Archive for the ‘success’ Tag

I CAN’T MAKE UP MY MIND   4 comments


The day is dreary. I need to turn a light on just to read. And I fall asleep to make up for what I lost last night remembering how my family was hurt by a friend who turned on us – an old hurt long handled but insistent on returning with full force every once in a while.

And then I open my favorite magazine, YES, page 11 to be exact, and I find an article whose point is summarized as follows.

“ … The pandemic is a crucible burning away and altering the structures that comprise the old paradigm, remaking who and what we are. When we emerge, we will have crossed a permanent threshold, from which there is no return, because there is simply no more “normal” to which to return. The question before us is this: As we pass through the threshold, will we extinguish everything in our desperation to cling to a past that has run its course? Or will we recover the courage to embrace the strange uncertainty of a different paradigm? …

“Only the choice that considers all and not a few will get us across the threshold into the crucible, and through the portal to the other side. Many of us are already taking that leap. We are stronger when we take it together. I’ll meet you there.”

So here’s the question I ask myself. Do I want to live through the turmoil that’s sure to come? Or do I want to be around to see the world where polluted skies, homelessness, hunger, racism, prejudice, injustice, destruction, and an unfair health system go out of style as we move to a world where children – all children – can grow with joy, health, confidence in the future, and happy success?

I guess my best evidence is my reaction when my Acura was flying through the air on its way to a hard landing back in 2015. I was just plain fascinated with what was happening even though a part of me knew I could well end up dead.

I guess I’ll choose to hang in as long as the cosmos will let me


It was a white leather-look jacket that drew me into the Christian based clothing store in town. “Hello, how are you?” the proprietor asked. “I’m fine,” I said, how are you doing? “Very well, he answered.” “Good,” I said. “That’s what you want when you’re in business.” “Obama says I didn’t do it myself,” he said. “He’s absolutely right,” I responded. “For example, your customers were able to get here because of the public roads and sidewalks, and the lights to see their way by.” That pretty much ended our conversation, but not my thoughts. Without public highways and roads, his business would have been extremely difficulty to maintain – if not impossible. And what of the harbors and ports maintained by the public by which he received shipments of his products. Or trade agreements with the countries who created the goods he bought … Oh, I think it’s a good bet he borrowed money somewhere along the way, or at least uses banks insured by FDIC. I’ll bet, too, that he relies on the postal service to some extent. And I assume he has a lavatory somewhere in the store, with efficient sewage disposal and safe running water in the sink for drinking. Given that his business is Christian-based, I’m pretty sure his beliefs and subsequent business choice depend upon experiences with others who set him an example and standard. Most likely his church had a guaranteed mortgage at one point. If not, it depended on the community getting together to support it.

It’s not all public funds that support his business. What of all the stores around him, helping to bring in business, and the newspapers that make it possible to advertise his wares. Then there’s all the support those other businesses receive from public funds. Just as his customers probably work for, have been employed by, companies who have relied on the public infrastructure for their success.

But let me get away from his situation and into mine. It is true that my parents saved for my college education – for which I feel tremendous gratitude. My college was supported – like basically all institutions of higher education, by endowments. And I probably would not have been admitted to my college had it not been for an excellent public education at all levels through secondary school. Then my graduate degrees. Yes. I worked very hard for them, but those institutions as well relied not only on endowments, but also on grants, many of which came from public funds. The very research that contributed to knowledge in my field depended largely on NSF grants. I can’t forget, as well, that my entire career as a professor was at institutions supported by public funds.

Yes, I can be proud of what I’ve accomplished, as can the proprietor of the store with the white leather-like jacket. But the pride has to be tempered by gratitude for all who have helped me – us- along the way.

“No man (woman) is an island.”

By the way, I didn’t try on the white jacket, much as I would have liked to. I just couldn’t afford it, even though it was worth the price. I hope others are grateful for whatever made it possible for them to try and buy. And I’m happy for the proprietor’s success. I want that store to be there for a long time to please me when I walk by, and occasionally buy.

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