Author: 360degreechange

Some say life is a journey and that is what I am on. I am tired of sitting in a cube all day, I want to feel the breeze on my face, not air conditioning; I want to move, not sit at a desk; I want my efforts to make a difference, not do redundant tasks all day long. That is my journey...can you live well (expectations to change) and still be true to yourself? Here's to jumping out of the frying pan and directly into the fire!!

What a Ride…by Lois Hewitt

I cannot believe that my next blog post will be my 200th!  Wow!  That’s incredible!  A lot has happened between now and then.  The person I was is barely known  to me now.  When I started this epic journey I was a scared, depressed, totally unaware person.  I thought I knew things but I did not really.  I thought myself brave but had no clue until I was tested.  I wanted a new and different life from what I had and I got that wish a few times.  Wow! What a ride it has been!

It is an odd phenomenon that the place you occupy right now seems like the place you have always been.  At least for me anyway.  When I was in that “dark” place I felt there would never be a change.  That what I was experiencing was going to last forever. For a long time, I just stood on the proverbial diving board.  Then I realized standing on the board does nothing until you actually leap into the water. And leap I did.

Fear used to consume my life.  I was so aggravated with myself for not making the changes I needed to make.  Once it was decided to leave behind everything and start completely new, it was like jumping into a pool of ice water.  All the plans I had made ahead of time, flew out the window.  I was unprepared for the realization of what it all meant.  No more home to run to. No more things to have.  What if I got Ill on the road? What if the car breaks down?  Those issues evoked real fear!  Now it wasn’t some ethereal concept in my head but an extreme possibility.

I did not know where I was going to land or how I would live.  I thought I could waitress my way across America.  That might have worked in the 70s but not today.  I found I was living in a way based on a whole lot of unrealistic ideals.  I thought I was being free when in reality, I still had bills to pay and gas to buy and needed a place to sleep among other things.

Then I met North Carolina.  She made me work to get to know her.  Crossing the mountains to get to her was about the last straw.  I was not sure my car could make the trip or, for that matter, if I was up to the task.  After a dark and rainy night of mountain roads, we met.  It was definitely not love at first sight. But her presence grew on me.  Because of her I have been able to shake many of my existing fears off.

The veil finally lifted and I saw a new life.  The struggle, as they say, was real but I found out I was not alone.   I tried new things and learned about people and places I had never even dreamed about.   I had adventures I could not have even imagined. Working on a real train…how lucky was I!  Traveling to work everyday to a castle…how lucky am I!  Mountains and beauty available from every vantage point!

Things are not perfect, but oh how they have changed, oh how I have changed.  As I look back on the last few years I can hardly believe all that has happened.  But I would be remiss if I did not thank all of you who supported my incredibly insane dream.  I could not have done it without you and I still look to you all for moral support today,  My husband does not get mentioned much in this blog as I try to respect his privacy but I could never have taken the first step out the front door without him.  He is my rock!  Thank you to the Land of the Pines, for letting me make this place my home.

That scared, shy girl may be gone now, but because of her I was prepared to make this journey.  I am really hard on her but all of her experiences, good and bad, gave me the strength I did not know existed inside of me.  I have learned so much.  The greatest lesson I have learned is to never discount who you are.  You have no idea what your life experiences will show you in the future.  Some days are harder than others, hang in there.  Life gets pretty good once you allow yourself to open up to the unimaginable possibilities!

Thank you all for your love and support!  I honestly could not have done this without you!  Here’s to another 200 posts!

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Looking Ahead by Lois Hewitt

Have a good trip AVERY

I work at a major tourist attraction.  I have been there for several months now and have noticed a few things about human nature.  This is something I have done myself, many times, so I am in no way passing judgement.  I watch people walk into a room but instead of enjoying the room they are in, they start careening their neck to see what’s up ahead.  What is there to see next?  Then when they get to the next place, it happens all over again.

