30 May 2006
Oh my goodness, what a guy!
I am, ahem, something of a history buff. As I pass through time, there have been people out of history I have known, and many more that I wish I had.
Private Young is one of the people I wish I'd had the honour of knowing.
I have a thing for people who live their lives with integrity. Private Young had to have been one of the most honourable men to have drawn breath, but I think, after learning more about this American hero yesterday, he would have been the very first to deny he was anything special.
And to me, that speaks of bone marrow deep integrity.
I also Googled Pat Tillman. Another American hero, and another man who would have been right there Johnny on the denial spot.
Both men are the textbook definition of American.
The reason they are heroes is not that they died in hostile action. They are heroes because of the motivations that put them in hostile territory in the first place.
In January 1938, Rodger W. Young and one of his brothers joined the Ohio National Guard. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and the US mobilised, the brothers were 'federalized' along with the rest of their National Guard company, into the US Army. Like most young men of the time, they were, by all accounts, happy to serve. Theirs was a 'good' war, and they were ready to die to keep Ohio and the USA free from invasion.
Private Young became Staff Sergeant Young, and he was rather proud of his accomplishment, and his leadership of his men.
But in late spring and early summer of 1943 he came to realize he was losing his hearing. He believed that his hearing loss would place his men into danger, and he actually requested a demotion to private.
His commanding officer was, according to the records, somewhat skeptical. By that first week of July, 1943, he'd heard all kinds of justifications for a soldiers removal from combat and he thought he'd just heard another. But SSgt Young persisted, and managed to convey to his CO that he wasn't trying to achieve removal from the combat zone, just removal from a leadership role in the platoon.
After a medical exam which confirmed Young's profound hearing loss, he was "demoted to the rank of private, without prejudice." BTW, back in those days, most CO's were not career officers, just regular guys, and this one apologized to now Private Young for his initial doubts.
And that, to me, is when Rodger Young became the quintessential American Hero. Not when three weeks later, as his platoon was pinned down by a Japanese sniper nest and he saved the lives of his platoon by crawling through the brush to throw a grenade into the midst of the enemy entrenchment. Despite his initial wounds, his continued machine gun inflicted wounds including the fatal volley taken in the face and head as he rose from the jungle floor, pulling the pin from the grenade with his teeth. He was just 25 years old.
Years later, writing about that day, a comrade said of him that Rodger Young was the Pacific Theater's Audie Murphy; the only difference between the two being Murphy lived, and Young did not.
We need heroes, all peoples do. It is the responsibility of the adult generation to behave heroically for the sake of our children, that they in turn know how to do so for their children.
We have to have the right definition of the word, and we need modern day heroes that have clay feet right up to their armpits so that no rat bastard whisperer can lead our little ones astray by saying, "Yeah well, that was then, this is now."
His name is Pat Tillman. He was 27 years old the day he died, in what appears to be a friendly-fire nightmare, in a country where civilian contractors and their evil behaviour has turned a grateful people against our American troops. (New York Times, Washington Post, October 4-6, 2004)
He of all people had no reason to be there, if one defines a reason for being there cynically, as most do nowadays.
But he believed he should be there.
He believed because he loved this country, loved it so much, he and his brother Kevin, that they walked away (quietly-no fanfare) from highly lucrative professional sports careers to join the Army. They walked away from 'the good life' of fame, fortune, opportunity.
More importantly, these two men, who had their priorities straight, went to war to protect the really good life-family and friends, and a safe hometown. Because they believed the opportunities they had as Americans should be defended. Because they felt they were doing the right thing.
More on Pat Tillman later. You should Google him. He wasn't some Pentagon poster boy-he was apparently anti-Bush, and especially anti-war.
But he wasn't anti-America.
We need to teach our kids about guys like him.
I am so glad to see we are still breeding real Americans here.
And if that ain't the quintessential, what is?
29 May 2006
DANIEL JOSEPH GUNN (ARRRIVED 1652)
HAROLD EDGAR GUNN, SR
JAMES CHRISTOPHER LEE
WILLIAM H. GARDENER
JOHN MORGAN THOMAS
J. FREDERICK DRAUGHON
BUDDY BUIE, SR.
