Sunday, April 28, 2013

On Giving Service

Today we had a discussion in Sunday school on sharing our goods and helping others. Per usual, we had the same old comments stating that we should give money to panhandlers.  If the panhandlers use the money for booze or drugs, then they are the people sinning. We can have a clean conscience knowing we were charitable.  We also had the same old comments about not judging.

Probably I make Scrooge look like chairman of the Red Cross, but earlier in the lesson we read a scripture about stewardship.  I thought we were stewards over the property we acquire.  So if we are wise stewards, we give our money to anyone who asks without using our brains or having any information about the situation we are attempting to improve with cash?  I kept my mouth shut for as long as I could, and then noted aloud that we were operating under the assumption that giving people things was helping them.  I'm not sure that we always are helping them.

I'm not convinced that to buzz over and clean an able bodied person's filthy house anytime the person requests free maid service is a wonderful act for them or us.  I question whether encouraging panhandling by passing out cash is really helping the panhandler or the community.  I especially question this knowing that panhandlers often conduct this activity while working for a panhandler "pimp," so to speak, who gets a large percentage of the earnings.  Someone once told me that God gave us our brains for a reason.  He gave us our hearts for a reason too.  We need both of these assets. I believe we are stewards over the material things we have been given. I know we need to be kind, share, and serve.  But I wonder if our mindless, inappropriate help will be judged any better that our selfish withholding of our material goods.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Truck

One day, Wilbur’s staid 2002 Ford 550 Dump truck decided it was tired of being ordinary.  Maybe we weren’t giving this large, red truck enough attention.  Although, we made numerous repairs, (including two new transmissions) changed oil, and kept it filled with fuel among other things, this mundane maintenance did not fulfill the truck’s need to feel important.   To remedy this situation it caught on fire in front of Mike’s house.  Mike is our job foreman.

After the fire, the truck needed massive repairs, to the tune of $12,000.  Like the robot struck by lightening in the movie Short Circuit, the fire changed our sober, dependable truck’s personality.  It became mischievous and quixotic.  Wilbur and employees would drive the truck to a destination, only to have it refuse to start when they wanted to leave.  The worst trick our truck pulled was to stall in the MacDonald’s drive through and refuse to start again for about a half hour.  For some reason, MacDonald’s did not find this amusing.  The drive in management wondered if they could push the truck out of the way.   Pushing a 1 ½ ton truck loaded with 8000 lbs out of the way…..  Where is Superman when you need him?

For four or five months, the truck was in and out of the repair shop like a yo yo.  One part after another was replaced to no avail.  We paid bill after bill. Finally a team of mechanics attacked the problem and the truck pronounced healed.  So far, the truck starts when it’s supposed to, and we have received another bill.  What I am wondering is, would it make sense to pay the bill with a check that bounces? 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Quilting Class

I finally finished my quilt that I made for my quilting class.  Photographs never seem to do a quilt justice.  The quilt, especially the colors, look better in person.

Realistically Speaking

I attended a baby shower yesterday and learned that realism is now the trend in baby shower games.

Evidently, subjects a new mother might discuss with the nurse following delivery should now be incorporated into a party game.  According to the game leader, this was OK because we were being realistic.  Heck, I thought, if we’re being realistic why not dispense with the party games altogether?  The person in charge of games could borrow a movie from an institution that educates nurses and we could watch a delivery.  There’s realism for you.

I should have seen the new realism trend coming I suppose.  Several years ago I attended a baby shower where the hostess made a game of putting canned baby food into a diaper and having guests try to guess the kind of baby food ( e.g. peas, spinach etc.)  by smelling it.

Sorry for my weak stomach, but I thought the game was disgusting and not at all what I want to think about when I get together with friends.  I also thought it was low class.

My upbringing had limitations, but I am glad to be able to say that I learned that many times there is a difference between a subject a person might discuss in a one-to-one conversation with a trusted confidant and something that should be brought up before a public group, many of them strangers. 

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Strong Views

Not too long ago, I discovered some letters my Dad wrote my Mom during WWII.  One of the letters written by my father, normally a quiet man, surprised me. My Dad had a very placid demeanor,  but he held strong political beliefs.  He was firm about what he expected.  All he had to do was look at my siblings and I, and we would toe the line.  You didn't want to tell him he was wrong about anything. But I guess no one likes to be told he is wrong. Mostly Dad was a Democrat.  His father's family fought for the South in the Civil War.  That side of the family was the most vocal politically, so I guess it was natural he would adopt those politics.  Although, Dad would be appalled at the position the Democrats take on social issues if he were alive now.  I remember Dad commenting that people living together was  disgusting.  He said, "I don't know why women let men get away with that."

Being of a calm disposition, Dad let a lot of things people said or did slide by. Since he didn't join the church until I was nine, I don't know if he had a more tolerant view of people's conduct that my Mom did, or if he just wasn't vocal about his opinions. He didn't believe in getting riled up unless it was something he thought was important.
He knew who he was and what he stood for.  Below is a transcript of a letter he wrote Mom from the Molucca Islands, July 24, 1945.  In the letter he expressed himself forcefully about something he felt strongly about:

     "Went to the show tonight and afterward to the club and had a couple of cokes.  Didn't care much for the show.  It was "Laddie Son of Lassie" and was in technicolor but it was to far fetched to suit me.
     In the combat camera picture they showed us some scenes from some of the German Concentration Camps.  Things to horrible to even think about.  I never dreamed that anyone could fall to such a low level of degradation.  I don't like to think about such depravity.
     Guess this isn't much of a letter sweetheart but such things rather get me down.  All I can say is that they should be shown no leniency whatever and after knowing what bestiality they are capable of if we ever let them get in a position to repeat their atrocities we will deserve anything that happens to us."

Here's to keeping the commandments. I want to be worth all the sacrifices Dad and other men and women made, so we could be free.

Article that Made Sense to Me

Balancing Truth and Tolerance, Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, February 2013, p. 24.