The Donkey and the Tiger

I cannot take credit for this story. It was something I found on social media and shared on my individual page of that social media. It keeps coming back to me as others read and react to it. I’ve decided to copy and share it here as well.

The donkey told the tiger:

′′The grass is blue”.

The tiger replied:

′′No, the grass is green”.

The discussion became heated up, and the two decided to submit the issue to arbitration, and to do so they approached the lion, King of the Jungle.

Before reaching the clearing in the forest where the lion was sitting on his throne, the donkey started screaming:

′′Your Highness, is it true that grass is blue?”.

The lion replied:

“True, the grass is blue”.

The donkey rushed forward and continued:

′′The tiger disagrees with me and contradicts me and annoys me please punish him”.

The king then declared:

′′The tiger will be punished with 5 years of silence”.

The donkey jumped for joy and went on his way, content and repeating:

′′The grass is blue”…

The tiger accepted his punishment, but he asked the lion:

′′Your Majesty, why have you punished me, after all, the grass is green?”

The lion replied:

′′In fact, the grass is green”.

The tiger asked:

′′So why do you punish me?”

The lion replied:

′′That has nothing to do with the question of whether the grass is blue or green. The punishment is because it is not possible for a brave, intelligent creature like you to waste time arguing with a donkey, and on top of that to come and bother me with that question”.

The worst waste of time is arguing with the fool and fanatic who doesn’t care about truth or reality, but only the victory of their beliefs and illusions. Never waste time on discussions that make no sense… There are people who for all the evidence presented to them, do not have the ability to understand, and others who are blinded by ego, hatred and resentment, and the only thing that they want is to be right even if they aren’t. When ignorance screams, intelligence shuts up. Your peace and tranquility are worth more.

Author unknown

(Re-read that last paragraph again, and maybe again after that. It’s what’s keeping me sane and from exploding with vitriol as I watch what is happening around me – and around this country and this world – these days.)

Random Memes – 6/21

Since there have been so many senseless shootings lately, I find myself glad that I’m a homebody who has no need to go out to different places. Lately, I’m suddenly more acutely aware that there could be a gunman in my midst than a person who is positive with COVID. Wearing a mask isn’t going to help when bullets are involved.

So, I decided to look through my gathering of memes and try to find some that resonated positiveness and/or spoke personally to me about where I am in my current psyche.

Here are some I want to share:

I’m 100% guilty of not wanting to expose others to me when I’m struggling.

Another way I need to keep reminding myself that struggling is okay.
My struggle? I can’t forgive myself until I’ve forgiven every other person first.
As I get better at saying “no”, I feel happier even if I make others unhappy.

This is such strong truth that I want it poster-sized on every wall to remind me!
Obviously, I’ve “lived with”, or at least through, all of the choices I’ve made. Now I’m learning how to make choices based on my OWN needs and wants.
I have to learn to accept that at times I need space to pull myself together and give that gift to myself. I’m making progress!

Hope

For the second time in just the matter of a few days, another blogger I like to follow wrote a blog about this thing called “hope”. Both of these bloggers see hope as a positive thing, as something that enriches our lives as long as we have it. And I have to admit, even when we don’t consciously see or feel hope, it’s an intrinsic emotion in most of us, perhaps something universal in our genetic make-up with which we are born.

The irony of the timing of these two blog posts about hope is that both of them were posted while I was reading a book called The Perfect Daughter written by Alex Stone. Based on the information about the book, it’s not the mystery/psychological thriller I usually read, but it was free in Prime Reading through Amazon Prime and something tugged at me to read it.

I don’t want to say much about the story, because it was an excellent read and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else who might want to read it. But there was a part towards the end that stuck out to me – a conversation between two characters that caught my attention so well that I copied it, intending to use it for a future blog post. Well, it appears that the future of that blog post has come sooner than later.

The male figure speaking: “Hope is a dangerous thing. It is powerful. It makes you a powerful tool. You can achieve amazing things if you have hope. It keeps you fighting against adversity. It keeps you going when everything else tells you to give up. It lets you imagine a future that’s better than the present. A future that could be yours.”

The female figure replies: “The problem is, when you have hope you have something to lose. What happens when that future you’ve been clinging to and dreaming of shatters and dies? You die, too. Not fully. Never fully. But something inside, the part of you that kept you going, that kept you strong, withers a little.”

