Monday, January 18, 2010

The Day Of Dreams ~ Dream Of Change

It is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a day that I look forward to every year as 'The Day of Dreams'. Every year I write a message that is sent out to many. I write about life, dreams, hope, perseverance, faith, and love.

This year, we look to the future. "Dream of Change". It's poignant for many reasons. We've put a black man in the oval office; he dreams of change. He's doing his best to make that happen, but it's a long, tough road. It will come, but not overnight. Not in a year. It will happen, though. I believe that.

When I dream of change, it is on every level. I look for change in my own life, day to day, as I strive to become what I want to be. I look for change in those areas of my life in which I have some personal touch or effect. I watch the horizon for change in my community, my city, state, and this great nation. I pray for change in the world.

I posted Dion's "Abraham, Martin & John" today. It’s such a beautiful song; one worth singing, if you believe what you sing. These men believed in change, and worked hard to bring it about. Mahatma Gandhi believed that we must be the change that we wish to see in the world. Mother Theresa changed the lives of many thousands of others, through her work & faith. The history of humanity is interwoven with the lives of people whose mission in life was to change the world we live in, because it is not what it should be, it is not at all the place that it could be if we all only tried like these few brilliant and peaceful guiding lights did.

On every level, every day, we have the opportunity to change this world, to change the way we live, the way we allow our society to live, and to make it right. We have the chance to love, every day.

These very good, strong people who've come and been taken away from us all too soon, are giants upon whose shoulders we stand. They've given all of us a better world, better in small pieces, in some places, and they've given us ideals to build upon and improve. They are the brightest stars in the dark night of the worst of humanity, and by reaching beyond what we believed; they have shown us what we could be, if we wanted to change. They have given us hope for something better than what we know.

We turn away from the chance to love others and change ourselves and our world much too often. We do not take up the torch that has been passed to us, that was so hard won. Would Dr. King be proud of where we've gone with his legacy? His dreams? I don't think so.

Racism is still rampant throughout the world. Hatred. Violence. Intolerance. War is still waged. We will never find peace if we do not act in love. Nothing else can bring it about... nothing else will make it change.

Dr. King's dreams are much more of a reality than they were, not because he fought with anger or violence for them, but because he protested in love and honesty; with integrity and righteousness. We all have that capability, if we so choose to live it.

I ask this of you: find the change in yourselves, and make it a lifestyle. Continue to love what is right, what is good, what is equal and strong, what grows and blesses all of us. Do not speak or act out of anything but love. Treat those around you with kindness and compassion; always. We can make this dream of change, this dream of a peaceful, fair and equal humanity, our own reality, if we choose to have it so.

Peace be with you.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Little Kindness

"In nature there's no blemish but the mind; None can be called deformed but the unkind." ~Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

This also from Twelfth Night, as was the Passport Stamp that Viaggiatore and I posted recently, on Twelfth Night. There is a tender sweet irony, a relevancy to this wonderful work of Shakespeare's, and the celebration for which it is named. Twelfth Night is the eve of Epiphany; the day Christians celebrate the magi, or three wise men, finding and worshipping the Lord Jesus, twelve days after His birth.

This line from Shakespeare's comedy is a true and solemn thought to consider. "None can be called deformed but the unkind." The wise men were very kind indeed to Jesus and His family; giving gifts of frankincense, myrrh and gold. One could reflect on the whole of the story and with some introspect, we find quite a bit more than just the kindness given.

We find faith. These men traveled vast distances, guided by a brilliant star and their unswerving faith that they would find an infant King. That faith brought them safely through a brief visit with the wicked King Herod and caused them to return to their lands via a different route so as to avoid further interaction with Herod.

We find hope. They were filled with such a strong hope that it compelled them to travel so very far from their homes to see with their own eyes the miracle that they believed had been given them, and the world. I believe that the only thing stronger than hope is love.