I used to be, and still am from time to time, the person who would make a plan to visit someplace.  Then stress while we were getting there.  Then once there automatically start thinking about the next stop.  Then get home and wondered why I felt empty inside.  I totally missed the views on the way to the destination because I was more worried about parking, time or some other thing.  I missed the destination because I was worried that I spent too much money and or time to get there.  On the way home, I would be thinking of all the things I had not done that day, for example laundry.  When I finally got home from my “fun-filled” outing, I was exhausted and disappointed.  Two things I felt all the time.  Now I notice I am not the only one.

I remember my first video camera.  I loved taking videos of events and people.  When the tapes were full, I would put another tape in and keep going.  Then one day as I was cleaning up in preparation for my epic journey, I found boxes of tapes I had made.  The realization hit me that I had never looked at most of them after they were made and I completely missed the time with loved ones and friends that I could never get back.  I was so worried about preserving the moment that I forgot to live in it.

I have been Mary from the Bible.  Remember her?  Jesus came to visit her home and she was so preoccupied with food preparation and house keeping, that she nearly missed Jesus.  I may not have had Jesus at one of my parties, but there were people important to me that I missed because I felt I had to have perfect food, perfect decorations and a spotless house.  I missed the real moments because of things that would not be all that important in the long run.  Who cares what you ate or what wreath was on the front door.  I missed being with people who are no longer with me.  I cannot get those moments back.

So why do we as humans prioritize in such weird ways?  I cannot speak for everyone, but I know a few things I have felt in the past.  I was always afraid that I was going to miss something really big.  Like the best thing I could ever see was going to happen up ahead and I would miss it if I wasn’t looking that way.  I felt I had to put on a show of how organized and efficient I was, even though I was falling apart on the inside.  Maybe I thought the people around me would always be there.  Little did I realize that would not be the case.

I believe humans, for the most part, are optimistic beings.  Looking ahead has brought about magnificent changes in our lifetime.  Sometimes you have to look ahead at better times when the times you are currently in are not so good.  I now understand the difference.  If you end up looking ahead all the time or focusing on unimportant things, you miss being in the moment.  It’s like buying a book you have been waiting to read, but reading the last chapter first.  Knowing how the story ends does not explain how the story got to that point.  You miss the journey when you head directly to the destination.  That is an empty feeling, I know.

Now I try to remember where I am right now.  I may think of the next stop, but not to the inclusion of missing this stop.  I still plan ahead, I cannot live without that structure but I am learning to enjoy the here and now.  Once this moment has gone, it will not return.  I could videotape it or take a picture but I run the risk of missing the most important thing, this very moment.  Good or bad this moment is unique in my life and I want to experience it, not spend a sleepless night trying to remember what I should have seen.

Every day the saying “enjoy the journey” takes on more meaning.  Now I am off to enjoy the moment of doing laundry….it’s all a part of living.

Yesterday, I Cried by Lois Hewitt

Yesterday, I cried and felt the urge to give up.  After getting a second job while still learning my first job, I was overwhelmed and tired.  My body hurt from working 19 dats without a day off.  My brain became a little scattered.  I had a hard time reading my watch yesterday, I just could not process any more information.  I was shaky and weak.  I prayed that the Lord would help me through the day because I did not have the ability to do my job on my own (I always need His help).  When I got home yesterday, and I laid down to nap only to hear my upstairs neighbors bowling, it had to be bowling, the noise was loud and continued for hours.  Yesterday, I cried and was tempted to give up.  Life gives us rough patches and I was not dealing with my latest one.

Sleep, last night, was uneasy and not refreshing.  I woke up knowing that I was needed at work even though it was supposed to be my day off.  I begrudgingly got up took my shower and went to work.  Just like the fog that covers the beautiful mountains I live near, my brain fog cleared leaving the sun visible to see.

Yesterday I cried and thought about the “good old days”.  Today, I realize those days are exaggerated in my mind, I cried in those days too.  Some days, you just have to cry.  It doesn’t mean that you are weak or are being a baby.  It means that you have had enough of being strong and need a break.  Crying relieves tension and stress.  I allowed myself my moment or two (or three) of self-pity.  After my face dried and I blew my nose, I pulled myself up and “got over it”.

