The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘love’

MOTHER AND CHILD(REN)

Show me a picture of a canine mother and her pups and I can’t help but go, “Ooh.”  Show me a video of a golden retriever mom and her passel of pups playing in the snow and I melt.  I hope this brightens your day as much as it did mine.

 

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WHERE’S THE LOVE?

It’s been nearly two weeks since the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, bound from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard.  While I can’t speak to your experience if you are a regular news watcher, I am feeling completely overwhelmed by the extensive coverage this story has received.

The incident has been dissected by military experts, each bit of news about the switching off of the transponders has been debated by current and former pilots and, of course, the efforts to locate any possible debris, should the plane have met with a fatal event, are ongoing material for coverage.  Regular airline passengers have been interviewed and asked, “Because of what happened to flight 370 are you less likely to fly in the future?”

We have picked apart the  Malaysian government’s oversight and regulations regarding cockpit safety and their foot-dragging in releasing information.  We have ascribed some of this to their embarrassment at the purported lack of efficient security measures and to “face saving.”

We have heard any number of theories as to what happened to Flight 370 – ranging from hijacking to mechanical failure to appropriation by UFO’s.  Each of those have been defended and debunked by their proponents and by those who offer a different view.  All of these have been brought before us in an almost sterile, clinical manner.  Perhaps that is the best attitude and mindset to have when doing this sort of investigation.

But with all of this, with worries and speculation that terrorists have absconded with the plane so that they can arm it with explosives and blow up Tel Aviv or London or New York, with speculation as to the pilot’s involvement in what may or may not be a hijacking, there is one aspect of this tragedy that has gone under-reported by virtually every news source.  That is the 239 passengers aboard this flight and the anguish of their families.

Finally, ten full days after the flight disappeared, I saw a clip of a distraught Chinese mother who broke down, screaming in agony during an update by the Malaysian government, shrieking in tears as she wondered about the fate of her son who was aboard the plane.  And I’ve seen a few brief interviews with the siblings of the lone American adult who was aboard the flight.  That has been the extent of the coverage that I have seen of those who are personally affected that has merited the coverage of the news media.

Perhaps the coverage of Flight 370’s disappearance is merely an example of our technological worldview.  Perhaps we are more interested in the intricacies of what might have gone wrong mechanically or would rather submerse ourselves in conspiracy theories than cover the human issue of what was the fate of those who were aboard.

What happened to Flight 370?  We still don’t know and it may be some time, if ever, before we find that answer.  And as to the media and your lack of reporting on the families of the passengers on that fated plane, I would ask – “Where’s the love?”

IF YOU WONDER WHY I LOVE THESE CRITTERS …

The first story I saw this morning on Yahoo news was about nine Golden Retriever comfort dogs who have come, courtesy of Lutheran Church Charities to be with the residents of Newtown, CT as they try to pick up the pieces of their lives after last Friday’s tragedy.

This brief video should help you start your day in an upbeat way.

http://news.yahoo.com/video/therapy-dogs-helping-ct-kids-054827353.html

This post is reblogged from allaboutlemon whose work I have followed for most of my own blogging experience. The five minute video brought both a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

allaboutlemon-All Around, In, And Out Of My Own Universe

http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w12/stillrisingmoon1959/Christmas/Baby.gif

Let’s watch this very inspirational video and all our disappointments will turn into a joyful new direction.

Enjoy,

aDollyciousirony

Drink up your favorite coffee and have a great weekend!

toothsome-drink-coffee

mmmwahhh!

 

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IS XMAS HERE TO STAY?

As tomorrow is the beginning of Advent which commences on that Sunday the closest to the Feast of St. Andrew (November 30th), I thought it would be appropriate to put up a post on a religious theme.  Well, mostly a religious theme depending on whether or not you consider Xmas to be a religious event.

I remember as a child that during the summer the vestments worn in church by the clergy were green.  A never ending sea of green, week after week and month after month.  And then suddenly they took on the color purple as Advent began.  (This was a clue to the faithful that something was up – and what was up was that we were awaiting the arrival of Christmas – and, no that is not a misspelling of Xmas).

