Is It Just Me, Or Has The World Gone Crazy?

The last two years have been a time of tremendous change for me. Leading up to these two years of turbulence and growth, I gained some revelations about my life. I realized that there was a warrior princess inside this middle aged body of mine and I envisioned wings that would transport me effortlessly into a new life of my choosing.

I found that I did indeed have wings and I realized that I even had the courage to use them. But, not in the ways I imagined. For a time, I felt defeated and saw my beautiful wings of freedom laying discarded, unused and broken. I still see them that way, but I’ve come to understand that there are certain things in life that aren’t easy to escape. The life I wanted only exists in my imagination and considering how many cooked up ideas, stories and fantasies that I’ve conjured in this old brain of mine, that life I so wanted, is now just another fragment stored and forgotten somewhere in my gray matter.

Getting my wings stripped has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through and I have to say, that I’ve not gotten through it easily or gracefully. But, I have gotten through. I’m finally on the other side of disappointment and grief and am starting to feel my soul come alive once again. But, it’s different this time, whether from recent experiences or life long impressions, I can’t say for sure. A culmination of all that was, is and is yet to be. How odd, and yet, how cohesive in a world that is ruled by chaos.

Before, I continue further, I am going to give my readers fair warning that much of what I’m about to write and what I plan on pursuing for a subject matter in the future is going to upset some of you. I’ve posted snippets here and there on social media and the fall out was immediate and larger than I expected. Because of that, I’m putting in this disclaimer, that you are welcome to disagree with me, you are welcome to debate me, but I won’t allow disrespectful behavior or rude comments.

The other thing I want to say is that I am not a political person in any shape or form. Up until about 9 years ago, I had no idea what any of it was really about. I couldn’t have told you the differences between a Democrat and Republican,  and though I know a little more than I did, I still don’t really know much. So, these blogs are not political in the slightest. What they are, is my concern for humanity and this world we live in. I plan on writing about what I’m observing in the world. It’s simply my opinion.

I’m not thinking about running for office or organizing protests or rallies, but I refuse to be silent any longer about the condition that our world is in and how quickly we are losing our footing. So, I’ll be telling it like I see it, and that will be difficult for some of you. This is my truth and the first question I’m trying to answer is: Has the world gone crazy? Or has it always been this way and we just choose to see what we want to see?

Our lives are filled with everyday, small and mundane things that all add up to a lifetime. But, a lifetime of what? Worrying from cradle to grave. Working and then working some more just to pay the mortgage and buy that car that you spend copious amounts of time in, waiting in traffic to go to your boring, endless job just to make a paycheck? Life is so much more than what we see in our small, little circles and I, for one, am tired of only seeing what’s in my immediate vicinity.

What do you know of the world? What do you know about the people that are in the highest offices, making the most critical decisions for all of mankind? Well, to start off, they are simply human. Just like us. Or are they? And, if they are just simply humans, what are their lives like and what are they seeing? Do they see the same things as you and I? Let’s sit down and have a cup of tea or coffee and discuss what’s going on around us. In your life, your country, your corner of the world.

Just Living Life

It’s been so long since I’ve written in my personal blog, that I’m almost at a loss as to where I should start. Many of you have followed this blog and the crazy life that is recorded within its many pages. I think that just about a year ago, I lost all ability to write and to share my feelings. Well, it’s time to catch you all up and to get back on track.

For those of you that did follow my blog, you know that for years I tried to find those golden wings that would set me free and let me follow my heart. I was unhappy with my marriage and thought that the only solution was to get out of it. And, I tried.

I moved to Las Vegas last October with every intention of leaving behind my marriage of 28 years. I felt it was time to find my wings, leave the dead weight behind and find my little piece of happiness. Guess what? I fell on my face and my heart ached every night. It took about 2 weeks to miss my husband and our marriage. It took another 2 months to admit that the unhappiness I had been feeling had more to do with me than it had to do with my husband or my marriage.

