We’ll Meet Again

     It’s Memorial Day and we think of those who once were a great part of our lives and are now in God’s Next Room. And right with those thoughts come the thoughts that it’s a Pathway that every one of us will someday take.

Some of you will remember LaRee Pehrson who contributed so much to the ‘Ole Green Sheet’ newspapers from Magna, and who gifted me with a book on thoughts of death, and they are so good that on this day, I’m sharing some of them with you. And those of us who think our thoughts of Death come mostly in the A.D. period  of time, just might be surprised at what The Ancients thought about it all, too.

So———–fasten your seat belts and come along with me:

“Birth and Death are one, in exactly the same way  that the river and the sea are one.”     Kahill Gibran 1934

“In reality there is no birth or is there Death,   it is simply being at one time visible,  and at another time, invisible.   “Apollonius of Tyana 70 A. D.

Thoreau , less then two months before his death, said he was enjoying life, which was different, but his life  had changed several times before, and he had  enjoyed every change, and had no regrets, at all. . A member of his family asked him if he had made his peace with God, and only Thoreau could have answered as he did.  That he was not aware that he and God had ever quarreled.

Look upon Death as Going Home.   Chinese Proverb

I cannot think of Death as being anything more than stepping from one room into another.   William Blake   1826

To die is when we begin to really live.    Sophocles, 495 B.C, at the time of his execution.  (And why was he executed? For his bold thinking?)

I stand at the seashore, where a ship spreads her white sails to the breeze and moves into the wide ocean, an object of beauty and strength.   I stay and watch until she is only a ribbon of white cloud where the sea and sky come to mingle, and I sigh, ”There! She is gone!”       But someone at my side asks,  Gone where? Gone only from our sight, for she is just as large in mast, spar and hull as when she left our side, and just as able to bear her load to the place of destination. All diminishment in size is in us, not her.    And just at the moment when you say “There, she is gone”, other voices, on the other side,  are taking up the glad shout of, “Oh, look.  Here she comes”.  And that is what we call dying.  Anonymous

Death, to a philosopher is the final fulfillment, much to be desired, because it opens the door to true knowledge.   The Soul, freed from its bonds to the body, at last achieves undimmed and celestial vision.   Socrates, on his last day of life.

We are not snuffed out at Death, but absorbed into a greater Flame.     Anne Morrow Lindbergh   1973

When you were born, you cried, but your whole world rejoiced. Live so that when you die, your world will cry, but you will rejoice.  Writer unknown but came to me through Dr. Ushurbad Arya. Bless him, for he gave so much, and  to so many.

“Here lies food for worms only, But the work shall not be lost, for it will, as he believed, appear again in a new and more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the Author.”  Benjamin Franklin, epitaph.   Written at age 22,  and decades later, his own words were engraved upon his gravestone.

Michelangelo did some of his best painting when past 80 years. Goethe continued to write when long past 80. Edison was still inventing at 93. Franklin Lloyd Wright, when  90 was named as being the world’s most creative architect. Shaw was still writing at 90. Grandma Moses didn’t begin painting until 79, (until then she was too busy raising her family and grand kids), and Winston Churchill was over 74 when he became the catalyst that stopped Hitler from victory over all of Europe in WW 11.

Years may wrinkle your skin, but lack of enthusiasm will wrinkle your very Soul.  General Douglas MacArthur, 1950

It’s a tragedy that most of us die long  before we ever really start to Live.  Erich Fromm

Old wine, old leather, old wood and old people all improve with time.  Anonymos

Nothing must be postponed. Eternity can be found in every  moment, and the wise ones seek for it.  David Thoreau, 1855

Who knows if this experience we call dying is not really living, and if living is not really dying? Who knows if to be alive is not really to die, and if dying does not count in the nether world as being alive?Euripides 454 B. C.

But then,  as tne  song we all know. says——–

“We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.

You’ll smile at me just as you always do
Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds all away.

Please say hello to the folks that we know
Tell them I won’t be long.
They’ll be happy to know,
That as you saw me go,
I was singing  this  song.

We’ll  meet again, don’t know where,  don’t know when,
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.”

Ethel’s Eleventh

Ten commandments on life, plus one by Ethel . . .

     I’m no expert on Life, but after we live a while, we find that whatever our life is, it has been of our own making. And that if we don’t like what our life is, that we, and no one else, can change it.  We define the events that come to us, or those events will define us. Shiver, shiver, shiver.

