It is the eve of my mother’s 100th birthday. (She celebrated 84 of them upon the earth). I was made aware, just today, that she was born the day before the official end of World War I (Nov 11, 1918). It is appropriate, for I always knew her as a woman of peace – she was quite remarkable in many ways. She lived for the sake of so many others while possessing a deep contentment and independence. In this month of remembering the communion of saints, she remains high upon my list.
It is good to remember the great ones from life and history – the persons who lived with grace and courage, who manage to contribute more than they consume – encourage more than they criticize – give thanks more than they take for granted.
I am presently reading “The Book Of Joy, Lasting Happiness In A Changing World”, written from a five day retreat and conversation between Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama – talk about great ones! Early in the book the Dalai Lama responds to Bishop Tutu’s curiosity as to how the Dalai Lama manages to be authentic, humble, and approachable while being so revered. The Dalai Lama responded, “I have always thought of myself as one of the seven billion other persons on the planet. I am one of all of them and so I am one with all of them. From that place I have always tried to make people aware that the ultimate source of happiness is a healthy body and a warm heart.”
Remembering the saints is timely medicine following the elections. We need to hear wise words from well lived lives. See again the images of those who shared and even gave up their lives for the sake others. We need to recognize compassion and empathy as necessary ingredients for a great life and certainly a great nation.
So, conjure the memories of the great people from your life. Recall those teachers, relatives, workmates, and alumni. Recall and re-read your heroes from history – and realize, they were simply one of a multi-billion (depending on how long ago they lived) people on the earth… just like you me.
Happy Birthday Eve, Rita. Thanks for being a great mom, and a remarkable person.