(Blessed Be) The Ties That Bind

This past weekend, a truly inspirational woman set foot back in Delaware and joined Delaware Episcopalians at St. Anne's Episcopal School in Middletown, Delaware.  We were coming together to discuss her wonderful book The Ties That Bind: A Memoir of Race, Memory, and Redemption.   However, most of our discussion centered on...


The author's name is Dr. Bertice Berry, originally from Wilmington, DE, and here is a sample of some of the comments that I wrote down.

  • When you walk in purpose, you collide with destiny.
  • Gratitude is the parent of all virtues.
  • Measure our success/progress not by where we are not, but where we have come from.
  • Border questions important to know: Who are you, where are you from, where are you going, and what will you be doing when you get there?
Dr. Berry's book is recommended reading for Episcopalians in the Diocese of Delaware.  It first came to my attention at the 2010 Parish Life Day.  The Rev. Rod Welles had several copies of the book at a booth he was manning and after reading the jacket cover, I was hooked.

First of all this book was going to provide me a glimpse into the world of the African-American growing up in Wilmington, DE both before and after desegregation.  Wilmington is a very small city where it seems everyone knows everyone else and coming from another state it takes a while just to crack the surface of joint knowledge and experiences. 

Second, there are friends of mine and their relatives that are mentioned in the book.

Third, being part of a racially diverse congregation, I hoped that this book might help me understand a part of history that unless I had walked with slavery, I could not understand.

The title of Saturday's session was "Journey to transformation:  The way out is back through."

Part of the morning involved exposure to the following thoughts, and I promise that I probably did not write fast enough to get everything that is important.

Stage One:  Me - Life begins with the Me stage, at birth until around 2.  The stage when it really is all about me, what I want, what I need.

Stage Two:  You - Self/you becomes socialized and lasts till the teenage years.

Stage Three:  Us - Teenage years where the individual becomes lost in the "us."

Stage Four:  I am/We are - also known as Ubuntu, the theme of the last General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Anaheim.  According to Wikipedia, Ubuntu is an ethic or humanist philosophy focusing on people's allegiances and relations with each other. The word has its origin in the Bantu languages of southern Africa and is seen as a classical African concept. 

Note the emphasis on "people's allegiances and relations with each other."

This is the Stage that I am on.  However, there is a fifth and final stage.

Stage Five:  All - This is the stage that the saints operate in and that we should strive to be more "All" in our thinking.  It is said that "All" thinking affects seven, yep count em, seven future generations.

So, when you decide to switch to a refillable water bottle, the ripple effect is GREAT.

Now back to the title.

In 1772, Pastor John Fawcett was called to a large church in London leaving behind his congregation at Wainsgate.  As the present congregation gathered to say good bye, with tears in their eyes, they begged him to stay.  And, stay he did. 

However, from this experience came  the following words:

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love.
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers.
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one
Our comforts and our cares.

We share each other’s woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart
And hope to meet again.


And the Earth Shook

I was never as great a fan of techonology until I went to Sudan where I leaned on my computer to keep me connected to home.

Or when I showed my friend Tito where I lived using sattelite photos and seeing "Tweety" parked in my driveway in a mid-summer shot.


I have included a link here from a NY Times article this morning, where technology plays a part in understanding the magnitude of what occurred to Japan last week.



But I intended to

Today, I planned on doing a little writing on how the universe has to hit me on the head to do something beneficial.  Something I would benefit from.

Am I going to do that?

Not unless my writing was to have been about a very powerful movie.

It is titled Water a movie directed by Deepa Mehta a most wonderfully talented woman.  She has directed the film Fire and then Earth.  Some consider her the voice of a new India.

"The film examines the plight of a group of widows forced into poverty at a temple in the holy city of Varanasi. It focuses on a relationship between one of the widows, who wants to escape the social restrictions imposed on widows, and a man who is from the highest caste and a follower of Mahatma Gandhi."

Hindu law at the time gave widows three choices.  To follow their husband in death, to live a life of purity as an outcast or with the family's permission to marry the younger brother.  The movie takes place at the time of Ghandi and his imprisonment by the British. 

At the time of the India 2001 census there were 21 million widows.

There is a great line in the movie that answers the question "Why does God want widows to suffer, why does this have to happen?" 