      1. Take time to work.   Each day you have 24 hours to use, two hands that need something to do, and ‘work’ is the answer to each. We all need the satisfaction of a job well done, and ever since Eleanor Roosevelt set the example, even every First Lady has done volunteer work. And our tired bodies sleep better at night, knowing “Today I saw a need and tried to help.”

 

       2. Take time to play.   It is the secret of youth and while youth in years cannot remain, youth in spirit is ageless. The old, familiar words still ring true. “There are ‘old’ young people, and there are ‘young’ old people.” Take your pick.

 

         3. Take time to read. The wisdom and humor of people from all ages and climes are in books, free of charge, on any library shelf. Oh, read, read, take time to read, for a life’s pathway without books can be sterile and empty. What a difference a book makes.

 

     4. Take time to think. The Mind is a Power source and the power I speak of is the power to master and control our own lives. Milton knew all about that back in 1666, when he said: ‘The Mind can make a Heaven of Hell, or a Hell of Heaven”.

 

       5. Take time to worship. The pathway to inner joy, doesn’t mean just sitting bored on some church bench, although it can happen there. It can happen any place and no matter what task you are doing, take time to remember that Adam, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, et al, had no fancy clothes or buildings for worship. In times of labor, play, relaxing, or in a crowd, no one will know what your mind is doing. Worship.

 

         6. Take time to make friends. There is no life as barren as one so full of busy-ness that no time is found for friendship. Lover, spouse and ‘significant’ other, often come and go, but friends are friends before, during and after such changes. Make friends and don’t let them get lost. Ever.

 

         7. Take time to love. It is the most sacred sacrament life can offer, and if you limit your love life to the sexual aspect, you’re missing a lot. There are so many other kind of love, all the way up to Agape, and marriages flounder unless young love develops and reaches into deeper realms. Marriage without sex would be boring, but marriage for sex only is doomed from the start.

 

           8. Take time to laugh. It is Balm of Gilead for life’s burdens. A great big hearty laugh that rocks the room is so healing it relaxes places you didn’t know were tense.

 

           9. Take time to dream.   Dreams lift you to the stars, and don’t ever apologize for your dreams. because every accomplishment on earth, from going to the moon, to writing a sonnet, began with ‘just a dream’. Ah, yes, take time to dream.

 

             10. Take time to plan. It is the secret seed for all the rest. You know the adage, one found on many a refrigerator door, or bathroom mirror, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.”

 

         11. Turn Off the D___ TV. It’s hypnotic with unending fake laughter, people giggling and trying to persuade you to buy something, or discussing subjects they no nothing about. Foolishness by the hour, obviously doing anything just to fill those 24 hours a day, day after day, and ends up with at least 22 hours of pure trash that no one wants or needs.   Turn it Off and find out what YOU think. And don’t let your kids grow up thinking TV is the answer to all life’s questions.

  

       Yes. all are good, and some are easy and some aren’t, and the ones that will be ‘a piece of cake’ for you , will probably be the ones that broke my back. And while they might not make a new person of you, they’ll make the most of the kind of person you already are. Be happy. And isn’t it great that the choice can be ours? Especially that curse of today that can be cured quickly by simply pressing one button. The OFF one to Television. It’s all our choice.

 

 

Around And Around We Go

Perpetual Motion Indeed . . .  

Yesterday I brought up an old blog about Becoming and Work In Progress to reread, and, somehow, my own words made me laugh.  At myself, and also at the following  comment from Rudi:

Ethel, I like the way your mind works. This last blog, on Change, is great, and I waited from paragraph to your last line to find the words of Perpetual Motion.

All my life I’ve read that endless search for P. M. and while you described it perfectly, you did not name it. Whether you have not recognized it as such or not, but it is at work from the most microscopic atom, to the most remote ‘planet’ in the far stretches of the universe. Man, animal, whatever, it’s change change change. Nothing destroyed, just changed. Perpetual Motion in action.

Thanks for your weekly words, Ethel. I look forward to where your mind takes you/us each week. I know you know of Perpetual Motion but as long as you didn’t mention the words, I apologize for intruding on your work and put those two words in black and white. Keep the blog going. ~~~~~ Rudi

See,  and thanks to Rudi, right there before me, on my own blog, was at least one  answer to a question I’ve heard debated ever since I learned how to read, and that’s been more than a year or two, and the question was about Perpetual Motion.  Beings in Progress. 

I was a kid when I first saw the question on a Sign Board as Dad was taking the family on a Sunday ride to see the Countryside. And, as an aside, where did the countryside go??? Is it still there under concrete waiting for you to re-discover it? Oh, that’s for another day.

