Category Archives: peace

Getting through…

My friend, Robin, pointed out that I wrote a comment  on a blog post regarding the death of my friend, Derek.   The comment was “Why do people come into our lives if it is only their intention to leave?” She said that comment shredded her, as she often feels the same way.  I tried to back my thoughts up to five years ago, in reflection of why I might have said that.   It was a comment made in the midst of grief, but it is a question for the ages.  Why do people come in, allow us to get attached to them and then, suddenly, they are erased from our lives?  Death, estrangement or just a simple case of growing in different directions.  People that you love just sometimes…go away.

I told her, people come into our lives to teach you lessons.  Lessons that are either great or small.  Everyone has an expiration date in the lives of others.  Whether it is due to physical loss or emotional detachment, we all run our course.  There are friends I needed long ago that I just don’t need any longer.  They were there for their reason at the time.  To support me, to love me, to be by my side while I went through something or for me to be there for them.  People I thought would be in my life forever suddenly vanished.  But, when I look back on it…it was a moment in time that bonded us.  Something we shared.  Something that we related to and we needed each other to figure out the equation.  Once the problem was solved…it was time to move on, for both of us…or just one of us.

But when one is not ready for that sudden absentia, it leaves pain in its wake.

And questions.  Lots and lots of questions.

I am no stranger to loss.  I have lost a great number of people in my life from death.  I have lost a parent.  I have lost a child.  I have lost friends who I thought I could never survive without.  I have lost pets who were like children to me and I grieved them more ferociously and vehemently than I have some actual human family members. 

It’s never an easy process.   Ever.

I have become nearly superstitious when it comes to death.  I won’t let any one leave my house without saying “I love you” before they go.  We could be in the middle of a heated fight…and if they leave my home without a hug or a kind word, my stomach always knots up.  I think, I am going to lose them now.  Now that we parted harshly, those words will be the last words we ever speak to each other.  I think this is because my last words to my friend Derek were “I’ll see you tomorrow…” when he asked me to please come out and hang out with him, and then, tomorrow never came for him.  Or, perhaps because the last words I ever said to my father were “I hate your fucking guts.  I never want to speak to you again.”

Guess what?  I didn’t ever get to speak to him again.  He died a week later.

So, it has become a life mission of mine to make sure that I never part harshly with any one.  I don’t think my heart could take another memory of someone leaving this world with the last thing having been said between us being something cold or hateful.  It’s a huge burden to live with and a bigger one to die with.  I find myself apologizing and justifying constantly to people who no longer walk this earth. 

“You know I didn’t mean that, right, Daddy?”

“I should have come out to see you, Derek.  I should have found a baby sitter.  Maybe you would still be here, if I had.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t kiss you goodbye, Snoop.  I’m sorry I was too busy to kiss you goodbye.”

I keep hoping for validation in a situation where I know I will never get any closure.

Of course my Dad knows I didn’t mean that.  I was a teenager.  19 years old.  I was angry with him because I needed help with something and, in form with the lousy father he was, he didn’t come through for me.  I think now…who really owes whom the apology?  Why aren’t YOU sorry that you didn’t do what I needed you to do for me?  Why was I constantly put in the position of begging you to be my father?  Why am I making myself feel perpetually guilty for saying such a terrible thing to you before you died.  I didn’t kill you.  YOU killed you.  YOU chose to get into a car, loaded up on drugs and alcohol, careening into an oncoming truck, potentially robbing the driver of that car of being a good dad to HIS four children.  He was probably a great dad, just out for the day, driving to or from his job so he could get home to his wife and kids that he valued.  YOU, Dad, were the bad guy in this scenario…so why am I feeling guilty?

Because words spoken cannot be unspoken.  Simply put, you can’t un-ring a bell.

And of course, Derek has forgiven me a million times for not having a baby sitter to go out on other nights.  So why is this one eating me up…getting the best of me?  Because this particular night…he killed himself.  How could I have possibly known that your request for my time was to be spent talking you out of ending your life?  You were a drug addict.  You put those drugs in your body.  You chose to take more than your body could handle.  You died.   I have to continue living knowing that if something would have changed that night, it could have altered the course of your life.  You might still be here. 

