Thursday, October 12, 2006

More Random Thoughts

I read over my last entry and I realized that it is a rambling mess. I considered editing, but it did reflect accurately how I felt.

My daughter's best friend slept over last night. I usually don't allow sleepovers on school nights, but this was a favor to the mother. They choose to sleep in the family room. Every October, our neighborhood is infested with these little black and red flying bugs. I don't know what they are, but they don't bite and by November (or the first frost) they are gone. Unfortunately, they have decided that my daughter's room is the optimum entry point to our house. I killed as many as I could and we cleaned them up, but Darling Daughter still didn't want to sleep in there. They both slept on the floor because they were too lazy to use the inflatable mattress and I was too annoyed at this point to argue.

My dog thought this was entirely too odd to go without investigation, so I had to keep her out of the room. When I woke the girls this morning, the dog ran over to where they had slept and laid herself down. After about 3 minutes, she realized that the floor wasn't that comfortable and retired to the sofa. She had an extremely confused look, and I'm sure she was wondering why the girls thought the floor was a good idea when there was a comfortable couch in the room.

The dog, Buttercup, has some odd habits of her own. The strangest is when I take her outside, she must, everytime, without exception, walk the perimeter of our property, sniffing each blade of grass. We don't have a fence, and her ideas of where our property ends is a little fuzzy. In fact, I'm pretty sure she is trying to annex the neighbors' yards as part of her patrol.

I have been trying to declutter my house and my life. It's hard. I'm a packrat by nature and I always think I'm going to need something in the future, or possibly sell it. I'm starting with books. JA Konrath is asking, via his blog, for people to send books to a buddy of his in Iraq.

Now this is easy. While I have trouble throwing away my books that I don't want anymore, giving them away seems like a great idea. Who doesn't have books lying around? Send yours off too!

Monday, October 09, 2006

We Grieve

We grieve for the Amish families who lost their daughters in the tragic school shooting. While all school shootings are tragic, this one strikes me as demonic. The Amish. They are the plain folks, or Plain Dutch as people in my area (the Fancy Dutch) call them. Of course, they are all of German descent, Pennsylvania Dutch being a bastardization of Duetch.

Although I work in the 3rd largest city in Pennsylvania, it is not uncommon to hear a co-worker ask, "Is is making down yet?". Even though I'm a transplant, I know the correct response: "Yah, it's making down goot, but not dunnerwetter, say?" (Is it still raining outside? Yes, very hard, but I don't think we'll have thunderstorms, do you?). We also share traditions such as Faschnacht day.

The Amish aren't shy or standoffish. They are humble. You can't maintain humility if you are a tourist attraction. But if you visit and want to talk with the Amish, go to one of their farmer's markets. In addition to food that is unbelievably tasty, the Amish will talk to their customers.

They are a peaceful people, and an easy target. Even after the murders, they show no animosity, in fact show forgiveness, to the killer. It's all about being humble.

For most of us, when something bad happens, we say "Why me?" Those who practice humility, like the Amish, answer that with "Why not me? Why do I think I'm so special that the tragedy that affects the world should skip me." It is this acceptance that allows them to avoid the anger and grieve in peace.

Hours after the killings, Amish neighbors went to visit the family of the man responsible to show forgiveness. That family attended the Amish girls funerals and many Amish attends the murder's service. That isn't that uncommon. Drivers who have killed Amish in auto accidents are invited to the funerals to show there are no grudges.

So it's ironic that Fred Phelps and his gang of thugs threatened to protest at the Amish children's funerals. I'm unsure why. The above link blames PA Governor Ed Rendel for signing legislation that forbid protesting at funerals. Now I'm all in favor of free speech, but protesting a funeral? Unless you believe that the deceased is still alive, protest somewhere else. Let family and friends grieve in peace.

But then I read this interview with Shirley Phelps-Roper, the daughter of Fred Phelps, by Alan Colmes. Here is the most despicable dialogue:

COLMES: Did those girls deserve to be killed?

PHELPS-ROPER: Well, they did get killed, and they did that. Who controls the hearts of men? It was at the hand of an angry God those girls are dead.

COLMES: Did they deserve to die?

PHELPS-ROPER: They did deserve to die.

COLMES: How you can possibly make a statement like that?

PHELPS-ROPER: Because that's exactly what happened, and it happened at the hand of the lord your God.

I'm not even going to comment on the insane logic. Or that Fox Network is giving these people air time. Maybe on another post.

I'm sure all of Phelps lunatic flock were WWJD? buttons and shirts. But what would Jesus have done? Would he go and cause pain to those who have lost their children? Or would he have offered comfort, even to those who have caused him harm?

I think Jesus is on the side of the Amish.