I had been very unfair to my better half, blaming him for every moment that I wasn’t happy and feeling like he had held me back and hampered my ambitions. You know what I found out once I was without him? That I was the one holding myself back and it was so convenient and easy to lay all the blame at his feet. The poor man never really knew what hit him when I first started this crap back in 2012. It started with an argument and ended with the realization that I almost lost something so precious and special. It makes me cry, just to think how close I had come to losing everything.

Boy, sometimes, I’m pretty stupid and what’s worse, I’m stupid and stubborn. For close to 4 years I did everything I could to end my marriage including walking away from it. There came a time a couple of years ago that I even confessed to my husband that I was having an affair with a guy named, Allen. It was all made-up, a lie that I thought would push him away. How pathetic is that? The day I told my husband about Allen, I saw how much I hurt him. I could see it in his eyes, but it wasn’t enough for me. I had to go on for years with the insults, cold shoulders, and frankly, just plain being a bitch. I did everything I could to make him leave me, make him divorce me, make him stop loving me.

Yes, I was angry, but it was more than just anger. It was the accumulation of years of not being able to find my voice. Years of not standing up for myself. Years of hearing my mother’s voice telling me things that made me hurt. And, I took more than forty years of unhappiness and laid it squarely at my husband’s feet. It was his fault. But, I’ve finally realized that it wasn’t. It was mine.

We’ve been back together since February and at first, I was happy to be back on the right track. But, it didn’t take long before I fell back into the same old routine of blaming him for everything. Things hadn’t changed and once again, it was all his fault. He should listen more, he should pay attention more, he should engage more. He should love me more. He should move mountains to make me happy. I felt like nothing had changed and the weight of the world and our marriage was placed solely on my shoulders.

The first glimmer of hope came when my husband was hospitalized with a kidney stone too large to pass without surgery. So, we began a two-month adventure of hospitals, surgical procedures and things like kidney stints and urine bags. That first night, sitting in the emergency room and holding his hand, things began to change. The frost and ice on my heart started to thaw and for the first time in four years, I realized how important this man was to me. I finally remembered how much I loved him.

So, we’ve been working on things. We started with just trying to be kinder and nicer to each other and I feel like I found a long-lost friend. We’ve been concentrating on each other and rebuilding our lives together. Last night, we watched hours of old home movies and my heart was filled to overflowing with gratefulness for our life together. Almost three decades together and it hurts to know how close I came to throwing it all away like it didn’t matter, or it was simply worthless.

My best friend has also been helpful by pulling away and not wanting to spend time with me like we used to. I’ve been hurt by his distance, but I think I understand that all he was doing was pushing me in the direction where I belonged. With my husband. I wouldn’t trade this summer for anything in the world. It’s been the summer that we finally found our way back to each other and my heart is full. Is it perfect? No, far from it, but that’s what makes it real. Real life isn’t perfect, it’s just outrageously sweet with all the imperfections that make life interesting.

I’ve really been struggling the past few months with being comfortable with my life and all it entails. Once again, it must be the stubborn streak in me that seems to make things harder than they have to be. My husband and I have found our way again and that kind of love deserves more than a casual mention. I’m so thankful that John has stood by me throughout all of our many years and his love for me has been a true constant. I’m blessed and oh so grateful that I didn’t lose the meaning of my life with my stupidity and repressed anger issues.

So, together, we’re moving forward. We’re going to find our piece of happiness while holding hands and leaning on each other. Never give up on true love and the power it holds. For years, I denied it existed and I allowed my anger and disappointment to diminish our love like clouds that cover the rays of the sun. But, no more. My eyes and my heart are wide open and I’m looking forward to spending the rest of my life with the man I truly love.

 

Steve Wynn’s ShowStoppers

Good Times and Laughter

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A big thanks to my best friend for procuring center-stage seats for one of the best shows in Las Vegas. This is the same man that took me to my first Broadway production more than two years ago and because of that introduction, I have fallen in love with this genre of art. Broadway shows tell a story through music and you get the best of both worlds. You get to see a marvelously acted story and you get to hear a grand musical concert.