Then again, you might not.  And, as I always said, you were dying since the day you were born.

Only this time, you took my heart with you.

Why am I angry with myself, when you chose to make me walk in the pain of losing you over what I will only ever believe could have been “fixed” had I just been there.  Why shouldn’t I be mad at you, Derek, for causing me this never ending grief and turmoil over those last moments?

Why?  Because you’re not here.  I am.  And you can’t blame something that no longer exists.

So, how do you get through the guilt?  You don’t.  No matter how many times people say, “don’t blame yourself”, it’s hard not to.  It’s hard to gloss over the obvious…that the last things you said to these people are what you are going to have to live with.  It’s strange.  Most of us don’t even recall on a day to day basis what the last thing someone said to you was.  But, let that person die…and suddenly, you have no recollection of anything else but that.  I can scarcely remember any other words uttered between Derek and I, or my father and I, save for those last words.

Why do I only dwell on the fact that the day my precious dog, Snoop, passed away, I was too busy with work to give him a little pat on the head before he went to the kennel?  We were leaving for vacation that afternoon…and I was so busy playing catch up, I just yelled out, “Bye Snoops!”   I never got up from my desk to give him a hug and a kiss. 

And now, he’s gone too.

I can flip the switch on this, you know.  I can remember my best friend Norman dying.  I held his hand.  I kissed his lips, dry and cracked as they were, as he lay in a hospital bed while the leukemia ravaged his already small, frail body. He knew I loved him desperately and he said to me, “I’m not afraid, you know.”  I said, “I am.”  He said, “Don’t be.  It will be grand.  Gay pride day in Heaven, can you imagine?”  The vision he conjured in my mind of angels in rainbow wings and gold lame loin cloths made me laugh out loud.  He laughed too, and that laughter is what I remember.  That, and my husband leaning in to kiss him goodbye.  I will always remember those moments when I think of Norman. 

Then, there’s my grandmother.  I can remember stroking my grandmothers hair just a mere few months ago, her telling her that she loved me so much and patting my cheek.  I knew at that moment, I would likely never see her again.  She was so sick.  The dementia and the Alzheimers were eating her mind and body away slowly.   But I was there.  I held her.  She knew she was loved…and she was able to let go.  She usually asks me when I leave, “are you coming back soon?” to which I always reply, “Of course I am, silly.  I love you!”  But this time, she didn’t ask me.  She just smiled at me and went back to sleep.  Maybe she knew she was leaving…maybe I did.  I pulled a flower hair clip from my own hair, and put it in hers. 

Maybe that was our goodbye. I don’t know. 

The mind chooses to remember what it chooses to remember.  Sometimes it is terribly cruel.  Other times, it is graciously merciful. It shames me to say, I barely remember my son, those last moments before I had to hand him away.  I barely remember his face.  I don’t remember the smell of his hair or the feel of his fingers wrapped around mine.  There was no time to remember.  No time to ingrain that moment into my memory.  And, ironically, I find that to be both cruel and merciful. 

So, how do you get through the anniversaries of the deaths of those we love?  How do we stop the self fulfilling prophecy of relegating yourself to a life of wallowing in guilt and anguish for the things we did or did not do while that person was still alive? 

The truth is, we don’t. 

We make mountains out of molehills in our minds.  And, on the opposite end of that, we make molehills out of mountains…just so we can cope.  We have to force ourselves to cope in the best ways we know how.  For some, it helps to allow yourself a day of grief.  It almost feels contrived.  I felt great yesterday.  I will feel great again tomorrow.  But, right now?  Right now all I feel is pain, devastation, anxiety and the ever looming fear that I will add something else I said to that list of regretful final words. 

It’s truly a source of anxiety for me.

The other night, on Facebook, my son wrote a status:

“I don’t think I can deal with this.  Please tell me this isn’t happening again.”

