We All Live By Faith!

Which way is right-which way is wrong?

We all live by faith. The difference lies only in the object of our faith. Even the atheist has faith in what he does or does not believe. Faith is not the property of those who choose a God; Faith is the property of any choice that does not reveal its hope until completion of the journey. Such exercise belongs to every man.

"Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference" Robert Frost.

The implications of these closing lines in the immortal "The road not taken" leaves us knowing that life consist of directions. We are not always endowed with what is necessary to determine which road is right, which is wrong or which is simply different. Confronted with roads unknown, or where they go, leaves us in the precarious position of choosing. Why one chooses this fork or the other, matters little to anyone other than the one who must live out its final implication; It is enough to choose and face such consequences as we will, along the way. It is not ours to analyze the why, in someones else's choosing, because the price they pay does not come to bare upon the fork we choose ourselves. It is ours, as are both, the burden and the destination from it.

So I write today, of that which I have said, I would not write. That I preface what follows with the burden that choice imposes upon our lives, is tribute to the human spirit, to the price paid exclusively by the executor of such a burden. So I write of God, of those who travel that road and of those who travel another road. In the context of choosing, only audacity and arrogance would seek to appoint such road to one who chooses for himself, otherwise. At this point they are simply different and the end of our journey will disclose the benefit, if any, of that difference. Obviously, each road is endowed with peril and destination all its own, but it is at the end of our journey, that the road, taken so long before, will reveal the price levied upon our life. Until then, each journey belongs to the feet and soul of travelers moving toward the end of days.

Obviously, each traveler faces a constant horizon, believing the road which disappears in such glorious light, is the appropriate road. There is a map in the mind of every man, written of thought, of calculation, of an inner spirit, under assistance of an invisible compass, which determines his direction and it is unmoved by argument or ridicule. His map and his compass is of his choosing and does not direct my way, as my map does not direct his way. I would, that every man, share a similar compass, but, in the end, it may only prove that my compass led us all in the wrong direction. And the same, should we all choose to follow the compass of any other.

The road before me personally, is paved in the teachings of Christianity. Obviously, I believe it is the right direction. If I believed any less, then I would embellish the notion that foolishness directs my follow and you then, would have every right for reason to rain down and find me suspect. The end of my journey will either reveal the authenticity of my pursuit, or, I will never know that it did not. Either way, it is my journey, along with its inherent burden and the inevitable consequence, which will come to bare upon my choosing.

It is here, where I could share, age old dispositions, from philosophers and scholars that come to decorate, both ancient and contemporary discourse and consequently, I might validate my position. Wiser men than you and I, have given all, in the exercise of finding fault or treasure with such position. They have done so with honesty and fairness and the matter remains unsettled, but, for where it lies in the souls of every one of us. In my years of study, independent research, years as a philosophy major and then on to my studies in theology, I have drenched myself in every proposed and opposed argument under the sun. As noted in Ecclesiastes, "there is nothing new under the sun." There is simply the same merry-go-round of perpetual arguments dressed in new clothes and proposed in new ink.

Then, why do I write, if not to enlist from persuasion the collection of the undecided? Because I can no more choose for any other than they can choose for me. I am more concerned with the divisiveness which comes to separate us into sides, into teams, into ideologies which paint the chosen and the un-chosen. Men who unfurl their banners and wave them about in ridicule and arrogance because they presuppose that the enlightened should do the choosing that God, himself, declines. There is a misplaced pride that comes along with choosing teams. The Christian does not have such luxury and yet, pride does not discriminate between believers or unbelievers, but truth be told, there isn't anything for which we should be proud of. We are, who we are by grace and by grace alone. We have done nothing to earn distinction. If anything, we fail to execute the longing of who we wish to be, defined, by the tablet written on our hearts. So, we bathe in His unfathomable forgiveness and grace. In its glow, we move about as His disciples thinking that we are worthy of telling the watching world, why we are right and they are wrong. We would do better to examine the kingdoms we build within. before launching the acquisition of another.

Neither is our failure evidence that God does not exist, any more than love's failures are evidence that love does not exist. It merely means that both men and love, fail in the execution of what they profess, as do men of every creed.

