Still here...sort of...

Well folks, the health issues continue to be a PITA (pain in the asinine). The two current bugaboos are chronic fatigue and kidney stones. I am doing a sleep study for the former, which involves several activities including monitoring my oxygen levels while sleeping, over a two month period. I sleep upright because of my bad hip and lower back, which helps my breathing somewhat. My kids claim I have stopped snoring since I started sleeping that way. However, I still wake up several times a night, and I have never felt totally rested, even after eight hours of sleep. Lately, I've been taking four hour naps in addition to sleeping at night. This is obviously a problem that needs to be addressed, hence the sleep study.

The second issue was passed quite painfully in the emergency room of Kaiser Hospital. I said it once, and I'll say it again--in times of physical duress, I thank God for morphine and the man or woman who developed it for occasions of ghastly pain. Please don't try to pass a kidney stone all by your lonesome. It is neither heroic nor fun.

The great, no, fantastic news is that in spite everything that's been happening to me, the weight loss continues. I'm still working the program with the grace of God. It certainly isn't my doing. I've always wanted to lose weight, but I couldn't do it on my own. I've tried, over and over again. Addicts need help overcoming their addictions, no matter what the drug of choice happens to be. Mine is food, and left alone, I would have eaten myself into an early grave.

The first day of every month is "weigh day". I'm looking forward to getting on the scale next Tuesday. I couldn't say that in the past. The scale has been my prime nemesis all of my life, followed closely by any medical professional who lectured me about the health consequences of obesity. I have made bonds of friendships between myself, my bathroom scale and my doctors. We aren't going out for coffee or anything, but I'm not muttering cuss words under my breath about them these days, either.

Switching topics, please read the following very excellent article written by one of my favorite bloggers, Phillipe Copeland of Baha'i Thought. He is talking about the violent unrest in South Africa, which is a subject that never fails to bring tears and a tremendous amount of pain to my heart. Why should I care so deeply about the land of my ancestors? Well, for one, it is the land of my ancestors, one that has been raped, pillaged, decimated and exploited for centuries. People constantly point the fingers of blame at each other as the cause of civil war, genocide and economic difficulties in the entire continent, but while those in power continue to play politics and greed as usual, people are dying of starvation, dehydration, various diseases such as AIDS and other treatable chronic illnesses, and become ever-rising statistics in the on=going civil wars throughout the continent. "Makes you wanna holler; throw up both my hands," Marvin Gaye sang. It certainly does that to me. But I'm not giving up, either. I will continue to pray for the Motherland, and if God sees fit for me to be of greater service to the Motherland, I will do so without hesitation.

Here's Brother Phillipe's article:


Like the outbreaks of violence following the disputed elections in Kenya, I've been watching the news of attacks on foreigners by roving mobs in South Africa recently with alarm and sadness. While the context is different in the United States it made me wonder when the frustrations related to immigration in my own country (illegal and otherwise) might boil over into acts of violence. It reminded me of a statement made in The Promise of World Peace, a document commissioned by the Universal House of Justice in the mid-80's and distributed to world leaders around the globe:

"The inordinate disparity between rich and poor, a source of acute suffering, keeps the world in a state of instability, virtually on the brink of war. Few societies have dealt effectively with this situation. The solution calls for the combined application of spiritual, moral and practical approaches. A fresh look at the problem is required, entailing consultation with experts from a wide spectrum of disciplines, devoid of economic and ideological polemics, and involving the people directly affected in the decisions that must urgently be made. It is an issue that is bound up not only with the necessity for eliminating extremes of wealth and poverty but also with those spiritual verities the understanding of which can produce a new universal attitude. Fostering such an attitude is itself a major part of the solution."
(The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Oct, The Promise of World Peace, p. 3)

When human beings see themselves as competing for scarce resources, it can bring out the worst in them. I think that it was Bob Marley who said in one of his songs that "A hungry man is an angry man." Poverty is the enemy of stability in any society and the recent crisis in South Africa at the very least is a dramatization of that fact. Eliminating extremes of wealth and poverty is a central part of the social mission of the Baha'i Faith. A recent statement from the Baha'i International Community had this to say about poverty:

"It is now increasingly acknowledged that such conditions as the marginalization of girls and women, poor governance, ethnic and religious antipathy, environmental degradation and unemployment constitute formidable obstacles to the progress and development of communities. These evidence a deeper crisis—one rooted in the values and attitudes that shape relationships at all levels of society. Viewed from this perspective, poverty can be described as the absence of those ethical, social and material resources needed to develop the moral, intellectual and social capacities of individuals, communities and institutions. Moral reasoning, group decision-making and freedom from racism, for example, are all essential tools for poverty alleviation. Such capacities must shape individual thinking as well as institutional arrangements and policy-making. To be clear, the goal at hand is not only to remove the ills of poverty but to engage the masses of humanity in the construction of a just global order." Read the entire statement here.

I'll close with these words of Baha'u'llah, Founder of the Baha'i Faith:

"O CHILDREN OF DUST!
Tell the rich of the midnight sighing of the poor, lest heedlessness lead them into the path of destruction, and deprive them of the Tree of Wealth. To give and to be generous are attributes of Mine; well is it with him that adorneth himself with My virtues."
(Baha'u'llah, The Persian Hidden Words)

Posted by Phillipe Copeland at 10:25 AM
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