The Making of a Widow (Part 2)


Many years ago I was intrigued to learn this common expression was a slang condensation of the phrase “God be with you.” Since that time we have shortened it even more to a simple, “Bye.”

Sometimes you’ll hear people say, “I’m not good at goodbyes.” But of course, who is? Especially when the parties involved think it may be . . . the final goodbye.

As the firemen wheeled me out on a stretcher that ominous Tuesday morning I knew I could be experiencing my last few breaths; at least, the thought went through my mind. And I considered whether or not to stop the whole entourage of first responders so that I could tell my wife I loved her, and to voice that difficult expression, “Goodbye.”

But the moment escaped me as I was caught up in the individual drama of my own heart attack pain; I began trying to focus on settling myself down, and leaning in to what I hoped and prayed would be a successful resolution to this unexpected life and death crisis.

But it haunted me. Not getting to say, “I love you” one last time; not getting to say, “Goodbye.” And I wondered if I’d blundered the last moment of my life, being so focused on myself.

When one of my daughters returned to the house many hours later she was confronted with what felt like a crime scene to her: the bed where I had writhed in pain; the disheveled sheet and blanket; damp wash cloths on the floor; the subtle evidences that a large group of strangers had been in the house. It unnerved her.

It shouted a “goodbye” – almost frozen in time.

When a soldier goes off to war he kisses his sweetheart. When a cancer patient goes into surgery he/she gives one final squeeze to his/her loved one’s hand. Because whether or not we think we are “good” at goodbyes, we are convinced of their importance, we are obedient to their invitation. We want desperately to have said, “farewell,” if at all possible.

And so . . . my omission haunts me.

Not so much with a feeling of guilt as with a renewed awareness that moments of finality escape us more often than not. We envision our final breaths as in a motion picture; that is, we see ourselves surrounded by family and friends, and in those final moments we are speaking our last words of wisdom and love.

But that is far from how it usually plays out. We are in a coma. Or a car crash takes us in seconds. Or a heart attack immediately shuts us down, and like the computer screen in front of you everything goes dark, or the Operating System crashes and even though something is still on the screen it is lifeless, frozen in time.

It has often been said that we should live as if each day was our last, because, in fact, it may truly be our last. But our busy lives make that sentiment last only a while; it is never permanent. Then we go about our lives business-as-usual . . . until the next tragedy gets our attention.

I wonder . . . is it possible to make each “Hello” as important as each “Goodbye.” And rather than focusing on the FINAL goodbye, perhaps we should focus on each and every goodbye. How is this possible?

I wonder if the answer is simple. I wonder if all that is needed is not an awareness of our final moments (like an actor practiced in the execution of a closing soliloquy) since most of us will not be aware when that moment is actually upon us. Rather, maybe all we need is to learn to be fully present and genuine each time we say, “Goodbye.”

No clairvoyance needed. No premonition.

Just every day living and loving. Kermit the Frog had it right: “Life is made up of meetings and partings. That is the way of it.”

I will try to forgive myself for not saying, “Goodbye,” before the ambulance ventured off into my unknown destiny. Instead, I will try to rehearse each day the truth I have learned, i.e. that a relationship is not honored so much in a final goodbye as it is in the countless hellos and goodbyes of everyday life. Make each one genuine.

One of them will be your last.

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The Making of a Widow (Part 1)


The Grim Reaper may or may not get an undeserved bad rap, but when a cardiologist reads an EKG and sees the telltale “tombstones” on the EKG paper he/she knows that a myocardial infarction has occurred, and that coronary heart disease is the likely culprit; someone has joined the ranks of the approximate one million per year experiencing MIs in the United States alone.

All of this Grim Reaper, heart attack, and tombstone tracing is mere talk until it describes something that has happened to someone you love. Or . . . to you. Twice as likely in men as in women, this event can have catastrophic impact, especially when it is the type of MI referred to as the “Widow Maker.”

