This year saw the passing of yet another of our family, my beloved mother-in-law, Eva. The part for which I am grateful, though, is that she made her exit on her own terms. Although we miss her mightily, we know that her strength of spirit continues to support us. I suppose this has been the theme of this year – Choices.
In life, if we have any regrets, they are borne from choosing that which was not inspired in our hearts, but that for which we felt obligated even though it went against our internal sense of the world. I know that is true for me. Although I have let any regrets pass into history, I still remember that process so that when I am faced with a choice, I make it according to my best sense of things.
This year has been abundant with joy because I have remembered my truest self in the process of choosing, even when the choices were difficult. I have loved more honestly, allowed others to love me more fully, and invited those into my life that I know are important. Others have gone by the wayside who were not meant to remain. That is the nature of the world, I suppose, even if it brings some sadness with it.
The events and people who have populated this year have shown how truly awesome life can be. My husband, children, grandchildren, colleagues, and friends have all offered their special gifts of love and support. For these gifts, I am most grateful.
My company, Sacramento Vocal Music, has grown exponentially through the efforts of my new administrative assistant, Eva Sarry, and for her presence, guidance, and consistent wisdom, I am so very thankful.
The dozens of precious students who take lessons and attend classes are like jewels to me. Each moment I spend with them is a guaranteed smile on my face. Watching their choices to grow throughout the year, and their performance at our last recital, have lifted my heart beyond reason.
I have been blessed to participate in no fewer than nine performances this year. With each one, a new cadre of talented, intelligent, and truly wonderful people entered my life. These people add their wealth of texture and color to the rich tapestry of creativity that has been woven by those with whom I have already worked over the years. To work in a field that one truly loves is a rare and valuable environment in which to find oneself. I happen to be fortunate enough to be one of those people.
So, to everyone throughout the year who have given so much, I offer my most heartfelt and humble gratitude. May your holidays be one for the memory books. May the abundance in your life grow in every way to levels you never before imagined. For those who have lost loved ones or found yourselves with unexpected challenges during the year, may your memories help you find comfort during this difficult time.
God bless you all and thank you. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!
For the first time in my life, I feel as though I have enough. It’s a very strange feeling. I have enough things. I have enough love. I have enough attention. I have enough. I don’t think I feel as though I lack anything, but that can’t be completely true it appears. There must have been some low-grade dissatisfaction that gurgled underneath my conscious surface.
This new, complete sense of abundance and fulfillment begs the question, why do I feel this way? Is it because all my dreams have come true? Not really. I still would love to go to Italy for a month. I’d love to have time to finish writing my books. Having a huge family reunion is still on my list. If I won the nearly-$300 million in MegaMillions, I wouldn’t complain. So, I still have goals and wishes toward which I work. It must be something else.
Is my life perfect? I suppose one might say it’s perfect for me, but it is far from perfect. There remains suffering in my family and in the families of my friends. My heart is in pain for them and for me as well. Our global family has not found complete peace. No, life is not ideal at all.
So, what is it? What could bring this feeling to my doorstep? I think I know.
Over the years I’ve been taught to say, “Thank you,” for everything I receive. My parents reminded me that no one owes me anything, and every gift I accept is given voluntarily and lovingly. I am not entitled to anything just because I’m James. This is a lesson I’ve tried to incorporate at the deepest level, even to the point that I am grateful for heartache because I know it will move me toward greater compassion for others.
The answer to the reason for my happiness is gratitude. I am grateful for everyone and everything in my life. My brothers and sisters with whom I walk this planet have taken my hand with generosity of spirit and union. Of course I’m grateful for them. The material gifts I’ve received are there so that I may better serve others. I try to keep that foremost in my mind. I am in service first. Serving others inspires gratitude on my part for the opportunity to share in their lives. As I think about it, this is the foundation of my faith: recognizing and being grateful for the gifts offered because they all come from the same place; that omnipresent spirit that transcends our life here on Earth. Call it God, Jehovah, Allah, Divine Spirit, Grandfather, or just Love. It’s all the same to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no illusions of my own piety or grandeur. I’m just another schmuck trudging through my life just like everyone else. We’re doing the best we can with what we have. I just happen to remember today that I am very fortunate to have the people and things around me that I do. So to our Great Spirit and to my family and friends, I offer my most sincere and humble gratitude.
