Lunch with a former student who just came back from Greece. I didn’t vacation this summer, so her stories of sun-drenched beaches, hot white sands and cool Greek personalities, drifting with the politics of the EU tingle my memories of when I lived in a very different Europe.
She offers me a bright red gift bag with a big smile before our sesame bread with tzatziki, Greek salad and Greek pizza in a Mediterranean restaurant whose decor of stucco walls and music of the tzouras and outi help me feel the warmth I miss in this too-harried world.
My afternoon is caressed by her young, energetic smile and kind words of encouragement. Meal dissipates like dreams into the Long Island humidity as we exit the restaurant and embrace with words of “see-you-soon.” I open the bag as I wrestle into my sweltering car and find a small bottle of genuine ouzo…the non-imported kind to quench a thirst for culture and a little magnet in the shape of a sailboat to bring my dreams back to me from the Aegean Sea. Efcharistó!
Perched regally on a neighbor’s rooftop, a heron’s wisdom brings messages of self-reliance, boundaries, exploration, self-esteem, balancing multiple tasks, dignity. Its appearance coincides with a surgical recovery, giving me another perspective of managing in life’s challenges.
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?
To live in a land of freedoms is truly a blessing. Yet with every opportunity, a responsibility to fully understand, grasp and authoritatively act upon those freedoms becomes incumbent upon a rational use of the limits and powers that those freedoms offer. When those qualities are glaringly absent, the result is merely a conglomeration of chaotic, aggravated idiocy with each faction spewing its own self-absorbed demands.