Valentine’s Day is the second busiest holiday for restaurants, after Mother’s Day. The optimist in me sees happy couples lingering in the candlelight of love. The realist in me sees people eating. Love may make life worthwhile, but we eat food to survive.
And, the farmer in me knows that food doesn’t come from the grocery store.
Let’s take a quick look at fruit.
Fruit trees are planted. The trees require 5–8-years of growth before a commercial crop is produced. All the while, the trees and soil require care. Then, to harvest successfully, the fruit must be picked at a specific time of maturity, before being taken out of the field to be washed, packaged, and shipped to grocery stores.
Furthermore, if we expect to eat fruit in the winter, the produce is preserved either by means of canning or freezing.
Basically, a colossal amount of work, time, and thought goes into food availability. The elements of weather and the market are accounted for. And it’s the same for love.
When needing, or even wanting, love, I remind myself there is more to it than romance and eating chocolate. Many attributes and elements are involved.
To find elements associated with love, I plodded through the Bible and read this verse from Galatians, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
In other words, I read, don’t try to cultivate only love. The fruit of Spirit isn’t only love, but love, joy, peace, patience, yadda yadda.
Seemed acceptable. I couldn’t argue with the fact that the attributes on that list were things that I, well, like to experience. So, they all must be important.
However, I got a bit stymied by the word “Spirit.” I mean come on, what is Spirit? It’s unseen, indescribable, immeasurable, pretty complicated.
Added to the complication is bad timing. Just like on the farm, if fruit was picked before it ripened, it was sour. And, if we waited too long to pick, the fruit was rotten.
Sour or rotten love, is the pits.
Screeeeeech, that is where I applied the mental brakes to stop myself from going in circles around only love.
I broadened my diet, so to speak. I made, and still make, efforts to eat up joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
For example, while negotiating today’s societal culture of women working outside the home and men working inside the home, I exercised faithfulness and stayed married after telling my husband, “Please don’t ever wash my blouse in the same laundry load with the mudroom rugs ever again. Stuff doesn’t just come out of the machine, clean. The mud from the rugs got in my blouse and ruined it.”
Okay, I confess to selective memory and probably told my husband, “Start helping around the house better or we’re getting a divorce,” but we’re still happily together after 33-years.
As for the element of patience, this is very interesting.
For certain: I am not a source of patience.
And because of my bossy gene, I can’t help but admit that the source of my husband’s patience with me must be infinite.
The source of patience must be unending, why not call it Spirit.
I may not be able to see or measure Spirit, but I can know Spirit. I can know Spirit as source. The fruit source. Said in another way, when I stop believing and acting as though other people, or I, am a source of love, I’m in line to reap success in love.
We can reap success in love because love isn’t dependent on dinner or a personal relationship. Love is internalized along with peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, all of which we can get our teeth into this Valentine’s Day, or now.
In my corner of northeastern United States, political turmoil is evident. In quick-time, the media and public conversations can get a bit heavy.
To lighten my mind, I took a few steps: I educated myself, prayed, and became a bit more aware.
To educate myself, I read the book titled, The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the right to Liberty, by author, Timothy Sandefur. The book was interesting. Sandefur made an argument against interpreting the Constitution without referencing the Declaration of Independence.
With the Declaration of Independence in hand, it is surmised that judges can more correctly interpret the Constitution, especially this sentence from the Declaration: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
The book clarified the need for government, not to assume they are in office to grant Americans rights as if they are privileges, but to secure the rights that are already ours.
To pray, I looked at these ideas and had to be honest. When it comes to the adage that “all men are created equal,” I know humanity has yet to manifest that equality in government, in the workplace, or in the home. I also know it’s difficult to act on our rights to life, liberty and health.
But I could grasp the significance of placing my hope, not in governmental officials, but in the Constitution, in the Declaration, and in other writings that point us to higher ideals.
I then realized that instead of placing my hope in the actual writings, I can place my hope in the government of God, in the management of thoughts in line with higher ideals.
I read from Isaiah: 9: 6-7
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.
My personal increased education and prayer has led me to practice upholding honesty, justice, and peace. This has shown itself in not arguing politics with people who are set in their ways. I can move on in equanimity and express my thoughts in receptive atmospheres. I don’t need to add to polarization, but to our right to reason and be controlled by thoughts of higher ideals.
Last December, the Catskill Mountain News printed an article written by my co-writer, Brian Sweeney, titled, “County Dems organizing Women’s March trip.” Surprising myself, I signed up to ride the Rally bus, organized by the democrat committee members, from Delhi to Washington D.C. on January 21, 2017, one day after the presidential inauguration.
The Women’s March germinated when a grandmother in Hawaii made a comment of protest on Facebook after this nation’s recent presidential election day. The idea quickly grew into a solidarity march to fight for human rights, civil liberties, and social justice for all.
I don’t like crowds. I’m not political minded. I haven’t been to Washington D.C. in forty years.
At the age of sixteen years, I clearly remember standing in the balcony of an empty Congressional Hall, lecturing myself, “Cheryl, pay attention to what government is doing and always vote for integrity. Because you would shrivel up and die if you had to sit in this walled room and do this job someone needs to do.”
The Delaware County democrats had a tough time getting a bus. So many people in the northeast wanted to go to D.C., that Delaware County wasn’t guaranteed a bus.
I made other plans to get to the march. My intent was to unite for the sake of uniting in what was a divisive campaign.