Thank you with the entirety of my spirit, heart, and mind.
As we approach the new year of 2011, I can’t help but remember my father’s observation as a pharmacist in the 1980s. He said, “We’ve had more changes in the last 50 years in medicine than in all the years prior.” Of course, the changes that transpired in those immediately previous 50 years emerged from the foundation of work by generations of scientists. After all, the first concocted antibiotic wasn’t developed until sulfanilamide and penicillin in the early part of the 20th century. As I contemplate the last 100 years, inspired by the recent loss of my great-uncle Gene at 103, I took a gander at what he had seen in his lifetime.
In the last 10 decades, we’ve seen the Nobel Prize for physics go to Madame Marie Curie (France) for the discovery of the elements, radium and polonium in 1911. 50 years later, in 1961, this same prize was awarded to Robert Hofstadtler (United States) for his determination of the shape and size of atomic nuclei. A mere 10 years ago, in 2001, the award went to Wolfgang Ketterle (Germany), Eric A. Cornell, and Carl E. Wieman (United States), for discovering a new state of matter, the Bose-Einstein condensate . Imagine! A new state of matter, theorized by Albert Einstein, but not proved until this group did so. This year, we will see new weights established for the periodic table. We have seen the extinction of animals and diseases and the rise of others.
As we enter 2011, diving into the year 5772 in the Hebrew calendar, 4708 in the Chinese calendar, 1432 in the Islamic calendar, or the Mayan long count of 126.96.36.199.0, our lives have been changed dramatically by many events. We have seen wars and conflicts in Europe, Asia, South America, the Middle East, and Afghanistan, to name a few. The Berlin Wall has been built and destroyed. Cultural revolutions have fulmugated around the world. We have witnessed the New Deal, the Civil Rights Movement, and the election of an African-American president of the United States.
We have seen unfathomable growth and challenges in the last century including the change in perception between the First World War when little was thought about homosexuals at all to the current day when homosexuals will be allowed to openly serve in the military. We have moved from a time when a Black person couldn’t marry a White person to today when gays are marrying in some states in the U.S. The economy has seen boons and busts throughout the century including the Great Depression in the 1930s. Here are some other interesting tidbits:
Year Fed. Spending  Fed. Debt  Postage  UI Rate 
(In billions) (In billions)
1911 $ .69 $ 0.o $ .02 6.7%
1961 97.72 292.6 .04 5.5%
2001 1,864.00 5,807.o .34 4.8%
2011 3,833.90 1,266.7 .46 9.6%
I suppose with all this reminiscing about our past, the next logical step would be to imagine what will be in our future. I’d rather not. Not because I think things will be worse, but because it won’t serve any purpose. The real question is, where are we now?
On a personal level, I have lost my entire adopted family of origin, but I have found my family of birth. I have encountered family members from seven generations born between 1881 and 2003. I’ve changed careers from working in a pharmacy in the 1970s to being a music educator today. I’ve had the pleasure to see my husband, children, and grandchildren all working toward growing their successes. I have returned to school to complete my education. If my family is a microcosm of America, which it may be, then one can extrapolate that although things have been tough, we have our eyes on making things better. We are stepping back to get a good view of where we are, and taking steps to improve our situation.
January 1, 2011, is, I suspect, a preparatory time toward a major shift in our lives. We, as a family and as a country, are readying ourselves for a giant leap forward. What shape that will take, I don’t know. We are talking about our spirits. We are valuing our children in a more vibrant way. We are demanding a better education for them. We are begging for art and beauty. We are striving for unity. These are all good things that I believe will make us stronger, wiser, and more solid as a national and world community.