This came crashing home to me on Tuesday morning at 2:30 AM, when after going to the bathroom I returned to bed only to find myself completely uncomfortable. Quickly I was aware that my left bicep felt like there was a band around it, squeezing relentlessly. I could not escape the pain. Soon I began to sweat, and became light headed.

I woke up my wife, and asked for a cool washcloth on my head. I said something like, “I don’t know for sure, but . . . I might be having a heart attack!”

This was unbelievable to me! I have always taken exercise quite seriously, and although there have been times when I was somewhat overweight, in general I have maintained above average health and strength for my age. Just months ago the doctor told me to get serious about my pre diabetic numbers, and so I did. I quickly attended a class my neighbor was teaching on avoiding diabetes, learned a great deal, and took it to heart.

Not to brag, but . . . I was “the model student.” Pounds began to be shed, a semblance of a six-pack gave hints of emerging. I had been a bit tired over the past few months, but I just relegated that to aging and let it go at that.

But early Tuesday morning none of that was any consolation. The Fire Department arrived in minutes, ran a quick EKG, noted by 100/50 blood pressure, put me on a stretcher, loaded me into the ambulance and began to work their magic. I was given baby aspirin to chew up, and nitroglycerin to dissolve under my tongue. I was shaking like a leaf, and miserable.

It is beyond interesting to be transported at high speed, siren blaring, lying flat on your back; equally fascinating to experience the view provided as you are rolled into a hospital on a stretcher, and wheeled into an OR, doctors and nurses awaiting your arrival. The ceiling doesn’t provide a vantage point with which I am familiar.

And I didn’t know it at the time, but they were probably hoping I’d still be alive by the time I got there; my STEMI was a potential killer. When the doctor started the cardiac cath procedure (radial, BTW) it was clear that he was dealing with a 100% blockage in the LAD, the left anterior descending artery. This supplies blood to the front and main wall of the heart.

This proximal LAD lesion is commonly referred to as “the Widow Maker.”

The cardiologist was able to use a minimally invasive procedure, inserting a stent (wire mesh with an uninflated balloon inside), then inflating the balloon to push out the walls of the wire mesh to match the size of the artery, then deflating and extracting the balloon.

The doctor saved my life that early morning. Interestingly enough, he is the same cardiologist who told me 18 months ago (when referred to him by my GP doctor) to “go home, quit wasting my time, and come back when you have some real symptoms!” This time, I think I qualified.

Now I am at home . . . recovering. My blood pressure and pulse are too low for beta blockers (used to help control arrhythmia) due to a very low ejection fraction rate (caused by the damage to the heart). With healing of the heart muscle this should improve.

I am in the classic 40 day period after an MI, trying to rest, trying to avoid illness (since my heart is too weak to handle it), trying to adjust to what several friends have referred to as “the new normal.”

The Grim Reaper arrived that morning and stood nearby, leaving the smell of death in the air (the same smell we discussed when my mother was nearing death), but it was not my time, I suppose. It was like Garrison Keillor described some years ago when he talked about “just pulling the hearse up close enough so you could smell the flowers.”

I smelled them. The whole family did.

My wife was not made a widow this time. But she felt the shadow of the reaper in a very real way. One day we will all cross that proverbial river.

It is more real to me now than ever before.

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Facial Profiling?

When I was in junior high school in the 1960s chains were really cool. All the tough guys liked to wear leather and have some type of silver chain hanging down out of their jeans pocket; you know, like the ones some bikers attach to their big black wallets. I couldn’t afford leather, so the chain was my choice; particularly since I found one on the ground one day. I quickly made it my own.

To look really cool you needed to carry yourself in a particular way; you had to saunter, mosey along as you walked, never in too big of a hurry. And you needed to have a rather surly look on your face; like you were mad about something that had happened, or were ready to be mad about something that was about to happen.

Being cool was tough to pull off in front of your parents, or others who really knew you well. But it was important that you perfect your nods, and other subtle movements, especially in front of strangers, so that their perception of you (I am speaking from a male perspective BTW) would be that you were not someone with which to be trifled; rather, you were a dangerous sort if angered.