Yesterday, I cried but today I smiled.  I smiled for the blessings of health, the ability to work my two crazy jobs, the roof over my head, the food (albeit mostly peanut butter right now) in my cabinet, my car that gets me to work, my friends and family and a thousand other blessings which I could not see yesterday.  Today those blessings are as bright as the southern sun.  I think they are shining brighter because of yesterday’s overcast sky.

Sometimes we say things like God is good.  I believe we mean it but it really takes root after the dark days.  Once the light starts to replace the darkness, it makes the light so much brighter.

Yesterday, I cried from sadness.  Today, I cried from happiness.  The bad days suck, no two ways about it but without them the good days would not be as welcoming.  So I’m glad I cried yesterday.  I hated life yesterday and today I love life.  It doesn’t get better than that.

 

 

 

What a Millionaire Taught Me by Lois Hewitt

The first part of my life was spent spending money and obtaining things.  I had valuable things but mostly worthless things.  When my life took an unexpected sharp turn, I was left with what to do with the stuff.  I could no longer keep it, so I got rid of it all.  Sold what I could, amazing how no one wants your old stuff .  Gave some away and threw out the rest.

All my years of collecting, being in constant debt and always living under the fear of losing it all left me with a few hundred dollars after selling the stuff, much of which I was still paying on.  That was a very discouraging situation. The good news was my worst fear had come true.  I literally and figuratively lost almost everything in terms of material possessions.  And I survived and, in fact, thrived.

So I became a self-proclaimed minimalist.  Life did get easier, no more days laying in wait for the bottom to drop out.  No more worrying about the stuff as it slowly took over my life.  The things I owned had begun to own me.  I worked constantly and was only able to stay behind the bills, never getting ahead.

I remember days and weeks of absolute hopelessness.  It felt like a self-imposed prison with no chance of parole.  I prayed for an end, no matter how.  I just wanted to breathe again. The end came in the form of a bankruptcy and Deed in Lieu of Foeclosure.  The house had to be empty and I had to be gone.  With no where in particular to be, the journey stated.

It took some time and a lot of soul searching (documented in past blog posts), but I was able to start over.  I still try for minimalism and think I do fairly well.  I found a job at the home of George Washington Vanderbilt (Biltmore).  Mr. Vanderbilt was everything that I had come to despise.  He built and lived in the largest private home in the United States. He traveled and he collected things….Boy did he collect things.

His home is a modest (my attempt at humor) 175,000 square feet.    Biltmore Estate is an amazing place but I had difficulty rationalizing what I saw everyday with what I believed about opulence.  It was more than I could grasp in the beginning.  All I could see was the stuff…until I studied the man.  Previous Vanderbilt generations may have been considered ruthless.  That is generally how riches are amassed.  But George turned his back on that and lived life on his terms with beauty and compassion as his guide.

I learned that George found beauty in the placement of a single plant or tree.  The wonders he found while traveling fed his soul.  A gentleness always filled his face.  He found beauty and wanted to share it.  His home became a museum but he loved and lived in it.  He shared his many loves with friends and family and, ultimately with the world after his passing.

I never met the man, obviously, but I see daily how he lived.  He was born into a life just like we all are.  You can moan and complain, like I used to do or you can live your life with grace and purpose.  I used to be sure it is easier to make your own way when there is an inheritance close by, but look at how many people have had that and lived lives sadder than the poorest of people.  I have learned money is not the automatic solution to problems.  In fact, it causes more than I can even imagine. Lesson learned.

I also am learning about how to be gracious.  Grace has fallen out of favor these days.  We, at work, are taught gracious hospitality.  We are expected to act in a way that reflects the feeling of the house and family.  I’m learning the high road is the better of the two.  I’m learning to think before blurting our everything that comes into my head.  I’m learning how to be graceful on a real level and I’m loving it.  There is a reverence for myself and others.  I’m learning that the beauty is not in the things but in the spirit.  Unlike me, the things did not define him.  His actions defined him as a person.  He was giving to friends, family and the community.  He had the foresight to create a national forest for future generations to enjoy.  A person I have never met has taught me such things.

No, he was not a perfect man.  I’m sure there were demons he fought with, but he tried to give back at every turn.  His way is different from my way, but it is not the way that matters.  It is the execution of the way and the lives touched.  I’m grateful for this opportunity and hope that one day I have even a small fingerprint left behind me.

