worth remembering

I was driving through downtown Nashville a few days ago and saw a pillared but otherwise non-descript beige façade, as so many building are, outside the realm of honky-tonks and guitar shops.  But something caught the corner of my eye.  It was a little bundle of words dug into a block of stone set on the side facing Church Street.  It said, “War Memorial Building.”

I quickly diverted my eyes.  Who wants to remember  war, I thought.  My mind was pulled back into sharp focus of busy streets — pedestrians darting against green lights, a game between time and nerve; buses halting unexpectedly to spew and swallow mothers, jokers, students and a few business suits.

Later that night, those words flashed before me as I set my guitar down after plunking out a few tunes.  A war memorial.  Surely there is a meaningful way to make sense of what my heart can never make sense of.

When I was a little girl, I came to America with my family of brown skin.  I remember the looks of wonderment I got from the country folk and school kids.  In a little mid-western town, where the most outrageous thing that happens is Farmer Joe’s roof getting relocated to the cow pasture by a twister, or Uncle Sam getting out of jail before Aunt Sally can find his still and make a sweet profit on corn-squeezins.  Being different does have its advantages!  It was into this world of shrunken horizons that we landed.

After the initial shock wore off, the kids at school began to talk to me.  Sometimes they would reach out tenuously to touch the deviating shades of skin tone never before beheld by their sophomoric eyes.  Fascination eventually overcame caution and a few kids would rub the back of my hand and say, “Does that come off?”  I finally started saying, “No, I’m made of chocolate.  Through and through.”  We’d laugh and then they’d bite me.

Color of skin, color of flags, color of gods can’t be discerned by a soldier’s last breath or a baby’s first cry.

If I could make a war memorial, it would be:

Please remember:
Every flower is precious, whether it’s red or purple or yellow or blue.  A world with just one type of flower would be flat.

Please remember:
Everyone is someone’s child.

Please remember:
The eyes behind a burqa or Foster Grants harbor a lifetime of stories, questions, strivings, hopes, and relationships, just the same.

Please remember:
The nuancic differences between our DNA may delineate vanilla or chocolate or strawberry but our souls come from the same warm hearth.  We all long for the same things – to be understood, to feel important to someone, to make a difference in someone’s life, to feel satisfaction from what we pour our time and effort into, etc.

Please remember:
The monster, Greed, is a hollow-faced emptiness that gets bigger when you feed it, and grows up to be desperation.

Please remember:
You are safe only when you befriend your enemy.  When you befriend yourself, no one can be your enemy.

Mostly remember:
Love keeps no record of wrongs.  I read that somewhere.  And every choice we make is based on love or fear.  My daughter read that somewhere.

So in memoriam, please remember:  Love.

Thanks to awwproject.org for photo




sorrow knocked
    but couldn’t be heard
        above the music

sadness waited
    but couldn’t be seen
        for the dancing

so they clasped hands
    clicked their heels to join in
        and disappeared

—- shashi light

thanks to starflowerdance.com for photo

smarter than your average frog

I saw this billboard of Kermie a couple days ago, while driving back from visiting a friend.  While I was there we talked about our dreams.  She shared with me her vision for a new company she’s starting.  The purpose of her company is to uplift people — to send a message out to the world that we are each powerful beings who can create whatever it is we want out of life.  And those old tapes running through our psyche, which may be limiting us or telling us that we need to fit into a certain mold or someone else’s idea of who we should be, are just crumbling beliefs that cannot hold us back anymore.

So YAY!!  Be who you want to be!  Say what is burning inside you to proclaim about yourself!  Break free from paradigms that don’t serve you anymore!  See the truth about yourself clearly and love every part of you completely!  Claim your innate power to create what you want to experience!  There is no blame or shame, only a shift in perspective.  The power that creates worlds is the power inside each of us.  Isn’t that an amazing thought?  I can hardly fathom it.

In the midst of what seems bleak, claim beauty, and it will grow and grow and grow.  I once saw daffodils growing on a garbage dump.  We can be that brave, too!

Just listening to my friend’s sage words and being around her contagious enthusiasm, helped me stoke up the embers of my heart that had slipped into a sort of dormancy.  Maybe I had forgotten . . . forgotten how to take risks, how to listen to my heart, how to believe in the impossible. Maybe I’ve been too long anchored at the safe shore.

thanks to: www.flickr.com for photo of Kermit