A couple in their early 50s were celebrating. The last of their 5 children had moved out on her own, and they were now, finally, “empty nesters.” The house was quiet, a bit too quiet they thought, but they agreed to hold off making any big decisions for at least 6-9 months. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months and soon they again, began thinking about down-sizing and retirement, “oh, but what if we have grandchildren?” “we’ll need the space then,” they agreed, and decided to wait a little while longer.
About 6 months later, the phone rings. “It’s me,” she says. “I’m at the doctor’s office and, you’re not going to believe this, I’m pregnant.” (Silence) “Is that possible?” he asked. “Apparently, I didn’t go through, “the change” like I thought,” she replied. “The doctor wants us both to be here for the ultrasound.” “How far along are you?” he asked, surprised. “12-14 weeks, he thinks,” she said. “I wondered…” “Don’t even go there!” she snapped, “I thought I was just ‘putting on my winter coat’ after the holidays.”
The doctor wasn’t optimistic. This would be an age-related high-risk pregnancy and he closed his eyes as the results of the tests began to populate his computer screen. Cringing, he began at the top and, putting his finger on the screen, read each line one at a time. Ok…,Ok…, NT screening… positive, he stopped; Down Syndrome is likely. The doctor ordered a CVS test to be sure … it was positive. Based on the totality of the results, the doctor felt that the child’s Down Syndrome would be quite severe. The doctor explained the results, answered questions and said that abortion was an option that they should seriously consider.
What would you do?
While you’re thinking about that, let me remind you of one word; “choice.” You assume they actually have one. Fortunately for them, they still do; for now. We take for granted the word “choice” and casually allow others to force their beliefs upon us. I say casually because most do nothing, while one politician or another proposes legislation that attempts to take away YOUR ability to choose. I mean you may bitch about it, but that’s about it and then you’ll turn the channel.
Choice matters as when we choose, we evolve. Choice forces us to reason, to grow, to pick a side. One of John F. Kennedy’s favorite quotes was from Dante: ‘The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in a time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.” While it’s not word for word as Dante wrote it, you get the point. Making a choice is important but having the right to actually choose, well that’s the ballgame.
As long as we continue to tolerate those who, for whatever ignorant reason, insist on taking away our right to choose the destiny of our own lives, of our own bodies, we’ll have no one left to blame but ourselves. I guess we can still choose whether or not to obey, but is that really a choice?
Well, at the end of the day, they chose to have the child; a wonderful little boy. He has Down Syndrome but is considered “high functioning.” It has been a struggle, but they can’t imagine life without him and he seems to doing well. I most likely, would have chosen differently, though.
Society, or actually those who seek to control it, have little need for choice as it just complicates their decision making process. They would prefer that the flock simply follow the shepherd.
It’s just easier that way.
In the beginning, a parent, for the most part, dictates the relationship that they’ll have with their child. As the child matures and becomes an adult, it’s more 50/50.
I have had two fathers in my life. The first, of course, biological and the other, a step-father. As an adult, I chose to be distant from both. Neither possessed qualities that I liked or admired. One an alcoholic fighting his demons and the other, a dishonest man who “played games” with people’s minds.
The first passed away almost three years ago and the second, in late April of this year.
As a child and then an adult, I felt that I knew them well and that they, well, knew me.
When a parent dies, the “curtain” gets pulled back and you as their child, get to see how they really lived. If you’re curious enough, you look through the mountainous pile of paperwork left behind; bank statements, high school love letters, receipts and the 29 cent birthday card they bought sixty years ago. You find their box of knick-knacks, which to you, appears to be a box of miscellaneous odds and ends, but to them, each treasured item was a trip down memory lane.
If you’re thorough, you may have the rare joy of re-meeting your parents. Hopefully, as you sit amongst the enormous pile that chronicled their life, you are left uttering the words, “I had no idea…” and are pleasantly amazed.
But, peering behind the curtain can also be a double-edged sword.
The first peek left me with regret. We were more alike than I ever knew, both good and bad. I would liked to have known him better, but that, unfortunately, was not our way.
The second, I knew all too well and as I pulled the curtain tightly closed, I learned that with his death, the world is now, sadly, a better place.
With a highly visible media push, we are seeing a plethora of “new ideas” gaining traction or at least, the illusion of such. They range from reparations, the elimination of the electoral college and how embracing socialism can, amazingly, be considered a virtuous act.
