Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Best of Me Still Lives in You

This man's inspiring message, I believe, transcends all cultures. If a parent has failed us in some way, how do we heal ourselves? And what, of them, still lives in us?

P.S. This speech first caught my eye going around Facebook....and brought me to tears.  This is a different performance of it than I first saw, as I chose to post the one which was apparently posted on YouTube by the speaker, Daniel Beaty, himself. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Hate Injustice

I hate injustice but I love to learn the history of injustice. Why is that? I think it's because it justifies my hatred of injustice.

But more than that, it makes me realize that the world is really not much better nor much worse than it has ever been...and that most of us are not as good as we could be, in the way that we view our neighbor, that most of us, at one time or another, tend to look at someone else with a prejudicial view...whether it is toward their race or religion or culture; or whether we've risen above that, but it's about someone's economic class or the way they dress or what their politics seem to be. Why do I say 'what their politics seem to be'?  Well, don't we sometimes assume someone holds one view because they say they hold a certain view on a totally different topic?

Don't we sometimes say this person has this bad way of looking at this topic and therefore this person is bad? What if we tried to just look past the things we don't agree with, and look at the person? Fight what we believe is wrong but fight ideas, not people? Because, as Martin Luther King Jr pointed out, hatred doesn't stop hatred.

Only love, respectful love, can really bring about love, and isn't that really what life is all about?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Celebrating His Life

Today is the anniversary of the day on which our son Paul died last year, not the official day according to the report, but the day that those closest to him, who found him, thought was really the day. 

We used to tiptoe around on an anniversary of death or on the birthday of someone who had passed away, trying to pretend, perhaps, that nothing had happened.

But I've been learning a few things about grief. I've been told: Do something that the person liked, remember him or her in some special way. On the anniversary of my sister's death I made Ranger cookies, a favorite of hers.

And so my husband had an idea for today. "Paul liked Applebee's", he said. So we - those of us who live here in Baltimore - went to Applebee's. And we talked about Paul and some of the other things that he enjoyed, and we recalled his laughter and his joy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Reflections in Grief

This was the week when my son Paul died...a year ago, in a few days. This morning I opened the Psalms to a random page and read this: "Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing."  (Psalm 30:11). ‘Um, no; but I guess it's an affirmation, speaking into being, looking forward to when that happens’, I thought.

I found myself wondering if David wrote those words about ‘mourning turning into dancing’ before or after his son Absalom died. Surely he must have written them about some other mourning than that of a son.

They say there is nothing like a good cry but sometimes I wonder if there is any such thing as a good cry. It doesn’t seem so at the time while your head is hurting and your eyes are stinging.

But then, as I cry out to God in anguish that I will never see my son again in this life or hear his voice, then that same thought comes to me once again that has held me up so many times: I would not deprive him of the joy I believe he now has! And although I’m not quite up to dancing, the thought brings joy with it.

We watch so many terrible things happening in this world. Sometimes we are even a small part of some of them ourselves, through our gossip or bickering, indifference or judging. What a consolation to know that there is a better life! In the meantime, we prepare for it, as my son Paul did, as my sister Chris did, as I'm sure some of your relatives and loved ones have done. We prepare by love, by opening ourselves to God's love and by loving others. 

Although we suffer here, through love we can begin to experience a little of heaven on earth, where we can dance in God's love, until we hear him say one day, "Come, O Blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Matthew 25:34).

And then we will experience, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)