Hunting for the right words

Bird Droppings April 3, 2021
Hunting for the right words

“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands.” Robert M. Pirsig, American author

Whether trying to offer a few words of condolence to friends whose loved one has passed away or trying to sort out the disaster somewhere in the world and today here near home in Georgia, we all need to look within first. When I read this line from Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, I immediately thought of my 4H days, the pledge of 4H, and the 4H clover.

“The 4-H Clover symbolizes four actions which 4-H members try to accomplish. The four H s’ stand for Head, Hands, Heart, and Health, as it is in the pledge. I Pledge My Head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty, My Hands to larger service, and My Health to better living for my Club, my Community, my Country, and my World” Taos County 4H site

I wish we could get each citizen of our Country genuinely engaged in that pledge, whether as a 4H member or just because it is a good practice. Imagine what would happen, disasters would be resolved and often averted; we would be better as citizens and friends all over a simple warning. As I look at clearer thinking, greater loyalty, larger service, and better living, these are compelling and interesting thoughts. There are days when I wish more kids could be exposed to 4H.

Sitting here, having read the news earlier, it is disheartening to try and determine what course of action each of us can take to help, if we can at all. Over the announcements at the high school that last Friday afternoon, I listened to what various groups and clubs are doing at our school and canceling events. The kids in our high school had raised several thousand dollars through various activities, much of that in bits and pieces of lunch money dropped in buckets and or fundraisers such as washing cars. I recall dunking a coach or having a tug of war in one of the efforts we had. I wish we could do more, but each dime or nickel is a little more with each effort. I wish we could all summon the courage to do more. I watched Garth Brooks and Tricia Yearwood this morning a recording of a live request show they did to raise funds for health care workers in this rough time. I started watching while my wife, a nurse practitioner, was getting ready to work.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” Ambrose Redmon

I thought I would end with this line, courage is a word used often with little thought, and I understand the tying of the world to fear. That is an interesting definition. Stating that courage is simply realizing there are more important things in life than being afraid or cautious is a powerful thought. I recall a trip to South Carolina to visit our middle son and his fiancée. It was our first chance to see the church where they were getting married and her horses at their family farm out in the South Carolina countryside. We spent Saturday evening at a wedding shower and Sunday visiting all over the beautiful South Carolina farm country, discussing horses, plants, Georgia Tech, experiences, and who knows what else. How much do we learn about a person in a few moments depends on each person’s ability to be honest, and trusting?

It was a great afternoon joking and laughing and picking on each other. We always called when we got home telling everyone we were safely home in Georgia, and my granddaughter was mad at me when we got home; even the John Deere T-shirt and the soft plush puppy did not make a dent. Although after her grandma held her for a minute, she decided she wasn’t mad anymore and gave me a great big good night hug. Today, please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and your hearts namaste.

My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)


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