Plan B – for “Beyond”

So, most people have a Plan A. It could be a small Plan A, like having oatmeal for breakfast, or getting to work 10 minutes early. Or it could be a grand Plan A, like going to college and majoring in rocket science.

Thing is, even the smallest and simplest Plan As can be derailed. Most of the time, when a small Plan A gets derailed (traffic delays you so you’re 10 minutes late instead of 10 minutes early), most people simply shrug it off and move on. It may not even dawn on them that they had a Plan, let alone a Plan A, so they automatically glide into Plan B mode (sorry, Boss, traffic was brutal today! I’ll make it up at lunch.).

It’s the Grand Plan As that can, when derailed, wreak havoc and destroy lives – literally destroy lives – because they never expected failure, never had a Plan B – “B” = “Beyond” so I don’t have to go “Plan C”, “Plan D”, etc. Assume Plan B stands for every plan past the original Plan A.

What many people don’t seem to realize is that giving up Plan A doesn’t necessarily mean giving up the goal Plan A is meant to achieve.

For instance: I have a friend whose mother was a gifted pianist – before she married. She was fame quality – they had recordings of her concerts. It’s possible she could have become one of the great pianists of the world, she had the passion and potential – until an indiscretion led her to the altar and presented her with a son 6 months later. Her husband didn’t hate music, he simply saw no point in it and wouldn’t spend the money to allow her to continue to play and perform. Her job, as he saw it, was to set aside her childish playthings and take care of him, the child(ren), and the house. She eventually had 3 children, and never, to the day of her death, played piano again. I don’t know what her goal was with the piano, but I always wonder, when I hear stories like this, if she could still have realized her goal, just on a different schedule or in a different way. Perhaps she might have become a piano tutor, or played in the church, or performed for family and friends at holidays – assuming music was her goal and not world fame.

All the gods know my own Plan As have been altered out of all recognition from when I began planning and plotting my life. A couple of times, I’ve been forced to completely walk away from the life I had and to rebuild a new life, other times, I simply had to re-aim my sights and look elsewhere, and my own physiology made a few goals impossible. When you’re young and still growing, dreams range everywhere – but I never grew tall enough to be an astronaut, laws forbade me to work in the field I’d chosen as second best, and by the time the laws changed, I was too long out of the field and chemo robbed me of my mathish skills to be truly competent in it.

That’s what life is – not failure, per se, although by the definition of that word, one could say I’d failed many times over – a constant re-evaluating of one’s life and needs and desires, and the plotting and planning to achieve those.

I let my children see what my goals were and how I achieved them – and what I did when Plan B became my new Plan A, how this new plan would get me closer to my goal. My children learned early that there was always another way to get to the goal. I admit, I played RPGs with my children – how better to teach them life skills where the character they created gets thwarted, blocked, and stalled and they have to find ways past the Evil GM (me) to win their goal and end the game. They applied those skills to life, so when they couldn’t camp in tents because of rain, they could camp in the cars, and when one job didn’t pan out, they could look for another, and when one dream was blocked, there were other ways to get there – and more help than they ever believed possible would be there, too.

An obstacle wasn’t a dead-end. If Plan A tanked, there were many more options than suicide. Death is truly the only dead-end. I haven’t figured a way yet to get past death to complete my goals. For me, death has never been a Plan B.

Sadly, it seems to be the only Plan B the children of my children’s generation and younger seem to have. So many young people take their own lives because they don’t see any other way out of their predicament – and they lack the experience and the teachings that no matter how dire and grim things may be at that moment, as long as one is alive, there is always a Plan B.

My children learned these lessons in games and camping trips and by watching me re-evaluate and changes paths to get to my goals. They saw me take jobs I didn’t want in order to pay bills and get to jobs I did want, to buy a house, to provide food and clothing, pay for their college, and to do the things that made me happy (and them). Unlike many of their peers, they learned flexibility and patience, and they learned that the things they wanted wouldn’t be handed to them just because they wanted it, and the things they wanted could be taken away by a single mistake they made or stolen by someone else’s mistake – but they could get it back, if they thought about it and re-negotiated their goal and the path to it. All was not lost, just – changed.

