This Cold War-era cartoon uses humor to tout the dangers of Communism and the benefits of capitalism. The dangers that it points out are the same as those our freedoms face today except that now those dangers are in the halls of power right here in Washington, D.C. Give it a look and if it doesn’t give you pause then you’re just not paying attention.
Life is good here at the CowChows. The necessities of life are bountiful.
I was out back a while ago just rocking on the porch and watching the rain fall. There’s nothing more peaceful than a rainy afternoon in the Ozarks. While I was sitting there soaking up the peace the cattle that are pastured behind our place came down for a drink from the creek. They come by a couple of times a day and sometimes they stop to say hello. This time they did.
I watched them file into view along the fence line, and one after the other they stopped and turned my way. Ocassionally, one would dip her head to the ground and come up chewing a mouthful of fresh, wet grass. I wondered what it must be like to live your life inside a fence, not able to come and go as you please. I wondered what it must be like to know nothing of the world beyond the borders of iron posts and steel wire that enclose you. I wondered if they even realized they were captives. As I sat there wondering these things I felt sorry for these poor simple creatures and I hoped they didn’t know what it meant to be free, for then they would know what they were missing.
One of the heifers looked around furtively, and then stuck her head over the fence and looked directly at me. She craned her neck as if she were gesturing me toward her. At first I thought nothing of it, but she kept making this gesturing motion until my curiosity overcame my desire to stay dry. I descended the steps and began slogging my way across the wet grass toward the fence. I was drenched through before I had taken a dozen steps, and all the while she was nodding to me as if to say, “Come on.”
As I neared the fence, feeling more than a little silly, she again looked furtively up and down the fence line. I reached my hand toward her to let her sniff it, and then gently stroked her forehead. “What is it, girl?” I whispered, “What do you want?”
She looked me directly in the eye and whispered back, “If you ever want us to bust you out of your pen you just say the word.” And then, she winked.
It’s Memorial Day. Bet you thought I forgot. Funny thing about Memorial Day: to me it’s what they must have been thinking of when they coined the phrase, “bitter sweet.” When I consider the loss and sacrifice of those who served to defend and protect our Country and our values, I feel bitter that we as human beings can not find a way to settle our differences without shedding blood. But then, when I consider the purpose for which they fought, the cause they served, and the freedoms they protected I am nearly overwhelmed with a sense of affection, respect and appreciation.
When I think of my friends, family members, and loved ones who are gone now I am saddened that I didn’t get to spend more time with them, but I am thankful to have known them at all.
And then I think of those who are still here, those who have made a difference in my life, who have encouraged me, supported me, taught me, helped me, loved me. And, I am reminded that they too will be gone someday. Have I told them often enough how much they mean to me? Do they even know of the difference they’ve made? When they’re gone will there be enough sweet memories to overcome the bitterness of loss?
I’ll not wish you a happy Memorial Day, but I do wish you a sweet one.
I hope your day is a malted milk ball day, just cause I like ’em.
I recently attended a School of Instruction where I overheard an interesting question. The school was on Masonic Ritual and several current and past ritual instructors were present. For demonstration’s sake some of these instructors were asked to perform parts of our ritual and believe it or not, mistakes and errors were made. The question that I found interesting was, “If all these ritual instructors can’t do it perfectly, then how can you expect us mortal Masons to do it perfectly,” or something like that.
What struck me as interesting had nothing to do with Masonic ritual, but instead the question of expectations. The person asking the question apparently felt that the level of ritual proficiency to which he was expected to rise was determined by someone else. And I wondered, how much of our lives do we live according to the expectations of others? Do we measure our successes or failures by how well we live up to their expectations? And, if I strive only to live up to the expectations others have of me, do I not run the risk of falling short of my full potential? If I allow someone else to determine what’s expected of me, am I not denying myself a basic freedom of being?
Sure, society places certain expectations on all of us: live within the law of the land, tolerate and be tolerable to your neighbors, wash behind your ears, etc. But, those are simply the parameters we accept in choosing to live in a civilized society. Beyond that, though, is a boundless and limitless world of possibilities and expectations in which you get to choose.
You get to choose what is truly important to you. You choose in what and to what level you excel. You determine what brings you fulfillment, and happiness, and joy. It’s a freedom, a basic human right and responsibility, to set the expectations of your life and you should not relinquish that right nor concede that responsibility to anyone.
That being said, I expect you’d like me to get on with it. So, I will. Have a good week, and spread Light and delight wherever you go.