My Refrigerator Door

Pearls of Wisdom

This is You. This is me.
We are always
exactly at a point between the Past,
which is as dark, or light, as we have made it,
Drop the Past
and the Future
will be as light, or dark, as we will make it.
Ethel Bradford

past-future

 

Courage doesn’t always roar.

Sometimes it’s the quiet voice

At the end of the day, saying

“I will try again tomorrow”.

                               Anonymous 

 

I can’t do it alone God, bur with you I can do anything. 

 

          Milton, in 1666, said:

“Our Mind can make a

Heaven while in Hell,

Or a Hell while in Heaven.”

There are no Baby Spirits
But there are Spirits in Baby Bodies.
There are no old worn out spirits
But there are Spirits in old worn out bodies.

                                       Ethel Bradford 

 

                                                                               Have I done any good in the world today?

Have I helped anyone in need?

Have I cheered up the sad?

Made someone feel glad?

If not, I have failed indeed.

           Old Mormon Hymn

What Thou Art, I Am and

What I Am, Thou Art.

We never know How Strong We Are, until

How Strong We Are is all we have.

The Light of God surrounds me

The Love of God enfolds me,

The Power of God protects me,

The Presence of God watches over me,

The Mind of God guides me,

The Life of God flows through me,

The Laws of God direct me,

The Strength of God renews me,

The Beauty of God inspires me,

Wherever I Am, God Is.

         Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity

 

 

Life is not to be spent waiting for the storms to pass

But learning how to dance in the rain.

                 Life is one long unbroken sentence, with never a Period.  Our physical birth was when we left one of God’s Preparation Rooms and stepped into His Human Room, and when we ‘die’? Nothing will ‘die’, but only a step into whichever of His Rooms we were ready for.

                  We know not what Rooms we have lived in, but, there will come A Day, when we will know that every room has been  in God’s Many-roomed Home. and that we have never been, and never will be apart from that Home. Only different Rooms for different Learning.

               And we’ll one day find a glorious Room and know our long, journey of seeking and separation is over. We are Home, have always been, but failed to know that ALL Life has been and still is, God’s Home. Right Here, wherever we are. Home. God’s Home.

—-

There is a Destiny that makes us brothers.

None goes his way alone, and

All that we send into the lives of others

Comes back into our own.

Edward Markham

 

 

We need to remember to be in the  

Present. That is an ironic

expression, because if we are

remembering, we are not in the

Present, but usually we get caught

up in thoughts and forget to

experience the Now. A bit of a Zen

Koan, ‘remembering not to remember’.

Bill Bradford

 

 

 

Cops and Robbers

A not so quiet day at the store . . .

I was in one of those stores where aisles, going both ways, run deep into the other end of the block and you don’t   know where you are or can’t know what’s going on just an aisle or two away.

But as I poked along, I heard some one cry out, and followed by noises as if someone had fallen and was calling for help. So, what would you do? Yeah, me too, so I hurried toward the noise, and then, yeah, there was someone on the floor, but not what I had expected. . .

Instead, there were three people on the floor. All men, and two of them were Cops and the third one, was still yelling, but with the Cops trying to pin him down, and at the same time telling him to Shut up and quit yelling.

Well, one of the cops gave me a ‘get away’ glance that told me I was not wanted there, and also that there was nothing I could do, and I got away as fast as I had hurried there.

Then I remembered that when I had entered the store, there had been a Cop, in uniform, also going through the doors. Now, we all see Firemen in the Grocery stores shopping for their coming meals, but it was the first time I’d ever seen Cops doing so, and I wondered what was so urgently needed  that he was shopping in uniform.

But, as I hurried away from the scene, I knew he had been called there, and wondered what the man was doing to cause the Management to call the Police to not only come, but cause them to tackle him. And I also wondered why, if they needed Police, why didn’t they tell customers also??? There were no shots fired, Thank Heavens, but if they needed Cops, how were they to know there’d not be shots???   But just the same no help was needed from me and I left the store in a hurry,

As I moved an aisle or two from the scene, the sounds of the scuffle were soon buried in music and people talking, quite unaware of what was going on.  But it was none of my business and I got out of there fast. Yelling, scuffling and calling out was all that had happened, and I wasn’t going to hang around to find out what had caused it, either.

