Tag Archives: remembering

Never forgotten

We, or at least I, often never know the impact we, I, have on one another. Sometimes all it takes is showing simple kindness and decency.

She moved across the hall, clearly intent on talking to me before the meeting began. Although it had been years, I recognized her. She had taken part in a group working on prison-related issues. I had been the staff to the group. I recognized her. But I could not recall her name.

“Do you remember me?” she asked before we had a chance to shake hands.

I answered truthfully. “I do. But I am sorry, I don’t recall your name.” I took her hand.

She smiled and told me her name. I smiled back.

“I will never forget you,” she said.

I shifted my weight, a tad uncomfortable.

“I came to you with my husband in prison. In prison for murder. Murder he had done.”

I shook my head in agreement.

“I asked if I would be welcome at the group you were with. That group working on prisons and prisoners. I was nervous, so nervous, because my husband was guilty. I felt alone, so alone. I could not find a place to talk about my husband and what he faced. Not in my church. Not in my community. I was desperate for support. I thought that group might be a place. But I was scared. Scared they would not want me either. But I was more scared of being alone. I finally got up my courage and asked you.”

“I remember,” I replied. Somehow my throat had become dry all of a sudden.

Tears pooled in her eyes.

“And do you remember what you said?”

She did not give me a chance even to nod. “You did not hesitate. You said, ‘Of course you would be welcome.’ And then you said, ‘If anyone has a problem with me being there you would speak with them.'”

“I did,” somehow I scratched the words out. Her tears flowed freely.

“It turned out that no one had a problem. I found a place I could tell my story freely and where people accepted me and loved me. I found a family in that group. They stood by me and they stood with me when my husband died in prison. They were wonderful. But none of that would have happened without you. None of that would have happened without your kindness to me. I will never forget you. God bless you”

The dryness of my throat was exceeded only by the wetness of my cheeks. And since words would not come, I did what I rarely do, I opened my arms and offered a hug.

And we hugged and wept together for a holy moment.

When I regained control of my voice I said, “Thank you for telling me. I am sorry about your husband’s death.”

“He was a good man. He had his flaws. And one big one. But I did love him.”

I smiled. “I knew that every time you talked about him.”

She scuffed the floor a bit. “When I saw you tonight, I had to tell you. I will never forget you.” We shook hands, smiled, and went our separate ways.

I have never seen her since that night.

But I have never forgotten her.

See you along the trail.

 

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Filed under Cleveland Heights, Friends

Dakota 38

Thanks to my friend and colleague Irv Porter who pointed me to Dakota 38, a video about the Dakota Wokiksuye Memorial Ride remembering the 38 Dakota men hung in Mankato after the U.S.-Dakota War and working for healing and reconciliation. Check it out!

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Movie

Walking – without Charley

CharleyI am in Cleveland Heights for a week of vacation with Tricia. Eric is here; Sean will be in town for a few days as well.

My walking has involved the streets of Cleveland Heights. Often this takes me places where I used to walk with Charley.

I walk. I remember. And I smile.

See you along the Trail.

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Writing down words

An interchange from the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade remains with me. Indiana (Harrison Ford) and his father Professor Henry Jones (Sean Connery) seek the Holy Grail. Nazis have also joined the quest. Henry Jones has long sought the Grail, finding a map and compiling a diary. To keep them safe, Henry sent the materials to his son and colleague Marcus Brody. Learning that the Nazis have kidnapped Henry Jones, Brody set off with the map.  Indiana went to rescue his father. After a series of adventures, father and son escape. The following conversation occurs:

Professor Henry Jones: Stop, wait, stop! Stop! You’re going the wrong way. We have to get to Berlin.
Indiana Jones: Brody’s this way.
Professor Henry Jones: My diary’s in Berlin.
Indiana Jones: We don’t need the diary, dad; Marcus has the map.
Professor Henry Jones: There is more in the diary than just the map.
Indiana Jones: All right, Dad. Tell me.
Professor Henry Jones: Well, he who finds the Grail must face the final challenge.
Indiana Jones: What final challenge?
Professor Henry Jones: Three devices of lethal cunning.
Indiana Jones: Booby traps?
Professor Henry Jones: Oh, yes. But I found the clues that will safely take us through them in the Chronicles of St. Anselm.
Indiana Jones: Well, what are they? As his father sits silently, Indiana continues in an annoyed voice. Can’t you remember?
Professor Henry Jones: I wrote them down in my diary so that I wouldn’t have to remember.

