Joanna: Times Like These
I haven't had an opportunity to write to you since the events of last Tuesday morning. There was a small article in the paper Wednesday about the failure of words to describe what has happened and the effect of it on all of us. Well words are what we have so they must suffice - we must express our feelings - even as they change - particularly as they change - as time goes on. God allows many things to happen that we can't understand why. Why are some people born healthy and others born deformed? Why do some couples have children and others are unable to? Why do tornadoes and earthquakes and hurricanes happen and harm so many people? Why do we live to witness the destruction of the World Trade Towers while others perished in them? Are we better than they? Probably not. But here's our chance to try to be! My dad had a pin that read - "today is the first day of the rest of your life!" So let's get going!
The world is changing Joanna - right before our eyes. Watch, help, learn, grow - It's really not so different from what you would do anyway.
The sky is blue. The night is cold. The moon is new. Our love is bold. While I'm waiting here this heart of mine is singing, lover - where can you be.
I don't know why that verse of a jazz song came into my head - maybe it's because it's about searching - a longing for love - a love that's out there somewhere in a cold, new world. Look for it and you will find it Joanna.
Today is the one month anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Towers. One month is not a very long time in the big scheme of things but it still seems like it happened a million years ago. So much of our lives have changed in so many ways in such a short time. Not just for us personally but for the whole country. It's a time to rebuild, a time to examine ourselves - all of us - to see who we are - what do we do to make the world a better place? What do we do to spread love within our family, with our friends, with strangers we meet on the street, with people who feel and act differently than we feel or act? It would be a mistake to believe that we, as individuals, can do nothing to change the world. Believe in the power of love!
The anniversary of September 11th will always be as special day in our lives. As New Yorkers, as Americans, as people alive in this time in history. The event will always be ours to try and understand, understand, learn, grow and change and hope and pray. Pray that nothing like this will ever happen again. A tall order that is. But not impossible. We have to open our eyes to the world around us - try to find ways that we can help make it a better place. Not just for ourselves, but for all people!
Hard to believe that it's two years to the day since the Twin Towers fell. I went to see the show of photographs by Mr. Law at the church on Carroll St and 7th yesterday. Mom was helping him by sitting there for an hour. He took pictures of the pictures of missing people that family members posted all over downtown. He took pictures of firemen and policemen and American flags everywhere. The pictures are sad reminders of the many people who lost their lives and the many people who loved them. They also reminded me of the goodness of the vast majority of the world of people. Yes there is hate in the world. Always has been. But there is much more goodness and caring, love and compassion. It's hard to comprehend the enormity of the loss that happened that day. It's up to us now. The living, good people of the earth. To carry on and fight hate by spreading good. Love yourself. Love your friends and family. Love strangers. Help make the world better and safer. I love you so much. I believe in you!
The internet is very cool - very very modern - as "modern" as you can get I would imagine. I mean what could be "newer" as a concept? Computers, which make it all possible, have only been around for 15 years - less - 12 years maybe. Fiber optic phone lines that let info travel so fast are only 5 years old. Communication has been around forever but never so fast, so instantaneous, so easy. Friends (I guess strangers too sometimes) can just pop into our work at anytime (a good and bad thing - sometimes welcome, sometimes not). So much information available too. So many sites you can visit. I guess I just want you to be careful. There is a lot of weirdness on the web too and how do you know? People (and sites are put up by people) can find out about you too, just by opening up a site. Definitely don't give anyone your name, age, sex, phone #, address, etc. That info could end up places you don't want. Protect your privacy Joanna. Be careful! Ok?!
Good morning! I really enjoyed reading your essay on the Weimar Republic. I enjoyed hearing your voice inside my head as I scanned the words. I enjoyed the arguments you raised and the examples you used to support them. I enjoyed your extrapolation to the present situation in Iraq. History is so interesting. You can look back 60-70 years and grasp the different forces - the causes and effects - that shaped events of the times and trace them all the way to today. "She who does not know history is doomed to repeat it!" So true. So important. Excellent job Joanna. It may not feel easy to you to write like you do - but you make it sound easy and that's a gift. I love you so much!
