Do you ever need a break from bad news? …

Do you ever need a break from bad news? I do. Since the 1980’s, I’ve taken breaks from NPR and the headlines. An endless stream of horror stories pulls joy from my bones. I become exhausted and starved for meaning that sustains and inspires. I turn from the news toward what restores a larger context, a great vision, pleasure, so that I can balance the negative with a good dose of the positive. I was raised with the threat of annihilation during the cold war. We were drilled to get under our desk if the USSR dropped the bomb.

I learned to seek sources of inspiration that let me know my place in the universe without fear and doom. My red Schwinn took me to Chicago’s ethnic neighborhoods, Lake Michigan and the forest preserves. Exploring brought me to nooks, expanses and glades that retain the rich power to fill me with wonder. These memories remind me to have fun and to keep seeking those places where wonder hides in full sight. Keeping the spirit of exploration alive challenges me to be fully present in this second. This is easy to forget. I forget it all the time.

At our Kansas Wedding on May 3, I saw my mother dance for the first time in years. She used to dance the hambo, shottish, and polka with unbelievable gusto and grace. A dinner and a dance followed a wedding in Chicago. Happiness filled her and overflowed. It astonished me to see my duty bound mom unwind and whirl with abandon. We need celebration in our lives. The DJ who has provided music for lots of weddings said that the Fellowship wedding was the most fun wedding she’s ever DJ’ed. We thank you all for helping us to celebrate love and for your support of marriage equality.

Yesterday while driving home I tuned into NPR at just the right moment. I learned that Narendra Modi had been elected prime minister of India, the world’s largest democracy. The son of a tea seller from one of India’s lower castes was overpowered by emotion as he spoke of the people of his home state, where he grew up in a small village. He said, “You people of Gujarat are my mother and father. You have raised me. While I serve Mother India, I will also worry about you. You are my energy, you are my inspiration, you are my strength.” Modi spoke with deep conviction about the need for the government to serve all its citizens no matter who they were, where they had come from, how much or how little they had. He wants to serve the poorest of the poor and to decrease the ability of religion to oppress. This reporting filled me with hope.

As the next segment on bikers against child abuse aired I began to weep for joy. It moved me to hear how women and men who ride big Harleys have organized to protect children from further abuse by standing watch outside of their homes at night and showing up in court when a child testifies against an adult who has harmed them. They simultaneously work to protect and to help a traumatized kid to regain stability and a confident sense of their place in the world.

Wow! There is a lot of good in the world and I know that this community helps to create and spread goodness where needed.

Let us celebrate our good works more freely!

Michael

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