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Monthly Archives: December 2012

With all the havoc and misery caused by Sandy here in New Jersey and New York, I’m going to change tack for the holidays to deliberately spite all the terrible news of the last month and a half. This will serve as a giant middle finger to the people and institutions who have misled us into thinking nothing is wrong and who have caused (bribed) many of our elected federal officials to so thoroughly fail us.

To be fair, the president, governors, emergency services and utilities of New York and New Jersey have done and are doing a spectacular job getting things back to what can only be called a new normal. We hope and pray that as you read this you and your loved ones are safe and sound and warm and dry. If there are people around you in need please consider doing what you can to ease their suffering during this holiday season and beyond.

Be thankful for what you have. If you have food, water, shelter, transportation, income, loved ones to care about you, be thankful. It’s truly the little things that matter in life. I was once very close to homelessness and managed to be taken in by an Orthodox abbey here in NJ. They fed me and sheltered me until I got back on my feet and I am eternally grateful, but the furnace often failed during the night and I took many cold showers. Now, I thank God-out loud-for hot water every time I take a shower. It’s a little thing, but huge when you go without it.

Chris and I spent Thanksgiving with our kids in the southeast, which Sandy missed completely. I am thankful for that. I am also thankful that our new grand daughter, whose labor probably induced by the storm passing off shore, was born healthy and safe to a healthy and happy mom, dad and big brother. I am thankful to have been able to be with them over the holiday.

I like hanging with my kids. They are some of my favorite people. It’s interesting the perspective that age gives you. When I watch them, I see things in a much, much wider context. I see how people and events from widely disparate times and places are sewn together by the fabric of a life; my life in this case. And then you take that life and hand it to your kids, hoping that they can read not only the colors and the words, but the weave of the fabric, for that is the canvas of my life, woven and painted with stories and music, triumphs and disasters, and love and loss. Without that canvas, I have nothing. Even if I have the sounds, colors, textures, events and people, without a place to fix them in time and space; a place to make them wholly real, I end up with nothing to pass on. No legacy to leave the very people who need my legacy the most.  So, what I  must do is stitch it all together for them so they can understand the road I took, which brought them to the road they are on today. In this way, they understand their history, their existence in the wider realm that made up their formative years. This is the context of their lives. This may be the greatest gift I give to them: to verbalize this for them. This is their legacy. Not some house or car or bank account. This is their history, their place in the universe. This is the sign that tells them: You are here.

Be thankful you are that to your children as well, for in this season of hope-however you celebrate it-it is the greatest gift you can give them. From here, regardless of the apparent circumstances, the apparent difficulties and disasters we all face, they can move forward in confidence knowing that we provided the strong foundation from which they leap.

It is said that when you come to the end of all the darkness you know, and you are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on or you will learn to fly.

God speed. More soon.

(my initials)
Mark A. Durstewitz