 

Generally Speaking, Generalizations are Bad by Lois Hewitt

Too many times, I speak using words like always, never, all, everybody and so on.  These words, in and of themselves, are not bad. But used to paint a broad stroke statement about a group is bad.

Here is an example.  The other day, I posted what I thought was a fairly harmless post on Facebook.  After a particularly difficult driving day in the city, I came home and posted that I was disappointed with the concept of the “big city” and was surprised at the rudeness I had endured that day.

i was not intending on making a political statement or any statement at all.  I was simply frustrated at the fact that driving in my new town has been a challenge for me. Many of my friends replied agreements and told stories similar from small towns and large.

Then came the reply from someone I had offended.  She felt that my broad generalization was completely incorrect.  She lives near New York City and feels big city people are friendlier than the small minded tourists that visit the city.  I read her post and I understood her point although I did not necessarily agree, so I sincerely apologized.  I did make a broad stroke generalization and I was wrong.  I thought it was over.

Then she wrote back attacking my friends who had agreed with me.  She talked with contempt about the visitors to her home town that are rude and ignorant and that they hail from small towns. Then she ended her post by saying that we were probably missing a Trump rally or an anti-immigration rally.  Wow, where did that come from?  Politics was never mentioned.  She basically called me out for my generalization but didn’t she do the same about my friends, me and everyone from a small town?

I was taken aback.  I don’t know where her anger came from over a fairly innocent post on Facebook.  I surely was not attacking her in any way or the people of NYC.  I was just pointing out that the drivers in Asheville are aggressive at times, to be clear I mean some, not all the drivers.  I was venting some frustration and apologized for speaking out of turn.  She was not satisfied.  She immediately unfriended me, the only thing that upset me about that is that she unfriended me before I could have unfriended her.

Honestly, I was not trying to offend anyone, except maybe the person who nearly ran me off the road because they were in such a hurry.  I tried to see her side/the other side of the story.  I understood what her original point was and I conceded that I was incorrect in my statement.  That should really have ended it.  It may have been nice if she had tried to see my side, but I didn’t really expect that to happen.  But I never expected the continuation of the outburst with personal attacks.

Unfortunately, my travel blog is turning into something completely different.  I’m desperately trying to figure out our society but I cannot seem to understand where it is right now.  Now I’m not talking about racist remarks.  I’m not talking about harassment of any kind, but just simple observations about things happening today.  Not everything said is meant to start a fight.  Sometimes an observation may have been intended to be funny or cute.  I was not looking for a fight that day but I got one.  It was also one I was not going to win because my “opponent “ was offended and felt the only way out was to attack me.

There were a couple of things that could have happened.

  1.  I could have kept my thoughts to myself. I am getting less and less inclined to speak anymore for fear of retribution.  As a side note, I finally overcame my shyness and now the climate we live in does not tolerate free speech or thoughts that do not agree with the offended party.
  2. She could have disagreed with my post all together and moved on without saying a word. When I see a post I do not like, I simply keep scrolling.  My opinion is not going to change it.
  3. She could have said her mind.  Read my next post to her with my apology and she could have gracefully moved on without making it political.

None of those things happened.  They hardly ever do anymore.  We see the fights and the name calling everywhere we look these days.  I do not expect that everyone will think the same way I do, but I still feel entitled to my believes as I respect those of others. Give and take….does anyone remember that concept?  I,at the very least, try to understand your point and you do the same for me.  If we agree to disagree, so be it.  We shake hands and walk away friends still. No one was called a bad name, no “F” bombs were dropped.  We simply disagreed.  Those days, I assuming are gone.  I am sad because we sometimes learn from others opinions and ideas.  Now if they are not my ideas, they are automatically wrong.  I’m very sad for our society.  Civility is leaving the building.

One thing I did learn from this, and it is a good thing, I will try not to make broad generalizations.  They are not good.