If it amounted to anything big,  it’d be on the news or in the paper, and there have been no reports, and so I suppose it amounted to nothing but shoplifting.  But I can’t help but wonder, why two Cops? How did the store know they even needed Cops? There had been no cautionary words given to customers as they entered the store, Odd, whatever it was, I suppose it had been handled well, for there had been no confusion in the store except if one had been as near to it all, as I had been.

And I just blundered upon it, thinking someone needed help, but never again.

Like you, I’ve seen enough headlines and heard about too many guns being fired in such seemingly innocent times, that I was glad just to get away from it all, and if I ever again hear someone yelling and with scuffling, I’m going to know it has nothing to do with me, and will hurry to go ‘the other way’. as fast as I’d hurried toward it the other day.

And all this went on right here in the peaceful environs of Murray. Yes, and it remained calm too, except for the poor cuss who had been tackled to the floor, sat upon, and told to shut up as well.   Yeah, right here in our peaceful City of Murray.

Common, Ordinary, Lives

Clark Gable ?   Why Not ?

I’m very content with my ordinary life, with family, house, neighborhood, and wouldn’t have it otherwise. But sometimes after hearing the most un-ordinary news and seeing the wild (to me) headlines of gossip magazines, I wonder if I’m stupid to be happy with my ordinary life.

And so, Ethel being Ethel, I went to the dictionary and it told me that ordinary means anything so ‘everyday’, so basic, that we take it for granted, and give it no attention.

I grinned then, as I realized each of our days, begins with one ordinary event that would literally bring an end to the world if it didn’t happen. Yeah, the sun rises and it is light, and we don’t worry about it going down either. So ordinary no one even gives it a thought, but without it???  Well, for a starter, all life would soon cease to be. But oh so ordinary.

Going farther, (Well, why not?) every second, people are conceived, born, live and die. How ordinary, and yet if death didn’t come, we’d have so many people we’d be fighting for food, space, and air. Or, if conception stopped, (ho, ho, ho,) within fifty or so years, the world would be shutting down, for there’d be no one to keep it going. Or even use it.

The more I searched, the more I found that it’s the ordinary, the taken-for-granted events, that makes my world (and yours) even possible.  Water, light switches, plumbing, heating or cooling, friends, food at the stores, cars, streets, and on and on.

So ordinary, but so good, that I shall go back to what started me off on all this subject. See, I was watching TV when a retired Journalist,  who had talked with the ‘high and mighty’ of the world, was being interviewed, and was asked if there was one person that stood out above all others.

I expected him to tell of some President, teacher, inventor or such, but after a pause and with an odd smile, the Journalist shifted his body, cocked his head, nodded, and said, “Yes, I do, and it was Clark Gable, the Movie Star”. The Journalist went on, saying, ‘I had just asked Gable pretty much the same question you asked me. Of course, I knew that wherever Gable went, everyone, from Presidents on down, fawned over him, and so his answer surprised me for he answered, Yes, and  it’s my wife. ‘

I thought he might have misunderstood my question, but no, he hadn’t and went on to explain. “When I finish my day’s work, which is a great one, but when I get in my car to drive home, a Special Peace comes to me. for I know that on the other side of my own Front Door, there’s someone waiting for the sound of my key in our door, and that I complete her day, as she completes mine.”

Gable almost apologized, saying, “I’m sure that’s not the answer you expected, but, you see, I’m a very ordinary man. and knowing she is there, waiting for me, puts all else in its place.  Needed and wonderful, but none of it would be that good if it weren’t for her..”