LT. JOHN FAULKNER
ERIC, RICHARD, JOHNNY, NIGEL, TREVOR, JULIAN, AND DUTCH
PRIVATE ROGER YOUNG
CPL. PATRICK TILLMAN-POSTHUMOUS PROMOTION
There are no words that say it any better-"Greater love..."
Thank-you. Thank-you so very, very much.
****** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Our world, our society, is crumbling around us, and like ostriches, most of us are sticking our heads in the sands because we feel so damn helpless.
We needn't do so.
We have so very many standard bearers, men and women who have given their lives to show us the way.
Today, if you happen on this blog, and manage to read down this far, I'm asking you to please Google the following name:
Private Roger Young.
Learn about this fine, fine American, and then, tell your children. Tell your neighbour's children. Hell, tell anybody you can corner long enough to get this man's story out.
If all our school children were taught about Private Roger Young, they would understand Pat Tillman; they would understand the significance of today.
For you see, Private Roger Young was so much more than a Congressional Medal of Honor awardee-posthumously-he was an American man with incredible integrity and honour.
Private Young became a private when after several months of active service in the Infantry-South Pacific Theater/WWII-he realized he was losing his hearing, and the then Sgt. Young was deeply concerned that he would lead his men into an ambush because of the hearing loss.
How many men or women do you know today, over 60 years later, who would have the decency to go to their commanding officer and ask to be demoted so as to remove himself from the potential to cause the loss of his comrades at arms?
Roger Young did.
After his death-a death suffered through combat activities wherein his actions saved the lives of his platoon-he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Burl Ives sang a song (written by Frank Loesser) about him that was played all over the world for years:
"Roger Young/Roger Young, fought and died for the men he marched amoung..."
If every American school child learned the story of Private Roger Young, and carried that lesson in his or her heart, maybe our kids would be inspired by it enough to turn away from the rampant cynicism chewing our country up and spitting it out.
And then maybe, just maybe, they would understand why, nearly 70 years after Private Young's body was buried "on the Island of New Georgia in the Solomons" a young man named Pat Tillman turned his heart away from fame and riches as a Cardinals football player, and to the honor and complete wealth of being a real American.
And maybe they would do the same.
Oh, they've got no time for glory in the Infantry.
Oh, they've got no use for praises loudly sung.
But in every soldier's heart in all the Infantry
Shines the name, shines the name of Rodger Young.
(Shines the name, Rodger Young!
Fought and died for the men he marched among.
To the everlasting glory of the Infantry.
Lives the story of Private Rodger Young.)
Caught in ambush lay a company of riflemen
Just grenades against machine guns in the gloom.
Caught in ambush till this one of twenty riflemenVolunteered,
volunteered to meet his doom.
Volunteered, Rodger Young!
Fought and died for the men he marched among.
In the everlasting annals of the Infantry
Glows the last deed of Private Rodger Young.
(It was he who drew the fire of the enemy
That a company of men might live to fight.
And before the deadly fire of the enemy
Stood the man, stood the man we hail tonight.)
On the island of New Georgia in the Solomons
Stands a simple wooden cross alone to tell.
That beneath the silent coral of the Solomons
Sleeps a man, sleeps a man remembered well.
Sleeps a man, Rodger Young!
Fought and died for the men he marched among.
In the everlasting spirit of the Infantry
Breathes the spirit of Private Rodger Young.
No, they've got no time for glory in the Infantry.
No, they've got no use for praises loudly sung.
But in every soldier's heart in all the Infantry
Shines the name, shines the name of Rodger Young.
Shines the name, Rodger Young!
Fought and died for the men he marched among.
To the everlasting glory of the Infantry
Lives the story of Private Rodger Young.
From the liner notes of The Voices of Westpoint record album:
Private Rodger Young, a native of Tiffin, Ohio, was a member of the 148th Infantry Regiment, 37th Infantry Division. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for the supreme sacrifice which he made on July 31st, 1943, during the battle for the Solomon Islands.
This arrangement of Frank Loesser's simple and direct song of commemoration was created for the Cadet Glee Club by CWO Boots.
27 May 2006
It is the 27th of May, and most of us are still here, although the news from the latest quake zone is rather awful-Reuters Service is putting the toll so far at over 3500.
