Monday, January 31, 2011
Sharing What We Have Plenty Of To Make Things More Fair
I am letting my shoulders down out of my ears and drinking my espresso as the sun starts its slide towards the horizon. It is almost agonizingly beautiful here this afternoon and it never did rain except for a few drops here and there and I neither went to Tallahassee nor mopped my floors but instead went to Monticello with Lily and Owen. Lily had a deer-sausage-related errand to run and I had left my script at the Opera House and needed to pick it up and we had lunch at Tupelo's while we were there. And truthfully, it's been a lovely day and now Lily and Owen are on their way home to see the new floors that Daddy Jason is laying and Mr. Moon is on his way to Orlando for business and I...
Here I am.
I was thinking this morning about Greta Garbo and how she is known for saying, "I just want to be alone," or perhaps, more accurately, "I just vant to be alone," and how the older I get, the more I feel that way too. Of course, not really. Not all the time, by any means, but I am a person who damn well needs some time alone or I go crazy.
Short trip, as Mr. Moon would say.
And that feels so selfish sometimes but it is what it is and the bottom line is, if I don't get alone time, the people around me are not going to be happy to be around me. Or not so much.
I feel like a very selfish person a lot of the time. And I probably am. No doubt about it. But I know that I do for others as I would have them do unto me, for the most part, and I try to be a good person and I don't even know why except that I do believe that most of us do try to be good people which brings me to something else I've been thinking about all afternoon which is a blog post that my friend Terry wrote today. The post is entitled "It's Not Fair...." and by golly, it's a good one. I am rather amazed at how fully-formed Terry's writing is, coming out of the shoot, as it were. She's just recently started blogging and I love her plain talk about family and being a woman and a member of her community and life and death, and today's post hit me especially where it counts and it's about how life just is not fair and although this was not exactly her point, it seems to me that one of our functions as compassionate human beings is to try to make whatever we can while we are here a little more fair.
This is something that a lot of right-wing thinkers obviously do not believe. There was a letter in our paper this morning written by a guy who is so damn het-up about how the dirty Democrats want the rich to pay more in taxes than the poor and how it's not even MORAL and he quoted Jefferson in that "all men are created equal" to prove a point and I'm not sure what it was and he ended by saying, "It is fundamentally wrong to take money from producers, under threat, and give that money to nonproducers without the owner's permission. Charity is not a function of government, but of society."
You know, I get so sick of this kind of talk. I'm sorry but so many Republicans sound like big ol' rich babies whining that everyone is trying to take their toys away from them. Their hard-earned toys. When in fact we all know that the rich do not get taxed in the same ways as the middle-class and can afford accountants and lawyers who can find loopholes the size of a gnat's eye and stretch them out big enough for a camel to pass through, thus ensuring that they get taxed even less.
Yeah, yeah. I'm a bleeding heart liberal and I do believe that part of the government's function is to protect those who, although they may have been created equal, certainly did not arrive here as such. LIFE AIN'T FAIR and quoting Jefferson is not going to make it so.
I always have hated the phrase There's two types of people on this earth... but you know, maybe there are.
Those who think that life should be fair and fight with all of their might to make sure that the fairness comes down on their side and those who think that life should be fair, recognize that it isn't, and try to make it a little more so.
And as Terry pointed out so wisely, there are so many ways to do that. Paying taxes is one, of course. Volunteering is another. Donating to causes and charities are also ways. And taking care of friends and family who are suffering the unfairness of age or illness or one of the many unexpected events which can arise without fair warning to any of us, is another way.
And thinking about good-deed-doing in such a light gives a new perspective on the whole subject for me. Here I am, blessed beyond belief with plenty. Plenty to eat, plenty of warm, dry space to live in. Plenty of good health. Plenty of family. Plenty of friends. Plenty of joy. Plenty of LOVE. Shit- has anyone in history ever been this blessed?
Yeah. Maybe. But maybe not.
Plenty. I love that word. So much better than enough because plenty hints at a tiny bit more than enough. And enough is fine, but isn't plenty better?
Back in 1974 the Farm Commune which was led by the ex-Marine, hippie, acid-takin', dope-smokin' teacher named Stephen Gaskin started an organization to help others called Plenty and it's still kicking, I think, even though the commune is now a community but I love the way they got their name. Their feeling at the time was that if everyone lived a sort of voluntary peasant lifestyle, there would be plenty on this earth for everyone.
Well, you know, starry-eyed hippies and all that stuff.
But it's true. There would be plenty if all of us lived closer to the bone. Took care of what was necessary and didn't need so much stuff.
Well, humans are humans and most of us are going to try to live a far richer lifestyle than that of a voluntary peasant and it's practically the American creed to try and accumulate as much as we can and to enjoy the fruits of our labors and not feel guilty about what we have because we earned it and we deserve it and oh... You know. We have a creed of greed but I think that while many of us live this way, we sense that there is a deep unfairness to this philosophy. Deep in our hearts we know that even if we did work hard to accumulate what we have, others work just as hard or harder and cannot manage to accumulate enough to pay the light bill or buy decent food due to a myriad of reasons beyond their control. And that in all fairness, we, who have plenty should do something, something to try and make things a little more fair.
And that something may have nothing whatsoever to do with money. It may well have to do with time. Or a smile. Or being gentle to a stranger when it is obvious that they are in distress. A word sent, an ear offered, a shoulder, an arm. There are so many ways to make things more fair. Life is never, ever going to be entirely fair. No way, no how. But every one of us has the ability to reach out to others in some way to offer a bit of whatever we have plenty of to someone else who does not.