I have always found wisdom in Henry Jones’ plan. I find more as I grow older. Redeeming the Pastby Father Michael Lapsley, is one of several books I am reading.

photo (7) (768x1024)An Anglican priest, Father Lapsley took an active role in the struggle against South Africa’s apartheid. In 1990, he opened a letter bomb that nearly killed him. The blast took his hands and one of his eyes. His book tells his story of the faith journey that led him to pursue justice, the explosion, his recovery, and how Father Lapsley has drawn on his experience of trauma to help his sisters and brothers in South Africa and around the world seek healing.

Many of his words bear repeating and remembering. I write down a few:

 As we who are disabled demand a place in the sun, we are not just asking people to be nice to us; we are saying, “Actually you can’t be a real community without us.” We don’t ask for pity; we ask for justice. We say, “Don’t just include us in your community. Instead, come, let’s create one together.” That’s a very different concept.

Profound, challenging, humbling, hopeful words. Words that apply in so many situations – in any situation of privilege and oppression and exclusion. Words to ponder, to remember, and to seek to live by.

We cannot be a real community until everyone is a part and we build that community together. May it be so.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Books, Human Rights, Movie

So simple, so profound

“Sit with us,” they asked.
I sat. I sit.
So simple, so profound.

“Listen to us,” they asked.
I listened. I listen.
So simple, so profound.

“Grieve with us,” they asked.
I grieved. I grieve.
So simple, so profound.

“Weep with us,” they asked.
I wept. I weep.
“So simple, so profound.

“Remember us,” they asked.
I remember. I remembered.
So simple, so profound.

“Stand with us, they asked.
I stood. I will stand.
So simple, so profound.

Everything they asked
I did, I will do.
So simple, so profound.

Yet as I did, I wondered.
As I do, I wonder still.
Is it enough?

15 September 2012
Shire on the Hudson

 

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Filed under Human Rights, New York, Poem

ANOTHER TUESDAY: Red White & Blues

My friend and colleague Joe is also a poet. I always enjoy the work he shares. When I had read and re-read this one, I finally got up the nerve to ask him if I could post it. I am grateful he said yes and grateful for his writing.

ANOTHER TUESDAY: Red White & Blues

Another Tuesday indeed.
Bright shining spectacular morning sun rising.
Fresh almost autumn breezes.
Another wonderfully grateful start the day.
Calmly remembering.
English friend’s prayer from across The Pond.
Knotting key stripes tied to anniversary.

Rush run catch express bus into Manhattan.
That Tuesday changed road ride to work til now.
Like US flags half-staffed commuters conscious.
Where we were where we are now then again.
Quiet movements search hopes, peace, hope.
Words not needed facts speak for themselves.
Carefully conscious going forward together.

Through urban cavern slice of Freedom Tower soars.
Rising up, shining rising new, far, tall beyond beyond.
Stirs so many so much living monumental memories.
Large tear freezes moment reminding roots + links.
Decade plus red, white blues color considerations.
Uptown Midtown pause respects at US Mission to UN.
Holy Family Church steel relief Easter Christ soars too
Deep stained glass blues, saints letting light through.

Candles in calm reverence seeing all naming names.
Echo arrives Ground Zero officer speaks his heart.
Praying prayers rising up here everywhere today.
Family first, friends too, neighbors, near/far colleagues.
Beyond morning rushing other side of silence rises up.
Day’s works here & around spinning universe challenge.
Seize the Abundance, hold on, stand firm, reach out.

Still Tuesday.
Still NYC, Washington, Shanksville, our world.
Still hopes carrying losses courageously.
Still fears unpredictable, uncertainties, unknowns.
Still amazing graces given, shared, treasured.
Still paths to peace possible – necessary all.
Still – HOME.

joseph cornelius donnelly
tuesday, september 11, 2012 – new york city

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Filed under Current Events, Friends, New York, Poem

In memory, E.L.W.

I remember courage.
I remember faith.
I remember wisdom.
I remember grace.

I remember sorrow.
I remember tears.
I remember grieving.
I remember fears.

I remember laughter.
I remember song.
I remember welcome.
I remember joy.

I remember hard work.
I remember toil.
I remember changes.
I remember pain.

I remember caring.
I remember hope.
I remember sharing.
I remember love.

I remember you, my friend.
Thank God,
I remember you.

22 July 2012
DL 1776
MCO – LGA

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