If I had somehow missed the hint dropped at church I received a reminder when I went to school as casting for the Christmas play had begun and I truly hoped that I wasn’t going to be the ox as had happened the previous year.  As is appropriate to the season, my wish came true.  I got to be the ass that year.

Now my school was way ahead of its time.  It was a private but non-religious place of learning.  It was a very ecumenical place.  We students, as nearly as I could figure out were either Christian (in various forms), Jewish (in various forms) – well it was in New York City – unidentified, or unconcerned about the whole religious experience.  Amazingly, we all got along quite well.

I always thought that it must have been hard for the Jewish kids to get into the spirit of a Christmas play – but they were all good sports about it.  I give credit to the school staff for that.  As we all know, Jesus was a WASP, but in our play they had dabbled in revisionist history and turned him, his father and mother into Semites.

This, of course, opened up a number of roles for the Jewish kids in class to play.  If they didn’t get cast as Mary or Joseph – there was still plenty of room for them as one of the shepherds stage right.  We didn’t have to worry about accommodating the Muslim kids as we didn’t have any in my class and the one child who was Buddhist just sort of transcended the whole thing.

Well it went on that way for years.  We would send people Christmas cards to which we had affixed Christmas stamps.  We would wrap Christmas presents and say to those we passed on the street, “Merry Christmas.”  I remember saying that to Mrs. Rappaport who always wore her Star of David and lived in our building and she just smiled broadly at me and said, “Well, Merry Christmas to you too, sweetheart.”  Then she bent down and kissed me on the cheek.

I’m not sure what Madalyn Murray O’Hair would have thought about my exchange with Mrs. Rappaport but it’s safe to say that she probably wouldn’t have been amused.  But as I was in a private school and this was before the Supreme Court decided that prayer and Bible reading was a no-no, I suspect we really didn’t need to hear from her on the subject.

Well we meandered through the four weeks or so from the start of Advent until the big day finally arrived – or more correctly the big night – Christmas Eve.  We would all trundle off to church for the Midnight liturgy filled with the old war horse hymns that we loved and which I still love.  You probably know some of them, “O, Come All Ye Faithful,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and the excellent choir would always sing “Silent Night” a cappella in the church which was illuminated only by the flickering of a sea of candles.

That service was always my favorite of the year.  You see, for just a few weeks, suddenly we all seemed to be just a little nicer as people.  A little kinder.  A little gentler.  In some ways it was with melancholy that I walked home with my parents and grandmother.  I knew that seven days hence we would start a new year.  And with that new year, most of us would return to our old ways.  It would be eleven long months until the spirit of compassion would once again reach out to us.

I’m not quite sure when Christmas evolved or devolved into Xmas.  As I understand from a friend who’s spouse works at a division of Kroger Foods, the staff have been informed that the proper greeting for their patrons is, “Happy Holidays.”  That is the only reference to the season which is permitted and should someone violate that they are subject to termination.  Talk about a way to infuse a little holiday spirit in your employees and make their season bright.

I would be remiss if I didn’t introduce a little history here.  You remember St. Andrew whose feast day is used to determine the start of Advent?  Well he was crucified on a cross that was in the form of an “X”.  So that might be the origin for our referring to the upcoming holiday as Xmas.  I don’t think with our current need to sanitize, whitewash and PCify everything that Xmas is in any danger of extinction.  I’m pretty sure it’s here to stay.

I admit to being old-fashioned in some ways and am going to keep a few traditions as I learned them in childhood.  I am looking forward to the thought of a service starting at midnight, a choir singing a cappella and a church in total darkness other than the light cast by a sea of flickering candles.

I am going to hold on to Christmas and not be ashamed to call it that.   I will try to be a little nicer, a little kinder, a little gentler to others and spread good cheer and warm wishes to those I meet.  And I’m going to hope, as I do each year at this time, that the idea catches on.

I’ve been hoping that for a long time.

THE SIMPLE JOY OF LOVING

Let’s begin at the beginning which we know is a very good place to start.  My love affair with dogs started very shortly after I made my way into the world – kicking and screaming and annoyed at the bright lights in the delivery room which had disturbed the comfortable warm, dark and secure accommodations I had previously enjoyed.

