Friday, September 12, 2014

255/365-2 From the Garden


Anything having to do with a garden at our house this year requires a vivid imagination!  

I came up way short of creativity with today's prompt.  A trip to Target, ostensibly for throat lozenges to address the fall cold that I feel coming on, yielded this cute little Lego figure...and pumpkin spice M&Ms.  This was the best I could do today.  No garden, no creativity, no energy and a sore throat all make for blah a photo.

254/365-2 Contemplate


It is hard for me to believe that this is the thirteenth anniversary of the horrific attacks on this country on September 11, 2001.  The sounds, images, and emotions of that day are still as vivid as if they were yesterday.  As I talked with my freshman college students yesterday, I realized that most of them were in kindergarten on this day in 2001; most of them were sheltered and protected from the intense grief and sorrow that blanketed this country as a result of the expressed hatred on that day.  What does it feel like to have only a second-hand remembrance of September 11, 2001?

Every lifetime has such a day.  For me it is the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Jr.  I now live fifteen miles, maybe a little less, from the place where this great man lost his life at the hands of a gunman; yet, it is a story to me.  I was not even two years old at the time.  I don't know what it felt like to be a citizen in a country whose leader had just been gunned down.  I don't know what it felt like to hear that news on the television and radio.  I don't know what it felt like to watch his funeral.  I don't know what that day felt like.

I do know what 9/11 felt like.  My ex-husband, the father of my then 8 and 11 year old daughters, was on a plane that morning.  Fortunately that day he was heading to Atlanta, not New York City where he had been the previous week.  I remember how relieved I was to hear that he was safely on the ground.  I remember wondering what my children were being told at school.  (As it turned out, the fourth grader knew exactly what was going on because her class had been listening to the radio all day.  The seventh grader knew nothing.  The middle schoolers were kept in the dark; their teachers decided that it was better for parents to talk about the event with their children.)  I remember a country full of people so often totally self-absorbed suddenly craving community.  I remember feeling helpless.  I remember feeling.

As intense as my feelings were and perhaps still are surrounding the events of September 11, 2001, I know that they are nothing compared to those of the people whose lives were physically touched that day.  The people on each of the downed planes, the people in the World Trade center and the Pentagon, the people on the streets of New York City, the fireman and policemen whose job it was to rush without hesitation into the midst of the devastation, the people wondering about loved ones, the people caring for the first responders, the people doing the long term clean-up, even the people responsible for building Freedom Tower - there is no way for us to ever experience the intensity of their emotions surrounding this awful day.

The fire department in the next town over from us remembered their brother and sisters of the fire department in NYC who served so bravely that day by placing a simple but powerful display on the lawn in front of the fire station.  I thought long and hard about how to photograph the emotions of 9/11 and came to the conclusion that I could not do it adequately.  I went with the concrete image.  I think it says a lot.

The men and women of our fire and police departments get up and go to work every day knowing that on any day they could be called to serve their community and their country in exactly the same way that those first responders in New York City did.  We all pray that there is never another event like 9/11, but we all know that there are no guarantees in this world.  It could happen again.  I am grateful for all of those who serve and train to protect us.  Thank you!

Here is today's photo mandala.

253/365-2 Discarded


Friendship and all of its intricacies have been on my mind this week.  I don't think that I realized a few days ago when I photographed the Diet Coke can, with the phrase 'Share a Diet Coke with a friend." on it, that I had any idea where my week was going.  Now, posting this photo two days late, it is all making sense.

As one who grew up in a military family and moved a lot, I don't have any "childhood friends."  In a time where there was no email or texting, it was next to impossible as a child to keep up with people  place after place and year after year.  My current friendships go back only as far as my college years, which is now thirty five years.  Yikes!  But, even contact with these people has waxed and waned over time.  It wasn't until I finally succumbed and created a Facebook account that we have re-established and thankfully maintained the deep friendships that we had back in our younger days.  I must admit that I was reluctant to add Facebook to my life, feeling that it would be yet another distraction in my already overly busy world.  Fifteen months later, I have learned that friends are not a distraction; they are a life force.

This week I have viewed friendship from both ends of it's continuum - that where you feel the genuine love and support of your friends during tough times and that where you experience the intense hurt when someone whom you considered a close friend betrays you.  Thankfully, in the latter circumstance I was not the one who was betrayed, but I was honored to share with someone that hurt and be there with a listening ear and compassionate heart as this person shared deep feelings of pain and grief.  It was during our communications that I realized how meaningful it is to earn the trust of another person.  The trust of another human being is nothing to be taken lightly.

I also became even more aware of how blessed I am to have the circle of friends that I have.  To look at us each individually, most would probably wonder how in the world we became the close-knit group that we are.  The only answer that I have to that question is that God brought us together.  I don't mean that to be, or even sound, cliche.  I say it with great respect.  We have been brought together by a series of circumstances, events, and independent relationships that none of us could have ever foreseen.  I am not wasting the time and energy to ask "why,"  My energy is being used to say, "thank-you."  I do know that what sustains our friendship with one another is regularly breaking bread together - spiritual bread as we pray and share the Eucharist with one another on Sunday mornings and physical bread over at least one shared meal a week.  In looking at life this way, that first blessing that most of us learned as wee little humans, 

"God is great.  
God is good. 
Let us be thankful for our food.  
By God's hands we are fed.  
Thank you God for our daily bread."

becomes so much more meaningful and powerful as adults.

This week each of us in this close circle of friends was faced with making an extremely difficult individual decision, one that had to be made by oneself, but in the long run impacted each of us.  We all did that, knowing that there would be support from and for one another regardless of our personal choices.  We talked and prayed our way through this process.  And now that all is said and done, we still have each other; we still have a wonderful and beautiful and blessed friendship.  There really is nothing greater for which to want in life.

So, in case you were wondering, that is the story behind this particular photo.