I read it at 3 am and immediately, I flew into panic mode.  To hear your teenager say, “I don’t think I can deal with this…” conjures up every news article we have ever read as parents of teens taking their lives over things that would scarcely disrupt the life of an adult.  I knew from that statement, something had happened between him and his girlfriend.  Did she break up with him?  Did she cheat on him?  Hurt him in some way?  Is he REALLY not able to deal with it?  Am I going to go to bed tonight and wake up in the morning to a phone call that he was found hanging in his closet, a note to his girlfriend on his bed and his Facebook page open to a status that says, “goodbye”?  Sleep was done for me at that point.  It wasn’t going to happen.  I was FAR too afraid that if I go to bed, when I wake up in the morning, I will hear those words that no mother ever, ever, EVER wants to hear.

I’ve already heard them once before.  I couldn’t live through it a second time.

Admittedly, I panicked hard.  I called his fathers house, where he was staying, at 3 am and crying into the phone, begged my ex husband to please, go check on him.  Make sure he’s asleep. Please watch him.  Please keep an eye on him. 

Because in my heart, the terror of “last words” looms large.

It is terrible to be a slave to what if’s and what could be’s.  Yet, I still find myself scared to death of those last words before someone leaves the house, hangs up the phone or walks away from me.  It is my own cross to bear, my own personal problem that I have made into a much bigger monster than it honestly is.  But, when you are living a life that includes a lot of loss, you can’t help but feel that way sometimes.  Especially after a fight with someone. 

So, ridiculous as it may be…I make sure that I tell everyone how much I love them.  It’s really something we should practice any way, the fine art of letting the people in your life know how much they mean to you.  It should not take estrangement or death for those words to finally find their way to your mouth.  It should not take fear.  Instead, it should be part of living.  Nothing is more important in this world than the love we take and the love we make.  Nothing.  Mistakes become regrets very quickly and while I know I can’t walk around 24/7 telling everyone what they mean to me, I can make sure that the people who are in my life daily know how well loved they are…so that if their time should come, or mine…we all can remember that our last words were “I love you”.

They say that there are some things that should just go to the grave with you.

“I love you” should always be one of those things.

song inspiration
“it’s only love. it’s only pain.  it’s only fear that runs through my veins…
it‘s all the things you can’t explain, that make us human.

RIP Derek Wollen, the inspiration for this post…and the pain that accompanies it.
August 25, 1980 – November 15, 2007  i miss you so much.  so, so much.

And to Debra Wollen, who left to find her son on November 24th, 2007. 
A mothers love leads to a mothers death.  i pray you both found each other…and peace.

Focus 52: "Mornings"

I hate mornings.

I detest mornings.  I am an insomniac, so I am all too familiar with the concept of being up at a sunrise.  Every morning, the sun rises, reminding me that for yet another night…I have not slept.  It is torture to me.  I am not the type of person who welcomes the sun with a cup of coffee and a positive attitude.  The sunrise says to me, “you are already several hours behind the pack, girlfriend.”  It says to me that it is now time for me to go to sleep, finally, and waste a good portion of the day.  By the time I wake up again, it will be about 3pm.  Too late to do any thing productive.  Generally, I fall asleep around noon, wake up late afternoon and by then, life has pretty much passed me by.  I resent the morning a great deal.  It bothers me.  And, no sooner did I see the sunrise, then I am waking up with a sunset looming only a mere three hours away. 

I loathe mornings. 

However, the only time I make peace with the morning light is when I am at the beach.  When I am on the beach, I don’t feel so much animosity towards the sunrise.  I appreciate it then…because the water is glimmering.  There are people on the shore, starting their day and admiring the sunshine.  Generally, these people have had a good nights sleep and are happy to see the sunshine…and I look at their faces with great appreciation for what they are feeling.  I know at that point…I can lay a blanket out on the sand, fall asleep under the sun, wake up in the late afternoon as I usually do and feel like I spent the day at the beach doing what everyone else is doing.  Lazing about just soaking in the sun.  It’s okay then, to greet the morning.  It doesn’t mock me so much when I am on the beach.  I don’t feel bad about having an insane sleep schedule.  I don’t hate the fact that I woke up so late in the day, because when you are on the beach…sleeping until the late afternoon is not only acceptable, it’s welcomed.

