From the April 2006 Idaho Observer:

A day that will live on in epiphany

The column for this month had already been written but had to be scrapped because April 13, 2006, is a day that will live on in epiphany. At least in my life. I had two of them. Epiphanies, that is.

Epiphany #1

The first one came during a phone conversation with Richard Kegley, a man whose mission is figuring out how to break corporate governmentís (generally accurate) presumption that we are incapable of governing ourselves. He reminded me of a document wherein the Supreme Court acknowledged that it is holding the U.S. Constitution in trust for the American people until they are ready to use it. I had previously taken this to mean that, until the American people collectively were ready to demand being seen as citizens of the several states under the Constitution, that they would continue to be governed under the shapeless, ever-changing amorphous blob of statutory, arbitrarily-enforced, negotiable schemes commonly referred to as U.S. Code.

Our Founders (some of them) mistakenly believed that people would appreciate freedom, embrace freedom and be willing to protect their freedom so their children may be born into and live their lives in freedom. They were wrong.

At some point it became apparent that Americans were no different than any other society in history: Most of them demand to be governed. So, governed they areóto the very limits of their tolerance. But, Kegley insists, every government scheme, no matter how oppressive, provides remedies for those who seek to be exempt from them. It was then I realized that, if the Constitution is being held in trust by the Supreme Court, then it is individuals who must prove their ability to self-govern by finding and applying the remedies.

While the Constitution is still accessible, the best we can do is find and apply the remedies so government recognizes our capacity to self-govern and agrees to leave us alone while we interact with and live amongst the governed in a lawful manner. We can only hope that others will be encouraged to follow our examples, but must accept that most have always been and will always be satisfied with a thin illusion of freedom and will merely function as sheep under whatever system is lorded over them.

Epiphany #2

The second epiphany came later that evening when Ingri and I were acknowledging how some of our very good friends, who truly want mates, are destined to grow old alone. We are so happy together and find our marriage so rewarding that the thought of our friends being alone makes us very sad.

I then recalled a lesson that my big, beautiful white dog Harper taught me in my early 20s. Harper was a Great Pyrenees/German Shepherd cross who looked like a baby harp seal when she was a pup. By her second birthday I could not keep her inside a fence. Every night she would go over it, under it or through it, go down to the Spokane River, enjoy herself thoroughly and be curled up asleep on the front porch in the morning. For awhile I punished her. In frustration one day I really beat her. And she just took it because she loved me unconditionally. I then realized that there was no amount of pain that I could inflict upon her that would discourage her from going down to the river at night and that I was punishing her for my "pleasure."

So, I spent the next 10 years mending fences in an ongoing attempt to keep her in the yard and she spent the next 10 years overcoming them to get down to the river.

Harper taught me that our choice in relationships is to unconditionally endure (respect, appreciate) those we love, or remove them from our lives; punishing others for not doing what we want serves only to undermine the foundation of relationships: Trust and respect.

Ingri and I love and trust each other so much that we are willing to accept our myriad faults and idiosyncrasies to enjoy the unequalled pleasure of each otherís company. We have no desire to mold the other into something more tolerable; we adjust our own behavior to accommodate each otherís quirks, habits, strengths and weaknesses. I live to make her happy and she lives to make me happy. Because of that, we are continually affirming (rather than undermining) our trust and respect for one another which means that we are always comfortable being in each otherís presenceóat home and everywhere else we go. Even when we are apart, there is no cause for doubting our faith and trust in each other.

Our friends who are alone in spite of seriously wanting to find a spouse have in common the desire to find someone who can be taught to conform to their idea of a perfect partnerówhich is exactly the wrong approach to achieving rewarding and lasting relationships based upon mutual trust and respect.

It is interesting how my two April 13 epiphanies are linked philosophically. In epiphany #1 I realized the futility of bringing freedom desired by a few to the government-demanding majority; in epiphany #2 I realized that the best way to destroy interpersonal relationships is to force our will on others. So, the grand epiphany for April 13, 2006 is this: Whether or not the world and the people who depend upon us are blessed or cursed by our existence is determined by how we treat themónot by how they treat us. (DWH)

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