“The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?”~Dorothy Day.
I once got lost in the fog. England used to be famous for its fog – ‘pea-soupers’ they used to call them. Fog so thick you could not see your hand in front of your face. Fog so thick that the bus conductor would walk alongside the bus as it crawled along, the conductor walking on the curb, warning the driver when they came to an intersection. I was not actually in the fog at the time, I was in school.
The fog had developed during the day, and no one was being allowed to walk home alone. Parents had been called to come and pick us up, and we were gathered in the auditorium waiting. My brother (who at the time was at the same school as me) came and warned me to sit and wait on our mother. Of course I obeyed him, he was my older brother! After he went back to sit in his group (we were all cross-legged on the floor) one of my classmates (whose father had a car) came up and offered me a ride home with them. I don’t recall if I went and checked with Andrew, or if I obediently just said no, however it unfolded I stayed and patiently waited.
Time went by, the auditorium cleared out, and it soon became apparent that I was the only child left! My class teacher patiently waited, and even read stories to me! I was not too worried, Andrew had told me Mum was coming, I don’t recall being overly concerned. Eventually Mrs. Moore (the teacher) decided to phone my mother, and there they were at home, quietly hysterical about poor Bethany lost in the fog! Apparently when my mother had arrived and collected Andrew, in the rush of kids they could not find me, and some helpful parent told them they saw me getting into the car with Marcia Fischof (the kid with the car).
I then had to wait until my father came to the school to collect me. Of course he could not drive – the fog was even worse by this time, and we walked home together in the fog. Actually he did the walking, he carried me on his shoulders. I imagine he told me stories as he walked, he was the great story-teller after all; the original Friday Morning Messenger. My memory of the whole mishap is a pleasant one: getting to hear stories read out loud; spending time alone with my father (not easy in a house full of kids, with a busy father). Of course my brother’s memory is far different, one of sheer panic. He was responsible for his baby sister, he had lost her; however long it took before the confusion was straightened out must have taken years off his life!
It’s not what happens to us, it’s how we look at things. I heard about a Canadian couple who have been held hostage in Afghanistan since 2012. For whatever reason. They have two kids who were born during this time. The grandparents have had limited information, but apparently the couple decided to borrow the strategy made famous in the movie ‘Life is beautiful’. Each day they get up and pretend their life is a game. Being denied freedom is a game, for their kids’ sake.
Children, with their limited frames of reference take their cues from their parents. They learn fear, anxiety, how to react to stressful situations by watching how others react. If you can turn scary situations into challenges, your kids will do the same. For some reason I have a clear picture of my father, in conversation with someone who was complaining about his life, saying loudly: “Where is your sense of adventure, man?” It was from my father I learned the saying: “It is better to travel joyfully than to arrive.” How we decide to approach our life will determine how much fun we can get out of it. If we wait for life to be amusing or entertaining, we may wait a long time. But if we decide to find the joy, to make tedious things fun, to laugh at the crazy antics of others instead of becoming annoyed, we may find that life is indeed an adventure.
Today in the US, we are poised at the beginning of a great adventure. And though it is tempting to see doom and gloom in every new headline, though it appears we are at the top of a slippery slope that will take us down to who know where, it is up to us to change the way we react to this particular situation. We are called upon (by no less than the outgoing President) to become more active, to participate, to observe, monitor and protest more. It is often the worst of adversities that brings out the best in us. It is when our backs are against the wall that we come up with the most innovative solutions. This man who appears to respect nothing that people of conscience stand for may produce a nation of conscientious objectors. This is not the time to give in, it is the time to stand up and be counted.
There is a Jamaican saying: ‘Some days coffee, some days tea’, a reminder that things aren’t always going to go our way. Whether we choose to remain in disbelief (denial), to wonder where this country is going to, or instead to look for the signs of positivity and unity is our choice. A New York pastor is encouraging members of his church to write a Letter to America, to be read at a service of healing on Sunday. He is sure that we have enough people in this country who can come together to send a powerful message, through poems, prayers, lyrics or prose. Yes we can keep hope alive, indeed we must. It may be that the way to bring about real change in this country is to face the worst of us, to bring out the best in us.
On this Friday morning, I hope you can see life as a huge adventure, and see your role as hero. Let us do our part to promote unity, diversity, and compassion, and let us speak out for the voiceless, fight for the weak, and conquer love with hate.
Have a fantastic weekend Family!