I don't mean to sound uncaring about the deaths in Indonesia.
But a sort of blog I visit, www.badastronomy.com, was last week poking fun at the latest collection of Millerites, who'd announced the end of the world as being yesterday. I quipped, "See you Saturday 27th May!"
Since it is today...well, you get the idea.
Uh, re: the quakes; those of you who follow this blog know I have been saying for the duration that the quakes are getting worse. And of course, they are.
Still, I'm stunned at the amount of damage a 6.3 managed.
And looking at the USGS world map of recent quakes, I am horrified to see the quakes are not only acting in increasing clusters with decreasing intervals, but that they seem to be occurring globally on a latitudinal line.
And oh yeah, very near volcanoes.
As stated before, I hate quakes, and I hate volcanoes.
And right now, I'm not too thrilled to be as close to the New Madrid Line as I am.
26 May 2006
Tell Uncle Joey I said hey; I miss him; and it all went through.
PS-Sorry it took me so long...he'll understand that, too, I hope. I should have tried to let him know sooner, but, well, I guess I thought he would anyway. Know, I mean.
Will I ever get this right?
And did Frank and Cindy ever get there? I worry about them-alot.
Could you let me know something about that, please?
And could I have a boyfriend? Please?
20 May 2006
First, to Richard-You GOB, get down here, I need you! I've not had a good game of gin in over 60 years!
Now, Neddie-you ask me to call you Neddie, which of course I was quite reluctant to do and rightly so considering your cut and run act when I do. Funny, how it is you braved all that you did and do, yet a wee lass sends you for the train the minute she says "yes, let's." All I did was answer your question, and off you go.
Yes, I am peeved/put-out/HURT that you needed me, and pushed me away. Frankly, you know, it is rather tiresome. You make everything everyone says about our men true-British men love tragedy-chase, chase, chase-until you catch, then run, run, run.
If you think I missed what last night was, think again.
Pick your excuse-was it that you were trying to spare me your bad humour (if so you are in the running to be the biggest gob of this time! What do you think my agreeing to get to know you was about if not to be your partner? And let me tell you-partners do not go squeamish at the presentation of bad memories! "But you are so frail." Bother my so-called frailty, part of regaining my strength is having someone to care about! Grrr, I am so angry!)?
Or was it your ridiculous surety that I can't possibly love anyone since I am still in love with the greatest gob of all time?
Lastly, to the greatest gob of all time-Johnny.
I dreamt about you all night last night, you horrid little worm.
I dreamt you and your son were driving about aimlessly, lost, and with absolutely no-where to land.
I sensed your despair.
I heard your hope that you could come to me.
WORSE of all, I felt your son's total horror that his father was utterly clueless.
I knew you were clueless because my words of-"Yes, I will always love you, but you've remarried and had a child with a woman St. Michel calls consummate evil, and..." all the rest of what I said to you was ringing in your heart like a death-knell.
So, have you finally come to know that when she broke up our family, crushed our dreams and even our love under a mountain of her covetously spoken lies to create a family of her own nightmare version of a family, she was putting you and that darling little boy on a path to homelessness???????
Oh Johnny, oh Johnny, how you could dance...
17 May 2006
We were without Internet service at the beginning of this month, and although it wasn't pretty-Roomie online games-we survived. Ergo Roomie thinks we'll survive for a much longer stretch.
I'll miss the blogs I check, four of the blogs are especially important to me and I'll be praying for you all-CS-your Mother's Day blog-wow!, 'Xan-hang tough little guy, WanderingScribe-you go girl, and you, S2006-peace.
My ex-husband held me and my son against our will for nearly 20 years. Then I found out the rest of what he'd done, and really, I just wanted to die.
But I am me, and God said "ix-nay on the eye-day thing", and I kept waking up to the same daymare the ex put my family in. Eventually, despite everything that happened as a consequence of Crusty's little snowball-a lie, bad enough and born of jealousy and avarice; it grew until it seem to engulf the world in the evil it engendered, and the seeming impunity granted permission to commit horrific evils justified by race, religious creed, nationality; his slippery slope-the me I was/am peeked out from under the covers.
I blog, therefore I am. I wrote that to the Washington Post fellow who asked why bloggers blog.