Steve Wynn and the creators of ShowStoppers brings its audience to the absolute pinnacle of musical performance with a cast of sixty-six singers, dancers and musicians. The orchestra is led by Conductor Dave Loeb who does a legendary job in directing the music for each of the numbers. The curtain rises after a short audio introduction by Steve Wynn explaining what we’re about to see…

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Overcast Again

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I write an almost daily post on Facebook and my first paragraph always starts out with the weather. It’s become something of a tradition to say, Good morning and then tell my readers whether it’s sunny, raining, or oppressively muggy. Some of my friends laugh at my weather reporting and that’s okay too. I just find the weather to be a thing of nature and god and I like the jumping off point that that first segment always gives me.

When searching for a title today for this blog, I couldn’t help but glance out the window and see the overcast skies, once again. So, the dark and stormy skies are my jumping off my point today and it’s totally appropriate for the subject I’m writing about. Since moving to Branson, I have garnered many new friends and I know there’s a chance that some of those friends might see this blog. All they have ever been privy to is my entertainment blog where I write reviews of shows and fun things that I get to do. They’ve never seen the deeper side of Summer, the side that isn’t always so positive and upbeat. My new friends that have met me, see an outgoing, happy person. I smile a lot. I talk a lot. I genuinely engage with people because, well, because it’s simply who I am.

I lead my life with my heart as my compass and while it’s nice when things are going great, it can really be detrimental when things are not so rosy. When things are going well in my life, it’s easy to have enthusiasm and a bright outlook because those feelings which include joy and laughter are the most important things to me. I don’t care about money, I don’t care about social status or needing to be something I’m not. The most valuable assets in my life are the people that love me and the moments we share as friends and fellow humans. I refuse to become jaded to the world just because there’s bad things out there. I refuse to stop believing in love just because it sometimes hurts. There is nothing more important in this old world of ours than the ability to give and receive that most precious of commodities; love.

So, I had the chance to take a really long vacation. It was the first time in more than 21 years that I took that kind of time just for me. Went where I wanted to go, saw the things I wanted to see, lived my life with a type of freedom that I am generally not allowed to have. And, I found a different me. I found the me I want to be. I discovered within myself a person that has literally not existed except for an hour or two at a time, for the past 28 years. You know what? I really like that girl. You wanna know something else? I already miss her so much! She tried to hang in for the first couple of days, but in this house, there’s not a place where that girl is really welcomed. That girl laughs too much, feels things too deeply, wears her heart out on her sleeve.

The girl that lives in this house, has lots of responsibilities and not a lot of joy. The girl that lives here, only dreams of a life without the chains and knows in her heart that she can’t really escape. The girl that lives here has a sense of obligation and a very narrow sense of right and wrong and knows that what will slowly kill her is her misplaced loyalty. The girl that lives here is a realist, not a dreamer and she often fights with that other female, you know, the one that I was for the past three weeks.

They fight about silly little things like writing time vs. cleaning the house time. They fight because one wants to search out a job to pay for the large car repair bill and groceries, but the other one wants to publish a book that will change the world. One girl looks selfishly to her own wants and needs and the other puts on her golden halo and talks about promises and vows. They bicker back and forth in a constant screaming litany about this thing or that thing and what should be done. The responsible girl hates the free girl and the free girl only feels the cold steel from the bars that enclose her. These girls are more than sisters, more than friends, and yet, they don’t seem to be able to find a space to co-exist.

These girls are me.

They’ve been with me all my life, though the realist never allowed me to fully see the dreamer girl. Yes, there were glimpses of the free spirited me, but until three years ago, that part of me was never given a voice and never acted upon. Then came that day in July when things forever changed. The blinders came off and that fun loving, self-serving girl was given free reign for an afternoon. After that day, I knew she existed and it was impossible to go back to my survival mode of thinking. In the beginning, she schemed behind my back and whispered to me in the form of friends who were placed in my life at the best possible moment. That hippie-like girl encouraged me to try things I had never tried before and at my first grown-up play, she laughed and cried and opened my heart like never before. That silly girl had the power to heal the hurts of an abusive childhood. That little nymph had the ability to make me feel things so much deeper than before. She was a magical girl and the sound of her laughter in my ears was like listening to a river of water as it cascades over the rainbow.

