But for the Grace of God (Go I)

This has been an emotionally charged and confusing time in my life, triggering memories of other past situations that I can do little about.

The trigger this past week has been Hurricane Harvey and the devastation it wreaked upon an unsuspecting public. Deaths, destruction, desolation. Every day it’s another heartbreaking story.

But like so many others, I am settled safely in the Midwest, far from the water and the grief. And that makes me feel like a slacker. I have sent money to help the victims, but I am employed full-time and have family and financial responsibilities, so I can’t go and help those in need. And even if I did go down to Houston, I am in no shape physically to help out.

This feeling of helplessness is the same feeling I got when Katrina hit. Or the Twin Towers. Massive devastation thousands of miles away from me. It’s almost surrealistic, because in all cases I have not known one person who was affected by these tragedies. I feel like I’m a cheater — reading the stories of the victims and the survivors, then turning around and making a grilled cheese sandwich like it’s nothing special. It is a shameful feeling.

Do you ever feel like you’re reading a fiction novel instead of really grasping the truth?

Yet around me are situations that can (and have) taken turns for the worse. Not only my cancer (which has not returned, thank goodness), but cancer in friends, triple bypass surgery, arthritis throughout one’s body, mothers and fathers and wives and husbands passing away, ill health and bankruptcy and all kinds of situations that hurt the heart as well as the body. Are these any more important than what is going on in Houston?

Are we any less of a feeling, emoting human being if we keep on working on our side of the window?

On the other end of the scale is the decadence of the wealthy. A world I cannot even imagine. Beyonce once spent $100,000 on a Balanciaga bra and leggings and $4 million for a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sports Car. The Beckams spent $240,000 on a nursery for their son, while Elton John bought the apartment next door for  $2 million so his son could have a place to play in.

People are starving. People are dying. People’s homes have been washed away. Their children will have nightmares the rest of their lives. Yet there is a section of society that can buy a teacup sized Pomeranian for $10,000 (Paris Hilton) or a $250,000 bottle of champagne (JayZ) or a $2 million dollar bath tub (Mike Tyson).

What is wrong with the world?

I know I know — kings and queens and popes and oil monguls have been spending buko bucks for centuries while the poor ate potatoes and worse. There has never been a balance in the world’s economy. It’s just the nature of human beings.

I don’t know why I feel like I’m ignoring the woes of the world.

We are all caught in the middle, lost somewhere between tragedy and comedy. The only thing we can do is acknowledge where we are, what we have done, and be prepared to handle the best of times and the worst of times.

 

Sunday Morning Art Gallery Blog — The Aftermath of 9/11 in Art

To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts — such is the duty of the artist. ~ Robert Schumann

 

lady-liberty-statueLady Liberty Memorial – 9/11 Memorial Museum

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tony-triggTony Trigg

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9-11-memorial-freehold-nj-nick-zelinsky9/11 Memorial, Freehold, NJ

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the-madonna-in-hell-by-fevorr-j-nwokorieThe Madonna in Hell, Fevorr J. Nwokorie

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hearh-satowHeath Satow

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brooklynBrooklyn Wall of Rememberance

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kenny-wangKenny Wang

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Flight 93 Memorial, Shanksville, PA

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hero-image-pentagon-memorial-photo-credit-mike-myersPentagon Memorial, Washington D.C.

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the-hero-khai-nguyenThe Hero, Khai Nguyen

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papquiltPort Authority Memorial Quilt

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Trinity Root,  Steve Tobin

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tumbling-woman-eric-fischlTumbling Woman, Eric Fischl

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fdny_quiltFire Department New York Memorial Quilt

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lower-school-art-students-of-porter-gaud-schoolscLower School Art Students of Porter Gaud School, South Carolina

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thDavid Kracov

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flight-crew-memorialFlight Crew Memorial, Grapevine, Texas

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911-dust-to-dnamikey-flowers-kevinclarkeDust to DNA, Bianca Nazzaruolo

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spencer-finchSpencer Finch, 9/11 Memorial Museum

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to-lift-a-nation-ground-zeroTo Lift A Nation, Ground Zero

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teardrop-memorialbayonne-njTeardrop Memorial, Bayonne, NJ

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victims-quilt

9/11 Victims Memorial Quilt

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ground-zero-memorial-design

9/11 Memorial Museum

Moments of Reflection

heart-flower03There’s a lot going on these days…a lot of bad things, sad things. So many of my fellow bloggers have covered this topic much better than I could. I am sad, because as of late I’ve seen the American flag flown at half mast more than at full. What does this say about the state of the country? Of the neighborhood?

I’d like to share two different blogs sharing the same world. Two different styles, one same idea.

If you get a chance follow the links and take a look at the world in two different ways. After all…it’s all the same in the end.

First is by my friend David Kanigan.

 

………My Goal: Exceed the 5.38 mile distance in March or run to the Sunrise, whichever comes first.

It’s like riding a bike. You don’t forget how to run. Right. A nerve in the upper left shoulder blade pinches. And this slides down to the lower right back achieving beautiful pain symmetry. Sedentary Suit on the move.  Jesus.

Both groins groan. The pads of the feet cry No! with each footfall. I’m breathing heavy, and this is downhill 0.2 miles in. Jesus Saves.

Running in twilight. Red shoes. Red shorts. Red Shirt. Blood Man. Heart over-pumping, lungs heaving but at least I’m lookin’ fine.

1 mile mark.

Cemetery.

Then, Darien City Police Station.

Baton Rouge. I’m on my back. The bone of his knee is crushing my rib cage.  His pistol is in my face. I need air.  I can’t breathe…

1.5 mile mark.

Church.

Charleston. My eyes pan across the wafer thin page of the Bible – I’m lip synching the reading of the prayer. I hear gunfire. In a split second, the full weight of the explosion lands, shrapnel shreds my chest. Astonished, I fall forward in the pew looking up at Jesus on the cross……

 

And then another from my friend Austin Hodgens.

 

Peace and Love, My Fellow Earthlings

My Fellow Earthlings,

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the state of our planet, and remind you of one simple thing…

No matter where you’re from, the color of your skin, your religious beliefs, your sexual orientation, your political affiliation, or your financial situation, you will always be an Earthling.

I’ve never understood why we don’t think of ourselves as such.  After all, calling this planet home is the one thing that unites us.

My name is Austin, and I’m an Earthling.

Try it.  Listen to how it rolls off your tongue……

 

 

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