“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” John F. Kennedy

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Dear America,

O’ Beautiful.

Please forgive us.

We’ve been as unconscious as it gets, as distracted as it gets. We have not concerned ourselves or taken seriously enough some profoundly significant things. Like responsible citizenship.

I’m sorry we’ve been too busy, too stressed out, and exhausted from running on empty to have the energy to think about important things until it’s too late. The truth is, you weren’t our priority. We’ve lacked some serious depth. Been living at the level of superficiality, where drama and chaos dance. And we are paying the price. Because in the absence of that depth, in the absence of that concern and vigilance to weed what should not thrive, we have been taken over from within. The weeds of the individual and collective narcissism we have engaged in have taken over the garden while we’ve been taking selfies.

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“To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the devil.” – Jack Gilbert

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I am going to tell you a hard truth so get ready…

Nobody, I mean, NOBODY is interested in hearing about your dream last night.

Let me elaborate.

If I was somehow forced to join an armed service branch, let’s say the Army because I get seasick in a hottub and require a glass of Pinot Grigio or four to fly, and I was then captured behind enemy lines, somehow managed to bear the strain of being deprived of a clean comfortable bed and a soy latte without breaking in the first hour, repeating my name, rank and serial number day after day, allowing no physical abuse or psychological conditioning to sway me into giving up top secret information and then suddenly one day my captor walked in and said, “I had the craziest dream last night…here’s what happened”, I’d spill the beans in a New York minute. Continue reading

“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” – from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

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Summer Short 11
Happy Birthday Beth!

At this stage in the game, I have come to understand just enough about life to understand that I do not understand much of anything.

I mean, not very often.

That being said, I have come to grasp this painful and primal truth: sometimes you can do everything right, forever by the book, and still get screwed. You get something you didn’t deserve for seemingly no good reason except for the most annoying one of all, to grow. Obviously, I find this outrageous but every time I march down to the complaints department, it is closed.

Yet miraculously, because we live in a world of infinite paradoxes, the flip side is also true: sometimes you get blessed for no reason. You get something wonderful you didn’t earn or deserve just because. And those two words, just because, can be your salvation.

My sister Beth is one of my just becauses.

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“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

Summer Short 10
For Greg

I wonder if there is a biological reason, perhaps one that is coded in our genes, that requires us to experience fully the heavy pain of loss. As experiences – joy, pleasure, triumph, and achievement- are so damn fleeting. But grief, well, grief endures.

And while not all of us will experience certain joys, certain achievements or pleasures in our lifetime, if we live long enough, we will all know loss.

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“Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty – that is all you know on earth, and all you need to know.” – John Keats

Summer Short 9
The Courage to Bear Witness

If I had to come up with the exact opposite phrase that describes my personality it would be easy, breezy. I hate this about myself. Easy breezy… Cover Girl is the vibe I’m shooting for, a mix somewhere between Malibu Barbie and Jimmy Buffet who has bumper stickers like I Brake for Butterflies, or Life is Good on the back of my vintage convertible VW Bug because I don’t give a lick about how all that sun exposure is aging my face.

Even though I do not expect to really master this in my lifetime, I give it all I’ve got. I work at it like I’m studying for an advanced degree. I am just not remotely successful at it. If I didn’t laugh at myself, I’d probably be 10 seconds away from being institutionalized at how hard I try and how far I fall from that intention.
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“If you hold onto your history, you do it at the expense of your destiny.” T.D. Jakes

Summer Short 8
When the Tides Roll In

Yesterday I watched as 2 young boys built a drip sandcastle too close to the water’s edge. In a short time, they had built quite a Disney-esque structure. Sadly, it was soon evident that they had not taken stock of the tides. They hadn’t mapped out their property location sufficiently because by the time I had gotten through 3 chapters of my book, each time they dripped more wet sand on top of their royal sand abode, the ocean tide would come in and claim the outer moat and wall. Soon, the whole infrastructure was in danger. Frantically, they tried to rebuild. They tried once, then twice but by the third breaker, the seawater had turned half of their drip castle into a smooth mound. This is where it got interesting. (In case you were wondering if it ever would.)
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“To see what is in front of one’s nose, needs a constant struggle.” – George Orwell

 

Summer Short 7
No Blooms without the Roots

If you are paying attention, at a certain age you might realize that life unspools in cycles. Some lovely, some painful but unlike the seasons, in no particular order. Things move forward, expand and grow. Gorgeous, amazing things come into your life. You get lifted up and encouraged and feel full and so thankful and ask, what more can I give? If you are lucky, and have as little expectation as possible, you might get a few of these seasons in a row. But just as you are starting to feel entitled, that you’ve got things lined up nicely, and you’ve finally got your act together, the winds of change blow in. You get hit with a huge disappointment or loss and your once open and grateful heart clenches and you feel the urge to pull the drawstring around it just a bit tighter to protect it from the biting wind. Wind can make you feel so helpless. Not to mention exhausted from exposure.

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“First, God throws a pebble, then he throws a brick.”

Summer Short 6
Looking into Mirrors

The news is full of reports of kids being bullied to the point of attempting suicide. People always seem quite shocked by the cruelty that’s happening in America’s schools and playgrounds. I’m baffled by their shock. Nothing new is going on here.

When I was growing up, I lived across the street from the exact doppelg├Ąnger of Farkus from A Christmas Story. No joke. Ask anyone who grew up on Fieldston Road who remembers seeing the original Star Wars movie in the theater, say 8 or 9 times. Red hair, freckles, BB gun loaded and ready to shoot at any small creature from his bedroom window. He was your basic nightmare. I heard he had done some hard time later in life which would surprise no one who knew him when he was 13.
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“Would I live forever here and not be satisfied?” – Sarah McLachlan

Summer Short 5
Finding the Golden Egg

One day a countryman going to the nest of his goose found there an egg all yellow and glittering. When he picked it up, it was as heavy as lead. He was going to throw it away because he thought a trick had been played upon him but on second thought, took it home instead only to discover, to his delight, that it was an egg of pure gold.
Every morning the same thing occurred and he soon became rich by selling his eggs.
As he grew rich, he grew greedy and thinking he could get all the gold eggs the goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find nothing. – Aesop

We want it all. But being human, we can’t have it all.
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