But for a lot of reasons, perhaps it's time...
13 May 2006
Why? Because I refuse to live in fear.
Still, I think I may lay off the blogging, and commenting until the fundies are overthrown again, as they always are. I tried to warn my son the pendulum would swing back-it is now, and things are about to become very, very bad.
But then it will swing back, normalcy will reassert itself, dust will settle. I just think things are going to be very, very bad until the dust does settle, and God, help us please, don't let it it "nukelar" dust!
Beware the List Maker...and be very 'ware his master.
I just emailed CNN in response to the question "Should the NSA compile a database...?"
Naturally, my answer was BLOODY HELL NO!
Gods, I am so embarrassed to be an American citizen right now, and I know my late greats are all rolling in their graves at the thought-they gave their lives so that I could live free. There are far too many emails posted on CNN right now saying, "Oh, what's the big deal? We're at war, the government is keeping us safe..."
NO, not just no, but HELL NO! I am a firm believer in the family motto:
LIVE FREE OR DIE! LOYAL-IN PEACE OR BATTLE!
Jesus weeps-did he die on the cross for this?
Truly, we are a stiff-necked and stubborn people to think it is right to give up our freedoms for 'safety' - safety from what??????
I prefer to be safe from wondering what my so-called government is up to this time.
But still, is any one listening-the right any one, I mean-not the List Maker...
Mr. Witherspoon-Washington needs you...
08 May 2006
Tomorrow is my grandson's second birthday. I haven't seen him since 21st July 2006, the day I called DHR to try and get some help for my son and his child's mother-she was about to give the baby to her mother, a woman with narcolepsy (but still drives) and who is on several psychotropic drugs (she tried to kill her lesbian daughter while on one of those drugs), and who when she is overwhelmed by the burden of the grandbaby, sends the grandbaby off with her sister-who is addicted to prescription pain relievers and is not at all hesitant to steal to support her habit or drive while under the influence.
Yeah, I called DHR. They sent the police, but the baby was already gone with the other grandmother-out of the county-sorry, ma'am, not our jurisdiction...
Yesterday I had face the reality of what my roommate's ADHD has done to my life. I am in financial trouble, and will be paring down even further than I already have to repay the overdraft and nsf's I've racked up because I am roommating with a guy who smilingly shrugs off the knowledge that his saying one thing and then changing it has put me in the red, forgets what he said three days or three weeks ago, and can be rather unpleasant when he thinks I can't cough up enough to cover his idea of my share of the bills. He says he can't do much about it.
To his credit, he doesn't shout or become violent, really. I simply become terrified when anyone looks cross when they are threatening to throw me out-and then forgets they said that. I am also unnerved when he slams the doors, puts something down with what to me is unnecessary force-it triggers real terror in me because when Crusty did those things, he did them as a 'warning' that he was about to erupt. With Roomie I think it is just that he is unaware of the emotions those behaviours create for me.
I tried addressing those issues with him last night. He made an effort the rest of the evening, and when he came in for lunch, he continued the effort.
I have been advised (at an ADHD message/support board) that most of his behaviours are typical of adults with ADHD. From reading the posts, I see that most adult ADHD'rs exhaust the people in their lives. That the syptoms of the ADHD sabotage them-they lose jobs, friends, homes...I've also been advised to get the hell out of Dodge.
If I move out he will probably lose the apartment, and have to, at age 29, return to his mother's place down in Dothan. I can't think of anything more devastating for him.
I'd like to help him get sorted out, but the things I have tried to do while I've been here have not been accepted. He isn't interested (or perhaps capable of) in following any sort of routine-if we agree on a meeting, he forgets to show up, or is so distracted by something like the ceiling fan that nothing is accomplished. If something is accomplished, he promptly forgets what that is, and then says "Gotta go!"
I am nearly 50 years old. I miss my family so terribly I have trouble getting through each day-what help can I be to someone who cannot even manage to recall that we agreed he would put the mail on the dinner table? Or that when he failed to do that, I would have the only mailbox key, and would put the mail on the dinner table?
Today while doing my laundry I found a spare mailbox key. One that he must have had in his trouser pockets when he did his laundry yesterday.