A short while later I went to a new place that I would call home until the time that I went off to college.  It was a small apartment filled with an amazingly loving and wonderful buff colored Cocker Spaniel named Taffy who would act as a surrogate guardian for my parents and grandmother.

Mom and this guy called Dad had disappeared for about a week on something that was called a honeymoon.  They had been married on Flag Day and ten days and a year later I popped into the world.  This was back in the days when the sequence of events was getting married and then having children.  Even then, (although we had not yet invented the word), there were people who were dyslexic and got these instructions backwards – but they were relatively few in number and polite people didn’t talk about them.

Now Mom had gotten Taffy as a puppy – but by the time of her marriage he was twelve years old and very devoted to her.  She was concerned that he might be jealous of this new addition to the family.  As it turned out, she had nothing to fear.  Taffy considered it his duty to take care of this baby, sleeping by the side of my crib, ever vigilant should anything or anyone disturb me.

Perhaps he saw in me a kindred spirit.  Maybe it was the fact that I pooped and piddled with abandon in those old fashioned cloth diapers which Mom and Grandma had to wash out and launder and then reuse.  Perhaps those smells reminded him of the others of his kind whom he knew only by the aroma that they left on the fire hydrant down the street.  In any event, Taffy assumed the role of my protector and guarded me with all his might.

After awhile my parents decided to introduce me to the wonders of Central Park.  I had a big English stroller carriage and Taffy and I would ride in it together.  I would gum his ears with my mouth and do the same to his nose.  He reciprocated these affronts to his dignity by showering my hands and face with licks and then would resume his rest at the foot of the carriage, always attentive if a stranger came too close to his baby.

Taffy lived to be nearly seventeen.  I was in the apartment but sleeping when he passed away near my little bed.  My parents removed his body before I awakened and had it cremated.  When I got up that morning I remember looking for him.  That was when I first became aware of the principle that where there is life there is also death.  I remember crying inconsolably at the loss of my very devoted friend.

A week later my folks came home with Taffy’s ashes – and a new addition to our little family.  This was a pure black Cocker Spaniel puppy whom they named Ace.  And after Ace there was Andy and a succession of wonderful companion dogs with whom I have been privileged to share my home and my heart with the sole exception of the four years I lived in college dorms.

One of those dogs was a gift, some were rescues, all have been wonderful friends.  Whether it was the two goofy Irish Setters, Finney and Tristan, the wonderful Newfoundland/Belgian Shepherd mix, Josh, the German Shepherd mix, Dusty, the Golden Retrievers, Dickens and Spenser and now, my Lane Bryant girl the Irish Wolfhound look alike, Gracie.  They have all been the most constant and devoted companions.  And, of course, now there are the three Golden Retrievers for whom Gracie and I have been surrogate parents for much of this past year, Bubba, Bébé and Kali.

I had expected their owner to ask us to care for them over Thanksgiving as he was hoping to visit relatives out of town.  As it turned out that trip did not occur and so Gracie and I celebrated the holiday together.  But on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I received a call from him to let me know that he wasn’t feeling well and thought that, if I could, it would be better for them to stay a few days with me rather than with his girlfriend and her three dogs.  So I arranged to meet her at the dog park to pick up the kids.  Gracie and I hadn’t seen them for just over two weeks.

When we got to the park, I could see Kali was the closest of the three.  Her parents were at the far end and were facing away from Gracie and me.  She suddenly spotted the two of us and took off in our direction, running and barking in her very treble voice.  This caused mom and dad to turn around and they too began running toward us at full kilter.

I would have to say that this reunion lasted for at least five minutes, all three of them showering their affection on both Gracie and me and raising such a ruckus that four people who were passing by the outer fence of the park stopped to watch the whole thing.  One of the men in the park came over and said I must be the “Dog Whisperer” of Las Vegas.

I don’t know why dogs seem to have an affinity for me or I for them.  Perhaps it is because we are cast from the same mold of simplicity.  They ask for so little.  A home, some food and water and a little bit of love.  Yet they return so much loyalty and affection for what we bestow on them.  And as for me, the gratitude I see in their face after they have enjoyed a meal, followed by one of them curling up in my lap is the greatest gift I could imagine receiving.