There is even talk of lowering the voting age to 16. The speaker of the house suggested that America’s youth should be allowed to engage in the process earlier, which patently sounds honorable. Latently, however, the motive is obvious; America’s youth tend to vote Democrat. How the speaker of the house presented this with a straight face…
100 years from now, we won’t even recognize the place. Whether it will be good or bad, depends on the way today’s children raise their children and so on. The future should be fine. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
Sadly, Thanos may be right. We are destroying ourselves from within. The media seems to agree. According to them, the “end” is always near.
“Little one, it’s a simple calculus. This universe is finite, its resources, finite. If life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist. It needs correcting.” Thanos, The Avengers Infinity War by Marvel.
Yes, I know he’s not real. But, in the final analysis, the script writer(s) appear to have created an accurate proxy through the character of Thanos, who ultimately, is the harbinger of humanity’s dystopian future.
This story begins with a venial sin,
impatience was my crime.
By acting with gall, it didn’t take long
for God’s messenger to stop on by.
With hopes to mend a broken friend
I thought I’d give God a call.
A prayer was said,
just before bed
But there was no reply at all.
By the next night with no answer in sight,
I thought I’d try again
So, a prayer was said,
just before bed,
then with two claps,
went out the light
A call came in, it was my friend,
I inquired about his plight.
He’d been up all night,
he said with spite,
as my prayers had failed to mend.
So, I bowed my head and asked God again,
to heal his broken heart.
If you’re my friend, he’ll quickly mend,
if you’ll just do your part.
Another day came,
and as I called out his name,
the sound of crickets filled the air.
“You’re not being fair, I don’t think you care,
If he fails,
it’s you I’ll blame.”
God peered down and with a deep frown,
He put a checkmark by my name.
“You’ll hold me to blame?”
“Well, that’s a shame,
when you end, don’t look up
It’s a preacher I need, an Ol’ time preacher indeed,
to gather prayers from across the land.
He’ll raise in his hand, for those who attend,
the Bible for all to see.
Then with a thousand prayers,
God can’t help but hear,
the voice of those in need.
I checked all around and soon was found
a preacher, who just couldn’t wait
to gather his people together,
and then pass the offering plate.
After all were there, the preacher did swear
that God would hear their cry that night.
For a friend in need
is a friend indeed,
though it costs to fight such fights.
So, as the deacons go, from row to row,
“don’t let that plate come back too light.”
An old man was there, who stood by and stared
and then let out an anguished sigh.
He started to sneer as the plate drew near
laden with money, meant to bribe.
As the plate came by, he peered inside
an ancient message he chose to send.
For what was contained within the plate
suddenly changed before his eyes.
He walked to the preacher, his ordained teacher
and put the plate into his hands.
He then turned to the crowd
who were all looking around
and this is what he said:
“You, sir, did mention that your friend needs attention,”
and he pointed his finger at me.
“But if it goes badly,
as you pointed out, sadly,
that I’ll be the one you’ll blame.”
“This cannot be, so I came here to see
how my Trusted were leading their class.”
“You all pray to the sky,
though, I’m not quite sure why,
did someone say prayer works better en masse?”
“Also, I’m trying to understand,
why this educated man,
shouts with anger towards the sky.”
“He speaks of God’s plan,
oddly, told only to him,
which he’ll share
if you’ll just take a seat.”
“The reason I’m late, is I wanted to wait
and let my teachers right these wrongs.”
“But the curse of the plate, left open the gate
and greed came merrily along.”
“So, today I stand, in the flesh of a man,
it’s answers that you seek.”
“With no sleight of hand,
So, you’ll understand,
behind the curtain, I’ll let you peek.”
“While we can’t debate, one’s Heavenly fate.
or the details of the earthly plan,
please know that I hear
every word that you say,
and I answer, best that I can.”
“First, let me say,
it won’t alter one’s fate,
by the amount of prayers I receive.”
“I won’t change the plan
of any living Man,
because it’s a group,
that reached out to me.”
“You’ve gathered this day
hoping Heaven will wait.”
“But in the end, quite sadly,
it just doesn’t work that way.”
“When Heaven calls out and you’re left at the Gate,
your key to admission,
lie in the choices you’ve made.”
“One should not pray,
to change their life’s fate,
but to ask for strength,
when their need
is most great,
and to focus their mind when they fail to see,
the forest, for the trees.”
“The cost of all this, for both you and me? “
“We’ll, it’s free, you see.”
“No plate to pass, no guilt-filled speech.”
“No glaring eyes, when the times are lean.”
He was feeling ignored, so the preacher then snored,
“Sir, you’re putting us to
The old man then turned,
and with a look of concern,
asked the preacher,
“why are you doing this to me?”
Now, everyone was laughing,
for they knew he was acting,
“It’s like watching him on TV”.
The preacher then yawned and stretched out his arms,
to please take a seat.
