Friday, November 22, 2013

End of Innocence

I was 7 years old sitting in the classroom when the announcement came over the loud speaker for everyone to report to the school auditorium.  We all whispered with curiosity as the teacher paraded us single file down the hallway.  I remember fidgeting in my seat, anxious to hear what all the excitement was about.  I tried to look around and see where my little brother was sitting but I couldn’t find him. 

As the principal walked onto the stage it was clear that something was wrong and I began to feel uneasy.  We had been practicing duck and cover bomb drills in our class and it crossed my mind that maybe we were being attacked.  Then she said, “The President, President Kennedy has been shot and has died”.  There was a lot of commotion and not a lot of detail, I’m sure she knew it was too much for young children to digest.  We were sent home for the day so we could be with our parents.

The walk home was surreal, I didn’t understand the vulnerability I felt or why this scared me so much.  All I remember thinking was if someone could kill the President of the United States they could kill anyone, even 2 young kids walking home from school. 

In the days and weeks that followed it became very clear that this was a tremendous and unimaginable tragedy for people all over the world.  Looking back over the past 50 years I don’t know what might have been but I do know that for me it was the end of innocence. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Love is not for you

I just read the blog post by Seth Adam Smith “Marriage isn’t for you” and was very touched by what he said.  It is a lovely story of a son who is fearful of getting married and gets some loving and kind advice from his father who tells him “You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy”.  What a beautiful thought.

Now, I must admit to being a 57 year old self-proclaimed women’s rights advocate with serious existentialist underpinnings.  Always fiercely independent, I believed it was up to me to find and create my own happiness in this world but in the past few years something new is immerging something deep and profound.

Perhaps it is a matter of maturity, age, experience or all of the above but I see that it’s not the love you receive but the love you give that is so important in life.  When I look at my own children, grandchildren, friends and even strangers I realize that the best and most precious gift I can give is to just love them.  Just as they are, no strings attached, no expectations, just pure love and acceptance.  To want what they want not for myself but for them.  So, I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Smith’s lovely article – love is not for me!