If all our world leaders had a companion dog as a guide to teach them their ways this might be a more harmonious planet.  For in the end, we make the choice if we should follow a path of anger and hatred and war – or whether we should walk down the road letting the simple joy of loving be our guide.

LOVE AND HATE

I was raised in a loving environment.  That was the luck of the draw and my good fortune.  Growing up in a small family unit where we all looked after one another, and mostly my parents and grandmother looked after me, it is just natural for me to extend that compassion, as best I can, to others whom I meet.  I cannot imagine what it would have been like being raised in a house where animosity and acrimony reigned, rather than the loving home in which I was nurtured.

As I write this on the morning of Election Day and reflect about my upbringing, I think that is the essential and underlying difference between the candidates of the two major parties one of whom we will elect to the presidency today.  It is reflected in their campaigns and more importantly in who they are as people.

On the one hand I see a man who was raised in a caring environment in much the same  way that I was.  Obviously, I can relate to that and to him.  It does not surprise me that in rearing his own family he has offered them the love and nurturing that he himself received.

On the other hand, I see a man whose parents were divorced when he was at an early age and who was shuttled off to surrogate parents for his rearing.  I imagine that took a toll on his sense of self-worth and facilitated a need to overbuild his ego to compensate for this neglect.

On the one hand I see a man who realizes that the only way we can move forward as a community and a country is by doing what he believes is right, not just for those members of some specific interest groups, but for all of us.

On the other hand I see a man who has spent four years trying to separate us with his rhetoric of divisiveness, pitting one segment of the population against another.

On the one hand, I see a man who has enough love for his fellow man’s intelligence to believe that the individual should determine her own destiny.

On the other hand, I see a man who hates his fellow man’s lack of intelligence and believes that only the “state” is wise enough to determine what is best for each of us.

On the one hand, I see a man who believes that a vote for him is a proclamation that we can set this country America, in which we are all privileged to be citizens, back on the right course to prosperity for all.

On the other hand, I see a man who says voters should express their anger and “vote for revenge.”

Perhaps the poet, Virgil was right.  “Omnia vincit amor.”  “Love conquers all.”  But it doesn’t always accomplish its mission in a heartbeat or the blink of an eye.

We know from history that hate often extends its evil hands upon us with brutality, and tries its best to squeeze the love out of us with threats and with violence.  It takes a brave soul to hold on to principle when it is in the grip of terror.

We saw the ugly manifestation of hatred in Hitler’s Nazi Germany.  We saw how Hitler polarized the German people, dividing them and pointing to the Jews as the reason for their economic troubles.  And when he had sung the dirge loudly and often enough, we saw the trains begin to fill up with the “enemies of the state” as he began shipping them off to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Belzec and Treblinka to meet their deaths.

And those who were not affected were silent – and perhaps grateful that it was someone else’s fate and not theirs which the state had determined.  And in that silence, men and women of conscience writhed in agony, knowing that not acting or speaking out was cowardly and an act of tacit hatred.

There are too many such examples of hatred in our brief history on this planet.  But we have also seen that such leaders and countries which ensconce them do not last for long, because anything built on a foundation of hatred is doomed from its very inception.

It is fortunate that we have examples as well of those who have selflessly given themselves to a good and just cause and whose motivations were guided by love.

We need look no further than to those who founded America and wrote a Constitution which, to the best of their ability and the circumstances of the times, was inclusive and which deemed the individual to be the building block on which the entire structure depended.

They wrote us an inscription which extolled personal responsibility and which offered us the right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  And what could be more loving than to acknowledge each of our entitlement to those three?

As I reflect on the rhetoric of the campaign and listen to the pundits describe “what the issues are that will determine the outcome” I have heard that, “It’s the economy or that it’s social issues.”  But to me this election is about whether we want to embrace either love or hate as our guiding light in going forward.

As the old knight said in, “Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail” when the Nazi collaborator entered the Grail Chamber with all the possible vessels which might be the real Cup of Christ, “Choose wisely.”

He didn’t.  It is with love that I say, I hope we make a better choice than he.

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