Families and Friends

Bird Droppings November 21, 2021
Families and Friends

The holidays are getting here soon, this holiday will be different, and turkey day might be less crowded. Pat and I were talking Thanksgiving will be the second in forty-three years we had alone. This semester of graduate school is ending. I have a defense coming up. My grandkids all have a week off for Thanksgiving, and we will be getting together with family more than likely on facetime or zoom. This is a time when traditionally celebrations abound, a time to enjoy family and friends. It is historically a time to be thankful. It is a time for families and friends.

“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, some families 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 struggling kids because of family issues and 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 or four days with family, it is energizing for me to sit and pondering here this morning. With a vast array of happenings coming up, my wife and I will be traveling to Warner Robins to visit Friday or Saturday. Saturday is the big game of the year. Georgia Tech and The University of Georgia have one of the greatest rivalries in the southeast. 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 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

I grew up in a tightly knit family and have cousins as friends, not just relatives situated somewhere on a map. Growing up, we all had a memorable time as we gathered for reunions and holidays. I was still in close contact with my high school friends of now over fifty 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, many are biased and self-centered in references to family and friends. What do we have to gain rather than a sharing or a caring attitude, actually it was difficult as I read. So often, I have found we have as people become so hardened as to others. A series of little books by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal entitled Small Miracles is a reminder that not everyone is hardened.

I read a story from one of their books some 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 studied under various holy men and such in India for years. 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 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 an excellent place to start? 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 temple built by Herod the Great which the wall is part of. He went to the wall, and as he went to place his tiny scrap of paper in a crack, one fell out. 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 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. The note was written nearly a year ago asking forgiveness from his son for not believing in him and wanting to apologize for all the bad words. He fell to his knees and sobbed for many hours. This is such a powerful message and 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 sidestep our journeys and travels. If you get a chance, look up this series of stories in Small Miracles, all are true. But as you journey and travel along the road, try and mend fences, not tear them down, try and lift rather than knockdown, try and enlighten rather than darken lives, and as an 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. Peace be with you all.

My friends

I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin 

(We are all related)


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