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Passions in Poetry

A Grief Observed, with gratitude

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serenity blaze
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0 posted 06-15-2005 01:44 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

To jbouder for suggesting that I read this and to my buddy, Stephanos, for making certain that I read it, as he sent it to me.

I tend to cope with things by knowing all I can about them, and nodding, I read it once in the first sitting and I'm reading it again today.

It's a very thoughtful and compelling analysis of "processing" grief, and I find myself nodding in understanding over every page.

Thank you both for helping me to find something I didn't know I was looking for.

(And yes, my mother gets it next.)

you guys are wonderful.
Sunshine
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1 posted 06-15-2005 02:15 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Networking can bring about some of the best moments...

but networking because we KNOW someone needs SOMETHING is even better yet!

That's wonderful, serenity...
Huan Yi
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2 posted 06-16-2005 03:01 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


I personally could not accept the notion that a woman’s
fatal  illness was somehow God’s test; in fact I found
it repulsive.  Why any god I would care much less want
to worship, (love?), would need to inflict pain to determine
faith or worthiness is beyond what small goodness I have.

saved_by_grace
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3 posted 06-16-2005 08:25 AM       View Profile for saved_by_grace   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for saved_by_grace

I have a few people in my life that believe the same thing Huan Yi...and every one has the right to what they believe.  I really don't know any thing about what Serenity was sent (and has read), but I would love to read it sometime too...cause I am going through my own grief right now on many things...trying to find my way out.

BUT...I feel there are MANY different reasons why people go through pain, sickness, illness or any trial for that matter.  They aren't ALL brought on by God.  He gave this earth to the evil one to rein over for NOW, but God said that he will be taking it back when the time is right.  So I believe that some times...things just happen.  It may not be a test of your faith.  If it is a test, it is the devil messing with you trying to shake you up.  Make you believe that there isn't a God so that he has one more soul that he has taken away from Him.  I suppose it depends on where you are in your faith when these "bad things" happen to you or your loved ones that makes it a test of faith.  
I know two people from these pages alone [one much better than the other] that were strong in their faith clear up till the day that God called them home to be with him.  I didn't know Becky (whtdove) enough to know what she died of, but I know that by reading her words that she left here...I love her.  She was an amazing soul...and her love and faith was extremely strong in God.  Michael (Auguste), on the other hand, I did know...and very well.  He passed away with lung cancer (as you may or may not know)...lung cancer brought on by smoking since he was a teenager.  That was a consequence that he knew was a big possibility every time he lit one up.  Now, I think that if he HAD quit smoking...some thing else would have taken him away from us.  Cause even before we are born our days are numbered...and there isn't any thing that we can do about that.  We die when our time is up and not before...nor do we get more time if we live a 'perfect'/healthy life.  Michael was hit by a drunk driver when he was nine...he should have died then, but his time wasn't up yet.  Many years later...he almost died by drowning trying to save someone else, but his time wasn't up yet.  
Our death and life are not a reflection of how we live...some times there are consequences for our actions, but some times bad things just happen.  Just because God has all the power doesn't mean that he will always get us out of it.  It depends on how much going through the 'fire' will glorify HIM.  And those 'tests' are meant to make all those it 'touches' stronger...maybe for the next go around, who knows?  Some times the way our loved ones die and when they die...have absolutely nothing to do with them.  It may have everything to do with how it is going to affect those around the person dying.  Becky, Michael, my uncle and MANY other people in this world leave at a very early age, but their life and their death affected us in very deep ways...ways that will touch the world around US.  Reading Becky and about her has changed my life and made my faith stronger.  Never once did I talk to her or email with her cause I haven't been here long enough to get to know many people...but she has made a difference and continues to do so!  The same goes with knowing Michael and having my uncle in my life for a short while.  These people were all angels (in my opinion).  They all touched so many in the very short time that they walked this earth...and they continue to do so...through us!  Their reward was to go home and meet our Lord (face to face) because their work was done here.  
I don't always consider my loved ones illness/pain a trial or test...one that if they don't pass they are going to hell, God doesn't work that way.  Some times the things our loved ones go through have nothing to do with them, but every thing to do with us.  Maybe the test isn't for them, but for us.  Depends on where we all are in that journey as to what the answer is.  