You had to portray yourself in such a way that if a person were to encounter you and a wild lion on the tundra, they would have a hard time deciding from whom to run. Got it?

Now THAT . . . was being cool.

That’s why The Fonz was so cool in the 1970s TV hit show, “Happy Days.”

Even after I quit wearing that silly chain when I went to high school, I still tried to maintain a certain amount of cool. However, in my senior year of high school, walking home at 3:00 AM, traversing through the parking lot of some apartments near my girlfriend’s house, an officer of the renowned TPD (Tucson Police Department) decided to stop me and put me in his car for questioning.

Now I knew that I was a good kid and all, and that I hadn’t broken any laws or anything. I was merely making my way home in the darkness, being my regular cool self, making sure that if anyone was awake to see me they would not try to mess with me because I was portraying untouchable, unchallengeable coolness to the max (that’s the way you stay free from trouble, you know).

Actually . . . that’s precisely WHY the patrolman stopped me and put me in his car to question. A young man. After reasonable hours. Roaming through a private area. And being super cool and comfortable with himself.

It reminds me of a number of young girls I have seen who like to dress like they are “wicked city women” (a term my high school history teacher liked to use), decked out like prostitutes, welcoming all comers to the party. But when approached for favors they react insulted, and indignantly protest that they have been unjustly treated and completely misunderstood.

Odd, isn’t it?

We like to dress the part, and we want strangers to think we are in the play, but when the curtain comes up we want to be able to sit with the audience.

When my wife’s niece was recently pulled over by a car with a flashing blue light she felt uneasy. It was not just the fact that she was being stopped by the police (which is scary enough); it was that she didn’t feel right about it somehow. She had the presence of mind to stop in a public area and call 911 for help identifying the patrol car.

Turns out it was a hoax, the kind you read about or see on the television. The “officers” seemed to have the right uniforms, and the right colored lights in their car, but they were not, in fact, law enforcement officers. They were just playing a part for personal gain and mischief. When they saw she was on her phone, and unwilling to open her car door and engage in their charade, they quickly fled the scene.

When we dress a certain way and attract attention to ourselves, or when we carry ourselves in such a way as to portray a “tude” that spells danger, or when we put ourselves in places that “gangstas” are known to frequent, we cannot very well say we’ve been totally and completely misunderstood when we receive the suspicion that portrayal invites.

The world in our minds, created by television, movies and the like, makes it possible for us to pretend we are something entirely different from what we truly are, then cast off that costume and step back into “the real world” at will. And so, we do this day in and day out.

Until one day . . . we find ourselves in the proverbial wrong place at the wrong time, or the gig is up when a police officer sees our portrayal rather than what we truly are on the inside (of course, that is all he/she can see at that moment), and it is not only TOO LATE for us to cry “foul,” it is also completely unwarranted.

When I was 14 years old I ran to investigate a house my brother and I were house sitting; we heard sirens and wanted to make sure there was no fire, etc. I was apprehended by a rookie police officer from TPD; his sweaty hands shook as he quickly braked his patrol car, jumped out to apprehend me, then handcuffed me and put me in the back seat of his cruiser.

Other patrol cars converged, and a total of 12 officers discussed the unfolding situation. A Ford Mustang had been stolen in the vicinity, and supposedly I fit the description of the young driver. An older friend of ours was present as well, and he was cuffed, too. My friend thought we were both roughly treated, and vowed to get his father involved in getting back at the officers responsible.

Forty-five minutes later we were released. But not before a friend went by in a car, looking on at the alleged “criminals” being held in custody (I was a little embarrassed). I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It happens. Had I resisted, showed an uncooperative attitude, or portrayed something other than an appropriate level of obeisance, the results might have been catastrophic.

Looking back now, I can see I was profiled – “the act of suspecting or targeting a person on the basis of observed characteristics or behavior.”

