all of this in my head, hence the title of this post. 

I have a beautiful teenage daughter. She also happens to be a certified Black Belt in karate, not only for the self defense aspect of the martial art, but for the additional benefits of regular exercise, pursuit of knowledge through training and everyday school studies, self discipline, respect, and others. Last year I read this post on a friend's wall on Facebook. Karate is just one tool in her tool belt, and we have a long way to go in filling the other slots with tools like situation awareness, using the buddy system, determinedly avoiding alcohol and other drugs especially before being allowed to legally, and so on. 

I keep thinking about how God rested after he finished creating. Genesis 1:27 says, "So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." My study note for that verse reads, "God made both man and woman in his image. Neither one is made more in the image of God than the other. From the beginning the Bible places both man and woman at the pinnacle of God's creation. Neither gender is exalted over the other nor depreciated." 

To me that says that the genders are complementary, not in competition with each other. To poke fun at "Jerry McGuire", we complete each other. So why do people throw the word "feminist" around as though it's an insult? The dictionary on my phone tells me that "feminism is a belief in or advocacy of women's social, political, and economic rights, especially with regard to equality of the sexes." I found this video particularly fascinating. How can we better teach that every child, every little girl and boy and homeless person and veteran and grandparent and waitress and server that they matter? How are we to internalize that essential belief that others are every bit as important as ourselves so the degree that there would never be another massive shooting or gang rape or bullying trend? 

"We don't have a gun problem." You're only partially right. We have a sin problem. We have a we-can't-fix-this-ourselves problem. We are not and will not be perfect regardless of that law is or is not finally passed. 

I haven't said much lately because I'm too angry to be coherent. I didn't want my yelling to be added to the mass media noise. As "Game of Thrones" fans know, "words are wind."

So I'll close with this. Be kind. Hold a door open for someone else. Pick up what someone dropped. Pay for the coffee for the person behind you. Pick up the tab for some elderly couple's dinner out. Bring your neighbor's trash can back from the curb when you fetch yours. Mail a care package. Kiss your spouse when they make it home. Thank a vet. Talk to strangers. Wink at small children. Hug your kid.