That girl encouraged me to start writing again and she could barely contain her enthusiasm when I started my first blog. That sweet, sweet girl helped me to fall in love with life again and it was her bubbly personality that got to eat world-famous Memphis ribs and listen to jazz while sitting on the banks of the Mississippi. That lovely girl was enchanted by Broadway, not so much by sushi. That girl once had a comical meltdown in a Red Robin restaurant because of the art adorning the walls. That same girl then walked outside and shared the beauty of a double rainbow with her closest friend. That insane, funny girl is the same one that cries buckets at sad movies, and loves eating Mickey waffles on lazy Sunday afternoons. One day last year, that crazy girl decided to participate in a workshop that ended six weeks later with a novel of more than 100,000 words being written. Yeah, that was ALL her fault!

The girl that lives here is a practical sort. She makes her bed everyday and makes sure the bathtub gets cleaned. She opens stacks of mail and pays the bills, even when there’s not much left in the savings account. The no-nonsense girl decides what’s for dinner and strives to remain pleasant when the same damn question gets asked twenty times. I’ve noticed that girl taking huge, sighing breaths and I’ve observed the numbers on the blood pressure monitor slowly climbing back into the high category. There’s days that the obligated girl can’t seem to stop the leaking from her eyes and wonders what it’s all about. The serious girl doesn’t see the need for freedom, laughter or happiness. My life is enough for this girl.

So, it’s overcast again today in the Ozarks. Probably going to have torrential rain later this afternoon. The two girls sit in front of my laptop and look out on the day. One sees an endless season of clouds and storms while the other one remembers hot desert nights and the way the air felt on her free skin. One girl accepts that life has it’s ups and downs and accepts that it’s up to her to hold it together, but the other girl? She refuses to settle for what is and starts her scheming once again to find that place where she’s free to be everything she was meant to be.

I know that there will eventually come a point where one has to kill off the other. It always happens in the best of books, and honestly, I don’t think that the two girls will ever be able to be present at the same time. Do we root for hippie girl? Even though she’s very impractical and much too wild for most? Or, do we vote for the steadfast, loyal, heavily bound girl to win the race? There’s days, including today, that it just seems way too much. I’m overwhelmed at their attitudes, as it seems neither one of them is happy with me. But, the day goes on. The conflict goes on. The battle continues. Just once, I would love the battle to be won by either one or the other. Either happiness and a mantle of guilt and regret, or, the knowledge that I did the right thing, even if it was at the expense of my soul.

You’ve seen that meme about how you should be nice to everyone because you never know the battle they are fighting. It’s absolutely true. We all disguise our inner selves and put on a face each day that the world expects to see. I’m no different. Have a thousand or so extra Summer masks in my closet, probably one for every occasion. The good days, the bad days, the days without hope, and the days of bright sunshine. The two girls discuss it between themselves and so the day begins. Overcast, again.

The Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil

Good Times and Laughter

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Just as I knew that it would, this vacation has flown by and it’s almost time to leave. I’ve had a wonderfully magical time and though there have been many, many spectacular experiences, there’s one that stands out above all the rest. Last night, the bestie took me to The Mirage to see The Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil. I’ve been to many shows, many plays and many musicals, but there’s nothing out there that can compare to what I witnessed and felt last night.

Within minutes of finding our seats, the show started and the magic began. The Beatles are the epitome of generational and revolutionary music that represents the turmoil and peace in the lives of millions of baby-boomers. I am right at the end of that generation and am so grateful that I grew up listening to these classic songs written by a bunch of guys from…

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Another year

Well, we all rang in another new year and being the emotional creature that I am, you know that today has been a day of reflection and examination. I’ve never been one to make unrealistic resolutions, but this year, I’ve made about a hundred of them. On this first day of the year, I have expectations that I will accomplish some of them, shoot for others and fail miserably at some. That’s okay. It’s life.

