Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Monday mumblings.

New is not necessarily better
Today I needed a car jack to lift the front of an old caravan. I have a selection of jacks taken from cars that I have discarded, but I have a favourite one I seldom go past. It is an ancient screw type jack which I think came out of a 1930's Austin. It is simple to adjust, simple to operate and has never let me down. I know there are hydraulic jacks but inevitably they leak fluid. (I have thrown a number out) There are scissor type jacks found in many modern cars but they often get bent out of shape. This old one just keeps plodding on. New and complicated is not necessarily better. (Sometimes this is true with computer programs too.)
Sad emptiness
Whitney Houston has died at just 48. I loved a number of her songs. She was a beautiful lady with a great talent. It is sad that people say "it comes as no surprise" because of her drug and alcohol use. You hear of so many of these celebrities abusing drugs and alcohol. Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson, Waylon Jennings, Charlie Sheen and the list could go on. Why? Again and again they lead to early death or a life of chaos. Us normal folk long for enough money to buy a decent house without a mortgage. We want some sort of financial security and maybe a nice looking reliable vehicle. We think we would be happy with such things. These celebrities are gifted, they have fame, they have all the material wealth and more than we could possibly hope for, but still do not find happiness. Their abuse of drugs points to either deep stress (why stress.. if they stopped work they could live comfortably forever?) or deep insecurity or other sources of inner emptiness. We say that money can't buy happiness, but do we believe it? These sad cases are proof of that. I still think Jesus is right when he said, "If you lose your life, you will find it." Happiness and fulfillment are a by product. They are the result of living life for a cause bigger than yourself. They happen when we give ourselves in service and love to others. I feel really sad for Whitney. I loved her voice, and at her best her presence and musical presentation were superb and moving. Her songs I will always love you and The greatest love of all will remain a couple of my favourites.
"Real" flavours - "real" people.
My wife and I were discussing the lack of salt in our diet. My mother, as part of a different generation, always added salt while cooking vegetables. Her soups were very salty. She argued that it brought out the taste of the food. Because of the publicity given to the bad impact of salt on arteries we very seldom add salt to anything. We have come to love the saltless natural flavours of the vegetables. We enjoy the occasional spicy Indian food. It makes a change  and we have a favourite Indian restaurant. (Little India in Dunedin) But we would not eat Indian food all the time. Why? Well because the spices mean that you do not taste the natural flavours of the respective vegetables. A carrot, lettuce, cabbage, turnip or silverbeet fresh out of the garden is superb. The natural flavours not ruined or distorted by over cooking or added salt and spices are simply beautiful. I got to thinking about the sort of people I am drawn to. I mix with some very intelligent people, but also some very simple folk. I know some rich people and lots of poor people.  But across the board, rich, poor, beautiful, ugly, intelligent or simple the people I am drawn to and enjoy spending time with are the people who are comfortable just "being themselves." I get really sad with poor people or simple people trying to be other than who they are. The poor get themselves in trouble by trying to have what they cannot afford. The simple come across as stupid know alls when they try to impress with their knowledge. Others are frustrating because you can know them for years, but never really know them. Some people spend a lot of energy trying to be religious and look godly. But I just love spending time with people who relax and just be their open, loving selves. They are worth knowing. Their beautiful natural flavours can be tasted and enjoyed. Like my food, I like people natural and not trying to be different. "Rela-a-a-x ... you're OK, there is no need to add salt and spices, you are beautiful just as you are." There are so many people who I would love to say that to.
Does religion sometimes distort people?
I often find that long time church goers seem more uptight and less relaxed than others. They appear to think they have an "image" to keep up. Sometimes I have said that I feel "more at home at the mess in the fire station than at the cup of tea after church". I often find that the newer people at Church seem more "real" than long standing members. (This is a generalisation and not always true) If I understand the impact of Jesus correctly, he seems to say, "Relax, you are loved and accepted as you are!" It is a shame when the Christian faith has the opposite effect.

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