Sun ShiningSitting at the Kitchen Table
With a pile of Bills to pay
Never been much of a Left Brain somebody
And Somehow this process leaves me feeling less of a Whole Person
After thirty-five years in Show Business
and a Lifetime in America at the End of Capitalism
One would think I’d be used to it by now.

Banks that charge $35 monthly Late Payment Fees
So that when the Bills get buried at the bottom of your Knapsack because you just don’t have the emotional stamina to take yourself through it,
And suddenly it’s been ninety days,
Your $115 charge is now $220.
Seems an unfair percentage Seems that those in our government who attempt to use the Christian Bible as a political platform
missed all the admonitions JESUS gave about the sin of usery.
JESUS understood about the unravellings of a Society.
Usery is charging nearly 100% of a debt amount as interest
That also falls into the category of Greed, one of the Seven Deadlies…
For those Bible Thumpers in our Government who might need to know.

But here I am at my kitchen table,
Not trying to solve the problems of the world,
But just trying to take care of basic needs — Food, Shelter, Transportation, Health Insurance…
And it is overwhelming
Because…am I wrong about this?
Didn’t it seem more doable only ten years ago?

How is it that in 1965, the Average Worker in the United States made $7.52 per hour
while the Average CEO made $330 per hour
And by 2005, the Average Worker in the United States was making $7.39 per hour
(It’s LESS!)
while the Average CEO made $1,500 per hour?

Are we to pretend there is no connection between Life in the post-Reagan Bush Era
and what am I feeling with this pile of Bills in front of me?

And what am I feeling?
Loss of Self-Respect
Does anyone else feel that when paying Bills these days?

Gray Sky

I wonder, could the Banks make a handsome profit if they charged,
let’s say, $20 per month as a late fee?
Could they still make a profit if they charged $5 per month?
They have a few million customers, after all.

Remember when Automatic Teller Machine’s were introduced
and the banks charged a Teller Fee because they were trying to get us conditioned to using ATM’s?
We liked dealing with people then.

I just received a notice that the fee for using an ATM that is not of my Bank has increased from $2.50 to $3.00.
A 20% increase
And that is just the fee from my bank — the machine’s bank will also take $3.00.
If I withdraw $60, the bank takes 10% of my money —
Charging me for MY OWN MONEY —
While they are already making money off of holding it.

They worked hard to get us in the habit of using ATMs.
This was not without Agenda.
And What’s This?
A Paper Statement Fee of $1 per month has been added.
If my account falls below the bank’s required minimum balance,
which all these newly imposed fees help it to do,
I now owe them an additional $15 per month as a “Maintenance Fee.”
And I wonder why I’m depressed?

Now here I sit with my Father’s voice echoing in my head,
Desperate for me to apply my skills toward the study of Law or Medicine
Convinced he could protect me from this exact pain
Which I know he knew all too well
If only he could get me to the other side of usery
To be a collector and not a collectee..
I would not listen then
And if I had it all to do over, I would not listen again
I would not trade the Life I have for money.

And yet… If I had been STEVE JOBS and developed the i-phone,
I wouldn’t be in this circumstance
(though I might be dead!)
If I had invented something like the computer chip, or Google or FaceBook
If I had paid more attention to finances as I was advised to do
Invested more
Been a little stingier
More of a Saver
Made more practical choices…
My Demons appear to Now be holding a Luau all about me,
Dancing in Celebration of the abject failure I am feeling as I scale a mountain of made-up charges,
imposed by wealthy Bank Executives who will never know these feelings
and whom I shall never meet.

When suddenly, I am reminded of OPRAH’s Master Class on Surrender

And how she says the most important prayer is:
“What would YOU have me do?”
I look out my Kitchen Window at the Gray and Drizzly Sky..
I speak this prayer.
I find myself brought to tears.
I look up and I see the clouds begin to part.
I convince myself this is random or maybe I am not actually seeing what I am seeing.
I take a picture,
just to see if there’s any marked difference if I take another one a few minutes later.

Clouds beginning to part

Then I take another. Clouds Parting

Then I take another. Clouds Parted

I make a choice to TRUST what I am seeing.
LILY TOMLIN once asked, “Why is it when we talk to GOD, we are said to be praying, but when He talks to us, we are said to be Crazy?”