But at one time scientists were constantly seeking to find some machine to produce Perpetual Motion. And over and over would fail. Yet ever so often I’ve read where another is proclaiming they have the answer. No one has, as far as I know. And I laughed over last week’s column (thanks Rudi)  for it was actually about Perpetual Motion, and I hadn’t recognized it. 

Change, is Perpetual Motion. Change, everything is changing, including our bodies and mind, and no matter what we look at or even think of, is changing. And while I’m no ‘brain’, I still have my days and even have a book by Einstein that I get out occasionally to check up on him. He never spoke of God, but did speak and write of some Power that is the basis of all and said it was Energy. Ever-changing, but never disappearing.

And so, I searched his words to find if he spoke more of how Energy is ever changing, but never disappearing, and no doubt he did,  but in words that are beyond my scope. And the thought remained with me, that the only perpetual motion in the world, no matter when, where or how, is Change.

From the most minuscule part of an atom, change. Water, ever changing from steam, cloud, blood, ocean, urine, ice, glacier, to the Soup Pot on my kitchen stove. Water in form after form. Then there’s the earth, rock, sand, animal, leaves, all changing slowly from one form to another. Universe, planet, moons, change . Trees, wild animals, plants, seeds, dry leaves, excrement, the same basic material, but ever different.

I gotta think about this one, and you smart ones who sometimes find my words, think of it also, and tell me, for I’m a  ‘slow learner’.  This world and all that’s in it, is changing. Is it the long sought answer to Perpetual Motion???   So simple, so commonplace???

All we look upon, like it or not, is changing, even as we see it. Our hair, toe nails. People on TV were discussing the earthquakes of a week or so ago, and one stated that the earth, deep down under Nepal had been moving each year, the distance of how much your fingernail grows in the same time. But that small change, eventually builds, until it shifts the weight of the mountain, and we have an earthquake.

You, or me. Those other people. Those people who lived thousands of years ago, and in time became you and me, and those people who will live thousands of years from now and will become so from the changes within us this very moment. We’re part of it.

Change, Perpetual Change. Perpetual Motion. And you can answer back about that bane or blessing of today’s world . . . plastic . . . and in spite of what Thor Heyerdahl, who with companions crossed the Pacific on a raft, told us, that the ocean, once you got 10 or so miles from shore, was so pure.

Then half a century later he and others took the same trip accompanied by scientists, and he wept as he said they never got away from the debris of plastic. All across the Pacific, shore to shore, was our discarded plastic in one form or another. But I again say give it time. Slip forward a few thousands millennia and plastic too will have changed.  Betcha.

Change is Perpetual Motion, we are Beings in Progress, and it is all in force and action right before our own eyes. But it comes so slowly we miss it completely. Give it a thought. And tell me, for Ethel thinks, Ethel wonders, and needs more “Rudi’s” to  help  her along. Ciao.

Wake Up !

I’m not a Buddhist, but . . .

I have explored that Teaching enough to be deeply impressed. and my interest was first sparked when I found that the root meaning of the word Buddha is from the Sanskrit word meaning WAKE UP.   And I needed that one.

So, so, so. ‘They’ say that Buddhists maintain that God gave us lives of suffering, but that’s not what I understand. What I think they say, is:

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First: Life, is ever-changing and so we find it unsatisfactory, and it is that lack of constancy  in our lives, that we allow ourselves to suffer. The Sanskrit word is Dukkha.

Happy or sad, sooner or later, everything changes. We try to insure ourselves against change, but it comes. Our health, job, children, age, our cherished possessions. The wealthy person’s business crashes. Children grow up. Drugs enter lives of those we love. Or even ours. The marvelous evening is over.   The ballerina gets arthritis, the artist goes blind, the musician deaf. Wise people get Alzheimer’s. The baby grows up. Good, loved ones have Strokes. People get old, wrinkled, and die. Fire, earthquakes, floods. There is nothing that doesn’t change, and in our futile fight to stop that change, we feel anger, fear, bitterness, and suffer.

Second: Suffering is of our own making, and not punishment ordained by heaven, or someone else’s, sins. We all want life to remain the same if it’s a happy life, and quickly change if it’s sad. We find it terribly difficult to let go of the past and cling to whatever we have lost that we loved. We mourn, feel anger and are bitter, feeling life is unjust, and  we suffer. We want life to remain happy, mourn if it’s sad and feel we’re being punished.

