…without Borders


(AP Photo/Jorge Cruz)

“I am part and parcel of the whole and cannot find God apart from the rest of humanity.”

Mohandas Gandhi

On the news I see pundits talking about the aid that’s going to Haiti in a way that makes me think, “I’m sorry, WHAT?”

They’re comparing dollar amounts between countries, percentages per capita, percentages of the total aid sent so far. Who’s given the most? Wow, Israel’s doing this? How many troops have WE sent compared to how many troops THEY’VE sent?  Obviously THEY are sending this because of (name political outcome goal here).  Let’s analyze this leader’s words about the earthquake (on a side note, my analysis of Pat Robertson’s words: STFU).

This is Robin Frisella, reporting from the comfort of my kitchen, where I have electricity, a phone, food, and a roof over my head.  The most horrible tragedy has occurred and killed maybe two hundred thousand of our brothers and sisters. Those who survived the quake  are bleeding, crying, and dying from thirst. They are trapped alone under buildings. They are looking for their mommy and daddy.

Shame on the media outlets, once again, for looking for a way to gain ratings by inciting discord. Shame on anyone who is listening to that drivel. Take notes when the Aid organizations are listed, take a pee break when the talking heads start deciding who’s the biggest giver, or speculating on the political motive behind each country’s donations.


We are giving because we don’t want our two-story houses to collapse upon us. We are giving because we can’t imagine what a disaster of this magnitude would do to us. We are giving because in between the analysts, we see the photo of the little girl who is in the hospital clutching her doll with her unbandaged fingers. We are giving because we can imagine how it would feel to be on top of a pile of rubble, desperately digging with bare fingers to get to our child.

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Wake up, Everybody

“The world won’t get no better if we just let it be
The world won’t get no better we gotta change it yeah, just you and me.”


change the world more than the world changes you.

On this New Year’s Eve, I’m planning to attend the funeral home Visitation for a former student  (see my post “I Remember Randall” below).   Not exactly the champagne and confetti that most will enjoy, true.  And it’s not my intention to bring anyone down on this festive day. But today is not just a day of celebration; for many it’s a day of reflection, of resolution and remembrance. Here’s how I plan in 2010 to celebrate the memory of an artistic, funny, athletic boy for whom the world didn’t get better in time:

I’m going to stop what I’m doing to look my son, and my students, directly in the eye when they have something to say. That’s what the “pause” button is for, that’s what bookmarks are for, that’s what the “reheat” button on the microwave is for, that’s what a planning period is for.

I’m going to go nuts every time a kid brings me a picture drawn just for me, and hang it up somewhere in the classroom immediately!

I’m going to tye-dye my Peacenik cloak in the boldest colors of the rainbow, and wear it like Lady GaGa wears, well, everything.

I’m going to smile when I’m driving.

I’m going to make more of what we teachers call “Sunshine Calls” to my students parents, so that more kids can go home to find smiles and approval.

I’m going to keep track of former students (thank you Facebook!) and let them know that we’re still pulling for them at their old elementary school.

Most of you didn’t know Randall other than by what you might have read in my first post. Hopefully that won’t stop you from reflecting for a moment, and doing something for a child in 2010 that will honor  Randall’s short life. By doing so, you’ll help bring Peace to a gone-too-soon spirit, and you’ll advance the spread of Peace in our own world.

If you’re so inclined, add a comment to let us know what you come up with. I’d love to read, and be inspired by, your insights!

Happy New Year, friends.

“Guess what? So are you.”

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I remember being about 10 years old. I was over at a friend’s house. We were in her room on her bed, giggling, talking about boys and school and 10 year-old stuff.  The conversation turned to a second friend. It was pretty benign until we started talking about an aspect of her appearance.  As someone who was ridiculed daily, I don’t know why I did this, but I made some stupid remark that our pea brains found to be just hysterical.  What I didn’t know was that Friend 1 had stashed Friend 2 under the bed just before I arrived.

When Friend 2 slid out from under that bed, the embarrassment and shame I felt reverberated within every cell of my body. Even now, writing about it, the echo of that sensation makes me cringe.  Of course, Friend 1 was simply delighted by our discomfort, and Friend 2 bravely laughed it off. Because when you’re 10 that’s what you do.

But decades later, I wonder if Friend 2 remembers that afternoon; whether or not she recalls that episode, I know that moment put a dent in her self-confidence.

I wish I could say from that moment on I spent the rest of my childhood speaking only golden platitudes about everyone I knew.  Nope, though I did develop a habit of peering under the furniture  before I opened my yap. And while I did make a concerted attempt to speak kindly, I was still an insecure kid, after all, and at the time I thought being what I perceived as  ‘accepted’ was more important than anything else.

I was well into adulthood before I got it together gossip-wise.

*****Disclaimer!  ‘got it together’ is a relative term in this musing; I still fall into the trap occasionally but with effort can change the spin of a remark mid-sentence. When that doesn’t work, I sometimes call my own self out in front of whoever I’m talking to, which can be a tad disconcerting to my companion….*****

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Constant Comment

The world is a dangerous place to live,
not because of the people who are evil,
but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.

— Albert Einstein

From the Sojourners  blog site (“faith, politics, culture”) regarding comments to others’ posts:

“Comment Code of Conduct

I will express my disagreements with other community members’ ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others’ beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking “report” on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they’re expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)”

I’m telling you this right now. Continue reading