Dixie Darr

Life’s Not Fair

In creativity, Learning on March 20, 2018 at 8:42 am

The first time I saw Whitney Houston, I thought, “life is just not fair.” She was on some TV show singing “Saving All My Love for You,” her first number one hit and still my favorite of her songs. Absolutely gorgeous, her voice was magnificent, astonishing. She also had family in the music business who could give her a boost, not that she needed one. Her mother, Cissy was a well-known gospel singer, and Dionne Warwick was her first cousin.
She had everything.
She was so far beyond anything I could imagine for myself, that I didn’t even envy her.
Some people just seem magical. They were lucky enough to be born at the right time, in the right place, with the right talents and skills. Bill Gates springs to mind. And Yo-Yo Ma. They almost couldn’t help but succeed.
Others, like Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou, had no particular advantages other than native intelligence, yet they succeeded, too, perhaps beyond their wildest dreams.
Things don’t always go as planned, however. Recall the Yiddish proverb, “Man plans, God laughs.” We’ll substitute “people” for “Man” and it works just as well.
I’m not sure I believe God laughed as Whitney Houston’s plans went so terribly awry. There’s just nothing funny about watching a woman who had everything squander it all.
We’ll never really know what happened. Was Bobby Brown a powerfully bad influence? Did Whitney think she didn’t deserve a glorious life? Can we blame everything on drugs? I have no idea. Somewhere along the way, she became a broken woman, a tragic parody of herself.
We all have our ups and downs, our gifts and misgivings. We’ve all experienced a fall from grace. The secret is just to keep going and be kind to one another. We can’t know the secret triumphs and despairs of others, and we can’t know what’s around the next corner for any of us.
One thing we do know is that life isn’t fair. Sometimes it’s cruel, and sometimes it’s spectacular.
Either way, I’ll take it.


Going to Church

In Church, Denver, Learning, music, spirituality on March 16, 2018 at 3:19 pm

“Sometimes,” she said, “you just want to sleep in on Sunday and not go to church.” In the sixteen-plus years I’ve been going to church, that has never happened to me. Okay, I’ll admit that sleeping in is a foreign concept. My circadian rhythms wake me reliably at 5 a.m. (6 during daylight savings time), every day, and should that ever fail, I have a cat as a backup system.
During these years, I have missed very few Sundays, usually only if I’m sick or we have a bad storm or my car dies.
I like going to church and look forward to it every week. It’s the highlight of my week.
It isn’t because I’m devout.
Part of what draws me in is the social aspect. I like to see my friends. Church is also where I connect with younger people including children. We have a great crop of about 50 little kids, two to three dozen of whom attend each Sunday.
With no kids or grandkids of my own, I have precious few opportunities to meet and make friends with young people.
I like singing although apparently not enough to join the choir.
I have always prayed privately, and I’ve learned that there is something powerful and humbling about praying in a group.
I like the sermons, which always push me to be a better person, even when I don’t agree with them.
The best part, though, is knowing that I’m part of a source of good in our little corner of the world.
From our preschool to adult study groups; celebrating Pride Month as a liturgical season to gleaning unwanted fruit and vegetables from neighborhood gardens to feed the homeless; providing shelter while a family secures permanent housing to making sack lunches for the homeless in Civic Center Park, we’re a very active church.
I came to church to develop the shriveling spiritual part of myself and learned, much to my surprise, that it isn’t all about me.

They Walked Out

In Learning, Resistance on March 15, 2018 at 8:18 am

They stood up and walked out by the thousands to protest gun violence in schools.
When school administrators threatened them with suspension, they walked out anyway.
When schools tried to lock them in, they broke out or took a knee in the school hallways.
Even when they stood alone, they walked out.
They ignored criticism from so-called adults who accused them of just wanting 17 minutes out of school or being stooges for the political left, and they walked out.
People mocked them, threatened them, and tried to silence them, and they walked out.
They paid no attention to those who said nobody cared what a bunch of kids thought, and they walked out.
They reminded cynical, money-grubbing politicians that they will be voting soon, many this November, and they walked out.
They walked out in rain and snow and wind. When their schools were closed because of inclement weather, they went to school anyway to stand together in protest.
In small towns and big cities, in red states and blue, they walked out.
They walked out wearing homemade t-shirts and waving homemade signs, and I have never felt so proud of our American youth.
They stood up for what they believed, that school should be a safe place for kids, and that the horrific proliferation of guns in this country matters.
Did you see the quotation from an Australian, who said, “It looks like students all over the US are begging their government to protect them from guns, and the government’s response is, ‘Kids, kids, you need to understand. We like money more than we like you.’”
They walked out.
God bless them every one.