Good thing I wasn’t wearing my chain, huh?

If you dress, act, and look innocent – most people (especially law enforcement officers) will suspect you might be innocent (unless they have some reason to suspect otherwise). If you dress, act, and look dangerous – most people (especially law enforcement officers) will suspect you might be up to no good (unless they have some reason to suspect otherwise).

And so . . . if you dress like a thug or behave in a threatening way, whose fault is it if you are perceived to be a thug? It matters not if your particular community venerates thug attire, nor does it matter if your manner and demeanor do not reflect what is truly in your heart. Because no one can know that but YOU.

This life ain’t no movie you are starring in, you know!

So, I have some words of wisdom from the late Jim Croce:

“You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.
You don’t spit into the wind.
You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger.
And you don’t mess around with Jim.”

8364362147_94941a750b_zDo police officers sometimes overreact? Are some of them guilty of brutality? Do some use their badges as shields that authorize them to use unreasonable force, or to foment rebellion so they can use ostensibly justifiable deadly force?

Indeed, they do. Sadly, they do.

But let’s not complicate the already difficult issues and injustices by thinking we can portray ourselves one way and then claim abject innocence when others identify us as the very image we have portrayed.

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Hiroshima Revisited: Out of the Ashes

Atomic bomb test at Bikini Island

Atomic bomb test at Bikini Island

Eight years, three months, and six days before I was prematurely born, an atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later another was dropped on Nagasaki, and the Second World War was essentially over.

All my life I have heard stories, seen pictures, and watched movies about this catastrophic event, read and listened to explanations of why it was necessary, and felt like Americans were reasonably justified in using “the bomb” to defend freedom and rid the world of tyranny.

Although this bomb was specific to Japan’s fate, I classed Japan right along with Germany (we were taught the Japanese were even more vicious than the Germans), and viewed this as the good old U.S.A. finally giving them the varnishing they deserved.

When I turned 50 many years ago my family took me to Austria, and while there we visited a work camp where Jews were tortured and exterminated (Mauthausen); it was a sobering and unforgettable experience. I felt compelled to ask our 20-something Austrian tour guide how he felt about the atrocities and the part some of his ancestors played in the tragic deaths of so many Jews there. He said he saw his work as a “mission” of sorts.

That response fit my view of things, and I was most appreciative of his perspective.

But just a few weeks ago I got into a conversation with a Japanese man as he was visiting Stone Mountain Park. We discussed the American Civil War, and he commented to me that one of the informative films we show at the park (regarding the Civil War in Georgia, narrated by Hal Holbrook) ends with some poignant words. In fact, he had recorded the audio of the film and then typed out the final paragraph; the words were that meaningful to him.

Not because of his interest in our Civil War; rather, because he saw great use for the words “. . . but out of the ashes there arose a new Georgia . . .” as they might relate to his mother country, Japan. In truth, he uses these words even now as he teaches Japanese visitors to the U.S. about their own native country, to instill pride, and to give new perspective to a people who are tempted to see themselves as a beaten and guilty populace, a shameful nation.

Do you think he does this by explaining that the atrocities of World War II are behind them, but that they have “risen” from the proverbial “ashes” and become a nation of economic strength and political power?

If you think this, you would be . . . wrong.

On the contrary. He teaches them that the goal of colonization they had in that war was identical to the practice of colonization by Britain; there is no difference whatsoever. It wasn’t that Japan acted wrongly in the war; only that they were beaten.

And it is not shameful merely to be beaten. Unfortunate perhaps, but not an indicator of wrong. Their failure to succeed in no way reflects on the moral nature of their quest.

I have never had a conversation with someone from Japan who upheld that nation’s role in the war. I was intrigued.

Perspective is everything, I suppose. Vantage point is most telling.

You can never assume you are seeing things the same as another. What is crystal clear to you my escape them entirely. Or they might conclude something in diametric opposition to what you have concluded. What is crystal clear to them escapes you completely. Perhaps even after an open discussion about it.