Good morning! There's so much in the world that we ignore as we live our lives... Our sheltered daily lives. So much suffering and violence in different parts of the world. Disease, famine, war - how are we supposed to deal? By being aware and being willing to do something to help in anyway we can. It's not easy because our own lives seem so full of things to deal with - imagine a different life? Share the love!
"These are the times that try men's souls." - Winston Churchill, about the bombing of London in WWII
"It ain't over 'til it's over." - Yogi Berra, great ex Yankee catcher
"Sometimes a cigar (baseball game) is just a cigar (baseball game)." - Sigmund Freud, with additions by Bob Guest
"Hakuna Matada." - Pumba
"Que sera, sera." (Whatever will be, will be.) - Doris Day
"Let's go Yankees!" - Millions of Yankee Fans.
If the BoSox win maybe Kerry will too. I'd take that trade. I love you so much!
Isn't it funny how America is so evenly divided these days? Why is that? How is it even possible? I heard there's an election for governor in Washington State that, at the last count, had one candidate winning by 42 votes - out of the whole state! Amazing isn't it? For everyone who feels passionate on one side of an issue, there is someone equally passionate on the opposing side. It's almost ludicrous (sp?). I mean it would be funny if it wasn't so serious. So you examine your views to be sure it's what you believe. You listen to the other ideas because they deserve it too. And you shake your head, laugh, and work for change.
Ancient Rome - Modern Rome. Romans - Italians - People. How old the culture on Italy - how young the culture here in the U.S. As old as the Roman culture was, the Chinese culture goes back even further. Thousands of years further. Human society in Africa further still. America's not even 250 years old. Think about it. I'm 50, so go back to when my dad's father was born and this country was barely 100 years old. My great grandfather lived during the Civil War. It's all so recent. We're all so connected to it. America isn't even a teenager yet. We act like it too!
Solitude. That's what Thomas Merton's all about. Solitude and love of God of course. But Solitude as a path towards love. Not an escape from life, but a deepening of awareness. In our world today it seems like everything conspires to make it impossible to achieve solitude in our lives. Quiet, thoughtful introspection, and communication with ourselves in the world is almost perceived as a bad thing. "Without a steady stream of sound and images we are nothing" - the gurus of technology tell us. Don't be afraid of silence; of being alone in silence. Relish it. Step into the world by taking a step out. Gain insight, awareness, perspective, love.
What matters most in a life? Happiness? Success? Love? A family? I shouldn't ask questions that I don't know the answer to. I look around me here at the relative comfort that we've built and the paper is open next to me with headlines like "79,000 earthquake dead" and a picture of a man walking, crying through the destruction of his neighborhood in New Orleans. And I'm trying to have perspective on my troubles and concerns which are real I understand, but I'm alive, I'm blessed, I'm struggling, I'm thriving, I'm loving, I'm loved, I'm focused, I'm easily distracted, I'm confident, I'm concerned after 52 years I'm still searching for answers. I guess we always are and always would (will) be. So keep searching Joanna - life comes in a torrent with answers in trickles.
You know I feel more and more like a minority in this world. I'm white and well-to-do by the standards of many places in the world yet I feel invisible and un-represented sometimes. I can't believe the direction our country is moving and I feel powerless to really change anything. I want the world inherited by my generation to be better than the world we inherited so that I can pass on a better world to you, my child. Yet now the world is so full of rich vs. poor, Christian vs. Christians, Muslims vs. Muslims, oil vs. people, that the news is too filled with violence to listen to or read. So many stories of suffering people it's hard to want to work for a solution and instead we want to escape and ignore. Too many thoughts to write here. I don't know why I went off on this thought this morning? I'm really all concerned with my mom and my family. I love you!