A Deeper Caring: Expanding Our Circle of Concern

A Deeper Caring: Expanding Our Circle of Concern

If my conversations of late are any indication, many feel the world has grown colder and meaner in recent years. From customer service to political discourse, the tone has changed from concern to contempt. Online conversations frequently resemble the modern-day equivalent of bar-room brawls in which people fling capitalized insults at one another. Even dinner table conversations are so fraught with potential conflict that often people no longer care how they communicate if they care to communicate at all. 

Welcome to the world of "haters gonna' hate," "I don't give a fuck," and "I have so few fucks left to give." Ditto free time and discretionary funds.

Of course, we can and do...

Read More

I Wish You Enough

I Wish You Enough

Some time ago, I wrote about Conspicuous Contentment, suggesting that contentment lies not in having, doing, and being more, but rather in simultaneously wanting less while appreciating the abundance that is already ours.  A few days ago, I stumbled across this beautiful reminder on a social media site, a short essay attributed to an unknown author, entitled I Wish You Enough. After a little research, I found the original essay by Bob Perks.

I WISH YOU ENOUGH

Recently, I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together at the airport as the daughter's departure had been announced. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the father said:

Read More

Being OneSelf, Becoming One World: Fraternizing with the Enemy

Being OneSelf, Becoming One World: Fraternizing with the Enemy

On Christmas Eve in 1914, a remarkable event occurred in the trenches along the Western Front.  Soldiers fighting the First World War ceased firing for a time, and began to sing.   What made this truly remarkable was not the cease fire or the singing or even the holiday greetings that ensued, but that the soldiers singing and greeting one another were from opposing armies. 

In the spirit of the holiday, thousands of German, British, French, and Belgian soldiers chose to venture across the front lines bearing gifts and goodwill instead of firearms, beginning a series of unofficial ceasefires that would later come to be known as the “Christmas Truce.”  Meeting between the trenches in what was designated “No man’s land,” these men congregated and conversed, sang songs, played games, shared food and souvenirs, and even buried their dead together in a courageous conspiracy of peace amidst war, despite clear orders from their high commands against fraternizing with the enemy.  Not surprisingly, in the many months to follow, having shared fellowship amidst hardship, many of these soldiers continued to defy the expectations of their commanding officers, adopting a live-and-let-live attitude, and aligning their patriotism with a greater humanity...

Read More

Perfect Strangers

Perfect Strangers

When I was a child living abroad, my birthday almost always coincided with a visit to my mother’s family in the States, which meant that any friends I had the good fortune to have were almost always an ocean away on my birthday.  Every year, my mother whose parents bestowed upon her the blessing of being raised her entire pre-adult life in a charming seaside New England town—rather than the altogether different blessing bestowed upon me of vagabonding around the globe—would invite the children of her childhood friends to gather at our lake cottage for my birthday.  It was for her, I believe, an attempt to ensure that I felt celebrated on my birthday and continue the tradition of her upbringing, which involved summer birthday celebrations with friends at the lake...

Read More

The Answers to our Prayers

The Answers to our Prayers

About seven years ago, on my daily commute, I passed a woman from my neighborhood walking her dog. As our paths crossed on the sidewalk, I smiled and said, "hello." She glared at me and said nothing. I figured that she was just having a bad day, and let it passuntil the next day, when the same thing happened. I smiled and said hello.  She glared at me and said nothing. 

Shocked and a little miffed by her obvious lack of common courtesy, I carried that glare and the self-righteousness it inspired within me most of the day...

Read More