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Friday, March 1, 2013

The Good Things About Death and Taxes


By Judith Ashley

Writers are frequently asked where they get their ideas. In the case of this post, I got the idea from a conversation with my youngest granddaughter. I knew my post was due soon and no ideas were popping up. Trouble? No, because I asked my granddaughter what came to her mind when she thought of the words – death and taxes.
Judith Ashley
“Something bad that has a good ending,” she said with the wisdom of a teenager.
Death feels bad but the person who died has gone to a better place, she added. I remembered a story my brother told me that illustrated this point perfectly. He’d gone to a church one Sunday because he felt drawn to go. The pastor’s sermon included the announcement of his father’s death. The pastor spoke of the glories of God and Heaven and that he rejoiced that his father was with the Lord God.
What I remember from this story is the grief, the wailing and gnashing of teeth, the dark despair of depression has no place if one believes in Heaven.
I’m not discounting those feelings. I’ve certainly felt sadness, a deep sense of loss, a significant shift in the fabric of my life when someone (including beloved pets) died. What this story shows me is that those feelings are about me, not about them. Death deprives me of their companionship, their being here with me on this physical plane.
As we were talking about death and she shared her feelings about an aunt who’d died a year or so ago, the idea for this post was born.
Judith and Granddaughter
It was night. We were driving home along a major freeway and thoroughfare. The streets were lit by overhead lights, traffic was monitored with speed limit signs, traffic lights, turn lanes, and stop signs. I was paying attention to my surroundings and I was confident driving.
What would this trip be like if we didn’t have taxes? Would there even be a freeway? If not, we wouldn’t even be out because the idea of driving over rutted, potholed roads the 15 miles and back would have kept me home. No street signs, no traffic signals, no pedestrian crossing signals, no street lighting? That was a scary thought.
Taxes are not my favorite thing. I’d rather spend my money on travel, chocolate, and a vacation home at the beach. However, every year when it comes time to file my tax return, I think of the benefits I derive from that money. This past year my taxes paid for the following: the roads I drive on, the police who came to my door when called because of a drunk stranger on my porch, the fire department who came when my house filled with smoke, the first responders at Clackamas Town Center near where I live and the ones who responded at Newton, Connecticut and so many other places around the United States. My taxes pay for the quality education my granddaughter and her friends receive in our public school system. My taxes provide a free or reduced price breakfast and lunch to children who may have nothing to eat other than these meals. My taxes pay for adult and child protective service workers who daily investigate crimes against these vulnerable populations.
As I gather my records together (yes, I’m one of those who always says I’ll do it each month or each quarter but never does) I’ll remember the benefits I personally receive and the benefits the vulnerable members of my society receive. Yes, my society. I am a member of my local, state, national and world community. In the end, we are in this together.

8 comments:

Sarah Raplee said...

You are truly a wise woman, Judith! As is your granddaughter.

Thank you for the reality check.

Linda Lovely said...

Thoughtful post, Judith. What a wonderful picture of you with your granddaughter.

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks, Linda. She had a professional photo shoot for her
16th birthday and that is the one shot of the two of us that I really like.

Judith Ashley said...

Sarah and Linda, I think time in the confines of a car with the radio off can be very productive in terms of conversations with our children/grandchildren. She is wise beyond her years in many ways. Thanks for stopping by.

Tam Linsey said...

What a wonderfully positive post on a topic most would use to whine and cry. A grateful heart is a happy heart, and I can tell you feel the same way! (I also love the photo of you and your granddaughter!)

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Tam, Every morning I write out 10 things I'm grateful for and each night I pick one thing I'm grateful for from my day to concentrate on as I go to sleep. I've had this practice for almost a year and I do see subtle ways it impacts my life for the better i.e. I am more positive and grateful for what I have and spend less and less time worrying about what I don't or 'what if'.

It is a great photo! She had two or three with me in them and this is my favorite.

Diana Mcc. said...

Ditto for me, Great photo of you and your beautiful granddaughter! Taxes....good to hear about something positive coming from paying them. Now, if the gov't could just get their act together on the spending if said taxes. One can only hope!

Lilia Costales said...

It really is nice when you see that the taxes you pay are being used to improve the quality of life of the people around you, especially the people you love. Though it’s not my most favorite thing, it is necessary. For me, it is the least we could do to help our government keep the pillars from falling down.

Lilia Costales