And I completely related to her response, to the idea that after a while, when the dreams you have keep becoming unfulfilled, time and time again, that the psyche can reach the intellectual reasoning that hope is nice while it lasts. So is an ice cube in a cold drink. But when the ice cube melts and the drink becomes warm again, watering down the drink with the melted water, you wonder if it was worth using the ice cube in the first place.

I have hope – at least I think I do. I hope that no one I love will die from COVID-19. I hope that no one I love will be killed through the senseless brutality that is sweeping our nation with no regard for life. I hope I will always be able to afford a roof over my head and food in my tummy. But the things I think we tend to hope for are all things over which we know we have zero control of. Are we hoping for those things, or are we hoping to be lucky enough to have things go the way we want them to?

I guess I just wonder if we’re pushing hope like a legal drug of sorts that makes us hallucinate and believe things we want are possible with some assurance. If 50% of the nation’s population bands together and commits to hoping that the mass shootings that are continuing to make daily headlines stop, what effect do you think they will have in making that happen? Sometimes, I wonder if we use the idea of “hope” in order to avoid the idea of “earn”, that is, I hope I pass this history test suffices for not studying. And if we don’t happen to pass because we didn’t bother to study, the only blame we have to lay on ourselves is that we shouldn’t have wasted our time and energy hoping.

Obviously, I’m all over the place on this idea of hope and its purpose. I just thought I’d share the jumble circling around in my brain about it. I look forward to any comments on this!

Selflessness

My brother recently used the word “selflessness” in one of his poems, and it brought up a thought process I’d had on that word a long time ago. Some 30+ years ago, someone (I’ve long forgotten whom) suggested I read The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand. I did so, though it felt very dry to me and took me longer (much, much longer) than the time in which I normally read a book.

I cannot remember more than the basic theory of “selfishness” as seen by the author. But there was one part of it that has stuck in my brain and remains there, obviously, still today, though it is seldom called upon. According to Rand, and some definitions across the Internet, selflessness is giving no thought to yourself and doing/giving to another without getting a single thing from the interaction.

Pretty much my regular readers and people who know me in real life know that I rate fairly high on the list of people who are ‘givers’. But guess what, only once in many, many years of giving to others have I been able to think of an action I performed that was selfless.

You see, while I am very quick to be giving to others, those actions are also a benefit to me. I like to help other people, like to bring joy to other people, like knowing that, in whatever way, I’m making life a little bit easier for someone else. In other words, while I’m giving something tangible to another, I am getting a positive emotional experience in return. That is an experience that happens and that I can count on happening. So my actions aren’t truly selfless.

Only once do I remember doing something that, as I look back now, I consider might fit into the ‘selfless’ list. It was probably 5 or so years ago. I was leaving the grocery store and saw a man in tearful distress practically ripping his car apart on the inside while a younger woman (daughter or granddaughter I suspect) was trying to calm him down. I walked over to see if I could be of some assistance. Apparently, he’d put a folded $100 bill in the pocket of his shorts to spend at the store when he left home, and by the time they got to the check-out, it was gone. He had no other money on him, so the female with him paid for his groceries and kept assuring him that she was okay with buying the groceries for him. After ripping through the car’s interior, he said that he suspected that it had fallen out of his pocket in one of the aisles in the store. I suggested the other female and I walk into the store to look for it. As soon as we were far enough away that he couldn’t hear us, I told her that there was a really slim chance that, if he did in fact drop it in an aisle, we could expect to find it, but we quickly scanned each aisle. When that was unsuccessful, I walked up to the ATM at the front of the store, withdrew $100, handed it to her, and asked her to give it to him and tell him it was a “random act of kindness”. I quickly left the store and proceeded back to my vehicle again, which was parked 3 aisles away. I got in my car and quickly left the store because I didn’t want him to do anything except accept that it was a random act of kindness. The thing is, it was such a spontaneous gesture that I never had a moment to think about what I would be getting in return for it. To be honest, there was no emotion involved in my action – my brain just told me it was the right thing to do and so I did it.

I forgot about the event as quickly as I knew it was the right thing to do in that moment and only by the word selfless coming into focus again made me think about it. It truly is the one time I can remember giving to another without seeking for or receiving acknowledgement that I’ve done so!

Sure, I make some large-sized donations from time to time at our local food bank (or used to before the prices quickly tripled on everything!), and I’ve filled countless boxes of items to donate to non-profit thrift stores as I continue to ‘simplify’ my life. But it’s always in my head, while I’m packing up boxes of lightly used items or carrying boxes of non-perishable foods to the door of the food bank that someone – even if I don’t know whom – will benefit from what I am giving. And that is the happiness that brings me joy.

