Tag: Love

A Modern Day Cinderella

 

I got up in the middle of the night for Diana and Charles’ wedding in 1981. I watched Kate Middleton and Prince William exchange vows. Then I staggered in at 3:34 AM Central to watch Prince Harry take Meghan Markle as his princess.

I realized I could have slept in another two hours, but they said people camped out for days! Thousands lined the roads to Windsor Castle. Major networks were broadcasting from every angle, which was a challenge, given all those hats! 

Kathy Lee Gifford was broadcasting in a little feathered number, only with a stuffed goose on top! Yes. that’s her sidekick, Meghan Kelly. The large parade of celebrities, friends, and a long line of royals finally took their seats, as a beautiful harp was strummed.

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I was going to write an interesting, clever story for Earth Day on the Great Barrier Reef, after watching a truly stunning three part documentary by David Attenborough, until the you-tube video of same name that I wanted to post, filled my inbox with more Spam than a Hawaiian sandwich deli. Then, well…life intervened and produced […]

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On April 5, 1950, my parents began an incredible life together. They shared joy, struggle and most of all, love. They loved God, each other, their children and America. Through everything this world could throw at them, they held strong to each other. The most valuable things in life can’t be purchased; they can only […]

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Here is one of my very favorite sonnets, written by Edna St. Vincent Millay. I discovered this one in high school, and it made my teenager heart go all aflutter…even though I didn’t have any experience that could come close to the one referenced in the piece. But, as I have aged, fallen in love, […]

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Flipping through the channels recently, I stumbled onto our local Tallahassee Public Station, featuring the Fiftieth Anniversary of Mr. Rogers Special. Mr. Rogers started out in my hometown of Pittsburgh on WQED. The special is narrated by then stagehand, actor Michael Keaton, who was also a character in the musical skits (think low budget). Michael […]

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@katebraestrup put up a wonderfully thoughtful post and it inspired me to write about one of my favorite pet peeves (is that an oxymoron?). I have heard this statement mainly  from younger, foolish women, but it makes me nuts: “Well, he’s a little [fill in the blank] or not enough [fill in the blank] but I’ll […]

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Thoughts from a Former Dysphoric

 

When I was a little girl, I wanted badly to be a boy. Boys got to play the games I wanted to play and had an exclusive claim on the adjectives I hoped to apply to my adult self, such as courageous, honorable and adventurous. I was in the wrong body to be what I wanted to be.

I shudder now to think what would have happened to me had my parents been encouraged, by childrearing experts and the general culture, to take me seriously when I vociferously and persistently declared my desire to be a boy.

My discovery of feminism cured my gender dysphoria. The problem, as the ’70s-era feminists defined it, wasn’t that my female body and individual personality were mismatched, but that the definitions of female and male were unnecessarily and irrationally narrow and pinched.

The Modern Moses

 

Billy Graham passed from this world into the next at the amazing age of 99. I heard a quote by him today that is even inspiring amidst news of his passing. It was adapted from someone Rev. Graham admired, a 19th-century evangelist named Dwight L. Moody:

“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive that I am now. I will have just changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

His legacy inspired and brought hope to presidents, and those of every race, creed and gender, even Dr. Martin Luther King, who told him, “You take the stadiums, I’ll take the streets.”

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The decorations came down, the tree put up or tossed to the roadside, cards read once more and gradually, life goes back to the hustle and demands of the New Year. Christians worldwide anticipate the holidays with fervor, shopping, baking, concerts, hymns and carols, gifts, decorating, the ringing of bells, sending cards, and church services. […]

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A Dickens New Year Meditation

 

They were Old Chimes – Trust me. Not speechless though – far from it. They had clear, loud, lusty sounding voices, had these Bells and far and wide they might be heard upon the wind. They would pour their cheerful notes into a listening ear royally, and bent on being heard; on stormy nights, by some poor mother watching a sick child, or some lone wife whose husband was at sea. Falling out into the road to look up at the belfry when the Chimes sounded, Toby stood still, for they were company to him.

Toby found himself face to face with his own child and looking close into her eyes. Bright eyes they were. Eyes that would bear a world of looking in, before their depths were fathomed. Dark eyes, that reflected back the eyes which searched them, not flashingly, but with a clear, calm, honest patient radiance, claiming kindred with the Light which Heaven called into being. Eyes that were beautiful and true, and beaming with Hope. With Hope so young and fresh; with Hope so buoyant, vigorous and bright.

As he was stooping to sit down, the Chimes rang.  “Amen to the Bells, Father? Cried Meg. “They broke in like a grace, my dear. Many’s a kind thing they say to me”, said Toby.