But, in my daily world…I hate mornings.  They remind me of just how much of my life I am wasting fighting with my body’s internal clock.  And it’s a waste of time.  A complete and utter waste of time.  It makes me feel bad about myself.  I hate feeling that way.  My sleep pattern has been erratic since I am a little girl.  Sometimes, I don’t sleep for two or three days and when I finally do, it is because the sun has risen and said to me…don’t you think it’s time to go to bed? 

And I always agree…and go to bed. 

I feel comfortable at night.  There is something about being awake all night long when most of the world is asleep that brings me comfort.  I can be alone in the silence and it is alright. I don’t have to talk to any one. I don’t have to answer to any one.  I don’t have to get dressed.  I don’t have to wash my face, brush my teeth and go out and run pretend errands that do not exist.  I can just sit quietly in the soft glow of my computer and do my thing.  Read.  Study.  Write letters.  Watch mindless television programs.  My DVR is filled with television programs that air during the daylight hours that I can watch at night.  Sometimes, I do. Sometimes, I don’t.  But at night, everything is my prerogative. 

Besides, everyone knows calories consumed after sunset don’t stay on the body.

I hate mornings.  I hate everything about them. 

And just when I decide to break up with them for good, my husband takes me to the beach and reminds me why it is okay to fall in love all over again.

It’s okay to cheat on a sunset, now and then.

Focus 52: "Cold"

This weeks prompt has had me so frustrated.  Cold.  How on earth do I do “Cold” when I live in Florida and the temperature is a balmy 73 degrees?  Florida has been the hold out in the United States as the ONLY state that did not cooperate during “Snowmageddon 2011”.  Every single other state in the union had snow on the ground except Florida.  Not even a hint of frost in the weeks since the holidays.  Nothing.

So, I search my house for the usual suspects.  My refrigerator?  That’s cold.  Perhaps some sort of artsy photo of my fridge which looks more from the exterior like a photo album? It’s covered in photographs of my kids, my niece and nephews.  My grandkids.  My children.  My husband and myself.  Bleah. Not feeling that idea at all.  A photo of my thermostat set at 68 degrees with the air conditioning on “high” because it is so warm in my house?  My photo cannot convey the feeling of cold like that.  What can I shoot that would convey a feeling of cold?

I go to the bathroom in my barefoot.  It’s freezing on the tile floor.  My legs get goose bumps! Oh, a pic of goosebumpy skin for “cold”!  Alas, by the time I grab my camera, the goosebumps dissipate.  My moment of “cold” is gone.  It IS cold in my house though.  My nipples are rock hard glass cutters right now.  My boobs straining against the fabric of my t-shirt would relay the look of “cold”…but hey, Jan is running a family show on the Focus 52 project, so perhaps a set of high beams pointing south is not the way to go. (However, the photo can be sent to whoever has an interest in seeing it.  Simply fill out an email with “erect nips” in the subject line.  For a meager fee of $9.95, I will forward the photo to you.  I accept PayPal.  I will also be happy to supply you with a receipt for your tax returns.  The desire to look at 44 year old erect nipples would clearly be a charitable gesture and probably would earn you a deduction on your return.  Offer not valid in Canada.  Sorry, Jan. LOL) 

