Just Let Me -- G -- Indoctrinate You!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Dear America,

"God our Father, 
we thank you for our families; 
for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage. 
In the busyness of each day 
keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life 
and help us to be generous 
with our time and love and energy. 
Strengthened by our union 
help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. 
We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 

Forces of nature at work today, that is the thing.

The Prince and Princess were unable to personalize their vows, however they quickly devised a way to do just that.  How?  None other than pledging their love through a direct path, creating a prayer to God, to each other, for all the world to hear.

And so it is.  That was easy.

Notice the connection between the love for each other with a greater purpose under heaven.  Here are two people who on this day seem larger than life itself, utterly clinging to the simplicity of the moment, reinforcing their clear underlying values of faith, family and marriage, and asking the Heavenly Father for His hand and His guidance in keeping their eyes fixed on what is real and important. strengthened by this day, this vow above all other vows, marches on to pledge their service and ability to help comfort the wider community around them -- beyond the chapel, after the ceremony is done, when life resumes to normal. (Whatever that is, for a prince & princess, right?)

In Kate's hands, she holds a simple bouquet:

Lily-of-the-Valley represents the return of happiness,
Sweet William stands for gallantry,
Hyacinth is for the constancy of love,
Myrtle symbolizes marriage and love,
and Ivy is for fidelity, marriage, wedded love, friendship, and affection.

While right out of an English garden fairy tale, even the Myrtle holds a special place in royal wedding history; the Myrtle sprigs  were clipped from the very same plants going back generations  --  the long line of Myrtle dates back to the wedding bouquets of both Queen Victoria, in 1845, and held by Queen Elizabeth, in 1947.

To pay more homage to all things royal wedding, go here.

But oh the contrast between London and Tuscaloosa on this day.

The entire town of 900 is nearly leveled, having lost the lives of thirty six residents thus far, having barreled down main street, hitting the local Piggly Wiggly grocery store -- the tornado that could very well have been an E5, with winds up to 200 mph -- everything in her wake was destroyed and left in total chaos.  Every family was thrown into a state of emergency; every single family devastated by the immediate and merciless loss of loved ones, a business, a livelihood, a church, a school, a home -- any level of security and peace of mind that preexisted was gone, in an instant.

The numbers keep rising, as far as the entire region is concerned; at 306 people, the sense of finding loved ones who are still missing still alive wears hearts thin as time continues to pick apart all possibility.

While even in the midst of so much sorrow, stories of amazing grace have shown through in small ways, like the family cat found huddled under the kitchen sink, a kitchen still standing as the only room left in the house.  Or how about the parents of an eight year old, who watched their son get swept into a cloud of dust and darkness -- all they could do was pray.  and they did. which leads me to wondering, just what is the proper etiquette in response to the Grace of God, upon hearing the voice of little R.J. miraculously coming home and saying, "I was pulled up into the air!" what do you say?  how can a simple thank you be nearly enough?  Here's more survival stories for you.

Tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, wild fires, thunder and lighting -- mother nature is coming unglued in every way; perhaps God is getting a wee bit disappointed in a little thing called mankind?  there is that.  

what     are        we     good for?

"In the busyness of each day 
keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life 
and help us to be generous 
with our time and love and energy."

as this line keeps calling me back. 

Nestled deep into the roots of this country -- like Myrtle planted over generations -- like Sequoias and Red Woods towering over the land in Yosemite, like the gushing geysers rising out of the earth in Yellowstone, like the Lily-of-the-Valley, mountain Columbine, and California Poppy each running wild in the valleys and prairies and countryside, like the rushing waves upon the beach, the ebb and flow of tide and the constant flow of rivers and streams and waterfalls --  we are reminded of the things that are essential to us.

Living and creating a good life, takes constant care.  In the "busyness of each day" -- after destruction takes over our every thought, word, and deed -- after many in America have simply awakened to any other Friday that comes along, just a day in the life, who just so happen to have the luxury of flipping their attention from a Royal Wedding to the heartbreak in Tuscaloosa, ALABAMA, and MISSISSIPPI, GEORGIA, ARKANSAS, MISSOURI, KENTUCKY, OKLAHOMA, TENNESSEE, and VIRGINIA -- hopefully, at some point, we are each reminded of what Life is all about.  For it could be taken away from us in a heartbeat.

And more than that, this day should bring America pause.

What do we want America to stand for, live for, and truly give our every life and breath for?  It makes me crazy to see the divisiveness within our communities; it makes me so sad to see our body politic deteriorated and reduced to fits of one-ups-man-ship and sideshows, oblivious to the wake of destruction of true statesmanship, and leaving a nation's ethics, honor, and virtue nowhere to be found.

In the beginning, our founders designed our country clearly, if not rather emphatically, under a code of honor and ethics and liberty equally distributed and revered by all, respective of Universal Truths, Universal Rights; it was as if we each stood at the altar and declared our pledge for the safekeeping of our very future --  America vowed to hold dear certain truths -- principles relevant to our inherent duty and delight to be of good character, not just for ourselves but for "the other" as well -- not from a place of blind obedience and force, but from a place of blessed servitude, grace and unconditional love, as a thing to honor for the rest of our lives.

We wanted the joys and responsibility and civility of living within a community based on sound self-government in order to create a more perfect union -- one built upon the freedom to live and think and grow rich in every possible way.  For we are a match made in heaven, by divine providence, indeed .

Just as a marriage, we can't expect our partner, our other half of the union, the other side of ourselves, bring everything to that union or be expected to do all the work.  It takes two.  And yet, for some reason, we are living in a time when the task of living in communion with our duty comes lacking, to say the least.  It is as if we are born with a silver spoon of entitlement and expectation before we have even uttered our first word.

Gone is the sense of responsibility, the duty to do the work.  Gone is the need to remind ourselves, and each other, that the seedlings of yesterday need constant care, a leading perhaps by a trellis, a watering from time to time. We need both the light of day and the quiet slumber of the night; we need to nurture ourselves with reminders of what makes us good, growing a character worth repeating, holding to values worth elevating, on behalf of the budding society for tomorrow.

For to live in a healthy and loving relationship with one another doesn't come by accident, without effort; it doesn't come without making our first intention made known; it doesn't happen without a constant recommitting to the process -- especially following years and years down the road.

In the microcosm, Kate and William know this to be true for themselves on this day; while in the macro, our commitment seems waning by impropriety, lost under the years of values greatly corrupted, left totally indistinguishable from lack of effort, taking for granted any attention to detail, and anything else that falls under the various forms of neglect, apathy and ambivalence.  And as expected, once commitment goes, it all falls down.

Today, I just might look into planting myself some Myrtle under my feet; with all things considered, between hearts singing and hearts breaking on this day, the twenty-ninth day of April, in the year of our Lord, Two Thousand and Eleven, it may just do all that I can hope for in this moment.

The thing is, thoughts are things; we can grow the good just as easily as we can grow the opposite effect. Planting a seed for tomorrow exemplifies God's grace; it is a gift from Life to Life itself.  And you never know -- it might just be the last thing that we do that is real and important.

Here's to the celebration of love and marriage on this day, and always.

And may we lend a hand and a heart to the people of Tuscaloosa, and each of the surrounding areas, following the greatest destruction in nearly forty years.

This is a day that the forces of nature have had their way with us -- whipping us into a frenzy of joy one minute, while moments later, we are punched in the gut, taking the air right out of us; the question as to what are we good for is answered with every response.

"Strengthened by our union 
help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. 
We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 

make it a good day, g

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