The Journalist continued, “I’ve listened to many powerful and sincere people telling what should/shouldn’t be done to bring Peace, but Gable’s very ordinary words, of that Special Peace, possible for every one of us, stays with me, and I’ve come to see that he had matured from a man who ‘made his living as a Movie Star, and knew it was a great job’, but that ‘on the other side of his own front door,’ was one who waited for him and gave meaning to all the rest. In other words, Love.”

And so Ethel, sat back, smiled over her own ‘ordinary life’ and thought of how our Great Teacher, who never heard of a Movie Star, had also spoken of Love and Peace together. And then I actually grinned at the paradox of putting the words of Jesus and Clark Gable together, but knew they fit perfectly.

So ordinary, but the two, Love and Peace can and do make all of our lives joyous. And two experts in their own fields, agreed.   Clark and Jesus.

26 Squibbles

We call them Letters now . . .

The fact that I wrote these words and you read them, can be traced back 3,000 years to the Phoenicians who traveled the world’s oceans as merchants selling their wares and needed some method of written communication better than Hieroglyphics.

We know the Who and When, but there is no way of knowing the How of it all, but history does let us know that it was those ancient people who gave us an Alphabet. I can’t imagine not having the use of those 26 letters, but until then all records had to be made in cumbersome Hieroglyphics and each country did it differently.

There had never been an alphabet, but some smart people figured out a method where a certain Sound we make when speaking, would be represented by a certain shaped squiggle made in the sand, on papyrus, or carved in rock, (no paper then).  And that no matter how, when or where that certain squiggle appeared, it meant that same Sound. and in just about any language, too.

Any school child as they ‘sound’ out words, uses those squibbles, that we now call Letters, and the sounds they represent do not change, no matter in what language they are used. I can’t imagine how they did it, or how long it took them to find and separate all those sounds, but Phoenicians  did it, and in time, people finally settled on only 26, but those 26 Letters (squibbles) changed the world.

It has been claimed that the Printing Press changed the world and that is true, but we must not forget that first of all, there had to be something to print, and that’s where the Alphabet did its job.

So utterly dependable, and yet so adaptable that Shakespeare wrote his works, the Bible became everyone’s book, the boring records of some business meeting, your grocery list, foul, X-rated books, a lover’s note, child’s fairy tale, and not a one needing more than those same 26 letters.

I’m sure it was not a quickly found set of sounds to begin with, but once on the path, it grew, became more and more perfected, and it was so good, and needed, that as the alphabet traveled the world others began using it. Like seeds sown on fertile soil, the use of those Letters grew until now, most of the world’s written words use the squibbles that those old explorers of the ancient world put together.

The Phoenicians, as merchants, traveled and needed a method of keeping records of Order Forms, Orders delivered, Payments made, and also in an understandable way. The alphabet soon was adopted by people no matter where they lived or what language they spoke.

It couldn’t have been an over night ‘fix’, and the different squiggles must have been changed, and refined, until, today,only one of the originals, the B remains, but just the same, those people freed the world from Hieroglyphics.

And as they traveled, ‘mail’ began to go back and forth on those ships, across the oceans, taking orders for merchandise, sending those orders to factories on the other side of the world, as well as letters to families. No, it wasn’t like our mail, much less email, but everything has its beginning and world communication began with those Phoenicians.

Then, wonder of wonders, at the same time, songs and poetry, that had been enjoyed only orally and locally, reached out to others. the Bible soon could be read in homes and churches. poetry, songs, dramas, doctors instructions, teachers, all found the method worked and they used it.

The Phoenicians and their alphabet, opened our world and our minds to other worlds and other minds. Used by the most powerful people in the world, or a child in kindergarten. Those odd squibbles (we call them letters) work for all.

The ideas for today’s blog come from E.H. Gombrich’s book   “A Little History Of The World” and it’s so good I can’t help but desire to share it with you. Find it on Amazon and for a few dollars, the book will be yours. It’s filled with short chapters of people, oddities, ideas, facts and soon, you too will be telling others about it.

