Blog entry by Jim Hurst
Just as a statement of my feelings and views on equal rights:
As a believer in God, and Jesus as my Savior, I am a Christian. I have a Bible to read and study, which means I pray for enlightenment and understanding. I don't understand as much about the Bible and His teachings and Jesus' life on earth as I want to - or maybe should, but I understand more now than I did.
I also feel that I am on the earth, dealing with everyday things and trying to live a life around many, many others of many, many beliefs and non-beliefs. But I am not OF the earth... or more succinctly, OF earthly ways. Yes, I was born to my physical life here and reside here. I enjoy many things here and I agree with some things and disagree with others. I am not required to believe any way, don't have to accept all walks of life, I can have my own views and make my own choices - most of them anyway. I am thankful for that.
I don't agree with many - don't have to, and many don't agree with me - don't have to. That's fine. I am not afraid of other walks of life, and I have learned to accept many other ways of life as what will be. This means my way is the only way - for me... that doesn't mean my way is the only way for anyone else.
I feel that equal rights should apply for all who live here, at least those not trying to harm anyone else. Just because I don't agree with things doesn't make it correct that I try to stifle or squelch them, or the people that live differently than I. Seems hypocritical to me, to desire freedom - unbridled freedom - for my life and lifestyle but refuse to allow that same quality of freedom for those who live differently than I.
Criminals of any sort should be handled accordingly, and their freedoms altered. That's what allows freedom for law-abiding citizens to remain intact.
In my belief, I can and do hold the Bible as my guide, Jesus as my Savior, and God as the only God. I have that right and I will not waiver. My understanding will grow and grow as I get closer to Heaven, and closer to Him. It's written in the Bible that not all will heed the Word, not all will accept Jesus as their Savior, and some will perish. As a Christian I don't recall being required to alter that statement by convincing all of my friends and enemies to believe as I do. But I do feel that I am to be a Child of God, and a sheep in the flock of the Shepherd. Sheep of the Shepherd. Not the Shepherd. Following Him, and praying for His guidance, not do His work nor be self-assured of His will.
Due to my ignorance, I admit that I have made statements that have offended others which I regret. I have been offended by others as well. I often seem to pray for forgiveness and guidance for my transgressions and improvement, and for others’ too... I guess I always will. I know I will.
So, I guess what I am saying is equal rights on this earth, specifically in this country is either equal or it isn't. Equal rights doesn't mean I have to accept them or agree with others' use of rights nor do they have to agree with mine. As long as I get my rights along with others getting theirs, then it's equal rights.
I have lived long enough to have witnessed many hateful, separative, bigoted, and other unfair things, to which some or most were supported with so-called Christians who were preaching that those positions and mindsets were just and right. And I cannot go along with it, Jesus didn't do such, he didn't separate or look down on anyone. Yes, He was special and one of a kind, but He was teaching love and equality - all the while being treated unfairly and unjust - sometimes by pompous religious figures.
I can barely tolerate the inequities of this country and world as I guess we all have to, but I pray for a better place. I pray for a better us.
I pray for a better me.
Blog entry by Jim Hurst
What causes one to make the decision to say yes?
No, not for marriage or accepting a promotion, or affirming a friend’s instincts. Some yes answers seem to be a no-brainer, even if it is serious contemplation that precedes that decision.
I’m speaking of saying yes to trying something that has a high probability of causing pain, or struggle, or the dangerous possibility it could alter one’s life… permanently.
I have some friends and family that are dealing with substance abuse, alcoholism, drug use, and other non-productive things, and in most cases it appears that they are no longer who they once were. In a couple cases, the reason for the situation started off as innocent happenings that became a huge burden, including prescription meds gone awry. Victims of a bad hand dealt. Others, though, are in the depths of struggles they find themselves after making a YES decision.
Trying a drug, when seemingly to me there is ample information and studies, case histories, and terrible end results that say overwhelmingly that it is a mistake to even try – even once, is a BAD idea. Why would someone decide to say yes to the option?
Someone offers a line of cocaine… a needle of heroin… high powered prescription meds… on and on, and the choices are yes or no. Accept or refuse. Health or – death. How can anyone decide yes? Yes??
I have lost family members and friends to their saying yes to alcohol, drugs, smoking, etc. And I have family and friends who are suffering with ongoing struggles with these issues and more. Gambling, infidelity, etc. Why yes?
Why on earth, choose yes?
OK, I am not infallible nor am I perfect. I have trouble making correct decisions about menial things, important things, and vital things. And yes, some decisions have caused me some pain. But we all have that without connecting them with dangerous activity and experiences. Whether or not to buy a white car or black car seems like an easy choice for some, but after you take possession you find that you can never keep them looking clean. Dirt shows up more on those two colors than any other, to me. We all make those kinds of decisions that turned out a little differently than we imagined.
