Archive for the 'Life that Works' Category

Life that Works: Only Time to Love

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

“He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Two boys from our local high school were swept into the ocean and drowned this afternoon while attending one of the first social events for the annual Mr. Axeman competition. Their friends stood by on the beach and saw them swept away, powerless to save them. It is impossible to imagine the mixed intensity of grief, terror and guilt that the survivors shared or the sense of tragic and senseless loss that ripples through our community.

Every parent’s worst nightmare is the sudden loss of their child and in our community, these are rare accidents of nature or sometimes personal crisis turned suicidal. The gravity of accidental death makes you reconsider the number of deaths of young boys that are deliberate, a result of one’s nationality, home address or government conflicts. Losing our children, lovers, or friends is a powerful fuel for the belief in enemies. Military conflicts are nothing but loss generators and the score-keeping that reflects the deaths of so many, offers nothing of the real tragedy that comes to define the family and community experience.

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Life That Works: Technologically Positive

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

“This is perhaps the most beautiful time in human history; it is really pregnant with all kinds of creative possibilities made possible by science and technology which now constitute the slave of man – if man is not enslaved by it.” ~Jonas Salk

Last week while navigating the endless freeways connecting Southern California, I was overcome with wonder and gratitude for the advent of GPS technology. It is strange and a little disquieting to have no idea where you are or where you are going, yet fully confidently following the voice directions of a woman in a box that sits on my dash. The idea that this box knows where I am, even when I don’t, and can locate the nearest Whole Foods with precision is at once remarkable and slightly Big Brotherly in a way that I don’t want to consider.

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Life that Works: Finding Forgiveness

Friday, February 4th, 2011

“Forgiving is love’s toughest work, and love’s biggest risk.  If you twist it into something it was never meant to be, it can make you a doormat or an insufferable manipulator.  Forgiving seems almost unnatural.  Our sense of fairness tells us people should pay for the wrong they do.  But forgiving is love’s power to break nature’s rule.”  ~Lewis B. Smedes

Sometimes forgiveness catches you by surprise. It happens when every reason to maintain your distance and all pain that keeps your heart from someone, evaporate.  I have been struggling to find my center lately, a lonely space that inspired me to reach out to an old friend that I had missed very much over the last several months.  Perhaps we were both searching for our center, because we connected in that old place and all that had to be said was how sorry we were and how much we wanted to be forgiven.

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Life that Works: Holding Center

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

“Finding the center of strength within ourselves is in the long run the best contribution we can make to our fellow men. … One person with indigenous inner strength exercises a great calming effect on panic among people around him. This is what our society needs — not new ideas and inventions; important as these are, and not geniuses and supermen, but persons who can “be”, that is, persons who have a center of strength within themselves.”   -Rollo May

This morning was cold and clear as I walked with my dogs through our city’s botanical garden. There is a bench that was built and dedicated  to a teenage girl who took her own life two years ago.  The bench her father had constructed  in her memory was decorated this morning by a ring of red candles and a bouquet of flowers that her friends had left with a note that she remained in their thoughts and heart.  I sat by her flowers, thinking of how easy it is, especially when you are a teenager, to so completely lose your emotional balance that the pain of life is too unbearable.  I wonder still, what could have interrupted that too brief moment of reflection and restored to her a path back to herself.

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A Long Shadow of Love

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011