I posted the following comments today on columnist Jay Bookman’s Thanksgiving entry as part of his blog on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Bookman’s column can be found at this link: http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/jay-bookman/2013/nov/26/please-let-me-watch-you-watching-me/
I hope readers of MaryElizabethSings will find inspiration from both columnist Bookman’s Thanksgiving, 2013, words, as well as from my own, below:
“As usual, I seem to offer some variant thoughts. Last evening I saw ‘The Appalachians’ on public television. The story of the Hatfields and the McCoys was told in detail. Both groups identified completely with the understanding that ‘these are my people, this is who we are.’
As I have often shared here, I was witness during the Jim Crow era in Georgia to too much of the ‘this is who we are’ understanding of humanity. There is much to be said for self-reflection and self-awareness. Both deepen the soul in relation to all others, not simply to one’s own. In a larger sense, we are all members of the human family. This is ‘who we are.’
On another thought, photographs of self, as one ages in the cycles in life, are simply visual introspections which are similar to written introspections found in autobiographies. When we learn about others in depth through the visual or through the verbal, we understand ourselves with greater insight, which helps us to understand all others with compassion instead of with judgment, as in ‘me and mine vs. you and yours.’
There is, on the other hand, much value, and much to be learned, in understanding one’s ancestors’ histories or their individual and family stories through journals and through pictures. This helps us to understand ourselves and our present families with greater insight, and it makes us wiser grandparents to nurture the yet unborn (our own and all others) when we enter that season of life.
In that regard, I want to recommend the book, ‘Family Tales, Family Wisdom: How to Gather the Stories of A Lifetime and Share Them with Your Family,’ by Dr. Robert U. Akeret.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!”
Another Poster: “Wow! Just wow! The new pope really gets it…yes a breath of fresh air and humanity…”
Mary Elizabeth: “Yes, Pope Francis does ‘get it.’ What a blessing he is to this world especially at this time in history. I hope all will listen to this kind and wise man’s words, offered as a spiritual guidance to humanity. He boldly broaches spiritual issues which interact in economics and in politics which affect the lives of all on this planet. Pope Francis very recently has spoken against ‘trickle-down economics,’ against the culture of greed, and against the worship of money. He is courageous and is not constrained by spiritual hierarchy and bureaucracy. He cuts through all of that, boldly, to spiritual truths. God lives within this man, imo.
Pope Francis speaks to the heart of why we are here and how we can know ourselves, and others, more deeply through reaching out to others, especially to the poor. This man speaks from God, not from religious hierarchy nor from safe religious protocol, imo. His spirit is one more example of our world’s continuous movement toward egalitarianism of the spirit, which is love. God is love.”
And to another poster on the same thread of Bookman’s blog, I wrote the following words:
“Please hear the words of Pope Francis as he speaks against the worship of money. Many of those who are running corporations could learn from this man of God. My husband was a Wal-Mart worker at the end of his life. He had been Georgia’s first State Manager for a corporation which sold imported wines as well as having had his own business of his salad dressings for five years before having to work at Wal-Mart, for reasons that are medical and private. The disrespect he received at Wal-Mart, as an ordinary worker, imo, cost him his life. He suffered a major stroke on the floor of his last Wal-Mart store, from which he died, at age 60, two days later.”
On another AJC blog, columnist Kyle Wingfield’s posted an excellent Thanksgiving message. (Link to Wingfield’s Thanksgiving message is found here: http://www.myajc.com/news/news/opinion/giving-thanks-for-the-grand-people-in-my-life/nb5Y5/?icmp=ajc_internallink_invitationbox_apr2013_ajcstub1) I posted the the following words after midnight of Thanksgiving day in response to Wingfield’s words:
“After a lovely Thanksgiving day with family, I drove back to my home after midnight and just read your article in the Thanksgiving day paper of the AJC.
What a delightful personal story you have shared, Kyle, but it was more than your personal story because it reminded us all, once again, that life is short and the cycles within it are short, too, as are the roles we each play as we move through those cycles.
At this point in my own life, with more memories stored in my mind than new experiences, I have come to realize that each experience, whether of 60 years ago or yesterday, is equal in its “aliveness,” to every other. Each experience is like a snapshot in our minds of that moment of our lives, captured forever. At the end of our lives, all of the snapshots of our lives are equal and equally precious, whatever role we happened to be playing within each frame.
I am happy for you at your joy in being a grandson, a son, and a father, all at the same point in time – a particularly rich time for you within the total expanse of your life. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.”