Serenity and Social Justice
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Thomas Franklin is new (11-17) to thefiresidepost.com. He has no experience with being published as an author. He has a fondness for reading and an appreciation of words. His curiosity is insatiable. He carries the burdens of his youth like Marley dragging his chains of bad deeds. The difference is that Marley's burdens were a result of his behavior. Life just happened to Mr. Franklin. These life burdens shall be the topic of Mr. Franklin's writing. Be kind for he is quite sensitive.

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Serenity and Social Justice

I like the idea of social justice.  Probably because there are many opportunities to challenge society, to fight with others, to maintain the moral high ground, to bask in the righteousness of being right all the time.  Social Justice has been a ball and chain in my life.

Check this out: I just googled who the man is in the poster.  From the photo alone he might be described as a gentleman of stature, a man with an iron jaw, a man of maturity and dignity.  From my viewpoint on this Saturday morning he looks like an exhausted, defeated, worn out old man tired of life’s injustice.

What do you see?

From Biogaphy.com:

“Elie Wiesel was a Nobel-Prize winning writer, teacher and activist known for his memoir Night, in which he recounted his experiences surviving the Holocaust.

Synopsis

Born on September 30, 1928, in Sighet, Romania, Elie Wiesel pursued Jewish religious studies before his family was forced into Nazi death camps during WWII. Wiesel survived, and later wrote the internationally acclaimed memoir Night. He also penned many books and became an activist, orator and teacher, speaking out against persecution and injustice across the globe. Wiesel died on July 2, 2016 at the age of 87.

Wiesel had a cause.  A cause falling under the heading of Social Justice.  Holy Cow – he survived the holocaust.  My causes are something like that, at least in my mind.  Try this one example.  For a short time in my life I was sort of homeless.  I slept in my pickup truck. I am a reader and often enjoy a morning newspaper.  Without a home I was unable to subscribe.  Every morning I would go to the local grocery store and purchase a newspaper from the vending machine in the parking lot for fifty cents – two quarters.  One morning the machine was empty.  I parked my truck and went into the store.  They had a stack of newspapers by the register.  I asked for one while digging in my pocket for the quarters.  The clerk said, “fifty-three cents please”.

“WHAT!!”  I exclaimed, “It is fifty cents in that box outside”.

The clerk was calm and said, “I know.  But when it is purchased at this register we have to charge a sales tax.”

I struggled to contain myself.  The great horror of injustice was visiting my life once again. I wondered how many people they had already abused that day before I arrived on my white horse with a sword of social fury.  How dare anyone try to take advantage of me.  I might be homeless but I am not helpless.

This diatribe is of my past.  I now attend a 12 Step Program called Social Causes Anonymous (SCA).  We meet in a church basement on Tuesdays.  We assess and assign priorities to numerous causes.

Here are a few of the causes we work on:

  • People failing to use turn signals.
  • Social Security income adjustments
  • Sidewalks covered with snow with no apparent attempt at shoveling
  • Clover in an otherwise manicured lawn
  • The way my brother takes care of my mother (she lives in his home)
  • No quick and easy parking spaces at WalMart
  • Milk and eggs at the back of the store
  • Having to give my zip code for a credit card purchase at a local gas station
  • Too many passwords and ID’s
  • My neighbor plays loud music while working in his garage
  • Leaf blowers.

I think you get the idea.  There is no actual Social Causes Anonymous.

There are few causes for which I will die but there are many for which I will scream and yell and raise my blood pressure, for which I will demean a grocery clerk, for which I will chastise my mail carrier, and honk whether I love Jesus or not.

OK – so some readers might think I have drifted into the absurd.  Actually, yes, some of the examples are absurd.  But there is a point to be made.  At what point in the injustices of life do I stand up and shout “ENOUGH”.

I drive across town and see several PayDay Loan store fronts.  “Title Loans Here” a sign announces.  These ventures in legal loan sharking are disgusting.  Let’s assume for a moment that I am correct.  These ventures are corrupt for taking advantage of people who have no where to go.  All moral and ethical people know these scams are predatory.  The question for me personally is simple: Is this a cause for which I will spoil a day of serenity?

What is serenity worth?  This feels like a selfish question.  The idea that I would remain silent in the face of social injustice feels selfish and cowardly.  The Serenity Prayer distinguishes courage and wisdom.  I have had a boatload of courage all of my life.  I am beginning to learn that wisdom might trump courage.

My life lesson today?  I do not have to pick up every rope of trouble I see laying on the ground.  It is much easier to let go if I don’t pick it up in the first place.  Is this a cowardly act – seeing wrong and consciously choosing to leave it alone?  That is the boundary of wisdom.  Wisdom decides day to day, moment to moment, what troubles belong to me and what troubles belong to someone else.

I began my conscious wisdom seeking journey about four years ago.  This has been a fascinating time in my life.  I have stared injustice in the face, eyeball to eyeball, and did not pick up the rope. “Ha,” I laughed, “You do not control my life today”.

Many problems have crossed my path and only a few have snagged me.  I look back and ask, “What is different because of my conscious use of wisdom?”  Only one thing has changed.  I am no longer insane with the misery of the world.  I go about my day relaxed and with some serenity.  Is life perfect.  No – but is is much better than when I thought the world was my responsibility.

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