So, for me, there is a large distinction between being selfish, unselfish and selfless. I don’t give to others so that I can feel that joy – it’s simply a by-product of my being giving. So, I’m not being selfish. But is my giving unselfish if I get a positive experience as a result? And other than that one time I described, I don’t ever recall being selfless.

But, I’m not saying that it’s wrong not to be selfless. Yes, I may get something from being a giving person, but it is never more than what the person who is on the receiving end. Luke 6:38 says, in fact, to “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Honestly, I hope I never need that, but it’s calming to think that I would receive back if the need arose.

The D.U.F.F.

Because, in another effort to lower my expenses, I cut my cable package down to the bare minimum, I’ve been grateful to have Amazon Prime where I can access movies that are free to me.

Unlike my favorite book genre, which is suspense with a heavy nod to psychological thrillers, I like my movies to be more relaxing – like chick flicks, rom-coms and comedy in general. I have found that it’s become more difficult for me to stay seated in one place for more than 45 minutes at a time, and I like being able to stop and restart movies when it’s convenient to me without worrying that I’ll have forgotten something in the part I watched that will make me struggle with understanding the part I’m about to watch.

The latest movie I watched was called “The DUFF”. It took place around the characters’ high school years but that made it easily entertaining while having a surface story line. Pretty early in the story, we learn that “DUFF” stands for “Designated Ugly Fat Friend”. The character who was labeled the “DUFF” was neither ugly nor fat…she was simply a girl who didn’t give in to what was “cool to wear” and makeup and being a cheerleader and hooking up with the football team captain, etc., etc., etc.

I was pretty much of a wallflower except around my chorus and band mates. I got bullied by two different males during those years – I remember both of their names to this day and the way in which they bullied me. I never got asked on a date, so I don’t know if my parents would have allowed me to date (I think probably not). Obviously, I didn’t have a boyfriend. I was never asked to go to prom. And after all of these years, I still don’t think my best friend from high school (who remains a beloved friend today) really understood how having her for a best friend was the reason I survived those years. She was pretty, smart, well-liked and talented enough to play the female lead in our junior AND senior school musicals!

I posted on social media, as I often do, about the movie I’m watching, and I did so with this movie as well. Along with a photo still from the movie, my words were “this could have been me in high school”. Two wonderful people who know me from my high school years quickly spoke up to assure me that I was not ugly nor perceived as fat. There were a few adjectives of a positive note, but both of them mentioned that I was ‘funny’.

I don’t remember being funny. I don’t think my self-deprecating skills had developed that early in life. I know that, while my sarcastic wit was probably beginning to form by then, it was in its early stages and not something ready to be tried out on someone.

The end of the movie is a sort of happily-ever-after, and the two “cool-ish” girls she had been friends with finally told her that they never thought of her as the DUFF and were sorry if they made her feel that way. They liked being friends with her because she was smart, and funny and not afraid to be herself. I’m not certain I was truly myself during those years, since my mother ruled everything I did, everything I wore, everything I ate, and had angst over the fact that she wasn’t sure my best friend was someone I should have been best friends with (we won her over halfway through senior year).

And as I look back now, many years older and hopefully wiser along the way, I’m okay being the DUFF. I’ve kept close to some of the people I admired and befriended during those years (see my previous post about only having 12 other people, with whom I’d lost contact, from my class that I would want to see again). I’m okay with the fact that, while I wasn’t favored by the masses, I was loved by a few very special people. Thank you, Kimberly, Marti and Chip for those days way back when and for still being part of my life all these years later!

Envy and the Yetzer Hara

Having written a blog article not so long ago about jealousy and envy, this article really opened my eyes to a completely different way to examine this!

rachelmankowitz

There’s a Jewish concept called the Yetzer Hara, or the evil inclination, which (along with the Yetzer Hatov, or the good inclination) at first glance seems to be a version of having a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, but it’s more complicated than that. As usual.

“Why is everything so complicated?”

The Yetzer Hara has often been reinterpreted not so much as an inclination to evil, but as an inclination that can lead to evil. The rabbis say that the inclination to reproduce, or to create new things, or to succeed in life all come from this “evil” inclination, and therefore we need some amount of it in life even to survive, let alone to thrive. We need to have ambition and impulsivity and individual drive, but there’s a limit; though they don’t clarify exactly where those limits might be.

