The following is a comment I posted on the team treasury thread of my favorite etsy team, Shiny Happy People. https://www.etsy.com/teams/11263/shiny-happy-
This portion began as a comment to Jill in Australia, but morphed into a stream of consciousness about today's explosions at the Boston Marathon.
Jill had originally shared a story about the Rainbow Crossing created in Sydney as part of a Mardi Gras celebration. She also shared this link, www.facebook.com/DIYrainbowcrossings
She felt it was, and I agree, a heartwarming balance to today's grim news from Boston.
Here is what I wrote:
Jill LOVED The DIY rainbow crossings...rather makes it a good thing that the city officials were so tight-@55 ed about it...so they provided a gift to the world: their inflexibility led the world to speak up in so many loving and beautiful ways....so we are grateful for the role they played, because now we have a much more powerful sense of our collective joy. Were it not for the chalk rainbows, I would never have heard of the rainbow crossing. So, from a different perspective, I am glad of the gift of inflexibility.
This afternoon and tonight I was struck by the images from Boston played and replayed on the news....the site of the first explosion, all those flags...it seems an attack on all nations, on all the people who came together for the race...and the initial blast did not take any flags down. It was as if the earth herself were standing with all nations, all people, against the blast.
Tonight, sitting in my quiet house...my husband at work, my daughter in another state, my son on a night ferry between Greece and Italy, I cannot believe that the world is a horrible place. the world is a wonderful place, and most of the people are good and loving and true. I cannot live in fear.
I will not live in fear. Not for my husband, not for my kids, not for your husbands or your kids....not for the loved ones in Boston or Australia, or anywhere else.
I choose to live my life in love. Whether we come together to run a race or to make our rainbows seen, it is all the good in us that will help heal the wounds left by the few that are so lost or so angry or so desperately unhappy that see no option but violence.
Slowly I have come to a place where I can have compassion for all the beings on the earth, even those among us who do us the most hurt. I can see where, in the context of our history, their actions only serve to bind us closer together, to be more compassionate with one another, to reach to one another for healing and comfort and love.
The child killed in Boston to day was eight years old. How close in age to the twenty children lost to us in Connecticut last December. My sister told me that the last mile of the marathon was dedicated to the memory of those last in Newton, that many Newtown family members were there, along that last mile. I wonder will any of them meet with the parents and family of that eight year old? Will they be able to share in this new grief, to help hold it, to support these parents because of what they themselves still hold? In a sad and tragic way, only they can truly sympathize with the parents of that small boy tonight. How terrible that their great sorrow may be of some help to others tonight.
Singer/songwriteer Cheryl Wheeler sang, "A broken heart keeps beating all the same." I am with you, Shiny Happies, my heart is broken again as well, but I will not give in to fear or to sadness or to hate. It is our love for one another that keeps our broken hearts beating. It is, in fact, the only way to healing.
Just needed it get that out, ...thank you all for your patience.
The first day, I responded as a higher dimensional being. I
contacted other Light Workers to be sure the souls of the children startled out
of their bodies so suddenly, had found their way into the Light, not left
wandering in confusion and fear. I sent
love in protective wave after protective wave to those left in such profound
sorrow. I sent love and compassion to a
soul so tortured that killing children seemed his best option.
The second day, I responded as a three dimensional mother,
curled on my side in bed, contracted in such grief and sadness that only deep,
desperate sleep could contain it.
There is a scene in the African Queen, when Humphrey Bogart
and Katharine Hepburn have gone as far as they can go in the reedy waters of
the river they are following. At one point, Charlie Alnut is literally dragging
the boat behind him. He struggles along in muddy water up to his chest, leaches
covering him, sun baking his head. At last, he can go no farther. The boat is
stuck: the reeds too close. Rosie helps
haul his exhausted body back on board. She helps him tear the horrid leaches
off his skin. They decide they have done all they can do. They give up. They
lie down together on deck to await death.
The camera pans up.
From above the mast of their small craft, the viewer sees
what they cannot: twenty feet away is
open water. While our heroes sleep, rain falls, lifting their boat free. When
they awake, they are redeemed. Their boat has drifted into open water. They
rise, rejoice, and they resume their travels. They are energized; amazed. They are giddy with the relief of their renewed
hope. Their faces shine.