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Ah yes, it’s the time of year to start planning our New Year’s Resolutions. We can imagine that somehow we will make a heartfelt change to be a kinder person, to get rid of a bad habit, to be a more loving friend, spouse, parent . . . . But many people think that they […]

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Gary’s Inspiration Series: Love and Eternal Life

 

Note: @garyrobbins issued a challenge to match his upgrade of level on Ricochet. While I could not upgrade to meet his challenge, I proposed to meet his challenge in another way. I would provide uplifting spiritual fodder in our mutual Unity tradition to give him a reason to see Ricochet as a place of spiritual, as well as mental, good and growth. Unity has long produced a daily inspirational magazine called Daily Word, and my messages will mostly conform to that format with an affirmation, a short (120 word) message, and a Bible verse.

These messages will come from a Unity perspective. They are not intended to provoke theological arguments, only to fulfill an obligation in Gary’s challenge. If you also find them spiritually uplifting, perhaps you will also consider upgrading your membership level to help support Ricochet and keep it as a going concern.

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Ah, poetry. For some of us, the temptation to express our visions and desires, sacred or profane, in more than prose is irresistible. At times, we cannibalize others’ poems for the purpose – a gal like me might prefer ol’ W.B. Yeats; a guy like Slick Willie, Whitman. Other times, only our own words will […]

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The Refiner’s Fire: The Place of Hell in Judaism’s Sister Religion

 

The same man who wrote this blissfully mournful setting of “Hear my prayer, O Lord” also wrote an annoying little ditty which begins, “I attempt from love’s sickness to fly in vain, / Since I am myself my own fever and pain.” Despite the musical love present in the former composition and lacking in the latter, the words of the latter are expressive enough: love, whether sacred or profane, is a fever whose cause isn’t incidental, its cause is you – who you are and what you love.

That might be a strange way to begin any theological musing, no matter how speculative. But bear with me. Judaism and Christianity are sister religions, springing from the same source. To put it in the driest of secular terms, Jesus was an apocalyptic Jewish teacher. Not all Jews believe in an afterlife, but among those who do, this description of its punishments that @susanquinn shared with me seems fairly standard. This essay of sweeping scope by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan also contains several illuminating passages. Both writings describe Gehenom, hell, as a cleansing, either of the “dirt” of our sins (like socks getting “punished” in a washing machine) or of the “static and jamming” that reduces our awareness of our sins’ rightful shame. In neither description are sinners “sent to a different place” from the righteous. Rather, all souls go to the same “place”, and what makes it heavenly or hellish is the state of each soul experiencing it – how “dirty” it is, how much it still has to be ashamed of. As Peter Kreeft, a once-Calvinist Catholic theologian, put it, “In reality, the damned are in the same place as the saved—in reality! But they hate it; it is their Hell. The saved love it, and it is their Heaven.” Still, descriptions of hell as cleansing – as purification which educates the soul for God’s presence – ought to remind Christians more of Catholics’ conception of purgatory than the Christian descriptions of hell most of us are familiar with.

Hell is, after all, described in the New Testament as the place where “their worms do not die, and the fire is never quenched.” “Repent or perish,” we are admonished. And this perishing isn’t just physical death or blissful oblivion – no – but agonizing wormy flames of flaming judgment – forever! Because “the fire is never quenched”, those worms remain stubbornly alive. That same passage continues, “For everyone will be salted with fire.” So the wicked – scratch that, make that everyone – will be salted with fire. Fire is meant to season all of us, through which fire some of us, presumably, are in fact redeemed. This fire, moreover, is the fire of love:

Tales from the Tabloids: What If You Found Out You Weren’t Adopted?

 

When he was 33, Andrew Lovell, a British drummer in a ’90s band called M People, was thinking about marriage. He had been adopted as an infant in the 1960s by a white family, but his skin tone made it clear to him from his early days that his parentage was more African than the people he lived with. His adoption was rarely discussed.

Now a man, he wanted to know more about his birth family. The story he knew was that his parents adopted him five months after suffering a stillbirth. His parents finally sat him down and explained to him that his mother was his real mother. When he had been born, it was clear that his mom had had an affair and that he was not his father’s child.

Quote of the Day: Old Love Letters

 

Dear Jon,

The great love I have hitherto expressed to you
Is false, and I find my indifference toward you
increases daily. The more I hear from you, the more
you appear in my eyes an object of contempt.
I feel myself in every way disposed and determined,
to hate you. Believe me, I never had any intention
to give you my hand. Our last conversation has
left a tedious insipidity, it has by no means
given me a most exalted idea of your character
Your temper makes me extremely unhappy
and if you and I were united, I would experience nothing but
the hatred of my parents added to the everlasting dis-
pleasure in living with you. I have a heart
to bestow, but I do not desire you to imagine it
at your disposal. I could not give it to anyone more
inconsistent and capricious than yourself, or less
capable to do honor to my choice and family.
Yes – I hope that you will be persuaded that
I speak sincerely and you will do me a favor
to avoid me. I shall excuse your taking the trouble
to answer this. Your letters are always full of
impertinence, and you have not a shadow of
wit and good sense. Adieu, adieu, believe me
so adverse to you that it is impossible for me ever
to be your humble and affectionate servant.

