Monday, May 21, 2012

There Is No Room Inside A Box

What a lovely night this is, on this very early Monday morning of May 21st, 2012.  It's Victoria Day weekend, and I did work Sunday, though I had Saturday off so Janice and me could attend a black belt testing for our longtime comrade Tina.  She graded to her 4th degree in taekwondo, and we're more than proud of that woman.  If you can picture her, she's shorter than Janice, no more than 100lbs soaking wet, long flowing brown hair and a charming face that could sell snow to an Eskimo.  And... in spite of all that, she could kick your ass from here to Mars and back no matter what size you are.  She has this deceivingly booming voice when she yells as she fights that alone would scare the snot out of anybody.  I was honored to record her test and look forward to creating video for her, including a music montage.  But right now, I've got a way overdue project to get onto that I owe to a couple of very special friends.

I was sitting here tonight after I got off work, and upon reading some Question Period rants, I wondered... just what affiliation in my country do I support anyway?  And would I call myself 'conservative', or 'liberal', or 'moderate', and why?  I hate to have to put myself in a box, politically speaking; I find it figuratively claustrophobic.  Some time ago, I watched an interview with Jesse Ventura, where he said that he wishes there were no such thing as political parties.  Wow, things would be a mess, wouldn't they, if that were the case?  And the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with him.  As it stands right now, our elected officials who belong to the Conservative, Liberal or NDP parties essentially are programmed robots.  They all have to tow the party lines lest they get wacked out of their organizations by their party whips.  Ultimately, who knows if your elected official really believes in what he/she is supporting.  They have a job to do and families to feed, supposedly, and if they disagree with their leaders or party policies, chances are they'll get shuttled to the backbenches in Parliament and pushed out of the scene altogether in the next election.  So say, if we in Moncton have a concensus that we support something like, for example, gay marriage (easy tiger, this is just an example), and we vote for an official that runs on a campaign saying that he/she does to forward that notion, then we know what it is we've voted for.  It wouldn't matter if that person was affiliated with any party.  But... if they did, and that party they were affiliated was Conservative, would it make any sense at all to vote for them, knowing they'd wind up in the nosebleeds of the HOC under a muzzle?  That's a waste of a vote, right?

Anyway, so what am I....?  Besides wide awake at now 1:48am on a Monday morning.  My views aren't really so cut and dry.  When it comes to election time, I'm often torn, because I have a problem with all the parties and some of their policies.

I'm not against gay people.  I think there are the odd ones that think I am, for whatever reason.  I'm kind of a religious guy, and so my own faith dictates, at least in my interpretation of it, that gay people are sinners.  So are straight people.  So are 'A' people.  So are transsexuals.  Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone.  I know all the things that the bible says, especially in the old testament, and St. Paul in the new.  I tend to go with the new testament, because Jesus rewrote a lot of the rules from the old testament, and He especially focused on forgiveness.  And revenge, how wrong it is.  I've never seen anywhere in the bible where 'God hates fags'.  I have read in a lot of places in it where God loves all his children equally.  But it says repeatedly that homosexuality is wrong and it's a sin.  Hm... but guess what?  It says repeatedly that sex outside marriage is a sin too.  I don't remember reading which degrees of sin each one is, or which is worse than the other, but I do know that I've fornicated quite a bit in my own lifetime.  Thus, I can't elevate myself above any homosexuals in innocence as far as right and wrong goes.  Geez, according to many verses in the bible, I think I'd be an outright pervert.  But, I do believe my actions speak for themselves.  I do love everyone and try to do right by all, no matter where they come from.  Do I believe in gay marriage?  No, I don't.  Does that mean gay marriage shouldn't happen?  What, because I personally don't believe in it?  Who am I to say?  I wouldn't go to a gay wedding.  I actually lost a person close to me because of that stance.  But, I'm not going to fight for them not to do as they choose.  I'm torn on gay marriage.  I've seen same sex couples who love each other genuinely, without being stereotypical horndogs and looking for wieners in all the wrong places everywhere they go.  I know more straight people who behave like that.  But I have to reason that if two people can't actually make a kid, then what's the point of marriage?  Even if they don't want kids.  Sometimes married people don't.  But the thing to me is, it's like a square peg and a round hole when it comes to marriage.  I tend to side with a civil union argument over marriage.  But again, I don't make the rules, and I'm not the One that has to be answered to in the end.  But there are still other nagging questions...