I turn on YouTube for some musical inspiration and listen to one of my favorite songs, “Cold” by Annie Lennox.  Didn’t really inspire much of anything except my desire to listen to the rest of the album, Diva, which is arguably one of the best albums of the 1990’s…or like, ever.  She’s an amazing songstress with the vocal prowess of a thousand lovebirds all cooing in perfect harmony.  However, there is nothing “cold” about this moment and so, my idea of musical inspiration falls flat.  I sit here, staring at the screen…empty as the thoughts in my head.  All roads are leading me no where.  I turn to Google Images and pop “cold” into search bar and hit “I’m Feeling Lucky”.  I get this.  Sure. Leave it to me to find the ONE site on the entire internet that has the word “cold” in it…but is under construction.  Seriously?  Billions of sites with the word “cold” in it and I manage to find the one site that is as barren as a woman’s womb post hysterectomy.  Great.  So, I do it again, only this time…I hit “Images”.  It suggests: Are you looking for “cold sores”?  Um, no.  No, Google, I am not and if I were…I most assuredly would have found them during my stint as a single woman back in the 80’s because, well…it was the 80’s.  Think “free love” during the 60’s…only with neon colors, shoulder pads and replace the pot with cocaine.  I politely decline the offer of cold sores and hit Images again…with just plain, old fashioned, herpe-less “cold” in the search bar.  I am presented with this picture:

which is awesome and all because A) it’s true and B) it takes you to the artists site who drew the above picture which is the infamous Natalie Dee of Toothpaste for Dinner.  And, in what can only be described as Six Degrees of Separation/Kevin Bacon style…Natalie Dee is the artist who drew the little princess that adorns my header, sidebar and all the comments I leave for you people.  The irony is just too much to wrap my head around.

The internet is a strange and wonderful little paradise of coincidences and extraordinary occurrences, is it not?

It is at this point that I give up.  I will have to just take the stupid refrigerator picture that I thought of earlier and just be done with it.  Nothing else is coming into my head at this point.  I’m tired, it’s 6:45 in the morning and it is friggin’ freezing in this house.  I leave my office, shutting the light off behind me.  I have to wake up my son for school in about 20 minutes so to go lay down in my bed right now would be the equivalent of foreplay without orgasm.  It would feel good for about a minute but then, I would have to leave before sleep comes and frankly, that’s just a damn tease.  As I am walking down the hall, I circle back and decide to just check in on my sleeping son.  And…there it was.  My picture!  The moment!

I run back into my office and grab my camera to take a shot of this:

My baby boy. All bundled up in his comforter, pulled up to his neck…because he is, wait for it…wait for it…

COLD.

Is it genius? No.  A masterpiece? Not by a long shot.  But, what it IS is real.  A precious, non-pretentious, non-staged moment in time that gave me a heart warming picture to share with all of you.  When our babies become teenagers, it is rare that we have a moment of peace with them.  It’s always something, somewhere, somehow.  They are too busy to slow down to talk to you…or, when they want to finally say something, of course it is always at the same moment that now, YOU are too busy to slow down to talk to them.  But, when they are sleeping, time stops.  You are transported to a time when you held the cards, you had the power, you called all the shots.  You fed them, you bathed them, you dressed them and then, that wonderful moment where you laid them down to sleep for the night.  How peaceful they looked.  How quiet and sweet when their big teenage gaping maw is not blathering on and on in your ear, on the phone, in front of the television or with the stereo playing way too loud…despite the fact they have headphones on.

Right now, at this moment…he is my little boy.  And he is cold.

I put another blanket over him.  Tousle his moppy brown curls, now tiger striped with peroxide orange streaks from his latest teenage whimsical decision to bleach his hair and plant a kiss on the top of his head.  In 5 more minutes, I will be waking him up for school.  He will be a moody, agitated, annoyed teenager again and I will be the screeching banshee standing over him caterwauling “YOU’RE GONNA MISS THE BUS…GET UP!!!”

But shhhh…because right now, he’s still my little angel baby…all wrapped up, snuggled and content.  And suddenly, this really cold house feels warm again…right along with my heart.

When Religion and Tradition Collide…

I truly believe that most Christians do not have a clue about the origin of their religion. More over, I believe that most of them do not even remotely understand that Christmas has nothing at all to do with the birth of Christ. And Santa? Good old Santa has nothing at all to do with the Christian version of Christmas whatsoever. So, when a conversation like the following takes place, I often try to gently inform and educate while trying to understand that, no matter what I say, someone who has been made to understand one thing since they were a child is not likely to change their opinion regardless of how much sense someone else makes.

