On Rolls the Old World

"The two parties which divide the state, the party of Conservatism and that of Innovation, are very old, and have disputed the possession of the world ever since it was made. This quarrel is the subject of civil history. The conservative party established the reverend hierarchies and monarchies of the most ancient world. The battle of patrician and plebeian, of parent state and colony, of old usage and accommodation to new facts, of the rich and the poor, reappears in all countries and times. The war rages not only in battle-fields, in national councils, and ecclesiastical synods, but agitates every man's bosom with opposing advantages every hour. On rolls the old world meantime, and now one, now the other gets the day, and still the fight renews itself as if for the first time, under new names and hot personalities."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

1841

 

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Affirmation

I am often asked, "What do you do awake at 3 or 4 am in the morning?"
I get this perplexed look or tone of voice more often than not.
Very few give me a nod of understanding.
Not everyone gets it.

There's a few good things I do daily when I am awake before the crack of dawn.
I embrace the silence.  I pray.  I meditate.
It's only a few hours of the entire day that I am able to be in complete silence.
It's my GOD time.

Dr. Wayne Dyer says that silence is GOD.
I believe him!
It's the time of day I am able to fully hear myself.
I get answers with clarity, signs show up unexpectedly and I just know.

There's really not much to do except to listen.
Go deep within and stay there.
By the time the sun rises, noise sets in and the house wakens.
My moment of bliss silence is gone.

I was recently told, "3 am is sleeping time, I wouldn't know what to do with myself."
I wouldn't know what to do with myself in chaos if I didn't have my GOD time.
We all look forward to different things in life.
For me, the best part of my day really is waking up and being greeted by the silence of the wind.

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Bereavement In Beit Jala

There is no real equivalent to the Hebrew word טקס Tekess in English. Of course there are the usual words like memorial, ceremony, commemoration, observance, and ritual. But as Tekess is much more than a word, it seems that none of English choices captures the formality, the festivity, the commitment, and the pathos, that make up this special Hebrew word. All those elements are present in the the two major טקסים Tkasim (plural for Tekess): Holocaust Memorial Day and Memorial Day For Fallen Soldiers.

At my school in Haifa, Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers was the most moving and significant event of the year. Every year bereaved families joined our Service. For this occasion a graduate of the school came back especially to sing for us Bab el Wad  (a famous song from Israel's war of Independence  1948 immortalizing one of the hard battles) in her beautiful and simple voice. That was how the ritual was conducted every year, northing changed, at least not for the six years that I attended school.

This memory is almost 50 year old and to this day hearing Bab el Wad still brings tears to my eyes.

Ever since that time I have tried to avoid going to Memorial Services, as nothing could ever match this poignant childhood memory. So this year again, I had no intention of going to any service.

We often hear about noble people who are ready to leave their family during a holiday in order to help others. There are those who volunteer to serve a meal in a communal Passover Seder instead of spending the holiday at home. This is how I view people who are willing to share their personal pain on Memorial Day For Fallen Soldiers and attend an alternative joint Israeli/Palestinian Memorial Service (of the Parents Circle-Families Forum PCFF, an Israeli/Palestinian group of bereaved family members of those who died as a result of the conflict, and Combatants Of Peace). I admire them but find it difficult to do the same.,

But even I have my limits, when I heard that the bereaved Palestinian families were denied permission to attend that Memorial Service, which took place yesterday night in Tel Aviv, and that they assembled in Beit Jala to commemorate the dead, I knew that the right thing to do was to go there and express my solidarity, it was the least I could do. 

Unlike the impressive Service in Tel Aviv, the gathering in Beit Jala was very simple. A group of people Palestinians and Israelis congregated in a small hall to talk and to watch together the main event in Tel Aviv. Several Palestinians and Israelis spoke about the pain and the suffering of bereaved families on both sides, and about the fact that we were partners.

Few days ago David Grossman said on the radio that bereaved families are not expert on the conflict, and that they don’t know more about it than other people, but they do deserve respect, Grossman used the word “tact.”

I feel that by going to Beit Jala on the Eve of Memorial Day For Fallen Soldiers I did just that, showed my respect.

This essay forst appeared in the Times of Israel 

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/bereavement-in-beit-jala/

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"Oh, Didn't It Rain"

Our family celebrations are much smaller these days with most of our family no longer in our community But we did have a pleasant Easter with the Taylor family. Trent and Brianna were both home from college and died beautiful eggs for us. After worship, we six gathered for dinner at the farm, and later I took plates into Katherine and her aide and visited there. Grandson Sam had surprised us oldsters by flying home for his birthday weekend, so he showed up at the farm coming and going while spreading himself thin to see both sides of his family. Getting to see her son unexpectedly definitely made Katherine's holiday. Sam did not surprise his cousins because they all keep in close touch thanks to cell phones.

