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Saturday, February 18, 2017

For a Little While

  It’s a difficult time in America but not so different from many in the past. There is a rift but that is democracy. Yet I am saddened for the loss of something … many things.

  For a little while, we were thinking people. We examined the problem, polled all sides, accessed our resources and sought to solve any problem with determination and compassion for all.

 For a little while, we respected others and they respected us … not because we were stronger or louder but rather because they suspected we would act with reason and tolerance seeking consensus.

  For a little while we were assertive rather than aggressive.
We reached with open arms rather than balled up fists.

  We offered a ready smile yet brooked no attack. We made mistakes and named them … hiding from no one.

 We sought to help the poor and raise up the disenfranchised. We attempted to put reins on the greed of Wall Street and curtail the abuse of the environment by corporate concerns.

  We sought through economic sanction and thoughtful discourse to impede the growth of nuclear war capacity. We tore down old walls of past offenses that no longer served.

For a little while, the world viewed us as a progressive bastion of free and inclusive policy with empathy for the plight of others not so fortunate.

  For a little while we brought the youth of America home to their families instead of indiscriminately sending them into the maw of 2000-year-old fistfights. We understood that our way might not be the right way for all peoples yet we welcomed the “huddled masses” that would escape tyranny.

 For a little while we refused to be the brute we abhorred and the whole world knew that right or wrong we sought the higher ground.

  Maybe some find hope in angry vitriol. Maybe some find vindication in exclusion, judgment, and intolerance of those who are different than them. Maybe they think that self-serving isolationism will build a wall behind which they can live.

  Troy fell, Rome deteriorated behind its wall of arrogance, and Nazi Germany dissolved like the “wicked witch of the north” for its hate and angry oratory steeped in the highest wall of all … racial superiority.

 For a little while we were a nation of solutions. It was far from perfect yet each day … each mistake, I felt like we were grounded in the love of all mankind.

  I know that our soul is still alive. I know that when the dust settles, we will pick ourselves up and seek to regain the posture of magnanimity that is the defining banner of this great nation.

 It is not the end but rather a beginning. There are those that have not been heard and they have raised up the only hope they could see.

  For a little while we believed so deeply in our just cause that we ignored the voices of the masses that sought so desperately to tell us they were suffering.

  For a little while we attended to the downtrodden, the minority the immigrant until the salt of the earth became poisoned by our neglect.

   Now … for a little while we must listen more, talk less and stand firm in the belief that all people are created equal and we must not …  at the risk of our fundamental way of life, ignore anyone that would live free.

  The call is to honor and justice. The mission is to bind ourselves to the truth that lies within the heart and soul of all humanity … love.

We must love with all our hearts and all our minds and all our strength so that no matter what, we will persevere as a nation of free peoples that represent … no …  that fight … for the rights of all.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Why Some Men Cry

Opey accidentally kills a bird with his new slingshot. His look of shock and dismay pierce my heart.  I look over my shoulder to see if I am alone.
My two-year-old son, Tucker, at the pool on the first day he could duck his head under the water and hold his breath. I’d drop pennies on the baby steps. He would “dive” under and bring them up. Once, twice … three times … four. Sputtering, gasping, grinning from ear to ear. “ Do it again, Daddy. Do it again! I am thankful in that crowded pool for my dark sunglasses.

I’m with my red headed kid brother in a movie theater
, “Dead Poet’s Society”. Prep school boys troubled but saved by the literature professor tenderly played by Robin Williams. He won’t give up on them. He manages to show them their inner beauty. Betrayed and falsely accused, he has been cast out by the powers that be. His students are confused. As he departs, thinking he has lost them, one boy stands on top of his desk and head high, hand to heart, intones clearly to the professor’s bowed, stooped and resigned back … “Captain my Captain!”  As each boy stands to his desk my well of emotion pours forth. I am glad it is dark. We have to sit for an uncomfortable time after the lights go up. We chuckle nervously.

My dear friend is ordained as a minister. Her father, a pastor all her life, speaks in the sanctuary where my satin clad babies were presented to the church. She sits before us in a chair bathed in the soft light of day cast through the stained glass. She seems so small there … so vulnerable. Each congregant makes their way down to touch her and whisper in her ear.  There’s her husband, then her children. Young and old walk down the aisle until her father in law, Henry … shaky on his cane … brave to even try, moves toward her. I am undone.

A writing class during an exercise. I remember the face of a dear and cherished woman whose career and good heart I revere. I have seen her recently gazing up at the cross. She is somewhere between here and another place. As I write and read of that vision of her rapture I am overwhelmed.

I’m not sure why some men cry and others don’t so much. I have heard that it has to do with our childhood wounds. What I do know is that we all see God in our different ways. Sometimes when I see him it’s a lot like dropping an Alka-Seltzer into a coke. The reaction is sudden and I am near helpless.

I figure … in the end … it’s just another of God’s ways of keeping me humble.