Tag Archives: peace

In Memoriam

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Dirge without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, — but the best is lost.

The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

Whether or not our loved ones died in active service, we memorialize them with lilies and laurel and roses, but we do not bury the loving memories. On this day, we as a nation remember those who gave their lives in military battle. Every war calls on journalists, authors, pundits and poets to make sense of some portion of it. In order to further my understanding, I recently saw the movie Eye in the Sky, with Helen Mirren. It is a disturbing yet enlightening story of drone warfare. Is there a way toward peace in the world?

Despite the terrible reality of war and despite the certainty of death for all of us, I can only suggest how to rise above it–with love. One by one the light in the eyes of loved ones glimmers in my own. Someday the light in my eyes will dim and others’ eyes will gleam. Against absolute darkness, love and light shine most brightly of all. And though we are seldom resigned to death, we can still smell the fragrant roses.

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Precious Times

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Precious Times Sept. 17-18, 2011

Anticipating ten days away in a cooler climate, two extra blessings preceded and accompanied me on the trip. A 92-year old member of the church quietly passed away about four hours after I visited her. This time she probably did not hear my prayer, song, and farewell, but she is fully at peace now and that is a blessing.

On the day of our departure, a long-awaited and healthy baby Sophia Elizabeth was born at home. Her parents, big sister, and countless others count her birth as a special blessing.

These two life transitions filled my heart with a wonderful sense of peace while I packed last minute items for our journey: an Alaskan cruise! Jon planned it all and gave me this gift of a lifetime–something I have imagined only in my dreams.

We flew Alaskan Airlines non-stop from Austin to Seattle. There is just one flight per day, so we spent one night in Seattle before the cruise. We took light rail–SeaTac to the closest station to the port and walked through Pike’s Market to watch fish being tossed around for customers’ entertainment.

A guy named Russell walked with us from the train. He is a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines, based in Chicago. Every time he comes to Seattle for the day he makes this trek to the Market. He told us where to find an elevator down to sea level. Walking along the boardwalk, we cheered on a Susan G. Komen fundraising walk. Lots of pink ribbons, outfits, and tutus. Several decorated vehicles carried other happy participants in the fight against breast cancer.

There was no need to ask directions any more–the Norwegian Pearl loomed over the dock with its 14 decks. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Fourteen staff members checked us in and gave us key cards. That was all we needed to make additional purchases on the ship. Meals were included in the cruise fare unless we wanted to go to a specialty restaurant, drink sodas or alcohol, gamble, or buy clothing, jewelry, art, or souvenirs on board.

Our only additional expenses were a room service fee (added automatically), one glass of wine, and one embarkation photo. Souvenir shopping was all on shore.

Tomorrow we will be at sea all day, on the way to Juneau. Stay tuned for more!