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Monday, June 1, 2015

Invisibility and Retreat In Portsmouth

I write quite a bit, yet I always wish I had the gift of composing eloquent prose with rich description that would allow me to fill pages with exacting words to express my deepest feelings. At best, my style and content are journalistic with minimal exposition fueled by a basic vocabulary. My writing may fit my personality, yet on evenings like this, I wish I could find the right words and put them in the right places to explain my situation.

I will do my best with my simplistic expression to relate my beliefs. I hope you do not find it lacking in detail, and I hope that if you find a chord that strikes any feelings you possess, you feel free to respond.

I sat on my front deck this evening and realized I no longer recognized my humble surroundings. The physical features on my street have changed somewhat, but my eyes alone could not account for my different feelings. Instead, it was my aching soul that mirrored my mind's eye. Deep inside I felt lost on the street on which I have lived for the last 40 years. My little microcosm of a modest house on a one block street in a dying city overwhelmed me with regret.

Set among beautiful hills in a relatively picturesque environment, my small world, for the first time in my life, appeared to me to be largely threatening and foreign. I was not in fear and not morosely depressed, yet as I sat beneath blue skies overhead, I was exceedingly disturbed by what lay at hand. I felt as if some large hand was pressing upon my life and limiting my existence.

Have you ever had to live among overwhelming lies and deceit? To realize that your dwindling belief in truth is meaningless? If you have, you have understood how the mind and body grow weary of seeking explanations and answers only to finding nothing but dead ends that defy reason. If you have seen what others call "the truth" and it is full of lies, you have felt the hollowness of such an ugly, gut-wrenching reality. I sat on my own deck, at my own house, in my own town, and I realized I had become an invisible man.

Coming to terms with reality in my town requires retreat. In the 21st century, no accurate viewpoint of the oppressive nature of living here can be formulated unless one backs up and distances himself from what many others in Portsmouth take for granted as a normal life. With retreat comes a perspective that allows a person to see a black cloak of despotism that obscures the misconduct so vital in subduing common people. In retreat and "on the outside" of favor you may realize just how imperceptible you have become. I did.

What the power structure prefers as "normal" here is a populace that accepts all higher judgment without question. Life for those who prefer to stand pat and deal with the onslaught of lies pervading the community amounts to an existence, not to a guarantee of waking up to liberty and happiness.

This forced discipline is the preference of those in control here -- those privileged with the means, the power, and the influence use their advantages to insure their prized places at the head of the table. Others not so fortunate live among the crumbs that fall to the floor. Scrambling beneath this counter, they may collect occasion favors, but eventually they are pushed aside and trapped -- left to fade into obscurity and to become invisible: out of sight and out of offense.

Do most of us invisible folks become envious. Of course we do. Living with restrictions within a power structure makes us desirous of the most basic human need -- to live freely with common respect. Is it any wonder invisible people lose self-worth in a place where justice is reserved for those willing to abide by severe limitations?

American author, speaker, and pastor John C. Maxwell said, "There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. 'Good pride' represents our dignity and self-respect. 'Bad pride' is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance." It seems to me that "bad pride" of conceit has dominated our environment for so long that "good pride" of dignity has become a lost commodity of the poor.

I strongly believe in expressing opinion. I guess if you haven't noticed that, you probably left my train of thoughts somewhere after the first couple of paragraphs of this entry. People tend to polarize their view of my writing: either they hate me for it or they encourage me to continue being vocal and writing opinion.

Today, I feel I am generalizing far too much while holding a bucket of vital specifics I cannot print for fear of reprisal. You see, that is another characteristic of the invisible -- we must measure our dissatisfaction in small increments just as we are forced to measure our "good pride" under definite restrictions.

Under a beautiful blue sky, I sit on my front deck disappointed not so much in what I see but much, much more disappointed in what I feel in my soul ... and, in some ways, feeling very disturbed by a new perspective I have for my intimate surroundings.

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