The Changing Me by Lois Hewitt

I’m going to be completely honest here, even if it paints me in a bad light.  In this age of tolerance, I am becoming intolerant.  I see all these bumper stickers that say “coexist” but those are the same cars tailgating and cutting off other drivers.  I see t shirts that say “all we need is Love” being worn by people who are impatient with older citizens and who yell at service workers.  I hear the words being spoken that we must all be tolerant of everyone else while no one is tolerant in what I believe.  I hate to say it, but all this blathering on and quoting John Lennon is just hot air.  I know there are people who are trying to make the world a better place.  All I want to know is where they are at. We need you!

i just came home from the laundromat as mad as I have been in a while.  I am trying to teach myself that rudeness is all around and the only thing I have in my arsenal is tolerance and empathy.  But that did not cut it today.  The place was full of unsupervised yelling children.  One child decided it was ok to get on the folding table and walk on my clean clothes.  Where was the mother you ask, on the other side of the room on her phone.  Meanwhile her spawn is wrecking the place with the other feral kids.

My mind wonders what in the world they are going to be like when they become adults.  Then there are the entitled ones who expect you to cater to their every whim.  I’m intolerant of both sides of that spectrum.  I’m intolerant of the parents ignorant behavior.  Believe me, I can only imagine what it takes to be a parent, I don’t envy the job.  I will have empathy for those who are at least trying to teach, if not manners, at least boundaries.

But then I see all the adults around who have very little regard for anyone but themselves and I totally understand where the children learn these behaviors.  I am at a loss.  I cannot understand the thought process that, for example, let’s a parent place a baby on an expensive piece of art so they can take a picture. Happened just the other day.  Or the parent that allows their offspring to throw rocks at glass art that is someone’s property.  I’m intolerant of the lack of respect.  In reality, it comes down to us…the adults.  I cannot really blame a child for bad behavior.

This post is not really about rude children as it is about where we as a society are heading.  There is more and more anger.  Everyone is constantly in a hurry to yet another event.  Money is tight and advertising still pushes us to buy more and more. We have to make a date with ourselves to relax. But then we can’t because there is always more to do.  We are all going to collectively snap one day.  Tensions are so high and manners take too much effort.  But it’s manners that make us human. What are we going to do?  I don’t know, but I’m tired of all the attitude.

Its easy to say coexist but it’s an entirely different world to live it. I thought by trying to ignore or accept it that I could live with it.  I was wrong.  I cannot tolerate bad behavior as a way to get through the day.  I hate that I don’t have the answer.  But I’m really done accepting it.  When a child I didn’t even know decided to get up on a table and walk across my freshly washed laundry, I declared war on bad manners and ignorance of such things.

All I can say is that it’s on!  I have no idea what I’m going to do, but accepting it is no longer an option!

Don’t Ignore a Day by Lois Hewitt

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In my blog, I try to not mention my husband, Mike, too much.  Not because I do not want to but I respect his privacy.  I spent too many years embarrassing him, especially when alcohol was involved, by talking about everything.  I did not have any filters when I was younger.  I would say anything.  I’m sure there were times when he would cringe and wonder what he got himself into.

But here we are 28 years later, still married and still friends.  I am truly blessed.  We all know couples that have suffered loss.  One partner passes away unexpectedly or, maybe, they knew it was coming.  Either way, it is still an epic blow.

I  find, after being together for a while, it’s easy to take one another for granted.  We really mustn’t do that.  Life can change in a millisecond and there is no going back.  Nothing in the future is promised to us. I shutter to think about all the possibilities that can happen in a day.  I try not to dwell on them, but oue just never knows the outcome.

I need to appreciate the little things.  Mike carries my purse when I’m too tired to do it.  He opens car doors for me.  He walks on the outside when we are on a sidewalk.  He listens to my crazy ideas.  He will stay up all night researching alternative remedies if I am not feeling well.  As well as a million other things.  He is a good man, a true gentleman.

Do I tell him enough?  Probably not.  Do I expect such kindnesses? Sure.  Do I know how special he is?  Absolutely!  So how do you deal with the stresses of every day life and still have wonder about the person you are spending your life with.  It takes an effort, but one that is worth the work.  We may have been together a while, but there are still new stories to hear or repeats of old ones.  There are adventures to be had and dreams to dream about.