As a reporter, I’ve become more familiar with the ins and outs of politics. I’ve grown to appreciate and respect officials who work for the greater good. I’ve learned no one is perfect, that promises to the public are usually idealistic and unrealistic, but officials can change for the better. Because they can also change for the worse by imposing their personal agendas on the public, this is why America is already great. We the people can vote them out.
I think the last election brought to the people a sense of alarm and a poke to become more involved, rather than sit around and expect handouts or complain.
During the time between reading the News article and January 21, more than 370 sister marches were planned and staged around our nation for people who couldn’t make it to D.C. Marches were also hosted on 6 continents.
Delaware County locals organized and met with anyone who came on the Delhi Square.
At the time of this writing, I have yet to speak to locals. And I can only give a personal observation of the women led event in Washington D.C. It was impressive, well-organized, peaceful, offensive, and massive.
In D.C., at the corner of C Street SW and 4th Avenue, I chatted with Lisa Christopher. She told me, “I’ve lived in Washington D.C. for thirty years. I walk this street to work every day. This is big. I haven’t seen close to this big of a crowd since President Obama’s first inauguration. This is big. I was here yesterday during President Trump’s inauguration and it was nothing like this. I had to come see it for myself.”
As read in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington D.C. Police reported 230 arrests on the day of the president’s inauguration. Whereas on January 21, there were no arrests as of 6 p.m.
The Women’s March pulled in an estimated 500,000 people.
There must be a dearth of pink yarn on the market today because a greater percentage of heads were covered in pink hats. They were ordered, knitted, and crocheted before coming.
The main stage was set up at 3rd Street and Independence Avenue at the end of the Washington Mall. Every 400’, large real-time screens and amplifiers were setup in the middle of Independence Street toward the Washington Monument, three-quarters mile away.
We were shoulder to shoulder. From building to building. Not only on Independence Ave. but also on three streets parallel to Independence and every side street in between. I didn’t climb trees, like many did, but I located myself in a landscaped area in front of the Energy Building.
Activist, Gloria Steinem, told the crowd, “You look great. I wish you could see yourselves. It’s like an ocean.”
Steinem thanked the “hardworking visionaries. The women who led this inclusive march, one of which gave birth when organizing.”
Mayor of Washington D.C., the Honorable Muriel Bowser, talked about female empowerment and D.C. statehood. She told the crowd that women officials are more wrongly criticized and when women are more harshly criticized for speaking up for equality, both women and men need to speak up for women.
Filmmaker, Michael Moore, encouraged the crowd to join organizations, environmental groups, and call congress to tell them our views. Moore said, “Women, run for office. Petition to run for anything from congress to the school board.”
Singer, Alicia Keys, recited Maya Angelou’s poem, “I Rise,” before telling the crowd to respect mother energy.
The list of speakers goes on. Much of the language mirrored the condemnatory, self-serving agenda rhetoric touted by President Trump. But the majority of us gave voice and presence to integrity and decency.
Speaking of decency. The day before the March, I was driving to Washington D.C. and ate lunch at a truck stop diner. From a television screen, I watched and listened to the Presidential inauguration. President Trump denounced the government status quo and addressed America with his hopes to change things.
Seated behind Trump was President Obama, the epitome of decency. I told myself never to forget it or take it for granted. The Obama’s decorum during their years in the White House mark civility and progress. Dignity is powerful and deserves honor.
The good in human nature can outweigh the bad. And yes, it is a struggle to keep good in the forefront.
At the March, the diversity of we the people was painfully evident as was our efforts to meet and get along was pleasantly evident. It’s a spiritual feat to respect diversity while yet admitting we all are the same, as was manifest when we all stood in line to use the outhouses.
Other actions tied us together. When the march began to the White House. It was orderly, respectful, and powerful. We made way for wheelchairs and strollers without hesitation. There were some crude signs and language, but it didn’t barb the true purpose to unite and fight as we the people for the higher good.
We followed instructions given earlier on the Women’s March on Washington official website. Dress warm, carry non-dangerous signs, purchase metro cards beforehand, and bring items in a clear bag. It was plain as day, looking through the clear bags that most of us survived on adrenaline, granola bars, oranges, and water that day. And we lucked out with warmish, non-rainy weather.
That Saturday, I was on site from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Before the Women’s March officially started, I walked The Mall and toured the Korean War Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the F.D. Roosevelt Memorial. It was a healthy reminder that we can’t expect equality and justice to be handed to us on a silver spoon. It’s a fight and more yet, it’s a fight we can’t stop fighting. And it’s only won as the good in humanity outweighs the bad.
A few favorite signs: Trump, start leading, stop tweeting. All elections matter, local, state, national. I’m with her (Statue of Liberty).
There were plenty of crude remarks on signs, but no crude behavior (that I witnessed). Baby strollers, wheelchairs, and in-fit fast walkers, moved accommodatingly.
Once the speakers winded down, the mass of human bodies began walking to the White House. During the hours required for the mass to move, chanting, or rather yelling, reverberated continuously. The chant I remember: What does democracy look like? This is what democracy looks like.
Quoting from science & religion to God, “Jesus was deserted by all but John and the brave women who refused to turn away from spiritual goodness. The real cross which Jesus endured on the hill of misery was the world’s hatred of Truth and Love.
“Persecution is common in a world that generally loves a lie more than truth. Love and spiritual healing are oppressed in a world where greed and betrayal have their way. Torment occurs in a world unthankful to Spirit.
“After the crucifixion, Jesus used the tomb as a refuge from the brutality of his enemies. He used it to solve the great problem of Being. His mental work opened a new era. Defended by spiritual laws, Jesus defied physical laws and mortality.
“We can sanctify the supremacy of divine Mind over human mind at all times.”