Anyway, I know that I have gotten VERY wordy here and maybe even repeated myself a few times or made several spelling or grammer errors.  I am sorry about that.  [I don't have time to go back and change it.]  If I said something that was completely wrong or doesn't belong on these pages...I am sorry...and you can delete it if you want.  But I read this post and felt the need to say some thing.  I know that there is more that I would like to say, but I have to go and visit with my dying grandfather...so that even in his death...he can continue to make a difference.  

BTW, Serenity, where did you get "A Grief Observed"?  Is it a book?  I would like to get a copy myself...I just need to know what it is...and where I might find it.  Cause there are several people in my family that could use it too.

Take care...Hugs...   ~  Becka
Sunshine
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4 posted 06-16-2005 09:24 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Google Link

Looks like something I would want to read, myself.

[This message has been edited by Ron (06-16-2005 11:47 AM).]

Stephanos
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5 posted 06-16-2005 09:51 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

John:
quote:
I personally could not accept the notion that a woman’s fatal illness was somehow God’s test; in fact I found it repulsive.  Why any god I would care much less want to worship, (love?), would need to inflict pain to determine faith or worthiness is beyond what small goodness I have.



Conversely, a "god" who didn't have some plan or purpose even for the very darkest things in our lives (ie, Death), wouldn't be much of a god.  


The alternative, is to believe that the darkest things (all things really) are of no purpose whatsoever, meted out by a blind universe.  It is to believe that death (as well as life) is meaningless, in spite of our innate feelings and knowledge to the contrary.  (notice that children don't hold to the philosophy of meaninglessness-  The child must die 'ere the cold philosopher can live).    


Why would the first view be better?  Well, first of all,  because it's true.  (You knew I wouldn't put this only in the context of choosing what benefits us the best).  But secondly, because the latter view gives us no appeal, no hope of any kind of redemption or sense.  The first view, at least, could be misinterpreted by us.  You paint God, with your words, as the cosmic sadist, and we as his helpless laboratory animals.  But at least, while God exists, we could be mistaken.  Pain and anger, are often the helpers of misinterpretation.  We also have the testimony of many who have found joy and peace beyond grief, because of the very God they doubted.  If death is a fact of life, which came into the world through sin, then God may also use it to his glory and our good.  You can be mad at a God who allows death to be, or you can worship him who is able to bring good out of a very bad situation.  And while Lewis struggled with believing that, like we all do, he did keep faith and was bettered for it now and in eternity.  If we say we love God (who is bigger than all) then will we deny him in the face of pain and dying?  I personally don't like the test, but I see how it may be necessary.  I also like to think that the one who gives the test, is also the one who helps me to pass by teaching me.    


The latter view, in pitting us against an irrational and omnipotent universe (as Bertrand Russell called it) places us in a battle with no hope of winning.  But then again, maybe that's the allure.  It appeals to our pride to imagine ourselves as rational rebles and martyrs, in a sea of absurdity.  How brief the spark in the darkness, but how beautiful.  What pathos!  The only problem was, that Bertrand's latter years showed that he doubted his whole epistemology, revising it many times, before coming to the conclusion that humanity had no certain epistemology.  He became a skeptic in it's fullest sense.    Even the spark, he concluded, was illusory.  And yet I see another motive in Russell, and others like him, besides mere truth.  This motive was evident when he wrote about mankind "disdaining the coward terrors of the slave of Fate, to worship at the shrine that his own hands have built".  As pitiful as we are, we get to take on the mantle of heroic deity.  When there's no God, you get to be one yourself, and that somehow evokes a thrill, even if only despair is to follow.



Karen,

I know this thread wasn't really intended to spark a debate amongst the pipsters.  You're welcome for the book.  I can't say that honestly about the hotsauce though.  I grieve every time I part with one of those bottles.    


Stephen.      
Huan Yi
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6 posted 06-16-2005 10:19 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Stephen,

“I personally don't like the test, but I see how it may be necessary.”

Ours is a difference of don’ts; your one, my two.

What possible good purpose, for example, could be in allowing much less willing
that a child be savaged and then buried alive as recently occurred
in Florida?

