December 31, 2010

Today On Bilerico: A Canadian Soldier Sends Greetings To His Husband

A Facebook friend linked me to a video posted on the Toronto Star website, one of a series of videos from soldiers sending greetings back home. This soldier wished "happy holidays" to his husband, family, and friends. When will we see this in American media?

Posted also on Bilerico.

December 26, 2010

Hope In Small Things

Barbara King quotes from Here Is Where We Meet by John Berger:

Berger creates a conversation between a son and the dead mother who reappears to him as he stands atop an aqueduct in Lisbon.

The mother says, “Let a few things be repaired. A few is a lot. One thing repaired changes a thousand others.” The son replies, “So?” And out flows a maternal speech:

"The dog down there is on too short a chain. Change it, lengthen it. Then he’ll be able to reach the shade, and he’ll lie down and he’ll stop barking. And the silence will remind the mother she wanted a canary in a cage in the kitchen. And when the canary sings, she’ll do more ironing. And the father’s shoulders in a freshly ironed shirt will ache less when he goes to work. And so when he comes home he’ll sometimes joke, like he used to, with his teenage daughter. And the daughter will change her mind and decide, just this once, to bring her lover home one evening. And on another evening, the father will propose to the young man that they go fishing together… Who in the wide world knows? Just lengthen the chain."

In this season of peace, may you lengthen a dog’s chain. And then see what happens.

This is why we keep trying, doing small things. Ripples in the pond. Breezes in the atmosphere. Hope in small things.

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan.

December 17, 2010

I'm Still Alive

...and busier than ever. I have things I wish I could write, and I've sat down a few times to try. I'm just too tired to put together anything salient. So this placeholder will have to do.

In my mostly part-time work, I have two or three projects to do a month. This fall I've had two or three projects a week in November and December. Of course, December is the biggest month of the year, project-wise. But I've been scrambling for seven weeks straight. It's not the stuff of posts: giving campaigns, special events, pageantry, even teaching a couple of adult classes at their request.

That adult class was interesting, though, because they asked for a repeat after the first one. They had asked the preteen class to tell them what they want from their parents to help them succeed in this world. The kids responded, I made a sort of "Glee-"like presentation out of it, and gave the adults questions to discuss with the kids. It seems they weren't done when class was over, and they asked me to do it all again so they could keep talking. We gave them the DVD of the presentation, and this time I added a few things I could not say while kids are present. They were hungry to hear it all.

This reminded me of when my kids were much younger and how we and all our friends were desperate for guidance on raising children. Many of us don't have extended family nearby to talk things over. Whenever a children's counselor presented for our group, there were never enough chairs. And yet no one talked if they were having trouble.

It wasn't until Ben sent us reeling* that we were transparent with the struggles we were having. I talked a little bit about that with the adults, and several approached me after class to thank me for being honest. If we don't talk about our difficulties, how are we going to get help? Silence perpetrates the illusion that we are alone in our struggles, when in fact just about everyone is making it up as we go along.

I haven't posted an update about Ben in a long time. He's doing just great; he's been on the high honor roll for four semesters. He apprenticed briefly at our auto mechanic's business and he's working part-time for Little Caesar's Pizza. He is happy, at peace, and in control of his future. He is not a standard student—as he says, he needs time, not help, to do his work—yet he wants to work in software, so he is considering an associate's degree at our community college after he graduates in the spring. This is the same boy who two years ago I feared would never graduate high school. He remains my miracle boy.

Well! It seems I did have something to say, after all. It just wasn't the philosophical subjects I have constantly going through my head. I'll save that for a time when I have more mental energy. Meanwhile, I hope each of you is enjoying the holiday season in whatever way suits you best.

This is a time when many feel lonely. Even if you're one of them—especially if you're one of them—reach out to one individual in a personal way to help them make it through not quite so lonely. Just one. Be gracious, even when others are not. It's how we can shape the world.

*If you're not familiar with that story, click on the "Amazing Grace" link in the right-hand column.

December 6, 2010

Today On Bilerico: Chris Colfer, The Face Of Hope

This image was on PostSecret this week. I think it says volumes about growing acceptance. Glee's writers are changing our culture, and it's wonderful.

December 1, 2010