It would be difficult to defend the historical atrocities of faith or church and I have neither the inclination nor the want to make such an absurd effort. I would however, say the same of man, of his governments, of his nations or of his individual enterprise. Man has inflicted the poverty of menace and "ill will" on his fellow man since his introduction to community and without hope that it shall ever end. This nation, which we dearly love and rightly defend, has demons of its own and has contributed to injustices which will mark its long and noble history. We neither excuse, nor defend its wrongs, but, neither do we execute Her legitimacy because of them. The institution of family is revered and celebrated, yet, they are riddled with every kind of perverse ill under the sun and we do not strip them of authenticity. Man himself struggles to endure the encroachment of evil upon his individual faculty and yet, we hold that he is good, that he errs and that perfection eludes us all, individually and collectively.

These portraits of our short comings paint a truth which is inescapable; we are but earthen vessel, holding each, some measure of good and bad. The truth of Christianity does not rise or fall in the failed executions of its proponents, it merely displays the difficulty of trying to rise above our own sufficiency. I do not follow Christ because He makes me a better man than my neighbor, but, so that I may secure the forgiveness of my failure.

Which ever road we choose, will not spare the cup from which we all must drink. That man is an insufficient testimony to whichever ideology he chooses does not discount the reality of his journey. It only proves that each of us would like to be, so much better than we are able to be. That is the ground in which every man is planted. It is good ground, but, good ground does not always produce good harvest.

The church may not serve as the evidence of God's existence, but its failures do not diminish His existence anymore than a bad cook diminishes the existence of good food. Every faith that propels the heart, when measured by our living, will fail the standard hoisted by the tenants of that faith. We are simply not good enough to be the good we want to be.

We are a bundle of conflicting thoughts, of competing emotions and stubborn demons, which haunt the very struggle to be at peace with ourselves and with that which confronts our daily lives. If there is, in the end, proof of wrong or right, it is reserved in the finding for those who reach their end of days. Until then, every one of us walks in the faith of the road we chose. We walk in with the responsibility of that choice and the consequences will belong to us and us alone. The journey itself, is the difficult search for the destination that calls us forward. In that struggle we are all the same.

In conclusion to the thing I said I would not write about, we must find a way to speak without the insistence that "our road" is the only acceptable conclusion to our conversation. If God Himself left open roads and gave us liberty to choose, then who am I to close a road, that He Himself left open? If argument was His instrument of choice, He would whisper, the earth would tremble and we would all surrender.

It is a long road, littered with too much argument and to much anger. I rather think a more peaceful road, without such constant interference, might be more conducive to meeting God along the way. Then again, so long a road will in the end, prove nothing to those we leave behind. Until someone returns with proof of what lies ahead, argument will remain an exercise used to impress each other, but only of what we think we know. In either case, both roads will prove the same in this; We each take roads, I went left and you went right. Whatever's next is yours or mine alone.

Comments 56 comments

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Magnificent - and so meaingful to me today - and many other days, for that matter. But I thought along with it almost as though it were I writing it, or at least I knowing what the writer means to convey. What high excellence for a writer.

Thank you for writing it - and making it a gripping, readable road to follow along, thinking into every word and nuance - and now carrying them along for further thinking.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

ps - thank you for your recommendation. I'm honored!


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

To the point ending. Well expressed for something you weren't going to write about.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Thank you Nellieanna! I try to stay away from subjects which invite debate, but, try as I may, somes things beg redress.There is such passion involved with all religion and that is good, but, sometimes passion overwhelms the ear.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

(:


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Hi Kathleen! Thank you. Honestly, thought much about deleting it after writing.I write about a cease fire, which, I suspect even now, finds both armies loading guns.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Arb, this is such a thoughtful and well executed piece. I don't see how anyone could find fault with it except zealots who want to herd people along on whatever path the zealot champions. A cease fire would be a good thing, but you are probably right in your comment about "both armies loading guns."

Many roads are open and each must choose his own. I'm glad we both inhabit Oregon. It seems to be a bit more tolerant of differnt points of view than many parts of our own country.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Xstatic, I appreciate your thoughtful comment. I am in an very conservative environment and yet, it is as you say, more tolerant than many places I have been. Sometimes we fail to remember, the cause we champion is never the issue, it is always how, we champion the cause. Take care neighbor!


