Carol A. Hand
Synchronicity – “the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.” (1950s, coined by C. G. Jung)
Events like the shooting of a teenager in Ferguson, Missouri and the declaration of yet more “military action” (a euphemism for ongoing war in the Middle East to control oil and protect U.S. world hegemony) cause me to worry about the future my grandchildren will inherit. I am particularly concerned for my grandson’s safety and future. I witnessed his birth – with the neonatal crisis team on alert to make sure he survived. I made a silent promise to the tiny, blue six-pound infant I held gently in my arms soon after his birth: “I will always be there if you need me, my little one. You are my heart.” By age 11, he was taller than me, and now at 15, even more so.
Photo Credit: Aadi, Ava, and Ahma (me) – At the Rest Stop in Hurley, Wisconsin – 2010 (photographer, Jnana Hand)
I worry about the future of a handsome young man with a darker complexion in a country that fears difference. Can a gentle young man survive in such a world? I treasure the memories of him as a toddler gazing with wonder at flowers,
Photo Credit: Aadi – 2001 (photographer, Carol Hand)
as a little boy laughing as we blew bubbles,
Photo Credit: Aadi and Ahma – 2003 (photographer, Gary Hand)
or gently and patiently holding his great-grandmother’s hand.
Photo Credit: Aadi, 2006 (School photographer)
I realize now, though, I can’t always be there to protect him. I can only hold him in my thoughts and my heart every day. I can also do the small things within my modest life to let him know I care, to build a kinder world in my tiny sphere of influence.
How does this relate to blogging and synchronicity? To the topic for blogging 101 today, “to be inspired by the [blogging] community”? I’ll do my best to make the links, although I have often been told that I see connections among too many dimensions: my grandson’s football game, blog posts written by mothers that I happened to read this week, advice from a blogging friend in Vancouver, and the connections to an advocacy organization that resulted from following my blogging friend’s advice.
On Monday afternoon, I sat next to my grandson’s father as we watched the junior varsity team from the better side of town (where my grandson lives) play the team from my neighborhood (the working class side of town). In past years, my grandson was one of the stars on his team, and no wonder when he can block players who are much larger and score 80-yard touchdowns. But this year, his father told me the coach hasn’t given him many opportunities to participate on the field in a game that he loves and has trained so hard to play. To be honest, on one level I’m relieved. The growing attention to the long-term harm caused by football injuries worries me. Still, in the fourth quarter, my grandson intercepted a pass and ran more than 50 yards, artfully weaving around the defensive string opponents to score his one touchdown. But I worried as I observed him engage in what appeared to me to be overly aggressive blocking, something his father also noticed. Is this something he feels he needs to do because of his size? He’s tall, but he still looks so small next to many of the other players. Does he need to look macho these days to be safe from bullying? Are there pressures he needs to release in this way? This is the gentle young man who just a few weeks ago walked by my side through my gardens, asking about the plants and listening thoughtfully to my responses, seemingly reluctant to leave despite my daughter’s urging to hurry up.
I can’t be there to block those who pursue him on the football field to protect him from harm, or classmates or teachers who accuse him of things he has not done. I can’t force his coach to give him more playing time for the game that he loves. Like the mothers who wrote of their challenges, the tension between protecting and encouraging freedom, I find myself searching for a balance. My unwillingness to tell my grandchildren how to live their lives prevents me for doing more than sharing my observations of their strengths and my concerns about their choices. I am reminded of Kahlil Gibran’s, The Prophet.
Your children are not your children,
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. (Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, p. 17)
As I reflected on my conversation with my grandson’s father and my own observations of the game, I was compelled to ask the question: “What can I do to help create a different future for my grandchildren?” The answer came from a phone call last night. It was a call that came in response to something I was inspired to do by a blogging friend from Vancouver, Silvia di Blasio. one of my virtual friends whom I have learned to view as a sister in spirit.
In a comment about one of her recent posts, I responded. “This is an inspiring discussion, Sylvia. I thought you would appreciate knowing that as I read your insights about how important it is to use our skills to improve things, I decided to return a phone call to an advocacy organization to offer my skills as a volunteer writer. I’ll let you know how it works out. Thank you 🙂 .” (September 4, 2014).
I have received two return calls from the organization expressing interest and possibilities for collaboration. During the call last evening, I was invited to attend an “important phone bank event” tonight. My role would be to meet people and observe the event and write about the volunteers and issues of concern. These might be letters to the editors for local papers in the region or stories about the volunteers, their reasons for engagement, and the importance of issues from their perspectives.
Those of you who follow my blog know that I am, by nature, and introvert. Attending the meeting is not something I would choose to do on my own. My readers may not know, however, that I question whether this is something I have the skill to do effectively. Really. Yet I owe it to my grandchildren to try. I owe it to the grandson who has trained hard to excel at a game he loves and who had the tenacity to sit on the bench for a season hoping for the call to the field. I owe it to the bloggers who continue to inspire me and rekindle the hope that together we can make a difference even though the task seems so daunting.
Photo Credit: Aadi 2012 (before his got his bight green shoes)
Chi miigwetch (Ojibwe “thank you!”) to all bloggers who are keeping the light of hope burning in the darkness of our time.
Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.