Some days life weighs too heavy on me and I forget that the pressures will eventually pass.  I need to always listen, take the time and be present.  Sometimes we sit and talk about where we have been and what we have gotten through together.  Not to obsess over the hard times, but to recall a few and remember that we moved forward through them together.  Of course, it always fun to laugh about the crazy times.  But it’s also important to think about what you want to do as a couple.  We may never do half of what we talk about but dreaming together is fun and helps to strengthen the bond you have as a couple.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m the last person to be giving advise on anything.  But I notice in myself how easy it is to get caught up in every day life and forget to look for the magic.  Every day is a gift, and I don’t want to take it for granted.

Mike is the first person I want to call with a triumph and the first person I need to talk with when I’m sad.  I have said it before but I’m blessed. I plan to always try to appreciate the little things in life as they are the things that touch our very souls.  Those little things make us better human beings.  We must not take those things for granted, life is way too short!

I’m Not As Smart As I Think. By Lois Hewitt

A lot has happened since my last post.  That job I was disappointed about not getting, I actually got it.  So I have been training and reading.  I am required to know a lot of history for my new position.   For each stage of the job, you get certified by taking a test.  Well, I took my first test last week.  I walked in cocky, like I always do.  Took the test.  I left with crazy ideas about being the first person to get all the questions correct or maybe I That broke some sort of record.  Then I got the call with my results.  They asked when I could come back in and retake the test.  Seems I missed quite a few of the answers.  I returned much humbler than before and still barely passed it.

it’s a funny thing, I have never done anything that made me stand out as a super intellectual or a super athlete, but deep down I’m always just a bit full of myself and it is unwarranted.  I work hard at being humble. It’s not easy!

I got to thinking that is why pridefulness is one of the big seven sins.  It’s so easy to be prideful without much provocation.  It happens to the nicest people as well as the most ruthless.  We, as humans, can so quickly think that we are something that we not. It seems to be part of our make up.

i learned a great lesson.  Don’t think overly of yourself and your abilities.  Don’t seek validation for successes.  Do accept failures and really learn from them.  Do seek to be genuinely humble.  Every time I think I’m “Miss All That”, i generally get knocked down a peg or two.  I don’t want that anymore.  That hurts and I don’t like hurting any longer.

I see the beauty and the grace in a humble spirit and that’s the person I long to be.  Being brazen never really suited me anyway.  I’m so happy I did not pass my test the first time as it made me realize that my priorities were slightly skewed.

Life certainly takes some curvy paths to get you were you need to go.  I guess it’s best to buckle in and enjoy the ride!

Disappointment…A Good Thing?  By Lois Hewitt


The past few days I have been waiting patiently by the phone for a call about a job I wanted.  I waited and I waited, but no call came.  Then this morning I received the “thank you but no thank you” email.  I didn’t get the job.  I had two interviews that I thought went perfectly.  I was charming and witty, or so I thought.  But, apparently, it was not enough.  

I’m very disappointed and can add this experience to my rather long list of things that did not work out the way I had planned.  I was so disappointed that I replied to the email and asked, point blank, what I had done wrong.  I really wasn’t expecting a reply.  I just wanted to say something. 

But I got a reply back stating that the notes from my interviews were very positive and not to be discouraged.  They also pointed me in the direction of other open positions that might be a better fit.  

Quite a while ago I wrote a blog post about all the mistakes and failures I have made in my life.  There have been many!  As I wrote that post, I realized that those outwardly failures were actually blessings in disguise.  I learned more from stumbling and falling than I ever would have if it had all just gone my way.  This morning I realized the same is true of disappointment.  Normally, I would have been upset and cried but this time I am looking at what my next step is.  What do I do now? 

I know, in the past, if things had gone my way that I would have gone down the wrong path.  Maybe that is what would have happened if I had gotten that job I thought I wanted.  Maybe it was the wrong path and now I’m free to go down the correct one. Truthfully, I wish it was easier to know but that takes the mystery out of all of it.

So instead of being upset, I am going to explore other options within the same company and outside it.  I was so certain that I was getting this position that I may have missed a few good ones.