Sphinxs Sanctum profile image

Sphinxs Sanctum 4 years ago from Southern United States

This is such an open-minded piece lending no harsh judgment, that I cannot find reason for anyone to start loading their guns. Then again, man is quite susceptible to being very unreasonable.

I too thought of writing a similar work today after seeing the great many hubs devoted to argument of similar topic & the distasteful comments that followed them. But, I'm so pleased that you got to it first, for it is much better & holds Far more wisdom than I could impart.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Hi Sphinxs, What a lovely compliment. It was my unavoidable escape from the slew of repetitive arguments posted all over hub pages, which finally moved me to write something. It won't matter, but, my lid is blown which will relieve my inner boil. Thanks.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

This is such an excellent hub premise and discussion, I hardly need to add anything, but here goes. . .

I avoid known hot-kegs in choosing my own subjects, too, and steer clear of others' when it's obviously loaded that way. I'm far from cowardly with ideas and opinions, but I genuinely respect differing ones and their right to differ and I respect wisdom and intelligent restraint.

When people either just ARE cantankerous and loaded with vitriol which they fully intend to fire freely; - or if they have gotten caught up in such discussions which fuel their worst latent reactions, there's hardly any mileage whatsoever in trying to introduce a tone of quiet reason and peaceful discussion with respect for all into their midst. The best one can do is to simply demonstrate one's message - and it probably is contradicted by any active participation in such situations.

In fact, it counteracts a message of sensible, peaceful, intelligent working together to work it out a disservice to get involved in those stews in which it can gain no meaningful foothold. It's a poor demonstration of that message to plunge into a furious fray, where one must become aggressive, too, in order even to be seen or heard and then either keep accelerating the passion/anger or else then back down and out when the obvious hopelessness out-demonstrates one's own better intentions, which the others are geared to do. That demonstrates lack of conviction and belief in what one hoped to show.

The old idea of trying to be kind & gentle to that stubborn donkey, - but first to kick it hard "to get its attention'" - is actually counter-productive, IMHO. For one thing, a donkey can kick harder and has the unimpeded mind to do it when provoked. :-)


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Hi Nellieanna, My attempts to avoid such subjects, has failed me, as of late. The repetitive arguments are fruitless and although I think some are written with well meaning and good intention, the serpent always finds the apple, knowing innocence will eventually lite upon it. I despise the argument most of all, because they lack the the fruit from the rules of logic and instead, employ instance upon instance of personal experience, which is then, suppose to validate their suppositions. It isn't passion which launches their position, it is winning the argument. What a waste of given moments.

Anyway, I suspect you have been busy with all that is unfolding and getting all giddy about the prospects. I pray they are all you hope for them to be. I am off to Costco for a few things which will give way to things I did not come for. It is not my wife, I am the culprit, like a child at the candy counter. Randy wants to get handcuffs, which at first, raised my brow, but, she says if my hands are locked around the push cart, we would save a fortune. How am I supposed to have garage sales if I don't buy stuff I don't need?


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Yes - those factors are a shameful waste of good life. Unilateral personal perspective is no proof or validation even of suppositions gathered from the same kind of non-reasoning. But those factors may be even less wasteful than the use (or the sinking into) of employing personal attacks about things having nothing even remotely to do with issues at hand, or attempts to 'win' by intimidating or discrediting the other persons with nothing more than personal emphatic opinions, ignoring fact and logic and even the rules of engagement. Oh well. Good thing I'm not in Congress. Those tactics seem to thrive there; - or at least they seen ti thrive among those vying for those positions.

You're sending me off to bed early, laughing at your shopping habits. I'm remembering other times and places with similar mixed objectives at play in the grocery stores. (no, not involving handcuffs, rascal.) hahaha.

Good night. :-)


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Good Morning to you. It is my turn for wonderful news, but, I can't divulge it yet, No I will send you an email.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I'm so happy for you!!!