I welcome the coming new year with everything it has to bring. Gratitude permeates every fiber of my being as I look forward to the forthcoming 365 days. So, in that gratitude, I say in anticipation of the coming celebration, Happy New Year and welcome to 2011!
 Infoplease.com (2010) List of Nobel Prize winners for Physics. Retrieved from http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0105785.html
 USGovernmentSpending.com (2010) [Data] Retrieved fromhttp://www.usgovernmentspending.com/year2011_0.html
 U.S. Postal Service (2010) News Release: New Rates Retrieved from http://www.usps.com/communications/newsroom/2010/pr10_064.htm
 Forcasts.org (2010) Unemployment figures (Data) Retrieved from http://www.forecasts.org/unemploy.htm
(2010) “Happy New Year 2011” [Photograph] Retrieved from http://win7dl.com
(2010) “Human Arrow” [Photograph]. Retrieved from http://ypg-prioryroad.com
(2010) “Marie Curie” [Photograph]. Retrieved from http://reich-chemistry.wikispaces.com
Like any good grandfather, when the day of my eldest granddaughter’s junior prom arrived, I called her to wish her a marvelous time, hoping the memories of her infancy were not too obvious in my voice. Of course there was bound to be some level of poignancy in this moment considering she almost died in the hospital from being born so prematurely. Mary is the infant in the photo to the right.
Her Grandma Barbara made her dress just as she had made her own dress in 1974 for our prom. Mary was attending the prom with someone she has know her whole life. In fact, their mothers were pregnant at the same time.
I live far away from Mary and I have been ill this week with complications of my chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, so I was not there to see her off. The interesting thing, however, is that reading my daughter, Ana’s words that she posted upon watching Mary drive off was, to my heart, just as wonderful.
Ana-Maria wrote, “Weeeeelllllllllll!!!!!!!! Wasn’t it just last week she was learning to walk? Today, I watched her walk down the stairs and get behind the wheel of the car with her boyfriend at her side! As they drove off to the prom, I realized just how much of a lady she has become!”
I smiled, because I knew that being recognized as a lady was the highest praise a young woman could receive in the Schaeffer clan, one branch of my ex-wife’s people. It was a familial tradition that, if not met, was considered a grave transgression, indeed.
Mary Elizabeth is indeed a very special young woman. She’s very smart, well spoken, acutely intuitive, can be very compassionate. Her talents in music, art, academics, and sports would make any grandfather beam. On top of everything else, she is beautiful, too. As you can plainly see, she does meet the definition of a lady.
What I love best about Mary is that she is learning to become her own person. She knows what she wants and speaks her mind to pursue it. She doesn’t take no for an answer… she simply suggests an alternative version that suits her.
Mary Elizabeth will be 17 years old this September, a mere twelve months away from legal adulthood. I believe she will be ready for the responsibilities of adulthood. I just wonder if we will be ready for her as an adult?
Like I said, she is someone pretty special and definitely a force to be reckoned with!
The first time I remember realizing a new year was coming was in 1965. I was standing in the playground at McCloud Elementary School, the old one, with Johnny Peracchino near the backstop just before school let out for the Christmas vacation. I said, “I can’t believe it’s going to be 1966!”
1966. It was forty-four years ago we had that conversation. We were six years old, Lyndon Johnson was president, and we hadn’t yet landed on the moon. Now, I am fifty years old, an African-American man, Barack Obama is president, and we are very near to a time when tourists will be going into space for a ride.
Tonight, New Year’s Eve 2009, is a blue moon, the second full moon in a month. The next time we will have a blue moon on December 31 will be in 2028. I will then be sixty-nine years old, if I’m here at all. Considering my birth mother died at 50 and my birth father hasn’t even reached the age of sixty-nine years old yet, who knows where I’ll be in 2028.
All I do know is that I’m looking forward to the coming year because it isn’t this year. It’s been a rough one, at best.
The rarity of the day has not eluded me. Some say it’s just another day. When we miss landmarks, we have stopped reflecting on our lives.
