What is death to you?

“To fear death, is nothing else but to believe ourselves to be wise, when we are not; and to fancy that we know what we do not know. In effect, no body knows death; no body can tell, but it may be the greatest benefit of mankind; and yet men are afraid of it, as if they knew certainly that it were the greatest of evils.” -Socrates 

They say death comes for us all. It seems no one is ready, even though we all know it will happen.


I have had to face death and the promise of more of it in the future in my personal life recently. It started me thinking.

Death is not a person. It is not a being in a black robe with a sickle or a cane. It is not chasing you as many movies and books would lead you to believe.

Death is the taking off of our earth suit and slipping into something else. 

Religions all paint a picture of believers and unbelievers when it comes to death. I’m not here to argue religion. That is pointless when you are coming from the stance of not believing what someone else says they have completely figured out. 

We can all agree that death is a transition. The problem is that no one wants to make that transition. We don’t want to leave all we know and love behind. Those of us who are still here don’t want to lose the companionship and interaction that we have with that person.

When we are young we feel we might live forever. At least that is what I was told I was supposed to feel like when I was young.

I’m still young compared to some. It is all a matter of perspective. Looking back, I haven’t ever felt that I would live forever. I knew that I would one day die, and so would everyone I knew and loved. I just hoped that maybe my life would be different. Maybe science would come up with the fountain of youth and we would stop aging. Maybe Jesus would come back and we would all live forever without dying. No matter how it worked out, I hoped that it would work out. I knew that it would not, but hope springs eternal.

Death has never and still doesn’t scare me. I have had brushes with it in the past. Not knowing exactly what will happen is not an issue for me. I know it is for a lot of people, but for me it is not. 

It is easy for me to say that right now. I’m healthy. I work a safe job. I do not take risks that would lead to me putting my life in danger. 

Still, I know I will switch out of this earth suit. It could happen at any time. The part I don’t enjoy is other people leaving my life. 

I’m aware that it is selfish to think this way about death. It doesn’t change that I still see it that way. I think everyone goes too soon, no matter their age. We want relationship. We crave togetherness. 

Having a loved one leave this realm hurts. It hurts when you see it coming. It hurts when you don’t see it coming.

Death isn’t sneaking up on me. It does not frighten me. Death causes me pain when it happens to others and I will avoid it as long as possible because I would never want to cause others the pain it causes me.

Now you know what death is to me. You don’t have to tell me what it is to you. I just want to make sure that you have thought about it. You understand what it does to you and why. Also, make sure you take the time to show love to all those who are in your life while they are in your life. No one lives forever, at least not in their earth suit.

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Life is a Test

I was walking with my wife and son along a paved path by the river. We were headed down to the water where my son likes to throw rocks into the water.

We were stopped by a homeless man and his dog who were both sitting on a bench along the path. He looked at me as I approached and said, “I was thinking about life.”

I wasn’t sure if that was going to be the end of it, but then he continued. He said, “Life is a test. We are all given time and space. Life is a test.”

My response was, “The answer is what you do with the time and space.”

He then said back, “That’s your answer.” Then he turned away from us and back to his dog. We continued along the path.

It got me thinking about life being a test. I guess we are all given time and space, but there are other variables that go into it. We aren’t all given the same pieces to work with in our time and space.

I guess for me it is about doing the most good I can for the most people with what I was given. Bringing joy and hope to others seems to be something that is universally accepted as a good way to spend your time. I think I will go with that as the answer to my test.

Time to write again…maybe

I have now spent almost 6 months campaigning for the office of Skamania County Commissioner for District 2. With only a couple weeks until the ballots are mailed out and less than a month until the election time seems to be slowing down.

I haven’t done any writing that wasn’t related to my campaign since last year. So much has changed and so much is going on that it has been hard to focus on the task at hand and not get into the national/global discussions. 

I don’t think I’m going to start that discourse today as I am taking the day away from campaigning to spend time relaxing with my wife and son. Just be sure that I will start sharing again. If you’re still on my reader list, thanks and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

One Last 2015 Post

2015 is almost over. This was supposed to be the year that I wrote something every day. I bought journals, started writing online again, and then life seemed to get in the way.

I haven’t posted anything on this blog since May. I’m not sure how many people will see this post, but then again that isn’t the main point of this blog. I write to get things off my chest normally.

So much is going on in the world right now and almost everything that is reported is negative. I don’t like to write about negative things. I don’t like to dwell on negative things. In my opinion life is too short to live like that.

This year I was told I look at the world through rose colored glasses. I was told I see everything with rainbows and unicorns. I was told that I am not a realist because I am too opitimistic. I am okay with all of that.

Life should be enjoyed. I want to enjoy my life. I want others to enjoy their lives. I never want to be a person who drags someone else down. I would rather bring you up to seeing that better things are possible and they are attainable.

We live in a hard world. Bad things happen to a lot of people all the time and we feel powerless because a lot of the bad that happens is out of our control.

I choose to try to help others when they are going through tough times. I want to use my resources (no matter how small) to assist others in living their best life. I mean best life as in measured in satisfaction and happiness. I don’t mean measured in money, although having your basic needs met is a general requirement for satisfaction and happiness.