Third: Buddhists say there is a way to change that suffering. That  there is a cause for our suffering, and that cause can be found,  ‘used’,  and we can be ‘cured’. Like a doctor who tells us we have a terrible disease, but there is a Cause of the disease and if we work to rid ourselves of the cause, the suffering will be healed. It won’t be easy, but if we get rid of that cause, the suffering will go..

Fourth: That Way, that ‘Cure’, is called, The Eight-Fold Path. and the steps of That Path are:

  1. Right Understanding, knowing that our suffering is of our own making and not doomed by Heaven, we then can blame no other one for our pain.
  2. Right Intention, always want and intend to walk the Path.  And ‘Oops, I forgot,” doesn’t help or is it an excuse, either.   
  3. Right Speech: be friendly and not lie, insult, or hurt any person in any way by your words or manner.
  4. Right Action: try to do everything as well and right as you possibly can.
  5. Right Means of Livelihood: to earn your living in a right, decent and lawful manner. And we find that the word about being ‘lawful’ reaches far, even to the lives of  your high management people. It trickles down to the least employee.
  6. Right Effort: to continue producing the Energy needed to continue on the Path. Meaning the right food, exercise, attitude, etc.
  7. Right Awareness: to recognize and know the situation in which you happen to be, so that you can control your reaction to the situation. And maintaining   ‘I didn’t know about that’  won’t work. You define the moment, or the moment will define you.
  8. Right Meditation; And how you do your praying or meditating, doesn’t matter, for, with not a word spoken, both you and God know when we’re cheating and where our hearts are.

These eight have been put in a list, and the above list is in the wrong order. but only because there simply is no right sequence, for at  a certain moment one step is vital  and the very next moment it is one of the others that’s needed.

 

In fact, we need them all. And all at the same time, too, every moment of our day, for they intertwine, with one step supporting the others. They are all part of the whole and belong together like the threads of a piece of fabric, where one, two, three or more threads dropped upon a table, don’t make a piece of fabric. They must be woven together.  All of the time.

.

No, I’m not a Buddhist, but dang it, those Eight Steps cover a lot of territory, and in my own blundering way, they’ve helped me over a lot of ‘changes’ that I’ve had and needed. And I finally remember that there is no place in any of God’s teachings (that I’ve found) where He ever said Life would be easy.   As it’s said: WAKE UP.

Conducting The Orchestra

Or sing along with Mitch Miller . . .

I was conducting a Symphonic Orchestra the other day, and having a marvelous time. The reeds came in with a flick of my wrist and disappeared just as quickly when I nodded to the Strings to take Center Stage. Was unbelievably great, and as I turned to give my cue to the Percussions, I saw, right at my side, a man conducting with me.

Startled, and a bit abashed, but still without missing a beat, I gave him a happy nod and, together, we controlled those 45 or so instruments as if we were Leonard Bernstein, and a clone.

With four arms signaling those musicians, it was utter perfection, and just as the music was reaching its climax, the Red Light Traffic Signal changed and with shared grins, our hands went quickly to our steering wheels and we went our separate ways.

I often conduct music that way, but usually just tapping out the rhythm with my hands, and only occasionally add a flourish with my arms. And yes, I’ve sometimes noticed the next car driver give me a definite ‘what’s wrong with you” look, or at times one will smile and then swiftly take their eyes back to their car as if they had intruded upon me in some private moment.

But this time, it has been different, That man and I were listening to the same station, both enjoying the moment and it became a joyous rarity in life. One I remember with a smile and hope he does the same.

I think I was more active in my conducting actions than my friend’, but after all I grew up conducting music in a Mormon ward. First for the Primary, and then on to older groups. But even without such early training, there was nothing haphazard about my twin conductor’s body language, either.

Those shared moments were so good that I went my way thinking how odd it is that though we are so close to others on our streets, seldom do we look into the other driver’s eyes. In truth we avoid doing so, and if by chance, we do happen to lock eyes, we quickly glance away as if we had been caught intruding upon their private space.

Yet most of us are basically human beings and we just might like each other immensely if we met some other way.   But it’s as if it’s been drilled into us that it’s a no-no to have eye contact with other drivers. Who made that law, anyway???

Children aren’t so up-tight. Before they had to be strapped in for safety sake, kids would look out a back window and wave, smile or make faces at you, and if we waved or grinned back, they giggled, stuck out their tongues and darned if we didn’t drive away with a happy feeling. But again rules, yeah even safety rules have put a stop to that bit of hi-way fun and friendship

Just the same, it does still happen. And when it does, it’s so unusual that we remember and almost cherish it. I was at a red light and there was a man in the car aside mine eating a banana. I laughed as I caught him with it sticking straight out his mouth, and with a grin, banana still in his mouth, he reached to the seat next to him, picked up another banana and reached it out to me. Of course, there were windows and a hi-way strip between us, and then the Light changed and it was all over. But again it was definite human contact with unspoken but shared laughter and I felt happy and think he did, too.

