I discovered a poem I wrote on September 22, 2001 so I thought I’d share it on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11:
~ THEY HAVE NOT DIED IN VAIN ~
If we see life a bit clearer and appreciate its beauty and glory alongside its horror and sorrow ~ They have not died in vain.
If we’ve reached out to those we love and opened our hearts a bit more in trust ~ They have not died in vain.
If we’ve learned beyond a doubt that politics and religion can be dividers of people as well as reconcilers of people ~ They have not died in vain
If we now know that God’s grace and love resides in the hearts of individuals regardless of race, creed or country ~ They have not died in vain.
Freedom or fear; Love or fear; Courage or fear ~ Everyday battles fought in everyday lives.
If we can believe that the way we live our lives; The way we treat each other; And the way we respond to hatred and evil will bring about change in this world ~ Then they have not died in vain.
~ Mary Lou ~
(Dedicated to the Victims and Families of September 11, 2001)
9/11 ~ Twenty Years Later
The sense of national unity is not there today!
“We squandered the global unity and sense of purpose that brought us together on 9/11.”
Garrett Graff (author of The Only Plane in the Sky ~ An oral history of 9/11)
“There’s actually a very direct line between the unity that we experienced after 9/11, the decisions that we made as a government, and our sense of partisanship and polarization that continues to this day now.”
Looks like we’re going into Fall with a new surge of COVID-19 Delta Variant. Most likely through the Winter too. My pandemic hair is growing longer and whiter. Other than that I’m settling in, using common sense and using self-care and respect for others along the way. Be Safe, Mask UP and Please Get Vaccinated!
I’m not sure if the white hair is caused by the year-and-a-half long pandemic or if my hair stylist did a fantastic job applying low lights over the years. It’s just that I was ‘shocked’ when I snapped a selfie while sitting outside in the patio. My inside hair doesn’t look this white. I’m growing comfortable with the natural look as I approach 80 years old.
What I’m not comfortable with is the uncertainty of where we’re heading in this United States of America. The EU has set travel restrictions for unvaccinated Americans. We’ve been taken off the safe list. Schools have already begun quarantining students who’ve tested positive even though the new year has just begun. Teachers are going to be teaching both in-person and on-line instruction. Most discouraging of all, our hospitals and health care workers are, once again, collapsing under this new surge.
So, I don’t know what to write this time. We’re all tired and anxious. Especially those who have families and responsibilities that have been disrupted. Being retired, the surges haven’t been as disruptive to my life while navigating through my day. The set backs in life that others are experiencing are life changing! And then there are so many deaths.
Today is my Sixth Anniversary with WordPress! Time well spent! I literally pour out my heart and soul into this blog/website. It has been an important part of my recovery and healing from various medical issues over the last six years. I’m hoping to revive my blogging and get past this brain fog that’s crept in due to COVID-19. Each day I am grateful to be in this world. The one thing we can control is how we respond to what this life places on our path. And this is what I write about!
Piecing the Promise (A Form Poem)
Piecing life, Piecing memories
Colorful, creative, meaningful, honest Commitment
Stitched, patterned, diverse, thematic, traditional Quilt
Each piece within the Quilt leads to the quality of the bound whole
This was the form poem that I wrote before writing the editorial piece below. It was based on thoughts I had, back 25 years ago, after watching the movie ‘How to Make an American Quilt’. I had many conflicting feelings at the time after having been abandoned with dependent children and having to re-build my life around the after-shocks of that event. I was looking for honesty, similar to what the main character, Finn, was looking for. I was looking for a pathway back to trust and a belief in Love and Commitment in Marriage. The movie can still be found on AmazonPrime for a small rental fee of $3.99: I watched it again, after 25 years, and still find it to be an honest portrayal of conflicts surrounding the decision to marry. I believe in the lifetime commitment of marriage and I also believe it’s an aspiration that many might strive toward yet not be able to achieve. Most of all I believe in Love. Marriage isn’t necessary in achieving this commitment of wanting the ultimate good for a loved one. I’ve had relationships with a man since my 20 year marriage and those relationships helped me to learn about life and myself. Serial marriages aren’t necessary to achieve this higher good for yourself and others. (Let me know if you have any thoughts you’d like to add to this reflection.)
How to Make an American Quilt
“But how do you merge into this thing called COUPLE, and still keep a little room for yourself? And how do we even know if we’re only supposed to be with one person for the rest of our lives?”
In recent years, there has been renewed interest in seeking the answer to these questions asked by Finn, Winona Ryder’s character in the movie, How to Makean American Quilt. The past two decades have seen many different interpretations of what marriage can mean; leaving a cynicism about the value of lifelong commitment. Lifetime commitment seems next to impossible, and ‘serial monogamy’ is a common thread running through today’s society. A young woman seeks honesty and openness about this institution which forms society’s tradition for male and female relationship; for she has come to fear that the individual cost to herself within the institution might be too high.