Bill Bradford, my son and who is the brains behind this Internet Blog of mine, is the one who brought me his well read copy and I thank him.  No chapter’s longer than two or three pages but oh, it’s filled with such a the wealth of unusual knowledge, and in such interesting ways, that you too, will love Gombrich’s style and, I swear, he, too, used only 26 letters.

Our New ‘Retirement’ Home

Institutionalized . . .

As a new prison site is being chosn, we constantly hear about prisons. I have written about them before and no doubt will again, but for today, here I go. I spent 5-6 years going to the prison as a volunteer teacher in Medium Security, was an official witness at the Bishop execution, and so learned a bit more about prisoners than before I stepped inside those walls.

I was startled to find that all prisoners do not hate ‘that place’ and often heard the comment that they’d never had it so good, what with three meals, showers, clean clothes, recreational facilities, Heat and Cool Air as needed, and always a place to sleep.

It was a common phrase from the men, that if they were ever ‘freed’, the first thing they’d do would be to commit a crime so they would be sent back. And the nodding heads around the room made me know that it wasn’t a one-man attitude.

And I found that while we think of prison as punishment, most of those 45 or more years old, think otherwise.

To my shock, I found they had their plans for Retirement, just as people ‘on the outside’ do. But with a difference. The older (see above) planned on staying right where they were. Planned Retirement was a real thing to them, and Ethel was slowly getting an insight into Prison life that the average person could not get. And was appalled for they, if ever freed, even knew which crimes to commit to get back in, based on how long the sentences would be. They know all about that stuff and aren’t aiming for either Minimum or Maximum Security, just nice comfortable Medium.

My thinking began changing. They are required to do nothing except obey prison rules, and, while I’m sure my words will not fit the younger, short term prisoners, but almost all of the older group, are  by and large, contented to be right where they are.

Yes, there are some who came from affluent homes, but a goodly part of the prison population did not, and for the first time in their lives, they have a security they’d never dreamed of having.  With not one cent of expense to them.

But even those who came from homes with the basics given, wish to remain where they are. They know that with time, all families change, and after long years of imprisonment, are quite aware that the family they left,  is no longer in existence. 

My thinking continued to change. Everything is free, and for the first time in their lives their every need is given to them, and I realized that we have made prisons into very comfortable ‘homes’ for those there in Medium Security, where the sentences are longer, the men older.

The old stereotype of the Chain Gangs in our Southern States was appalling to us.  Those men were forced to work and in some way, pay for their keep but I’d also wager that not a single one of those prisoners was planning on how to remain in prison for a long time, much less for retirement.

I don’t know how it could work, but I came to think that prisoners should be forced to work. And there would be great uproar from people who would say, they are taking jobs from people outside who need the work. Yes, in some ways that’s legitimate, but there must be some answer, for to tell the truth, we have made prison life too comfortable for  the large number of  mature prisoners. Believe it or not, they do not want OUT.

Farms, laundry, cleaning, yard work, painting, upkeep of any kind could be done by the prisoners and while security would be needed, the prisoners should be forced to work. Instead, they get movies, winter and summer recreational equipment. And no-cost classes by volunteers such as I was.

Recently, there have been several Federal Prisons built for older prisoners, who, like people outside, have developed Alzheimer’s and other old age maladies that require the care given on the ‘outside’ at Care Centers. Prisoners from all States, are now sent to Federal Care Centers, where specially trained doctors and nurses are employed.

And who pays for it all? Foolish to ask, for you know it is your tax dollars that  make it possible. The people on the ‘outside’, often even victims of those prisoners, must pay for not only their own care, but to also pay for those huge Care Centers being built, plus  the upkeep and staff..

I don’t know the answer, but it must be there. When prisoners are actually planning prison to be their Retirement Home, we are helping them along, with these special prisons, built to cater to the prisoner’s needs. Not ours.

To so many prisoners, ‘that place’ is the best thing that ever happened to them;   It is not a punishment, but rather, their old age Insurance Policy. I struggled to NOT accept such an attitude, but the facts are there, and deeply imbedded, as well.