The hero, if you want to call him that, tells her that the law is " disguised as religion, but it's all about the money."  One less mouth to feed, one less corner of the house taken up, four less saris to buy.

I couldn't say it any better.  Pick any topic currently in the news.

Disguised, but it's all about the money.



I wish I were....

Memory is an amazing thing.

Even in the best of times, it confounds me why sometimes I cannot remember what I was to do on the way home, but can then sing the lyrics to a song that was popular when I was in 7th grade.

It's My Party by Leslie Gore.

I loved her songs, except for her follow-up Judy's Turn to Cry.  I went from villan to super-villan in the span of months.

But, I'd give it an 8.

Then when you add perspective to memory, you end up with several people looking at the same event and recounting different stories. 

Take an event that elicits emotions, like movies.  Afterward, you tell the tale loving and laughing, but your friend is telling others it was boring, trite, don't waste your money.

Remember the conversations that math, history should be taught by song?  Most everyone knows the Billy Joel song We Did't Start The Fire that details events from 1949-1989.  Imagine if we had been taught history by dissecting each one of those events?

Or advertising jingles that we can remember for their catch phrases.

Where's the Beef?  I've fallen and I can't get upI can't believe I ate the whole thing?

 Or jingles.

Plop, plop fizz fizz Oh what a relief it is.

For me, sometimes jingles not only made me want to buy something, but elicited a stronger urge to participate.

Oh I wish I were an Oscar Myer Wiener.

This jingle made me want to find the Wiener car.  Where was it, how would I find it?

Every time that darn jingle played, it sparked the memory of wanting. 

Where was it, how would I find it?

Now, imagine an ordinary grocery store stop after work, turning the corner, looking for a space and ....

OMG, OMG.  Run get the camera.

See this is why I carry it with me.  OMG

So what did I do?  Went inside and met the Wiener Guys, sent a postcard, got a sticker, and a Wiener whistle.  Life is GOOD.

OH, I wish I were an Oscar Myer Wierner. 

Everyone Would Be in Love With Me.

A girl can dream,

Can't She?


Is it Time Yet?

I have discovered that I could care less if negotiations between the NFL players and owners falls through or is never resolved.  I love my Giants, but
Is it time for baseball yet?  So, here are pictures of the next best thing.

I have purchased my MLB.com subscription in order to watch my beloved Yankees play. 

However until opening day comes I will have to be satisfied from the picture from last year.

Sights of Lancaster

Sometime this past December, I was feeling the need to travel, to leave town and just drive. 

When I was younger, Kathryn's dad and I would take part in road rallies.  A contest to see who would arrive first at a location by solving riddles, traveling at the correct speeds. 

Gas was cheap, there were no cells phones, and technology did not rule our lives.

When we lived in Aston, PA these rallies would take place across the river around Swedesboro and Glassboro, NJ.  Little did I think that at a later date we would actually buy our first house there.

So that Sunday, skipping church, I headed out to find examples of humanity outside of Delaware.  Here are some pictures of what I found in on the road to and from and in Lancaster.

 I cannot begin to convey how tall this horse really was, except that when he walked towards me and the camera I began to back up.  Here I had discovered him during his downtime, not hooked behind a plow.
What the heck is Meat Bingo.  Being a vegetarian, I shudder.

What a great Nativity Scene

Why can't we all recycle like this?

This I really liked.

Yo Ho Ho

Finally I knew what I had been driven to find.

Frank, Gladdie and Hope

Some mornings I waken to discover that there is a song that is already playing in my head.  Sometimes the origin of the song has its beginnings in dreams or the Weather Channel.

Other times, I am at a loss to understand where it comes from.

Sometimes, it springs from the need to encourage a particular emotion or feeling.

Right now I am thinking of Glad Frick, as I sometimes do around Diocesan Convention times.  Glad used to volunteer as the Assistant Secretary to Convention.  And, she loves Frank Sinatra. 

Maybe it was the thinking of Glad and remembering Frank that had me humming High Hopes.

Just what makes that silly old ant thinks he can move that rubber tree plant? 

High Hopes.

So it came as a real surprise when stopped on the interstate in rush hour I happened to look up and see that silly old ant.

High above me.


That is what I think of each morning when I see that ant. 

I realize that I do live a hopeful life.  Hopeful that the best is yet to come.