Ghosts of Greatness

I had an extraordinary experience a few years ago. I was on Ellis island in New York harbor. If you haven’t been there, you should. It is a place that is energized with the resonant memory of the past.
It’s an exhilarating experience standing in what is now the Ellis Island museum. I felt the courageous spirits of our immigrant ancestors and a profound respect for their courage to embrace change. So many moved step by step through the great hall on their way to freedom.

Amid the din of other people and soft conversation. I walked the path and steps that 18-million immigrants followed. I felt their hearts as I sensed their pride at what they personally accomplished, and at what this country has become because of them and what we still can be.

These ghosts of greatness linger there, not because they came through that portal of liberty so many years ago, but because they stay to stand watch. Their presence is everywhere, in old photographs, in hundred year old scribbled messages to loved ones on a passage wall, and in the descendants, who visit here and keep it hallowed ground. Ellis island reminds us that it does not matter how or where or when potential greatness comes to this land, it only matters what one does with the manifesting dreams of freedom, opportunity and responsibility.

Fear

Some thoughts on fright.

I suppose everybody is frightened by something sometime. We have all sorts of phobias documented by science that give legitimacy to our fears. Acrophobia, thristadeckaphobia, hydrophobia and so on. Phobia is a Greek word meaning fear.

After 9/11 and rightfully so many of us developed terrorphobia. We are worried that some misfits who have no concept of the real world will again kill indiscriminately in order to effect fear and punishment.

In many ways these terrorists are a lot like the road rage guys. It’s their way or no way. The road “rager” will dart dangerously in and out of traffic creating fear and anger and counter rage.

This is where we have to be careful. If we let our counter rage, our anger, or the fear encouraged by government comment or actions to control our common sense then we give up our franchise of choice and many of the freedoms that come with that franchise.

President Roosevelt was right when he said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. I think we’ve forgotten it lately.

Global Warming

Some thoughts on troubling reports of Global Warming.

Despite the fact that some individual and organizations are trying to convince us otherwise, there is scientific evidence that shows human influence has contributed substantially to global warming and that the earth will get a lot hotter than previously predicted. Wine growers in Spain are worried. Islanders in the South Pacific are worried. We ought to be worried.

What global warming means for our children’s children is beyond devastating. Possibly the melting of the polar ice caps thereby raising the oceans levels, flooding low lying areas like Florida, Holland and much of the world’s coast lines. Very troubling possibilities. Crop failures, dust bowls, species extinction. Look at the latest UN website, http://www.un.org/works, it’s a good website and filled with global warming reports and other environmental information for serious consideration.

Nearly forty years ago satellite and space technologies gave us a view of our planet never before seen by humankind. We saw a shimmering globe from deep in space without borders, without boundaries, without fences and walls. We began to see a whole living system, with all life interrelated and interdependent. We saw the effect of choice becoming the affect of life.

What can we do?

No longer can the individual look only to the corporate polluter and say, there is the source of our pain. It’s part of it, but until we, as individuals, no longer tolerate pollution and pollutants in ourselves and in our work environments, and let our voices be heard in a clarion call to stop, we will continue to befoul our nest for future generations.

We forget, we are the nature we abuse and if we don’t protect our environment, extinction will.

Iraq War

We are now five years into the war in Iraq. The death toll of American soldiers has reached at least 4-thousand. The numbers grow each day. These men and women, sons and Fathers, daughters and Mothers are the new heroes of our republic and not only should they be honored, but so too their families for they bare the burden of a broken heart and the emptiness of a loved one gone.
It is not possible for us to recall at once all the names of those who died on the field of battle in this war. A warriors death should always have the dignity of a name said with honor. Yet all we can do is trust that someday a new etched roll will be created and memorialized in granite as other lists of heroes have been in the past.
It is not much, but it’s what we do and it is sacred.
So in this sixth year of the war, whether you agree with the war or not, let us honor those who served and serve. Send your prayers of protection for those still in harms way and shout your appreciation to the men and women of our armed services and send your good thoughts of compassion to the families left behind. They will feel it.