“Sir, God gave me his church,
nestled here on this earth,
to look out for its every need.”
“Though expenses seem high, the church doesn’t mind,
for that’s the cost of employing me.”
“Sadly, preachers of worth, won’t stay long at a church,
lest they’re paid an acceptable fee,
and by the weight of this plate,
I think I can wait, I feel valued here, indeed.”
The old man felt weary,
he was weakened, quite clearly,
but he’d promised God,
he’d follow this through.
But it seems that the man
that God chose for his plan,
had come down
with the seasonal flu.
“Allow me to rest,
to just catch my breath
and I’ll be as good as new.”
” I’ve just one more request
and if you’ll do as I ask,
I’ll quickly take leave of you.”
The preacher said “fine,
but I’m a bit pressed for time,
as I’ve somewhere else to be.”
So, make your request or
give me your test,
whatever, just finish and leave!”
“That book that you raise, the one that you say
was bestowed from Heaven to thee,
of chapter and verse, you’ve read every word,
on this, can we agree?”
Still holding the plate, the preacher, now late
was angry and ready to leave,
“Of course, I’ve read it, so give me your question,
but quickly now,
if you would, please.”
“For I’m scheduled to be
on everyone’s TV
from noon until just about three.”
“Where I’ll reach out to the masses
with my new book and passes,
inviting them to come see me for free.”
He then smiled at the preacher,
God’s dishonest teacher.
A smile to mask his rage.
He would show the preacher his value,
reflected in a biblical wage.
“So, you’ve read in Zechariah,
his vision of what would soon be.”
“And in the writings of Matthew,
the amount that Judas received,
for his part in the betrayal
of the one from Galilee.”
The preacher just smiled,
“I do know what you mean.”
“But why are you wasting your time
in asking this of me?”
The old man’s heart was broken,
as the preacher had failed to see,
that God was trying to warn him,
that he was risking his eternity.
God had pulled back the curtain,
hoping the preacher would choose to peek,
as he was walking the path of evil
and could change to the one meant to be.
But the preacher, simply ignored him,
“I just don’t have the time,
to worry about matters such as these”
“Well, it’s time for me to leave you,”
said the old man, while floating away,
“I’ve an appointment to see St. Peter,
who waits near the Heavenly Gate.
“He was expecting your arrival
but I will tell him, no need to wait
For it appears that you have chosen,
an entirely different kind of gate.”
The preacher then stood in silence,
annoyed by what the old man said.
“Well, I hate to be late, and the audience won’t wait,
so tell the studio, I’m on my way.”
But with all this talk of heaven,
and life’s perils that await,
he had forgotten, that in his hands,
he still held the offering plate.
The preacher looked down and out came a sound,
his body then shivered.
The flock gathered around as the plate hit the ground
and they all began to quiver.
Then the preacher fell down,
hard, upon the ground;
his eyes were now closed
The fate of the plate
was revealed on that day
as a message for the preacher.
For the money was gone
and left in its place,
Thirty Pieces of Silver.
In the early 1900’s, George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This aphorism is, arguably, one of the most important sentences ever written. It reminds us that history has an ugly habit of repeating itself.
Today, we appear hellbent on removing anything from our history that might be offensive or insulting. Our society has gone to great lengths to either ban or demonize examples of the Civil War, the Swastika, Communism, KKK and the like.
We have also banned “offensive” words and ideas, labeling them as “hate speech.” The media has made sure that every unpopular utterance faces the court of public opinion and then it forms a panel to debate the results.
We are “sanitizing” ourselves to death; literally.
These words, statues, monuments and groups represent our past; good, bad whatever. The emotions that they evoke are different for each viewer, ranging from indifferent to horrified. Whether we like it or not; It’s us.
We need to stop hiding from these “symbols” and embrace the lesson. Yes, I said embrace. We should replace the objects that were taken down and talk about them with our children.
They need to see and hear ALL of the details of the civil war, of slavery and victory; everything. If a Klan rally is nearby, they should see that too. The speakers, the hoods and the protesters.
Show the children the face of evil and what it sounds like. Let them hear the bygone words of those that supported slavery as well as those who stood opposed. Let them see and hear the voices of hate spoken by today’s members of white pride. Let them hear the sounds of wisdom and peace in the soothing words of Martin Luther King.
When we remove a monument, silence a dissenter or sanitize the details of our past, we are depriving our children of history’s crucial lessons. In addition, we are also failing to adequately prepare them for an uncertain future.
Our children must be shown the whole truth, including all of it’s ugliness. History has exacted a high price from humanity in hopes that future generations may benefit from the painful lessons learned.