I return to my computer and a friend has emailed me about a job for next Wednesday.
It would take the whole day.
I look at my Calendar for next week and every day is filled with 2 or 3 things,
most of them not movable,
Except for Wednesday which is completely Clear.
A Clear White Column…
I reply that I would be delighted to take it on.
We email back and forth a bit, confirming arrangements.
An hour or so later, the Sky looks like this:

Clear Skies

We do not have to develop the iphone
Or own the patent to Google or MicroSoft;
We do not have to be wealthy Or engage in usery;
We do not have to regret our Careers and Life Choices.
Assurance still appears
Seemingly out of NoWhere
Perhaps from Within
To assure us
To affirm
That we are in exactly the right place in our Lives
And this is Exactly the right time
And we will be OK.

What Assurances are there?
This is surely one:Clear Skies

Is it enough?
Is everything disentangled now?
This Burst of Shining Light in the Sky which surely centuries ago would have convinced the Ancient Greeks that ZEUS and HERA were stepping down to earth from Mount Olympus this very moment,
Does this solve all of my problems?
Of Course Not.
But it is an Assurance.
In a Dark Moment
The Light Shines
From seeming hopelessness
Hope Bursts Forth

The Sun Surges through the Sky’s gray dim
Suddenly and Unhurriedly
Unexpectedly and Long Awaited
In an instant
Over Moments
In whatever amount of time it takes
It comes
Brilliant Light
Beacon of Hope
Reminder that what seems so abysmal
Passes in a moment
This too
We Begin Again
We Start Over
We Wade Through
We Go On
We Soar

At our lowest points, it seems we more easily perceive Assurances
In whatever forms they manifest.
Let us Now open our Eyes to the World around us
Wherever we may be.
Notice the Assurances
They are omnipresent
Letting us know that it is all going to be OK
The Light Shines in the Darkness and the Darkness has not Overcome it [John 1:5]
And we are not Alone

Have you received any Assurances today that Everything will be All Right?
Look around.
Are you receiving any now?

Oh, this Morning, the Sky looked like this:

Sun Shining

[Might be my Favorite Song of All Time]:

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  1. Beautiful, Arnold! Beautiful Arnold! The Demon Luau, wow…I so relate.

  2. Your words evoke emotions Arnold, thanks for writing.

  3. LOVE this Arnold. I love your blog. I am reminded of Walt Whitman’s poem “Assurances”
    I need no assurances, I am a man who is preoccupied of his own soul;
    I do not doubt that from under the feet and beside the hands and
    face I am cognizant of, are now looking faces I am not cognizant
    of, calm and actual faces,
    I do not doubt but the majesty and beauty of the world are latent in
    any iota of the world,
    I do not doubt I am limitless, and that the universes are limitless,
    in vain I try to think how limitless,
    I do not doubt that the orbs and the systems of orbs play their
    swift sports through the air on purpose, and that I shall one day
    be eligible to do as much as they, and more than they,
    I do not doubt that temporary affairs keep on and on millions of years,
    I do not doubt interiors have their interiors, and exteriors have
    their exteriors, and that the eyesight has another eyesight, and
    the hearing another hearing, and the voice another voice,
    I do not doubt that the passionately-wept deaths of young men are
    provided for, and that the deaths of young women and the
    deaths of little children are provided for,
    (Did you think Life was so well provided for, and Death, the purport
    of all Life, is not well provided for?)
    I do not doubt that wrecks at sea, no matter what the horrors of
    them, no matter whose wife, child, husband, father, lover, has
    gone down, are provided for, to the minutest points,
    I do not doubt that whatever can possibly happen anywhere at any
    time, is provided for in the inherences of things,
    I do not think Life provides for all and for Time and Space, but I
    believe Heavenly Death provides for all.

  4. I have thought these same things about all these extra “charges” (and thought to myself…robbery!) and the banking industry, etc. Oy. But thank God for the blessings. Blessed Assurance. And thank God for bringing YOU this blessing of extra work on a day with no plans. God is good and He loves you! <3. Wishing you many more miracles and signs of assurance to come. I have been in these places too, and am always provided for or given what my spirit needs.


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