Last Wednesday was Katherine's bithday, so I made her a cake I sometimes made her years ago—an angel food with a bouquet of real flowers with the vase hidden in the center hole of the cake. We took chicken and dumpling dinners from a local restaurant and had birthday dinner in her bedroom with the help of her excellent aide. As I had not been organized enough to know the time to send to Mary Ellen with Brian in the field, they dropped in later to sing “Happy Birthday” with us when we cut the cake. With gifts to open, a call from Sam and others, and all the cards in the mail and Facebook greetings, that was the best we could do, and Katherine was smiling and appreciative.

The Taylors are without a kitchen right now as they are replacing floor and cabinets and doing other rehab work. When Gerry came through here on his way to a softball weekend at Lexington, Mary Ellen came over to see him and brought Fifi to enjoy a bit of country life running in the fields since her life has been torn up too by all the workmen in the house with her. Before Gerry and Gerald took off in his rented pickup carrying the team's pitching machines, there was a demonstration of bird dogs brought up to the farm from Knoxville. Mary Ellen and I had to laugh to notice that Fifi was not intimidated by those big dogs. She marked her territory to let them know this was her farm. Gerry brought in four quail eggs for Mary Ellen to fry for Brian, which she laughingly and graciously accepted although she had never served such before. Then she remembered she had no kitchen—so I am saving them for her.

I listened to Friday night game on the computer and was pleased with the A&M's victory over Kentucky, and someone put a photo of Gerald at the game on Facebook. But weekend began going downhill when I learned that our Jeannie and husband Rick were driving home from Rochester and they would be going back Sunday afternoon to have same-day surgery yesterday morning to repair a problem caused by the port left in after her chemo. Jeannie kept emphasizing it was “not a big deal,” but I did not believe her for a minute. So when it stormed all night, I felt as I often do that nature was upset as I was. I do not know how much it rained because our rain gauge was run over at five inches when I emptied it the next morning.

We are on a hill side, so we do not worry about flooding. I was grateful that my diligent husband had noticed and made a point on Thursday to repair the very tiny “wanna be a gully I grow up” on the slope on our lane. He also cleared the debris off the filter on the emergency overflow pipe on the far end of our lake. The first thing he asked when I told him about the rain storm was whether the water went over the dam. And I was able to tell him the overflow had worked perfectly thanks to his work.

But many people in our area as well as other areas of the nation did not fare so well. Lakes formed beside some road here, and some roads became lakes. Our homeless shelter and many other homes were flooded. The Catholic church opened for those needing shelter, and the Red Cross came in with emergency shelter. And people are still hurting and coping.

Katherine had one aide out sick and another who had a car wreck, so I took the highway into her house to avoid the closed roads. We listened to the A&M-Kentucky game together on her TV screen, and we felt together the pain of defeat. Of course, we assumed we'd win again on Sunday, but we didn't.

I went back to town through light rain that evening to give Katherine night pills, but then drove home through torrential rain. I knew then I would stay home the next day and not venture out unless necessary. I slept very late and poured out another over five inches of rain from the gauge. Fortunately Katherine's aide was back, and I had the restful Sunday I needed. I prayed for Jeannie's surgery coming up, ate up left-overs in the fridge, found a play-by-play game account on Kentucky's website that let me follow the game, and looked forward to seeing Gerald and Gerry when they arrived that evening from Lexington. Despite a fall the night before from catching his foot on a stob in an unofficial walkway between the outdoor pizza place and their motel, Gerald was in a good mood. With his hand he had bandaged up very professionally after he picked the gravel out, he and Gerry had me laughing during snacks at the kitchen table as they told of their misadventures. (Gerald had a regular doctor appointment today, and the doctor said his hand looked good.) I am sure Gerry was exhausted because he went straight to bed after his shower instead of running over to visit a friend as he wanted to do, and I think he and Gerald slept as good as I did the night before.

Yesterday after we saw Gerry off for Texas, I was focused on waiting for Rick's call that Jeannie's surgery had gone well. The good call came, and I relaxed. They stayed at their motel in Rochester last night, and today they were on their way home. I thank God for that. Gerry and the pitching machines are back on campus today, and he is cheerful on Facebook. Gerald has picked the asparagus in his garden and cleaned out the overflow filter again. He is ready for the next deluge.

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