My personal resolution is a “Kingdom not of this Earth”  position.  God doesn’t
allow or will any sort of physical pain or evil for any purpose; being spirit,
he hasn’t the power, ( read Jules Supervielle’s  God’s Sadness)

John


jbouder
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7 posted 06-16-2005 02:04 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

John:

Alternatively, God preserves our ability to make bad choices.  Any other way, and our will (as it pertains to mundane things) would be nonexistant.

Seneca reached similar conclusions to Lewis' 1900 years before Lewis.  To suffer is part of the human condition, and one's character is both tested and made visible during times of suffering.  How Lewis responded to suffering is commendable, regardless of your personal feelings about the metaphysical problems of evil and suffering.  

Most notably, Lewis recognized that one's suffering can bring about good things.  Certainly, Joy's suffering and Lewis' struggle with grief brought comfort to Serenity.  Not to mention millions of readers over the decades.  Can you at least acknowledge that much?

Jim
serenity blaze
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8 posted 06-16-2005 02:58 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

This is the third day I've had that book in my possession, and this is the third day I intend to read it. What I am finding comforting is the knowledge that I am not alone in this--because grief is a very lonely place to be, as it's so personal.

I'll be back with more, too, John, because if I recall collectly, I believe Lewis questioned that himself. As it is, I'm hard pressed to find anything that he offers as an "ultimate answer" -it's simply his observations of himself, offered to others.

He phrases the questions and his suppositions of answers so much more eloquently than I could. There is something that struck me so hard though, that I would like share it now.

I told a friend that I have discovered that after a loss of a loved one, we figure out that we can't scream them back to life, pray them back, write them back, nor cry or memorialize them back. But it's very important to our own sanity that we try. Lewis took it a step further and asked "and even if we could, why would we?"

Would we be so discompassionate to ask our loved ones to go through death twice?

I don't mind this debate at all. What was more maddening for me was the silence--this idea I had in my head that I was supposed to be stoically silent when every portion of my being was urging me to rebelliously scream. So many things...like Lewis's observation that as a bereaved person his mere presence became an embarrassment to others, who didn't know whether to mention his loss or not--coupled with his acknowledgement that either reaction could infuriate him, depending on his mood.

This is a very simply written, honest book, and it is just what I needed right now. Why that would bother anyone is beyond my capacity for understanding.

But then, Lewis talks about that too. There's a certain fog that settles in, and my annoyance with that happens to be coupled that due to my previous (and deserved) reputation, it's assumed that I'm on drugs.

There's a lot to deal with, so much in fact, that I must say, that old "saw" that was offered up was driving me further insane.

"It will take time..."

Time is something everybody assumes we have, and after having buried so many, so quickly, I can't assume I have that luxury.

But thanks Jim and Stephanos. I consider the book a blessing, and know that it's the last thing I touched before falling asleep last night, and the first thing I touched upon awakening.

thank you

At least I'm sleeping now.

(and Stephen, if you'd only MARKET that hotsauce, I'd quit begging you for it. Get it approved by Louisiana's FDA and I will personally put it in every restaurant kitchen in the Greater New Orleans Area.)

Love to all.

Stephanos
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9 posted 06-16-2005 06:00 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

John:
quote:
What possible good purpose, for example, could be in allowing much less willing
that a child be savaged and then buried alive as recently occurred
in Florida?



How can God can be blamed for the evil deeds of men?  But in as far as he allows it, we are given the assurance of two things.  1)  He himself suffered an unjust death at the hands of wicked men, in the person of Jesus Christ, not untouched with such evil.  2) There is a ressurrection of the dead-  a promise and hope to see the child again, raised to life, after evil has done its very worst.


