What Matters?

The fallout from the news is sad, the tragedies replayed over and over. The distance makes my imagination expand fear. I look at my children and wonder, is this the world my generation will leave for them?

But as the rescuers sift through the rubble of earthquakes, tsunamis, and explosions, they find sparks of life, dim, but still glowing. Like a small flame they are cared for, nurtured, and carried to a place where they can recover and grow stronger. The rescuers too, are sparks, bringing hope in the washed-out, shaken-up world. They brace their faith and their courage to face smells, unstable rubble, and mud. They keep going, retrieving bodies, dead or alive, for loved ones who wait and wonder.

The drift from the explosions floats on the wind, and anxiety travels with it. But everywhere it lands, we again find sparks; people who say, “we can survive all this, we have done it before.” The sparks of reassurance feed the small flames of faith and hope inside of others. These small flames grow to become fires that fuel a desire to reach out and help one another. The fire of hope works as a “back-burning” tool, helping us to stand up and let our work be counted to make an effort to make a difference; if not there, at the heart of the current disaster, then here, at the heart of our communities, in the hearts of our neighbors.

A world that acts from the heart. I hope this is the world I can leave to my children. Isn’t that in the end, what really matters?

Mark 12:30-31 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.


Wonka Factory Shut Down By Strike*

Oompa Loompa Union Negotiating for Better Pay and a Comprehensive Health Care Program

Over the last 47 years, Oompa Loompas have become more and more competitive with one another and more and more dissatisfied with their pay and benefits packages which have always been negotiated on an individual or departmental basis. This has created a disparity of income and jealousy within the Oompa Loompa community. Traditionally, Oompa Loompas have been provided housing and clothing tailor made to their unique ethnic body types and received payment in various forms of chocolate, with the darker varieties holding a premium status among the workers. Now, while chocolate remains a valuable commodity, the workers want to receive monetary compensation and health benefits in addition to the customary confections.

The Oompa Loompas have formed a union, called the OoLoo Union, to negotiate collectively for all the workers. Wonka insists that the traditional chocolate diet is the ‘nature made’ diet that is ideal for Oompa Loompas. He says he is concerned that cash compensation for work will create further jealousy and infighting among the community. “Introducing misguided dietary ‘junk food’ such as carrots, lettuces, and cucumbers into their diets will likely cause expensive health problems never seen before among the Oompa Loompa population,” said Wonka.

Union spokeswoman, Lolly Pop, responded by saying, “Our diets should be our own business and not that of our employer. Besides, if we have a good health care plan, the workers will be able to address and manage any health concerns with their doctors.”

Wonka countered, “If the factory suddenly has to deal with sick employees, it may compromise the cleanliness and sterility of the factory itself, forcing a price increase at the same time marking a decrease in quality standards. This would be simply intolerable.”

On another note, the controversy has drawn the attention of U.S. Immigration officials who now want “clear documentation that these short, tubby people are here with the proper paperwork and visas and that they are not taking jobs that could be done by current citizens of the U.S. Otherwise, they will have to go back to the jungle they came from,” said an unidentified agent.

“If things don’t work out here, I may have to close the factory completely and move production overseas,” Wonka stated.

Market analysts are predicting an across-the-board increase in all Wonka products, causing the already premium price of the confections to rise even higher.

*Note: This blogger has no connection to the Nestle company, any Oompa Loompas, or any company or business officially or unofficially associated with Willy Wonka, Charlie Bucket, Mr. Slugworth, or any other individual with an interest in the Candy Factory.

This post was inspired by a dinner-table conversation with my children as to why Wonka candy seems to be more expensive than other similar candies at the store. This is a work of fiction, please don’t call the factory asking why the Oompa Loompas or Mr. Wonka are being treated in such a manner.

Stepping Out Into the Future!

Yikes. There’s no net.

Beginning a new endeavor always seems to involve some adrenaline, making me wonder, who will catch me when I fall? Sure, I’ve got family who will always love me, but I can’t think of anything that has a higher try/fail ratio than being a writer. Oh well, I guess it’s good that there is no actual blood involved. Not sure that actually improves the recovery rate between a fail and getting back up again. Doesn’t matter. Here I go!

My Rules:

  1. Write something new every day (though not necessarily on this blog).
  2. Take lots of photos. They help me see things in new ways.
  3. Revise Ruthlessly!
  4. Hmm. I think three rules is all I can handle for now.