2014 didn’t turn out the way I expected. But, some wonderful things happened along the way that included a road trip of a lifetime to New York with my best friend of more than 40 years! I climbed to the top of the Statue of Liberty and I cried in the lower levels of the 911 Museum and Memorial. I walked in Central Park and crossed the Brooklyn Bridge. 2014 was also a year that I indulged my love of musicals and attended phenomenal productions of War Horse, Wicked and Phantom of the Opera. I’ve had good days and bad days and days I felt like pulling my hair out. I’ve had magical days like when a friend took me to Texas De Brazil where the servers are  good looking guys in Caballero outfits serving every cut of meat you could possibly think of. I’ve suffered through a year of having close to no time off from my bill paying job and struggling to please people that are unappeasable.  I’ve been blessed to reconnect with old friends, some going all the way back to childhood, and I’ve formed new friendships that touch my heart and soul.

Oh, and one other little thing that happened this year that I forgot to mention. I wrote my first book. I thought about ending this blog post with that sentence, because as I wrote it, it occurred to me how momentous my accomplishment. I didn’t start to write a book, I didn’t get a book partially written, I actually wrote an honest to goodness book! And, a very long one at that. It has chapters and everything!

So, when I look at the year just past, how can I be anything but happy and thankful?

I’m blessed with so many things in this little life of mine. No, it’s not perfect, it never will be and that’s the hardest part to accept sometimes. Life will always have it’s ups and downs, twists and turns, but maybe that’s the part that keeps us on our toes?

I can only imagine what 2015 has in store for all of us, but I choose to move forward with determination, faith, hope and love. This year will be a year of changes, of that I am sure. I have hope that this year will finally be the year that my wings have a chance to spread fully and I learn how to fly. Out of all my silly resolutions, the one that excites me the most is the thought of what my life could look like in 364 days. Anything is possible and if you want something bad enough, it’s amazing what can happen. My resolution is to want it bad enough. All of it. The other resolutions all have to do with working on areas of my life that need some work before I can make all my dreams come true. Seems simple enough, right?

I welcome this first day of the rest of my life and I’m walking down gratitude lane for the chance to experience this little thing we call life.

 

Happy New Year!

Bradley James

Thirty-six years ago this morning my son made his first appearance in the world. After struggling through almost 40 hours of labor, I finally got to lay eyes on my little bundle of joy. He wasn’t so little as he weighed 10lbs, 1 1/2 ounces and was 21 inches long.  I was only 15 years old, my 16th birthday a little over two weeks away. Shortly after he was born they took us both to our hospital room and while I was escorted back to bed, they laid my precious son in a glass enclosed cradle and we both drifted off to sleep. I awoke an hour or so later and when I turned my head to look at Bradley James, much to my astonishment, he had raised his head and was looking right at me.

He had the most beautiful blue eyes and when our eyes locked with each other, a feeling like no other came over me. In that single moment of looking at each other, we bonded with a love that is greater than any love on the planet. When Brad looked at me, I saw the universe unfold and just for a fraction of a second, I beheld the mysteries and the answers of our earthly existence. Hands down, it was by far, the most profound, most emotional and most beautiful moment of my life. There’s never been anything even remotely close to how I felt when I looked at my newborn son and he looked at his Mom for the first time.

As I sit here this morning thinking back to that fall morning so many years ago, it seems like it could have been just last month or last year. It feels impossible that thirty-six years have passed and yet as I search my memories and I find sweet nuggets of fun and laughter, I feel that we’ve lived a few lifetimes in those three and a half decades. It hasn’t been easy for either one of us and to be perfectly honest, I think we’ve both done one hell of job with what we’ve been given. Let me tell you a little bit about my handsome son.

He came into the world kicking and screaming and ready to take on life.  He was going to need that attitude and vitality to take on a life that would not be easy. I faced challenges in my pregnancy due to my age and from the day he was born, Brad has faced more challenges than a human should be asked to face. And yet, through it all, he has this calm presence, this ancient wisdom that shows in the nature of his heart. He looks like me and he looks like his Dad, but sometimes I think that our physical attributes are the only things we passed down to him. He has this old soul that belongs in a different place and time, and to adapt to having a missing dad, a single, young and immature mother and still be a happy, laughing child spoke volumes about his character from a very young age.