So, will the new prison we are soon to build, also turn into a Retirement Home? Worth thinking about, because, I assure you,  the prisoners are.

Hello Young Lovers – Redux

Ethel is ‘on assignment’ working at another project and won’t be posting a new blog this week.  So in order to hold up our end of the internet, the management and staff here at From Out My Window have decided to make an alternative posting;  we will look back and see what Ethel was writing three years ago this week, and publish it again.  It made for some wonderful teary eyes around here.


Oh, yes, yes, How much I did understand

I recently turned a hallway corner and startled a young couple holding each other closely, sharing a moment of love and tenderness.

As soon as they saw me, they hurriedly stepped apart, blushing, embarrassed, and their reaction was obvious, that I, of another generation, could not in any way, understand their actions or what they were feeling.

I was momentarily tempted to pause and tell them that indeed I did understand.  That I was intensely aware of their happiness, and  could feel the emotion that passed between them, because, as the old song says, ”I had a love of my own, you see, I had a love of my own.”

We live in a world that seems programmed to think that love, and all its glory that ‘makes life worth living’, is meant only for the young.  And that if you are 50, or anywhere beyond, that love is foolish and out of the question.  That any  marriage, at those ages, must be nothing but empty, hollow arrangements and could never have the least thing to do with that most ‘tender emotion.’

How wrong they are.  Oh, heavens, how wrong they are and how much they have to learn as they are taking their first startled steps into the world that is at the heart, and the reason for every birth, book, opera, song, poem, sculpture or work of art.

They were so young, so starry eyed and they think the joys and love they are experiencing can, in no way, be understood by people their parent’s age.  But they must be excused, because every generation thinks the wonders and joys of love and sex are unique to them.

It is the wise (blessed? lucky?) ones who go through the young infatuations, and though moved, recognize them for what they are. To enjoy, learn, but carefully, oh most carefully avoid any acts or commitments that could entail a child, marriage, and so often a divorce.

I read, and still like to refer to Margaret Mead’s book, the world-wide classic, Coming of Age In Samoa written in 1925, after she lived there as an Anthropologist.  Among other aspects of their life, Mead wrote of Coming of Age, or as we say, the Teen years. In Samoa at that time, love and sex were routinely expected, accepted, and tolerated with no criticism. She compared sex as arriving to those of those early years, like  flash fires, bolts of lightning and over just as quickly.

However, if a Samoan pair conceived a child, (and here their rules were adamant and frighteningly strict), and with no censorship, they were automatically considered ‘married’ and would continue that responsibility until the child (children) reached adulthood.  And horribly harsh punishments followed if those rules were ignored.

But then, when those ‘family’ years were completed, they had done their duty to the next generation and were free to do as they pleased, and again with no criticism.  What did it matter, they said. It is the children who are important and must be nurtured.

But back from Samoa to my encounter in that hallway.  Teen-age love comes, and goes, and that young pair I interrupted  has so much to learn.  How swiftly that first wild love can fling them into a marriage they’re not ready for.  A child?  A divorce?  And leaving both disillusioned, bitter and knowing that the rest of their lives have been irrevocably changed.

But life does not stand still. We get older, hopefully wiser and no matter how badly burned or blessed with that first Bolt of Lightning, time passes, life heals, and then another love enters people’s lives.  Not the same as the first,  not taking the place of any cherished memories, and not to be criticized or explained, but entirely different. And welcome.

Yes, I passed the young couple I had surprised without seemingly giving them more than a passing glance, but they could not and can not know what thoughts and  memories they stirred, and at the same time, what hopes and fears of where their  lives, almost out of their control, would now go.

I knew they thought I would/could not understand them, but I understood so well that a smile touched my lips as I recalled  another song that tells us  “Love is wonderful, the second time around.”  And whoever penned those words knew exactly what they were talking about.

