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  • Dr. Ted Klontz

Random Thoughts - August

Ever notice that the word “imperfect” can be sounded out as “I-m-perfect?” It all depends on where I place the emphasis as I say the word out loud.

Speaking of imperfection, I wonder what price we pay to see ourselves as the only exception in all of creation that is judged as imperfect. Actually, I don’t wonder, I see the price paid every day.

Understanding someone's suffering is the best gift I can give another. Understanding, is love's other name. If I don't understand, I can't love.

It was opening day for our community’s Little League world. I was on the field with 300 kids and another 75 adults. First pitches. The Rockies mascot high fiving each player and coach as they ran the bases. I was observing all the palpable excitement, energy and noise of kids being kids, that only 300 youngsters in a confined area can provide.

I was suddenly chilled by a thought. There were only two very small exits from this half-sized baseball field. I looked around and wondered if I was the only one there who considered for a moment our vulnerability. I was aware that someone might take advantage of such a situation. Fish trapped in a barrel. No one else spoke of it. There are some who suggest that speaking of such things is the problem. Their logic is that not speaking about it will prevent it from happening and speaking about it increases the likelihood.

It has happened over 200 times this year already, within the first 180 days of the year.

People, some of them little ones, didn’t survive these situations. I’m left to wonder what the best thing is to do with that information.

I was talking with a friend recently, and they said, “thank goodness for my hands.” They were talking about how during times of severe stress, doing something with their hands was a lifesaver. I realized that my hands were the closest thing I have to understanding the concept of unconditional love. For decades, my hands have (without fail) tried to do my bidding. Never asking for anything in return, except for a trim from time to time. Even then, if I ignore them, they soldier on. They don’t even demand to be washed.

I notice that my occasional feelings of total incompetence and powerlessness began to move when I begin moving from my seated position.

Poets speak of themselves and for us.

For breakfast the other morning, I was served skim milk. I always smile when I see the watery stuff. It always looks a little gross to me when I pour it on my cereal. I grew up on a farm. We milked cows hauling the milk to a little shed across the barnyard where the ‘separator’ was. We would pour the milk into the hopper, turn the machine on and it spun the milk like a washing machine on the spin cycle. The cream would be separated out, which is the product that we sold. The remainder ran into a hole in the floor, into a wooden “V” shaped trough that led from the shed into the barnyard. A pig trough. The pigs were very excited twice a day. I can still see them fighting each other for the head of the trough. I didn’t know this stuff that we were slopping the pigs with would be called skimmed milk some day until I saw it for sale in a store many years later.

I still see that “waste” running into the pig trough, every time I see the watery stuff. Every time I pour it on my cereal.

The pigs did not do a perfect job of sopping up all the skimmed milk, and the separator didn’t do a perfect job of removing all the cream. What was left clotting in the trough is what I now see marketed as cottage cheese. Clotted butter. I can’t eat that, unless I don’t know what I am eating.

I worked at one time in a meat packing plant and learned how Braunschweiger (smoked liver sausage) was created. I don’t eat that either, and if you like it, you wouldn’t want to know. Trust me.

I was reminded recently that it isn’t as important what I say I believe, it is most important what I live.

Psychologists speak of us humans having a shadow self. I was thinking that the fact that I have a “shadow self” at all is a sign that I exist. And there would be no shadow without light. The closer I get to standing in the direct light of what it means to be a human being the less of a shadow I will possess.

I ran across this “test” which I imagine will come in handy over the next 18 months. Tests for determining the “truth” (whatever that means.) It is the product of researchers from the University of Tennessee.

Whatever I am hearing, I need to ask myself, how do I know if this is true?

· Is it because I have personal knowledge of this story, and it is true?

· Or do I have personal knowledge and it is false?

· Or, I have no personal knowledge, but it seems true.

· Or, I have no personal knowledge, but it seems false.

· Or I cannot tell whether it is true or false.

Lastly, who is saying it? Do they have a perspective that colors what they are claiming to be true? What affiliations do they have that might color their point of view?


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