The Blog--Anything Mentionable


The call comes, or the text or the email, and we find ourselves on the way to the home of a friend or loved one who has just suffered a loss, or to a visitation or a funeral. Then comes an almost universal anxiety and the haunting questions: When I approach the grieving person, what should I say? What should I do?

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But most of us live as if the opposite was true. We go through life believing in our “terminal uniqueness,” that we are the only ones feeling anger, sadness, shame, grief, fear, depression and self-doubt. Feelings are character defects, not inevitable and universal aspects of the human condition.

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You don’t get to control it all. But choosing simplicity whenever possible adds to life an element of deepest freedom which so easily eludes us, and many opportunities to discover that less may actually be more.”

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Fred Rogers did not come to us from a spiritual mountaintop. He was fully human instead, a person who grappled with the inner difficulties so familiar to the rest of us. There is comfort in knowing this.

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But there was something they shared, a certain inner luminosity, a quiet joy. It was acknowledged with a nod or a smile or a few kind words of encouragement for a plodding old guy like me. There was a wonderful, unspoken truth up there, something about the grandeur of nature and the expansiveness of the human soul.

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On a winter afternoon in 1989, I climbed into the cargo hold of a crowded Ryder rental truck, finding my place amid forty-nine Central American refugees. Over the next eleven hours, on a journey from the Texas border town of Harlingen to Houston, I learned that we're all refugees.

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Yet we remain inclined to believe that we are unique, comparing our tattered insides with the outsides of others, not knowing that most of those others pretend like we pretend. The dark genius of humanity is our great ability to conceal the truth of our insides from one another. We are all such great actors.

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Desiderata, Max Erhmann's poem, are words for your time.

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The biggest part of my journey of healing over the decades has been first acknowledging, then embracing my anger and rage

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With the passing of a former first lady, we are reminded that, however often we fail, aspiring toward our better angels is the highest calling in life.

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