Latest entries

Mom finds 28 reasons to put phone down, pay more attention to sons

by David McElroy

28-tick-marks

No loving parent ever decides that Facebook and other social media are more important than his or her children. Loving parents just don’t consciously decide such things.

But some people let tiny decisions add up — one after another — until they’re putting the online world before the children they love. Not in big ways. The children are still being fed and clothed. They’re still getting where they need to go.

But some parents end up depriving them of the most important thing they have to give — their loving attention.

Brandie Johnson of Lakeside, Calif., realized recently that her boys needed more of her attention — and she realized that was going to require that she put her phone down more often and pay more attention to her real world than to her virtual world.

Last November, Johnson decided to do a small experiment with her sons. I’ll let her tell her own story, which she shared on Facebook that day and which finally found its way to me on Tuesday.

Read the rest of this entry »

Now that his wife is gone for good, man is left with memories and love

by David McElroy

sunset-sept-25-2016-920px

The man startled me at first, because I was standing in the middle of a cemetery and I didn’t see or hear a car. But the dead never bother me when I come to this particular hill for sunset pictures — and Alan didn’t bother me, either.

He stood silently just a little above me on the hill as I shot pictures of the sunset. I rarely see people there this late in the day, although it’s happened before. Most people seem to leave long before the sun starts sinking toward the horizon. Most don’t seem fond of cemeteries at night.

But Alan stood there watching quietly, seemingly absorbed in his own thoughts.

After I took a few more pictures, I looked over my shoulder and greeted him. It seemed uncomfortable to be so close in such an unusual place without at least acknowledging the presence of a living person.

We introduced ourselves and remarked idly about the beautiful sunset we were watching. Then he mentioned having been in the same spot this morning at sunrise — and I couldn’t help but ask more.

Alan’s wife died about a month ago. Her body is buried just down the hill from where we stood.

Read the rest of this entry »

Intense emotions let me feel alive
— but hurt comes along with joy

by David McElroy

feelings

A friend was telling me Wednesday afternoon about some terrible pain she’s going through. A long-term relationship ended for her not long ago and she’s hurting.

She knows the relationship needed to end, but she’s still devastated and hurt. It’s hard to adjust to the change. Everything feels wrong. She feels empty and alone. And she fears she might always be alone.

As I considered the hurt she was experiencing, I found myself thinking — not for the first time — that human life would be so much easier if we didn’t experience emotions.

Things would feel so much better for her — at least for right now — if she didn’t have to feel anything. If emotions just didn’t exist. She could live her normal life. She could feel better about her future. She could see herself as I see her — as a smart and beautiful woman with whatever future she wants to have.

But, instead, she is in the depths of despair.

Read the rest of this entry »

If you vote, you’re my real enemy — no matter who gets your vote

by David McElroy

politicians

If you don’t vote for the Crips, that just gives the Bloods more power. So you must vote for the Crips.

If you’re part of a gang, other gangs are your enemy. If you’re a Crip, the Bloods are the enemy. And vice versa. You can’t understand that all gangs are the enemies of peaceful people.

If you’re part of a crime family, the competing crime families are your enemy. You don’t understand that all criminals are the real enemy of decent people.

If you’re emotionally committed to being a Republican, you see Democrats as the enemy. For Democrats, it’s the other way around. You might see faults in the politicians on your side — mostly because they don’t agree with you about everything — but you believe they’re infinitely better than the politicians on the other side.

So if you’re on either side of that political divide — hating Team Red or hating Team Blue — you can’t understand that the entire political system, which is based on deciding which politicians get to control organized violence in order to rule everyone — is the enemy of all people who wish to be free.

Read the rest of this entry »

Words of appreciation can have power to connect us and heal us

by David McElroy

power-of-words

Never doubt the power of the right words to make someone’s life more pleasant and more bearable.

I’m in a pretty lousy mood tonight because I have an unexpected problem on my hands that I have to solve. After dealing with a series of one problem after another for more years than I like to remember, it’s been a relatively minor thing tonight that pushed me over the edge toward the pit of depression and irrational anger, a place I don’t want to go.

In the long term, I’m still on track to fix the problems in my life that started six or eight years ago after I withdrew from politics, so I know this is just one more minor hurdle to overcome. The issue wouldn’t even be that big a deal for most people, but it was the proverbial straw to break this camel’s emotional back.

I found myself feeling bitter, angry, frustrated and defeated — as well as empty and alone.

But in the midst of feeling these horrible emotions tonight, I’ve gotten messages from two people which honestly help.

Read the rest of this entry »

Can love last? Couple holding hands as her death approaches give hope

by David McElroy

older-couple

It’s easy to be cynical about love today. It’s easy to conclude that love can’t last. And then something comes along that makes you think maybe love can last — connection can last — until the very end. Just maybe.

Nine days ago, a woman posted this picture on Reddit. Her simple caption said, “My Grandma, 96, with my Grandpa, 100, hours before her death this weekend. 77 years of marriage.”

I don’t know where they lived or what their names are. I’m not sure that even matters. The story is universal. The desire to be loved is universal. The desire to have someone to hold onto — in honest connection — is universal.

Most marriages I see are pretty terrible. Most relationships I see are just as bad. Most people don’t know themselves and they don’t know each other. They marry the wrong person. They live entirely different lives that are connected only by children, if at all. And most of them refuse to do anything meaningful to end their misery and learn how to make better choices.

Read the rest of this entry »

2-day-old baby reminds me that miracles still happen every day

by David McElroy

Newborn baby

I met Titus late Friday afternoon. He’s just 2 days old, but he’s already a miracle.