That brings me to what I want out of 2016. I want to help. I want to help more than I did in 2015. I want to get people in touch with help if I am not the person who can help them. That is what I want to do. That is how I stay satisfied and happy. Loving my family and spreading love to those who I can come in contact with. That is my goal and that is my wish for you. Be grateful for what you have been given and spread the love where ever you can.

Humans are sucking right now…but Stephen Colbert is awesome.

colbert

I have really wanted to make more posts lately. The problem is that I have been angry about things going on all over the world. I don’t like to write when I’m angry, at least I don’t like to write non-fiction when I’m angry.

The posts come off as me being self-righteous, or at least that is how I feel they would come across to others.

Humans are sucking at this point in our history. I don’t mean this decade, I mean this week, this month, this year.

Here are a few examples of why we are ALL sucking at this point:

We’re chopping each others heads off.

We’re using chemical weapons on other humans.

More chopping off of other peoples heads.

Children are dying of hunger.

Riots in the street over people killing other people.

I could go on, but I will stop now.

It is crazy to see all that is going on in our world right now. I decided that writing about the bad is already done for me. Instead I wanted to at least show one piece of good news.

It is about a rich guy who decided teachers needed some help. So he didn’t start a crowd-funded project. He just paid for his convictions out of his own pocket. That guy is Stephen Colbert. That one article made me smile today. I decided it needed a bit more press.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/may/7/stephen-colbert-announces-800k-donation-to-south-c/

What makes you happy?

smiles

What makes people happy?

This is a question that has been on my mind a lot lately. Would a better job, more money, more friends, more stuff, or more vacation time make you a happier person in general?

A study from San Francisco State University made some headlines recently. The study concluded that you should spend your money on experiences instead of more stuff if you want to be happy. You can read one article about the study here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/03/life-experiences-happier-material-things_n_5072591.html

So my question to you is what would make you happy? When you got your tax returns (if you got a return this year), did you think about where you wanted to go or what you wanted to buy? Did you think about either one?

A lot of people are so in debt right now that they aren’t worried about buying more stuff or spending money on experiences. They want money to help them climb out of what seems to be a never ending financial hole. Lack of money is one of if not the biggest reason that I hear about when people talk about being unhappy.

At this point in my life I’m by no means rich. I am in a better position financially than some, but I don’t get to travel with my family like I will one day. Regardless of the fact that I am not pulling down the big bucks just yet, I am a happy person most of the time.

I have been told on more than one occasion that I live in a land of unicorns and rainbows. I guess that might be true. I’m a firm believer in the fact that it will all work out in the end for me. I’m very grateful for everyone who has helped me get to where I am today. I know that no matter what it looks like right now, things will be alright.

It seems like in every time I take a look at my Facebook feed there is a new article, book, or a blog post that gives a list of things that are proven to make you happy. There are lots of things that seem to end up on these lists and sometimes I compare one list with another list.

These lists inculde things like doing yoga in the morning, fake it ’til you make it, and getting enough sleep. There does seem to be one thing that is on basically every list for living a happier life. The key to happiness seems to be gratitude.

Gratitude seems so easy and it really is something that everyone can put into practice. It starts with being grateful for the small things. A friend of mine started a gratitude journal online years ago. I don’t know if she still keeps up with it, but I thought it was an awesome idea. My wife and I took time out each night for a while to write down things that we were grateful for from the day. I found that for me personally, it is important to take time out and remember that I have so many reasons to be grateful.

Maybe you don’t think that you have anything to write in a gratitude journal. That could be one of the reasons that you don’t live a life filled with joy. If you seem to be down a lot, take some time out and inspect your life for opportunities to be grateful. It will be time well spent.

Remember that worrying about what may or may not happen will do you no good. All we can do is control what we can control and respond to the things that come our way. Your response will determine if you live a happy life or not.

That is my view on the subject. Everyone is free to have their own view.

Presidential Campaigns = Avoid Social Media

The 2016 Presidential election won’t occur for 573 days. This weekend Hillary Clinton announced that she would be running for President. You can watch the video in case you missed it:

She is the 4th candidate to make the announcement that they will be running in the upcoming election and she won’t be the last. According to this article there are at least 13 more people who are “probably” running.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/us/politics/2016-presidential-candidates.html

There will also be a bunch of candidates that no one hears about because they don’t have million dollar Super PAC’s to buy them time on TV.

I will be taking time off from commenting and probably even checking my Facebook feed for most of the year. The reason is not that I don’t want to know what my friends around the world are doing, it is because I don’t want to have to sift through all the negative articles posted about the people that my friends don’t want to see as our next President.

It has just started and yesterday I saw four articles in a row about why I shouldn’t want to see Hillary Clinton in the Whitehouse. What I want people to understand is this: I care more about who you want to see in the Whitehouse than who you don’t want to see.

You are not going to change my mind by posting negative things about a candidate. What will actually make me stop and read an article would be a positive article about the candidate of your choice and what position they take on the issues facing the United States right now.

Maybe other people can be swayed by you posting all of the reasons you don’t like someone who is in the race. I don’t see how that is the most effective way to actually get someone elected. I think it really just makes you look like you are only voting for the candidate of your choice so that the other person will lose. That is not a good reason to vote for anyone. Elections shouldn’t be about picking the lesser of two evils. It should be about picking the person you feel would best represent you and the things you hold to be important when they reach the highest office in the land.

This is probably not my last political post, but it will be the last one where I address my disdain for negative campaigning.