Friday, November 30, 2012

A few days ago Eldest wrote a post on her blog that was a letter to me, click here to read it, my post makes more sense if you read hers first. Here is my response to her post.

Dear Kaleigh,

When you were younger I was afraid of monsters in cars trying to steal you, but not spiders so much. Now that you are older, I am afraid of boys, but still not spiders.

I, too, miss grandpa. There are still times I have a question I want to ask him, or something my girls do I want to brag to him about. There are times I realize that even though he is gone he has planted a deep impression of himself in me; when I sound like him, or deliver a witty comeback, or unleash an amazing joke.

Kaleigh, I miss you too. Observing from a distance is no fun. I can tell you, everyday I am amazed at how much you have grown and matured and become a lovely young woman who loves Jesus. I miss you sitting in my fort, cuddling on the couch, and especially back scratch wars.

When you were younger and something broke, I would tell you to put it on my desk. Then I would fix it. Even then I knew that someday there would be a problem that wouldn’t fit on my desk and I wouldn’t be able to fix. So, when I superglued a limb back on a plastic doll, or untangled a dollar store necklace, or taped the cover on a book, I prayed, “Father, your eyes are better than mine, your superglue stronger, and your tape more adhesive. When my girls’ problems are bigger than I can fix can we put them on your big desk and let you take care of them?” It was at times like that the words of Ira Stanphill’s song would float through my mind.

Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.

I remember in vivid detail that day as a toddler that you announced that you had two daddies. I was confused until you explained with great earnestness, your little finger pointing in the air, “I have a heavenly Father” then your little finger pointed at me, “and a down-here daddy.”

I long for the days when you were little and you would say, “ ‘tay me bit more.”  and I would linger for a few more minutes, snuggling you. I wish you still needed to hold my hand in busy parking lots. But you are growing older, and I am still stuck at 25.

I feel a bit like Moses, who after leading the people of God for 80 years, stood with them on the border of the Promised Land and told them he wasn’t crossing the Jordan river with them. He finished his comments with these words, found in Deuteronomy 31 and verse 6.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Don’t be afraid Kaleigh, when your down here daddy can’t hold your hand, or fix what is broken, or isn’t nearby, because your Heavenly Father is holding your hand, helping you cross the street or the river. Be strong and courageous.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

How the Government has Ruined Voting.

Tuesday was Election Day here in the United States, in case you missed it. This election was for president of the country, along with some other open posts in the Senate, House of Representatives, various Judges, and dog catcher. A few weeks ago I wrote about the presidential debates. Today, I want to explore voting.

Voting is the way that Americans can voice their choice in politics. Although some believe that the number of signs you have in your yard, or the number of posts to Facebook, or perhaps even the number of times you retweet your preferred candidates tweets constitutes voting; it does not.

In years gone by, the voters in New York actually used machines to vote with. These machines were behemoth booths with a curtain. You went inside, pulled a large lever and the curtain closed behind you. There was a certain comfort in shutting out the world outside knowing that what was done in that booth was kept private and secret.  Once that curtain was closed the voter was presented with a choice. He or she could select the candidates they felt were most qualified for the job, or they could break out singing an Italian operetta and take a shower. If the election inspector heard someone breaking out into song, they were instructed to immediately turn off the hot water to the booths, thereby cutting short any shower activity.

For those citizens who voted in these machines, they simply flipped a number of smaller levers corresponding to the names of the people for whom they wanted to vote. This physical act of flipping levers was both concrete and comforting. Once the voter finished selecting who was going to receive his votes, he pulled the large heavy lever back the other direction. This was a magical moment, for not only did the curtain open, releasing the voter to his native habitat, but all those levers that indicated which candidates were voted for, miraculously rose to their upright position. All of this occurred with reassuring clicks and clacks of gears and levers moving and the gentle swoosh of the curtain opening. As if some industrial wizard were reassuring the voter that indeed, his vote mattered.

Now, when I go to vote, the election inspector hands me a sheet of paper with fill-in-the-bubble spots for each candidate. This is a horrific predicament. As soon as I see those bubbles, nightmarish memories of past standardized tests rush through my brain. My heart races, palms get sweaty, and my stomach gets all knotted up. It is a moment of panic. I worry I am not going to select the right answers. I worry I am not going to correctly fill in the bubbles. I worry I am going to have to pee badly and the teacher won’t let me use the rest room for “security reasons.”

I finally finish filling in the right bubbles and walk up to the new-fangled voting machine; which is simply a black box. No curtain, no levers, no Italian operetta. I slide the paper into the black box. And, nothing. I stand there, aching for the familiar clack and swooshes. Still nothing. Finally, a small click. Thats all. Just a small click and I am done.

Somehow the government has been able to tax me to death, regulate me to being unable to do anything, and now they have sucked the joy out of voting too.