We possibly have 365 more days to make our lives as close to our ideal as possible, if all goes well. We will see births and deaths, achievements and failures, and hope and disappointments. We will see life. If we’re wise, we’ll be sure to live life and not let life just happen around us. We have the special opportunity to love in brand new ways. We can be more open and welcoming. We can invite new people into our circle of friends. We can renew old friendships that have been long lost.
If we are people of faith, any faith whatsoever, we have the opportunity to give thanks to God for our gifts. If we are not people of faith, we can still give thanks to those around us for the gifts they offer us.
So, happy new year, my friends. Let us be healthy, active, prosperous, and joyful as often as we can. Let us surround ourselves with people we love and who love us. Let us not waste our time being angry or bitter about past pain. Let us release it to make more room for love. Let us create the lives we want and life it to the fullest. Most importantly, let us live in complete gratitude for simply everything.
That’s my plan, anyway.
There are a thousand reasons to be grateful that I can think of right off the top of my head. I’m grateful for the little things like figuring out what clothes to wear to Thanksgiving dinner at our niece’s and nephew’s house. I’m grateful for the big things like the laughter of family and knowing my children are well.
I am most grateful for the love and abundant gifts of God. I’m blessed to have lifelong friends who love me, no matter what I’ve done or who I’ve been throughout my
journey. I’m blessed to have a husband who loves me, even though our road has been long and rigorous. I’m blessed to have had my parents in my life for as long as I did, even though most of them are gone now. I’m blessed to remember all the amazing parts of my life.
So, I am grateful for all my blessings. Thank you one and all.
The Gospel According to Mrs. Camarari
As transcribed by James S. Chávez-Glica
February 23, 2003
My Dear Ones,
In the beginning, the Divine Universality created all things visible and invisible in love and completeness. This Holy Energy gave all beings free will. This Great Oneness gave us the illusion of breathing life and the truth of eternal spiritual life.
This energetic universality of unity is me.
Because I have no name except the ones you have given me, I am choosing to call myself in this instance, Mrs. Camarari. Some may say it is blasphemous to say that my name is Mrs. Camarari, but it’s not. My name has been Adonai, God, Buddha, Ra, Nature, Odin, Zeus, Allah, Quan Yin, Grandfather, and Shiva to name a few. I have chosen to come forward in this identity so that people will no longer be afraid of my many names. I have decided that in this incarnation, no one will be afraid of me at all any more. This name may even help you smile. You will no longer fight over what to call me, nor will you claim to hurt or kill on my behalf. Really, I ask you, who could shout out in vehemence, “I shall kill you in the name of Mrs. Camarari?” without sounding very silly indeed.
Yes, in an instant, which spanned billions of years, I created all of heaven and earth in my image. Of course, it was my spiritual image, not my physical image in which you have been incarnated. I have descended from heaven in many forms throughout the ages. Some of my faces have been those of Adam and Abraham, Moses and Mohammed, Odin and Ngo-ouka, Jesus and Lao Tzu, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Marianne Williamson and Mother Teresa, Gautama Buddha and Charles Schultz. I have written books and inspired books to be written. Some of the literary works for which I am responsible were the Torah, the Bible (including the Gnostic Gospels), the Book of Mormon, Science and Health, the Chinese Books of Living and Dying, the Upanishads, the Koran and Conversations with God.
I help you feed and clothe yourselves. I bring you love and joy and music and warmth to share with all our brothers and sisters. I help you find your discipline and teach you and show you perfect truth. Sometimes, through floods and storms and tragic death, I remind you of the good things you have, such as community and family, because sometimes you forget. Sometimes through birth, angelic presentation and friendship, I remind you that I am always present with you within these miracles.
In my infinite wisdom, I created duality to remind you of unity. I created dark to remind you of light. I created noise to remind you of silence. I created suffering to remind you of transience. I created sadness to remind you of joy. I created despair to remind you of faith. I have done all this so that you and I can remember ourselves in the same way. And, like any good Italian or Chinese, Lithuanian, Mexican, Ugandan, Australian or Chilean mother, I ask for nothing in return. Of course, like all mothers and fathers, I hope you’ll call on me once in awhile if you aren’t too busy, because that would be nice; and, I am thrilled when you think about me in gratitude that I am present in your life. I always think of you in gratitude, too; but, I still love you, even when you forget me or are angry with me because you don’t remember what we’ve learned together.