But as far as your own thoughts are concerned ... I would ask you to analyze your own standard of what a "good purpose" even is.  The very charge of injustice leveled at God for allowing or determining a child's death, comes from a knowledge of real right and wrong.  This moral indignation you feel, makes no sense unless there is a God who is the determiner of right and wrong.  You could always say that you're only expressing your feelings, but I don't think you want to concede that much.  


quote:
My personal resolution is a “Kingdom not of this Earth”  position.  God doesn’t allow or will any sort of physical pain or evil for any purpose; being spirit, he hasn’t the power, ( read Jules Supervielle’s  God’s Sadness)



You make the division too complete.  God is a Spirit who "became flesh".  Neither does history bear out the claim that God is "powerless" to influence anything on Earth, just because he is Spirit.  Is there room for doubt?  Surely.  There always is.  You can doubt your very own existence if you like ...  Philosophers have done it, in the most serious frames of mind.  But any view of God as impotent to touch or influence his creation for good, is not really a description of God but a self-made idol.  The expressions of Supervielle in that poem, are a reflection of his own unbelief, not of the nature or true purpose of God.


I personally would beware of meditating too much upon such profound doubt as Supervielle's.  Because there is a personal force of persuasion behind it, and it is the catching kind.  Those who ultimately believe this about God, can receive no help from him ever (having no faith), and yet they will surely be shown his power and truth.  


It's one thing to struggle with God's delays, and seeming silence.  It's quite another to count him as gone forever.  The one position can be mended.  The other, the most frightful position I can think of.        


Stephen.
Huan Yi
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10 posted 06-16-2005 10:23 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Stephen,

You would ultimately
hold God accountable.
I don’t.

I think you are his never the less worshiper.
I, merely, having faith first in his goodness,
a young friend.

John


serenity blaze
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11 posted 06-16-2005 11:11 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

John, by your replies, I'm presuming you have a definitive belief in God.

And more than that? I think you assume to have a personal relationship with God.

Do you think you could expoud on this for me?
Huan Yi
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12 posted 06-17-2005 10:08 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

SB,

I urge you to read
Jules Supervielle’s  God’s Sadness.

If I wouldn't get my hand slapped I'd post
it here.

John
serenity blaze
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13 posted 06-17-2005 04:54 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

John, I'm willing to read just about anything. (and hey, the hand smacking ain't so bad if you can get 'em to kiss you first)



If this book explains your personal beliefs better than you are able, feel free to e mail me excerpts are what ever else you might wish for me to regard.

As you might have figured out by now, I say I'll read, but it pretty much has to be thrown at me. I mean well, yanno, I just have a long list.

And I gotta run. Thunderstorms here.

ta for now. :waving:
Huan Yi
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14 posted 06-17-2005 05:07 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

SB,

It's a poem.

Check your e-mail

John
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15 posted 06-17-2005 05:40 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Did you ever read Dream of the Rood.  
It is one of the loveliest religious poems ever written.  

Indeed we have a discussion going on this poem right now in the Sanctuary: http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum56/HTML/000198.html.
serenity blaze
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16 posted 06-17-2005 07:44 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Thank you John.

I've saved to compare/contrast later this evening (one hopes) we seem to be having a fish fry in the midst of thunderstorms. (Life is very hobbit-like here.)

And Essorant, that is one of my favorites as well, and you just reminded me I've been meaning to get back to that as well.

I wish some of these personalities in me head would start talking to each other--I could delegate some of this stuff then.

And tsk.

I'll have to save my computer to type another day. There's some fair amount of lightning here and there.

Weird ass weather to suit my weird ass moods.

Thanks all...
Stephanos
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17 posted 06-17-2005 07:51 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
... I, merely, having faith first in his goodness,
a young friend.



In what sense are you having faith in his goodness?


Stephen.
serenity blaze
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18 posted 06-18-2005 02:33 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

*chuckle*

Stephan? I backspaced my reply three times, finally telling myself you could take care of yourself.



And shaking my head, and if anybody thinks you delegate personal responsibility to God, then my friend, they simply don't know you.



And John, I saw nothing in the poem that would delegate a hand slap--in fact, and you may call this a simplistic analogy, but it reminded me of a quote from a George Burns movie--that's right-- "Oh God!"

Whereupon he (God/George Burns) says:

"I gave you a world with every thing in it -- what more do you want?"

And on the issue of personal comfort, I believe he said,

"That's why I made you guys..."

*poof*

I'm still uncertain of your point, but then I am one worn out coon ass tonight.

More later.

(perhaps that should be my epitaph?)