I am pro-life.  I am anti-abortion.  I do not believe in 'pro-choice', because to me, the opposite of pro-life is pro-death.  'Pro-choice' is a nice, neat little package wrapped around the abortion notion which ultimately means the termination of a human life.  "WHAT?  Human life?!"  I can just read some minds right now that might be reading that.  "It's a fetus!"  Whoa.  "It"?  Frig, dude.  We were all there.  You, me, her, him, them, all of us.  We were all at that stage in life in the very early goings.  If we hadn't gotten to that stage, if I hadn't, or you, we wouldn't be here on my blogsite right now.  So let's invent a time machine (that'll never happen, just work with me here).  The person closest to you, say your husband or wife... you go back in time to when his/her mother is six weeks pregnant with him/her.  By some random shift in reality, she's considering an abortion, because 'she's not ready'.  No no no!  You say to yourself.  No!  You can not terminate this person because that's going to change my life and so many others for the better!  And you WILL be a good mom, and if you won't, someone will be!  Hey, you know that because in real time, you're married to this person.  Back to the present you come, and you're relieved to find out that mom didn't have that abortion after all, and your wife is here.  What a vastly different world it would be without that one person in your life.  Now, the argument can be made that, what if that child becomes a horrible person and does horrible things.  The argument against it is, then don't raise that child that way.  Killing the child/fetus/embryo isn't the friggin' answer.  The embryo didn't ask to be born, and certainly not be killed either.  Did you ask to be born?  It's a good thing you were born though.  There are countless people around you right now that would absolutely agree with that.  Then there are others who would disagree, maybe.  But then you're talking dynamics.  Like how they were raised and with what values, and if it wasn't a good upbringing, then what about the parents' upbringing.... again, who casts the first stone.  But... then, there's the issue of rape.  I can tell you right now if my wife was still able to have kids and she was raped and impregnated by some fiend, she would likely want that child aborted.  I probably would too.  I would do some serious praying and asking for strength and guidance, but ultimately, my belief is that God is the creator of all life, regardless of the act from which it stems.  If you're a follower of God, especially if you are Christian, how do you come to the decision to do something such as this?  But in earthly human terms, how can you not?  That's a choice ultimately that's given to the people involved.  How about if the mother's life is in danger due to the pregnancy?  God created that life inside of her, according to beliefs.  Do you terminate that life that He created to save the mother?  In my mind, of course.  And pray for forgiveness.  Desperately pray for it.  Those two instances are exceptions to the rule when it comes to the abortion subject for me.  And again, these are based on my beliefs.  I don't have the right to force my beliefs on anyone, but, I would like to think I can be a positive influence somehow.  I do know that if I carried a sign on a street that says "Abortion is Murder!", that I'm not going to win over anyone who favors it.  Pregnancy is made out to be a ball and chain by society so much, that it's to the point that it's forced young women, and older even, to casually make the decision to kill the child they're carrying.  Casually!  That's truly the worst of all of this.  The value for human life has so been cheapened by 'pro choice' that it's made something like an abortion not even be as serious as a tonsillectomy.  Can I tell someone who wants to have an abortion that they can't get it?  No, I can't.  If there were no abortion clinics, they'd find another way.  I hate the idea of it either way, or in any way.  But, the bottom line is this.... if a woman is going to get an abortion, I want nothing, NOTHING to do with it.  Not one cent or fraction of a cent of my tax dollars.  You get it, it's on your own dime, unless in the extreme circumstances I discussed above.

