Friday, December 7, 2018

December 7th, 1941

There was a time, over dinner many years ago, that an older friend of mine, a retired naval officer, a graduate of Annapolis and now a successful businessman wanted to talk to one of my sons about attending Annapolis. My friend had both political and military connections, and my son had grades sufficient for an application and appointment.

My friend was a good man, a survivor of Pearl Harbor, but he had a powerful hatred for the Japanese. He hated them so much that he took every opportunity in business, in public, and in private to say so. He was a successful big-time contractor who built office and factory buildings, but he used no products from Japan.

During our dinner conversation I told him, I hoped he would understand, but he could not talk to my son unless he could let go of his hatred of the Japanese. I didn’t want my son influenced by such a long-festering hate.

Senator Simpson was correct when he said at President George H.W. Bush's funeral, "Hatred corrodes the container that carries it." When you hate you create a bond as powerful as love, and it won’t release you from your pain until you consciously let it go. The great teachings of the world suggest that hatred will eventually destroy the hater.

My friend thought about our discussion for several weeks. One day he called to tell me he was going to visit Pearl Harbor…on his way to Japan.

He asked when he got back could he talk to my son. I said “yes.”

As an afterword, my son was not interested in a naval career and went on to be successful in another venue, and my friend was able to release a constricting hatred that held him in a cocoon of anger for decades.

As it is with so many acquaintances with which we are blessed in life, I have lost track of my friend and hope that if he is still alive, he passes today's anniversary of the attack with a feeling of peace that only forgiveness can engender.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thanksgiving

Here it is two days before Thanksgiving in the United States. My friends in Canada celebrate it on another date.

Our Thanksgiving is similar to the August Moon Festival in China, Tet Trung Tru in Vietnam, Succoth in Judaism, Kwanzaa in Africa, Pongal in India and Chusok in Korea and Emtedankfest in Germany. The list goes on, but in essence the purpose remains the same, to thank God for a harvest of food and thought.

Giving thanks should never be relegated to a single day or a passing expression of gratitude. Giving thanks should be an ongoing every moment expression of appreciation. It should be a continuous expression of our lives for we as experiential souls in the density of life have truly been given so much for which we forget, deny, or explain away as something else.

It is amazing to me that the majority of us cannot see our abundance through the maze and fog of always wanting more. In my experience the All That Is provides for everything we need, but will not alter our free will choice to experience lack or deprivation.

Don’t ask me how that can be. I have no idea. I suspect that God experiences life through us as us.

Obviously our divinity is not omniscient or omnipotent, but it is on the edge of creation and understanding because there is a little bit of the Divine in each of us.

It seems to me we have forgotten appreciation and in our human arrogance of self we have ignored what we know deep within our souls.

In the United States, in particular, we forget to give thanks for clean and clear water, for the purity of a breath of fresh air, the freedoms and liberty we enjoy and the right to worship as we please. For me, to you, thank you for reading this blog from time to time.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

An Observation and a Memory

I was in New York City yesterday for a freelance gig at CBS.

As I walked several blocks from the subway, I chose to look at people differently. New York City is peopled with many races; White, Black, Asian, Indian, Hispanic and all cultures and races in-between. New York has a large black population, but blacks are still a minority population in this city.

When I was in Nairobi, Kenya a few years ago Caucasian was not even a minority race. Caucasian was an anomaly, and I felt the difference. It was not a negative feeling, but more of a sensory one. Maybe it was just me, but I felt I stood out in the crowd so to speak. I was never felt fearful, only different.

The proportional difference between blacks and whites in New York City is far more than that of whites to blacks in Kenya. In Kenya, it was possible for me to travel miles and hours and not see another white person.

Yesterday in New York I decided to watch people more closely. I looked at black mothers and fathers on the subway with their kids, and I did so with awareness and appreciation. I saw tenderness, concern, and caring. I knew it was always there, but I was not as aware of it as I was yesterday. I watched family interactions with admiration and with a distant memory of covering the civil rights movement in the sixties. Back then, as a young reporter, I attended services in Black churches and listened to a fiery preacher call for justice and righteousness in an affirmative chorus of “Amen’s.”

The older I get, I have a wiser appreciation of human identity and shared dignity.

I think one has to experience being a minority before one can understand a portion of it. The only things that are truly important in life anywhere are equal opportunity, smiles, courtesy, dignity, tolerance, equality, and the clear acknowledgment of the sameness of being.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Day After...

I was going to go to bed without commenting on this election, but somehow I found my way to the desk and thus this epistle.

I am disappointed in the American electorate for their lack of discernment in not turning more races, both Senate and governors, over to another party control. Please note, I did not say, Democrats, for there is fine leadership in all political beliefs. The more we as citizens recognize that, the sooner we will have a multi-party system that sustains the core beliefs of our electoral system and puts the rule of law above partisanship on all sides.

I was going to be satisfied with the results of the election, until Mr. Trump today threatened, in essence, retaliation to any house democrat and committee who investigated his presidency or his family during the next two years.

It is the sacred responsibility of Congress to check and balance the executive branch of government. Personality and despotic politics is now the rule. Loyalty to the leader is the criterion. Truth is left aside. Facts are ignored. Civility, courtesy, compromise, and courage are dissolved into shouting, anger, and baseless attacks.

This is not America. This is not America.

If we want an America where all feel comfort, all feel represented and have a voice, and all feel the peace of liberty, then we must look within our hearts, not our egos, we must acknowledge and discuss alternative thoughts and find the greater good for the whole. That’s being an American.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Why Poetry?

Why poetry?

Poetry, whether its rap or metered verse, quatrains or sonnets, laughs and cries, clarifies and condemns and brings the intellectual and emotional senses into a radiating body of meaningful words.

Poetry holds, sometimes forever, an emotion long past, a desire forgotten, a wish remembered or a splendor that’s vanished in the illusion of time.

It is also a minute connection to the elegance of verbal choice; to the beauty of form and the emotion of words put fitly together on the palate of the mind. Poetry is both raw and sophisticated. To me, poetry is love at the purest verbal level.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

October's farewell

t's a colorful Fall here in the East so I thought this chilly October morning should have a little poetic tribute to the changing season.

I now know why we call them leaves;
Too soon they fall when frosted thieves
Lure their green to red and golds
In colors soft and dazzling bolds.

Leaves drop from age and sometimes breeze
To land on lawns by shrubs and trees.
They drift in circles to the ground
In crinkling, cracking, crunching sound.

O' leaves of branch and bush, behold!
Your service lasts despite the cold,
As quilts of warmth for creatures low
Beneath the ground, before the snow.

Some leaves will sail to lawns serene
Where children's smiles can then be seen
Waiting for the rake and pile
To leap upon and lie awhile.

But soon the crumpled stems and flake
Are raked in rows for match to make
A downey flame and spired smoke;
Incense of honor to the oak.

Then barren trees stand naked, strong,
To slice the wind of winters song.
They lean and bow from bending blow,
When snapping, cracking, to and fro.

I know there is a message here,
Where trees with leaves at end of year
Do molt their husks of leafy sheen
So other seasons can be seen.

Thus trees and man are oft' alike,
In time all shed their aging haik.
What's left from passage is pristine,
As spirit light and spirit green.

 
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