Death, however, truly ends it all. You can’t make any more Plan Bs when you Plan A is so terminally final.


Links to Proof of Religious Persecutions

Please note that none of these persecuted religions are Christianity, and most of the persecutions perpetuated against these religions are instigated by Christians. Those who can instigate persecution are privileged, not persecuted.

I was going to pull up links and quotes for the past 5 years, but realized that if I merely documented the actual religious persecutions of the past 12 months, I would exceed several pages, so I decided to just hit the more spectacular ones of the past 5 years and still exceeded several pages, so I narrowed it down further to only the ones that were more representative and well known, which got it down to a mere 2 pages in the last 3 years.

I could not find any articles of actual persecutions perpetuated against Christians that were not instigated by other Christians, and I’m not going to get involved in their family bickering. I could not find any documented instances of persecutions against Christians in the US by our government, or some governing body. Persecution is defined as deliberately and maliciously causing harm with the force of the law behind the harmful acts. A religion is not persecuted if it is caused to comply with the same laws with which all other religions must comply, for example: requiring people to remove religious based jewelry of one religion if all other religions may not wear their religious jewelry. There are, obviously, other examples, but they are compliance issues, not persecution.

One thing not noted in these links is the extreme difficulty many smaller religions have in getting wedding officiants who are legally allowed to sign the marriage licenses. If they were Christian, they get an automatic approval, most other religions have to prove they are a real religion, and to prove they have a “congregation” (and many don’t have a Christian hierarchical structure with congregation/priesthood, which is right there a form of persecution to not even acknowledge the different structures religions may have), and to prove they aren’t frauds. The same type of discrimination and persecution exists in hospital chaplaincy, military chaplaincy, and prison chaplaincy – Christians get an automatic approval, all other religions have to jump through hoops. At this time, there are still no official Wiccan, Asatruar, Hellismos, Numenist, Thelemic, or other non-mainstream military chaplains even though there are service members of these various religions in the military. The Christians are privileged here, not persecuted.

A Southeast Arkansas woman who argued she lost custody of her son because of a judge’s perception of her alleged practice of Wicca lost her appeal Wednesday before a divided state Court of Appeals Wednesday. In a 4-2 ruling, the appeals court affirmed a decision granting custody to the child’s father, though the judges disagreed on whether the lower court considered the mother’s religious beliefs. In her appeal of Chicot County Circuit Judge Robert Vittitow’s decision, the mother noted Vittitow described Wicca in his opinion letter as ‘a religion, movement, cult or whatever it that may be.’

And this occurred in our very own Senate on July 12, 2007: “…two women and one man were arrested and charged with causing a disruption in the public gallery of the Senate. The three started shouting when guest Chaplain Rajan Zed, a Hindu from Nevada, began his prayer. They shouted ‘No Lord but Jesus Christ’ and ‘There’s only one true God,’ and used the term ‘abomination.’”


On a friend’s FB, she commented about how she was tired of Christians whining about being persecuted in the US. She’s a sweet heart of a woman, charming, funny, warm-hearted, everything you’d want in a friend. She’s always a very devout Christian. I don’t think we’ve ever really discussed religion, there are so many other things to talk about when we get together.

But her wall post attracted a Christian who very plainly felt she was personally put upon and persecuted by society for being Christian. When this woman (I’m calling her CP for “Christian Person”) commented that she viewed verbal comments to be persecution, I’m sorry, but I rolled my eyes. When someone asked her for examples, CP wrapped herself in her privilege and accused the querant of attacking her and not caring, that :::sob::: nobody cared!

Shades of the old Fascist Meanie Pooh Pooh Head days!