And while we’re on the subject, and not in Samoa or even in that hallway, and as if you don’t already know, I’ll tell you a secret.   If you’re lucky, the third time is nothing  to be  underestimated either.  And a fourth time?  You’re asking the wrong person, but each one, in its own way, is distinct, different, wonderful.

Oh me, and all this from a moment’s encounter in a out-of-the-way hallway.

 

The Twelfth Hour

The Doldrums of Summer remain, and claiming another week of vacation, I choose to use a Blog of a few year’s back which (Thank you, thank you) garnered, much approval with good words sent to me. Hope you readers of years ago, as well as the new ones, will also like it. I still do.

 

It’s a poem written by some Wise American Indian Man or Woman and the words impressed me so much that I saved them, and as I pore over them again, I still shiver over the meaning and wish their Montana Paper were still being published. It was good.

THE TWELFTH HOUR

For long centuries the world’s been told
“This is the Eleventh Hour.”
And we felt it to be true.

But quietly, almost secretly, the 11th Hour passed
And now, the hoped for, but also feared,
Twelfth Hour is Here. No longer for some vague to-morrow,
BUT RIGHT NOW, THIS IS THE TWELFTH HOUR.

It is the time to know your own Truth,
And cease looking outward for another
To tell us what to think and do.

It can be a glorious time. for
The River is flowing fast.
So rapidly that many are afraid
And cling to the shore
Crying out that they are being torn to pieces.

But The River knows The Destination.
Let go of the shore and,
Dive joyously into the midst of the stream.

See who is with you and rejoice!
Look fearlessly at your fears
And never once reach back to the shore.
For whenever we stop to ask questions
Our Spiritual Journey also stops.

The River knows the Way and
Will carry us with it!
Look to no other for counsel
For the time of asking others is long past.
Be Still and allow yourself
To Know, and then to act in a sacred manner.

That Wondrous Hour
Is no longer anticipated
But is Here. Now. Today.

In deep humility know that
You chose to be part of the Change. And
You are one of those the world has long awaited.

Yes, we shiver, for we know the 11th Hour is past history. That cusp has been passed, and that it is now the 12th Hour. Long, long ago, in One of God’s Preparation Rooms, you and I held up our hands  and volunteered to be here, at this crucial, blessed time, and to do our part.

Read again the last line of that Wise Native American Poem. It says that You and I are part of Those Brave Long Awaited Ones. The ones the world has waited to welcome, and  now, we are here, and who can know, but perhaps we’ll be blessed to someday meet at The River’s Destination.  Why should it not be so? ??

Wake Up

Waking up, my way . . .

Sometimes there’s a moment when we awaken, but are still in that indescribably comfortable fetal position. where not a muscle moves, yet we know our sleep time is over…

It’s a priceless moment. Doesn’t happen often, so don’t be in a hurry. The Mind is very awake, but, at the same time, we see the body as a dormant ‘thing apart’ and know that the two have not yet become One for the day. It’s an odd happening, that of actually seeing, and experiencing our dual makeup. So take time to explore what’s going on. It’s all us, and we know it, but incredibly, we so seldom actually see our duality.

However, we also know it’s time to get up, but that fetal position is so wonderful we hate to break the spell.

So, begin to slightly wiggle your toes. No, NOT the foot, just the Toes. And not another muscle in your body, (when did we become one?) and the luxury of sleep only a breath away. But then, even as we watch the toes, slightly moving, we’re surprised to find that our fingers are stirring, too. Not the hands, not the feet, but although we didn’t tell our fingers to move, they are. What gives???

I’ve been told there is a relationship between our muscles. I don’t know how or why, but begin with just your toes, and soon we’ll find our fingers begin to move, then our hands. Our feet. And with no planning, maybe a shoulder will tense and relax, and then the other one.

Anyway within 5 or so minutes our entire body has stretched and relaxed. We are no longer in the fetal position, yet still on our back. The body and mind have fully made their connection, and all the result of just wiggling a toe or two.

