Voting has come and gone, and I'm very happy to report that my fellow states folks are smart. They read their pamphlets, and they figure out what's what. The "any fertilized egg is a person" measure fell flat on its face. The "cut all taxes and kill every program we have especially education" measures, all four of them, died horribly by nearly 50% margins. And nearly all the elected official races went pretty much as their districts should have voted to represent their real interests. Colorado's one of those almost-red states, but we now have a rather liberal governor who used a positive-only campaign that makes me... happy.
Best of all a local Boulder County initiative that was a tax to help out the human services that were being dropped by the state because of deficits looks like it's going to pass, ahead of the annual Open Space initiative. The County's population's always been pretty good about looking ahead and making sure that there's always going to be open/wild commons areas for everyone to enjoy, but with the economy the way it is right now it's easy to see why folks would vote against more taxes. But they all voted for a tax to help out those in financial need right now.
That makes me feel better about humanity in general, I think.
A local dentist was paying a dollar a pound for Halloween candy. And a LOT of kids bundled up their 'extra' candy, including Jet and ourselves. There was a fair amount of candy leftover from what we were giving away, so I decided to add that to the mix, with a mild pang of 'giving up stuff'. *laughs* But it was going to a good cause as the candy was being sent to deployed troops around the world, and, hey, it's candy we aren't eating, which can only be good.
The funny thing is that after giving up all that candy, Jet was pretty happy. And then, last night, the dentist's office called to say that Jet won their raffle! He got a new iPod Shuffle. *laughs* I am glad to see that he has the luck gene that both John and I have. It's nice to see him just be lucky.
The really cool thing though, is that he'd won another Shuffle in another drawing at school, as part of one of his fund raisers, and so he offered this new one to John and I to use if we wanted. *grins* I loved that.
Sunday's service had members of the congregation speaking about their view of the infinite possibilities of God. And one of them spoke about when she was a kid how her parents had taken in her uncle, who was dying from alcoholism. He'd had two marriages, maybe, there was some doubt as to whether he'd even married the second woman, and her parents had been fairly strict Cathlics. But they took him in, cared for him, made his final weeks comfortable and welcoming, and buried him gently when the time came.
She said that there are three levels of doing good in the world, and those made me really think.
- The first is simply giving up resources, money or time, to people that need them. This is a great start and something that lots of people do and find easy to do when there's need that's obvious. The millions that pour out at every natural disaster is a fine example of lots and lots of people able and willing to respond at this level. It's what most folks thinks might be 'required' of them.
- The second level is having direct contact with the people in need. Getting to know them as people, and hearing their stories. Knowing something of where they came from. I get this level at the soup kitchen I work for here in Longmont, and often on the Biloxi trips where I get to hear from the people whose houses I fix. It's harder to do, sometimes, but rewarding on lots of levels.
- The third level is walking with someone through their Valley of Darkness. Being with them so that they know that they're not alone. Don't have to agree with them, don't even much have to like them, don't have to know them, but they help in getting through with them. Not just a helper, not just a cheerful bystander with a heavy pocketbook; but actually getting in there and letting them know they're just not alone anymore. One can't *judge* them in this situation, to get here, that has to be left behind. It's hard and sometimes scary, and it can cost, but then, as the speaker said, "It's not about me." It's about them and being open to being God's grace even in situations where it looks impossible. Aspiring to this is what I want to do and be.
I've only touched that third level a few times in my life. Once was driving and being with a little old lady while she was having cancer treatments. Once was holding a gay prostitute while he cried and inviting him into my house as often as he needed. Once was helping with the care for and reading to a man dying of AIDs. Once was helping the sister of a friend of mine go to an abortion clinic and sitting with her in the interminable waiting room. I may well do it every day with John and Jet.
I want to do more of that. As in those situations, I lose my worries, my stresses about my every day. I lose the things that don't really matter anymore, and even in the midst of an agony I can only barely perceive, there's often also this measure of calm and reality that I touch...
Anyway, the last and most fun thing is that two professional children's psychologists are teaching Jet's sex education class at church, and they've been a blast. They've also been really happy with Jet. *laughs*
I would also highly recommend the book that they're using for all kids age 10 and up (though they're actually using parts of this book to read to kindergardeners as well and it works for them to think about stuff). It's called It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health. A lot of it is based on the parents being 'askable parents', and it does a great job of presenting the range of possible families. It helps that our church has gay couples with kids as well as straight couples and single-parent families and friend-group families where all the parents, doubled or singled, all kind of watch out for all the kids.
The book itself is very even voiced, reasonable, and presents lots of things very clearly. Jet's reading it as well as us, and we're talking over the questions he comes up with and it's all been really useful.
I love that we're doing this in church. *laughs* Sex and sexuality is perfectly normal. *grins* And it's a great place to learn about how to deal with it emotionally.
My eye is better. I'm better, a flu thing left me really flat for a week after a 100 degree temperature, but I'm recovering, and in Nanowrimo, and already 7000 words into it, which has been surprising but nice.