Doesn't the Bible speak of the widow's mite and how that small bit given is as honored by God as a rich man's great tithe?
We're all going to die and none of us is going to take anything with us. Not money, not fame, not beautiful shoes or appliances. And there is nothing wrong with seeking those things. It is human nature to want, to desire, to need. But for those of us who have accumulated plenty of something, whether money or love, it seems to me that sharing it while we are here in some way, to ensure a little more fairness on this earth, is a lovely thing and that trying to hold on without sharing to what we have with grasping fingers is not fair even to ourselves.
Because there is something in us that wants life to be fair. So we can either rail against the fact that it is not or we can do a little something about it.
I choose to do the latter. Not as much as I should, I'm sure, but as much as I can, being the sort of person who loves to be alone, to stay at home.
Thank-you, Terry, for writing that post today. It was perfect and you probably said all that needed to be said on the subject but I just had to write down what my thoughts on the subject were from my perspective.
Life ain't fair. Or as I used to tell my kids, "There's no fair in town today." But we can do what we can to make it a little fairer.
Which may, perhaps, be the true meaning of life. Or not.
I don't know. I'm making this shit up as I go along.
Thanks for coming with me. And share with me what you think.
It's only fair. And isn't that a nice thing?
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I'm off to read Terry's post, and thank you for pointing us her way! What you've said reminds me a bit of what Wallace Shawn spoke of last week when I went to hear him at UCLA. He spoke about Republicans'/conservative's refrain of not wanting the government to take back my money that I earned and give it away to people less deserving. It seems so simple to realize that no one really "earns" money, and particularly not those who earn millions and millions. And that no one makes all that money "on their own." The whole American notion of the "self-made" man is an illusion, he said, in so many words.ReplyDelete
This was like a big warm hug to me today, another bleeding heart liberal, as it were. Thank you. I have missed you but perhaps now that January is coming to a close I will get out of my slump/depression/whatever you want to call it and be better company. I have missed you. and thank you for your kind thoughts about Owen. I can say here, where my real life people won't see it, that I am one scared, scared mama bear.ReplyDelete
I propose we all just open our eyes and give a little something...ReplyDelete
not even enough to make us uncomfortable. Just whatever comes to mind when we get the nudge...but who really cares what I think except for me!!!
I love you dearly!
I wonder how many of those folks who are so upset about the gummint taking away their money ever sit down and give thanks for their own abundance?ReplyDelete
For the plenty in their lives?
I got to think that gratitude for all we're given might make our hearts a bit less stingy and grabby and flinty and mean.
It seems to work for me.
Anyway, I'm glad your in this world.
Elizabeth- And he is exactly right.ReplyDelete
Kori- It's going to be okay. We all go through these scares, us Mama bears. I promise.
Terry Joy- I agree. Another thing Stephen Gaskin said was that when we look at a situation and wonder where God is, we need to remember that we are God's eyes, and we are the ones seeing what is needed. I care what you think. A lot.
Tearful- I don't think those guys spend much time at all being grateful for what they have. I think they're too busy trying to figure out how to get more and how to keep what they have which makes their hearts beat cold in their chests.
I'm glad you're in this world, too. Gives me a sense of it's-going-to-be-okay and there's not a whole lot of that.
I wonder what life would be like if life was fair. What would people war over? Would wars end? People like to fight too much....what would we fightReplyDelete
""I just want to be alone," or perhaps, more accurately, "I just vant to be alone," and how the older I get, the more I feel that way too. Of course, not really. Not all the time, by any means, but I am a person who damn well needs some time alone or I go crazy."ReplyDelete
Oh how I know exactly what you mean. I'm a 50% person myself: 50% alone time, 50% with-others time. If I get that balance buggered up, it's all over rover for everyone concerned.
I just reckon it's great that people can admit that they need alone time. There's a social stigma to admitting this, but there shouldn't be.
So cheers to your honesty, Ms Moon.
Rebecca- We'll never know.ReplyDelete
Nigel- It is odd, isn't it, that wanting to be alone is looked at with some distrust? Oh well. Too fucking bad.
Wonderful post, it touched me deeply. The selfish-ness struggle is something that I am constantly reminding myself and my other wonderful woman friends that it is completely okay to take care of yourself. We have all seen that breakdown occur when we do not. The thing about being a woman/mother/all the other things that go along with it is that no one can take care of us the way that we can.ReplyDelete
Plenty- I like that word too, Perhaps if everyone shared who had plenty with those that do not, then everyone would have at least "enough"....(sigh) only wishful thinking I know.
Nice post, love. Well said.ReplyDelete
As someone who in recent years has paid more than her fair share of taxes (not because I'm rich, but because I'm the dwindling fucked-over middle class), I'm all for a flat tax--a percentage that everybody pays (with no loopholes), as long as they make a certain amount of money.
The rich assholes aggravate the piss out of me.
I agree with you. Plenty and redistribution and bleeding heart liberal. That's just the way I roll. And I need to find a way to say that fair thing in Dutch to my kids because they drive me crazy with "That's not fair!"ReplyDelete
Thank you for this post. Couldn't agree more.ReplyDelete
I won't get started on my political beliefs here but will just say that we are in alignment like the sun and moon with its pull on earth. We all need to give what we can to help each other. Volunteering and helping in our communities to make things a little better is a wonderful thing.ReplyDelete
Wonderful! I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses. Youve got a design here thats not too flashy, but makes a statement as big as what youre saying.ReplyDelete
Thank you for this!ReplyDelete
Pamela- Well, you reached back into the vault! And you are welcome!ReplyDelete