Archive for March, 2013

The hero season

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Springtime, for a number of us, is a time to remember a difficult past amidst the buds and blooms that signal a new season of life is coming around the corner.

The memory of tragedy, the memory of loss doesn’t seem to ever go away completely but somehow our spirit makes room for it amidst the memory of the wonderful moments of life, the first time we hold our babies, that first time our parents tell us they are proud of us, that first time our senses are fully overcome by the bigness of the world, or that moment when we look into the eyes of our love, and feel our love returned. Memories of tragedy and loss for me, seem clustered around this season when nature is busy starting life anew. Strangely, each loss is the loss of a hero or heroine, something that Hollywood seems to tell us is noble, uplifting, things like that. For some cases, maybe the cases where we don’t know the people, that’s an appropriate way to think about it. Firemen running into the World Trade Center, soldiers running into the line of fire, brothers and sisters running into a fight to protect one of their own, the folklore, anecdotes, stories are told in a way that is intended to leave us with the impression that a hero’s act of selflessness is something we should all be prepared to repeat. But can ordinary people, people whose names you know, people who live an everyday life, can they? At that unexpected moment, that instant when it’s all gone wrong, can an ordinary person move forward, go into, action, and put themselves between the threat and another to protect at the cost of their own life? It turns out, some can.

Before the Spring of 2007, I’m not sure I knew a person who had done that…acted to protect someone, and losing their life in the process. By the end of Spring 2008 I knew the names of a few.

I wonder sometimes, how they did what they did. How quickly their minds worked, how they summoned the courage to do what they knew was right, if they knew what doing the right thing would cost them.

Maybe it’s natural to wonder about those things to wonder if it is within us, the strength to make that split-second decision…

Part of that wondering is a way of coping with their loss, a way around the guilt of having survived the tragedy.

Yet, for all the wondering and second-guessing, those who are safe, have to keep living, have to face memories, face down the voice within that says “if only I had…” and make something of the new life, the saved life. Those I know are doing just that, doing the right thing new day after new day.

Spring days bring all kinds of new to the world around. New sights, new sounds, new smells. Some of them seem more noticeable than others. Some birds are brighter, some sounds come to us more clearly, i think its important to try to take them in, make room for them amidst other memories. The cardinal’s call helps me to get my balance after the sirens sound, the bustle of activity between classes helps offset memories of the empty campus, hearing the events of the day from the ones we love balances the memory of the phone ringing late at night.

Through all the new each spring, i remember the names of the heroes. I hope it honors their memory. It’s probably more for me than them, they’ve given their gift, they remind me to keep going, and to do the right thing.

My mind and heart are full each spring, of all the new life around, of the hero’s that I know who act for the benefit of others. The two that grew up under my roof give me great pride, and humble me. They ran to help, they live to help, that they feel to their innermost soul those moments when their efforts couldn’t be enough is testament to the depth of their character. That they rise each day and work to make it all a little better, for people they don’t know, makes me proud.

They’re good people, as hero’s are, as you are too.

That siren outside the hotel window is reminding me that soon it will be time to start my day, remembering the hero’s not with us, and those around us.

Be good to each other, do the right thing, be in spring, enjoy the new day!


Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

I’m working on captioning some of my paintings for an exhibit that opens soon. Its mostly mechanical work, resizing, rotating, things like that.

I had some music on, a random playlist, and a song came up, “epilogue” from Les Miserables. I knew it from the film, and some other times hearing it. Its the scene where jean beljon is reunited with his daughter as he is dying.

His daughter commands him to live, he says he’ll try, and then the voice of his daughter’s mother enters, whom he promised he’d raise her daughter as his own. She implores him to lay down his burden, to join her and be with God for raising and protecting her daughter. She offers him salvation for his care.

He writes his confession as an escaped prisoner and tells his daughter to read it well after his death.

Some words stand out as it plays.

come with me where chains will never bind you

take my hand i’ll lead you to salvation

take my love for love is everlasting

even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise


“To love another person is to see the face of God”

I often wonder why some words I hear stick more than others. Is it we’re just slowed down enough to hear? Or is it that there is something inside of us we struggle to express and find that a writer has done it perfectly?

The one who holds my heart was away this weekend to a family funeral out of state. I spent the days working away at the taxes, making small steady progress. When the day that she was to return came, I made the drive to Houston to meet her at the plane. She had driven in, her car was there, but I wanted to, maybe had to be there to say welcome home, I missed you!

Its hard to tell the ones we love how much they mean to us. Its hard for me to find the words, and hard to get them out coherently. But its important to try, Love is just that important.

I like the thought that when we love, our spouses, our children, our family it is the most important thing in life…effectively, to be in the presence of love is to see the face of God. That’s the words from the song.

Some will say God’s face is not for us to know, and I agree with that, but Love is a gift…from somewhere…a big gift that so many of us have been given, in the form of a person we trust with the depth of us, and in the form of our children, the only reason we risk ourselves, our futures… we give to them that they may be better than us…and they are, it is what we believe.

Some friends fall into this category, but its hard to keep them there. Lives, careers, interests all change over time making it hard to say its the same. Anyway…I’m losing my thread.

Respect love
it is a gift
it is perhaps THE gift

Make sure that what you do, what you say, lets them know that.

Be good to each other, especially the ones you love!