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Good morning and welcome home! I think you and I are experiencing blessing which goes beyond coincidence these days. It is a treat to watch good fortune unfold for one another. Looking forward to where our journey's take us in the coming year!


Gerg profile image

Gerg 4 years ago from California

It is so refreshing to read someone who speaks with such an authentic and sage voice: "we fail to execute the longing of who we wish to be, defined, by the tablet written on our hearts. So, we bathe in His unfathomable forgiveness and grace. In its glow, we move about as His disciples worthy of telling the watching world, why we are right and they are wrong. We would do better to examine the kingdoms we build within. before launching the acquisition of another."

Very nicely expressed, arb ~

G


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Really appreciate your comment G. It was with trepedation that I ventured into such a passionate subject.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

Compassionate discourse on a subject far too inflammatory in the minds of many--

"There is a misplaced pride that comes along with choosing teams."

I find too often that zeal leads to a lack of compassion and empathy--I commend you for your understanding and the gift you extend of both---


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Good evening, Alan. This is the third time I have read (the first two times I was pressed for time and this is not an essay to be read or pondered quickly) your soulful and eloquent plea that we recognize that we will not "know which road was right," until we "know" and that arguing and judging each other now is now is both pointless and destructive.

The entire essay is elegant and very well written, but I always feel this need to tease out my favorite lines, phrases, words... "Until then, each journey belongs to the feet and soul of travelers moving toward the end of days." I am not sure why, but I am always drawn to the phrase "end of days." It speaks to something deep within me.

"Neither is our failure evidence that God does not exist, any more than love's failures are evidence that love does not exist. It merely means that both men and love, fail in the execution of what they profess, as do men of every creed." Such a profound truth and we forget it so often.

" The church is not the evidence of God. It is if anything, evidence of our need for Him. His followers are not evidence of God, they are evidence of our collective failures. Government is not evidence of democracy. It is evidence of our need for it and family is not the evidence of unity. It is evidence of our need of it."

There are occasional passages in your writing that are so strongly evocative of C.S. Lewis (whom I esteem highly). I don't know if its because your writing style is similar or if it is because you struggle ( grapple might be better) with some of the same spiritual concepts and come to similar conclusions.

"If argument was His instrument of choice, He would whisper, the earth would tremble and we would all surrender."

How do I explain this? I simply read it over and over, close my eyes, and let it settle in my spirit. Thank you for taking up your pen to address that which you said you wouldn't. Theresa


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

I came back to read Theresa's comment and reread the piece you wrote, Alan. The death yesterday of Nora Ephron, Docmo's extremely moving Hub today of death from a physician's point of view, all left me pensive and wanting to read this again. It gets even better the second or third time.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

The irony is, although I stuggle to stay away from the subject, there is nothing which I would rather write about. It does, however, evoke from both sides, such passion that there is never anywhere to agree. I must say though, I expected a rough outing from my fellow Christians. I was delighted that it did not come. Thanks Theresa for such encouraging remarks on a piece especially dear to me. The lines you note move me the same. You always wonder when writing, will this stir someone else the same? Thanks for confirming for me, that I am not alone!


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Pensive, a good place to be in reading this I think. So monumemental a subject, death and then what? How do we live without thinking about whats next? I haven't read Docmo's hub. I will make a point of it today. Thanks, my friend for reading it again.


QudsiaP1 profile image

QudsiaP1 4 years ago

Indeed arb, I feel that any one who has any remote understanding of life know of the road that is to come and with it several twists, turns, round abouts and forks.

I have always believed that I have chosen my own path; my own road and fo some reason I feel at peace knowing full well that I have always been the driver and so every decision was mine and whether right or wrong; each taught me lessons that guided me to the road I was seeking.

Isn't it funny arb? We walk on roads we know not of and still when we find the road we never even knew we were to travel that comfortable feeling of familiarity sets in and you know every thing will be perfectly okay. :)


QudsiaP1 profile image

QudsiaP1 4 years ago

Indeed arb, I feel that any one who has any remote understanding of life know of the road that is to come and with it several twists, turns, round abouts and forks.

