Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

6-8-13 RMB High Hearts

6-8-13 RMB High Hearts
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
It nears midnight. I am in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The family reunion is in full swing. I showed up. I am here, in a corner of the living area, off to the side, outside of the circle of couches and chairs where family gathers and talks. I write Dear Rita Mae Brown letters.
Well, actually I checked email and answered a question for work first…then I retreated into the last couple of letters, ones forming in my head over several days. And I correct my stories. A friend has emailed me back her comments on the progression of one story…it starts with “Nice!” and then proceeds with typo corrections and wording suggestions. “Nice!” I like that.
What I like even more is that there are many reading my words now…a sister, a nephew, a niece and several friends. Sometimes they write “I want to know more” or “What happens next?”
We are all busy, yet they make time for me, for my stories. I am blessed. And I know that indicates my work is not horrible, skewed as their praise may be.
On the plane I read High Hearts. Is any war worth the cost of one life? That is a question posed. I would venture to ask does any war truly save lives? Aren’t all of them touted to do that in some way? We teach children to resolve their differences with words then to draw their weapons as adults.
A concern of mine is our history and lack of advancement. Some say it is human nature to fight, to dominate. The phrase “let them duke it out” comes to mind, indicating that is acceptable.
I became frustrated and angry at someone the other day, angry enough to strike, but I didn’t. I used words, at an elevated volume and perhaps those words left marks of their own, but words were a better option than striking out.
If one person can find a better option, knowing it is still not the best solution, can the best be found? Can others find better options? Can nations find better options?
Nelson Mandela was hospitalized for a lung infection. The headlines label him a Peace Activist. I watched Invictus with my boys about a year ago. I use this man as an example often. If one man could endure so much and do such good, what are we each capable of?
Many pray for him, visit him and voice their support of him. How many mirror his courage, kindness and foresight? Could that be the logical next step? Is that what he hoped for in his life’s work, to leave a world with knowledge of the mountains that one person can move and further more the impetus for us to move mountains?
In an earlier letter I wondered if we would find courage, and certainty to act on it, if we sought opportunities to be courageous, to help one another. My struggles of late remind me that action need not be grand, nor extreme, to hold court. Sometimes it is a minor act in a single moment that sways the direction of destiny.

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