Now, I don’t know why we feel embarrassed when we look into some other driver’s eyes, but we do . But take a chance one of these days. You, too, might share a conductor’s podium, with another or a banana, cup of coffee or perhaps just a smile. But if the Salt Lake symphonic orchestra is ever in a pinch for a guest conductor, I know of two who would step right in and do a bang up job of it also.  My opinion only, but I sorta like my opinion on guest Conductors, and so, let’s wait and see what next week brings to this space.  Bye.

What Am I Becoming

Aware of it or not, we’re all Beings In Process . . .

I’ve written often of who I am. or have done, but finally found it more important to find out who I’m Becoming. and have found that everyone is doing the same. We’re evolving, constantly evolving, and I take seriously Shakespeare’s words: “To thine own self be true,” and wonder, just who and what is my True Self. and am I evolving toward that Self?

In the beginning, those close to us formed us.  Who else? And it is good, but by the time we’re in our teens, many of us find we don’t fit into their pattern, yet strive to conform, guiltily thinking, with our limited vision,  that to be different must be wrong.

The Process of finding our own True Self is difficult, but in some manner, (with me it was books), many of us find that not only are we different, but that there’s nothing wrong with being ‘different’. Oh, what a revelation, for we also find that if we’re uncomfortable with who we are, we, and no one else, has the power to change and become what we want to be. And, able to look around and recognize, accept and love the differences in others, too. Wow, what a life changer.

Of course, we tried to become what our parents and early teachers wanted us to be, but for a successful, happy maturity, we must quietly learn to recognize, accept, respect, and finally love who and what we want to be.  What a stale, cookie-cutter world it would be if we were all made from the same pattern.

I don’t know your story, and so I tell mine. I was born one of five siblings, and different from all. I was pure Svenska, with white, straight hair, and surrounded by a dark curly- haired family. Mama must have felt God had made a mistake, but I later found I fit perfectly with my paternal lineage, and thankfully, finally became mature enough to know I was no mistake, but had just been born with Scandinavian genes. And little by little, learned, to my deep relief, that I was not an odd-ball, but there were many with my same physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual propensities.

It was a blessing to me that from childhood I’ve been a reader, and my father, bless him,  never once complained of the many trips to and from the Murray Library that I so casually asked of him. It was there I found books explaining thoughts and lives of people from all over the world, and I was shaken to my core, to know they were not wrong, only different. People of the world, and God made them (us) all.

There, in that blessed Library, but a mile from home, was where I found that the entire world was made of different people, wonderful people, and moreover held the power right within myself, how to explore, discover, and strive to become the person I hoped to be.

Aware of it or not, we’re all Beings In Process, and I wish Teachers could let young students know that not a one of us is wrong. Just different, and that every second of our lives, we all are in the Process of Becoming.  We’re  evolving.  Always evolving.  And, of so much importance, to be proud of the kind of person we are becoming.

I’ve found that when we reach the later decades of our lives, we don’t wish to be an Einstein, but to have allowed our True Selves to come into being, and so able to joyfully meet and work with ‘different’ people who entered and still enter our lives.

So I ask. Ethel, who are you becoming? For none of us are through with the Process, which will continue until we enter  God’s Next Room, where the machine, no longer needed, is discarded and Spirit, that ever-present Inner Source, reveals Itself.

And even then??? I’ve caught glimpses of that Goal, and shiver as I know that if I allow,  grow, and continue to evolve,  we all will, in some Higher and then still  Higher  rooms, become One with The Source of All.  You know that, too?   And that we’ll someday meet each other There?  What a blessed Process.

Addendum

A few years ago I penned a small booklet I titled A Machine Called Ethel, and though I’d make changes in it to-day, the concept stays firm. I walk, talk and live in a ‘Machine’ called Ethel, but I Am not that machine. I use it, take care of it, could not continue in a physical life without it, but I am not it. I think you’d like the book.

Camels, Boats, Trains, Planes, & The Internet

The best and worst is yet to come . . .

Never again will any city have the Power and Mystique of Old Cities, like Istanbul, Peking, Athens, Constantinople, Carthage, et al,  because the role they played is no longer necessary.

They were powerful and remained that way because they grew along the one and only highway there was.   That one  well-traveled, deep formless highway of our oceans, seas, and rivers.