I have borne many, many children, all of whom were conceived in my love. Like any mother, I grieve bitterly when one of your lives is lost through hatred or neglect or selfishness. I also understand that I have given birth to children who have destinies of their own, and that they must choose their lives and consequences for themselves. After all, you must choose your own lessons and how to learn them. Remember that, to me, these lessons are all correct. I must simply stand by and watch you make whatever you choose out of your lives. I listen when you are in pain and I offer comfort. I hold you when you feel despondent. I dance with you when you celebrate. I sing with you when you are in community. I love to see all my children getting along.
Like any good household that we know, I do have rules. Surprisingly, however, when I was developing these rules, I remembered that I had given you free will, so I kept the rules simple. They have been reiterated in nearly every tradition of faith and culture manifested on this planet. Speak these rules out loud. They might actually make a difference.
I. I choose to recognize everyone and everything as my brother and sister.
II. I choose to love others as I would be loved.
III. I choose to treat others as I wish to be treated.
IV. I choose to place universal truth above all else.
V. I choose to act in kindness and strength based on universal truth.
VI. I choose to live fearlessly.
That’s it. Those are all the rules. Anything else, like the ones about not eating pork, with whom you choose to have sex. or how many times per day or week you pray are all voluntary. And, those are rules that you created to make yourselves feel better, which, if it helps, is a good thing as far as I’m concerned; but, they are not my rules. Those six rules above are the only ones with which I’m concerned. Ironically, the only thing that will happen if you don’t follow the rules is that you’ll be sad. You won’t go to hell. There is no hell. I won’t punish you. I never punish anyone. I’ll just continue loving you. Your suffering will be a consequential response to your choices, and you’ve already decided what your consequences are.
You’ll notice, of course, there’s nothing about me in those rules. That’s because I am secure in who I am. I know I created everything and that I am in everything I created, so, I don’t need to have you worship me in a way that makes you feel separate from me. In each incarnation of your life, I am there simply to help you create your own existence as you see fit. So, really, we are co-creators. I am one with you. I always have been and always will be. And, because we are one together, you always have been and always will be one with me. Again, I am happy when you remember that, too; but, I’m not going to insist you remember. That’s up to you.
I feel very strongly that you are too often afraid. I think, in truth, you would rather follow your hearts and spirits. So, do it! I speak to you all the time and when you listen, you seem to go in the exactly right direction. If you are peaceful and follow the rules, then you can hear me very clearly. And, just to let you know, I hear you, too. I can’t help it. We are one. Remember?
Now, it would be easy to assume that without more structural guidance from me, you might end up in chaos. I am clear that you are headed in that direction right now anyway, so the man-made rules really didn’t matter after all. In fact, the rules you created with all the best intentions most of the time have simply added fuel to the fire of fear in many ways, since people seem to insist on fighting over which rules are the right ones, just like they disagree over what to call me. Remember the name, Mrs. Camarari.
Do you have many questions remaining? Probably. Am I going to answer them for you right now in this brief message? No. It’s not yet necessary. I suggest, however, that you follow the rules, ask questions of me later in your spirit and take the following hints to heart:
Love first… always… no matter what.
Listen first… speak later… even to yourself.
Be patient… to both your brothers and sisters and yourself… you’ll need it.
Don’t tolerate… celebrate.
Sing and dance… it’s good for the spirit.
Don’t be afraid of evil… it’s only fear manifested. You created it, so you can destroy it.
Watch for miracles… they’re everywhere everyday.
Smile daily… it helps.
Hug children… there is no greater healer of the heart in the universe than sharing the chaste and innocent love of a child.
Look for the good stuff in one another and yourselves… it’s the only part of life that really sticks around.
If you’re sorry for something you’ve done or said, say so… right away.