Let's hit the brakes and put it in reverse just for a minute.  About gay marriage... here is where I'm arguing with myself.  And I put this question to any Christian out there:  If you had to choose between a baby being raised by a married gay couple, to having that child aborted, which do you choose?  If you have a woman who just found out she's pregnant with a child, and she says she can't have that child right now because she's 'not ready' or just doesn't want it, and you have this loving same-sex couple longing to raise their own, don't you give this gay couple that chance?

Now back to the original topic.  Does this make me conservative or liberal?  Because I'm very much against abortion, and kinda sorta against gay marriage, but neither issue is black or white.  So at election time, I'm torn.  The liberal parties are full-on supportive of abortion, and conservatives are pretty much full-on against gay marriage, and at election times, they will use those platforms to get votes.  A vote for the conservatives is a vote in support of traditional marriages (i.e. against gay marriages), and a vote for the liberals is a vote for pro-choice (i.e. government funded abortions).  Period.  There's no finagling with these things, no discussions.  This makes me consider spoiling my ballot every election, because I can't find anyone who has at least a similar point of view to mine to vote for.

Of course, then there's the Harper regime recklessly spending money like a drunk with a fat wallet in a liquor store, with pure idiots with too much power like Bev Oda, Peter MacKay, Lisa Raitt and Vic Toews, just to name a few.  At least I do know the Liberals will balance the books.  Granted, the Trudeau era saw the deficit balloon to $25 billion, but then Mulroney came in and nearly doubled that.  Eventually Chretien came in and cleaned it up, only to have Paul 'Mr. Dithers' Martin completely blow his re-election bid after pushing Chretien out of the big chair, only to have the Conservatives gain a few minority governments, then finally a majority where the spending went batshit crazy and left us with the mess we're in now.  The NDP is the dark horse in the ranch right now.  They kind of scare me.  But the unknown is always a bit frightening.

So, I don't know what I am.  I'm pro-environment, but not necessarily anti-oil, until we have something reliable to replace it.  I'm pro-gun control, but don't think there should be a registry of hunting rifles, because criminals don't care if their weapons are registered or not.  And I'm pro-life, and that includes against the death penalty, because that goes back to what I said about Jesus teaching us forgiveness and being against revenge.  I did say God creates all life.  He didn't give us the job to take it away.  That's His and His alone.

I'm aware that this blog may raise eyebrows; it may make people like me more, or less, or just be accepting.  All good in any case.  This is me, honest and open.

And I welcome you to be the same way.

Friday, May 4, 2012

....what we are.

I thought I'd drop by Ragnar here for just a brief time and air my feelings for a bit.

The other day I'd gotten an e-mail from my friend Glen, updating me on the story of a little girl named Rachel who's battling for her life against cancer.  Those who are regulars here on Ragnar know what I'm talking about.  I'd become lax in posting about her, and I regret it.

Glen received an e-mail this time from Rachel herself, which sums up what's been happening since I last posted about her.  I'll let you read it for yourself:

Good morning,

Here is the latest on Rachel, from Rachel.

Her wise words are something we should all remember "Trust in ME".

When all of this first started I thought I knew the "schedule" which was 8 rounds of chemo surgery, radiation and then 6 more months of maintenance chemo. So I kept my mind on that schedule until I found out my tumor grew through the 3 rounds of the Sloan protocol. That made me so upset and from there I was always so depressed. I would cry over everything- hellos, goodbyes everything. The past 3 rounds of chemo were hard on me and not on the tumor. So we tried the 3rd protocol and we found out it didn't work. So we went to Boston and talked to the doctors and they said that surgery isn't something that they want to do. They simply said that my tumor was challenging and smart and found a way to grow with the chemo. There are 5 total protocols to try and so far 3 haven't worked. So I'm very worried and upset because what if none of them work? That's where I have to trust God. The doctors said that this battle will go on for another 9 months to a year which is not what I expected and then I have all the schoolwork to catch up on. The radiation might interrupt the growth plates and my legs might be different lengths. I just feel like this whole experience will affect and change my life forever in a sort of a bad way. My siblings have told my mom in tears that they just want the old Rachel back. Those words just tear me apart. It's been very tough for my family to watch me suffer and to feel as bad as me emotionally. But my mom continues to be my biggest supporter because this has been a long fight and I am not half way through. Thank you so much for all the thoughts and prayers they do really mean a lot to me. But I know one day God will reveal to me why all this has happened but for now he tells me to "Trust in Me" so that's what I'm trying to do…

