Saturday, September 26, 2015

What I have learned in the last month

The weeks have flown by for me. It is nearly October and still muggy and warm here. We are still harvesting from the garden, but the fall vegetables are in and summer plants are just about done.

I have been involved with the group that is dealing with race relations in the aftermath of the Emanuel 12 atrocity (although 9 people were murdered, there were 3 others who survived but were traumatized).  We have regular discussions at lunch once a week, and I hosted another evening event at a restaurant.  Next week, I invited the City Police officers to join us to discuss how to improve relations between the police and the community.

It has been an interesting and enlightening time.  I have met men from the Nation of Islam and have heard about their views on how all white people are "devils".  It is hard to deny our violent past when it comes to Native and African Americans. However, I am also becoming a student of world history in which I realize that so many atrocities have been and are being committed by asians and africans too. Looking at history, the worst mass killings have been done by Asians. Ghenkis Khan: 40,000,000 people in the 13th century, all over Asia and Europe; Mao Zedong: 40,000,000 as well between 1949 -1976. He had people worship him as a god. They thought he was immortal. What a surprise when he died. World War II was also 40,000,000 -- and Japanese people are a significant part of the reason for that number -- both as instigators and as victims.

Certainly, in Africa, tribal wars have been occurring since we became Homo sapiens. However, because they were relatively small and within a smaller area, these are not well known. We DO know that in modern day, post-colonial African, some of the most savage wars known to man have occurred: The Biafran War (1966-70) -- 1,000,000 dead. The nightmare that was the Rwandan War -- within 4 months, the Tutsis had killed 800,00 of their fellow citizens, the Hutus. The horror in Liberia, where tens of thousands of people now live with only one hand: punishment if they wouldn't join the rebel army. The hellish Boko Haran, currently operating in Nigeria. The terrors of South Sudan, now spilling over into Ethiopia (primarily the Muslims killing the Christians). And let's not forget the Middle Easterners: Saddam Hussein -- 1,000,000; Ghadaffi -- probably nearly the same number. And the amount of TORTURE beyond comprehension by the instigators of most of these mass murderers is, unfortunately, well-documented. There is NO single "good" race. So what I have learned is we ALL have the potential for good... and, unfortunately, for evil...

And then I have been involved in more Al-Anon service work at the area (state) level.  That has been an eye opener. I know that we all have character defects, but let me tell you, getting involved in service work on committees at the state level has brought me to a whole new level of understanding.  I keep telling myself: Principles above personalities.  And I stay out of the fray when the emails go flying back and forth with unkind things being written.  I took on a task and am focusing on that, rather than on getting into a pissing contest.  But I can tell you that I have no further aspirations to do further service work higher up than the District.

And so when I feel my serenity slipping away, I take a short vacation on the boat. I returned a couple of days ago from a relaxing time on her.  I go off the grid, read and reflect.  And when I return, I feel ready to get back into this other life I lead in which I deal with people.

This time when I returned I listened to Pope Francis.  And let me tell you, if I were inclined to be religious, I believe that this man could convert me.  To me, he is a transformative person who is kind, compassionate, and, well--Holy. His humility is to be emulated. What a contrast between Papa and the political candidates we have thrust on us through the news media! I found myself in tears listening to Pope Francis.  He is a genuine person of goodness to me.

In other goings on, I continue to ride and enjoy my horse.  He is going to the dressage regional championships which will be a real treat.  I am going as his groom and support team--LOL.  Perhaps within the next six months, I will be showing him too.  The main thing is that we have a great bond. Even my wife loves him.  She has little experience with horses but her visits to see him, bearing gifts of carrots, are filled with joy.  He licks her and she kisses him. What more can a horse want?

Hope that you are all doing well.  I am way out of date with comments on your blogs. Living the life to the fullest here.  And I will catch up soon with each of you. Until then....


  1. Oh, Syd! It is so good to hear from you again!
    I admire your good works so much. And your dedication to life and that which you love.

  2. It appears retirement is good for you.

    There are so many that are grateful and should be that you didn't disappear into the sunset upon your retirement. You are doing good things for many my friend. Yours is wisdom that should be shared.

  3. What an awesome post. Exactly what I needed to read this morning. I was asked to be our group rep and I really couldn't stomach the idea because of the very things you just described. I have seen that "sh*t" go on in churches, and I don't think I could handle having my Alanon tainted for me. I NEED my program and I have limited emotional resources. I live with active addiction churning away around my life daily....I don't have the energy for the pride and people who are there because their boyfriend from 15 years ago, who has long since left their lives, was an alcoholic and they think that they hold the market on advice about letting go and working their program.
    Look! You got me going! LOL
    I was looking for information on cross talk and advice giving during meetings (because I am the secretary and we have this issue pop up regularly lately) and when I googled it, posts that you wrote came up! I loved that! I thought I could copy them and bring them in and say, "My friend Syd says....." LOL Of course no. Because you aren't CAL...although you could be!
    And the pope.....yes. Humility, kindness, fearlessness, and love. Its a beautiful thing.

  4. Enlightning post. Your stats worth noting, have a good change of season.

  5. Beautiful horse!

    I have to say, it heartens me to know someone like you is involved in those discussions.

  6. Last first--The pope is a master politician--he weighed in strongly on some American political issues of the day AFTER he left and was on the plane ride home. Religious freedom for anyone that agrees with catholic dogma and everyone who disagrees is just a punk. he lost my vote for the Nobel. white man speak with fork tongue.

    Ahh yes the nation of Islam as born right here--You do understand that breaking away from the White Devil doctrine is what got Malcolm X first banned from preaching and ultimately killed right. I know all the sins of White America, but as you said Syd people are going to be people--yest it is true most mass murderers and serial killers are white but most gun deaths are black on black violence committed between family or friends. No one is guilt free.

    what we are seeing is the result of all the national and state cuts to healthcare.

    You are a fortunate man Syd, you spent your time in a hell of your own making now rest a bit and spend your time being kind and in the heaven you worked so hard to find.

    Be Well

  7. Syd your comments are so true -- I hated the racism of Ian Smith's white minority rule in the Zimbabwe of my childhood but Mugabe's violence and ruthlessness is another kind of horror. It is important for white people to unlearn racism and understand the blind spots conferred by privilege, but the essentialist idealising of other groups based on skin colour or a history of oppression is just a flawed illusion.

  8.'ve packed a lot into this entry Syd. I concur with most of it but I must say that I am mystified by the secret visit that the County Clerk who would not legalize marriage certificates between gays had with the Pope. It doesn't seem to follow with all the rest of his visit and I'm afraid that all the religious fanatics will now use that as an excuse to follow their own ideas of the "will of THEIR God" (whoever that may be) and go against what is legal.
    On another subject I tried years ago to do some Service Rep. work for AA on the State level and couldn't take it. I do my service work on our local Intergroup and we have a good, steady and loving group. That is how it should be !!


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.