May 10th 1869


It was on this date in 1869 that the two coasts of the United States became connected by rail.

At that time, the state of Utah was still a territory and a spot called “Promontory” was about to received the attention of the world and mark its place in American history. It was there where the final rail was to be laid, linking the Union Pacific tracks out of Omaha, with the Central Pacific tracks out of San Francisco.

Five years of labor had gone before to bring the two to Promontory, Utah. The year was 1869, Leland Stanford, President of the Central Pacific, took a silver plated sledge hammer in his burly hands and took aim at the gold spike in the final rail. America was listening for that clank. The Railroad’s future was bright. Two engines were puffing in anticipation. The Union pacifics number 199 and the Central’s Jupiter waited to touch iron noses. All was set Sanford swung the silver hammer at the bright golden spike…..and he missed.

Somehow, now that seems appropriate. The railroads future was never perfect. Progress took a different route and a new track eventually bypassed Promontory. Then as irony would have it, the old rails were needed for steel during the 2nd world war and they were removed. Promontory today has no tracks, only a memory in May.

Mother’s Day

Some thoughts today on Mother’s Day

We know them and call them by different names, Mother, Mom, Mum and Mommy, but they all means the same thing. Love!

The word, the name, the affection we feel, just in the saying of it, never changes throughout our adult life. Our mother’s are our first nurturer, our first care giver, our first friend.

I honor all Mother’s this Sunday by remembering some of the wonderful gifts my mother gave to me and even though she long ago passed away, she lives in vibrant memory in my heart.

I remember…..

A kiss hello and a kiss good-bye.
A hug when I was hurting, even when I was an adult.
Understanding, when she didn’t.
Worry when she needn’t.
Bragging when she shouldn’t
Giving when she couldn’t.
And I will always remember her smile.

I remember too, her happy tears and laughter and her unconditional love for me that came with every hope, every success and every failure. And in the positive memory and love for my own mother, comes an acknowledgment and an appreciation for all Mom’s this Sunday.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Cyclone

The few images of need coming out of Myanmar are powerful. We are all affected by them.

Along with the cyclonic destruction of homes, crumbled buildings, and bodies, come the tears of the living. Sometimes they come in sobs, sometimes in wails of disbelief. The old cry for the loss of memories, hoping for the strength to start again. The very young cry not fully understanding the new memory of loss.

There is worry from all, especially for and from the children for their security of a familiar bed or toy vanished with an ill wind that may have claimed 100-thousand lives. Parents do what they can to comfort the little ones, to reassure, but the eyes always mirror the fearful heart.

The stolen authority of dictatorship did little to warn its people that the cyclone was coming and it has done little to help the thousands in need. The world heaps shame upon the alleged authority as the world community tries to figure out way to help the innocent.

Right now, Myanmar or Burma as it used to be called is a country that screams, you can feel it, as victims search for their lives in the puzzle of rubble and find yesterday’s peace is tomorrow’s uncertainty.

As we hear the stories of those in need, as we become numbed by the statistics of loss, we cannot feel secure because we have normalcy, because we have shelter or we have food, or because it didn’t happen here.

Instantaneous response to need defines true service. Despite the difficulties the victims of both political and nature’s wrath must know they have not been forgotten by the collective healing spirit of what we call community…of what we call the humanity of humankind.

Executions Begin Again

William Earl Lynd is dead!

He murdered and because of that heinous choice, he has forfeited his life.

The families and friends of his girl friend must once again face their sorrow and see if Lynd’s execution in Georgia and the witness of it, will ease their pain. I suspect there will always be an emptiness, a piece of their hearts they cannot mend and we should do what we can to comfort them.

It’s unlikely there will ever be a consensus on the efficacy of the death penalty. There is no way to satisfactorily compile statistics as to whether or not death is a deterrent to murder. The destiny of agreement in this case may be a perennial debate.

Perhaps the question we should ask ourselves, after every execution, is not whether the person deserved to die, the law decides that, but how do we individually react to it. In the vastness of attempted understanding there are many valid emotions; tears, anger, fear, and even relief. Vengeance, however, is one active emotion to which we must give prayerful thought before we choose to embrace it, for it is consuming and eternally unsatisfying. It is said that a higher authority claimed it a long time ago.