Attack of the needy people

This is an unscheduled post.

The letter copied below from Carolyn Hax’s column for today just blew me away, as pertinent to current posts on the topic of presence.  A lifestyle of presence is very much out of synch with contemporary American culture, and is seen by those who don’t understand it as selfish and irresponsible.  The letter I’m quoting here epitomizes what’s likely to happen when you “keep the focus on you” and “mind your own business” — and deal with others who have no intention of doing either one.
Continue reading Attack of the needy people

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Taylor Hayes

Police find car sought in child’s slaying; no arrests yet

August 9, 2018.

Here is Baltimore’s latest atrocity.

The murder occurred 07/05/18.  The above article is dated 07/20/18.

We’ll see if the situation is unchanged as of the date this post appears.

August 17, 2018:

Easily breakable

(Originally posted 08/25/12 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Reblogged 05/07/14.)

06/25/12 I had to buy another flash drive.

I was downloading the music for The William Tell Show. I backed up the .mp3 files by attaching them to e-mails to myself. Problem: some files, such as the first movement of Tchaikovski’s violin concerto, exceed 25 MB and can’t be attached to a Yahoo! e-mail. What to do? Get another flash drive, to back up just those files.

My current flash drive consisted of an aluminum sleeve wrapped around a flat plastic stick. The stick had the USB contacts at one end, and the other end was shaped into a hook. By moving the sleeve back and forth, you could either expose the USB contacts for use, or hide them and expose the hook, to clip the drive onto, say, a key ring for storage.

The clerk offered me a different kind, with no hook or loop or anything that would let me attach it to something for storage. I don’t want to carry the drive around loose in my pocket or bag. So I asked for another like the one I already have. She said people have had trouble with those because “they’re easily breakable.” She said the staff at the Public Computer Center had seen this so much that they asked for the new kind instead.

I smiled and said nothing.

The drives aren’t easily breakable. Rather, some people easily break them.

Continue reading Easily breakable

Victory in Jesus

This concept has puzzled me.  It’s prominent in a number of the hymns they make us sing in chapel at the shelter,[1] but no one explains it or preaches on it.  There is no Wikipedia page about it.

The chapel presenters seem to think that victory over sin and death pertains to what happens at the end of life, in that the real or born-again Christian goes to heaven instead of hell.  That’s not it.  It pertains instead to how one faces this life from day to day; as will be seen.

It appears that a doctrine of Christian victory as I shall explain it below was popular in some circles in the early 20th century, but has somehow been eclipsed by a now-more-prevalent view; as follows.  God has a plan (It says.), and the born-again or real Christian has access to that plan through prayer.  If prayer fails to bring clear direction, one should wait till such direction comes.  “Wait on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14), “and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6).  Under no circumstances should one “lean unto one’s own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

Thus the real or born-again Christian need never take risks in life and need never face disappointment.  Consistent with this view, some say disappointment comes only from sin; one has deviated from God’s plan.  And risk-taking or taking initiatives is, itself, sin.

Hogwash.

Christian victory accepts instead that one faces inevitable difficulties in life, but says that by God’s grace one can take them all in stride.   “Weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).  “A righteous man falls seven times, but gets up again” (Proverbs 24:16).  In this way, it’s not that much different from what I call the Way of Peace, or from Stoicism.

Victory over sin and death, in this view, is like this:  every time one finds oneself in the midst of shattered dreams, it is a kind of death; every time one accepts the love of God and so gets back on one’s feet, it is a resurrection.

That’s victory in Jesus.

[1]Notably:
– “Victory in Jesus”
– “In the Name of Jesus”
– “Victory is Mine”
– “When We All Get to Heaven”

 

Job search status: Pep talk

(Originally posted 12/26/12 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Reblogged 05/07/14.)

A week ago today I had a highly successful interview at a dollar store. There may be one obstacle that, if it’s there, cannot be overcome; but if it’s not there, I’ll have to take a drug test and go for a second interview at which the actual job offer will be made. In the days since, there have been some communications glitches. Meanwhile, time goes on.

