Come Together, Right Now!

April 20, 2009

Did you know that Crisis Intimacy is recognized as one of the 12 intimacies by which we can all connect? For those of you who live in Nova Scotia and PEI you may recall the wonderful spirit of community that we celebrated in the after math of Hurricane Juan, then again several months later after “White Juan”, a snowstorm that dumped over a metre of snow overnight. The stories of people coming together to help are many, each a testament to the best of humanity.

This week’s special report is dedicated to the folks who live along the Red River. Here is an email transcript from a past training participant. Notice the qualities of character that are called on to get through a crisis. (Hint: humor and gratitude, among others).

Enjoy,
Peter

Crisis Intimacy – Come Together Right Now!
How Struggle Brings Out the Best

Peter: I was just thinking about you as I read the dangerous flooding news about North Dakota and Fargo. Are the Adoption Trainers in your area okay?

Linda: Hello Peter. How kind of you to think of us. Yes…we are all ok. I live 12 miles north of Fargo (we just moved from Fargo in December) and our development is totally surrounded by water. We have an earthen dike that was built about 8 years ago so we are dry but secluded. Have been here since last Friday as all the surrounding roads are closed…but we are fine. We didn’t know when we moved here that we would have “beachfront property” – ha!!

Today we received about 10 inches of snow but the river is declining slowly so we are hopeful that by the time it melts it won’t create too many additional problems for the city. I am so proud of our people, the volunteers and our city leaders…great and hearty people who truly care about other. It is refreshing!

I have been in touch with Pam (from Grand Forks), Colette (lives in South Fargo) and the SD ladies and every one is fine. BE on the lookout as the Red is flowing north. Thank goodness Canada was progressive and built the diversion years back.

Take care. It was great meeting you in Vegas and I so enjoyed the day and your presentation. I hope all is well with you and your family (especially that beautiful baby).

Peter: What a wonderful testament to the human spirit coming together for the common good. May I share your observations with my special report subscribers?

Linda: Most certainly…feel free. As I mentioned I am so proud of our community, let the whole world know. You may use whatever I said if you like. If we behaved like this everyday (not just in crisis). I think we might see a glimpse of world peace. People are people regardless of where we live. We all have similar hopes and dreams of love, family, relationships and meaningful work…not too much to ask for but sometimes difficult to achieve. We all know what is important and you, Peter, so eloquently shared/displayed that to us in Vegas. Shalom!

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What qualities of character have you noticed that shine when a community/work team faces a crisis?


Saline Solutions

November 25, 2008

“The cure for everything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.” – Isak Dinesen

How do you mark passage? In the late Autumn a friend of mine lost his father-in-law Joe to cancer. They were very fond of each other and on his death bed Joe requested from his son-in-law to take care of his widow. My friend is a salt of the earth guy, not big on words or sentimentality but gave a knowing nod to the request and in some way comforted a dying man to know that the people he cared about would be supported.

On the day of the funeral the son-in-law woke early and excused himself from attending the church ceremony and instead went to the cathedral of the forest with an axe and a woodsplitter and for several hours before and many hours after the formal goodbyes ceremony we call a funeral he fulfilled part of his promise and he cut, split and stacked 3 chords of wood for his mother-in-law.

That Winter she was surrounded by much more than the warmth or the hearth. I guess my friend thought the best tribute to Joe was to be has arms and legs, or in this case leg because my friend has a game leg injured in an old accident and he walks with a cane to support his balance on his withered limb. The cure for sorrow may well be salt water — tears or sweat.

How do you remember those who give their best to life and help others live?


Lest We Forget

November 12, 2008

What were you doing Nov 11?

I joined the well-attended Remembrance day ceremony in my home town of Parrsboro. This commemoration is well attended by the community. It starts with a parade led by all four of our Mounties dressed smart in their red serge dress uniforms. A minivan with a portable stereo roped precariously onto to the roof leads the way with the beat of marching music. This is a reasonable hand drawn facsimile replacing the once award winning Parrsboro Citizens Band whose members are either to old or graduated from school and moved on.

Thank goodness it was a bright warm sunny day. For some reason Nov 11 has typically been cold and clammy. Every name carved in stone was read and the commentator read the names of the departed along with names of descendants who were to lay each wreath. Each wreath layer was escorted by two smartly dressed young cadets as they walked a corridor of decorated legion members holding flags on staffs as they. I hope they felt honoured.

As the wreath laying process reached the 1 hour mark a few dogs barked and handfuls of groups in the crowd started to chat among themselves. I caught myself being a bit restless as my back started to get sore and I shifted weight from one foot to the other. I was getting a bit impatient.

When the ceremony leader Keith spoke, he reminded us that the sacrifice of those long gone was not just some sentimental gratitude. He shared a fact that I wasn’t aware of. There are 6000 cenotaphs across Canada and he reminded us that some of them are laying wreaths for our modern memories lest we forget that, to date, ninety seven men and women of our armed services gave the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan. My aching back paled in comparison to the heart ache that some Canadian families must be feeling today.

We are a community of memory and hope. Perhaps you caught the, “For Better or For Worse” comic strip in the Sunday paper. The little kid is standing at a poppy and wreath ceremony and asks her mom, “When will it be over?” Her mother replies, “In about an hour.” The young girl clarified, “No, I meant when will war be over?”

Seems like we have had war forever. In my family it goes back to 1916 when my great grandfather, Major James Tupper, wrote a letter to his 12 year old son, my grandfather, whom, as fate would unfold, they would never meet again because he died at the Battle for the Somme in the “war to end all wars,” WW1

For those in past and present generations who fight for freedom and work for peace in our time, I thank you. Lest we forget those who gave and continue to give the ultimate sacrifice in fulfillment of these hopes for humanity.

Read My Great Grandfather’s Last Letter to my Grandfather