In our modern day wisdom we often conclude that this is evidence of how truth is relative, and how each person must decide for himself/herself what is true for them as individuals. And then we just learn to live together peacefully, cohabiting in the midst of our varied points of view, all of which are RIGHT to us, but which may differ remarkably.

I think not.

What I DO think is that it is evidence once again that, as someone recently put it, “the winner gets to write the history.” We tend to think that the prevailing point of view must be the correct one, even though we know from the history of the world that isn’t so, and that new ideas find it hard to get footing, much less prevalence.

And it reminds me, too, that people tend to perceive things in way that is palatable with their emotional life experience; our reason usually takes a back seat to how safe we feel.

What is an honest thinker to do?

Keep thinking, I suppose. Keep looking. Keep considering. And keep on keeping on.

There is no Plan B.

Our perspectives will change as we grow in understanding. Things that were sacred to us at one point in life will find their way to the dumpster. And things we undervalued or disdained may, in the end, find a place of high priority in our lives.

There is no shame in timely change. Only in refusing to exercise it.

Each of us engaged in a pursuit of truth is regularly rising from the proverbial ashes; we are never finished. And we must never give up.

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Full Range of Motion

Man Lifting Weights

Photo by Spirit-Fire

I love working out at the gym! Well . . . let me qualify that statement: sometimes I love working out at the gym. Other times I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck and just want to lay on the couch and sink into the cushions. What I truly love is the result of working out at the gym, so I heartily recommend exercise: it not only contributes to longevity of life – it improves the quality of that longevity.

There are a variety of exercise options out there, of course, so choose what works best for you, i.e. what fits your particular schedule, and personal tastes.

But whatever you do . . . do it right! Yes, I know that sounds a bit legalistic, but the truth is there are lots of folks who try to exercise without learning the most beneficial (proper) ways to do so. And . . . it does make a difference in your results.

Of course, your objectives will determine what exercises you do, and how you do them. But often I see gym-folk (“gym-folk” definition: much like Tolkien’s hobbits, only not so hairy) breaking one of the old cardinal rules of exercise, i.e. failing to use full range of motion. One example from the world of weightlifting will suffice: failing to use full range of motion while doing forward curls (not allowing the muscle to lengthen to full extension).

Once again, let me clarify: if your objective is merely to exhaust a muscle group, or make it pop so that it looks sculpted, then pardon me. But if you are trying to gain strength, flexiblity, and utility you should always attempt to exercise with full range of motion. [Now I realize I may have awakened and inflamed the gods and goddesses of exercise with that assertion. If so, please correct me at will.]

Of course, my point in this blog is not really to discuss exercise. You aren’t surprised, are you? This morning, while sitting in a Chick-Fil-A, I was reminded that life itself endorses the principle of full range of motion. Or one might say full range of e-motion.

We were discussing the loss of a close friend (Brenda) almost two weeks ago, and that led to a conversation about the sides of life from which we tend to shy away: death, terminal illness, devastating loss, grieving, depression, etc. (the list goes on). It’s interesting (and quite telling) to me that even though these and other difficult experiences are just as much a part of life as the “good” times we experience, these are not the topics you see on billboards; these are like the underbelly of life, and we would hide them if we could.

It occurs to me that the major corporations (including the fast food chain I was enjoying) all focus on the aspects of life devoid of this underbelly. In other words, we live and function as if we will live forever, i.e. we exercise the muscles of life without embracing their full range of motion. We accentuate the popping biceps of life; we ignore (until forced to do otherwise) the underbelly that remains soft and mushy, underdeveloped.

And we’re all about results, right? Indeed!

Yet when it comes to walking through these less-than-preferable times of life, experiencing the full range of e-motion in life, we are reduced to beginners, novices. And we fight the full range of motion as if it’s our enemy; we want to show off our sculpted muscles, but that means we can’t show the entirety of our physique.