From my own reaction to twenty-eight deaths that awful day
in December, I can feel so deeply the difference between the hopelessness of
the view of our limited human experience and the solace of a higher
perspective. We are bereft. We struggle to understand. We grieve deeply and
forever the losses we suffer. There is no way to tear off the leeches of our
sorrow. We are devastated. It is beyond our ability to imagine living a moment
We pan up. We lift our consciousness. For a moment, pried
out of the limited suffering of three dimensions, we may see this from the mast
of our own scuttled ship.
For reasons we cannot fully fathom, these souls left this
world together. Their passing has drawn us closer in compassion and love. Their
leaving has galvanized us in our commitment to comfort one another. Our lives
turn in our resolve to change our society. Together, we celebrate the Light they shared
among us for so brief a time. They leave us breathless with love. They shine.
So today is 12 October 2012. Here is a paragraph from an e-mail I sent this morning to a friend who teaches on the college level:
Since June of 1983 I have been a certified teacher in the state of CT, in both regular and special ed. Not tomorrow. Today my certification runs out...and I have let it, knowing I will never again be subjected to the filthy machine that is public education. I have always been a teacher, I will always be a teacher...one day, maybe, I will be called Teacher, but for now, it is enough for me to watch the last gurgle of air leave the sunken ship of that part of my life. Finally, it is over. I am truly free.
In the wake of No Child Left Behind, we have No Teacher Left Standing.
I am proud of the work I did, of the children and families I was able to reach, to help, to encourage and love. I am grateful for the lessons that teaching has taught me as well. Mostly, I am glad of the people I met, the teachers I have known and loved, and the laughter that was, sometimes, all that could sustain us.
Mrs. Savoy was the paraprofessional assigned to my first self-contained class. It was a good year before I could call her by her first name. Our working relationship outlasted my first marriage by a good ten years. Quite an honor to work with such a naturally talented colleague. So lovely to count her among my friends.
Periodically we take out my Hush Puppies shoe box of photographs from the 80s and laugh ourselves breathless at the adventures we shared. We share "Aww"s and happy head-shaking at the children in our care. Carson and Tammy and Kenny...Nicole's wildly infectious laughter...John L and Spig....Adam, and Cary and Sarah, oh, Sarah...and sweet, sweet Laura...their pride in their accomplishments and our tears at their joy. Nothing on Earth like The Best Class Graduation Day.
I regret that I did not teach long enough to work for Mr.Murdzek as he is far and away the best teacher I have ever known, certainly he was, as I have told him so often "The beat principal I never worked for." We met, in fact shared a room, when I was the primary special education teacher and he was a reading paraprofessional for the first grade.
This man built a cardboard yellow submarine and put a video screen up to its porthole. Small groups of first graders could climb aboard, observe the sea creatures shown on the video, and later write about their adventures. I have never seen children so eager to write. Also, since the undersea video ran all morning, different groups saw different creatures,thus adding to the excitement of sharing their writing.
Mr Murdzek and I worked together the year he taught first grade;co-taught writing and so much else at the third grade level for three years; and later we co-taught as I provided special education service to children during his years teaching fifth grade. Now he has administrative certification. What better man to lead a school into the twenty-first century?
There were a few years in there when every day was a joyous adventure. When we would get there early and stay there late working off each others' energy and excitement. There were four of us, Mr. Crispino and Mrs. Cutler rounding out our circle of genius. I laugh out loud to remember those days.
So today all the sadness and disappointment I have not written about goes down with the ship. I can still have lunch with Mrs. Savoy and Mr. Murdzek. We will always laugh because it was so so amazing in so so many ways.
Today I am a teacher. Tomorrow I will be me some more.
Today is his birthday. He would have been forty---what? Forty-five. .
He was just twenty-one when he died. Coming home too late,
too fast, too drunk, leaning his motorcycle into a curve that sent him sprawling, his helmet flung twenty feet from where
they found his body.