It seems odd today, but up to about 250 years ago there were also Routes and Trails, but not a single City ever developed along even the long Routes across the Gobi or Sahara Deserts. Each back and forth trip, took men and camels  years to complete, yet not even one city developed  along those ways.

Deep waters were truly the only ‘highway’ and the trails were by Horse, Camel, or walking. Pleasure journeys were unknown.

But with time and exploration, New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans developed, but they too, are on deep waters and even Chicago became a City only after the Erie Canal connected the deep Great Lakes with the deep waters of New York and the Atlantic.

The next ‘highway’ was Railroads, and were the outgrowth of when England built small ‘rails’ into the coal mines, carrying back and forth both men and the coal they dug. England, in time saw RR’s possibilities, and began building large trains for passengers.

Within a twinkle of an eye, RRs were soon built all over the world, through forests, over mountains and rivers, across the Plains,spanning deserts, and in doing so, changed our maps and lives more than at any other time in history.  RRs, the world’s second ‘highway’, carried people and everything else needed to build cities anywhere. The deep water ‘highway’ is still used, but RRs did the utterly impossible fete of opening the vast empty inlands of every continent on earth.

In their heyday, Railroads were glorious beyond belief and we’ve yet to see their equal in sheer luxury.  Unbelievably expensive, for the Private Passenger Cars made today’s most expensive motor homes look like ‘shanties’.

There were servants, and thousands of Black Americans made their first step into jobs away from the South, on those RRs as waiters, cooks, maids and valets. So unbelievable that those luxury cars became the setting for Books, Movies, and ‘The Orient Express’, an ultra plush railroad going deep into Asia, became a synonym for luxury never before seen or since equaled.

Railroads, for a time, were truly the King of Travel and the world..

Murray, Utah, my hometown owes its existence to RRs. The Smelter (AS&R) could and would not have come into existence without it, and Murray City, like thousands of other cities around the world, was born as merely a Railroad stop.  Murray was once but a small sign saying Franklin.

Air Travel came next  and as Railroads could not compete with its speed, they quickly lost the luxury travelers and today’s RR’s now  carry only a small number of passengers, along with  Ore, Coal, Animals, large Equipment and merchandise,

But before anyone could settle down as to what went Air and what went by Rail, came Eisenhower’s Highways, bringing trucks that went beyond a train’s reach, and, with hardly time for a deep breath, came all kinds of busses and vans, which give us almost manufacturer-to-our-door service.

Large cities no longer depend upon deep water, and are built wherever wanted. And with Drones  in the offing, today’s cities are further and further away from old Rome, or Constantinople. Yes, much beauty has been lost along the way, but today, cities are no longer built to last forever, and outer beauty is not even considered.

People now travel as never before, but no longer go on Journeys. If we want to be in New York, all we need are a few hours to get there and back. There is no time, as there once was, to get acquainted with fellow travelers, or people along the way. Today, we scarcely have time to read a magazine before we’ve crossed the continent, kept our appointment, and returned.

Yes, transportation has made us One World, and is so far-reaching that it’s also changed our Wars.   Today’s war is not nation vs nation, but culture vs culture, and the ‘enemy’ can be right  ‘next door’ and yet,  with a click of a computer key can enter  the Internet Highway, and ‘rain down’ destruction upon some spot on another continent.

Boundaries, for good and bad, are things of the past. Utterly obsolete. We are one World and ‘battle’ lines are unmarked spots scattered helter-skelter, over the globe. Transportation, in its changing forms, has done it all, and hold your breath, for we are just catching glimpses of  the infancy of Drones, and the ‘best’ or ‘worst’ of their ultimate potential is yet to be realized.

Real Life

Easter is a time when we all freely speak of Death and of what has become known the Hereafter.   And so . . . Ethel being Ethel, I do the same.

You see, there are some people who have been There . . . and then came back.  It’s never happened to me, but I married one who did have that unique experience and his words left me with no fear of what to expect.   Nervous? Yes, yes, yes, but not fear.

It happened long before I knew him, when he was 17 years old and a student at Murray High School. He had been stricken with Pneumonia, and as there were then no wonder drugs, most people never recovered, and quickly died from that dreaded disease. And so, Gram, with three other children, along with husband and home, hired a 24/7 nurse to be at his side and it was there in the upstairs, west bedroom in the Pioneer Home at 570 East 4800 South, Murray, Utah where he left his body, as the doctor predicted, experienced That Other Place, and  then came back.