A few weeks ago I found literal STACKS of MY mail-tucked in his trunk, his glove box, under his car seats. We were busy cleaning out his little car so that his mother could use it. When I said something to him about my mail, he looked embarrassed, but also brushed it aside. And then forgot he had failed to deliver my mail to me-several of the unopened pieces were bills!
How can I help someone who thinks he is OK, and everyone should adjust to his ADHD? That is the feeling I get from him-that he is OK with his disorganization so the rest of us should be as well.
But his problem has affected my life now, and I don't know that I have the energy to cope with it.
I don't know what to do.
07 May 2006
Cherica, this one is about and for you. I think about you often, and pray that you are body surfing off a good beach somewhere, out there, but not up there, yet. Hey, I think you will get a kick out of this, when I hit spell check, the device tried to get me to replace your name with the word cherish...too right!
I met Cherica through my hospice work, and I saw her for the last time just before I took that aforementioned time-out.
She was an angry 14 year old when I met her, trying to pass herself off as a 17 year old. She had orange-think fluorescent-hair cut in a mohawk, and she favoured black punk/goth clothing.
She had a cancer that would go into remission, and then, just as Cherica thought things were going to get sorted out at last, would come roaring back.
We bonded over body surfing. At first she thought I was just some old biddy religious nut who was going to try to get her to accept Jesus before getting her to accept what everyone thought was inevitable-her death from the cancer. She was, therefore predisoposed to hate me, since she hated God for giving her the cancer, and she hated Jesus for being God's patsy.
It was a no-win situation. Until we got talking about surfing. The surfing came up when she told me outright that I couldn't possibly understand a cool teen aged person like her who could out skate and out surf any one she knew, and probably half the guys she didn't know but had seen on TV making mega bucks at board surfing street and wave.
I took a look at this totally pissed off, foul mouthed, anti-christ wannabe, and thought "Ya know, she does have the look of a surfer..."
As sick as she was, and trust me, she was sick, the years that kid had spent on board still showed. Real surfers start real young, she'd been surfing since 5 or 6. It's a look. Like a biker look that still shows long after the Panhead is sold to pay for dental expenses for the baby, or a runner look...dunno, guess you'd have to be there.
I turned to her and said, "I've done the Wedge. Bare" (Which means I body surfed the Wedge. OK, I'll brag. I'm sure there are rockier beaches, reefs with more coral, and far tougher surfers. But I felt like Mrs. Hercules that day.)
Her jaw dropped. She looked me over, then nodded-the look never gets all the way off a real surfer.
And the door to her heart opened up just enough for me, Jesus, and God to get a hand in.
Over the next few years, the door opened wide enough for an arm, then two, and Cherica finally told me her whole story.
She had been sexually assualted repeatedly by her father, while her mother was unable for whatever reason to stop the abuse. When Cherica was diagnosed, her dad took off, and her mother became even more ineffectual. Cherica's older sister had made it out, and had offered to take Cherica in, but Cherica's medical problems on top of her attitude made the state think more than twice about putting two survivors, one with cancer, in the same house. They dragged their feet, hoping for a miracle. During the feet dragging period, psychological studies of the older sister indicated she had some 'serious issues' to get through; Cherica saw the state's reluctance and her sister's acceptance of the reluctance and growing awareness of just how difficult it all was and would be, as a serious betrayal. She started to refuse treatment, she ran away from the foster home.
It wasn't good, but she kept getting in touch with me. She knew that I would contact her social worker, yet she called. She called. We would talk until the social worker or police got to where ever she was calling me from.
She wanted to have God in her life-she wasn't too sure about Jesus. So we focused on God, and we talked. She had a real problem with the Ten Commandments, especially the Fifth.
Can anyone blame that kid? How in the name of all that is holy do you honour a parent that rapes you, or a parent who stands by helpless, or willfully ignorant of the abuse?
So we talked about hating her rapist and his enabler. We talked about End Times. We talked about the Time of the Winnowing-for once the nuns are right, ya better live each moment in as close a state of grace as you can, because the wheat and the chaff really will be winnowed, and the chaff will be forever separated from life. We talked about her father's choices making him about the most lost sheep on the mountain, and how she almost became lost herself.
