Tag: paradox

The Unexpected Gift of Weakness


As I have bragged on this site before, around 6 am most mornings, my 15-year-old son brings me a mug of coffee that he brewed himself, along with a heated lavender wrap. This boy is not a naturally compassionate person like one of his brothers (known by all his acquaintances as a sweetheart and delicious individual but also one who sleeps late in the morning), but he has learned to be kind because he knows I am weak.

Let me explain.

Member Post


Mass media hysteria is unending; cries for impeachment go on unimpeded; laws on immigration sit in limbo. It’s no wonder that the U.S. political environment is a mess. More than that, I put my finger on two factors that are especially difficult to handle and accept on both sides of the political spectrum: paradox and […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Surrendering? Not Me!


Many years ago, a friend of mine invited me to join a study group that was using a book to guide their discussions. She made the process sound engaging and fun, so I purchased the book. Unfortunately, while reviewing the book I reached one portion where I saw one word that completely turned me off: surrender. Uh-uh. That was not in my game plan. So I kindly told her that I appreciated the invitation, but I didn’t “do surrender.”

I’ve learned a lot since then. I learned that surrender did not just mean throwing in the towel, sacrificing, and backing down. It meant much more than that. And in my 20-year journey through Zen Buddhism and the last few years of renewing my Jewish practice, I have learned a great deal about surrendering, how it has helped me mature, and how important it has been to deepen my life experience and my relationships.

Surrendering has a paradoxical quality: it requires us to acknowledge that there are areas where we have no control, such as in illness, temperament, and unexpected disasters. At the same time, how we respond to our circumstances is the other side of surrender. If we are struck with debilitating physical conditions and grieve our loss, do we eventually choose to do everything we can to work with our limitations, to get past them? Do we insist on exploring every possible avenue for growth and opportunity, no matter how difficult it might be? But the paradox is that we must also fully embrace our situation from a heart-full place; only then can we transform our situation into a positive one.

Slogging Through the Political Muck of Grief


After reading Claire Berlinski’s long-awaited post, I resonated with much of what she said. From a time perspective, however, I’m probably farther ahead in my grieving process. I’m not going to describe a traditional “grief” model in this OP; those models are always tidy and reasonable, reassuring us that there is an end to our anger, perplexity and sadness. My issue with grief, though, is that it is ugly and inconsistent; it is unique for each person in its duration, in its depth, and in its stages. For those of you who are looking for a linear approach to grief regarding the political process, hoping there is a beginning and an end, I can’t help you. I can only illustrate that it is messy, unpredictable, and most importantly normal.

I’ve avoided talking about the elections and Trump directly, for the most part. I didn’t want to inflame the passions, create enemies or discount the feelings of others. I will finally confess that I didn’t want Trump for President, so much so that I didn’t vote in this last election. There. I said it. For those of you who say it was a vote for Hillary, so be it. For me it was a protest, a rebellion that was emotional, resolute, yet principled (from my perspective). As unrealistic as it might have seemed to many of you, I mourned the loss of elevating and expecting the values of truth, honor, and dignity from our government and its representatives.

Theseus’s Corvette


IMG_0722The great Greek hero Theseus sailed to Crete to slay the Minotaur. Upon his safe return, his ship was preserved as a memorial. By ancient accounts, it was preserved for centuries, though the wear of wind and water began to rot the ship at its moorings. The citizens of Athens replaced the planks of the deck, the mast, the rigging, even the pieces of the hull as time ravaged the old vessel. This led philosophers to ponder a question: was the ship still the one Theseus sailed, even though nothing remained of the original vessel but its shape and memory?

I recently purchased a 1973 Corvette in Blue-Green, and the legend came sharply to mind as I probed its workings. I’m not sure how original this car is, much less how original it will be. I knew its previous owner had replaced the engine and the exhaust system, re-plumbed the radiator, rebuilt the steering mechanism, and replaced all of the shocks and springs in the rear end. He also replaced the differential cover, which — on this car — also holds up the rear leaf spring. But that was only the beginning.

I think that every buyer of an old car starts out thinking “Hey, I’ll just replace a few worn out items and be OK. Hmm… a few hoses here and there, fix that loose trim panel, work on those squeaks…” We’re good at telling ourselves little lies as we peruse the parts catalogs. The first item I ordered was a replacement adjustment knob for the clock in the dash.