Some Things Move Us More Than We Can Say

Anybody miss me last week?  Probably not. It’s a busy summer for us all and a good time to s t r e t c h the weeks out a bit.

What I’ve chosen to share with you today are little spoonsful of this and that … from the sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter soup we’re all in together. Do with them what you will. Swallow them. Spit them out. Swish them around in your mouth a bit.  Some things move us more than we can say.      

Right up front the word of the week is Gratitude … for the little blessings that don’t always come packaged the way we expected.  Last week, my daughter, her husband, their younger son, his wife and two children, were packed and ready to board an early morning flight to Maui.  Chris & Scott have a time-share there and have claimed the island as their favorite vacation site. Last year they brought Seth’s family of six to celebrate oldest son Isaiah’s high school graduation. This year it was Nate’s family’s turn. They’d been hoping to leave earlier in the week, but there were lots of schedules to accommodate and they couldn’t make all the pieces fit, so their tickets were for Thursday. They were cancelled.  I probably don’t need to say any more … except Thank You.

For decades I have encouraged myself and others to Trust the Process. If I had a mantra, that would probably be it; a short version of the old story about the peasant farmer whose son avoids conscription into the king’s army because of a broken leg that was first thought to be ‘a terrible thing’ to happen just before harvest time.

If we had a “Shame on You” award, this week we would need two …  one would go to Big Pharma’s Big 3 Bristol Myers Squibb, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson, whose CEOs collect annual salaries (notice I didn’t say “earn”) in the double digit millions (yes, that’s six 000,000s). These are the same companies suing the government to stop Medicare from lowering drug prices. Shame!Shame!Shame!

But three ‘shames’ wouldn’t be anywhere near enough for the inventors and promoters of Wee 1 Tactical JR-15s. If your stomach is strong, take a look at this and then maybe consider joining the Raging Grannies.

Time to take a deep, cleansing breath.

Last week I had the pleasurable privilege of coordinating an “Old Age Is Not For Sissies” Sunday service at my UU Fellowship, where I serve as a Lay Leader.  It was truly a celebration of what I like to think of as Enlivened Elderhood.  We’re not what we used to be, but we still ARE!  If you’d like to spark your day with a glimpse of creativity, persistence, courage, and love, you might enjoy watching the service.

While energetic elders are important, it’s good to know that Gen Z is alive and well; thriving, in fact, under the leadership of the Parkland Valentines Day Massacre Survivor, David Hogg, now 23 years old and fighting like hell for the America he believes we can become.  This is the generation for whom the Raging Grannies fight like hell to leave an inhabitable world. Time for “Leaders We Deserve”?  Indeed!

Parkland shooting survivor and gun control advocate David Hogg has formed a political action committee to harness the power of Gen Z voters. Gen Z makes up nearly half of the electorate, according to the Brookings Institute. The Leaders We Deserve PAC is dedicated to getting young Democrats into state-level positions and will support about two dozen candidates under 35.

Hogg spoke to NPR’s Elena Moore about mobilizing young people early and the fear that they could lose faith in democracy. “That’s why this project matters,” he says. “Because it’s showing young people that yes, our system is broken, but it’s not unfixable.

And if that’s not enough to rekindle your waning hope about the generations to come …  from the Big Sky State came this news …

‘Gamechanger’: judge rules in favor of young activists in US climate trial

Sixteen young plaintiffs had alleged the Montana state government had violated their right to a healthy environment.

Who knows what can happen next?  Maybe thousands of pre-schoolers marching against JR-15s? If that happens, you know you’ll read about it here.

And there are other good things happening as well. All is not lost.

You are invited to watch In The Name of Forgotten Women, the acclaimed choreopoem by Portland Poet & Dramatist, Cindy Williams Guttierez, now available as a video for private viewing only. If you missed our Conversation with Cindy about the production of this amazing work, you can watch it here.

If you’re a Paul Susi fan who lives in the Portland area and you haven’t yet seen An Iliad as performed by Paul and cellist Anna Fritz, you may be able to get tickets (no charge) to their dress rehearsal as they gear up to take this amazing production behind the walls at Oregon prisons … or maybe see the other two Shakespeare plays Paul is performing in. Check here.

And if you’re up for a treat involving recycled materials and repurposed wood, you won’t want to miss the Troll Exhibit at SW Portland’s Nordic Center.

One last reminder to rsvp if you’d like to participate in the “Barbie” conversation next Tuesday, August 22nd at 4pm (Pacific).

Thank you for staying with me (if you have). Until we meet again, let’s close with the poem by Padraig O’Tuama that has moved me more than I can say … “The Facts of Life.”

The Facts of Life

by Pádraig Ó Tuama

That you were born
and you will die.

That you will sometimes love enough
and sometimes not.

That you will lie
if only to yourself.

That you will get tired.

That you will learn most from the situations
you did not choose.

That there will be some things that move you
more than you can say.

That you will live
that you must be loved.

That you will avoid questions most urgently in need of
your attention.

That you began as the fusion of a sperm and an egg
of two people who once were strangers
and may well still be.

That life isn’t fair.
That life is sometimes good
and sometimes better than good.

That life is often not so good.

That life is real
and if you can survive it, well,
survive it well
with love
and art
and meaning given
where meaning’s scarce.

That you will learn to live with regret.
That you will learn to live with respect.

That the structures that constrict you
may not be permanently constraining.

That you will probably be okay.

That you must accept change
before you die
but you will die anyway.

So you might as well live
and you might as well love.
You might as well love.
You might as well love.

Thank you, Padraig. May these facts sustain us and bless us … every last one of us, every where.

Published by Sulima Malzin

This 'Aging Rascal & Occasional Writer' invites you to embrace the world through her open window of poetry, art, activism, music, and humor.

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