I have always believed that I have chosen my own path; my own road and fo some reason I feel at peace knowing full well that I have always been the driver and so every decision was mine and whether right or wrong; each taught me lessons that guided me to the road I was seeking.

Isn't it funny arb? We walk on roads we know not of and still when we find the road we never even knew we were to travel that comfortable feeling of familiarity sets in and you know every thing will be perfectly okay. :)


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Perhaps, because acceptance of the things we can not change brings us peace and in peace, we discover the real meaning of life.


QudsiaP1 profile image

QudsiaP1 4 years ago

Such is the miracle of life; to accept the meaning when you find it. You are so wise arb; I really look up to you. :)


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

If your looking up to me, sweet pea, you will be staring at the ground a lot!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

It is easy to see I'm not the only that is glad you chose to write about that which you wouldn't write about! You have done it honestly and without preaching. As you quoted, "nothing is new under the sun". May each one of us find his inner peace in the faith that leads the way for him.

Voted up, useful, and awesome.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Thank you tillsontitan. It has recieve good response without a single negative comment. It restores my faith in adversaries. We can talk to each other.


Curiad profile image

Curiad 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

Alan, I too am glad you chose to share this and relieve your turmoil. You have shared an important message in a very detailed and yet simple way. There is no fault in sharing what you know to be truth and doing so in a neutral manor.

All my best to you and yours, Mark


jhamann profile image

jhamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

I just found out yesterday that we are expecting another child. I love children and my son and daughter mean the world to me. It just seems that all of a sudden the weight of the world has fallen on my shoulders. Worry and concern has begun to bend my brow. This hub has actually helped me to calm a little bit and realize the good in this situation. Am I ready, can I contiue to make the decisions necessary, am I man enough. You have helped me greatly. Thank you. Jamie


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Thank you Curiad. It is always a challenge to court controversy. I am glad that it did not rain fire and brimstone upon my hub!


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

jhamann, I am sorry to hear that the world has fallen hard upon your shoulders, but, I am glad that this write has eased the burden. I have had many such days over the course of my life. Each one is eventually put to rest, given to yesterday and forgotten as the theif which came to steal my joy. I pray you may do the same.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I'm glad I came and reread this. I've been tempted lately to ask, "What's the matter?" This resolves it. You feel the seriousness even when you're moving in joyousness. That's not something the matter; - it's Alan. Hugs.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

A gift of discernment reveals my personal war. I have always been the most serious one in my crowd and at home. At some point in life, you stop trying trying to change who you are and learn to live with who you are. Still, I envy those who lean the other way. There is much to like in being carefree and less serious. I am less serious than 5 years ago and 5 years ago less than 10 years ago. The benefit of aging, but, still, it remains at my core. The last two months with my daughter, her husband and my grandaughter here (until their house in Chicago sells) my downsized house and life begs much from me that does not come naturally. I'm coping really well, but, I'm living someone else's life in my body. It is a very busy life, filled with things I don't generally do. Doing things I don't generally do steals from me the things I would generally do. In the end I am a bit tired, a bit over stimulated with this other life and coping with my losses. I rationalize it all by reminding myself of the blessings which come from it all and realizing that it is temporary. When they are gone, I will miss the busy house and wonder what is the matter with me. I am a pendulum trying to be content while swinging end to end. Life doesn't always let you choose where you will come to rest.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I've noticed for a long while, Alan. It's so. One must be true to one's nature, ultimately. I've lived among more outgoing people than I and even found I had some talent for it. But it wasn't who I AM and it couldn't be maintained as a way of life - not real life. It's funny about that: - it's so intrinsic that one can't change it, even when it's successfully modified. So I reverted, though with a bit wider view of the horizon and a wider comfort zone.

Yes, I'm sure you'll miss the hubbub when things get more 'back to normal'; at the same time, you'll be more restored. It's good that it's temporary now. I sense that you also respect the different paces of others in your life whom you love, and that is a source of joy, though it can't fix everything and may be unreciprocated somehow.