It’s the neatest way to waken to the day that’s ever been invented. And who did invent it? The body? Mind?

Doesn’t matter, for we’re still in bed, stretched out on our backs, the covers are still around us, and, for me, this is the time, when without thinking of doing so, my arms reach up over my head, and as each arm stretches, I find the fingers stretch too, then the other hand and we’re awake and even might find ourselves yawning once or twice

Ok, ok, now clasp the hands over your chest, touching your chest, with one hand a fist and the other holding the fist. Push the right hand with the left hand resisting the movement, and then switch hands and push and resist the other way. You’re stretching the arm muscles to strengthen them.  No hurry, do it slowly.

And then do the same with the legs. Still on your back, bend and bring your feet close to your ‘sit down’ muscles. Clasp your hands around the left knee, and pull it up to your chin and then do the same with your other leg. We’re strengthening our body, and  though we’ve never yet left the bed yet, we’ve awakened every muscle in our body. Feels great, too.

And while I’m at this ‘healthy way to start to the day’ I remember what a doctor told me about weight.  Yeah, during pregnancies, doctors stress this for women. What he said was, go to the grocery store and pick up a ten-pound sack of sugar. Yeah, it’s heavy, and you’ll probably use both hands to do it. BUT THEN, pick up another, and dang it, it’s hard to hold two 10-pound sacks of sugar, but if we’re 20 pounds over weight, that’s what we’re carrying around.

And then just think if we’re 30 or 40 pounds over weight. Try, right there in the grocery store, carrying 3 or 4 ten-pound sacks of sugar. NO??? Well if we’re thirty pound over weight, the good doc said, think about it as carrying three ten pound sacks of sugar. And yet we all do it.

Well, enuff ‘body stuff’ for today, but the method of waking in the a.m. works and the ten Pound sack of sugar idea, is, in another way, a real awakener, too.

Who knows what I’ll write about next week, but for today??? Why not think about that body you walk around in.   It’s the only one you’ll ever get and replacements aren’t given out. So, let’s be kind to the one we have, from our first breath in the a.m. to when we crawl in again at night. Have a good one, I try, why not join me?

Quiz Time

Yes, it’s the hot, sweltering days of Summer and I’ve searched and found what Gerard Mosler sent me on another hot Summer day. I enjoyed his words (questions) and hope you do, too.

And it’s the perfect Quiz for such days as we are having. It’s a list of puzzle questions, and try not to peek at the answers at the bottom of my column, but, what the heck, it’s Summer. It’s hot. I don’t know who you are, so cheat on every one, if you want. I won’t know. And, if the truth be know, I cheated the first time (and the second time, too) that I read it. Who’s looking? Who cares?

1. Which was the smallest continent before Australia was discovered?

2. You have prepared ten pounds of peaches because you’re making jam. When you start to put them in the kettle, you remember the old recipe advised, for improved flavor, you to add the juice of a lemon for every dozen peaches. You don’t remember the number of peaches you’ve prepared, and so how can you determine the proper number of lemons to squeeze?

3. An old fashioned, antique six-day alarm clock will run at least five days without winding. True or false?

4. What is the only word to the English language that can be written without pen, pencil, chalk, or any other pigment?

5. Behind each girl is a boy. Behind each boy is a girl. What is the smallest number of children that will fulfill those specifications?

6. A planeload of famous people crashed near the boundary of two countries. A question of International Law arose about where to bury the survivors. It was finally decided that each country would bury half of them. Do you agree?

7. Can you make sense of the following sentence by adding to it question marks?  “Before popping the important man often time.”

8. Three women are standing under one umbrella without anybody’s getting wet. How is this done?

9. What word will be shorter if you add a syllable to it?

10.Can you tell in what case two times two is six.
 
