Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Remembrance of Hopefulness

This morning I took my granddaughter to the Altamont Free Library.  She and I both love books and reading, and I wanted to share this warm and cozy library with her.  Most of the local suburban libraries are modern and upscale, and this lovely space in an historic train station is smaller and less "techie", and I love it!!  She loved it too.  As I browsed nearby shelves, I could hear her quietly reading to herself in the soothing children's area. We finally left with several books each, and began the short trip back home.

When you reach my age and have lived in the same town forever, even a short trip causes memories to surface if you are in one of those sadly nostalgic moods.  As I travelled these country roads, with Alivia chattering away in the back seat, my mind was seeing myself on these same roads in earlier years.  Actually, I can't even remember now why I spent so much time on these backroads, but the emotions followed me on my way today. 

While life was never easy for me, there was always a sense of hope -- a feeling that some day life would be happier and less stressful.  I was always a "hopeful" person -- choosing to dwell on the brighter aspects of my days.  Today, though, the memories of those hopes and dreams that somehow never materialized left me disheartened. 

After we arrived back home from our meanderings, Alivia's parents came to pick her up.  My afternoon was quiet and I puttered in the house.  A light snow dusted the neighborhood, and I went outside to feed the birds, who always flock to the feeders when it snows.  I snapped a photo of my tiny pine tree with its coating of powdery snow, and listened to the sparrows who roost in my trellis of ivy.  The dusky afternoon slowly soothed my wistful spirit, and I put aside the "might-have-beens" that haunt me.  My warm house beckoned, and I went inside to sip a glass of wine as I put together a light Saturday night supper. 

On days such as this, when I wrap myself in a shawl of self-pity, I am reminded of a quote from a book I read several years ago.

"...we cause most of our own misery by thinking in "should-be's."  There's no use in "should-be's"...We have to find happiness in "what is." -- Lisa Wingate, in Drenched in Light

Wise words for us all!!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

My Apologies, Kiernan Romney

The past few days in the Northeast have been the perfect picture of old-fashioned winter.  How lovely it has been to look out on the beautiful snowscapes which surround us.  Such serenity is found only in nature.

However, this post is not about beauty or serenity.  It is about the climate of hatred and vitriolic rantings in our nation today.  First, let me state that I refuse to listen to those who espouse their political, religious, and moral beliefs in a manner that denigrates those who feel differently.  Years ago, when Rush Limbaugh joined the lineup of a local radio station, I listened to a couple of his hateful commentaries, and have never tuned in to that radio station again.  I was appalled. 

Of course, as years have passed, many more people have begun to use the media as a tool for spewing their hatred and intolerance of other's beliefs.  "Hate Radio" and cable news shows with markedly conservative or liberal slants are filling the airways with this trash.  Social media such as Facebook and Twitter abound with political trashing.

I was particularly appalled when I read the story of the Melissa Harris-Perry segment on MSNBC last weekend.  Apparently, in an "end of the year" spoof, a family photo of Mitt Romney and his grandchildren was shown, with derogatory "jokes" about his adopted Black grandson, Kiernan.  Apparently, this was intended as some sort of criticism of the Republican party's "whiteness."

I am not a supporter of Mitt Romney, or the Republican party, but this was disgusting to me -- to target an innocent little baby, who was fortunate enough to be adopted into a large family of faith, love and security -- all in an effort to make a political statement.  Despicable!!!!  Harris-Perry apologized, but once hurtful words are spoken, it is impossible to apologize them away.

This climate of hatred in our nation is destructive and divisive.  I have very strong political beliefs, so I can understand the emotions behind the hateful ravings on each side of issues.  However, in order for our country to mend and grow, we must learn to respect the beliefs of others.  We must learn to listen calmly to ideas and solutions with which we may not agree.  And, most importantly, we must learn once again to compromise. 

The problems of our nation will not be solved with "stick to your guns" politics; the better solution will be one of working together across political lines -- taking the best ideas from each party and forging ahead.  This, I believe, is the way democracy should work.

We have a choice here.  We can go on listening to hate radio and passing on hateful Facebook posts, and applauding the failures of our politicians, rather than their successful implementation of various laws and programs.  We can continue along this path of destruction, where hatred rules, and where a nation can watch a group of adults single out one little child for the sake of political ridicule.  Or, each of us can turn off the hateful rantings, listen carefully to the ideas of others, and begin to make a difference in our society.

Which will it be??!!