Life does have a habit of keeping us stirred up and on our toes, it seems. I like to think it's beneficial, overall. Left to our own choices, we would surely be too one-sided! The blessings of adapting to others are abundant, if one can cope with them(the blessings, that is. :-)

Somehow, when one's body is engaged in things unnatural to oneself, one's spirit must find outlets in order be able to exercise its things for balance and wholeness. If that's blocked, it does become excruciating.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs sort of paints how it is. At the first level, needs include little of the being needs. Just fulfilling needs to stay alive keeps it in balance, or seems to for the interim. But soon when we get those enough taken care of, more is required. . . and so on, and so on. Finally the main need emerging at apex is being, requiring authenticity, no way around it except debilitating frustration. Maslow calls that apex of the hierarchy, Self-Actualizaion, which he says is rarely fully achieved, the world being what it is. Perhaps it's just as well. Dunno. I'm still climbing though coping and personal losses have become less a challenge, living alone. Sometimes one is one's own biggest challenge.

Sometimes it's just nice to know one is understood in one's quest. Hope so. Hugs.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

It is nice to know. I've also had three Social Security court hearings for clients in the last two weeks. Yesterday I won a case I've had for 15 months. It was quiet substantial. A single disabled mom with a diabetic daughter, can't work and was looking at eviction Sept. 1st. They awarded her lifetime payments a retroactive check back to 2010 and medi care for both her and her daughter. I think I was more excited for her than she was. She was just dazed and more excited about medi care than the money. Sometimes life is right. Anyway, I've taken on too many cases and will intentionally slow down. The demand is escalating because so many programs have been cut because of funding. It isn't difficult though to weed out the fraud if one cares. I estimate it at 60%. The sad part is the fraud delays or destroys the credible claims. Life portrays both the ugly and the sublime in everyday. We must work to remember the sublime.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

I have come back here to read comments two or three times, and it is always rewarding. The conversation continues, and may it do so for a very long time.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

I agree. The essay and conversation are worth returning to repeatedly.

Alan! Paragraphs...white space...please! Apparently my eyes are much older than the rest of me. I may be 57, but my eyes are clearly 87, maybe 97! Be merciful, kind to those of us with "ancient" eyes. :)

BTW, I was unaware of your social security work on behalf of others, although I am not surprised. You have my admiration for what you are doing, but I can see how it could quite easily become overwhelming. Theresa


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

How very satisfying that must be - someone so deserving of a break in luck! Knowing she's covered for her lifetime - and even with the retroactive payments! And it's impressive that she was more excited about the program than the money. Sounds like your influence.

I had no idea you did this kind of work. And when, as you say - 'life is right' - wow. I've been concerned about Medicare fraud from various reports. But it happens, I'm sure. Yes - it has to be a sticky wicket bottleneck for everyone, no doubt. There's always both the good and bad represented. It's that kind of a world, sadly. But how else would we fully appreciate the good? For sure - the sublime merits support at every opportunity. Good for you as its champion. Woo hoo!


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Thanks Jim! I appreciate the returns. The subject occupies more of my time than anything else I can think of, but, it does so in a glorious and positive way.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

I have worked as an advocate for those seeking benefits for many years, but, I have done so from an office at home, maybe 2-3 per month. A non profit organization here contacted me 3 months ago and now contracts my services due to their own overload. I can do as many or as little as I like. It is worthy work and supplements my income. Actually, it more than supplements, but, it is easy to find yourself working full time again. Eventually I will work maybe 3 hours a day from home. Worthy work, not stressful and I can do it for many years.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

I have mentioned in various comments over the year that I worked with SS on a part time basis. Usually, just a passing comment. Much of my essay work is the consequence of my experiences with homeless, vets and mentally handicapped clients. For instance, most of the people I know believe the guy on the corner with a sign asking for handouts is doing pretty good. I have a 61 year old client (living in a tent for 3 years) who earns his daily bread doing this. They call it (flying signs) and he averages $6.00 per day. His physical ailments prevent him from working and obviously, he has no medical insurance. He is only one of many faceless and forgotten, misunderstood and perishing seniors living unoticed and out of sight. I shall write his story in time. Meanwhile, when I see someone flying a sign, I wonder more of their story and less about how well they are doing on $6 a day.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Alan, that follows the theme of "There but for grace go I". Allmost an entire country was severly "down on its luck" during the Great Depression. Perhaps better choices might have prevented some individuals' losing everything, but such hindsight is useless. When someone is so far 'down', the way up and out is obscure. The first level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs is too demanding. Survival is the imperative.

