Lets Never Do That Again: Stories
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Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. Friends move away, children grow up, loved ones pass on. For two years his family had no idea whether he was dead or alive. His captors in Hanoi eventually allowed him to write home but limited his message to less than 25 words. Press on, set goals, write history, take pictures twice a year.
Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family. One day each of us will run out of tomorrows. In the play Emily Webb dies in childbirth, and we read of the lonely grief of her young husband, George, left with their four-year-old son.
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Emily does not wish to rest in peace; she wants to experience again the joys of her life. She is granted the privilege of returning to earth and reliving her 12th birthday. At first it is exciting to be young again, but the excitement wears off quickly. The day holds no joy now that Emily knows what is in store for the future.
It is unbearably painful to realize how unaware she had been of the meaning and wonder of life while she was alive. Our realization of what is most important in life goes hand in hand with gratitude for our blessings. Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.
Many years ago I was touched by the story of Borghild Dahl.
She was born in Minnesota in of Norwegian parents and from her early years suffered severely impaired vision. She had a tremendous desire to participate in everyday life despite her handicap and, through sheer determination, succeeded in nearly everything she undertook. Against the advice of educators, who felt her handicap was too great, she attended college, receiving her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Minnesota.
She later studied at Columbia University and the University of Oslo. She eventually became the principal of eight schools in western Minnesota and North Dakota.
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I could see a book only by holding it up close to my face and by straining my one eye as hard as I could to the left. A new and exciting world opened up before her. She took great pleasure in the small things most of us take for granted, such as watching a bird in flight, noticing the light reflected in the bubbles of her dishwater, or observing the phases of the moon each night. I thank Thee. Borghild Dahl, both before and after her sight was restored, was filled with gratitude for her blessings. In , two years before she died, at the age of 92 her last book was published.
Its title: Happy All My Life. Her attitude of thankfulness enabled her to appreciate her blessings and to live a full and rich life despite her challenges. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. May we cherish those we hold dear and express our love to them in word and in deed. Why are we here?
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Where does my spirit go when I die? He taught us how to pray. He taught us how to serve. He taught us how to live.
Finding Joy in the Journey
His life is a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved. The time came when He stood alone. Some Apostles doubted; one betrayed Him. The Roman soldiers pierced His side. The angry mob took His life. Yet He invites you and me to receive Him. Who was this Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief? Who is the King of glory, this Lord of hosts?
He is our Master. Diana Nyad, the world-famous swimmer who has just revealed that starting when she was 14 her Olympic-champion swim coach began sexually assaulting her, talks about the harm she suffered, the way that it changed who she was, diminished her well-being. For me, being silenced was a punishment equal to the molestation. We treat the physical assault and the silencing after as two separate things, but they are the same, both bent on annihilation.
Domestic violence and rape are acts that say the victim has no rights, not to self-determination or bodily integrity or dignity; that is a brutal way to be made voiceless, to have no say in your life and fate. Then to not be believed or to be humiliated or punished or pushed out of your community or your family—or in the case of Rose McGowan after Harvey Weinstein allegedly raped her, followed by spies intent on containing your voice and undermining your truth—is to be treated the same way over again.
The bus rolls forward on a red carpet of women. Trump gets out of the bus and brags about getting away with grabbing women by the pussy and gets elected president less than a month later. Fellow straight men in comedy apparently formed a protective wall of silence around Louis CK, making it clear that the man who kept jerking off at unwilling, non-consenting, appalled women was more valuable than those women were and would remain more audible than them.
Until something broke; until journalists went fishing for the stories that had been hidden in plain sight. And the stories poured forth: about publishers, restaurateurs, directors, famous writers, famous artists, famous political organizers. We know these stories. We know how the victim in the Steubenville rape was harassed and threatened for reporting a rape by her high school peers.
Four adults in the school district were indicted for obstructing justice by covering up the crimes. The message was clear: boys matter more than girls. One investigation reported that 75 percent of women who report workplace sexual harassment faced retaliation.
We would be a different society. We have shifted a little over the past years or so, but since the Civil War, black people have still been held back, since women got the vote 77 years ago, women of all colors have still been kept out, and of course black women got it both ways.
Who would we be if our epics and myths, our directors and media moguls, our presidents, congressmen, chief executive officers, billionaires were not so often white and male? For the men now being exposed controlled the stories—often literally as radio executives, film directors, heads of university departments. These stories are doors we walk through or doors that slam in our faces. It is to the credit of Diana Nyad that, despite having a rapist as a coach, she became a great swimmer, to the credit of those Olympic gymnasts on the US team that they won gold medals despite having a molester for their doctor more than women have accused him to date.
But who might they have been, in their personal lives as well as their professional achievements, without such harm being inflicted upon them by men who wished to harm them, who regarded harming them as their right and their pleasure? Who have we lost to this violence before we ever knew them, before they ever made their mark on the world?
These famous people are not the exceptions, but the examples, the public figures we know playing out the dramas that are happening in schools and offices and churches and political campaigns and families too.