Love Sometimes Can Be A Strange Thing

May 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

I have lived away from my parents for two decades.  I was raised in small very tight knit family with its own set of issues like any other family.  At age eighteen I went to NYC and never went back home.

The decades I spent away from my family were filled with visits where I would resist going back to see them and then would cry all the way back from Brazil to the US.

I have learned, over time, that my love for my parents is so strong that unconsciously I started a self-preservation process of rejecting them in order not to feel the separation.  Of course this has never worked out well the result being; guilt and inner-conflict.

A couple of days ago, going to the beach (I’m still visiting Rio) with a childhood friend we talked about our families’ history and she said: “we put our errors and discords behind so we can move forward, because we love.”

So I have learned I have rejected and trivialized situations in my life because they were too much for me.  My “self” was trying to survive without realizing the damage it was actually causing.

Living life involves loving with all our hearts and involves hurt when the people we have loved are no longer with us.  Holding our love back does not save us from the hurt as love is powerful and sooner or later breaks through the dam with all its might.

We can not change the past but we can make a new present which will have a different ending.  When I feel bad of all that has gone on before I remember I am looking at my past with the heart and the mind I have today and not the mind and the heart I had yesterday.  And I remember I’m making a new life today.

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Every Day Heroes

Often heroes are people that care about and love us.  They make us feel safe and protected.  We can all be heroes by being present in people’s lives.

Read what school kids had to say about who their heroes are.  This essay contest was organized by the ThinkQuest team.

For additional essays go to:  http://library.thinkquest.org/J001675F/everyday.htm

DiodatiA hero is a person that you think is special. Most people think a hero is somebody that saves people. That is not true. A hero is really any person you think is special. You could be a hero. But I picked my great-grandmother because I think she is very, very special. When you are hurt or sick she is always there for you. If you are mad and need a little talk, she is right by your side. Also, when we go over her house she plays with us. We either play cards or play with her dolls. But, I don’t care what we play because what makes the game fun, is that my great-grandmother is there. She is also very funny. Once at Halloween she pretended she was a vampire!

Her favorite place to go is to the beach with me. We swim or find animals. It is always the best place to go. Sometimes I go to her house and watch scary movies. I love her so very much! I don’t know how I could live without her!

Rachel Diodati Grade 3

A Survivor

HowardThere have been a lot of heroes over the past. People think that you have to be strong to be a hero. (That’s not true.) There are a lot of heroes just like you and me. Hercules is a hero. But, did you know that heroes really don’t have to be s SUPER HERO!?

I have a hero. His name is Leonard Corcoran, and he is a grandfather, a husband, a carpenter and a survivor of World War II. He was in the army and he survived! He is healthy and lives a good life. After his experience in World War II he fell in love with Ruth. They got married and are now living in Bradford, Massachusetts. They have more than eight wonderful grandchildren. They go on family trips and are having no trouble at all surviving the rest of their adventures in life.

He plays with me and tells me that he will teach me how to make things with wood and how to put things together. We will try to make the best fun out of the years to come. He is getting older and has a hearing aide. I believe in him and and I have trust in him. I hope he will live and be active for a long time.

He is my hero, my grandfather, a husband, a carpenter and A SURVIVOR!

Molly Howard Grade 3

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The Second Decade

December 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

We are beginning the second decade of the 21st century. Those that want to, may argue with me, but we’ve had 10 years that started with 20 and 2010 is the 11th.

I was running through an issue of the New York Times Sunday Magazine a couple of weeks ago with short, beautiful written obits about the well-known people we lost during 2009. One of them was Ted Kennedy.

Probably, because of my age, I have been fascinated by the Kennedy family for most of my life, as have many others. When Ted’s memoir was published in 2009, I was quick to buy and read it.

This isn’t a book review and it isn’t a rehash of the tabloid stories that punctuated too much of his life. And, although the primary cause of his legislative life, to secure adequate health care to all Americans, seems to have enough traction to become a reality, this isn’t about his extraordinary effectiveness as a legislator.

What this is about, is the content of the memoir that was devoted to his relationship with his family. I believe that even were he to have been completely revealing about every facet of his personal life, he could not have informed me more about the truth of his life and the lessons it teaches, than the information about his relationship with his family.

