Sorry, the blog for last week did not go out for some reason. It was posted to my web page but not distributed.

Candles. Last week was the first day of Hanukkah and the second week of Advent. Happy Hanukkah and Advent.

Both celebrations involve lighting candles; Hanukkah in memory of the reestablishment of the temple and the second candle of Advent in our congregation represents peace. Since the invention of the light bulb, lighting candles has lost some significance. When candles were a major source of light, lighting one had a deeper significance.

 Let us light candles with a thanksgiving for advancements but with recognition of the power of light in our needy world.

Opposite arrows with War versus Peace. Hand drawing with chalk on blackboard. Choice conceptual image

Advent Peace. Last week was also my 78th birthday. In reflecting about peace I realized that during almost all of those 78 years, America has had troops in harm’s way someplace in the world. Thus, I have not known much national peace in my lifetime. We have had involvement in WWII, Operation Beleageur in China, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Cuba, Grenada, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Bosnia, Kosovo, Nicaragua, Panama, Bolivia, Somalia, Congo, Zaire, Libya and other skirmishes. Peace on earth is but a hope.

I have however been blessed to have peace within the areas within which I have lived and peace within myself through my faith. Unfortunately, too many people face the fear of gunfire in their communities on a regular basis. Too many people live with inner unrest.

I pray for peace on earth inside and out.

COVID. Previously I have written about how the power of a single memorable event can skew the scope of our awareness. The importance of being aware that skewing is being demonstrated on a daily basis.

On several days recently, more people died from COVID than died in the 9/11 attacks.  Obviously, the deaths were spread over the 50 states and did not die in four locations as happened in 9/11. The impact of the COVID deaths is diminished by the spread.

Think about it— after 9/11 did you hear anyone say: “less than 1 percent of Americans were killed so what is the big deal?”  Or “over 99 % of Americans survived, what is the big deal?” Or “more people died from the flu, what is the big deal.”

I understand 9/11 was an attack but my point is to remember how we think about deaths when they are “focused” versus “spread out.” The COVID death situation is bad and should not be down played.

As further evidence of the importance of understanding scope, consider that we passed the 300,000 death milestone this week. The population of Mobile is around 300,000. Imagine a town of our size being eliminated.

In light of the extreme danger of COVID and my belief in putting others before myself, I try to practice safe behavior — social distancing, minimizing exposure and wearing a mask. I often forget to wash my hands or not touch my face but I am working on those two.

Economic Shutdown. Having stressed the terrible nature of COVID and my precautions, I would like to offer a different observation. Some people are arguing for an economic shut down as the way to fight COVID. The logic is — the ruin of many lives is better than any death.

I would support the idea under one condition — every elected official and their staff, who put laws or regulations in place for an economic shut down, are denied salary and benefits for as long as the shut down occurs. If that occurred I would be more supportive of a shutdown.

My condition may sound silly and will never happen, but I believe if you reflect on it, you will find the idea has merit. For some people to inflict ruin on others without personal consequences seems unfair. More “Marie Antionette like” than a shared journey through difficult times.

We live in difficult times.

Peace

Jerry


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