"Do you smoke it or eat it?"
As most people know, I hear some weird stuff at Starbucks; but this was a partuclarly strange day. Next to me sat two older men discussing the pros and cons of medical marijuana and dispensaries. It is personally telling that in my younger days I would have been terrified of them.... packed up my stuff and moved at least across the room, if not left altogether. (I'm not sure what I thought was going to happen; perhaps I'd get caught in the crossfire of a doobie battle?)
Now, with more maturity, and a blog to write, I stayed and pretended to type while I listened in on their discussion. Who knew that there is a form of marijuana that you can apparently rub on like an ointment? Certainly not me. One of the guys seemed to have a medical condition that allowed him to use medical marijuana... and according to him, it really helped. Now, I don't know what the condition was (and as much as I like to overhear interesting things, that would have been too personal, so I didn't even try.) But, whatever the reason, it reminded me that everything is a matter of perspective.
I thought the same thing last night as I listened to the State of the Union. I am awefully grateful to have a home, food on my table and security for myself and my family. And somehow it is far easier for me to relate or at least sympathize with the perspective of those who don't have all that. What IS tough for me, though, is to think like someone in the 1%. I am scared to even let myself go there. Why? because I am not sure, that given their perspective I might not make similar choices. Isn't it possible I would take advantage of loopholes and beneficial treatment to protect my wealth? Even at the expense of the 99%?
I really hope not, but I am afraid the answer could easily be yes. Aren't we all, to some degree, protective of what we have. I've often joked that I carry a small purse because, no matter what the size, I always manage to fill it. There is always room for more in my mind.... not just in my purse, but in my life. So, how then would someone convince me that what I have is enough and it is time to share?
I think it may be about reframing the question.... all the way back to the original thought: why do I protect what I have? In my Catholic upbringing I was taught that God will provide. It is clear I do not trust this. Mother Theresa.... yes, she clearly had faith in this concept. Me? No.... I still fight against the proverb that is is more difficult for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.
Like the gentleman at Starbucks, though, I would not be surprised if life didn't throw me a curveball at some point simply to test my beliefs. It is not as simple as either or.... either marijuana is right or it is wrong... either I give away all I have or I horde it. I think it is about working to understand that, with or without mood altering substances, we can be open to and accept many different perspectives as true.
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