So many things on which we may take somewhat shallow issue at first glance lose their clarity as objects of our derision upon closer and more honest delving.

My friend John, who writes the church bulletin for the chapel at the Christian Care Center his father, a minister, started and where his mother now lives, sends me his drafts for editing help, along with any suggestions about his ideas & thoughts he is considering for inclusion. Today he sent one about the Chick Fil-A ruckus recently staged in righteous protest of same-sex marriage. Of course it's too long to include in the bulletin, and without benefit of the whole thing, it would be no more than jillions of reminders to not judge which almost fall on deaf ears. This lady's account of why she realized she can't judge hits home much more dramatically.

It's too long to include here, too, but perhaps I'll email ya'll a copy, since we're in email contact.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Alan, Nellieanna - Do you have any idea? Can you even imagine...what a gift and joy it is for me to read and write and have conversations with well-educated, thoughtful, spiritual, socially concerned people? Oh yes, and you are gifted writers as well.

Many things you both write make me feel this way of course, but the specific trigger leading to this comment was Nellieanna's reference to Maslow, which she made knowing full well that you would knw exactly to whom she was referring.

Fully 98% of my students have no idea who he is or why his work is important. At times, I could give in to despair if I let myself. Reading intelligent writing by people who know something about the world creates a positive and soothing reaction in me. "Ahhh, everything is going to be right with the world after all." ~~~ Thank you to you both.


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Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

What a wonderful compliment, Theresa. Of course your thought and excellence is an inspiration. This is all an experience of such value.

I can imagine it's discouraging that university students can get that far with severely limited exposure in many important areas and disciplines. They've everything available at their fingertips, but often seem to lack the interest or impetus to seek out some major respected thought from outstanding people and sources. Makes one wonder. . . .

It is persoally gratifying to find people with depth and breadth of education and more - with the sensitivity & responsiveness that education ideally should produce.

After years online needing to tone down my own interests in order to "fit in", it has been a delight to find a motherload of people who do have breadth and the ability to share it here! Brings me joy and satisfaction.

By the way - today was the first day in several weeks we didn't exceed 100 degrees.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Thank you Theresa for the compliment. I've found that people usually are familiar with propositions which interest their relative place in life at the moment, or, illuminates deeper questions which accompany their journey. My introduction to Maslow was consequently tied to theological problems and later criticisms of his philosophy (Carl Zimmer) and eventually the discussion of self transcendence and the God gene. My study of theology is rooted primarily in intellectual questions where my wifes is totally emotional and what I would define as common sense. She has no want or need of Maslow and does not know who he is. However, our theology is identical, our faith harmonious and our doctrines surprisingly similar. We have arrived at a like destination from very different vantage points. Although Maslows work is captivating and interesting, I've always had reservations about his conclusions. How, as a Christian, could I do otherwise, when God tells me that my greatest need is him? At the core of my entire ideaology is simply this; Because I am unshakably certain that He is, whatever he says is true, therefore, every proposition must have a conclusion which is identical to His truth. It sounds arrogant, but I do not confront questions looking for the answer. He already gave me the answer. I confront questions simply to know why the answer is the one he gave me. Therefore, I already know that my greatest need is God and now, I am simply left with determining why. He has never disapointed in leading me to the answer. For instance, for a Christian, is not every need supplied by God? If so, is He not my most basic need? What a simple life I lead. Where I depart with my fellow Christians is in the need to covince anyone that I know the answer or that the answer which leads me should lead them. How did my wife arrive at all the conclusions without Maslow? He was indeed, part of my arriving there or perhaps, he was simply another affirmation. "Unless you come as a child" Jesus said. Perhaps all my intellect gets in the way, perhaps my wife knew instinctively what I complicated in my journey!


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

I am so glad that the temperatures have become respectable.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

How good that you are in sync with your wife in faith and doctrine. Makes for a more harmonious life surely! So I'm happy for you.

