One of the things I liked best about living in Kuwait was the lively press. When the press has freedom – and freedom is always relative – people have to be more careful about what they do. Here, on a daily basis, the Pensacola News Journal has a crime section where they run crime news AND they list the daily felony arrests – who, what and where. I love it that they name names.
When I opened the paper this week, I thought I was back in Kuwait. There is a race for an open seat in the House of Representatives, and one candidate has just been arrested for trafficking drugs. Another candidate and his wife were videotaped sneaking out and stealing their opponent’s campaign signs. LLLOOOLLL. This is hilarious:
People think there are such huge differences between our countries. . . and yet we breed the same politicians, the religious fundamentalists, the ‘get-rich-quicks-by-lining-my-pockets’ kind of guys, the developers . . . it’s almost as if when you run for office, there has to be something wrong with you. It’s a sad day for democracy when these are our candidates. What a difference technology is making – it can help keep us honest.
I always get up grumpy on Wednesdays these days. My early water-aerobics class at the Y helps my mood, but when I get home, I have the dreaded cat litter to take care of. Thursday is garbage pick up, so Wednesdays I dump out all the old litter, wash out the litter box, dry it and refill it. I gather up the garbage from all over the house, put it in the can, move the can to the curb and then it’s picked up on Thursdays.
I think it took me all of 30 minutes.
I probably grumped about it about three hours, until I had it done. It occurred to me that I was letting a very small (but unpleasant) amount of time totally spoil my outlook. Literally, doing the job, doing the job well – takes minutes. Why do I grump about something so small?
Cleaning out cat litter is not a pleasant task. When I was pregnant, AdventureMan took over the job, because cat litter can hold parasites harmful to babies. Thirty years later, AdventureMan looked at me speculatively, his eyes all squinted up, and said “Isn’t the risk to your pregnancy about over by now?”
I like the discipline of reading the Lectionary every day, because there are some stories we all know, familiar stories, but reading every day, we learn the less familiar stories. The book of Judges is not a book I would turn to saying “Oh good! Today we are reading Judges!” but now that I am into it, I am coming across some gems.
Here, we have Deborah, a prophetess and judge, and Jael, a courageous and determined women, and oh, what a difference their faithfulness makes:
4 At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel. 5She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgement. 6 She sent and summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you, “Go, take position at Mount Tabor, bringing ten thousand from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun. 7 I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the Wadi Kishon with his chariots and his troops; and I will give him into your hand.” ’
8 Barak said to her, ‘If you will go with me, I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.’
9 And she said, ‘I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.’ Then Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and ten thousand warriors went up behind him; and Deborah went up with him.
11 Now Heber the Kenite had separated from the other Kenites,* that is, the descendants of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had encamped as far away as Elon-bezaanannim, which is near Kedesh.
12 When Sisera was told that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera called out all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the troops who were with him, from Harosheth-ha-goiim to the Wadi Kishon. 14 Then Deborah said to Barak, ‘Up! For this is the day on which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. The Lord is indeed going out before you.’ So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand warriors following him. 15 And the Lord threw Sisera and all his chariots and all his army into a panic* before Barak; Sisera got down from his chariot and fled away on foot, 16 while Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth-ha-goiim. All the army of Sisera fell by the sword; no one was left.
17 Now Sisera had fled away on foot to the tent of Jael wife of Heber the Kenite; for there was peace between King Jabin of Hazor and the clan of Heber the Kenite. 18 Jael came out to meet Sisera, and said to him, ‘Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; have no fear.’ So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 Then he said to her, ‘Please give me a little water to drink; for I am thirsty.’ So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. 20 He said to her, ‘Stand at the entrance of the tent, and if anybody comes and asks you, “Is anyone here?” say, “No.” ’
21 But Jael wife of Heber took a tent-peg, and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, until it went down into the ground—he was lying fast asleep from weariness—and he died. 22 Then, as Barak came in pursuit of Sisera, Jael went out to meet him, and said to him, ‘Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.’ So he went into her tent; and there was Sisera lying dead, with the tent-peg in his temple.
23 So on that day God subdued King Jabin of Canaan before the Israelites.