“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! It’s going to be the greatest thing that’s ever happened!! Ever!!”

Now, you might think these are the words of some high-pressure salesman peddling Ginsu Knives or a Timeshare in Timbuktu, but it’s actually a man talking about tomorrow’s total solar eclipse. He lives in the “Zone of Totality” and he’s as excited as all get-out.

“I can’t think of anything else I’ve ever experienced that will ever even come close! Ever! Not one thing! It’s life-changing!”

Not as excited: his wife, hovering nearby, just out of camera range.

You can feel she’s doing the math in her head.

Huh.

No event as meaningful?

Our marriage?

The birth of our three children?

As he finished the interview, he looked at his wife briefly and held her gaze. While I couldn’t see her face, I could extrapolate from his what she conveyed silently.

I’ll bet this was his internal dialogue:

Uh-oh. Wonder how I’m getting home. Guess I’ll be surfing the sofa tonight!

The “Zone of Totality” is going to be kind of chilly for that guy! He wasn’t using the good sense the Good Lord gave him.

I’m not sure what people expect to happen, but it really has been over-hyped. One town hired an “Eclipse Event Manager” two years ago!

In fact, I don’t think it’s a good idea to tell people to look at the eclipse, because somebody is going to end up with damaged vision.

If you’re in the Zone, please use your good sense and remember this: looking at the eclipse for even a moment without certified eyewear can damage your eyes permanently. Why not just stay home and watch it on NASA’s Livestream?

As for our formerly-hyped up guy from the interview, I wish him good luck in the doghouse. Silver lining is, he’ll probably get a decent view of the eclipse from there!

We all see things that need to be changed. It is time to create the opportunity.

Even when I was a little kid, I was the one who’d find a way. “You just couldn’t stand to be told no,” my mom would say.  “You’d tuck your chin and just stare.  I knew you were trying to figure out how to get around it.”

And that still describes me today.  After my mom died, I wanted to work with one of her knitting patterns.  So I got a book and taught myself to knit.  That’s the same way I learned to crochet.  Today this would be a lot easier because Youtube has so many great instructional videos.

Bureaucracy.  Tradition -don’t say that’s how we’ve always done it.  Technology.  There has to be a way to work around it.  It just might take me a while to figure it out.  The latest and greatest tool in my arsenal?  My eighteen-year-old.  Oddly enough, I feel a lot closer to my mom now.  Because I’m the one watching my kid try to work around whatever stands in his way.

But that’s okay.  Because sometimes, a lot of times really, things do need to change.  Not only is he spotting barriers that escaped my notice, he’s finding a way over them.  It’s no surprise to his father and I that he’s planning to work with Engineers without Borders.  National boundaries, social barriers, pfft.  God gave us all talents.  It is up to us to use them.

–SueBE

 

 

 

 

Surely, I’m going to write about Charlottesville. How could I not write about Charlottesville? How could anyone remain silent as evil surges through the streets; as so-called “Christians” claim not to hate anyone, while in the next breath asserting that they would never break bread with a person of color; as a woman is killed by Nazis on American soil?

I need to take a breath. I feel sick.

I feel sick when I reckon that 34% of this country stands with a guy who sees no difference between White Supremacists and those brave enough to stand up to them. I feel sick when I think of the lie of history behind those “beautiful statues” (mostly dedicated in the early 1900s, when Jim Crow laws started being enacted, and the rest in the 1960s when the Civil Rights movement was burgeoning). I feel sick when I think of the hate burning in the hearts of all of those polo-shirted white guys marching with their tiki torches, as if they were waylaid en route to a suburban barbecue.

I am heart-sore. Weary. Nauseated. And yet, I know how privileged I am — what must our black friends, our Jewish friends, be thinking and feeling? It makes me want to swoon into despair.

SueBe and Ruth, my co-bloggers, have been my lights this week, reminding me not to give into the darkness. To keep my candle lit so that others can add their own little lights to it, so maybe we can make a path through the darkness and into a better place. What would I do — what would any of us do — without the support of those who “get it,” who feel as we feel and recognize that what’s on the line isn’t about politics; it’s about good versus evil?

So, for everyone out there too sick and sad and sore to grab onto the life preserver of hope, let me be an outstretched hand. Good people still exist. They’re out there. Maybe they need to make a little more noise, but they’re out there.

And I love you, and I stand with you, and I will hold out my candle defiantly, no matter what occurs. We will not let hatred win. Because no matter which biblical excerpts some people mutilate in order to justify their racism, there is one that trumps (ha!) them all: “7 My dear friends, let us love one another, since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.8 Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4: 7-8)

Let love mend us. Amen!

When I saw this quote, it really hit home because of the language so many of us use without thinking.  Those people.  The Germans. The South. Republicans. Muslims. It is so easy to vilify the many because of the actions of the few.  

Then Charlottesville.

A handful of the cruel from here.  A handful from there.  Another couple from over this way. Throw ’em all together and what do you have?  A river of torches moving down the streets.  Riots.  Hatred galore.

Condemn cruelty.  Stand against the perpetrators.  But don’t use it to condemn a religion, a culture or a state.  There are those working to do good even there. And if a handful of us carrying the Light of Christ come together with another handful and a few from here and a few from there.  Christ’s Light will surely push back the darkness.

–SueBE

Today, I’d like to challenge each and every one of you.  Call out the beauty that you see.  

Yes, we need to see what is wrong in this world before we can change it.  But if we dwell on the negative?  If we focus on the hate?  We lose hope.

And we lose more than hope.  We lose Light.  Not that Christ turns from us, and maybe this isn’t even true for everyone, but me?  I lose sight of the Light. I lose that feeling of warmth and His Love.

As with so many things, you need to maintain a balance.  Yes, you need to be aware of what is imperfect and flawed and needs to change.  But you also need to hold onto what is right and good.

With that in mind?  These two ladies I work with here?  Lori and Ruth, thank you for holding up the Light for all of us to see.

–SueBE

 

What do you see that needs to change?

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Despite my beloved mother’s best efforts (God rest) and the hours she put in playing Bach on the piano, I’m still nowhere near as cultured and refined as she was. She’d quote Chaucer for me, in middle English. She’d school me on the origin of words.

Still, I’m just an easily-distracted, uncultured, good-natured gal from New Jersey.

Doesn’t matter if I’m looking right at you as you tell me your long-winded spiel. In my mind, I’ve gone to Carolina.

Watching this video of Hilary Hahn, I was reminded of my mother playing Bach on the piano.

I’m amazed at how beautiful even one note can sound in the right hands. At the same time, I’m also utterly distracted by the fact that her producer looks like a combination of Fred Mertz (of I Love Lucy) and Cheech Marin (of Cheech and Chong).

Then I realized that her conductor looks like Art Garfunkel (of Simon and Garfunkel). 😎

So whilst (little faux fanciness for ya) I try to be good at culcha, alls I can really do is appreciate it in my own New Jersey way. I’ll never have tea with the queen, p’raps, but I like to spin a yarn and have a good laugh.

I noticed that when Hahn plays, her whole body moves in a particular choreography. It’s as if she knows that she can’t reach the notes with her hands unless her feet move in a certain way at the same time.

Her whole body is her instrument.

In the same way, your whole life is your testament.

Most of the people you meet would never stand still and let you convert them to your beliefs.

All of the people you meet are seeing, hearing and feeling your beliefs every time you speak.

With all that’s going on in the world, all I can do is offer you this cozy corner where you’ll always be welcomed like a friend and we can share our stories. I don’t care who you are or where you’re from, kind people. You’re okay with me.

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