Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays

Blessings to you all, gentle readers, during this holiday season. Thank you for sharing your time with me and for all of your comments. It is an honor to share my thoughts with you all.

As many know, my day job is as a pet trainer for PetSmart. Because of that, I have the joy of saying, "Happy Holidays" to a lot of folks. In the deep South, them's fighting words.

Any use of "Happy Holidays" will, on more than one occasion, lead to a confrontation with someone who believes there is a "war on Christmas." I've been hollered at, forced to acknowledge Christmas before someone would leave my checkout line, told I was "the devil" or "satan" for not saying, "Merry Christmas." The list goes on and on. How in the world did we get from having respect for another's holy days to a "war on Christmas?" It's so not about ignoring Christmas! It's about being respectful of someone else's beliefs or holy days. Good heavens, people!!

I just don't understand all the militant attitudes by Christians. Forcing someone to submit to Christmas is about as encouraging as scaring them to Jesus during Halloween! Do the Christian fundamentalists honestly believe that this will convert people to their personal belief? How could it?

In a way, I'm glad the Christmas holiday has come and gone. When I go back to work tomorrow, I won't have to worry about a rabid fundamentalist Christian going off on me for saying, "Happy Holidays!" It will take a good bit of stress away from working during this time of year. Fortunately, "Happy New Year" is much less threatening to the religious right. Dear Goddess, I hope they don't find a way to make it a religious holiday or work will be unbearable!

My wish this holiday season is that we could all stand, hand in hand, heart to heart, and honor each other's traditions without the need to convert; without the need to force our beliefs on another. So, as you go through this holiday season, take time to wish someone who does not share your belief a Happy Chanukkah, Blessed Yule, Happy Kwanzaa, etc. What is so awful about that? Does it detract from your celebration, your holy day? Heavens no! But what it does do is recognize the spiritual in each person, respecting and celebrating with instead of against.

So for this coming year, consider giving respect to other's spiritual paths; honoring their holy days. Avoid forcing your personal spiritual beliefs on another person and take time within yourself to worship in the way you would do.

Happy Holidays and wishes for a prosperous and blessed New Year!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Take a Little Trip...

Going back to Mississippi is always traumatic. And it's usually because of a trip to the VA for my beloved. So...double trauma.

This trip, we drove through Louisiana because of a corgi rescue in Lake Charles (it's further than I thought it was). Now, it's difficult to look at the leftovers of Katrina in Mississippi. The pic at the left is one of them. We see this house on the beach each trip. Never fails to amaze me when I look at it. And, yes, those are slabs all around it. Slabs everywhere.

But I digress. I haven't been through New Orleans in a good year. And to be honest, I'm so sick of hearing about New Orleans when the folks on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are so very crushed. Everyone seems to have forgotten that the hurricane hit Mississippi. The levees broke in New Orleans. (Sorry I channel the disgust at every turn.)

However, during this trip I looked at the east side of New Orleans. Really looked. It's just horrible. There are buildings upon buildings that lie empty and full of mold and rats everywhere you turn. Lines of apartment buildings that used to be someone's home are in shambles, some ravaged by fire and looters. Businesses have started to reopen, but there is no neighborhood to serve. The Wal-Mart and Sam's Club lie in ruins, open to the rotten air.

As we left the east side traveling through Metairie and west, there were rebuilt homes everywhere. Road projects going at full steam were tying up traffic in knots. I can clearly see where all the FEMA money went...to the wealthy. The poor and minorities who need the help can't get it and the city wants to demolish what's left of their homes.

Don't misunderstand me, I get why these homes have to be torn down. They are a health hazard, and have been for some time. But, to take the hope of a home away and not give the opportunity for a new one is a travesty in a country like America! America, where everyone has an equal shot at prosperity. America, where we take care of our own.

I think not.

What a shame that the poor and minorities have been so forgotten. Isn't the premise of Christianity to care for the widows and orphans? Where are our Christians now? Where is our president who claims a mandate from God? He handed over a bunch of money to private companies associated with his family and the money went to line the pockets of the rich. This is our America, and it saddens me greatly.

To our brothers and sisters in New Orleans, my humble apologies for being so selfish over the slight of the Gulf Coast. You certainly need the help. It's unfortunate that our leaders, both local and federal, choose to look the other way while their pockets get heavy off the backs of the poor.

Christianity, indeed.