And that’s not really the correct way to tell of his experience, for he did not return willingly. In that Wonderful Place, he said someone approached, and began wrestling and  pulling  to take him away from the Happiness and Contentment that was There, and that he fought back fiercely, to stay there.

He said, “But the one I wrestled with was stronger than I was and no matter how I tried, I lost the match, and she pulled me back to my sick body, in my rumpled  bed and where, in time, I recovered.  I fought as well as I could to stay in that Wonderful Place, but she had her way.”

And he used the pronoun ‘she’ because when it was all over and he was well again, he knew it had been his Nurse who had put whiskey to his lips and ‘wrestled’ him back.

But he never, ever forgot Where he had been, What he had seen, and How  wonderful and Real, It was.

I didn’t know him when all this happened, and it was about a decade later, when he told me, “I knew I was in a life or death struggle.   But.” he continued in very puzzled, but firm words, “Life was There, and not to where I was being pulled back.  Everything within me fought to stay There.”

It never ceased to puzzle him, for it was an 180 degree switch from what we, in our human bodies, consider the life and death struggle.  Made me sit back and know that we are observing it from the wrong angle. My husband said, “Real LIFE was in That undescribable  LIGHT,  and not where she furiously fought and succeeded in returning me to.”

At that time, my sister, Amber Ohlin (later on, Mrs. Angus Bodine) worked in the Thornton Anderson Drug store there on the north west corner of 4800 South and State Street in Murray, Utah, and the doctors would often come in and sometimes discuss cases with the Pharmacist.  It was a small building and she easily overheard that “The Bradford boy (and we didn’t know the Bradfords except by name) has pneumonia and is going to die tonight.” Just that.

Yes, ‘just that’ is all Amber told the family at our dinner table but I remember, and of course never dreamed that the Bradford Boy she spoke of, would some day be my husband and the father of my sons.

And so,  I do not fear death. But with  trepidation?   Nervous?  Oh yes, for it is an ‘unknown’ to me, and I will be leaving all that is familiar and loved . . . but then I remember my husband’s words, as a young 17 year old, with scant ‘religious’ training, as to how he fought that battle and said,  ‘I lost the battle and was pulled away from real  LIFE’, and tears came to his eyes as he spoke.

So, I do not fear death and one day if you happen to read of my ‘ dying’,   shake your head and know that I have joined the majority, in That Place of LIFE.   That Place of Real Life.

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Three books by Robert Monroe are wonders of what he, Monroe, experienced on the same subject, as he tells of his own unsought out-of-the-body happenings.  Awesome.

 

Some Trivial Thoughts

Some things crossed my mind . . .

If you’re even halfway familiar with my words, you know that my mind veers back and forth between serious thoughts, to utter trivia. And today, it’s trivia, but that’s ok, for trivia can be fun.

Okay, so for a moment stop what you happen to be doing, and fold your arms. That’s right, just fold your arms, and now look at them.

One arm is on top with its hand folded under the other arm. You didn’t have to even think about it. You just did it. But now, try to fold your arms the other way, with the other arm on top and with its hand tucked under. And note that I said, try to fold your arms the ‘other’ way. And the key word is try.

That’s a ‘different story’.  And it’s bewildering, for it just won’t work. Oh, I know you can do it, as I have, but tt takes much thought and effort, and when you get it done, it doesn’t feel right, at all… It’s awkward. Your arms get tangled and it’s a mess.

And then, when you get your arms untangled, and are laughing about the whole thing, follow me. and fold your hands. The same way you did as a school child when the teacher told you to put your hands on the desk and fold them. Done it a million times, haven’t you?

Well, do so again, and it’s so easy, with one thumb sitting snugly on top, and the other tucked beneath. And now, of course, you know what I’m going to say, but now re-fold them, but do it so the other thumb is on top. And before you know it, for your fingers are mixed up.

I’ve asked others to do these two simple acts, and they’ve all ended up looking at me with surprise, at how difficult it is, and some have told me they tried them with their own family, and it’s always the same result. And now their kids are asking their friends to do the same. Kids love this kind of thing. But it’s just as surprising for oldsters like me.

At first I thought the answer was with being right or left handed. But it doesn’t, for I’ve found one right hander does it one way and the very next right hander does it the other, and so on. All I know is that we’re queer creatures of habit or instinct and who’s to know which is which.

We all have our own oddities. I’m right handed and can’t sign my name with my left hand. And yet . .. when my first computer was installed at my desk, my son, who was doing the chore, was surprised that I had to have the Mouse and its pad on the left side. And said, “I didn’t know your were left-handed”, and of course, I’m not. But there are chores I just automatically do with my left rather than my right hand.

