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Archive for July, 2010

For the past few days, I’ve been reading an excellent book by Paul Rogat Loeb,  Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time. It looks like I have an older copy because in searching for the Amazon webpage, I found the subtitle is now “Living with Conviction in Challenging Times.” Interesting.

Several years ago my youngest daughter gave me one of Loeb’s other books, The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen’s Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear. The title was more prophetic than I believe she knew at the time.

 

However, this blog entry won’t be any kind of book review. No, I found two very meaningful quotes in Soul of a Citizen that I’d like to share. The first is from one of my favorite authors, Catholic theologian Henri Nouwen: “To forgive another person from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. We say, ‘I no longer hold offense against you.’ But there is more. We also free ourselves from the burden of being the ‘offended one.’ The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to freedom of the children of God.”

 

The second quote is from Doris Donnelly: “Without forgiveness, hurts grow unchecked and we recycle failures, resentments, bitterness, and mistrust in our lives. With forgiveness, hurts are acknowledged and healed, and we are able to break a mindless cycle of retaliation by saying that the decisions of human life, even when they turn out badly are not beyond repair.”

 

Strong stuff – and particularly meaningful for me at this time.

 

 

 

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I’ve been having thoughts about water today.

It’s been very hot here in Kanab, Utah for about a month now, up into the mid- and high 90s. However, the humidity is low so it’s almost bearable with enough air conditioning—and cold drinks.

Marcie and Jim never go anywhere without a large supply of bottled water in the back of their car. They pass it out to anyone who needs it or would like it.

Other places, such as parts of Oklahoma, aren’t so lucky. There the heat index, a combination of high temperatures and high humidity, is around 116 degrees today. Some people have air conditioned vehicles, work places, and homes, while many others have to do without.

Ron Robinson in Turley, Oklahoma  writes “…extreme Heat Alert so we have turned A Third Place Community Center into a Cooling Station. Free Water, AC, and all our other services–food pantry, clothing, computers, TV, library, etc. Now off to see about setting up water station at the main bus stops here that have no shelter from elements. If you can drop off ice or water or lemonade, etc. much appreciated.” Ron also pointed out that, as a heart patient, he has a car with A/C, cold juice and water available, A/C at the center and at home, but not all heart patients, especially in that area where life expectancy is significantly reduced, have access to those things.

Crystal Cheryl in Okmulgee, Oklahoma “…took some iced tea out to the city tree trimmers working in this heat — sweet, lots of ice — on a tray with real glasses. They [the workers] were resting in the shade on my back lawn and their faces lit up with big smiles when I came out with the cold drinks. Boy, did that make my day! Living in the blisssssss …. ♥ I think Ron inspired me. And I actually had to wrestle with myself. Had only a little ice made, and only half a pitcher of tea that I had just made — was tempted to keep the tasty treat for myself. Such silly inner struggles with selfishness.”

In the deserts of San Diego County in California, hundreds of people attempt to cross the border from Mexico for various reasons. They find hostility that extends to laws prohibiting others from providing food or water.

In March, before leaving for Utah for seven months, I volunteered for part of a day with Water Station, a group in San Diego County that places and regularly replenishes supplies of water at about 200 spots around the desert and other places people cross during blistering  summer heat. Many of those sites can only be reached by high clearance 4WD vehicles. No matter what your stand about illegal immigrants, they cannot die for lack of water.

Do you know individuals or groups who freely and unselfishly provide water and cold drinks to others with no requirements or fanfare? Please tell about them in the Comments section here.

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Just a few evening observations after a very hot, windy day in Kanab, Utah. I’ve been sitting outside watching the sun set, enjoying a fairly large glass of Bailey’s Irish Cream, savoring the creamy taste. The wind has died down just enough to make it very pleasant to watch the gentle rustling of the cottonwood trees. My Earth Day flag blows sideways in the breeze. The temperature is just about perfect-not too hot, just right. I read a little from a library book, Miriam’s Kitchen, by Elizabeth Ehrlich about her growing understanding about the importance of preserving her Jewish roots. I think about all the shopping bags I’ve finished in the past few weeks, all of them now hanging in the front of my RV, awaiting new owners. I treasure all of the plants now doing well in our impossible garden in the high desert of Utah, composed of red, sandy dirt. Nothing except cactus would grow without copious quantities of purchased garden soil in large, black plastic pots. However, with daily early-morning watering, all the tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, lemon cucumbers, Swiss chard, radishes, Kentucky Wonder beans, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and zucchini are thriving. Petunias of all colors: purple and white striped, white, pink, and purple show off in baskets. Tiny Portulaca flowers spring out from small aluminum and pewter containers. Hummingbirds and orioles drink enough nectar to make daily refilling of their feeders a necessity. Part of a day was spent in Hurricane doing needed shopping with good friends and their dog.

Life is definitely good.

 


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