Four Years Ago…Again

I did one of these posts a while back. Let’s see, here it is. Back in late October of 2015. I thought it might be interesting to look back to that time…four years later. So, let’s just jump in the way-back machine for a few…

My stance then was on the Occupy Wall Street movement, and how I felt that we – as a whole – have forgotten how to communicate. A quote from that post:

…to be kind to one another, we need to learn to communicate with one another. Not just talk for the sake of talking.  We need to learn to LISTEN. To UNDERSTAND. To COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY. I’m a firm believer that one of the largest problems we have as a society, is that we have learned to talk, so we can hear the sound of our voices. We have seemingly forgotten that communication is a two-way street – requiring a sender AND a receiver. That before the receiver becomes a sender to respond, the receiver needs to become a translator of the information received. And that’s only part of the process.  We have forgotten that communication requires work, it requires patience, it requires understanding. It requires us to be kind to one another, and to be kind to ourselves.

I actually believe that this not only holds true today, but is also the primary crux of why we see such deep, divisive lines being drawn in our every day society. You can’t talk to the neighbor across the street because he/she is a Trump supporter. There is no use trying to reason with your co-worker because he/she is an ardent Obama supporter. Essentially, because someone holds an opinion or political perspective opposite of your own, we must shun them completely. As if just talking with them about the weather will be enough to cover us in the sins we attribute to whatever politician they support.

Please do not misunderstand. I am not saying that when a politician does something that is perceived to be wrong, that we should ignore it. A country that holds a set of laws as a primary focus is nothing to be proud of or defend when those laws are ignored – for an elite few or everyone. What I am trying to get across is that you can disagree (and even hate, if you want to waste that kind of energy on the individual) with the rightness or wrongness of an individual or party without transferring all of that anger on to your fellow neighbor. Well, unless they were one of the specific ones that broke the law, just in case you live somewhere far more prestigious than I do.

Or, to make this even more specific, I absolutely, categorically disagree with nearly everything that President Trump stands for, does or tweets. For the most part, I disagree with much of what the Republican party aims towards with their party platform. I will not; however, hold that against my neighbors – provided they do not come to do harm to me or those that I love because of some command or perspective from the same party. I try to find the good in anyone that I meet, and do my very best not to condemn them before I get to know them. That’s just me. That doesn’t necessarily work for anyone else.

Moments like this, standing in front of the fire and thanking the Gods for the safe travels of all, used to frighten me. (Picture by John Beckett)

Now, that’s an updated aspect of what I was writing about in that post from four years ago. What has happened in that four years? I have run the gauntlet of medical issues with pneumonia and diabetic seizures leading the list. I have been heavily praised and criticized in my mundane job, including being fired from my position. But I also have love in my life. I have forgiveness for those that criticized me, and even those who terminated me from my position and have placed me in the current financial straits I now find myself in. In that four years, I have known hardships, I have known triumphs, I have known tragedies. I still have my intellect. I have what health I currently have, along with the improvements that I struggle for. I have two Gods and a Goddess that are constantly in my life to one degree or another. I am still the Pagan and Druid that I am. I continue on and struggle against the implied odds because of who I am, what I am, and what I am being pushed towards becoming. What the result may bring, I am unsure – but I continue moving forward. Because I have to. Because I WANT to.

I have heard from folks that I hold aspects of being a leader. That my struggle is an inspiration to others who fight similar fights. If that is the case, then I am happy to accept the concept of leadership. But a leader I am not, at least not in my own eyes. As I have noted before, the quote from the movie “Demolition Man”:

I am no leader, I do what I have to. Sometimes, others come along.

So, four years later…I’m now struggling. I’m trying my best to keep my head above water. I have help though. I have those that love me, right there with me. Ready to steady me when my steps falter. Ready to catch me before I hit the ground. John Beckett has mentioned it quite a few times over on his blog, a very scant few will survive the coming struggles within society on their own. We will need others – our chosen communities – for the strength, solace and comfort that will get us through to the next phase of whatever comes. Check in on each other. Be the protector, but realize that you too will need to have that same protection.

So, there you have it….where my mind is four years later. I’ll check back in around 2023, Gods willing, and you can see where my mind will be at that time. Who knows? Perhaps, we will be in the midst of a Polytheist revival throughout the world. Maybe? Whatever it is, I certainly hope that our world has learned a far better way to communicate with one another. I still believe that is the first step towards civility and REAL conversation.

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