New post, for a new year

Happy New Year!
I hope 2014 is twice as awesome and ten times as wonderful as 2013 was!

I know I’ve been remiss at writing. I won’t offer any excuses, as I’ve none to give. I haven’t done any writing lately that wasn’t work related, so when I get home, I don’t really feel like writing anything else. You can only write articles about cats, TNR* and adoption events for so long before you just shut down the writing portion of your brains – or they do go on strike and demand to be left alone to play video games and force your hands to stuff Cheetos in your face (the crunchy ones, not the puffy ones, we have to have some standards).

So, let me tell you a little about what’s swirling in my head lately.
My world has revolved around cats since I started volunteering for the Hermitage last spring. I know this, and you, my dear patient reader, also know this. That doesn’t mean I don’t still think about other things, and read the news and all that. It just means that like you, my 40+ hour work week spills over into my after-work life.

I’m becoming something of a workaholic, I think.

I never was one before. Even the jobs I‘ve had that I loved, I was more than able to put the work away at quitting time and go home. Now, though, work goes with me all the time. I wake up thinking, “such and such a cat should be picked up today, better remember to get the contract ready” and “I hope this-or-that cat is feeling better, they’ve sure been ill with that kitty cold for a while now.” I go to bed worrying about our elderly kitties, or those who are trying to get over URI’s**.

I was there at the vet when we had to let one of our kitties go. He had pneumonia, and was slowly drowning on his own lungs. We tried everything, including putting him in an oxygen tent for a couple weeks, but he just wasn’t getting better… and he was hurting. I bawled. We all did.

When we lose cats around here, we cry for them. They are our family, we’re their caretakers, until they get their permanent homes. It might sound trite, or silly, but that’s why I’ve been so unable to let go of work these past months. I want the cats at our shelter to have the best home we can give them, until they walk out the door with their new family.

On the other hand, in current events and all: I read about a state Senator in Utah who’s gone on a hunger strike to protest marriage equality. He said he wouldn’t eat until [gay marriage] ended in Utah, or he did. Now, I can’t remember his name so if you want to know more, you’ve got to get out your Google-fu; frankly I don’t want his name in my blog anyway—I loathe the idea of someone like him being attached to my writing.

Know what I thought when I first read about him? “Oh, how sad for his family. This will probably be considered a suicide, and insurance doesn’t’ pay out for suicide.” My next thought was “Good riddance to bad rubbish!” If he wants to die, far be it from me to prevent him—he’s an adult, and mentally competent (well mostly, he is a Republican, after all and hate gay people). If he wants to starve, then let him starve. I do think it’d be a pretty shitty way to die, though; starvation would be a pretty painful way to go, right? Maybe not, maybe it’s more like freezing to death where you don’t’ feel anything, but it seems to me that starvation would be a pretty awful way to die.

Of course, I know he won’t starve. He won’t even be inconvenienced. His family will put him in hospital, or he’ll come out with a lame “doctor told me that I have to go off the hunger strike”. He’ll half ass it just like every other thing the GOP’s done lately… but he’ll run it into the ground for PR and campaign donations.

Another thing that’s been swirling around in my head lately comes from another article I read a couple weeks ago. The premise of the article was that atheism is a luxury, something reserved for the upper-class, something for rich white people.

First, that pissed me off. Then I was annoyed at the classism that dripped off the writer’s pen. Third, I actually forced myself to think about it for awhile.

Maybe the writer was on to something; maybe they weren’t. But I thought long and hard about the idea that you have to be rich, or at least well off, to be able to contemplate the real questions of god, and the existence of a higher power; I deliberated the idea that you have to be rich, or at least middle class, to have the ability to contemplate the so-called harder questions of life. I asked myself the question: is atheism a rich-only club?

Then I threw that whole idea right out of the window!

I’m not rich, not even “well-off”. I am an atheist based on the time I have taken to ask the big questions. That time started when I was poor as shit, starving, and eating Ramen, so my kids could have nutritious food; the times I asked god for help, for a sign, an idea, a way forward, and heard nothing from the Universe except the echo of my own despair. I never heard anything from a god, and I didn’t find comfort from belief. So I asked questions, lots and lots of questions. I researched, surfed the web, and wasn’t afraid to think about things, even in the deepest part of the night, when I should have been sleeping.

Atheism isn’t a refuge for the rich. It’s not a “Rich only” country club. It’s the place you come to, when you’re brave enough to ask, to seek the truth no matter where it takes you, and to accept that the truth isn’t always what you want it to be.

If you find peace in your beliefs, fine; I did not. If you find comfort in your god, fine; I did not. If you want to believe so badly that you talk yourself into refusing to question, fine; I could not. I wanted to know the truth much more than I wanted to believe. I wanted to stare Truth in the face, full on without reservations to be able to see into the depths of everything—even if nothing stared back at me. I wanted to Know, not hope, not have “faith”, not wish. I wanted Truth, not wishes and dreams and “cross my heart and hope to die”. Religious beliefs are great if you’re comfortable never asking; but just because you don’t’ ask, doesn’t mean you’re poor. It means you’re afraid of the answers… even rich people can be deluded by religion—need an example? Try the Santorum’s, or the Romney’s, or the Bush’s…

Anyway, those are a couple things that have been on my mind these past few weeks. I’ll stop ranting for now, and try to pick the ranting back up on Sundays. I usually have a little extra time on Sundays.

Thank you all for reading, and being patient with me.

*TNR stands for trap-neuter-return; it’s a program designed to spay/neuter feral cats, get them their rabies shots and return them to their home colonies—rather than removing them and leaving the colony space open for other cats to move in.
**URI: upper respiratory infection—a cold. Some times they get bad enough to turn into pneumonia, just like for huamns.


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