It breaks my heart to see so many dealing with the horrors of substance abuse. Intervention seems to be at an all time high, complications leading to ill health are debilitating, and deaths by overdose or severe mental anguish seem to be higher and higher. Once one starts down the road to these types of adventures it seems to end in bad ways… sometimes the worst way. I miss some folks now because of their saying yes.
I wish there was some way we could be beside those faced with this decision so that we could at least have an opportunity to fight for the healthier choice, and help push away whatever it is that allows one to follow that dreaded path. There are a couple people near and dear to me that I worry about while they deal with the ramifications of that yes answer. And a couple more that I miss dearly because of the same answer.
As a believer in God, and a saved Christian because of my belief that Jesus died for my sins and arose for my salvation, I have Him to go to in prayer when in times of struggle and disappointment. I am so thankful I have Him as a friend. But, I don’t expect others to believe as I do. I don’t expect everyone to believe, period. I encourage anyone to search for Him.
In closing, I also urge you – anyone facing a yes or no answer to any question like the things I’ve mentioned above or anything similar – to say NO. Say NO now, and think about your answer for a period of time. At least 24 hours, but as long as you can. Time is a good thing, but so is asking folks you respect and care about what they think. As uncool and out of style it may be, talking to parents is more than likely a good thing. Find a pastor, priest, a counselor… anyone except the one(s) offering or asking the question.
My hope is you never see it as a good thing to say yes.
OK, one more point of contention maybe... I don't know if I'll ever learn.
I travel up and down the highways and byways of this great nation and I truly enjoy it, and like that it is part of my career. Eddie Adcock has said (loose quote here) that musicians get paid for booking the gig, arranging travel, rehearsing, buying and maintaining instruments, sleeping and eating in some pretty amazing places (good amazing AND bad amazing), and schlepping gear in an out of the venues/truck, and then find the promoter/club owner/event producer to get paid... and the music is the 'coffee breaks'. Good points, Eddie.
What I am continually amazed at, and I'll try to keep this short and impersonal as I can, is the seemingly common attitude that folks only need to show-up to work in order to get paid. Show up, not necessarily DO anything. And this seems to becoming more and more prevalent in society.
Case in point: Breakfast this morning. I drove almost 900 miles back from TX yesterday and this morning. It was a good drive - I am not complaining... I love it. So around 5:00am, I thought I'd stop somewhere for breakfast and coffee, somewhere like a diner or mom and pop restaurant, but neither could be found by me (nor YELP on my iPhone), so I settled -reluctantly- on a somewhat famous place in the south. You can find one on just about any corner, their colors are yellow and grease with a tinge of old cigarette smoke, and the name rhymes with 'awful douse'.
Eww! you say. I usually do too, but it was early, it was the only thing around that was open, I was tired, and all I wanted was some breakfast FOOD.
So, I walk in and said 'good morning' and they said it back to me. Cool. No, I mean cool in terms of unenthusiastic. I went to the necessary room to wash up, and then went out and sat down at a booth. Here's where it all goes south... pardon the pun.
Waitress, not very friendly, mutters something that sounded like "can I get you something"? So I order: "eggs over medium but make sure the whites are cooked, ham, hash browns 'scattered', white toast, a side-order or raisin-toast, coffee and water". She asks "How do you want your eggs?" I repeat my egg request. "White toast"? she asks. I said "Yes, AND a side order of raisin toast". "You want anything in your hash browns"? she asks, to which I reply "No, just scattered". She seemed to have it, my order straight, I mean.
So I look around the place and one half of the restaurant is fairly empty, only myself at one booth, and one of the cooks at another booth behind me taking a break. The other half is being taken care of by the other wait person, a waiter. So, I reckon I am the only customer this waitress has. But, there are tables in 'my' side of the place and/or 'her area', which has dirty dishes and other untidy looking aspects. "Oh goodie" I say under my breath.
She placed my order (here, this is customarily done by standing within 3 feet of the cook and yelling), and then went outside for a smoke. After the 'break' she came in and walked over and sat down with the cook who was on break. The cook who cooked my food delivered my food to my table, acting as a waiter. A couple things were incorrect with my order, so I informed him. He apologized and made the corrections, and re-delivered the order. Waitress is still sitting and chatting with the cook who was on break.
Several minutes pass and finally she sneaks up behind me and almost yells at me "You want somemore coffee? "Yes", I said after almost choking on my food. She brings coffee, and refills my cup. This took a good 2-3 minutes, which is amazing because she only had to walk 4ft to the 'hole' in the counter, turn left about 3ft, grab the pot, and back track.
She then returned the pot, then walked outside for another smoke break. In the meantime, the cook who was on break went back to work. I don't know when she actually returned to work because she was still out there when I left. I finished eating, drank my coffee, checked my e-mail and FB, and paid the bill before I actually left. And, I left my dishes on the table... maybe she expects me to clean it up for her. Additionally, there were a few folks out there smoking with her, and I overheard her complaing about some co-workers that weren't really doing their jobs very well. Hmmm.