You can keep no secrets from me… so remember that someone already knows you in your fullness and loves you nonetheless.
Do only those things that bring joy and abundance to all beings… always.
Well, that’s all for now, Dear Ones. I love you and hope you are happy and peaceful and joyful and abundant. Whatever your color or size or gender or religion or sexual orientation or health status, I love you without exception or reservation. No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, I love you without judgment or expectation. I’ve seen all your lives and lived them with you, so your entire history is clear to me. You have been all things and done all thing and these lessons have brought you this far. You are beautiful to me just as you are. You are perfect to me just as you are. You are loved by me just as you are. Remember that always, no matter what you call me.
With All My Eternal and Infinite Love,
A man, standing at his mirror, visits his past and looks toward his future as 2010 approaches. His laundry list of landmarks include so many more entries than he could have ever imagined in his youth.
He has seen success as a singer, music director, stage director, and administrator. He has written volumes of poems, short stories, and other works. He has composed music that has been performed by seventy people at a time, to several hundred people in the audience. This man has danced. He has helped care for people in public health, assist in others’ healing through his spiritual work, and guided his beloved mother as she passed from this life. He’s helped people plan trips around the world, select the colors for their quilts, and learn how to breastfeed their babies, as well as eat well themselves. He has assisted both his father in the family pharmacy, as well as the Director of Public Health in the seventh largerst economy in the world.
He has been honored to teach hundreds of children and adults how to sing. He’s been on film, television, radio, and stage.
He has reared five children in the best way he could.
He has recognized that there is a God and that his faith in our Creator is justified.
As he looks into his mirror, he sees a man who, in his lifetime, has lost one great-great grandparent, one great-grandparent, six grandparents, three parents, one step-parent and three parents-in-law, a brother, a son, a grandson, several students, and his first true love. This reflected man has been married twice, once to a woman and once to a man. He’s only been divorced once and that was from his ex-wife.
He has seen all five of his living children taken to jail for various lengths of time, including thirty-two years to life.
Next year, he will have nearly doubled his weight from 128 pounds to 240 pound in the last twenty years. His hair will have gone from an elegant blue-black to a thinner dark brown with many grey strands dancing through his mane. The black rings under his eyes share the arc of the jowels under his jaw line. Stretch marks, varicose veins, and surgical scars all mark his body’s travel through time.
His list of medical challenges rival the list of major accomplishments in his life. He spends much of his time chatting with friends about the “good ol’ days.” His husband and he don’t say much to one another now, since they’ve spent about a quarter of their lives together.
Many of his favorite old time movie stars and singers are dead. Some of his family photographs are now over one hundred-years old.
This man, whose truth is shining in the glass on the wall, is now the eldest in his direct lineage. Patriarchy has overtaken his life.
Next year, the nintieth anniversary of his father’s birth will transpire. Next year, his youngest child will be thirty-years-old. Next year, his eldest grandchild will be eighteen-years-old. Next year, he will be fifty-one-years-old.
This scene would be fairly poignant if it weren’t about me.
The surprising part is that even with the abundance that I’ve seen in my life, I know I still have work to do. Even more shocking is that I still have energy to do it. I suppose I’m no different than anyone else on the planet, but the depth of life never ceases to amaze and sometimes confound me. Life’s intimacy envelopes me some days in a way that makes me feel profoundly cradled.
The little mirror into which I peer holds my entire countenance, but the breadth of my experience and hope for my future spills onto the walls, ceiling and floor, out the windows and doors, and into every corner in which I dwell. It is also reflected in the many mirrors I see in my family and friends.
And, thank God for that.
There is an ancient intimacy in the air these days and, ironically, it is borne from the most contemporary aspect of our lives – technology.
As I was sitting next door with some of our newest friends, I was remembering that recently, I’ve gotten in touch with some of my oldest friends. This year, I’ve come in contact with people with whom I’ve had no contact in over forty years. The truth is, my entire life is coming together into one whole being. It’s a powerful thing to witness and experience; and I’m not alone.
Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, blogs, e-mail, Ancestry.com, and so many other on-line venues have opened doors I thought were forever closed. How is it possible that in this day and age, we are now able to join hands with people from around the globe and those who have populated our personal history while simply sitting in our home office?
What does it mean that the Universe has conspired to bring everyone we’ve ever known together, some of whom have been vitally important in our lives?
Here’s what I think:
The world truly is getting smaller. It’s a cliché, but at this point, it’s nonetheless true.
We have created a system through which we are responding to our call for deep intimacy. We have seemingly lost so much in our lives, we are trying to reconnect with those who meant so much to us.
We are manifesting unity in its greatest sense. We have chosen a path toward joining hands in the most inclusive and expansive manner. The internet is providing us the tools by which we are able to manage these connections in a valuable, meaningful, and tangible way.
We are acknowledging our fear of being alone. We have spent so many nights in our homes wishing there was someone closer with whom we can talk that we forced ourselves to figure out an alternative. We began that process of staying closer when we began to write our thoughts on stone and paper. We continued our gains in that direction as we developed the telephonic medium. We sent out our newest town criers on the television. Now, we have become more direct through our instant messages and e-mails.
We want a friend. In years gone by, we flourished as we lived with Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Susan and Uncle Dan, Mom and Dad, and all our brothers, sisters, and cousins. Our children knew who they were because they knew who their family members were. We didn’t live thousands of miles away, risking the loss of our sensory memories about those we loved the most. This continuing need transcends culture, country, or class. We are begging for that reunion with our past in this high-speed, digital way.
We may now be able to admit our need for one another with gratitude, rather than embarrassment. In this epoch of independence and self-sufficiency, we are valiantly trying to reach out our hands shamelessly to someone we love, or at least, loved once upon a time. I hope this is a direction we continue to pursue. It certainly seems to be.
Let us all take a deep breath and take the risk. Let us say to those we miss, “I love you, and I miss you, and I want to see if we can rekindle our friendship.”
Unity is not just a concept. It is a need, like air, water, and food. Breathe in the love. Sate yourself from the refreshing well of joy. Feast at the huge table of friendship that is always prepared for us when we are ready by those who have loved us, as it often turns out, all along.
I was taking a shower this evening, getting ready to go to the theatre, and I realized that, although I’d eaten a grilled cheese sandwich just a couple of hours earlier, I was hungry. There are a few things in my kitchen to eat, but not enough to call a refrigerator or cupboard full. It’s then that it struck me.
What if we were forced to miss a meal every time we were cruel to someone? What if we could not have anything to drink for twelve hours every time we were thoughtless? What if our bank accounts had an amount deducted from it directly related to the value of our choices every time we didn’t do something for someone else that needed us, simply because we were too lazy or disengaged? What if we went blind for six hours every time we ignored beauty? What if we went deaf every time we dismissed someone’s words of love or call for help to us? What if we developed festering pustules on one more square inch of our body every time we did not hug someone who needed our love?
I suppose the real question is, “What if we had tangible experiences based on everything we did to disconnect ourselves from those around us?”
I understand that some may question this very premise. They may ask, “Why not reward us for the good things we do, instead?”
The truth is, we already know the answer, don’t we? We are fully aware that our decisions to connect intimately with those around us are what we are called to do in the first place. It’s our job. We know, too, that there are rewards for acting on our best impulses.
When we look into the eyes of a person toward whom we have shown love, our hearts are abundantly fed and our longing is immediately sated. Our spiritual skin is caressed and our emotional wallets are filled. The melodies of joy and the visions of beauty surround us in ways we had only previously imagined. Yes, of course, we are rewarded mightily.
What if we got what we truly deserve? Our wisdom has taught us, we do.
Clearly, disease and poverty, or deafness and blindness, have nothing directly to do with kindness or cruelty. A person in the world making two dollars a week is not in that position because they are mean. A person with cancer is not suffering because they have ignored those they love. Ask any parent of a child with leukemia. But, what if they were connected directly?
In what state would I find myself today? Where, how, and who would you be today?