Thursday, April 14, 2011


"Do you want to be right? Or do you want to be loved?" I think this quote is from Marianne Williamson's book, "A Return to Love", but I believe I've read it in Wayne Dyer's books as well. No one likes to be proved wrong. And it's difficult to show love or acceptance to someone who just basked in their own self-righteousness while making you feel small and unworthy. Or pointed out your faults. Or shined a light on your ignorance. This can and often does backfire. Law of Karma.

Ideally, I want both. I want to be right, and I want to be loved - or at least liked. Or admired. Or respected. Or just plain old acknowledged. So many times in my life I have put up my dukes, in a manner of speaking, and fought to prove that my way, opinion, or feeling was the right one, therefore, the other party must be wrong! I can attest to the fact, many times over, that this leads to even more feelings of unworthiness. No one wins in this type of controversy.
View from My Back Door

For two weeks this month I dealt with conditions that were a good example of how not to prove yourself "right" and insist on getting your way. For several months now the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has been working on a highway that is the next street over from my street. They are currently putting in concrete driveways and curbing from one end of the City to about a half mile north of my home. The photo above shows the property between my back yard and the highway. Recently I was awakened early to the sound of heavy equipment. This is what I saw from my back door. I took videos as well to document the noise and the dirt that blows with the high winds we've had recently. One day there was a Bobcat and a large backhoe taking turns piling the dirt up. About every 15 minutes there would be a new round of roaring engines. Other days, there would be one loading gravel trucks off and on all day. I was so angry, anxious, and nervous I couldn't think straight. This property usually is covered in wildflowers this time of year. Then one morning, before 7 am, the City had trucks and a wood chipper on the site and proceeded to cut down two big trees that had been there for years. Not only was I angry, now I was sad as well.
40 ft. from my back door...

After several days of emailing TxDOT, the contractor for the job, and the City of Burnet, and also speaking with the owner of the property - who stated he had signed a release form allowing them to use his property for stockpiling material and that it was only going to be for a period of about two weeks, I was more upset than ever. The word from TxDOT was that this would go on for the duration of the project - a minimum of eight more months, maybe longer! I went online and did research on construction noise and its effects on health. No wonder I was a nervous wreck. No wonder I was having a hard time sleeping at night. There is no way I could live with these conditions for another eight months! After further frantic emails back and forth, the project engineer for the contractor set up a meeting with me one morning this week. I was angry and demanding. Now I feared they were sending the big guns out to deal with me!

I know this might sound silly to some, but to those who know me it was inevitable that I prayed pretty hard about this upcoming meeting. I did not want to be aggressive and contentious, but I didn't want to be walked over (i.e., "wrong") either. I wanted to say the words that would bring about the results I wanted. And you know what? It worked...sort of. The young project engineer they sent was somewhere between the ages of my grown children, and could not have been more charming or personable. If he had been any more so, I would have been bringing out cookies and milk and telling him to "just call me 'Mom'"! He told me that in the past he had worked in "risk management" for years. No wonder he was so diplomatic.

As it was, we had a warm visit. We both outlined our positions over a cup of coffee, and he said one thing that placed me firmly in his camp. He admitted that everyone involved in the transaction to make use of the property behind me had been "remiss" in not talking to me or other residents adjacent to it. Then we both made compromises that left each of us feeling good about the meeting. No one "won", but then, no one "lost" either. We laughed and said that Congress should be able to do the same on the current budget issues - each gives a little and each gains a little in return.

And we both felt - if not loved - at least respected!

Too bad, the City never felt it important enough to talk to me about these issues. Passing the buck is pretty common in small towns as well as big. I am just a "little" person in a "little" town.
Speaking of Congress. The budget drama that has been going on is reprehensible in my book. In others' as well. The following I read on Huffington Post a few days ago: by Richard Eskow “Why Progressives Keep on Losing and the Right Keeps on Winning

Congratulations! The "grand compromise" will cut nearly thirty nine billion dollars in needed government spending, which proves how "serious" everyone is about reducing the deficit. The grand compromisers could have cancelled the next ten years of tax subsidies for oil companies and cut the deficit by forty billion, but apparently that's not how serious people do things.

He went on to say:

"Say what you will about (GOP) Rep. Ryan's budget proposal, it's a vision. By proposing to dismantle Medicare for people retiring in 2021 and afterwards, he's laid out a radical alternative to today's policies. By slashing taxes for the wealthy and proposing deregulation for all industries, the Ryan plan envisions a future America: one where the environment is despoiled, the poor go unfed, and the middle class faces a lifetime of financial insecurity following by an old age of sickness and penury.
It may not be a good vision, but it's a vision.”

A vision of what possibly lies ahead for my children and grandchildren! Shameful.

The article makes a lot of good points, including his theory on why the Tea Party won such a major victory in Congress in the last election. Most of us realize the reason, but I bet a majority of the Tea Partiers don't! If you wish to read more, here's the address:
Much turmoil still exists all over the world. The conflicts in the Mideast seem to get better, then get worse. 

The Japanese will be dealing with the effects of the earthquake and tsunami for years to come. Continuing aftershocks make getting life back to any sense of normalcy nearly impossible. Some experts are saying it will take a decade to get the nuclear reactors under control and the radioactive emissions to cease. Some say it is the worst nuclear disaster in history, on a par with the one at Russia's Chernobyl. I agree with some who compare the brave workers at the nuclear facility to Japanese Samurai. They are possibly facing a sure death by coming to the rescue of their people.

Prayers and donations to all are still needed. Please see my list of "Feel Good Sites" to the right of this post. I promise you that you will "feel good" if you can possibly send donations to any one of them. Or all of them.

Peace, love, and compromise,