Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

This Memorial Day weekend, I am reflecting on the fallen service men and women, and others who sacrificed for us through the years, and are doing so now. I am also thinking of two friends whose funerals we will be attending Tuesday and Wednesday. Particularly S., who I knew better.

S. battled cancer 4 years. He had so much spirit, and was always courageous and upbeat, even when living through cancer and its debilitating treatment. He was a psychiatrist, greatly interested in people. His particular hobby was learning and exploring Byzantine culture and history. He and his wife M's favorite foreign country was Turkey. Over the years, he taught a few classes at our church on Byzantine Christianity. We facilitated a mourner's path workshop together for several years. He was always seeking ways to reach out to others, and was full of ideas for helping the community. He'll be greatly missed by many. Here was his favorite quote, which seems especially appropriate this holiday:

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we only see the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places -- and there are many -- where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory. Life is meaningless only if we allow it to be. Each of us has the power to give life meaning; to make our time and our bodies and our words into instruments of love and hope.

--Howard Zinn (historian)

20 comments:

Doris Sturm said...

Wise words indeed. I must come back and re-read these, because it's so easy to feel defeated in light of all the evil and bad things that are happening all around us. I struggle almost every day with this dilemma of "why bother, with all the horror that is going on in this word" but if we didn't "bother" then there would be no good at all and only the bad would remain, so we must try every day, in every way, to keep hope and joy alive in all of us and those around us - animals and plants included. It's all about life and living and growing and surviving.

Happy Memorial Day weekend. I'm sorry for your loss.

AkasaWolfSong said...

I so very much agree with you Doris!

Greetings I Wonder Wye! I have to smile as I have been here before and I am so happy you stopped by my blog so that I have made my way back to yours. It is the web of life then.
I'm sorry for the loss of your friends Dear One. I am sure he will be missed by the many.
The quote is powerful and full of vision...it certainly resonates with me. It is one quote that everyone should read, ponder, and might I say ahem! live by?
Do have a safe and sacred Memorial Day...I will be reflecting right along with you.
So nice to have met you and connect! :)

Amy said...

hey there, thank you so much for your comment at my blog :-)

Cheeseboy said...

Wow. Sounds like an amazing guy. Really liked the last quote.

e said...

S sounds like an incredible person, and I am sorry for your loss...

Thanks bunches for the tea. I'm enjoying the very first cup of leaf Earl Grey right now and raising my cup to you!

可欣 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mary Witzl said...

I love that quote and I could hardly agree more: that remembering the good people have done and the times that have behaved well can gives us the strength to follow suit, in however small a way.

Your friend sounds like an exemplary human being. Good for you for keeping him alive by remembering him.

French Fancy said...

Oh poor you, two funerals in a week. I know they should really be a celebration of the life that has now passed, but it's so hard to stay upbeat when you realise that you will never spend time with that person again.

Changing the subject - you are so beautiful in that photo and the fact that you are involved with animals makes me know that you are beautiful inside as well. Thank you for leaving a comment at my blog and I hope to return regularly

French Fancy said...

p.s. I just went to look at your website. What a magnificent thing you do. I hope the cabin project helps get you more funds - it's a great idea. You just need to get a celebrity or two on board (but I suppose you've give this a lot of thought).

Nora Johnson said...

Can only echo French Fancy's words above. I'm so sorry for your loss - such an awfully sad time.

The cabin project sounds great. A local charity (the hospice Cudeca) for which I do whatever I can (amongst other things, donating all future profits from my novel) has just managed to get Antonio Banderas (plus his wife Melanie Griffiths) involved. It's just this type of publicity (and these celebrities' high-profile contacts) that's crucial. I wish you every success!

Many thanks for commenting - I'll return as often as I can.

XOXO LOLA:)

Nora Johnson said...

PS Wonder if Jeff Bridges happens to be free currently? (Have a thing for him too!)

LOLA:)

myletterstoemily said...

wow! i cannot imagine how you found my
humble little blog. you are so erudite and
accomplished!

well, it was fun while it lasted. :)

Carol............. said...

What wonderful words from your heart. So sad for to loose someone but then how joyful to know that they are truly on to a brand new adventure.

Crazy Heart is indeed one of those movies that will stay with you for a long while...and longer. Jeff Bridges is one of my favorites, also.......and this is his best so far.

Lynette said...

Hi, this was a wonderful post to read...I love the idea of honoring the fallen heroes of a country.

Thank you for your kind words and thank you for providing a haven for the wild mustang...even though the battle often times feel uphill it is always worth it in the end.

Nora Johnson said...

Hi Amy!

Just tried to email the reply below but the server here in Spain rejected your email address?!

What an interesting story and what a coincidence to meet WS in person - such a fine actor in Dancing with Wolves and Avatar. But it's sometimes surprising just how small the world is. When I lived in LA in the 80's, I was standing in line to see a Star Wars movie at Westwood, and looked behind and there was Anne Heywood whom I'd seen in The Fox with Sandy Dennis! I was too surprised to say anything!

I notice from your profile we share some movie favourites: Rear Window, Casablanca, Pride & Prejudice (with Colin Firth, of course!) Now Colin or Jeff - that's another question!

Really hope your project's successful. It might be worth getting in touch with WS again now you've made that vital initial contact. But I'm sure you've already considered that...

With best wishes,

Nora

Haddock said...

Life is meaningless only if we allow it to be. .......... very true.

THELOOKING_GLASS said...

Hi there,
Thank you for commenting on my blog.. My blog feels so trivial compared to yours.. But, one uses whatever tools they have to escape the challenges at our door step.

XOX

The Urban Cowboy said...

Thanks for stopping by! I'm truly sorry for the loss of S. He sounds like he lived an amazingly human and positive life, who touched those around him...as well as others who have not had the pleasure to meet in person. The quote is a powerful one indeed. Thank you again, my prayers and thoughts are with you.

Andrea said...

Sorry to hear of your losses. Hopefully, your weekend will be bright!

angelonwheels said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. How did you find me? Sounds like you have a wealth of intrest. My mom is a cancer survivor. You have sure been through a lot!