*chuckles and hugs* to all
GG
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19 posted 06-18-2005 05:45 AM       View Profile for GG   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for GG

Thanks for the recommendation!

I'm a big fan of lewis' books (though I'm actually not too into narnia but still think he did a great job writing them) but kept trying to tell myself that this one just couldn't be good because I was broke and couldn't pay for the book lol... You've persuaded me, though, so I'll have to head to the library and pick it up sometime soon.

Just wanted to say thanks for finally convincing me (I was a bit afraid I wouldn't like the way he dealt with the subject). Hope all is well, er, as well as it can be, at least!

He was a man of sorrows
...I am a girl of tears.

Huan Yi
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20 posted 06-18-2005 09:13 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Stephen,


“How can God can be blamed for the evil deeds of men?  But in as far as he allows it, . . .”

If one believes in God’s omnipotence
one can not then reasonably say he is not in part responsible
for the evil that happens to even good people,
unless one assumes it somehow happens
behind his back.  If I stood merely observing an event
as happened in Florida all the while having had
the power to prevent or stop such evil upon a child
I would be universally, (and rightly I think), condemned
for it.  The answer to Job is not one that would bring
me to my knees except by force of fear, not love.

Let’s remember my original objection to Lewis;
his conclusion that his wife’s suffering was a test
placed on her by God.  Any man who inflicted
such pain on a woman for such purpose
would not have my regard.*

John


*This put me in mind of an incident decades ago
when I stopped in a small bar in Northwest Indiana.
At the bar was a man from Northern California who was
telling the bartender how he had once punched his
girlfriend to the ground.

“I didn’t hit her to knock her down.”  He said.
“I hit her to raise her up!”

I hadn’t considered the possibility that God
might be from California.

  

Huan Yi
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21 posted 06-18-2005 09:40 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

SB,

“God’s Sadness

(God Speaks)

I see you coming and going upon the trembling of the Earth
as in the world’s first days, but great is the difference,
my work is no longer within me.
I have given it entirely to you.

Men, my beloved, I am powerless in your misfortunes,
I could give you only tears and your courage,
which are the warm evidence of God’s existence.
The moisture in your soul is what you have left of me.
I could do no more. I could do nothing
for the mother whose son is going to die
except give light to you, candles of hope.
If it were not so, would you know,
you undefended little beds, the paralysis of children. . .”


Jules Supervielle


I imagine only this much of the poem will not get me
admonished and place it here to defuse the parallel
you drew which is much different in character.

John
serenity blaze
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22 posted 06-18-2005 09:46 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

John? I will read the book again, because I think perhaps I'm just focusing on what I would like to hear, because thus far, I haven't read of Lewis describing anything as definitive.

He goes through various emotions, intelligently and with sensitivity, and thus far, what I love about the book is his summarily dismissive attitude regarding "cliche'd" pretexts regarding death.

He offers exactly what it espouses to be, "A Grief Observed." I see it as a personal account of feeling, and to ascribe some "wrong" to that would be like telling someone how bananas taste.

He takes every emotion of "process" as you mentioned in another thread, and simply observes himself, if not dissects himself, processing. (And I'm finding it helpful to have that expressed not FOR me, but with me, and more coherently than I could hope to achieve.)

What you quote is out of context as one of the many exclamations that he confessed to, and as you more than likely know, not all of the range of emotions of grief are rational.

As of right now? I can't say I would say that Lewis describes the death of loved ones as a test, but simply, and beautifully ascribes all of life as a tempering. And that can be logically argued without concession of a personal God.

We are born. We learn to walk. We skin our knees. Tempering=experience? Whether there is a prescribed savior or not, there is learned behavior.

And now, even I must sleep sometime, so off to the crypt I creep, and if I missed something, I am confident you'll fill me in.

No facetious typing intended.  

This is kind of an important topic for me right now, and I appreciate all the help I can get.

Forgive me if I get frustrated with your lack of personal perspective at times, because the quotes you quote, the questions you pose, do seem to have an agenda that you won't quite say that you adhere to.

That doesn't bother me as much puzzle me.

but shrug...

in the meantime, my nightwatch is over.

I'll go sleep.

Hugs, with love, to you all.  
 
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