Piecing together the promises made in a marriage resembles piecing together the squares in a quilt. They can be joined together without thought, without intimacy and continuity, or they can be joined together in a way that becomes sacrament, a living covenant of people sharing in the process of creating the memories and life stories found within its border. What is the future of lifelong marriage? Is it an impossible dream? Or can we, both women and men, come to value its meaning in a new way – carefully selecting the quality pieces of tradition while interweaving the basic human right to be ourselves, without apology or guilt, and to be treated as equals.
How to Make an American Quilt invites the honesty and openness of all those involved in the couple’s life. Each patch within the quilt represents the story of the older women in the group-their joys and sorrows, their failures to stand up for themselves when exploited and, most important of all, their ability to forgive and move forward in their lives. The experienced quilter, Anna, reminds the group that this is a Love Quilt, a Story Quilt of the Life Before, and none of the squares can detract from the others. ‘We will follow the rules of design!’, she cautions. The young novice quilter, her daughter, poses the paradox of marriage, ‘Sometimes you have to break the rules to keep the work alive.’ For some the commitment ends because one partner removes themselves from the pattern of the quilt; and for some the stitches remain connected, and a new life stage begins to unfold. Emma, who has lived in a marriage of broken rules for thirty years, is ready to leave yet finds a way to forgive and move forward with her life.
“Young lovers seek perfection –
Old lovers learn the art of sewing shreds together and seeing beauty in a multiplicity of patches.”
The art of sewing shreds together needs the guidance of those who say they value marriage and families. Too often those who struggle with piecing together the promises made in marriage feel alone in their journey. There is a silence within our religions where we are taught that marriage is a living sacrament – a sign of God’s presence in the world.
In the past, marriage and family have been seen as a ‘woman’s thing’. It should be the woman who ‘keeps the nest, while the man fluffs his feathers’. Today’s woman seeks a mutual freedom within a marriage which doesn’t disregard the other, and she hopes that the man in her lift will be a co-creator in this new perspective of marriage. The ‘American Quilt’ can only be strengthened when both of the stitchers are equal participants in all that brings new creativity, color and design to the finished piece.
Finn asks the question, and from the open and honest responses of those around her, she is given strength to follow her own good insights and to follow her heart.
‘I know our marriage has as good a chance of being wonderful as it does of missing the mark. However, I’m banking on our love for each other to weigh a bit heavier on the wonderful side. As Anna says about making quilts, ‘You have to choose your combination carefully. The right choices will enhance your quilt. The wrong choices will dull its colors and hide their original beauty.’
“Love is not affectionate feelings, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.“
I know Barry Manilow didn’t have COVID-19 or the Pandemic in mind when he wrote this song. It’s the first song that came to mind when I thought about writing my June post. All the social distancing and not being able to hug the ones we love. All the hand washing and mask wearing that will probably be a good idea to continue for some of us. Have we really made it?!!
And some of us didn’t make it! Some 600,000 plus deaths in the United States! So for some of us the Pandemic took its toll, in more ways than one. The losses are great and it looks like it will be a long recovery.
Then there’s the flurry of reports of the Delta variant, sounding ominously similarly to the surges of COVID-19 in the past. We continue to be on alert. It’s not over. Europe is having second thoughts about lifting lockdown restrictions as these more contagious variants are steadily increasing. This seems deja vu for how things progressed a year ago.
Who knows what the future holds? We each live our lives under the shadow of death no matter what age we are. This pandemic has shown us that. All the more reason to reflect on how we want to use our time in this post-pandemic re-entry. I wish that my beautiful, loving friend, Pat, was here to see us get to this point. Hope carried us through up to the point of both of us being fully vaccinated. And then death entered through the back door and took him away from me. I wish we were able to take that ride through the Shenandoah National Park along the Skyline Drive again.
“Life will end—indeed. And that realization should affect the decisions I make each day. But rather than causing me to throw in the towel and give up on life, this shadow of death will spark hope and resolve and passion to spend each remaining day of my life making the most of it.” Joshua Becker ~ Becoming Minimalist
“Today is a great day for America, ………“Get vaccinated — or wear a mask until you do.”
“We’ve gotten this far — please protect yourself until you get to the finish line.”
The numbers; the cases, the deaths and the hospitalizations have suddenly plunged here in the United States. And in what seemed to be an about face, the CDC declared no more masks for those who are fully vaccinated. Forty Percent of the nation has been vaccinated. And the rest, for various reasons, remain unvaccinated and continue to be at risk of infection. Along with the announcement came confusion.
On May 13th, 2021, there were 39,825 new cases here in America and 791 new deaths (Worldometer.com):
~Thinking of India ~
So, as the confusion settles, it comes down to continuing to do what you need to do to feel safe. I’ll be wearing a mask in situations where I’m coming in contact with others. This is my season of rest. My time to slow down. So ‘back to normal’ for me is what it has been even through this pandemic. I’m easing up of my expectations for myself. A season of rest which is nice at this stage of my life.
~Allow~ There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
Containing a tornado.
Dam a stream and it will create a new channel.Resist, and the tide will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry you to a higher ground.
The only safety lies in letting it all in –
The wild and the weak: fear, fantasies, failures and success.When loss rips off the doors of the heart, or sadness veils your vision with despair,
Practice becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your known way of being,
The whole world is revealed to your new eyes.
By: Danna Faulds