I had the following conversation on Facebook the other day and was curious what Blogger would think of it. Apparently, “Person A” was upset because of a recent ruling in Florida stating that all Christmas signs/decorations would not be adorning the toll booths along the highway, as has always been done in the past, because when Halloween decorations were put up this past October, many people complained that they were “offended” by them. They were offended because the decorations pushed the Pagan holiday of Halloween and it was an affront to those who are devout Christians.

NOTE: Names are redacted to protect the idiocy identity of the player involved. Also, random comments that contributed nothing to the main idea of the conversation were deleted in the interest of saving space.

Person A: I’m tired of hearing that people are offended about the word CHRISTMAS & when someone says MERRY CHRISTMAS to them! Well guess what, “TOUGH SHIT”, I don’t hear you complaining when you go on CHRISTMAS break or have OFF from work for this wonderful day. If you are offended–TO FRIGGEN BAD– I have to be sensitive to all your holidays, then be RESPECTFUL of MINE! MERRY CHRISTMAS, MERRY CHRISTMAS, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Friend of Person A: That’s awesome! You took the words right out of my mouth!

Person A: Thanks (Friend), I can’t take all the credit, my awesome cousin said it first but it is exactly what I was thinking!! Forget political correctness, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

CP: I get that…but then, you have to give equal time to ALL religions. There was no Happy Channukah signs up this past season either. That’s disrespectful to me…if you are going to just do Xmas but not MY holiday. I exist. I pay taxes just like you do…why does my holiday not matter? LOL I’m just kidding. I actually don’t care. People say merry xmas to me all the time and then I usually shoot back with Happy Hannukah to them. It makes people laugh. I put up a tree every year and call it a Hannukah bush. Truthfully, the safest thing to do so as not to offend is to place a sign that says “happy holidays” and leave it at that so whiny bitches don’t get all up in arms over it. However, it seems to me that most find “Happy Holidays” equally as offensive, like there is some secret crusade or conspiracy to eradicate Christmas which is ridiculous and untrue.

The Halloween thing, though…that was another story. And, to clarify, it was Christians and Catholics who did all the complaining! They were angry that a Pagan ritual based “holiday” was being shoved in their faces. So basically, all the people who celebrate xmas sort of shot themselves in the foot now with all the halloween complaining. LOL They did it to themselves.

Person A: I’m personally tired of tip toeing around, all this pc stuff is ridiculous! If I offend you with Merry Christmas then don’t say anything or say Happy whatever back! My holiday, what I grew up with was CHRISTMAS, I’m catholic and believe in the MAGIC of CHRISTMAS!! I have no problem going to the mall and seeing a dreidel or a Menorah and now even the kenorah, it does not offend me so why should a “CHRISTMAS TREE”, Santa or other Christmas symbols offend others, it’s just plain old crap!

CP: But that was my point. I’m a Jew, as you know. I don’t find “Merry Christmas” to be offensive. Not at all. My family has Catholics and Christians in it as well. However, it is important to realize that the people who complained about the Halloween decorations were the people who made it so that Xmas decorations are now offensive to others. Unfortunately, the people who complained about Halloween were devout Catholics and Christians who were angry about a Pagan holiday being shoved in their face. So, you see…if they hadn’t gotten offended over someone ELSE’S holiday, they would have their decorations up now for their own! It wasn’t Jews or Muslims who did this, Hon. It was YOUR OWN PEOPLE! I’m not trying to be offensive here or even attempting to point fingers, but what happened at the toll booths was done by hypocrites (which I am NOT NOT NOT accusing Catholics/Christians of being). What I am saying is that people who did not think about the big picture ended up cutting off their own nose to spite their face. They rallied against someone else’s holiday (Halloween) with such fervor that now their own politics are getting tossed back at them. That’s what happened here in Florida. As for why others find Christmas symbols offensive? I have no idea. But then again, I’m still trying to figure out how Santa has anything at all to do with the birth of Christ. Santa was born out of, coincidentally and oddly enough, Paganism…which makes all this entirely too ironic. LOL

Person A: So you are saying that the people who complained about the Halloween decorations are the reason that we can’t have Christmas (not Xmas please) decorations now? That makes no sense.