Ted had eight siblings and as is well-known, a bushel of nieces, nephews, and children. He also had a father who lived into his 90’s and a mother who lived past 100.

The family base in Hyannis port, Mass was the location of most of the personal family film the public is familiar with. It was there that the family gathered and in time of disaster, as well as joy. For decades, the family came home to Joe and Rose, Ted’s mother and father, whenever there was something to share. It was there they learned to lean upon each other and to share and enjoy each others successes as well as to mourn their common or individual losses.

Ted’s memoirs bring us back time and time again to the family gatherings where decisions were made, where character and morals and ethics were shaped, where no one was ever alone.

I don’t have eight siblings or parents that lived to triple figures. Most of us don’t. Some of us aren’t even lucky enough to have families that share our life histories. But all of us could very well have a chance to spend some time building relationships with people we can rely on for support, if we are willing to reply in kind. Families come in all sizes and shapes and don’t have to be connected by blood.

I’m going to spend the second decade of this century, if I am lucky enough to survive it, building up this extended family. I’m going to make myself open to people I admire and let them know I am here to serve if they need me. I am going to learn to trust some friends so I can unburden myself of some of the things I have kept locked up inside my head and my heart.

I think I’m going to start by making some phone calls.

I just had a mental picture of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song “Some Enchanted Evening” from their wonderful show South Pacific, now enjoying a very successful revival in New York. There is the phrase in the song which goes “you will see a stranger, across a crowded room.” How often, in the past few years I have seen an old friend across a crowded room and have waved. I think of how often one of us has stuck a pinkie near the mouth and the thumb near the ear in the now familiar “call me” sign, and how many times one of us has nodded yes and never called.

It’s in this spirit that I wish you all a Happy New Year, by letting you know that if the phone rings, it might just be me.

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Facing Off With Fear…

May 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

I recently saw a movie called “Veronica Guerin”, based on the life of an Irish journalist whose investigations of narcotics trafficking in her native Dublin led her on a mission to expose the devastating consequences of this activity on local communities. In doing this work she awakened the larger community to the impact of drug infestation upon the lives of families in the afflicted neighborhoods. As depicted in this film, it was her role as a mother of a young son that imbued her with an inescapable and fateful sense of empathy for the young families around her. The sense of interconnection this generated in her created a moral imperative to face down the criminals forces, and oppose the poisonous streams they had unleashed in these neighborhoods. By relentlessly working to raise the public’s awareness of these problems she was able to galvanize the community into action. Though she lost her life in the course of this fight, it was her work that ultimately cleansed these communities of the monsters residing in their midst.

The most remarkable aspect of her character was an indefatigable willingness to embrace her community with an urgency and sense of responsibility that is commonly reserved for one’s immediate family. In essence, she extended her perception of family – of those who reside within the circle of familial love – to encompass the community as a whole. This was a heroic expression of love, engendered by an equally uncommon degree of fearlessness. She did indeed experience great fear, having been shot, assaulted, and having the life of her child threatened in the vilest terms. Nevertheless she continued to pursue her work with an undaunted sense of mission, struggling at the same time to convey to her uncomprehending family that for her this was not a matter of choice, but of absolute necessity.

Her path of action was a manifestation of the hard, uncompromising face of love. It was an expression of love as an encompassing and inclusive ethic that radicals like Gandhi have espoused. It was a rare and powerful expression of one whose love is so great that it transforms the lives and circumstances of those who fall within its sphere of influence.

Her story illuminates the inter-relatedness of love and fear in the starkest terms. It unfolds amidst circumstances in which things of the greatest value were at stake and in danger of being destroyed. It concerns family in both the conventional sense and also in a wider sense that encompasses all of the human family.

Admittedly the ethos of Veronica Guerin sets the bar beyond the reach of the ordinary man. It is a story that examines the possibility of considering the bonds one shares with others in a different light. This is an aspirational theme: the expansion of one’s field of consideration and caring to include others with which one does not have an immediate, personal connection – besides sharing the same patch of ground.

This story also portrays the mystery that binds love and courage as though they share the same coin. Perhaps it is as Winston Churchill has said – that courage is the greatest of all the virtues for it is the guarantor of all the others. Fearlessness, courage allows its great accompaniment of love to take action, to come in to life.

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