Bird Droppings November 23, 2012
Families and Friends
The holidays are getting here soon and this semester is drawing to an end or perhaps a beginning as we get closer to the start of a new semester at school. We were one of a few schools that have a week off for Thanksgiving and we will be out a few more days yet. This is a time when celebrations abound, a time to enjoy family and friends. It is a time traditionally to be thankful. It is a time for families and friends to share and be shared.
“Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.” Anthony Brandt
“The family is the nucleus of civilization.” William Durant
We read and hear so much about how families are having problems in our world today. Yet within it all there are families that are together and that are strong and will persevere. As a teacher I know I need to set an example and provide a haven for some of these kids who are struggling because of family issues and little positive family time at home.
“My family begins with me; your family ends with you.” Iphicrates
“The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.” Thomas Jefferson
As I am getting ready to spend the better part of the next three days with family it is energizing for me to sit and ponder here this afternoon. A vast array of happenings my wife and I along with our two of our sons, daughter in law and grandbaby traveled to Warner Robins to celebrate Thanksgiving, Saturday is the big game of the year Georgia Tech and The University of Georgia, one off the greatest rivalries in the southeast and in two weeks we get to meet our new granddaughter. So along with it all the family gatherings, lots of good food, watching football games, playing video games, driving to and from all the activities and just being with my family it all makes the next few days exciting.
“In every dispute between parent and child, both cannot be right, but they may be, and usually are, both wrong. It is this situation which gives family life its peculiar hysterical charm.” Isaac Rosenfeld
My wife and I both grew up in tightly knit families and have cousins as friend’s not just relatives that are situated somewhere on a map. Growing up we all had a special time as we gathered for reunions and holidays. I am still in close contact with my high school friends of now over forty five years ago, still emailing friends around the country keeping tabs on their families.
“If we would build on a sure foundation in friendship, we must love friends for their sake rather than for our own.” Charlotte Bronte
“Friendship is the only thing in the world concerning the usefulness of which all mankind are agreed.” Marcus T. Cicero
As I looked for quotes today and read, there were many that were biased and or self-centered both in references to family and friends. I was somewhat surprised. But in this crazy world or instant gratification and nonfamily traditions what is to be expected. What do we have to gain rather than a sharing or a caring attitude, actually it was difficult as I read so many negative thoughts. So often I have found we have as people become so hardened to others.
There is a series of little books by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal entitled Small Miracles that is a reminder not everyone is hardened. I read a story from one of their books a number of years ago. The story was of a young Jewish man who was frustrated with life and his current condition. He left his family to seek enlightenment in India and for years studied under various holy men and such in India. One day a friend from New York City came through the town he lived in and informed him his father had died. In all of his travels he actually thought one day he would make amends with his father. He gave up his spiritual journey in India and went to Israel to try and reconcile his feelings and felt his ancestral home would be a good start.
He asked a stranger as he walked into Jerusalem, where is a good place to start to find his history and faith? He was directed to the Wailing Wall. In all the cracks of the wall were tiny slips of paper with prayers and dreams written, stuffed in by the thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands and some perhaps thousands of years old as the tradition went back many years going back to the early temple built by Herod the Great of which the wall is part of. He tearfully wrote a note, a prayer to his father asking forgiveness for all he had done to him leaving and denouncing his faith and family. He went to the wall and as he went to place his tiny scrap of paper in a crack fell out.
He went to replace and it fell again and then a third time till he was compelled to read the note that continually was falling out. He carefully unfolded the tiny piece of paper and it was a prayer, it was from his father. Written nearly a year ago asking forgiveness from his son for him not believing in him and wanting to apologize for all the bad words. Needless to say he fell to his knees and sobbed for many hours. This is such a powerful message and is a true story as written down by the authors of Small Miracles.
Why even bring this up? For many years I have felt we are all here with purpose and reason. So often we forget and side step our journeys and travels. Actually if you get a chance look up this series of stories in Small Miracles, all are true gathered by the authors as a testament to our connectedness. But as you journey and travel along the road try and mend fences not tear them down, try and lift up rather than knock down, try and enlighten rather than darken lives and as a elementary teacher from many years ago told me always smile. Today as we head into a holiday and holiday weekend for many people keep all in harm’s way in your heart and on your mind and always especially this time of year give thanks namaste. One last thought as wars wage worldwide may peace be with you all.
Wa de (Skee)