I admire Maslow but I tend to not swallow any man's theories whole. I think that, as God-made creatures with the abilities built in to each of us, each of us has at least a candle of the light. Even the brightest, though, falls short of the glory of God. This is all preparation.

Yesterday it reached 108. Today there's a real 'cold front'. It will be only up to 97 and down to 73 during the wee hours. Will stay in the upper 90s several days and than back to the 100s. It's August - shrug. Of course, it's hot here at this lattitude and with these climate factors!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

latitude, that is!


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

I agree with you. A real cold front Nellianna, of course our temps are also in the 90's this week, but, The gals are camping and us guys are driving up today. I've a long time friend visiting for a month. He has parked his motor home out front so our downsize hasn't presented a problem. After only 3 days here he's looking for property and relocating. I would love to have him here. Looking forward to camping and all of us sitting around the fire with our drinks and reminising. BTW, I was remembering and thinking about Dave Price this morning. No particular reason. Not sure why, I just was. Anyway butterfly, I hope that you have a very special weekend and that a cool breeze envelopes your presence regardless of the temperatures. So I shall pray.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

The camping (there - would not be here!) sounds lovely. I'm sure you'll have a most enjoyable weekend, - or however long it lasts.. George and I had so many lovely camping times. Texas is rich in lakes and great camping spots.

What a pleasure to have an old friend there - and thinking of moving to the area. No doubt your area is like a magnet for folks who love the beautiful outdoors. My dear neighbors across the alley left in their motorhome for a few days in New Mexico near Albuquerque. They won't be camping out but visiting friends there will be pleasant. Leaving our weather behind will be too!

I think about Dave often, and especially when I go to Sam's, which is frequent. He parked his rig there when he stopped to visit with me one day a year or so ago and we sat in a restaurant over coffee and talked like old, old friends. He was a really good man. I'm glad you remembered him too. No doubt he knows.

I look forward to a pleasant - if moderately eventful by comparison - weekend. Life is good. While you're sitting around the campfire (fire? ugh!) with drinks and pleasant reminisces, I'll be stowing away.

I've a very comfortable house, whose temperature I manage well so I'm never uncomfortable unless I don't plan well and have to do errands in the heat of the day. . . rarely! Thank you for the well-wishes! And mine to you too~~ Njoy!


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

It was a beautiful weekend in the mountains, although unusually hot during the days. Obviously there is shade for those who can still think. We are back and I am catching up with chores and work and then to portland for 4 days to visit Micah and take Zoe to the Zoo. Hopefully I will get some time in for hub pages.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Glad you had a lovely weekend - mountains! um. Jim mentioned in a comment on one of my hubs that it was 90 there. That can be quite hot if it's unaccustomed or if there's no A/C or breeze to relieve it. It was 104 here today but I didn't have to get out when it got that hot. Did my brief 'running' in the relatively cooler morning hours. Thursday it got up to 108. Some sort of record, I believe. But it was 114 in Phoenix! Yikes!

Have a good visit in Portland. Zoe at the Zoo! Be sure to take some pix! And stay hydrated in the hot weather.


Lor's Stories profile image

Lor's Stories 3 years ago from Central New Jersey

Two words one poem.

The Road Less taken.

It's easy to follow the crowd. I chose not to because I know we walk by faith. Some need proof of faith. " show me" that was the way of Thomas.

The road less taken is that of confidence in that which we can't see,

It's not any easy road but it's my road and are there pitfalls? Oh yes.

Do I stumble in the dark? Oh yes. Do I look for a way out? No

As Christ said" you can not look back "

I have tried to follow the crowds but it only confused me.

If we believe that we walk by faith we don't need to worry about the pitfalls,

Some lose their faith and refuse to carry on if anything goes amiss

In the midst of great suffering I have chosen to stay the course,

And just when I thought I was plunged into darkness or another road I've always arrived where I was meant to be.

If I get tired of the road I'll just climb a trees and rest in it. Then just as the man in the sycamore more tree came down from his place that is what I do.

The road I took had " made all the difference"

Robert Frost is my favorite poet.

He's buried in Bennington, Vt.

Very strange to stand by his grave and contemplate the vast majority of his work.

Now I got off the path.

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