We talked about God's deep, deep grief that her father had chosen to abuse his precious gift of freedom to be so incredibly evil to another of God's beloved children-Cherica-we talked a lot about God being everyone's Father-and that her father's horrific choice must be a terrible grief for a real parent to see, which God is.
And we talked about that maybe, when you pray for someone to finally get that they had done something absolutely horrific, and in that prayer hope they will be honestly sorry (not "Oh man, I'm gonna burn for this" but "Oh God help me please, I wish I had not hurt her that way, what can I do now Lord...?"), you are honouring the hope for them that God had when He gave them life and free-will.
And in that way, she could fulfill the commandment to honour her parents.
Imperfect. I know. But over time, we went deeply into the thought, and it seemed to make a real difference for her. She started reading the Bible, she started talking to a minister of the faith she had been raised in.
And yeah, I tried to get her to accept God's comfort for her here in this life. She and her sister started going to counseling, they were working through the things that had been done to them. Together. A family. (The mother wandered off. I was too busy with Cherica to keep track of the mother. I try to remember to pray for her...)
Cherica had orange hair. Right up to the day it fell out. When it grew back, it was a darkish blond. She started surfing again while in remission-the hair bleached in gloriously cool surfer streaks. She was going through religious training at her church. She remained the bright and attitudinal Cherica, with grace.
Then the cancer came back. By this time she had a cell phone, and she called me from the beach to tell me she was going to walk into the ocean and just swim 'till she died.
Her hair was "too cool, the chemo would zap it all again. I don't want to be a croaking bald kid anymore!"
Unspoken was the totally un-cool more serious aspects of chemo. Of cancer burning it's way through a teen aged body that had just begun to feel like a real teen ager's body and that only chemo can keep it at bay, but that came with a bigger and heavier toll than lost hair; we knew that she would have a tougher time getting through it again this time. Healing isn't healed-there is a difference, and Cherica knew it.
All I can tell you is that she let me call her social worker. I don't know why. She just did.
I have this mental picture of the social worker coming across the sand to Cherica, sitting down next to her, and wrapping her arms around Cherica. The camera in my mind pulls back over the water, and they fade to a pin dot-a sobbing teen ager and her social worker holding her, sitting there on the sand before the ocean.
We talked until the social worker got there; then I heard Cherica start to cry, and I heard the social worker saying "It's gonna be OK, baby, it's gonna be OK. I don't know how, but it's gonna be OK."
I think one of them must have closed the flip phone, because I heard nothing more. After a while, I hung up too.
02 May 2006
I looked up the word covet on my way to the blog this morning-I wanted to be clear on the dictionary definition. Just checking; turns out I have a good grasp on what constitutes covetousness.
Spoken and written language is a form of communication with exquisite nuances. Depending on the context, a word can be applied in such a way as to shade and enrich communications with a fullness and depth going far beyond the dry definition in common use.
The Ten Commandments are loaded like an artist's brush. To me the Ten paint a masterpiece of breathtaking simplicity while simultaneously providing a subtle depth and scope of intricacy one could spend a life time-or several-exploring.
The word covet conveys a meaning, like murder, that demands one's attention to all the details-to covet means to have an overwhelming longing for that which belongs to another. But it means more than that quick definition too easily dismissed-"Oh, but I don't covet..."
Covet: a longing that goes far beyond admiration for the material achievements of someone else; to covet the possessions of another is to move beyond admiration into justification territory. In other, plainer words, to covet something of another's is to position one's self to begin the process of taking what is another's while justifying the taking in such a way as to render it acceptable to one's self.
(Little hint-one's self is one's conscience; you know, the little voice in your heart that says, "Uh oh, heading into dangerous waters with that one. Um, let's take a break and rethink this one.")
I blogged a few days ago that it occurs to me the biggest objection to the Ten Commandments is that the Law came from God. "You're not the boss of me!" I continued the blog with what (to me) turned out to be an angry rant at those of you who operate under the "Who does He think He is? I don't need Him!" stance; amoung other things, I reminded you that you asked Him to be the boss, and I accused you of repeating history by shutting Him out of your lives after you'd got what you prayed for; that you keep it up because what little is left of your conscience tells you you are making a big mistake and so you need to double your efforts to delude your selves that the Law is 'outdated.'
No delusion like self delusion. The road to hell is paved with it.