This morning in my last five minutes at Lenny’s, I prayed about this, reflecting on (1) my disappointment to have had no word so far and (2) the path by which I got here.

I just completed a two-month “job readiness” program … not as if I needed any program to make me “ready” for a job, but this one is unique in that while one is taking classes, they have scouts hunting down specific job opportunities that well match each candidate. That is the big factor I see missing for most people in the big picture.

Was the class a waste of time? Continue reading Job search status: Pep talk

Take things in stride

A runner’s “stride” has two factors.  First is the distance between steps — from where the toe of one foot hits the ground on one step, to where the toe of the other foot hits the ground on the next step.  The second factor is the number of steps she or he takes per minute.  Ideally, both factors are constant, so that the runner maintains a steady speed.

Sometimes an obstacle or interruption may come up in the runner’s path, that he or she will step in or on unless some adjustments are made.  Could be a hole in the ground or a pile of doo-doo.  In this case, the runner may shorten or lengthen one step in order to avoid stepping on the thing, and correspondingly lengthen or shorten the next step, so that overall her or his speed doesn’t change.  This is “taking things in stride.”  One can do the same with the obstacles or interruptions of life.

The afternoon of Tuesday, June 12, became a comedy of “What else can possibly go wrong?”

My Medicaid had got cut off because they required proof of income, and the only proofs I thought I had weren’t acceptable.  I dreaded accessing their website because it’s impossible to navigate and never gives me enough information.  I dreaded phoning them, because the person’s voice is always so faint on the other end of the line, I can’t hear the person.  I found out that various centers are available where one can get in-person help.  I found one nearby.  They operate by appointment only.

So, to make that phone call, I went in the big plastic grocery bag where I keep about half my things, to the place where I normally keep my phone (off, to save battery).  It wasn’t there.

I had carelessly left it on top of the table earlier in the day, and a specific passerby took it.

So I had to go replace it, in order to make that phone call.

Online I found a T-Mobile store at Lombard and Light Streets, and in due course I went there.  They had a $75 phone on display, but the clerk told me it wasn’t in stock; that one was for display only.  He said the other store, at Harborplace, had it in stock.

Half a mile distant.  So I went there.  The manager said the $75 phone wasn’t in stock, but she could give me a special deal on a different one for $100.  So I took that.

By the time she finished what she had to do, it had become pretty urgent that I get back to the shelter, if I was to get a bottom bunk (preferred) or any bunk whatsoever — and not get turned away and have to shell out for a hotel room for the night.

Something else suddenly became more urgent, however:  I needed to sit down in the bathroom.

So I finished at the store, asked where was the nearest men’s room, go did the necessary there (very messy), and set my sights on a fast trip to the shelter.

When the strap on my plastic bag broke.

Fortunately, I had an identical bag rolled up in my backpack, and was able to put all my things into that.

And, as it happens, wound up getting a bottom bunk.

Hours later, though physically worn out, I found myself in high spirits — because I had taken things in stride.

Related:  Previous post, same title:  Take things in stride

Job search update, 05/05/14

Positions applied to in April 2014:

Administrative Secretary – Johns Hopkins University – Req. No. 60760
Secretary II – Salvation Army – Pos. No. 179010
Administrative Secretary – Johns Hopkins University Welch Center – Req. No. 60914
Casual dining busperson – Horseshoe Casino
Countroom representative – Horseshoe Casino
Kitchen worker – Horseshoe Casino
Steakhouse busperson – Horseshoe Casino
Steward – Horseshoe Casino
Valet cashier – Horseshoe Casino
Administrative Assistant – Service Corporation International

Tuesday, 04/29/14. Disliking the fact that I’m dependent is the exact opposite of wanting to become independent. By virtue of attention as gravity, the former is actually likely to keep me dependent. It also just plain feels bad, and diverts the energies I need to do the latter. Being happy, in contrast, will make life easier for me and the men around me.

Monday night in the line going up from the basement to supper, we passed the laundry room, and this guy working there called hi to me, and then said, “He’s always happy.” On the one hand, if he only knew. On the other hand, if that’s indeed how I come off to people, that’s a blessing.

To everyone.

(Originally posted 05/05/14.)