He was a gorgeous little boy with big blue eyes and silky blonde hair. He was smart and precocious and curious beyond belief. Yes, he was a handful, but not in the way most toddlers can be a handful. He never threw a temper tantrum, he was alwasy so agreeable and the most mischief that he ever got into was because I wasn’t paying attention and he would become fascinated with something that he shouldn’t. He decided once that fish should be able to listen to music and he lovingly put vinyl records in the fishtank with them. There was also the time that the old, beige couch we owned was just too beige and with careful precision that only a three year old can bring, he painted that old beige couch with a few bright shades of my nail polish that I had left somewhere I shouldn’t have left it.

I’ll never forget his sleepy face when mornings would come and it was time to get up. He seldom cried or complained even when it was the middle of the night and I was just getting off work and had to pick him up at the babysitter’s house. Through the years, I’ve said that we grew up together, but the truth is, I have learned more from him than he will ever learn from me. We moved a lot and he always adapted to new schools and new friends and I’m sure he at one time, had to be voted the most friendliest and nicest. I wish I could say as he grew older that  life became easier, but it did not. But, no matter the adversities my son has faced, he has always kept his heart in the right place and kept it  full of love, understanding and forgiveness.

The world has a definition for the word success and it ususally entails how much money you’ve made, how much stuff you own, how many diplomas and accolades you hang on your office walls. The world judges by materialistic measure and I truly believe that those standards are exactly what is wrong with our world today. By the world’s standards, my son isn’t that sucessful. There are others his age that have accomplished more, have more money in the bank or have some fancy degree. But, by the standard that is important, that old heart of  the matter, soul meter, Bradley James is one of the most successful people I have ever known. He is quick with a kind word, willing to understand and open his mind and if you ever need a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on or just someone to listen, he’s the best. He loves without hesitation, gives without thinking and reaches out to others in this world without a smidgion of rightousness or judgement. His capacity for love and his curiosity for all things in and our of this world, make him one of the richest guys on the planet.

So, I want to wish Bradley James a very happy birthday. I am so very proud of you and the wonderful person that you are. I’m so grateful that you quite literally saved my life all those many years ago and that you’ve graced me with your goodness ever since. You certainly deserve much more than I gave you and more than life gave you, but know that life’s questions will some day be answered. Thank you for being my son and thank you for teacfor teaching me about life. I love you…..brad and summer

Imagine

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I grew up with a hateful, opinionated woman who had so many ideas about the world that were just plain wrong. She was racist, homophobic, closed minded and just generally a miserable human being. I knew from a very young age that she was the antithesis of the person I wanted to become when I grew up. When I first found out that I was adopted, I was pretty relieved. I still remember some of the thoughts that went through my young little head when my parents sat me down and told me I was adopted, but relieved is the strongest feeling I can recall. I was relieved that I didn’t carry her DNA. I was relieved that all that self righteousness and hatred didn’t get passed on in my genes or in my heart. I vowed to never be hate filled for anyone or anything.

I was a very young girl when Martin Luther King was assassinated and I’m too ashamed to write what my mother said when the story came on the news that night. I do remember sitting on the floor with my back against the couch when she uttered words that made my heart skip a beat. They were nasty, venomous words and even after years in her house, I was still shocked. I was five years old when Dr. King was murdered while standing on the Balcony at The Lorraine Motel in Memphis. I was too young to know the horrors of the world and I was too young to fully understand the civil rights movement, but the one thing I understood even at that age was that hate is the worst part of humanity and the actions perpetrated by hate is the worst part of our world.

A few years later and we were watching the news when Saigon fell. Our living room became noisy with a full fledged rant from my mother. The surprising thing was she hated everyone involved. She called the Vietnamese vile names and said they were nothing more than animals. At the same time she denigrated the soldiers as being druggies and hippies and communists. My mother also thought that the Catholic religion was just a front for a communist party that would one day take over the United States. So, she was an equal opportunity hater. She hated anyone that was different than her. She hated as if she had the right to hate.

