What I Am

When I did an introduction for an earlier version of this blog I carefully articulated where I stood on religion and politics. I find as I get older that it is more difficult for me to do so not because I am afraid to voice my beliefs but my beliefs are never black and white but myriad versions of gray that change constantly and importance depending on what is happening in my life. One thing I beleve is that nothing is in a static mode. Everything changes all the time including me. If you are afraid to change than you have stifled your growth. As I have gotten older I, forexample learned that there are things I cannot control and change. I have coined a new phrase for what happens to me when I  face and accept this truth. It is serenity in inevitibility. It is the state of mind that I achieve when I cease my struggles to change something and the calmness and serenity that follows this release. It really follows many religion’s thoughts. In Christianity I have heard it described as Let go and let God, in the Tao philosophy it is one of the main foundations of letting things run their course. The same with Buddhism. It follows the philosophy that  happpines is a state of mind not so contingent on what is happening around you but what is happening within you. Real change comes about in the world only when we change our thinking, not our surrounding conditions.

For example, it does no good to change one despot leader for another. It does no good to try to unite a country of religious sects when they are prejudiced against each other aand consider the other of  less value. Until a change in thought can be made where each is respected as an equal it is an exercise in futility.

I have learned, out of necessity, the true value of friendships. I  went through a debilitating foot condition folllowed by surgery and the leaving of my wife of 34 years back to back. I honestly don’t think I could have survived all this without the support of friends. For one thing, I learned to ask for what I needed. No one knows youre need like you do. The night my wife informed me she was leaving I called a friend and told him what had happened.  I asked for his company and he shuffled kids soccer responsibilities around withhout question and made it happen. I knew he was a good friend but did not recognize how good until that night. I developed a fast friendship with an 85 year old man who was an acquaintenance yesterday.I gave him a book as a gift, went home and later that day he called me.” I need to meet with you about your book”.  I asked when and he said now but I was trying to nap. We agreed on 4. We went to my house to see the Japanese garden I was having to leave and he actually wanted us to formulat a plan where he could help me buy it and keep it. When I got out of his car he said, “Now, Carl, I just want you to know I’ve got your back. You are very important for my future.” What beautiful things can happen in the face of adversity.

So, my life has been changed forever by the happenings above. I will always take the time for friends. I will nourish the friendships. I have one right now who I  believe needs my help. I’ve just got to find a way to encourage him to open up.