I miss my brother Beery. We've been talking more regularly lately, and it brings back the old times of running around in his Camaro, shopping, decorating my Mother's house. We used to take a Christmas morning picture with bows on our foreheads every year. I haven't spent the holidays in NY since 1998. And you can't go home again. But I'm glad for the memories and I cherish them. There are too many who don't even have them.
Beery's favorite Christmas movie is "The Bishop's Wife". Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young as an angel, a bishop and his wife. If you've never seen it, run right out now and find it. It's wonderful. And it's from the bishop's Christmas sermon that I quote:
“Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child's cry. A blazing star hung over a stable and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries; we celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, the sound of bells and with gifts. But especially with gifts. You give me a book; I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer, and Uncle Henry could do with a new pipe. We forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled -
- all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. It's his birthday we are celebrating. Don't ever let us forget that. Let us ask ourselves what he would wish for most, and then let each put in his share. Loving kindness, warm hearts and the stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.”
I'm not a Christian but that's a universal message. All the religions on Earth, the real ones, teach love. It's the only reason to have religion, to teach love and kindness and sharing. To remind us regularly that the world isn't about ourselves and our problems and egos and little spheres of influence. To make us look beyond our own lives and inspire us to a higher good. A good that isn't corruptible.
Last Friday shook us all. There are many discussions going on about what to do. The entire issue is fraught with reactionary fervor. It's a big puzzle with many pieces and we're all trying to make sense while in shock. If we learned anything from September 11th, 2001, it should be to not go off and make decisions while we're raw. We need to cry and heal a little so our brains settle down and we can do meaningful work to prevent this insanity from recurring. We've avoided it for too long. It's time we face this and deal with it. But when we do, let's put those shining gifts in there. Loving kindness, warm hearts and the stretched out hand. With those, we can change the world.