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Once I saw an amazing light

Once, some years ago, I had an experience that I always think about on Christmas Day.
I had been on a course of meditation for about six months, and as I got better at it, I found it very calming and peaceful. The exercise for that day was to fall back into myself, letting all of my usual thoughts and ideas go, and merely watching them pass me by as I fell back and back and down.
After about 20 minutes, I came to a curtain, which seemed to be black, and made of construction paper (when's the last time you even thought of construction paper!). As I watched, the paper began to lift, and behind it was a light, brighter than anything I'd ever seen. The light was so bright that it hurt my eyes, and I could feel myself backing away from it rapidly.
I adjusted my breathing and was able to get back to the curtain. This time, when I saw it, I felt myself ripping it aside. The light was still there, and the feeling was one of literally being hit by a Mack truck of love, like nothing I have experienced before or since. It was just the most peaceful, beautiful feeling, and for some time after that things that would normally have irritated the hell out of me (no pun intended) just didn't bother me at all.
Over the years, I've come to believe that that light, and that love, is the only real thing I've ever experienced, or ever will, and that it is there always, just on the other side of the curtain.
I wish that light, and that love, for everyone alive today. May your hearts be filled with the joy of Christmas -- even if you're not Christian -- and may you all find that light that surrounds us all of the time, and that waits there, just on the other side of that curtain.
God bless.


In the world we inhabit, it's easy to overlook things we should all be grateful for, if they apply to us. 10 fingers and 10 toes. Legs that work to get us wherever we're going. Hands that can grasp whatever is needed. Literacy -- because with that, we can learn anything we might wish to know. Never having known real hunger or thirst. Warm or cold water cascading over us to help ease the aches and pains of living, all at the twist of a knob. A roof over our heads, and a warm bed to lie in when we decide it's time for sleep. The ability to speak our minds freely -- oh sure, there will be pushback from those who don't share our views, but so what? -- on any topic, including our distrust or disdain for our government (ask the people in Hong Kong!). Grocery stores that bring us a wide variety of foodstuffs with which we can sustain ourselves, no matter the season. Air systems that bring us warmth in winter and cool us in summer. The opportunity to love and be loved by some really wonderful people. A dog. A cat.

In short, because this could literally go on forever, we have a lot to be grateful for every day. And jumping ahead a holiday -- "God bless us, every one."

The Myth of "Free"

I see more and more stories about free college, free healthcare, free, free, free!

Jefferson spoke pointedly to this: "Remember, a government that will give you anything, will take from you everything."

Frankly, I really couldn't have said it better myself!!

Cry, the beloved country -- with credit to Alan Peton

These thoughts have been stirring in my hear for some time, and on this 20th anniversary of 9/11, I could think of no better time to share them -- for whatever they're worth.

I remember how we all felt on 9/11, and in its aftermath. Americans were united, in a way I couldn't remember since I was quite small. Flags sprouted on every available surface. White, Black, Brown: Christian, Jew, Muslim. Republican: Democrat. None of these labels mattered -- the only identifier anyone cared about was American.

In the intervening 20 years, we've done more harm to this country than any outsider ever could. We've brought shame upon ourselves -- witness the rioting of last summer, and the abhorrent way we've ended our involvement in Afghanistan. See the people still sitting in planes on the runways of Afghanistan, unable to return to our country, or to come here as our thanks for their help in our efforts there. Watch the attacks of various groups of Americans on other groups -- a young White man shooting up a Black church, a gunman unloading on a group of Jews leaving services at their temple, a bad apple police officer murdering a Black man in our streets. Our bureaucrats lying to us continuously, as if America were their own banana republic, and we just their subjects, rather than their bosses.

For better or worse, I still love this country. It's not perfect -- and no, it didn't even begin perfectly -- but I defy anyone to show me a better place. However imperfect, these United States were the first place that Joe Six-Pack was considered just as good as Mr. Got Rocks, and had an equal voice in whatever the country decided to become. A Black man couldn't, and that was wrong, but it was wrong thinking that had existed throughout the world for aeons, and I can't blame the founders for being men of their times.

America was the first place where anyone -- anyone! -- could become whatever their God-given abilities and their hard work and perseverance could achieve. The Great Melting Pot meant that the best of the rest of the world arrived in America -- those determined to achieve better for themselves and their families. Each new group of arrivals faced the prejudices endemic to all outsiders, but pushed ever forward, and we intermarried, those strong Americans, and we worked, and we achieved. I'm proud of that, and proud and grateful to have been born American.

Cry, continued

As we commemorate this 20th anniversary of one of the most horrific days in our history, I would humbly beseech each and every American to consider not only where we've gone wrong, but all of the amazing things we've gotten right.

I beg you to extend your hand to your fellows in love and oneness, and to stop all of the infighting and name-calling that threatens the very existence of these United states.

Let us always strive to create a more perfect union. Let us remember the fallen on this day, and every day. The firefighters and police officers who ran toward the towers on 9/11, and not away. The young men and women killed and maimed and scarred defending us from threats like we faced on that day. Let us celebrate and embrace our differences rather than worrying about who is appropriating what from whom.

In other words, let's stop all the nonsense at get back to being the people were on that fateful day. I miss us.