Thursday, February 6, 2020

It just occurred to me

Even with being shot, having COPD, 56 years of hard living, and married to Rose for the last 26 of em...

I'm STILL in better shape than most men twice my age!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The meaning of life... And you thought I didn't have all the answers!

I read an article in my email this morning about the need for meaning in people's lives.
Americans used to have a lot of things that actually meant something while this country was growing up.
God. Patriotism. Family.
And any one of those, or any combination in any order, could give the individual meaning.
And this article got me thinking about the existential question we all need to answer about what gives our life meaning.
We as humans, as the article pointed out, share our basic needs with other animals on this planet. Food, shelter, interaction with others. What we have above them is our need for meaning.
God, in one of the many forms he's taken over the centuries, has given meaning to mankind to start wars, end wars, persecute others, raise others up. In other words: meaning. A WHY for the question of being here. Some of the greatest feats of mankind, and some of the most heinous acts of cruelty, have been enacted in the name of God. Giving those who perpetrate these acts meaning.
Not so much for me.
As a kid, I looked for meaning in God in the Protestant, Methodist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, and Seventh Day Adventist religions. None of them held the answers I had been taught at home have meaning in life. Sure, they all adhere to the Golden Rule, believed in the ten commandments, wanted money, and the leaders all seemed to require a certain amount of adoration and adulation, but none of them worked for me.
My family eventually went from non-religious to Mormon. (Don't get me started on them). And that became the end of my search for enlightenment. Did I believe in God? Probably. Maybe? I don't know. But I do believe that mankind had twisted His Name into the battle cry to perform all sorts of atrocities on our own, and I have my own excuses for the wrongs I've done. I don't feel the need to blame Him (Her?).

So. Let's move on to Patriotism. Am I a patriot? I think so. I served in the Navy. Proud while I was active, and proud to say I did. But I joined because I needed a job. Not to serve my country, but to get a paycheck. I developed a sense of something greater than myself being a sailor. I learned from seeing other lands first hand how great our country was (is??) in comparison. But I also learned about an America more than my home town and county. I saw the dirty side of our cities and realized an uglier America than I had known growing up. Am I a patriot? Yes! Do I believe in America? I did. Her current direction of immorality and decay scares the shit out of me. I love my country. I just don't recognize her anymore.

And now family.
I don't know. I'm not even sure I understand what family is. Growing up, mine was dysfunctional. Grown up, mine fell apart. Now it's just Rose and myself. Our children (separate families, we had no kids together) are spread across the country. They don't depend on us, nor we them. And that works for us, though we wish it were different.
I never liked being dependant on anyone for as long as I can recall. I do like taking care of others. I need to ensure Rose has the things she requires to feel safe and secure. I even like to see my pets and livestock content. I find some meaning in being needed, even if its just making sure the chickens have food and water. They don't show any appreciation. But knowing they are cared for is enough.

And I guess that's what gives meaning to my life. Being needed. Taking care of things. Whether it's as little as taking care of my chickens, the love in my wife's eye, or being proud to be a part of the idea of America.

Oh, here's the article that started this rant. It's pretty good. It's about politics, but as I agree whole heartedly, thought I'd pass it along.