Night Time is the Hardest

Since my young Marine deployed to the Middle East a few months ago, I’ve worked especially hard to stay busy. I fill my days with activity, most of it worthy, or at least pleasurable to me. A typical week is filled with meetings, political events, dance lessons, committee meetings, dance classes, doctor’s appointments, political rallies, and dance parties.

When I get home, I work. I write a lot of stuff that I won’t show anyone yet. I set up or plan more meetings. I practice dancing. I do a huge amount of research every day. And I’m in the process of figuring out a way to get paid for some of this. I spend hours researching and writing.

But then it gets late. And my eyes get tired of staring at the computer screen. And the only stuff on TV is stupid or boring. And my back hurts from sitting too long. That’s when I realize how tired I am.

So I shut down the computer after finding some place to end where I can pick it up easily tomorrow. I turn off the television, and stand up to stretch.

That’s when it happens.

I start to think.

No one said that being a MoM* was easy. I knew when my son joined the Marine Corps that there would be difficult days ahead. Having been born and raised in a military family, I knew the days would be long and hard. It’s just different when it is your dad who is gone and when it is your son who is gone. The years between the two experiences make a difference, too. I didn’t know as much when dad was in Southeast Asia. Sadly, I know way too much now about the Middle East.

So I think.

Some nights I go outside and pace my long driveway. I’ve learned that, if you look carefully enough, and long enough, you can see the occasional meteorite. You notice that stars actually come in a variety of colors – red, blue, white, orange. I look at the moon and watch it pass through each phase of the month. Because I live at approximately the same latitude as that in which my Marine is located, I imagine that the night sky looked the same that evening in both places, just several hours apart from each other. I wonder if he looked up at the moon and thought about home.

And when my sadness starts seeping from my eyes, I go back inside my quiet house. There is a difference between quiet and peaceful. This is the former; it’s just quiet. I wonder if I was right to turn off my computer – maybe I should work a while longer. But my tired eyes say no, so I head to my bedroom.

Lying in my bed is no different. I turn on the diffuser and fill my room with lavender in hopes of relaxing enough to sleep. I read something that will keep my focus, but not important enough to matter the next day if I don’t remember it. In desperation, I reach for my cell phone to play solitaire, or watch music videos – anything to make me stop thinking.

Night time is the hardest.

 

~Temerity Dowell

 

 

*Mom of a Marine

Different Custom

In the midst of this election cycle, I’ve tried to remain patient, analytical, honest, and kind. I’ve not gotten in the middle of the controversy if I could avoid it. When I’ve seen provocative social media posts, I’ve chosen not to comment, especially when I saw no way for a positive outcome. I’ve tried to extend grace to those who have “baited” me with controversial comments.

That doesn’t mean that I’ve not been paying attention!

There was one matter that came up that I had to intentionally avoid. It infuriated me! When a football player in the NFL chose to kneel, rather than stand, during the National Anthem, I became livid. That was nothing, however, compared to how I felt when others began to blindly follow suit. Then the Millikin University football team decided to stay in the locker room, rather than to participate in the ceremony of the National Anthem, with only Connor Brewer showing the integrity to stand alone on the sidelines during the song.

I’ve been quiet long enough.

What on earth are you people thinking? America actually is the greatest country in the world. We have safer streets, schools, public venues, and are safer in our homes than anywhere else. Americans earn more income per capita than any other nation. Our public places are kept clean, our roads are paved, our food is safe (with few exceptions), we have access to medications and trained doctors, and our hospitals are the best in the world. I’m allowed to purchase anything I can afford, and some things I can’t. I can drive a big car, live in a huge home, and have a new set of clothing for every single day of the month. I sleep in a very warm bed every night.

We have freedoms that are not found in other countries. I can express whatever I choose to without fear of any retribution other than the natural consequences of my statements (i.e. getting trampled if I yell “Fire” in a crowded theater, or getting slapped if I say something rude). I cannot be arrested for expressing an opinion! I can carry a handgun, and I do. The police cannot kick down my door on a whim or enter my home without a warrant. If I’m ever charged with a crime, I have a right to a trial with a jury of my peers. And every two years, I get to participate in free, fair elections (all the current turmoil aside) to elect anyone I choose to govern me. Just try finding these privileges and freedoms anywhere else.