Then, CP made me just gape in awe at her cluelessness. She actually commented that she wished Christians had the same rights as other religions!

Really? I don’t think she knows whereof she speaks.

Christians have convinced our country to allow one of their primary holy days to be a legally recognized paid holiday, something no other religion has ever accomplished. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Christians can use their religion to practically guarantee an election. People of any other religion, were they to use their religious adherence as part of their political campaign, would never be elected. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Most government bodies, when they convene, open with Christian prayers. Those few that don’t open with Christian prayers open with “non-denominational” prayers that are still very Christian in feel. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Our Pledge of Allegiance (that patriotic little ditty penned as part of an advertising campaign) was altered by Federal Government intervention to include the words “under God” . That’s privilege, not persecution.

Since I live deep inside the Bible Belt, it’s common for people to ask, right after getting your name, what church you go to, so privileged they never once consider that you might not be Christian. And when you say, “I’m not Christian”, in their mind, the only other thing you could be is Satanist, or, if they’re feeling charitable, maybe you’re just “going through a phase”. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Cashiers, clerks, strangers on the street, all feel comfortable saying, “God bless you” and they know, beyond any doubt, that you must also be Christian and welcome the Christian blessing. That’s privilege, not persecution.

There are more churches per capita than there are places of worship for all the other religions combined in the US, mostly because when other religions seek permits, they must prove they are a legitimate religion, but if they’re a Christian denomination they are automatically granted the permit. That’s privilege, not persecution.

When a Christian’s religion becomes known at work, they don’t have to worry about being harassed by co-workers or even fired. That’s privilege, not persecution.

When Christians want to start a new church or new organization, they know filing for tax exempt status is pretty much a given, that they won’t have to prove their religion is a real one, and may still be denied. That’s privilege, not persecution.

If a Christian wants to hold a retreat at a camp ground, or a picnic in a park, they know they will get the permits without any problems and they won’t have picketers trying to force them to change venues or not have it at all. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Christians know they can publicize their religion in their business and attract customers, not rocks through the windows. That’s privilege, not persecution.

If Christians want a chaplain in the military, no bars are placed in their way, yet soldiers of minority religions go without military chaplains – even when the religion is recognized in the Military Chaplain’s Handbook (I have a copy). Not one minority religion chaplain has been able to leap all the hurdles placed in their path to date. That’s privilege, not persecution.

If Christians want to be married by officiants in their religion, they have thousands of choices all across the country, yet adherents of many minority religions don’t have licensed officiants to perform marriages because many states and county clerks make it not just difficult but virtually impossible for them to be licensed. That’s privilege, not persecution.

If Christians truly, truly want to be treated like other religions, they either have to give up all those privileges they enjoy, or they have to allow other religions the same level of privilege.

If CP truly wants the same “rights” enjoyed by other religions, then she must mean she wants to be afraid to lose custody of her children should she get divorced because of her religion. She wants to search the stores during her holy days looking for religious symbols and decorations and gifts without being able to find them. She wants to work on her religious holy days if she lacks enough vacation days to use on them. She wants to be afraid she’ll lose her job if her boss or co-workers discover what religion she is. She wants to have her pets stoned to death as a warning that “her kind” isn’t welcome in that neighborhood. She wants to have her home egged and vandalized regularly as her neighbors of a different religion try to force her to move. She wants government to stop passing laws that favor her religion over others (the Blue Laws spring quickly to mind – businesses that must close by law on Sundays so they can “go to church”, or items that can’t be sold on Sundays because it violates Christian morals). She wants to have tax exemption denied her religion because it’s not a “real” one.

Other religions don’t necessarily want the same privileges that Christianity enjoys in America, what they want is to be allowed to exist without harassment, without fear, without being accused of being “in a phase” or belonging to a “fake” religion. Asking for the right to exist peacefully isn’t persecuting Christianity.

And it’s not persecution for someone to wish another “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”.