The same rabbis…

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Just Stuff

Naomi Judd’s Suicide: I think about this happening at least once a day. I have always enjoyed the duo’s music. Somehow, although I knew Wynonna suffers from depression and Ashley has a fear of abandonment, I missed all of the news that Naomi had a history of depression. My first feeling was a sense of anger, because she ended her life the very night before the Judds were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. To make her daughters, especially her singing partner, Wynonna, deal with her death and her chosen means of death less than 24 hours before this induction was set to happen is what makes me angry. But then, I have to quickly stop that thought of being angry at her. I have been to the edge of that cliff with my toes hanging over, only once, thank you, God, and I reached out to a hand I trusted to pull me back. When I spoke to my parents about it, my dad’s initial reaction was “did you even stop to think about what you’d be doing to us?”. I was still working my way through the emotions that had brought me to that place; today, I would speak up and say, “Hey, guess what? This isn’t about you!” And so, I’ve got conflicting emotions about this happening, and a whole lot of sadness that this woman who was loved by so many could no longer fight the demon.

Roe v. Wade: At the age of 65, my right to have an abortion is a moot point. I walk on both sides of the fence on the issue of legalized abortion. For the most part, I am pro-choice. We are humans and sometimes we make mistakes; everybody is entitled to make a mistake without having the government saddle them with how it chooses that mistake to punish them. I also agree that there must be perimeters in place for said abortions, limits to how many weeks along is too late to have an abortion, how many abortions a woman may have in her lifetime. I’ve heard multiple stories of women carrying multiple fetuses in her womb and a medical professional suggesting that she consider downsizing the number of children to give the remaining children a better chance of survival. I’ve heard multiple stories of parents given the option to terminate a pregnancy when it is determined that the fetus she is carrying has several medical and emotional deformities that mean the child will probably end up institutionalized. Both of those cases involve aborting a fetus. And obviously, in the case of a traumatic event where a decision has to be made to save the baby or the woman, taking the baby would be abortion. The pro-lifers are committed to saying that life begins at conception, so they would have to disallow all of these kinds of cases and let ‘nature take its course’. Oh, and forget being able to abort a fetus that is the result of rape, incest or other form of sexual abuse. And that is why I lean to the pro-choice side, but, as I said, with perimeters for the legality to have one.

Talking on the telephone: I don’t know when it started, but I have reached a point where I absolutely abhor having to talk ‘live’ via telephone. When I try to think about why I feel that way, I know that part of the reason is because I find it harder to focus and remember what’s been said when done verbally. I seldom have a telephone conversation when I don’t have something to write on and something to write with next to me so that I can jot down notes while the other person is talking. I also think, in my weird way of thinking, that it’s an extension of my desire to not intrude on another person’s time or space. With a text or an email, the recipient has the choice to respond immediately or respond later. It also gives the speaker the chance to say everything without interruption (I’m really bad at interrupting my brother sometimes, but that’s because what I just thought will be gone if I don’t say it right after I thought it.) I hate talking on the phone so much that I pile up phone calls I need to make – making appointments, talking to my insurance companies, questioning a bill, asking for additional information – and then sit down and dedicate time to making all of those phone calls one right after another. Recently, I had four telephone calls I wanted to make. I piled them up by priority. The first was to make an appointment for some diagnostic tests. There is a central appointment department for all of the sites for the particular practice I prefer. I was on-hold waiting for a real person to talk to me, and I ended up being on hold for almost 25 minutes. The site closest to me (across the street from my doctor’s office close!) did not have an opening to do the kind of test I needed to have done until November. That’s right, it’s May and nothing is open until November! The next closest one is about 15 miles away, and on the same street as the fire company that hosts the Red Cross blood donation collections that I use. And they could get me in there within 4 days. The drive there, even though it’s only 15 miles, will take 30 minutes because our little boroughs and villages around here have very few two-laned roads and none of them are highways. And 15 miles round-trip will take the better part of 2 gallons of gas, which, on my last fill-up, was $4.58 a gallon. All set though, after about and additional 15 minutes on top of my prwait time. Second call was to the billing department for my doctor’s practice because I received a bill for my last visit in April. This was a quick call, thankfully. The person pulled up my account, saw that my insurance had paid the bill, and apologized that I had received a bill in error. Easy peasy. Next was a call to my insurance company. This call took roughly a half-hour to complete, and I chose not to ask all of the questions I had, just the ones I needed an answer to sooner than later. The person was helpful and polite, but she was of very heavy accent and more than once I had to ask her to repeat herself (because I couldn’t understand her). By the time I ended that call, I’d spent a torturous hour and 20 minutes on the phone, and I just didn’t have it in me to make another call to talk to another person. Plus, I needed to go someplace.

