Finding Common Ground in Our Common Humanity

Regardless of whether one believes that our desire to be good comes from God or from our evolutionary past, Humanists and theists can work together to build a more just society.  They can work together to help alleviate poverty, hunger, and suffering.  They can work together to protect and sustain our planet.  And, together, they can find happiness and fulfillment in the effort. –

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32 Inches of Bliss

taken from our front door

taken from our front door

This was a historic blizzard, and all we had was a busted snow blower. Linda and I ventured out Saturday morning to combat 32 inches of fluffy obstruction with hand shovels. She kept a close eye on me, mentioning the phrase “heart attack” more than once. After about an hour, we had made noticeable but minimal progress. Then, salvation arrived with a glorious frozen white plume. Aldo, our next door neighbor, approached with a snow blower that could easily steal my broken contraption’s lunch money.

He attacked our driveway and walks with precision. I was not an idle spectator; removal of snow that high is a two person operation. I used the shovel to move snow into a cleared path. In this way, we managed to clear everything in a little over an hour. I thanked him profusely, and he was very gracious about it. I did, however, hear that phrase “heart attack” again. I suppose people will have that concern when they see a plus-sized, middle-aged man lifting epic quantities of snow with a shovel.

Yesterday morning, I saw Dan, another neighbor, struggling to clear his driveway with his snow blower. I was happy to have an opportunity to “pay it forward”, and I climbed over the more than 5 foot pile left by a city plow at the foot of his driveway. Together, we cleared him out. A short time later, I noticed that another neighbor, Dave, was struggling to remove snow with his snow blower. So, I again trudged through waist high snow to help him. After we cleared his walk and a fire hydrant along the way, we noticed that his next door neighbors had not yet touched their driveway. They were in Florida and not returning until Wednesday. So, Dave and I cleared their driveway and walkway. As we finished, I told Dave how grateful I was that he had contributed his snow blower to that task. “Yeah”, he responded, “and it feels good to help out.” Yep.

The house shown in the photo is typical of the homes on my street. Neighborhoods like mine with big houses and large yards can be isolating. It is a sad irony that, as many achieve success, they buy large homes in the belief that they will find greater happiness, even though one of the keys to happiness is belonging to a close community. The great thing about historic blizzards is that they provide opportunities to help and to be helped. What a great weekend!

If anyone is annoyed because they were misled by this entry’s title, shame on you! But, rather than disappoint completely, here’s something that is both educational and more in line with what you were seeking.