ANSWERS

1. It has always been Australia whether we knew it was there or not.

2. Just count the peach pits.

3. No non-electric clock will run without winding, five days, five minutes or otherwise.

4. The word already is “written.”

5. One boy, one girl, standing back to back.

6. Who ever heard of survivors being buried?

7. Before popping the important QUESTION man often MARKS time.

8. It isn’t raining.

9. Short.

10. In no case!

See, I told you it was a ‘hot, sweltering summer day’ quiz. But Gerard Mosler must have enjoyed putting it together, and I enjoyed it enough to tuck it away to be found at a later date, and the same to you. And you. And you.

See you next week.

Amazing Grace

. . . in God’s eyes, we are One

I think that President Obama’s address, in So. Carolina, at the funeral rites of Reverend Pinckney, the murdered Leader of the AME Church there, and one of nine killed there, will stand in history along-side Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and will define what 160 years of The Nation’s emotional and physical evolution has brought about.

Lincoln and Obama, both spoke of the same turmoil in our Nation, but after that century and a half of time, and while the core of that turmoil might be the same, the Consciousness of the Nation has grown and matured, allowing Obama to speak from a different viewpoint.

He emphasized, as Lincoln did, that he spoke as OUR President, and to ALL of us, BUT inasmuch as so much has happened to ALL of us during that last century and a half, he was addressing a more mature, and I hope wiser people than Lincoln did.

He was also speaking as one who, at this time of turmoil, was also remembering that he, OUR respected President, is a product of both sides of the tension, and as such, how his heart bleeds with understanding for both.

And with that history, OUR President spoke as a man, who is in the position of political leader of ALL of us, and with his background, to be the one striving to bring understanding and peace to all, no matter from which creed, color or race.

And, with no apology, Obama, asked for the Grace of God to be upon both sides. Tears came to my eyes as I listened and sensed his feeling of understanding and empathy for both. Who could know better? Who else could speak out with such understanding and power?

Torn?   No, and that was the wonderful part of his words. Just as the families of those who were murdered in that So. Carolina Church, were calling upon forgiveness for both the Murdered, as well as forgiveness for The Murderer, so did Obama ask the same of us. Me and you and you and you. 

He spoke of God’s Grace, and knew that God did not separate people and that His Grace fell upon both sides, and that, in God’s eyes, there were not and never had been two sides, and reminded us of that Grace, and – – – suddenly my body shivered as he, my President, your President, with no introduction, began singing. Singing that familiar and wonderful hymn of “Amazing Grace”.  And not to the camera, not to the Press, but only from his own heart, did he sing.

And almost before that first phrase was complete, the congregation, one by one, two , three and then soon, everyone was standing and singing along with him. It was not a rehearsed moment. It was spontaneous, accompanied by claps of approval, different types of voices, but with the same words and emotions.

Our President was not speaking or singing for the Nation or the world, but was  speaking and singing for himself and to you and me and every person, who knows that at the Source, we are all One. And for all  to rise and praise That Source, for the last 160 years of  evolution of the Nation’s emotions, and brave enough to show our true feelings.

Forgiveness. The answer to all our problems, not only this particular  one, but the answer which covers all. Forgiveness not only for those others, but primarily, forgiveness of ourselves. Forgiveness for our actions. Forgiveness for our thinking.

Forgiveness that rises above our pain, our anger, or any justification. Obama, for that hour on June 26th, was more than our political leader, for at that time he bravely stepped forward, and spoke as a Spiritual leader as well.

He rose above all justified resentments, and spoke of the Oneness of All. And asked us to step forward with him. More bloodshed is not the answer, for as the song he was singing says, we are all sinners, “A Wretch like me”, is how the song tells us, and that wherever we are, whatever race we come from, whichever creed we follow – – – –  in God’s eyes, we are One. You, me, those people, as well as any other people,  we all seek Shelter under God’s Grace.

And if our President has the humility to speak and sing those words, in his untrained voice, to the Nation and world, so do I, and You, and You.

And I think, that somewhere, in one of God’s ‘Next Rooms’ Abraham Lincoln also stood, and with tears in his eyes, joined in the song of God’s Amazing Grace.