P.S. I’ve changed my mind. Please begin again and read every other line.

The Not So Quiet Legacy of Sir Nicholas Winton

 

On the heels of a recent post by @Jon about legacy, I read a story about a man who, at the tender age of 29, began to create a legacy that would not be revealed for 50 more years. Jon asked the question, “How do you want to be remembered? Sometimes fate answers that question for us. Even in the midst of the darkest of times, a light was shining brightly, illuminated from a quiet soul with no thoughts of legacy, who rose to the challenge of his day.

In 1938-1939, Nicholas Winton single-handedly began to rescue Jewish children from the Holocaust. He brought 669 Jewish children from Czechoslovakia to Great Britain, in an operation later known as the Czech Kindertransport, helping them to find new families who gave them a home.  Most of the children’s parents would perish in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. He never mentioned the children he rescued to anyone.

One day, some 50 years later, his wife, Grete, found a notebook in the attic containing the names and pictures of all the children that her husband had saved.  Grete gave the notebook to a journalist and Winton was invited to appear on a television program. He didn’t know the audience was comprised of all the people whose lives he had saved. Now adults, they came to express their profound thankfulness. When counting the 669 children that he saved, along with their offspring of children and grandchildren, Nicholas Winton saved the lives of over 15,000 people.

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A sensitive, scholarly Spaniard brooding under a vow of chastity. A fiery redhead, feral and untamed, raised by Africans, confounding the local villagers with her hot, exotic ways. He was trained for sainthood. She is rumored to be possessed by demons. Both are haunted by the same dream. What happens when their dream becomes reality? […]

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Lonesome Purple Hearts and Angry Red Ones: Love and Contempt in a Divided Red Tribe

 

Red America, blue America. It’s a crude categorization, but useful. According to Rachel Lu, the red tribe is the tribe of traditional, transcendent bourgeois values, while the blue tribe is the tribe of neo-Epicureanism, which by its nature is shallow and tepid. According to Charles Murray, the red tribe professes traditional values while struggling to practice them, while the blue tribe, for the most part, lives out these values while failing to profess them. According to Mark Regnerus, when it comes to the specific traditional values of chastity and stable family formation, while both tribes are far from paragons, on average the red tribe fails a lot harder than the blue tribe does, even though it’s the red tribe, not the blue, which promulgates language like “chastity” and “family values”. If you stop looking at averages though, something interesting happens: the red tribe splits. Red-tribe children who inherit exceptional amounts of social capital (which arises from networks of shared social norms, including trust and reciprocity) are more sexually virtuous than their blue peers, while red-tribe children with low social capital are so much less sexually virtuous than their blue peers that it drags the whole red average down below that of the blue.

This sexual split points to a more general split among conservatives: the red tribe can be crudely divided into two tribes, both of whom profess a zeal for cultural capital, but only one of which has secure access to cultural capital. (There’s not complete agreement on what social and cultural capital are, but for this essay, cultural capital includes social capital, along with other accumulated cultural riches.) As much as blue-tribe language tends to denigrate the value of the West’s cultural capital, blue-tribe children enjoy better access to that capital than many red-tribe children do. However, there’s a class of purple children – typically red-tribe children raised in blue milieus – who achieve cultural-capital royalty: whatever struggles they face, access to cultural goods, whether moral, intellectual, or aesthetic, isn’t really one of them. They inherit not just the red-tribe zeal for cultural capital, but blue-tribe access to it, an access which differs not only in quantity (more of it) from average red access, but also in kind (probably less NASCAR and more Shakespeare – brows a little higher rather than lower).

Blue-tribe access to it. How does the blue tribe maintain good access to something it publicly professes not to value much? Evidently, it must be by doing rather than saying. Culture isn’t just something you have worthy or unworthy opinions about, it’s also something you do. And a lot of blues still do it, even if their opinions about why it’s worth doing are unworthy. To be too much in enmity with the blues is to put yourself at odds with many of the vehicles still left for passing on the great achievements of our culture. Reds routinely decry the corruption of academic and arts organizations, for example, but so far have had scanty success forming organizations of their own to pass down the treasure of Western knowledge and beauty. For all the nonsense on college campuses, for all the schlock modern arts organizations promote, colleges still harbor teachers with genuine love for whatever little corner of Western heritage is their expertise and arts organizations still exhibit works of transcendent beauty. These dreaded blue, “elitists” milieus might make piss-poor advocates of the traditions they enjoy, but many in these milieus still enjoy aspects of those traditions, and in enjoying them, keep them going, at least for another generation.