Visiting the hospital: My best friend’s husband ended up back in the hospital on Sunday due to a high ammonia level in his system. I don’t know much about it, except that the ‘average’ is to be between 11 and 35 and his was 78 at admission. This is the second time it’s happened, and it causes him to become confused and unaware of himself. The first time it happened was pretty scary for his wife and son, but this time George seemed aware that something was wrong, and Joanne immediately called for an ambulance. He was in St. Luke’s, which is the newest hospital in our area. We had a lovely visit and talk, and in addition to the fact that all of the patient rooms are singles, he said the food is good and arrives hot, the nurses and assistants who check on him are friendly and very thorough and also very patient (he’s hard of hearing and they have to wear masks) when he asks them to repeat themselves. Once or twice, because he was being asked questions by someone standing beside him and I could tell he wasn’t sure what was asked, I repeated the question to him louder and slower, and because I was sitting directly across from him, the sound traveled directly to him. I felt very helpful! And George is often more silent than talkative, and I’ve told my bestie that sometimes I don’t even warrant a “hello” when I see him; she discussed that with him apparently and he told me that it’s not about me, and he likes me just as much as he always had. Because I spend most of my time one-on-one with Joanne, I never really get much time with George or their son, Kevin, so this visit to him goes down in the memory book as one I really enjoyed. I also know, based on what I’d seen of the building and the staff, this is the hospital I want to go to if I ever need to go to the hospital!

Mother Nature: It looks like Mother Nature may be starting to get her act together. We’re not having those overnights that cause frost on the windshields of cars, and our temperatures are starting to want to hover around the upper 60s/lower 70s. I’m good with that! I have a friend out in Iowa who said they were supposed to hit 90 yesterday and possibly 100 today! It seems a bit soon for that kind of heat, since no one in the deep south has seen those kinds of temperatures yet. I have another friend who is vacationing this week in the Outer Banks and it has been cold with high winds since they got there. There is even a video out there of a house that was built on stilts right at the shoreline which crumbled into the water when the wind blew the stilts right out from under it! They rented this beautiful vacation house with its own heated pool and hot tub, and it’s too cold to get into either. Gayle is an avid swimmer, going to indoor pools in the winter to get her laps in, and I know she was looking forward to having this uncrowded pool, so I feel bad for her in that regard. I have to be honest, though – hearing these stories about it being unbearably hot or cold and windy makes me appreciate the weather we’re supposed to have for the rest of the week. A chance of rain on Friday, but last weekend, it steadily rained all of Friday afternoon and evening and Saturday all day until late afternoon, so this is an improvement! Of course, I have two appointments scheduled for Friday because that’s how my life works…

So, that’s pretty much what’s going through my head and taking up my time lately. What’s new with you?

White

Will you stand with us?

commonsensiblyspeaking



~~~

I have freedoms others will never know

Simply because my skin is white

And although I did not choose it so

I agree that it is just not right

~~~

For in youth, all are color blind

Until we are taught to hate

Fears pressed daily in our minds

Become reasons to not relate

~~~

I will stand with you, all brothers true

Until racism finally dies

And hope the world our children view

See you treated as right as I

~~~



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When Cometh Time

No additional words from me needed…

commonsensiblyspeaking



~~~

When cometh time, that I am dead

Lookest not for my earthly grave

To tread the mound o’er fallen head

Shed the tears thou wouldst not save

For tis not there, my spirit lie

I am the wind that passes by

~~~

Nary a stone will marketh lot

Whenst my time has ticked its last

Nor daisies resting, where I am not

With thou sorrow and sadness cast

Soul unbound in deathly call

I am the rains that lightly fall

~~~

Seek me not in hallowed spaces

Hold still the words that cometh late

Find me in the common places

Should final rest behold fatal fate

Ne’er the grave will e’er be mine

I am the sun that doeth bright shine

~~~

If thoust look, I can be found

And all the love I have for thee

Will not live, if laid to ground

In death it finds its…

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