And, she probably expects to get paid. And, probably expects a tip. And, probably would be shocked to get fired.
End thoughts: I would guess her to be late 20's early 30's. Didn't appear to be very clean, and like most of us, is overweight... by a good portion. Her co-workers were busy, the waiter on the other end of the place had his section looking good, customers seemed happy, and I never saw him sit down or take a break... to smoke or not.
Any of you folks who are food service folks, listen up. I will pay a tip when my needs are met. Just because I am a customer and and being waited on doesn't automatically earn you a tip. I have the standard 15-20% on my mind when I decide to eat where someone will be waiting on me, but I can and do adjust that percentage accordingly depending on service and food and other aspects of my experience. If you are good at your job and my needs and requests are met (common requests and needs), I will tip, and tip very well sometimes. I actually paid a girl $20 on a $10 bill because she worked her tail off in a restaurant full of folks - some of which were rude and mean. Judy and I felt like she deserved more than that but that's all we had. But, if you are not good at that profession, don't expect me to pay you for not doing your job. 'nuff said.
I haven't eaten in one of these places in a LONG time, and I have my reasons. I should really follow my own parameters more closely, more often.
What was I thinking? (Rhetorical....)
I hope, though, that we don't forget to think, to love, to share REAL 'face time', and that technology doesn't cause us to become dependent on it to the point of becoming stressed when the electricity goes down, so that we can actually feed ourselves and get from one place to another without it.
We'll do fine, the transition is ever-changing and we must follow along. But, let's not forget the most important things in life: Love, Peace, Family and Friends and Neighbors, Tolerance, Respect, Manners, Sharing, Giving, Unselfishness, and Hope... and many more. Technology didn't bring these. It wasn't part of the creative process that made them available, nor made them vital. It isn't needed for these virtues and human aspects to exist and coexist. I hope it won't do these human traits any permanent or long-lasting damage.
Just because we are able to utter and type foul language, and we live in a time when we can do such in so many ways, doesn't automatically mean we should. Couth and class, taste and politeness, and being respectful should be the first neurons and photons that fire to keep us cordial and allow us all to share the planet.
I asked both my paternal Grandmother and my mother what they thought of the things they've witnessed in changes to the way we live throughout their lifetimes, and their answers were positive and hopeful, appreciate and thankful. They remembered how hard life was, how hard they had to work for each day's events and everyday existence, and how important Love was. Is.
No matter how great technology is, or how astoundingly it becomes more and more able to make our lives even easier and more convenient than it is today, Love is not included. Batteries are usually included these days, but not respect, or class, or manners, or all the other important human traits that make us smile in more important ways.
So, maybe my thought of the day should be LOVE.
But, Technology is wonderful, so "Technology, with LOVE", it is.
I love technology. It allows us to do so much more and be connected in so many ways. I am connected with folks all over the world and a few folks have gotten to know me and my musical efforts, as well as my likes and dislikes and some of my personal feelings, simply because of technology. Wow. Who'd a thunk it?
Back when I was born (sometime after hammer, chisels, and stone, or berry juice and sticks, or fire and blankets, or horses and saddlebags, etc. were used to leave and/or send messages) there was no TV in our home, but we did have radios that didn't work easily - nor bring in very many stations. Stoves and space heaters and open windows (folks used to know how to open some windows more than others to create a 'draft' for air movement, there was no central heat or air conditioning), and that was the technology that provided comfort and entertainment and it was they way we lived. I never dreamed I'd be able to do all the things I can do now.
We (all of us) enjoy conveniences and gadgets that help, or better - allow - us to live the way we do now. I am not an ancient creature (not yet anyway - no comments from the peanut gallery), but I have lived a good half of my life already. It is amazing: I can call anywhere in the world, pretty much from anywhere in the world, on a hand-held device I carry with me. I can check the weather, book rooms, answer e-mail, check Facebook pages and my website, transfer money from one Swiss bank account to one in the Caymans (yeah, right), keep up on who's trying to keep up with me, and Facetime with my granddaughter. I can find out anything about anything... and I am made aware of so much I really don't care to know about.
Communication is in a gazillion forms (and I just spell checked gazillion) and we can drive from point A to point B, to point Z without needing a map. I feel like I am so much more advanced in so many ways, but yet I still feel inept.
Just knowing that our granddaughter won't even know what life is like with a wired telephone, or toys that didn't make noise - but she'll be accustomed to toys that call her by her name and ask her to sing along with them as they dance, is mind boggling.
It is an amazing life we have available to us. Technology. Wow.
I am often inspired to be like my wife, she works on sharing 'please, thank you, and you're welcome' with our granddaughter. Some of her toys do similarly, but coming from a loving person seems to us be the way it should be. Technology will teach her and challenge her, and other young folks, and will probably be more of a challenge to older adults. But we all can benefit and learn from this, and we can use it to our benefit and advantage. (Cont'd)