This isn’t about the hours that stretched into days in the
icu waiting room. It is not about a man who never regained consciousness, words
of love slipping from his ears, un-heard.
This is about remembering a young man,who loved hiking. Once, when chided by
his girlfriend about the risks involved in peeing off a cliff, he mentioned off-handedly
that he was an organ donor. This is
about his generous parents, who, in spite of their deep and sudden grief,
allowed his wish to be fulfilled. This is about the family who prayed for a
miracle, but got seven; only they were for seven other people, not their
own beloved Ed.
Mostly this is about how, twenty-four years after his organs
were rushed to various parts of the state, the portrait I painted of him still
hangs six feet two and a half-inches up on my wall. This is about how, in the scheme of eternity,
the comfort comes in knowing that the heart I could not bear to stop beating,
“Thank God for Ryan White”
The TV droned in the background, a nuisance to me, but not my home, so there we were. One of the men was talking about getting a new dresser for his room, when a commercial about pharmaceutical companies suggested a tangent. He told us that his medications cost seven hundred dollars a month. “Thank God for Ryan White!” He spoke his blessing sincerely, this middle-aged man with AIDS. He shook his head.
Thank God for Ryan White. I remember Ryan White, his life, the injustices that fear fanned into outrageous proportions. At the time I was not a yet a mother myself, but it is his mother I always hold in my heart when I hear his name now. How hellish was her life then? Heart-sick and afraid for her child, the uncertainly of AIDS was hard enough to shoulder. She and her family were burdened further with the public outcry against her son, a ragged, angry clamor born of ignorance, intolerance and fear, fear, FEAR.
In 1990, The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act was signed into law just months after Ryan White died. Reauthorized in 1996, 2000 and 2006, this legislation provides billions of dollars of assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS.
So now, in 2012, folks are still thanking God for Ryan White. Would somebody please let his mother know?
26 May 2012
Grandpa Joseph Nicholas Angelo served in The Great War (...WW I....they called it The War to End All Wars......ah well....)
..anyway, he was a private who lived to tell us grandchildren carefully edited stories about his time in France. He lived happily enough until just almost his 93rd birthday.
He never missed a parade and always held his hat over his heart until the flags had passed.
We the People, enjoy your potato salad (and jelly beans, as the case may be). Remember someone who did not come back, or someone who came back and left friends behind. I'm taking my son, Josef Angelo, to put a flag on his great-grandfather's grave.
25 May 2012
The flags appeared overnight.
It was 1992
I had just moved onto Elm Street.
No signs, no explanation, just
flag after flag.
I found myself
at a Memorial Day parade.
It is my understanding
that the flags
line the parade route.
that rather than just
where we have been,
that tell us
where we will go,
That is the title of the image that you see on my home page and business cards. There is a story to tell about that work. I'll write it up and post it soon, but not today.
If you know a Bogdan story, I would love to hear it.
This is the twenty-fifth time the lilacs have bloomed since I brought them to his wake.
15 April 2012
Still getting the hang of this cyber stuff. The e-mail fail post was from earlier this month, but just figured out today how it got to be put in a different place...having found out earlier this week that it needed to be moved...and today I managed to re-do my ABOUT page, and added an ART page that no-one can actually access yet because while I could CREATE the page, I didn't know how to create one of those nifty boxes that you can click on and actually GET to the page.....which is just as well because once there, the Tabor House birdhouse images I had wanted to put there in the FIRST place, were not co-operating.....so I am just going to unplug, sit on the front porch and watch it get dark. At least that is something I have always been able to do completely on my own and web-free. Adios.
7 April 2012
So I sent a happy little "Tell me what you think."
e-mail out to my favorite cronies to invite them to view my new site. I
forgot to include the link--which ended up being a very good thing. Some
of their responses were what you might expect, the gentle
nudge-nudg-wink-wink reminder that I had, in fact, just had a very
public senior moment....yet others told me what they thought.
Hilarious! I am going to have to send e-mails like that a LOT more
Oh, while we are on the subject of e-mails. I
particularly enjoy my weekday notes from the cosmos. Check out tut.com
and sign up. It will change the way you think.