When I was nine or ten, we took a day trip to San Francisco which we did fairly often considering the city was less than a two hour drive for us. We would drive over a few times a year and enjoy walking along Pier 39 or sometimes going to the Wax Museum or Ripley’s Believe it or Not. If we had visiting relatives, we would drive down Lombard street and they would ooh and aah at all the switchbacks of the most crookedest street in the world. This one particular trip, my step father had taken a wrong turn and we ended up in the Castro district of San Francisco. This was the early 70s and there were not such things as Pride parades back then. But, when we stopped at a light and my mother saw two men holding hands as they crossed the street in front of us, she did the ugliest thing I had ever seen her do. She rolled down her window as they stepped onto the sidewalk and she shouted ugly names at them. She finished her tirade by telling then that they would be burning in the lake of fire for their sinful lifestyle. The two men never even glanced our way and I was so happy that I didn’t have to look either one of them in the eyes. I wanted to crawl out of the car and slink away into a world that my mother did not exist in; I wanted to escape to a world that was not filled with hatred.

I’ve been blessed on this current trip to earth. I was born white in a country where it was a very good thing to be white. I was born in America, in the land of freedom and opportunity. I was born in the land of the middle class and never knew much hardship growing up, other than having two insane people as my parents. I was adopted by someone that clearly showed me what kind of person I wanted to be just by knowing that I wanted to be nothing like her. Because she was so hate filled, I wanted to be sure that my life would be filled with love. Because she hated almost everyone in one way or another, I knew that I wanted to find a way to love almost everyone in one way or another. I haven’t made the best decisions in my two marriages and I can’t say that I’ve overdosed in the love department when it comes to the men in my life, but I can say without a doubt that my life has been filled with love. I have surrounded myself with people that not only love my crazy self, they also love life and the people in it. Even on Facebook, I encounter very little ugliness and hatred and when I do, that little unfriend button is the easiest thing in the world. The political season is the absolute worst for me and I’m afraid that during that time, quite a few people are ushered politely out of my world.

There’s so many things in life that I don’t understand, just don’t get, and I’m not very good at. I have many more questions than answers and I don’t pretend to be right about most of anything. But, there’s one thing that I am one hundred percent sure of and that is the most basic thing of all. I’m sure of love. I’m sure that love is the reason why we are here. It is the lesson we are here to learn. Love is the most important quality of life and without love, there is hate. It’s very easy to look at the world and watch the news and see that there is a huge absence of love in our lives. Why do we have such hate for each other? We hate black people and brown people and white people. We hate Republicans and Democrats and Socialists and Communists. We hate the Jews and the Muslims and the Sikhs. We hate the Iraqis and the Russians and let’s not even get started in on the Chinese. We hate faggots and drag queens and divas and nuns. We hate our neighbors and we even hate the children of our neighbors. We stand in our skins of self righteousness and proclaim that everyone and everything should be exactly like ourselves and our little corner of the world or it’s something to hate. And, in our world, hate often times leads to acts of violence and war. Hate eventually leads to killing. The taking of lives in the name of hate. Sometimes, people have done these abhorrent acts in the name of God or Allah or Mohammed or Jesus even. I’ve never heard of an act of violence done in the name of love. It’s a paradox. It can’t be done. You cannot harm, hurt or kill someone in the name of love.

I had the opportunity recently to watch a documentary on public television about the Freedom Riders in the American South just a few decades ago. I never knew about these people and their courage and their ability to wear love as their armor. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I grew up in the 60s and 70s and knew that there was rampant prejudice and racism in the country I grew up in. I knew about the Ku Klux Klan. I knew that the African Americans in this supposedly great country based on liberty and freedom had fought all their lives to be considered equal, to be considered human. They fought for their rights; the right to vote, the right to sit at a lunch counter, the right to sit in any seat on any bus. Their rights to live as humans and to make the same mistakes and accomplishments as anyone else. How could this have been happening in my life time? It seems so barbaric and unnatural to hate someone based on the color of his skin, or his religious beliefs or because he loves someone of the same sex. Such stupid reasons to hate someone.

