Archive for December, 2012

“Judy, How are you?”

“Judy, How are you?” I received this brief email from one of my best Mongolian friends last Saturday, one day after the Newtown tragedy.  I hadn’t heard from her in a while and her spoken and written English are minimal, but I knew what was behind her question.  From her standpoint, what happens in America may have happened to me.People watch TV in Mongolia and I know they hear some world news, e.g., another Mongolian friend’s email question who had heard about Hurricane Sandy: “Judy, where did you hide?”

This time, the simple question, “How are you?” stopped me cold.  I’m not all right. I hope none of us are.  Today I am the mother of every one of the children who lost their lives in Newtown. But, more than that, I am the mother of all people in every part of the world who lose their lives through violence.  I am the mother who gave them birth, fed them, nurtured them, walked the floor at night with them when they cried, encouraged them, cheered them, laughed with them, and praised them.  But, at the last, I couldn’t protect them.

What can I do now?  I can do more.  I can more actively support those people and organizations seeking to reduce violence in our world.  I can more actively support those working to bring about peace wherever discord is evident.  I can live a life that expresses love not hate, collaboration not confrontation, patience not frustration.  I’ve already taken some steps to do more.  I hope each person who reads this will find his or her own way to do more.

And a 60-year-old holiday story

Many years ago, my husband Bob and I were taking a walk.  It was the day before trash pickup and someone had set out a box of old Reader’s Digests.  They looked really old, and I was curious, so I picked up a couple.  They were from the 1940s and ‘50s.  Hmmm, I thought, some interesting content—and I persuaded Bob to carry the box home with us.  The box is still in my attic and I occasionally put a couple around the house for browsers.

The other day I came across an article in one that included a paragraph that captured the holiday message I wish to share with all my friends.

“A minister soliciting for a worthy cause was turned down by a curt letter that ended, ‘As far as I can see, this Christian business is one continuous give, give, give.’  The clergyman wrote back, ‘Thank you for the best definition of the Christian life I have ever heard.’*

For me, I would broaden that definition to include all mankind without religious distinction and simply say, “Thank you for the best definition of the purpose of life I have ever heard.” And that ties in with another of my favorite quotes: “No man can make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”  (Edmund Burke)

Happy Holidays, my friends

* Try Giving Yourself by Arline Boucher and John Tehan in Reader’s Digest, November 1951

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December 19, 2012 at 2:52 am Leave a comment


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