I  feel like I finally learned an epic lesson.  When something doesn’t happen the way you thought it might, it’s not the end of the world.  No.  It’s really a chance to broaden your horizons and look beyond the circumstances to see a much bigger picture!  I’m so excited that my epic journey is finally teaching me real life lessons.  I’m beginning to see the world differently.

Disappointment is going to happen.  I might as well come to terms with it and embrace it.  

A Human Problem by Lois Hewitt

I was just scrolling the MSN homepage.  This is what I saw:

A school shooting, 17 dead.  A six year old boy abused and killed by his older brother.  A teenager stabbed and beaten to death by a man and his girlfriend.   A preschool teacher accused of abuse during nap time.   A young child abused, torchured and killed.  Aid agencies accused of abuse.  A young woman sold into modern day slavery (human trafficking).

That’s just part of the feed for this morning.  First, let me say how sad I am for these victims and their families. I cannot even begin to understand their pain and loss.  I’m mad for them.  I generally try to stay away from these types of subjects.  There are enough opinions out there to go around, but I wanted to say something.  

The media is screaming that guns kill.  From the Internet feed, so do knives and blunt instruments.  How many lives are lost to someone’s bare hands?  I know a person who was almost killed by a tow chain.  Lest not forget how many people die from hit and run accidents or other forms of vehicular incidents.

I am in no way advocating guns or no guns, knives or no knives, cars or no cars.  Seems to me these issues come down to the same common denominator…human beings.  A human has to choose to pull the trigger or grab a knife.  A human decides to kidnap, enslave or kill.  A human chooses to buy a child for unspeakable acts.  Choices were made in every one of these scenarios by a human being.  

We can outlaw guns as well as butter knives and all variety of blunt objects.  But the core problem, in my uneducated opinion, is what can we do about the deprivation of the human spirit.  What has happened to our world that genocide is a sideline on the news.  Why are people so much more violent today?  What has happened to brotherly love?

Just the other day, Mike and I were out for a drive through a park when this menacing truck speeds up behind us. Mike sped up since it was a no passing area but no matter the speed it wasn’t fast enough. When we finally got to a passing location Mike flagged the truck to go past.  The truck passed alright but not before almost running our car off the road.  The driver literally was inches from hitting us and possibly pushing us down a steep hill.  I understand that is not the same as these horrific crimes.  But I can tell you that random type of aggression is very scary.  It seemingly came out of nowhere.  Was it the trucks fault?  No, the driver was the one with intent in their heart.  What can be done about the human condition?

I do not have an answer. I find myself retreating more and more.  I always search for ways to better myself.  I try to be encouraging and positive.  I try to learn from my mistakes.  That’s all fine and good. What do we, as a society, do about those with aggression in their hearts? Do you wake up one morning and decide to hurt someone or is the thought always there in the back of your mind?  

I understand the father who tried to hurt the doctor that abused his daughters.  His thought process was probably the same as another parent in that situation. I cannot understand how someone can hurt a child or another human being?  That thought process is beyond me. 

So, society, what do we do?  How does the human factor/problem get fixed?  I wish everyday that I had an answer. I used to think it was enough to try to make my piece of the world better. But now I see life is like an oil spill. You start out with lots of clean water, then slowly the oil starts to foul some of the water and you think you can keep up.  Then the spill rapidly starts to grow and you realize the oil is going to contaminate all the water and there is no stopping it.  The violence has ramped up.  Even non-violent demonstrations seem to end in violence.

Dare I say this is what happens when humans turn their back on God and His moral compass?  The more ungodly society gets, the more anger and aggression rears it’s ugly head.  Religion has failed society also.  Not God, but religion.  So humans turned to other forms of comfort and instruction.  Those ended up being much more fun anyway.  Bar stools and crack spoons became the new alter in which to worship.  Gluttony, sloth and greed became the new gods to worship.  And the oil spill continues with no resolution in sight.

I’m sorry this isn’t my normal post, but I think we all have to look at the human aspect of these problems not the instruments used, but the human choices that are made. What can be done about that?  I don’t know.  I wish I did.