eThoughts : July 1, 2011: The Slums of Heaven

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Going on vacation to visit relatives, friends, and old acquaintances is always interesting and my latest visits were no exception. Those close to us are an important part of life, a respite that can help mitigate the hell that sometimes swirls around us—those parts of life where we don’t seem to matter except as fodder for some entity or entities whose sole reason for being is to plant doubt and extract payment. Friends and close relations are our heaven in the midst of such a hellish swirl.

However, those close to us can demand some sort of payment, some sort of tithing. Perhaps such tithing is our currency to ensure we belong, that we are indeed close to each other. It is an inadvertent blight I think, like slums in heaven.

There are many tools-of-the-trade in “friendly” tithing demands, but I think they share in common planting the seeds of guilt as opposed to the seeds of need. Devils plant the seeds of need. Life has needs and without being able to meet those needs, life can become unendingly unbearable, so devils tell us—and promise to meet those needs if we sell our heaven. Guilt can be hellish for sure, but one does not need guilt as a staple of life, but guilt can be used to bind us to each other.

So there are these smiling faces who actually do care about our well being as we do about theirs. But there is this time thing—how much time does one spend with whom and what does it mean? Friends and relatives can complain about how we don’t spend time with them, even though they don’t like it when their friends and relatives do the same to them. Apparently the allocation of time is a measure of who among friends is the most important.

It is interesting how those who feel slighted will commence justifying their position rather than seeking understanding. The past is fair game, the present is fair game, the future is fair game and all used to reinforce how such friends and family can precisely measure how they have been slighted. Spin-meisters are not just politicians or social commentators. Someone is keeping a list for some reason and the list has a curious interpretation to it.

Yep, close friends and relatives are a slice of heaven. But even in heaven we sometimes toss trash around. There is true caring and true concerns and true hurts in the slums of heaven. Yes, even in heaven there are bruisers and bruisees. It is not hell in the slums of heaven, but those slums do seem a bit unnecessary. Perhaps if we measure our worthiness by another standard, we will not begin thrashing when our expectations do not come out as we had imagined. After all, truly close friends and relatives are neither expendable nor knick-knacks, they are important components of heaven to be honored, despite any unfulfilled expectations.

We’re still on a steep learning curve, I suppose—trying to love in the midst of fear and evaluations. Stuff has lots of economic considerations as in the energy outgo versus the payoff. But we cannot necessarily use the economy of stuff in the same way when we care about others. Sometimes we just care and must forget about the ratio of outgoing versus incoming energy.

In the meantime, I’ll guess we’ll bump along with relationships, wherever in heaven they lie.

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