I can’t deal a deck of cards with my right hand, but easily with the left. Just as I’m also a leftie when putting plates, knives, forks and the food on the table for a meal. Such tasks are not only awkward for me, but I don’t do it all well if I try them with my right.

It’s said that men always dress by always putting the same leg into their trousers first, and I don’t know, but for myself, I pull on my hosiery right leg first, and then, hosier in place, I swear it’s my left shoe I then choose to don first.

My friend LaRee cut her lawn a certain way, leaving there a pattern she knew by heart, and her husband one day cut the lawn for her, using his own pattern. and LaRee, believe me or not, waiting until he was gone, did the entire lawn again, just so the pattern was ‘correct’. Seeing the other just drove her ‘crazy’.

These bits of trivia are not earth shattering but once you begin observing them, it’s hard to stop. Are we prisoners of habit, or is it something bred in our genes. But pass them along to your kids. They’ll love them.

 

Reading The Obits

Reach out, if you can . . .

There are many joys in getting older, but there’s one that can be yours only if you’re older, and of all places, it starts by reading the obituaries. But remember, it is a most sad time in people’s lives, and you can be a blessing to that family, or not, for you are treading on tender ground.

However, sometime you’ll see a name of one you knew years before, and you’re flooded with memories that no one but you could now know. And I’ve learned to offer those memories with the sorrowing ones.

It won’t matter if you know the family, or not, you knew the one they mourn, and I tell them, with few words. what I remember, and then send it to the Mortuary, and let them forward it to the family. Don’t be surprised if there’s no response, but other times its welcomed over and over. And it’s cost you only a moment of time, a postage stamp, and perhaps a few tears..

I just had a marvelous experience, and so decided to pass the ‘how’ along.  There, one day, I saw in the obits, a name of a couple who had visited Dad and Mom in our home when I was a kid. And then, as my eyes slid to the portrait I laughed aloud for I saw my Dad smiling back at me.

Now, of course it wasn’t my Dad, but put a handle-bar mustache on the picture in the Tribune and it could have been my Dad. And so, Ethel being Ethel, to my computer I went and poured out the why, how, when, and where of it all.

And I even sent along a copy of Dad’s photo and in a week or so, I found they agreed with me, and in the days following, it was proven that the man in the paper was, as was my Dad, a descendent of the same family from Eskilstuna, Sweden.

In doing this, you must be ready to find they might not get your mailing, or toss your note in the garbage, while thinking, “What does it matter me what they remember.” or “I wonder what they want?” And so, after you’ve sent your note, forget about it, because, just maybe, no one does care.

But just the same, take a chance. You don’t need to be “a writer”, but just tell them you knew their loved one long ago, and would like to share those times. And, if they want to talk to you, they can just send a card, or make a phone call. And, if they don’t respond, what the heck, you did what you thought might be welcome, and if not, it doesn’t matter to you. You tried, and that’s how life goes.

But this time a letter came back to me that was filled with joy and delight.

Yes, I told a lot of stuff that only one of my generation and family could have known. Let them ask, be careful about what you say, and fill in any blanks you know. Or add happy happenings. It’s always different and always wonderful.

My today’s story ended up by finding that we had come from the same family somewhere ‘back then’. and she was avid to go further.

I had also sent my words to a couple of younger ones of my family, and nephew Jim, wrote back that he had always wondered where and why the town of Santaquin had entered into our family. and there in but a sentence or two, I had spelled it out for the young ones of my family..

Now, if you know me, you also know that I am not the one that was then needed, but, I knew who to call, and within a week the unfamiliar word ‘extraction’, came along, and then emails and copies of names, names. and names went back and forth and I was happy to think I had helped make their joy.

See, there are treasures buried in those daily obits. Look them over and then dare to take a chance. Be kind, be careful, but dare to send a note, a phone call and maybe bring joy to both ends of the exchange, knowing that these happenings aren’t just for one, but for all. God works in mysterious ways, you know, including using such odd ones as Ethel. Oh me.

Try it out, you have the time, and even if it takes weeks before a ‘familiar’ name appears, one day, wham, bang, a name of decades ago is there, and off you go.  You just might bring a bit of joy to a sorrowing heart and when it does, it’s great.

I tell of just one note I sent that helped fill a few blanks in a genealogy file that might never have been completed otherwise. Take a chance, it’s just one of the joys that can come to us in our older years. And. just maybe, that’s the only reason we’re still around.