"Jesus Never Fails"

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."

Psalm 23:4

Now... how remarkable is that?  This speaks volumes to me.  No matter how hard you have it, or how hard I have it, does it even remotely measure up to what Rachel is enduring?  Has it ever?  And yet she stares down her illness, with Jesus standing behind her, providing inspiration for anyone battling with any kind of struggles in life.  She's a hero.  I don't think she quite realizes that.

I know what a lot of people would say... "why would God let anyone go through this?  Why does he allow such suffering?"  There's always more to the story than we often already know, that we will know later.  God's only Son pleaded with his Father on the night before his death to spare him of what was to come, if it was at all possible.  God didn't spare Him.  So, which one of us places themselves above Jesus that we should be spared when He wasn't?  Reading Jesus' story in the gospels, while all the turmoil was happening, it was also hard to see why God was allowing it all.  But in the years to pass, it made a lot more sense, didn't it?  Perhaps even for several generations after the death of Christ, His followers questioned why the greatest teacher to ever live was allowed to be stricken down by other men.  But time is also a great teacher, in tandem with Christ.  

But, before it sounds like I think I belong in church doing homilies....

Let me update those who are concerned about Janice on her health.  Great strides have been made.  Movement in her face gets better every day, and last night she slept without taping her eye shut for the first time since dealing with Bell's Palsy.  There is still some numbness.  Her ear still hurts quite a bit at times, and her eye bothers her every now and then, but things are greatly improved, and continue to improve.  She talks often about how much it means to her to have the support of Alexandra and myself, and every one of her friends that stay in touch with her to ask about her.  Just yesterday, our old friend Marshall, he a co-worker from my last job, dropped by her work and asked to give her a hug.  Something as simple as that made her day to the point that telling me about it made her tear up, and in turn made me really happy.  What a great circle of friends we have.

Janice is dealing with other things that exacerbate her physical condition, though.  The biggest being her sister, who was diagnosed with terminal illness not long ago.  Her sister was flown from Alberta to spend a week in Moncton with family, perhaps for the last time.  You can imagine the emotional impact that would have on her.  She makes an effort to go see her every day and make the most of every moment.  

So, I am at peace with everything.  I've realized over the past two years just how badly, mentally and emotionally, damaged I was from my last job experience.  I'm not kidding when I say that if I'd endured it much longer, it may have reaped dire consequences.  It was bad enough that I had to get myself together over the years following walking out of that place, but concurrent events just compounded the wreckage in my heart and soul that truly tested me.  Finally, I've come to realize that having a job where you're appreciated, that you're actually good at, means a whole lot more than you might realize.  Self worth is paramount in mental and emotional recovery.  I'm a sensitive guy, for sure, prone to hurt feelings, though not near as much anymore because of this newfound confidence. But I've actually learned to accept my own sensitivity, and embrace it.  A friend of mine, Michelle Arsenault, was discussing these topics with me recently, and she put it to me... Why are we apologizing for being sensitive all the time?  Indeed.  We are what we are.  No apologies necessary.  And those who seek to change us, need instead to adapt to us just how we are, or move on.

Thanks to the commenters on the last few blogs.  They mean a lot to me, and to us.  

If you could, say a prayer for Rachel, and for Janice's sister, as well as Janice herself.  You will see updates about Rachel with more frequency here on my site.

Thank you for tuning in once again.  I'm blessed to have you reading.