Tuesday, September 30, 2008

65 is a good driving speed...

My nephew Jeff sent me this message for my birthday and I love the sentiment. I “facebooked” him back to let him know that I’d be borrowing his line a great deal this year. So here I am, 65-years-old and still driving: driving metaphorically through my life and, in reality, driving around the North American continent. 65 is a good driving speed, indeed!

My original plan was for Sandra and I to leave tomorrow for our leisurely drive to Florida but on Saturday Sandra’s 90-year-old mother Alice collapsed on her kitchen floor. Alice still lives alone and on Saturdays she cooks a noon meal to share with her two daughters, Sandra and her sister Heather. Last Saturday, Sandra was taking the chicken out of the oven when her mother said, “Sandra, I’m going to faint!” This was followed by a heavy thud as she hit the floor.

Sandra dialed 911 and Alice was whisked off to the hospital where it was later determined that she needs a pacemaker. The doctors have told the family that she is still able enough to return home once the pacemaker is in place. The only caveat is that someone should be with her for the first couple of days.

Alice gets her pacemaker today so our leave date is now set for Friday to allow Sandra to spend those first couple of days with her mother. Then her sister and brother will take over.


I am ignoring the falling stock market today and concentrating on the concert I’m going to tonight: just Elton John and his piano for two and a half hours in a stadium that holds slightly over 7000 people. It should be wonderful.

Okay, who can really ignore the stock market news of the last few days? I have really mixed feelings about the plunging stock market. Part of me cringes as I watch my life savings waste away, part of me thinks that maybe a major crash/depression is needed to wake us up to different possibilities for repairing the economic inequities that are solidifying in our society.

There is certainly room for major improvement in our current economic system, in the way we distribute the riches we have been graciously blessed with in this part of the world. There is something profoundly wrong when the gap between the rich and poor keeps growing, when families live on the streets of our richest cities.

Perhaps if more of us were hungry we’d be motivated to find a food distribution that would allow food to reach all of the people in the world. Do we really need the incredible array of choices in our supermarkets when so many people in the world are starving? Do we really need to spend our energy developing an industry around bottling water when we have safe tap water – and 30,000 people a day die of waterborne diseases in other parts of the world?

Could it be that we need to have our way of life reduced to survival mode in order to realize that no one life is more important than another? Perhaps we need to use our intelligence and education to figure out a more equitable way to share the world’s resources rather than worrying about how to preserve a system that isn’t serving the majority of the world's people well.

This morning I’m writing this in my campervan, Bessie the Bus. When I look out Bessie’s window I see a gorgeous 50-year-old maple tree that has begun to show off its fall colours: orange, red and yellow mixed with a few branches of defiant green. When the vagaries of world politics and economics tug at my heart, this is where I retreat: into the glorious arms of nature’s beauty.

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