Titus is the first child of my neighbors, a young doctor and his wife, who’s a nurse. Even though they’re both in the medical profession and understand the process very clinically, it’s been obvious how their coming child was affecting them emotionally. They were excited and I’ve been excited to watch them go through it.

Jennifer wasn’t due to give birth until Sept. 9, but she told me weeks ago that she was certain the baby would be here by the end of August. She was right.

When I saw Ben Tuesday evening, he was carrying clothes to the car. He told me that Jennifer was already at the hospital and would be induced starting late that night, with delivery for sometime the next day. He was just grabbing a few things they might need. As I watched him drive off, I found myself feeling excited and nervous for them.

They came home sometime Thursday afternoon, but I didn’t see either of them until Ben was outside Friday afternoon when I pulled into my own driveway.

He told me Jennifer was fine and that it was a boy named Titus. (They had intentionally not known whether it was a boy or a girl.) Titus was in a window when I saw him. He had been placed into the sun’s rays for warmth.

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Goodbye, Charlotte (2009-2016)

by David McElroy

Charlotte on my desk

I lost my friend Charlotte Thursday evening. She was only 7 years old.

When a young feral cat gave birth to four tiny kittens seven years ago, Charlotte looked different from the beginning. It was hard to decide what color to call her. But however you described her, one thing was clear. Among the four little sisters, she was the alpha girl.

Charlotte was tiny but she was fearless. When the other cats would run or hide from unfamiliar things, she would stand her ground, typically looking on with a bored indifference that seemed to be her way of indicating lack of fear. Her only real enemy was the vacuum cleaner.

Before we knew she was a girl, an ex-girlfriend decided this kitten’s facial markings made the eyebrows look like those of a Vulcan from Star Trek, so she was initially known as Mr. Spock.

One of her sisters died very early. In the picture at the bottom of this article, they were about 6 weeks old. The gray one which was second from the left in that photo died shortly after the picture was taken. There was never any warning and I never knew the reason. The vet said it sometimes happens that there is something genetic wrong and it just catches up with them shortly after birth.

The remaining three girls seemed to love books — mostly for sleeping — so they were named for the writing Brontë sisters. As the alpha, the former Mr. Spock became Charlotte, the oldest Brontë sister. The gray one on the right in the photo was named Emily. The black one became Anne. Read the rest of this entry »

Baby girl murdered by own father is reminder to stay away from abusers

by David McElroy

Emersyn Morris

Emersyn Morris was murdered Saturday, but nobody had to go looking for the killer.

The 4-month-old little girl was killed by her own father — because she was making “baby talk” noises while he tried to watch television. Cory Morris, 21, of Minneapolis faces murder charges after hitting his daughter approximately 15 times in the face with his fist and another seven times on her chest with his fist. (See his photo below.)

Morris was alone with the baby. He had watched her alone many times. But something different happened this time and the baby’s mother — Morris’ girlfriend, Jenny Andersen — is now left grieving the death of her child and pondering the fact that she chose Morris to be her partner and the father of this child.

The most important decision you will ever make for your child is who the other parent will be. Read the rest of this entry »

11 children left orphaned by plane crash remind me how fickle life is

by David McElroy

Watching the view

It was just a routine news story. Accidents happen all the time. People are killed all the time. But still….

A plane crashed late Sunday morning in Tuscaloosa County, not far west of Birmingham. Three Mississippi couples were returning to Oxford, Miss., from a dental conference in Florida. Four of the six — including a husband/wife pair — were dental professionals. The plane had engine trouble and radioed the Tuscaloosa Regional Airport that it was going to make an emergency landing — but it crashed violently just short of the airport, leaving no survivors.

The news stories identified the six dead passengers and said they left a total of 11 children behind. Dr. Michael Perry and his wife, nurse Kimberly Perry, had three children. Dr. Austin Poole and his wife, Angie Poole, had five children. Drs. Jason and Lea Farese (in the photo below) had three children. And then I noticed what the story said about the youngest Farese child:

“The youngest just started kindergarten this week.”

For some reason, that hit me hard and it’s left me sitting here in a daze thinking about those 11 children — and somehow it left me thinking again about my own mortality and the uncertainties of life.

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Start over here

When this site launched in 2011, it was intended as a way to find others who were sick of partisan politics and wanted to connect with like-minded people who were ready to go beyond politics and find ways of escaping. It has shifted focus in ways that reflect my own shifting thinking. I’m less interested in politics and more interested in looking at the things that make life worth living, such as love, creation, self-understanding and connecting with others. Every article I have posted since 2011 is still in my archives, but everything I write is a reflection of my current thinking. Sometimes I’m wrong — and that’s fine with me — and I don’t always end up agreeing with what I wrote five years ago. For now, you can still read what I wrote about the site’s purpose in 2011, but I should rewrite this. Read more.

Contact David

David likes email, but can’t reply to every message. I get a surprisingly large number of requests for relationship advice — seriously — but I rarely have the time to respond. (Sorry.) Besides, with my own romantic track record, maybe my advice isn’t worth taking. I’d like to find a wife one of these days, so maybe I should add an “application.”

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What kind of "educational film" would the U.S. government release today to teach Americans how to be good citizens?
We're the Government — and You're Not
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Comments are not presently allowed. They've been allowed in the past, so many older articles have comments. I haven't found most public discussion to be generally useful or healthy, so I have disabled comments for now. I might revisit this policy in the future.

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