Monday, December 12, 2016

Angels from on High?

I had a dream last night. It was very real and vivid, and unlike most of my dreams, I remembered it clearly when I woke up.
I dreamed my community was being attacked, but not with guns or bombs...just attacked. A man I was very afraid of dropped from the sky, but I thought, "It's OK, because the fall will kill him." He fell through the roof, but he did not die. He came to me and asked me to help him and his people, who, I realized, were everywhere in my neighborhood, and they had some dogs with them. They wanted to move into our community and live there. I told him that he and his friends would have to work for their keep, which he said was fine.
I dreamed I went door to door in my neighborhood and found work for them and homes for them and their dogs. The "dangerous" man stayed with us, and so did two dogs: an older one and a young puppy. (I have two miniature poodles, but these were some kind of mixed breed.)
It turned out that all these people were each good at something, and their services were useful. They could build houses and make things, care for people who needed caring for, manage things and clean up. They could solve problems we had found no solutions to. They made our lives better. I found myself becoming fond of them. My neighbors became fond of them, too.
Then one day, they said they were all leaving. We didn't want to see them go, but wished them well and made sure they knew they could return any time. They took their dogs with them when they left, even the little puppy. I didn't see them leave; they were just gone.
I woke up with a good feeling, wondering who these people might be who could fall from the sky, through the roof and into my house without hurting themselves, who asked for our help and yet helped us more than we helped them.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about this question today. I think it's possible these people might have represented angels (for want of a better term) who had a lesson to impart. That lesson might be this: Sometimes we are afraid of people who are strangers in our neighborhood and who are different from us. We assume they are going to harm us or be a drain on our resources. We fear that they will change things in a way we don't like. When they ask for our help, we can either help them or not, but if we do, we find that they are likeable and that they make our lives better.
Why the dogs? I don't know, but I'm a dog person, and maybe it was a way of making a connection with me.
Something to think about.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

An Open Letter to My Facebook Friends

Dear Facebook friends,
I know this is an election year, but I’m trying very hard to keep my politics off my Facebook page, just as I try to keep my religion to myself. I’m going to make an exception this one time.
I am a Christian. At least, I try to be. To me that means that I try to treat others the way I would want to be treated (The Golden Rule) and that I’m against violence, following the example set for me by Jesus, upon whom Christianity is based. I object to being told that if you’re a Christian you have to hate this or that group of people. That isn’t the Christianity I believe in, and I’m grateful that our constitution attempts to protect us from religious hatred. I don’t believe that there is only one vision of God. I think different denominations and different faiths all see a side of God that the rest of us don’t see, but that it might be just as true and real. Someday we will have the whole and correct picture.
I also object to being told that just because I know science is real I should be an atheist. I don’t think you can tell a person what to believe. Scientific knowledge doesn’t preclude faith. People either believe or they don’t. That’s why it’s a belief, not a fact.
So here’s where politics comes in. I’m seeing some nasty stuff about both candidates for President, and occasionally about candidates for other offices. I find that upsetting. It’s even more upsetting when I see support for a candidate who is openly derisive toward other people because of their race, ethnic background, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability. Or when I see support for a candidate who condones violence and puts forward historical and current-day dictators as role models.
I have five grandchildren. Before the next President’s term is over, all of them will be old enough to have heard or seen the next President speak in public, on TV or radio. I will not vote for a candidate who I believe is a poor example of how we should treat each other as human beings, even if that candidate could otherwise better my life. That’s my bottom line.
I support your right to believe what you believe and support any candidate, political party or platform you like, and I will still care about you and value you as a friend. If you keep promoting this candidate, however, I will unfollow you, because seeing this stuff upsets me. (If I unfollow you, we can still remain friends. Facebook has that as an option.) I care about all of my Facebook friends and want you to be happy. That’s what friends do.
I believe our diversity is what makes this country strong. We are all part of this diversity. We can only work together as a country if we treat each other with kindness and don’t encourage violence.
That’s all I have to say. I hope you will understand.