Archive for the ‘ Survival ’ Category

Why does prayer feel good?

You have to understand that while the world’s financial systems are in a kind of meltdown mode, life can be difficult for your average Joe. I know how that difficulty feels. It’s not been easy for the last couple of years. When times are tough and money is tight, it is tempting to say a prayer. It would be so nice to simply ask for help and get it. No, I really mean it would be fucking awesome to simply bow my head and ask for help and then magically get it. Maybe you know how nice that would be, maybe you don’t. Either way I have to tell  you that magic to pay my electric bill would be JFA – Just Fucking Awesome.

Sadly, there is no such thing. I have to pay that bill or go without. I’m nobody and nowhere near too big to fail. I’m not going to get a bail out. Sometimes I sit on my back patio and have a smoke and I think about where I’m going to get the money from. What can I do to generate even a couple hundred more dollars per month? Some times I look up to the stars and wish that if the aliens are here, now would be a good time to scoop me up and take me to another galaxy. Still I’m left there on the patio trying to figure out how I’m going to pay that bill. I don’t have an answer, no closure, no assurance. I have only the idea that I have to do something else, something more, something different. I look at my very loyal dog laying there on the patio and I get the feeling that I want to cry because I have to figure out where the money will come from to buy more dog food. I try to remind myself that today 18000 people starved to death; my position is not even close to being that desperate. I’m one of the lucky people if you consider the entire globe in this situation. It still hurts. It is still debilitating at times. It is still emasculating. There is no band-aid for the feeling of helplessness and powerlessness. Don’t get me wrong. I want to go to the cupboard and pull out the bottle of feel better pills and take two to make sure that my psyche remains in tact as I charter my way through the rough spots. I looked. There is no bottle of feel better pills. Looks like I have to take this on one the chin like all the others. I have to take the hit and keep on going. It’s hard to know why I have to keep on going, but for some reason I do. Giving up doesn’t seem like a good idea. That doesn’t make me less desperate, nor does it make me more comfortable. It simply eliminates an option. Eliminating options seems to be a common thread lately.

All that I’ve done to get a new job, sometimes working at it 10-12 hours per day finally paid off. The stress has finally been set loose and my body reacted to the release of it, or at least to the partial release of it. A cold sore and some pimples. I kind of expected something like this would happen. I’ve seen tough times before. I’m sure I’ll see stressful times again. I never prayed nor wanted to pray this time around. It’s just a waste of time. People close to me had various reactions. One told me that they were praying for me and how god is good because he got me a job. I simply asked why he took the other job away unexpectedly and put me in this troubling position? My wife had a thought that as soon as I finished the built-in cabinets I built for the living room I would get a job. She’s now convinced she has some magic way to see the way the future will unfold. My next sizable raise won’t happen till I’ve constructed the door/wall for our formal dining area so that it is more like a real office. Funny how future events depend on my completing large projects on HER to-do list. Of all the reactions to the news, the one that didn’t make me roll my eyes a bit (or even at all) was the simple statement “Congratulations. You deserve a good job that you like doing! I’m very happy for you!” … can you imagine why?

The way that I see it is this, prayer makes you feel good while you are doing nothing at all. It relieves you of having to worry or figure out how to fix things. I think it is much more useful to thoughtfully ponder your situation and think of what you can do to make things better. Even small changes can make a big difference. It’s hard to think of small changes when you’re busy praying for someone else to come bail you out.

So why does prayer feel good?

Because it stops you from having to deal with the pain of getting through tough times… among other things.

My advice?

I kind of like that I got through a rough patch, and this was an extended one. What doesn’t kill me often does make me stronger. I advise forgetting how to pray or even wanting to pray. Know that it is going to hurt, take it on the chin, and never stop working on how to fix it, change it, or make it better… even when your chin is hurting. If you’re lucky you will have people around you who are supportive and can help you keep your chin up. They say that you can’t really feel alive till you know what death looks like. I’ve been weeks away from bankruptcy, jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, and a few other things. Perhaps not all of them count as near-death but they absolutely remind you how tenuous life really is; how close we all are to complete failure if the infrastructure we depend on fails; that we are about 6 missed meals away from anarchy; that despite all our weaknesses and foibles (here in the west) we are almost all of us much better off than any of the 16,000+ people who will have starved to death in the last 24 hours around the globe. It is not possible to feel as good as I feel right now if you have to credit a deity with the fruits of all your own hard work.

Forget how to pray. Forget you ever wanted to.

September 11 – Why it means anything at all

This year September 11 falls on a Sunday. Next year it will fall on a different day. In either case it is just another day. According to History.com there really isn’t very much interesting that happened on September 11th throughout history. Yeah, a few famous people did things around that day, but the 11th just isn’t very exciting. In fact, there is only one reason for anyone to treat that day any different from any other day. The terrorist attacks on the WTC, The Pentagon, and the crash of flight 93.

September 11 Is Another Global Day Of Dying

On September 11th, 2001 a total of 2,977 people died in the attacks. According to some reports, 18,000 people starve to death every day and that number is not  likely to have gone down since 2008. The ratio? 1:6.046 !  Yes, On September 10th, this year alone, 6 people will starve to death for every person who died in the 9/11 attacks. SIX people. On 9/11/2011 six more people will die for every death in those attacks. On 9/12/2011 another 6 people will die for each death in the attacks. According to the CDC (2007 stats) 6640 people die in the USA each day.  It is reported that on average, 2 people die each second across the globe.

So why exactly is anyone excited about September 11th? Are the deaths of those 2977 people more important than the 6 people who died while you read this sentence? Will prayers and religious celebrations on 9/11 do anything for the 18000+ people who will starve to death on September 11, 2011? Will religious services to remember those who died because of religious zealots save any of the starving people who still have a chance?

Make September 11 A Special Day If You Want

If September 11 seems like a special day to you, go ahead and make it a special day: Donate to help feed starving people who are still living. If it helps you, donate in the name of someone who died in the attacks. Hell, donate every month on the 11th, in anyone’s name. Check out this list of charities. Just don’t donate to religious charities. Remember it was religious zealotry that created 9/11. The world reacted wrongly to those attacks. Would you like proof of that? Check out this view of some of the deaths caused as a result of the reaction to those attacks.

Go Feed Someone

September 11 doesn’t mean anything at all. If it has meaning it is because you ascribe some meaning to it. If you want 9/11 to be special, go feed someone, help the living, remember the starving, fix the problems instead of fixating on what cannot be fixed in the past.

:: UPDATE ::

I hadn’t thought anyone would find this blog never mind read it and comment. One thoughtful person has done all three. I debated moderating their comment to allow it for some time before deciding that an update would be more useful.

The comment simply said: You’re a complete idiot! Enough said.

Clearly, to my mind this is not enough. I cannot determine if I’m thought an idiot because I care about starving people or perhaps it is that I’m thought an idiot because I don’t seem to care enough about those that died on 9/11. The Cult Of Dusty has a few words on this topic and I happen to agree with him completely. Our numbers are different, but both are estimates and both sets of numbers are unacceptable.

“Get over it” and move on with your life is the message. It’s the same message we expect thousands upon thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan families to ‘get’ and deal with. As gramps would say, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. They are dead and buried. Saddam and Bin Laden are dead and buried. Get over it. Move on. We have more pressing problems to deal with.

:: UPDATE ::

Here’s a fun little clip … enjoy!

Pick your battles wisely?

Another day, another bill. So it is. Each day we must forage for food or labor away to pay for it.

I spent three hours tonight listening to my wife argue to hit a hot button so that she could claim to be the injured party in the divorce.

Someone please tell me how a god would have helped me with that?

sigh

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