A dream pronounced
by peaceful warrior standing his ground
His message still resonates
How beautiful the sounds
of people cheering, believing
that dreams do come true.
Fifty-seven years have passed.
Today we reaffirm, and decree
his hopes for a united front.
Civil disobedience, peaceful protests
and good trouble will be revived.
Enough is enough!
Poem by Melba Christie
“We Cannot Walk Alone…We Cannot Turn Back”
NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL IN PARIS ON FIRE. SUCH SAD NEWS. I HOPE THERE HAS NOT BEEN LOSS OF LIFE. GOD BE WITH THEM.
My tribute goes deep. One of my family members was first responder and we are grateful she is still in our lives. A couple of my former students at the time lost family members. A colleague lost his cousin. As everyone else, I remember vividly the events of the day. I can remember things I said, what I had for breakfast and the pounding of heart. It all started during the first period of the school day. I had to be strong for my students and the teachers under my supervision. I was not supposed to panic. I had to be strong for all of them. I remained as calm as I humanly could and tried to comfort the children who had been entrusted to me.
I did not breakdown until I returned home that evening and looked to the New York City skyline from my car to see the devastation. Although all I could see was smoke, I kept thinking of the people who lived in that area and all the lives lost. I thought about my old neighborhood and how terrified people must have been in those horrific moments. I thanked God that my family was safe. I recently visited the 9/11 memorial. It is amazing. It was very emotional and sad but at the same time I felt hopeful. I know we will never ever forget. I just pray that it gets better for all the family members who lost their loved ones. I did not realize or maybe I’d blocked out some of the facts of that day. Only six people survived. Most especially I was stunned to know that 11 unborn children had also perished. Now that I am a grandmother this fact is harder to accept. However, I believe with all my heart they are our angels of hope.
I did not write a poem this year but I focused on the numbers that appear in every newspaper, blog, flyer, book, and all accounts of that beautiful September day that became the most tragic day in the history of our country. May their souls rest in peace.
God bless America.
Numbers with meaning
A few years ago I wrote a piece titled Don’t Die Wondering inspired by a quote by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. I published it on a website called Divine Caroline which is where I started submitting essays and poems as a guest blogger. I would get so excited when I received an email from the site telling me my poem or essay was accepted for publication. I have read almost all of Dr. Dyer’s books. He has been an inspiration for many years now. I feel like he was my mentor and teacher. I’d go back and read his quotes and my notes in the margins and use them to inspire me when I got writer’s block. I was always in awe of how no matter what book I’d pick up or what page I turned to, the message that caught my eye was so proper for the moment I was living.
Sadly and to my surprise today I read on Dr. Dyer’s Facebook page this message posted by his beloved family. “Wayne has left his body, passing away through the night. He always said he couldn’t wait for this next adventure to begin and had no fear of dying. Our hearts are broken, but we smile to think of how much our scurvy elephant will enjoy the other side.”
I was in shock. Just a few days ago I was ready to sign up to attend a conference in New York City on November 14 where Dr. Dyer would have been a keynote. He is considered a self-help guru and most of his books are listed as New York Times best sellers. Once again he is a source of inspiration to me. I will never get to meet him in person as I had hoped during the fall conference in the Big Apple. But I had the privilege of reading his work which was also an education in philosophy and cultural perspectives.
I shared his books with friends and most especially my beautiful mother-in-law who is also my inspiration. She is 87 years old (please don’t tell her I told you how old she is) she really doesn’t look a day over 50. She nurtures her soul and spirit with positive thoughts and good energy. When I told her our dear Dr. Dyer had passed she said, “He must be in a place surrounded by butterflies.” It was a reference to one of his books where he appears on the cover with a butterfly in hand. I got goosebumps when she said that. We would talk about his books and make references to his thoughts and his philosophy about life all the time. As soon as I ended our long distance phone conversation I went to the book shelf where I had stacked most of his books. Among them was Inspiration:Your Ultimate Calling. I opened the book and saw where I had underlined a quote I loved.”
“Dedicate your life to something that reflects an awareness of your Divinity.”
I hope I can live up to this suggestion. Dr. Dyer was “a creative master” and he encouraged his readers to “express their Divine nature.” I could see that he “must be in a place with butterflies” similar to the Monarch that flew into his hand one day as he thought about his friend Jack. He wrote, “As God is my witness, the butterfly made a U-turn and not only headed in my direction, but landed right smack on my finger! … I felt a deep affinity to this precious living being.” He used a picture of a butterfly throughout the book. He teaches us in the book the benefits of living an inspired life. Dr. Dyer was the greatest example. I can almost picture the scene when he meets God and where he can surely “see clearly now” across heaven.
In his memory I drew a butterfly. I have asked for inspiration to write a poem within the next few days to honor his memory as well.
My husband and I often drive without any particular destination in mind. Last weekend our excursion brought us to a very interesting spot off of Route 46 on Budd Lake. I took some photographs when I heard from a distance someone asking us if we were tourists. I found his comment amusing given the fact we live about 25 miles away. But I guess we did look like tourists as I was carrying my camera bag and holding my Nikon camera fitted with a telescopic lens.
The person was paddling a small canoe across the lake and another person looked like he was getting his gear ready for a beautiful sunny day of fishing. For all we know they could have been the owners or gatekeeper of the property. The castle is now Pax Amicus Theater. Frankly I never heard of it before but very happy we found it. The theater was founded in 1970 and according to Wikipedia “This community theater produces a full year-round season of Broadway and off-Broadway revivals, professional productions of works by Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe, a program devoted to children’s theater, and special events throughout the year.” The most curious find of all was the various statutes dedicated to different people. It seemed surreal to me that along Budd Lake there would be a castle. “The Castle was built in the 1940s as a cinderblock synagogue. Later, it was owned by the Knights of Columbus. In 1978, it was turned into a theatre through the addition of a small stage house, two cinderblock turrets out front, and a fake-gothic facade. It sits at the end of a winding road on the shores of Budd Lake, perhaps 30 miles from Pennsylvania, and is surely one of the damnedest things one will ever run across. A sign over the front door reads “Pax Amicus”-“Peace, Friend.” I would love to know more about the people mentioned on the plaques. As a child this kind of place fascinated me. I suppose it still does. I hope that someone recognizes this hidden treasure and could give us more information. And if you never knew about it, you need to check it out some time.