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Dear Reader,

View this page as a place where you and I can have a conversation on subjects that are meaningful to both of us. On a regular basis I plan to post a topic or question on my mind which I encourage you to respond to (see below).

On this same page you will also find some of the responses that have been sent in by those who have viewed this web site. Please feel free to submit your own questions and thoughts which I might comment on and share with other viewers. I truly look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Archive for November, 2005

Thanksgiving Day — So Many Feelings

Thursday, November 24th, 2005

I am thinking of all the things I am thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day. And I am most grateful and thankful for being alive and being able to enjoy my life. There are days when things seem very bad — there is loneliness, sickness in my family, despair that things can never be the way I want them to be or can never return to the way they once were. But, I have always been able to transform the pain and sadness I have felt throughout my life into something new and life-affirming through the use of my imagination and creativity. I have learned by now that when things seem the worse in my life, there arises something within me that causes me, yes, compels me, to create something new, to find a new idea to latch onto with a strong grip, to undertake a new book project or have a new thought about approaching a problem. I regard myself very fortunate in being able to have this ability to change things. I would never have su®vived without this ability which God has given me.
I also just came back from the park where I walked for a long time, smelled the leaves and Autumn air, saw the beautiful water surrounding the land, and felt so happy to be alive and healthy enough to take my walk and enjoy myself. I thought of both my father and brother who died so young, in their forties, and felt so sad for them that they did not have enough time to experience the fullness of their lives or to be long with the people they loved. And I thank God with all my being for what I have been given.
In the New York Times today (Nov. 24), I read, too, about a successful career woman who gave up her career for a while to return home and take care of her aging, sick parents. She said she had been living a selfish life and wanted now a fuller one loving and caring for others. I do not know if I could di what she is doing, but she gives me courage and hope to know that there are people who can care deeply for others, no matter how hard life may be for them. I need to know this because lately I feel so depleted and cynical by all the rancor and anger I see in Washington as politicians attack one another and divide our wonderful country so terribly. Wasn’t there a time when we loved one another, cared for one another, and were grateful to know one another, rather than stand divided as we do now because of the President’s policies? I have many thoughts this Thanksgiving Day. I pray for peace to come.
AND YOU, What are you thankful for? What do you pray for? Share with me.

LifeLine for Today

Thursday, November 17th, 2005

When your heart
Feels like it is
Breaking,
Calmate, Corazon
(Calm yourself, Dear one)
Think of butterflies
Landing on your wrist,
Or beautiful phosporescent
Specks
Floating down around you.
What about you? Do you have a LifeLine to send in?

Acts of terrible violence, but in the midst of it all, an amazing gesture of peace and conciliation

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

I am having trouble making sense of two extraordinary deeds.
In one case (from The Washington Post Nov. 12, ”Life and Hope Flow From Palestinian Boy’s Death”), a 12 year-old child, Ahmed Khatib, was shot twice by Israel soldiers in what the military said ”was a mistake during the heat of street fighting near their house” in Jenin, West Bank in Israel. The boy, who had been holding a toy gun, died two days later in an Israel hospital, and, says the article, ”the Khatibs made the surpising choice of allowing his organs to be harvested for transplant to Israelis.” Six people, including five Israeli Jews, have received the boy’s heart, lungs, liver and kidneys since then. The donation of the boy’s organs was described by the parents as a peace overture. ”My son has died, God rest his soul,” said his father. ”Maybe he can give life to others.”
A few days later a woman was arrested who Jordanian security officials is closely linked to the terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and was the fourth bomber, including her husband, in suicide bombing attacks that killed 57 people at hotels in Amman, Jordan, including people attending a wedding party. The 35 year-old woman was shown on TV giving a taped confession and wearing an explosive belt packed with ball bearings. She described how she had tried unsuccessfully to blow herself up. Her brother was said to have been killed last year by American forces in the Iraqi city of Falluja.
How can anyone make sense of all this? The fighting in Israel never seems to stop, although a family tries to find some solace in the terrible tragedy of their child’s death by trying to help the ”enemy” and offering a peace gesture: his organs. In the other situation, a group of Iraqis, so crazed by hatred, takes the lives of innocent people. I read about these developments and feel a sense of hopelessness and wonder how will there ever be peace in the Mideastern part of the world. What will it take to stop people from hating and killing one another? How can we hate one another so?
Can you share your thoughts with me?

What Is Your Dream?

Friday, November 11th, 2005

I recently read the poem, ”In Praise of Dreams,” by Wislawa Szymborska who won the Nobel Prize in Literature some years ago. In her poem, it’s as if for once all her fantasies become real. She tells about all the wonderful things she can do in her dreams, such as writing great poems, playing the piano, breathing underwater or even seeing two suns. In other words, there are no limits as to what she can accomplish or do or see in her dreams.
For example, she begins:
”In my dreams
I pain like Vermeer van Delft.”
Later, she continues:
“Falling from the roof
I can softly land on green grass.
I don’t find it hard
to breathe under water.”
Then:
”I’m delighted that just before dying
I always manage to wake.”
I love this poem for it reminds me of all the impossible things I would like to do, too, like being able to fly in the sky or sing with beautiful song.
Why not try with me to add some lines to what she wrote? You can write about all your fantasies. In your poem you can start with the words:
In my dreams, I ………………….
……………………………………
Or, write about a dream or the dreams which you have for your own future or for someone you care deeply about. (Relax, and let your mind go so that you can write more freely.)
Or, write about a dream that did come true.

When Did You Show Courage?

Friday, November 11th, 2005

LET’S WRITE ABOUT COURAGE
Can you imagine how Rosa Parks must have felt that day in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat in a bus to a white man, despite the rules that required black people to give way to whites? What fears did she have? What anger did she feel? Can you write what her thoughts must have been? Try to imagine you could live in her head and hear what was going on in her mind. I try to put myself in her position, and all I feel is fear. I’m not sure I could have shown the courage she did.
We’re not all Rosa Parks, but each of us, in some little way, has had to overcome some fears we had by taking action – whether it’s as simple as taking a test again after you failed an earlier one, or flying on an airplane when you’re afraid of planes, or of leaving your country to come to a new land to start a new life. Write about this act of courage that you or someone you know performed and how they must have felt. Share with us!