28 January 2017

Comfort On A Sad Day. When My Country Feels Small

How To Find Peace On A Sad Day

I won't lie to you, my heart is heavy today. I feel as if a dream has died, my idea of my country has died, I feel as if compassion and selflessness and truth are bleeding right before my eyes, the our better angels are in retreat.

How do I manage those feelings, how do I keep my feet on the ground and stay full of hope?

First, I sent a soccer ball to a child this morning from the refugee aid home page on Amazon. This child – he is eight –  is a refugee from Syria, he is living not too far from me with his mother and sister, it took them four years to get here, all of their money, thousands of forms, and many interrogations. Their father, trapped in their home, cannot come join them now. I hope to see this boy soon and write about him.

This boy is named Mahdi, and he has always believed that America is a land of refugee for good people in distress, and I do not know what I will say to him, or to his mother and sisters when I meet him, I don't know how I will explain why my country would separate his family and condemn his father and turn it's back on so much suffering when we have so much.

I hope to use my meager gifts as a writer and photographer to show that these people are human beings not threats, not alien beings, they embody to me the very spirit and promise and glory of America. Aren't they the point?

I am so sorry that so many people are blind to history and reality and justify this cruelty and ignorance in the name of safety. Nothing could make any of us less safe, not for a moment.

In America, people argue now, they don't really talk or listen, I am realistic. My work will feel hopeless and impossible at times. A great creative challenge, and I love creative challenges. I will just have to get better and be better.

I have faith and am determined. I will  do what I can when I can.  Work with the wonderful people in the Mansion. Raise money for refugee families that made it through.  Live by example, not by argument. All I can do is live my life.

Now I have to think more seriously about whether I can really pay taxes for persecute people in this way, can I really look in the mirror if I do that? If my money goes to enhance suffering and persecution?

The ghosts of the past will haunt me, my grandmother and uncles and so many millions of others for whom America was life itself, the promised land, not a selfish and fearful place of small and closed minds.

The corporations and CEO's have never been happier, the Wall Street Index has never been higher, the angry people never angrier,  my country has never seemed smaller.

Today I re-dedicate myself to doing good, remaining hopeful, listening to others. Small acts of kindness, small acts of good.I will not feel overwhelmed, or succumb to despair. My life will never be an argument for others.

When I sent Mahdi the soccer ball, I felt very good. If you wish to make your own personal statement by aiding needy refugees, new to America and frightened and needy, you can visit the Amazon gift page of the US Committee on Refugees and Immigration and buy some spoons and plates.

Or soccer balls.

Hang in there. I am off to celebrate Maria's birthday. Back tomorrow.


Posted in General

Happy Birthday, Maria

Happy Birthday, Maria

Happy Birthday, Maria, you are light and love and color to me.

Every year, on your birthday, I marvel at your great heart, your creativity, your strength.

Every year you are stronger, more creative, more loving.

I have never paid too much attention to birthdays, but yours are revelation to me, they measure not just one life,

but hope and compassion and courage.

It has been the gift of a lifetime to know you, to love you, to see you find your voice and grow and grow.

Your art is shining testament to encouragement and liberation.

In two weeks, you will set off on a great adventure to India, to fulfill your destiny, to grow even stronger, to free the powerful spirits

that have always lived inside of you.

They are free now. Everything about you is good and strong and worthy, I am humbled and grateful

that you have chosen me to be your partner, lover and companion in life. I will work hard to be worthy

So we are off for a day and night together, a celebration of life and the power of feeling.

You keep me steady and full of hope, you remind me of all the good that there is in the world.

in our time, there is a temptation to despair and anger, you remind me that joy is

the opposite of despair.

When I get discouraged, I have only to look at you and think of you.

Happy Birthday to you. You have given me the gift of rebirth and redemption,

you are an inspiration, to me and to others.


Today is your day, it will be full only of things you want to do, eat and see.

All the love there is, Jon

Posted in General