The movie, Inside Out (2015), is a wonderful story that describes a young girl (Riley) whose full range of emotions (Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness) are all utilized to help her cope with her family’s relocation halfway across the country. The original story by Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen, validates the necessity for the entire orchestra of our emotions, the “full range” if you will.

The bench press of life can be somewhat unforgiving if one does not exercise with the full range of motion required for a proper lift. Underdeveloped areas create a hotbed for muscles strains and tears. And if we’re not careful, we may discover all-too-late, that the areas of life we tried to ignore were, in fact, the parts that would have given us the physique for which we long.

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Kicking the Pricks

I lost a friend last night; she died peacefully, surrounded by her family. And all of us, family and friends alike, are asking the question: “Why did she have to go like this?”

This life presents interesting challenges, to say the least. It is full of joys and hopes, tragedies and pain; many questions remain unanswered even when we reach old age. We try our best to make sense of it all, looking for reason, logic, purpose. Sometimes we think we can see it, but other times our faces are blank with confusion.

There are at least two ways we can deal with the events of our lives: we can accept them, or we can fight against them. I think we all likely dabble a bit in both. But more often than not, for me at least, I begin my reaction to negative events with rebellion, fighting against them as if I somehow can amass enough power to change things.

Rising blood pressure is common as we age, especially if our diet is the typical American diet. Efforts to control that pressure without medication can sometimes be helpful, but eventually most of us succumb to taking a pill. The same is true of cholesterol; in only a small percentage of cases can it be significantly brought under control by diet.

I fight these notions tooth and nail, and I set out to conquer my demons through any means available to me. But eventually I give up, weary and worn, and no closer to control than I was before.

By the way, I’m not suggesting that effort is futile in all areas of life (even areas related to health), or that our behaviors are not responsible for a large number of negative life issues. Indeed they are. I am all about exercise, and taking the proper precautions.

What I am saying is this: there are numberless situations and events in life in which the outcome is unacceptable to us. Not just disappointing. Not just annoying. But purely unacceptable. Some would add unjust, abjectly wrong.

We come out fighting, we vow not to be defeated, we intend to set things straight. But with time . . . we faint; weariness overtakes us, and we succumb to the harsh reality of WHAT IS. Eventually, there is acceptance.

But before acceptance we “kick against the pricks” (to use the Old Greek proverbial expression that described the farmer’s oxen attempting to go off the path, then being goaded by the sharp iron spikes intended to return them to the proper route). Our dukes are up, and we enter the ring with something resembling rage.

Life is not turning out the way we planned. Or (if you are religious) God does not seem to be acting justly and fairly in this situation. We approach the death, the suicide, the job loss, the chronic illness, the thwarted plans, etc. with our heels dug in. As if our objection might change something. As if our deliberate denial and nonacceptance of the event has the power to alter it in our favor.

We kick against the pricks, the sharp iron goads of the life-harness we wear, and it smarts. It smarts something awful at times. And the more we kick, the deeper the hurt.

Many persons of religious faith lose their convictions in these moments. Because whether we like it or not each of us has a “God of our understanding” (to use the 12 Step phrase); that understanding is the worldview you hold. Sometimes it may FIT the events of your life, and sometimes it may not. And when it does not – the conundrums abound.

“God is good,” religious folks say quite glibly sometimes. When often what they mean is that everything in life is making pretty good sense to them at the moment. But let disaster strike, then watch the antics they go through to explain the actions they attribute to God.

Could it be . . . could it beĀ  . . . just maybe, that we religious folks have created for ourselves a God of our understanding that is primarily palatable, plausible, and perceivable?

But not real?

I must ask myself how much I truly understand about the way the world works. I must consider that my notions of fairness and justice and love, although lofty and helpful indeed, may not be the benchmarks of the universe.

I confess that the issues of good and evil, right and wrong, are debatable topics. Granted! And I will not attempt to delve into my worldview in that regard in this blog (even though it would be extremely important and appropriate to do so). What I am wanting to suggest is that our serenity in life is in direct proportion to the amount of acceptance we can muster.