CP: Sure it does. The newspaper clearly stated that it was the Catholic Coalition for Keeping Christ in Christmas were the ones that sent the threatening letters to the Florida Highway Patrol regarding the Halloween decor on the toll booths being offensive. So, in order to please everyone, they made the only decision they really could make, which was to opt out of decorations altogether. It seemed like the appropriate decision to me. Kind of like kindergarten mentality. If you all can’t play nicely together, no one gets to play at all. It’s unfortunate but because of the radical behavior of some, no one gets holiday decorations now. Frankly, I don’t understand why there would be a specific holiday put on the toll booths ever. Happy Holidays is more than sufficient and easily runs the gamut of holidays between October and the New Year.

Person A: Ya but this is the Christmas season. Everyone celebrates the Christmas season even if they aren’t religious. Its a tradition thing not a religious thing.

CP: I disagree. There are about 4 other holidays that take place during the month of December that I can think of. There is Hannukah, the Muslim New Year, Kwanzaa, Christmas and probably a few more that I am not even aware of. Merry Christmas does not acknowledge those other religions at all. Second, Christmas decor would consist of Santa, reindeer, elves, etc. which are all steeped in Pagan tradition and originate via Pagan mythology. It was the fact that Florida state chose to use the Pagan originated holiday of Halloween to complain about in the first place. But now that we are discussing Christmas, they want Pagan symbolism to hang freely? That makes very little sense to me. Further, why only Christmas trees, Santas and the specific phrase of “Merry Christmas”? Why not menorah’s and kinara’s as well? Why wasn’t there a big banner across the booths that said “Happy Hannukah” during that week? It’s completely unfair to only acknowledge one religion during a holiday season that consists of more than just that one holiday. This is why a simple “Happy Holidays” banner would have been sufficient. My personal opinion is that NO holiday acknowledgment is warranted due to the fact that there should be separation between church and state. Those toll booths are paid for by MY tax dollars as well as yours. If we are going to reflect one religion, then all should be given equal time…but since the toll booths are run by state and federal government agencies, religious holiday acknowledgment in any form is inappropriate to begin with. So, my initial assessment stands. If the Catholic and Christian organizations who boycotted the toll booths at Halloween had thought about what they were doing…I mean, really thought their actions through, then they would have realized the simple fact that they did, indeed, do this to themselves. State government just opted to take the path of least resistance, which is to do away with the decorations altogether.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is where the conversation ended. I was “defriended” shortly after this. I gave her a few days to cool down and then wrote her a note telling her that I absolutely was not trying to offend her nor be offensive. She accepted my apology (though, I still don’t know exactly why I felt I should apologize. However, she is someone my daughter is associated with and I didn’t want to make things bizarre between she and my daughter) and continued to state that she felt I was mocking her religious beliefs. Now, I could have opened a brand new, fresh can of worms by telling her that the decorations in question have absolutely nothing to do with the religious aspect of what Christmas represents. I suppose that’s another story for another day. I shall save that one for the inevitable Easter vs. Passover debate.

What’s your take on the situation? Are you part of the “Leave Christ in Christmas” brigade that is easily offended when someone writes “Xmas”? Are you a “Happy Holidays” kind of person or do you feel the need to retaliate with a stern “Jesus is the reason for the season” reply to any who say that to you? Do you think that most people understand the origins of Christmas and/or Hannukah well enough to know that what I was saying was not necessarily offensive so much as it was an attempt to educate?

One thing that continues to make sense to me is the fact that after all this time, Jesus still has not come back. I mean, would you want to come back only to answer all these ridiculous theological and religious questions? I know I wouldn’t. He’s probably sitting back on some island somewhere, taking in the sun with a cold beer in one hand and the good book in the other saying “No shit. Really? Did I do that? I don’t remember saying THAT. Who wrote this crap? It had to be Luke. Maybe Matthew. No, wait. Paul. This has Paul written all over it, that damn prankster. When I get my hands on that little bitch, I am going to give him a piece of my mind, Dad dammit.”