Sunday, December 23, 2012

THE POWER OF THE WORD

Sunday, December 23:

It's Christmas.
But these are not the best of times.
Children are killing children at the same time they all should be standing wide-eyed with wonder and amazement at the glittering lights. And yet as I sit here at my keyboard I am wondering where a fluffy ball of yellow fur is tonight. Is he warm? Is he hungry? Has he gathered the wild cats of our neighborhood into a feisty gang?


His name is Milo, and he's our grandcat. He's lived with us for seven years now, but somehow he managed to slip out the front door the night before last and is gone. We miss him. We've searched for him, waited for him, left out food for him. And one of his toys. Tacked up posters.

But he's only a cat, and as much as I miss him, as much as my worries about his fate niggle me, distracting me from writing/baking/wrapping gifts, I am reminded/hoping/praying he may be alive somewhere.

Twenty-six innocent people are not.

Children and teachers who were simply going about their lives this time two weeks ago are dead. Their loved ones are in a hell I cannot image. I am simply yearning for the return of my grandcat, Milo. And yet I've found myself searching for some words to console me, to give me strength, to make me not doubt the world we live in, to make me want to be strong and to be part of the solution instead apathetic/indifferent/uncaring. Scared.

It's Christmas, you see. A time of hope. Not a game of thrones where winter is coming, but, yes, a game of thrones where spring could unfold/burst/emerge. Usually I look to poetry, snaggles of words I must consider/ponder/parse carefully like algebra.

And I found this: a poem of hope/inspiration/truth, written by a ten-year-old boy for a Florida grade school competition in 2001.

I hold in my hand
All the answers to all the questions
In the world.


The secrets of science,
Cures for diseases.
Even recipes for wonderful meals.

I hold the basis for languages, codes,
And all forms of communication.

In my hand I hold poetry, novels,
The potential for awesome plays,
And the script of a blockbuster movie.
In my hand is the very key to civilization,
The instrument that has built the world.
In my hand, I hold . . . a pen.


I have lifted this poem without permission from "Heroic Teaching in Troubled Times" by Les Standiford. Standiford's message was directed to educators following 9-11. I strongly suggest clicking on the link and reading the entire piece. It's uplifting, and we need that right now. I need that right now. National tragedies. Personal tragedies. Those of us left behind have to forge ahead and yet not forget

Standiford knows this all too well. That masterfully written poem was penned by his son, Alexander, who died in 2009. So young. What additional words/thoughts/truths he may have gifted us all with.

But it's Christmas. Peace on Earth. Goodwill to men. And women. And lost cats. 

And words yet to be written.

UPDATE on December 24: When I opened the front door at the same time of the morning I usually feed Milo on weekdays, there he stood, just off the porch where we had left an opened can of tuna. Milo is home!

Merry Christmas indeed!

1 comment:

Byron Rohrig said...

Thanks for a real and hopeful word.