In many ways, life is a matter of learning when to fight, and when to acquiesce into acceptance, when to raise your fists in the air, and when to drop your dukes in surrender.

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Orange is the New . . . WHAT, exactly?

Eventually we are going to have to deal with this, you know!

I’m not talking about global warming, or the earth’s diminishing supply of fossil fuels. And I am not referring to overpopulation, the reemerging fear of potential nuclear conflict, or a myriad of other topics over which we obsess nowadays.

But I am talking about erosion. Or at least a type of erosion.

Folks were reeling weeks ago over Brock Turner’s rape of a young woman, his conviction, and subsequent “soft” sentence (six months in prison). The young woman’s intimate multi-page description of the assault has engendered a public outcry on her behalf and fueled an angry response directed at the criminal justice system.

But wait just a minute . . . .

What are we so upset about?

The young man SAID he made a mistake under the influence of alcohol, and that his victim did the same. What more can we want from him?

Increasingly, our social duplicity is starting to show.

A couple of years ago I wrote an unpublished page in response to the news of Apple‘s CEO, Tim Cook, and his “coming out.” In it I opted for adding a new letter to the LGBT community acronym; this was long before Q came into common use, of course. I was opting for adding the letter A to the acronym, resulting in LGBTA.

The A was supposed to stand for adulterer. And I think I can make a pretty fair case that one is “wired” for that sexual tendency, and finds it “natural” to them. [BTW, no, I don’t think this is going to catch on, so don’t be looking for it in printed materials, or in newscasts any time in the next millennium or so].

I mention that only because the laws in the countries of this globe on which we reside reflect the moral fiber and basic understanding of what is acceptable and unacceptable in our world. That almost goes without saying.


But erosion changes things, doesn’t it?

Sometimes the changes are good, we think. Sometimes we release unfair and unjust rules in order to replace them with a new found idea of what is good and right and just. Is it possible, however, that sometimes we release the wrong things, and replace them with rules and concepts that undermine the very soil upon which we stand?

Weeks ago, a small hole in my yard caught my attention as I mowed. I assumed it was a hole made by a ground squirrel or something like that, but as I poked at it the ground surrounding it began to cave in. Finally I had a hole in the dirt that could easily turn or break an ankle. I filled it in and covered it to indicate the danger.

I know there are various points of view and strong passionate opinions about the subject matter in question. And my intent in this blog entry is not to bog down in that mire. Rather, my intent is simply to ask you to consider how things have changed with regard to one social rule: adultery.

Once punishable by death in certain countries it is now not even against the law in Europe, or most of Latin America. And where it is still on the books in the United States the execution of a penalty for it is almost nonexistent. Why is that?

Truthfully, our society no longer tends to see adultery as a very wrong thing. In fact, we are so accustomed to it that we often celebrate it in our entertainment, and we fumigate any residual negatives about it by adding the unquestioned component of “love” into the mix.

My point is this: we can react passionately to the injustice of the rape of a young woman and at the same time accept the sometimes cavalier attitude of the adulterer, defending his/her actions as understandable. [Some would even go far as to say the rape was understandable, too, in light of the alcohol abuse].

Our sexual moorings are in transition, aren’t they? And who is to say how much slack can be allowed in our moral rope before we hang ourselves; before the proverbial ground we are standing on caves in under us and we collapse much to our chagrin?

We are the “frog in the kettle,” (thank you, George Barna) slowly being warmed to a murderous boil, unaware of our coming demise, basking in the freedom of love, acceptance of new ideas and moral codes, and the pride and assurance that comes from being so well informed.

We have been delivered from the burdensome chains of antiquated morality, and have now evolved into a society that is progressive, up-to-date, and not held down by the defunct mores of the misty past. Aren’t you glad?

Orange may indeed be the new black. And it takes no rocket scientist to see that the colors of the jumpsuits are not all that is “new.”

Do you like the change?

Well, buckle up!

It is time to pay the piper.

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