In case you are one of those people (like me) who needs an example or two to illustrate:
"To the victor go the spoils!" You know, Caesar really believed he came up with that one first. In the words of the great philosopher Bugs Bunny-"Watta a maroon!"
"The Indians were just wasting that land!" My ex-sister-inlaw's justification for participating in a land grab. (Great Falls, Montana, early 1980's)
The Highland Acts; The Irish Famine Years; The Trail of Tears. Infamous examples of Man's covetousness, his 'inhumanity to Man.'
Adultery is an example of the result of covetousness. So is theft, lying, kidnapping, rape, and of course murder.
Someone looks over and says, "Hey, I want that!" If that someone has succeeded in beating down his or her's conscience it is such an easy hop in the sled for a fast ride down the slippery slope.
Think about it. Please! Maybe it isn't too late...
01 May 2006
A little note here-I know I missed the Fifth. Upon consideration, I think it may have been one of those happy accidents. I plan to address it after the Tenth.
Also, this post will be posted 1st May 2006, but is being written on the evening of 30th April, 2006.
Which means, we will not tell lies about our neighbour-especially if the lie will get us something of their's that we covet. (More about coveting in the last...)
I've never had trouble with this one even with all it's shades of grey; the Ninth commandment seems so simple and straight forward. We won't take anything that is not ours.
But like the ones before it, it has depths literalists miss.
Just before, and I do mean just before, he died, a man requested me to come and speak with him about a terrible theft he and his family endured nearly twenty years before.
His daughter, in her early twenties, had been kidnapped, tortured, raped, and then murdered. Her body was dumped in a roadside ditch like a piece of trash thrown from a car window.
After a long time, a man was caught, convicted, and I believe executed for her murder.
I don't know how I feel about the death penalty. I know innocent people have been executed; I know guilty people have likewise been. I unfortunately know there are people alive in this world who make me think the death penalty is a good idea-men and women so evil, so happily so, that the thought of them breathing is an insult. I've seen crime scenes so overwhelmingly nightmarish in the depth of evil required to commit the crime that had I been the arresting officer there is a chance I might have at least looked the other way while the perp died while trying to escape. That self-knowledge is one of the reasons I knew a law enforcement career would not be a good idea for me to pursue. From what I know of the crime commited against the man's daughter...
He and his family had been in agony for years. Nothing had brought them 'closure.' Nothing.
He wanted to know how God could let this happen to his family. No, he wanted to know why, not how.
He was a bare week from death. I knew it the minute I saw him. but he was lucid, and he was furious in his grief, his heartbreak. I wanted desperately to explain it to him, to give him something that would ease the hurt and anger in his soul.
But all I could tell him was the truth, although I knew it would hurt him more than anything except the loss of his daughter.
He cursed me.
I understood, and do not hold it against him, even now.
Thou shalt not steal. But someone stole his daughter's life...and in that theft, stole the strength, the hearts, and the peace of this family-forever.
Thou shalt not bear false witness. But someone lied to provide an alibi for the man who was convicted and the murderer lied, too, and his lies included claiming the girl was a druggie and a tramp-so not only did he steal her life, he tried to steal her character; he lied to cover what he'd done...
Thou shalt not bear false witness. Yes Lord, we will not bear false witness.
But we do. All the time, and worse-we manipulate others into the position of having to lie so that we can feel OK about continuing to lie about them.
We lie about why we don't have to pay a worker the promised wages; we lie to explain why we didn't do something we promised to do; we lie about who said what and why-we steal their homes, their families, their good names, their property, their peace, and we do it with lies.
We force others to lie for us, with us-my ex-husband held a physical gun to my head in private, in public he held the threat of extreme physical violence "later" if I didn't present a good front for his parents, our neighbours, our son's teachers. I'm not the first, or only, or last to go through that.
"Tell them I'm not here..." Bill collecters, the boss, a 'friend' we are trying to avoid.
We lie, and we teach our children to lie.
And in so doing, we teach them we cannot be trusted.
In so doing, we steal from our own children...who steals from their child-who would take trust, faith, courage, honesty from their child?
The Ten Commandments are so interconnected that when you take the time to really consider them, you realize Jesus was right-break one, break 'em all.