So, what are you protesting by taking a knee during our National Anthem?

No, things are not always fair in America, but I don’t waste my time protesting it by doing something rude and offensive. Instead, I show up at the county commission meeting and petition my government for a redress of grievances. I meet privately with my legislators to explain my position on issues and convince them that I’m right and they should vote how I ask them to vote on a variety of bills. I sign petitions, make phone calls, and send emails when I’m unable to meet with those in authority over me. I use the press to my advantage and call out those who have usurped authority in public letters to the editor and social media outlets. Things are not always fair, so I’m doing what I can to change that by participating in the process.

Earlier today, I saw a social media post that questioned why people had such a problem with football players taking a knee during the anthem while it is customary in some churches to kneel as they entered to show respect and reverence toward Christ. A gentleman from Tennessee, Richie Davila, gave the best response I’ve seen to this question. “Different custom. Submission to the Lord by kneeling is one thing. But I stand up for my country. A free man should never be on his knees to any nation.”

Amen, Richie. Amen.

~Temerity Dowell

Another Stupid Law

Just when you thought my blog posts were headed in a more docile direction, I was made aware of a new law making its way through several state legislatures, including my home state. It’s time for us to go back into the governmental waters and investigate this.

Some states have recently passed legislation that requires drivers to yield the left lane of 4-lane (or higher) highways to faster traffic. This “slow poke” law means that if you are caught cruising in the left lane while not passing another vehicle, you can be pulled over and ticketed. Considering that I am constantly driving faster than the speed limit (I’m one of those rare drivers willing to admit this), it would seem that I, and other lead-footed drivers, would be all in favor of such a law. After all, if people would just move over and get out of my way, then I could arrive at my destination with my blood pressure still intact. Right?

Yet, I think this is one of the dumbest ideas that state legislatures have ever conceived. Oh, let me count the ways….

First, laws which regulate highway traffic already exist. In my home state, and even in many in which I travel, I have seen signs along interstates admonishing slower drivers to stay in the right lane except to pass a slower vehicle. So if the law already exists in some manner, there is no need to pass another one that says the same thing. If the matter has become a problem, police officers can ticket drivers. The word will spread quickly.

Second, the Georgia Highway Patrol gave nearly 300 tickets for this infraction the first year after the law was passed. This makes me wonder, how many people chose to fight this in the court system? If even ten percent of those ticketed appeared in court, that is nearly thirty more cases that the court system had to field last year. Doesn’t the court system have more important matters to handle? Divorce, child custody, dead beat dads, robbery, vandalism, and more come to mind, all of which would be handled in an inferior court.

Third, this is a very subjective law. When a police officer pulls a driver over, most often he has only witnessed the vehicle for a few moments. How can he possibly know how fast every vehicle around was moving, who was passing, who was doing the speed limit, who was speeding, or other pertinent matters? It’s a different matter if the trooper witnesses a driver staying in the left lane for a few miles, but that is not what happens most often.

Furthermore, if car A is cruising in the left lane and is overcome by car B, who is traveling at 10 miles an hour over the speed limit, to whom should the ticket be given? Car A is where he shouldn’t be, but isn’t the more dangerous vehicle car B? What if car A doesn’t want to pull over because he sees another vehicle on the right shoulder up ahead and believes he should stay in the left lane to protect that driver? What if the driver of car A is actually willing to increase his speed but can’t due to traffic ahead of him that has not pulled over? These are all subjective situations in which the driver of a vehicle must base his decision on those things which he sees from his angle at that moment. How can any of this be regulated?

Finally, the last thing in the world we need is yet another law that invades our lives. Government overreach is not limited to the federal government. I can list many examples of an overreaching government at the state, local, and municipal levels. However, we can’t, nor should we, try to legislate courtesy, morality, or common sense. You should move out of the left lane when you see a fast approaching car in your rear-view mirror, not because you can get ticketed, but because it makes sense and is polite.

Perhaps rather than passing yet another ridiculous law, lawmakers could remove some of those laws that make it harder for parents to teach their children to practice good manners and appropriate behavior. Then they might just grow up to be courteous drivers who need no overreaching laws. Just a thought!

 

~Temerity Dowell