I also had the opportunity to see another show recently that dealt with another ugly chapter of hate in our country. I watched the Laramie Project and I cried over the senselessness of hate. After the movie, I had to wonder how mankind is going to continue if there are so many hate filled people. The Laramie Project was about the horrific beating and murder of Matthew Shepard. Yes, it was shocking that two young men from a small town in the middle of nowhere would take a young gay man out to a field in the middle of Wyoming and beat him so severely that he was unrecognizable. Yes it was shocking that they tied him to a fence, stole his shoes and left him to die alone and with tears running down his ruined face. I had to wonder about the parents of these boys. How could they raise two children to grow up and do this to another human being? The most shocking part of the retelling of this tragedy was the ignorance, prejudice and hate that permeated this small isolated town. A lot of the hate was disguised, especially by members of the religious establishments. A lot of the townsfolk said they had this Live and Let Live mentality and then would say in the next sentence that homosexuality was a sin and that Matthew’s death was really just his own fault. People that you would think would be loving and caring, had this attitude of loftiness about them, this sense that they were indeed God- like enough to judge and condemn. I think that’s the most shocking thing to me. Not that we’re capable of killing each other, but that we think we have a right to do it. How can hate be right?

For the past several weeks, the Middle East has once again been in the news headlines. Yeah, yeah, I know. Israel has been a hotbed of violence for all of our lives. When I was little, I heard about the Jews and their fight over their claim to Israel. I heard about the PLO and it’s leader, Yasser Arafat. It seems that every couple of years you hear of the murder and the bloodshed that this region of the world is compelled to participate in. I think what I hear most is when Hamas or Islamic Jihad or another extremist group states that all Jews should be wiped off the face of the earth. How can you not pay attention to statements like that? Did we not learn in school of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany and their attempt to exterminate a race of people? How can we be allowing statements of hate to be voiced and acted upon?  I don’t pretend to know all the political ramifications and I certainly don’t have the answer to this centuries old conflict, but I do know that at some point we have to stop seeing our fellow human beings in this way. We have to stop hating each other and we have to stop hurting and killing one another. I used to think that humans needed an alien race to invade earth to cause us to finally bond as humans and have a commonality in our combat with this invading alien force, but then I realized that we would just transfer our hatred for one another onto another race and continue to just perpetrate the hate. What we truly need is a hate killer. We need some force to remove the hatred in our world. We need a supernatural entity to literally take away our ability to hate each other. Or we need to stand up against hate one person at a time. One act of kindness at a time. One word spoken in love instead of hate and we need to spread the message that as human beings, we are not going to allow the hatred to over-run the love. I truly believe there are more of us that want love as our anthem than those that want bloodshed and violence. I also believe that we can truly change the world that we leave for our children and generations to come.

Imagine a world where there were no borders and there wasn’t pride in your country but in the whole world. Imagine a world that your skin color made no difference. Imagine a world where we finally realize that we are in fact all just brothers and sisters and that there isn’t an us and a them. Imagine a world where the most precious thing in all the world was your capacity to love your neighbors, to love each other. Imagine a world where people accepted each other for all their glorious differences, accepted people no matter the language they spoke, the God they prayed to, or the people they choose to love. Imagine a world where there is no judgment for who you are or what you look like, or how much you weigh. Imagine a world where we uplift each other and we work side by side with each other to build a world based on love and kindness and understanding. Imagine a world where there is no jealousy or hatred or war machines. Imagine a world where we find life so precious, so valuable, that to kill each other finally becomes unthinkable. Imagine a world that children are not abused and sold into slavery. Imagine a world that has no exploding rockets or nuclear war heads. Imagine a world where there is nothing but peace because peace is the only political agenda. Imagine a world where our children are taught to embrace all things that are love and light.

Of course, the John Lennon song came to mind while writing the above paragraph. I want to end this with the lyrics to his song. Pretty much sums up what I’ve been feeling and what I’ve been thinking about.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

 

Imagine there is no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You, you may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will live as one