We find humbleness. Three wise men. Three kings. Three men of high estate, whatever their true titles may have been... kneeling to an infant of poor means. There is much to be said for that; wisdom in knowing that station does not define self, and that there are greater things around and about us which may come in unexpected forms- things that we might miss if we believe ourselves too great.
This brings us back to kindness. What is the cost of a kind word, a gentle sincere smile, the warm touch of a hand or an arm about anothers shoulders when the world is heavily laden with itself? It is nothing spent and priceless given. It is the herald of love.
It is in short supply, too, I think. Viaggiatore and I ask this of you, if you've read this, to give an unexpected kindness today, as many times as you are inspired to do so, for we believe that if you see the good it has done the first time, you will desire to experience that again, and we encourage you to do so... spread it. Like the warmth of the sun, let it flow from you without ceasing into the lives of anyone you meet, especially when it is done to answer an unkindness. Especially then.
If you can find no kindness to give, then let silence bind your tongue and stillness hold your expressions, actions and reactions so that an unkindness does not escape you.
It is a new year, a beginning; again, an opportunity to reassert to ourselves that we can be the people we want to be. It's really so very easy to do, and each step makes it easier and more delightful as we go.
May this Twelfth Night be the star that lights your way this year; a year filled with faith, hope, kindness, humbleness and above all, love.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Passport Stamps

DUKE: And what's her history?

VIOLA: A blank, my lord.
She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief.
Was not this love indeed?
~Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A New Years Post, From The Bill Fiset Column

Bill Fiset was a columnist for the Oakland Tribune for many years... this is one of my favorite pieces from his years of satire and humor. Enjoy! Happy New Year!

Dear Betty and Joe,

First off, I want you both to know that I'm certainly not a bit angry that you ordered me out of your house at 3 am yesterday morning, at the height of your New Years Eve party. I'm not one to hold a grudge and I want you to know that I'll be happy to pay for whatever you consider to be my share of the damage that was caused.

I realize Betty and Joe, it will be virtually impossible to replace your cat, and it was certainly stupid of me to pour that saucer of straight bourbon for it, but none of us really thought the little thing would lap it all down and then run out through the French doors and throw itself in the swimming pool. Matter of fact, you probably noticed that I had quite a bit to drink myself, at your party. We live many miles apart, as you know, and there was NO way I intended to drive home on the freeway late New Year's Eve without getting bombed before-hand. It certainly is to my discredit I behaved as shabbily as you and the others at the party told me I did.

It's a credit to your bartending skills, Joe, that I even had the desire to mix those exotic rum drinks with the champagne and scotch, particularly after having all that wine at dinner, but I absolutely refuse to make that an excuse for my miserable behavior toward your niece, who I learned the next day is only 16. When I say the young lady has remarkable lung power, I do not refer to her size 38 chest, but to the intensity with which she screamed in the bedroom where I'd followed her by accident. Believe me when I say I had no intention of making any improper advances toward her, and in that regard, if you SHOULD happen to find a left shoe, size 10 in that particular bedroom, I would appreciate it's return.

I do want to apologize, also, for my erratic aim with your seltzer bottle, I was merely trying to water your hanging plant, which I noticed in your breakfast alcove, and it was only too late that I saw the stream was going into your microwave oven. That, I am certain, is what caused the minor explosion in your kitchen at that moment which short-circuited all the power in your house. Had not the lights gone out, I certainly never would have lighted the candles that accidentally set fire to your draperies, and I hope, Betty and Joe, you both will believe me in this regard.

It was only my effort, misplaced of course, to extend your hospitality that prompted me to stand out in front handing out drinks to the firemen when they arrived and I should not have done that. I imagine my actions were responsible for their delay in extinguishing the fire which unfortunately spread to your garage and consumed both your cars. Should you need temporary transportation until your insurance money arrives, I happen to have a 1938 Hudson that I would be happy to let you have for only $400.00, which is quite a bargain but one you certainly deserve.

Again, I erred in rolling your new bowling ball, Joe, down that marvelous long hall in your house. I had no idea a bowling ball would sail right on through the wallboard and into the master bathroom, shattering the commode. It was bad enough, without the dratted luck that your mother happened to be sitting there at the time. Rest assured that whatever the insurance doesn't cover, I'll be happy to drop by to repair. And please extend to your mother my wishes that the scratches she sustained in such a painful area will heal quickly.

I DO hope, Betty and Joe, that in view of our friendship back over the years, you will accept my apologies, and I'll be looking forward to receiving an invitation to that dinner party I understand you have planned for next month.

Bill Fiset