The assignment was focus on a family tradition connected with the holidays, with something that your mother or grandmother or family member brings to the table to share during celebrations. From all ethnicities, from our past come offerings of goodness with genuine ingredients from which sweet and savory memories are made. In evoking greats like Proust, an attempt was made to connect something from heritage to the smiles, peace and goodness that are produced around human relationships. Bring that tradition in the form of a recipe with your investigative story to class and share. The results were amazing stories of grandmothers, European and Latin traditions, the present gift of memory-making shared in the experiences of real day-dreaming with classmates and treats. The lesson was deliciously profound with students bringing away much more than just satisfied tastebuds on a Friday in December!
From Woodstock to Wall Street, what would it take for all those who “have” to take a moment and share their blessings with those who struggle? It can and does happen every day. “Look up to the sky and “see”…”choose to see, choose to share, choose to give and find how life is transformed.
Steel scaffolding at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC impedes the normal Christmas traffic on a Friday afternoon. There are still the homeless in the pews, there are still the mink-coated elderly women with blue-white, tight-curled hair holding long matches from bony fingers to light their candle of solitude and tourists from Kansas whose heads are turned upward in awe at the dazzling stained-glass rosette windows. This nativity scene is also a work in progress, nestled precariously amid the steel tubing and snow-white, wax candles, burning so many wishes and blessings of a spirit that seems all but lost in America. With the polarization taking place in our world today, with the fresh spirit of Francis I curtailing the over-emphasis of pomp and circumstance, there is a need to refresh, renew and revise the meaning of Christmas. Renovations are merely the beginning.
One secret pathway to happiness is discovering the colorful purposefulness in the work you do each day, however small it may seem to you. Work ennobles the soul and each effort you bring results in change. Let it be a change for good.
Thursday, September 4th, Dr. Cornel West spoke to an overflowing campus Performing Arts Center about the need and scope of arts in bringing awareness, understanding and “love” for others in fostering empathy. The Youth Choir – a few members as young as 3 yrs. old- of the Greater Allen Cathedral performed to a standing ovation. “EX-cellent” still rings in my mind! And the “acapella” Voices of Virtue inspired oh-so profoundly with their harmony and spirit! Groups like the Adelphi Music Department students and Kids for Coltrane brought notes of hope in realizing that without the arts and creativity, “spirit” remains elusive. And for the first time in a L_O_N_G time, I heard people admit that without spirit, we are less than human.
I met a gentle man at the U.N. Conference on August 28th who made me cry. This excerpt from his blog and his book confirm that his journey can be no less painful than any others…especially those who sustain all the hate in the world…and efforts of peace as futile..
“At the age of eight, I buried my Father, Mother and four other family members. As a war orphan, I searched garbage cans to survive in Japan’s family-centric society. I was a reminder that Japan lost the War, and I grew up in an atmosphere of contempt, shame and guilt, fighting an icy society that shunned me, a fatherless child. A proud Number One Son of a samurai family, I vowed to avenge the death of my Father and I came to America to fulfill that vow.”
“Hungry and thirsty, their life was wasting away within them.” A lost people, besieged with few resources they attempt to develop being destroyed…restricted access to food, crops, work, water, movement in their places. Hunger, thirst, hopelessness from freedom repressed. Is it so difficult to “see” and understand the consequences and results from this brand of treatment?