Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor of Love

I spent the weekend at Mo-Ranch, a Presbyterian camp on the Guadalupe River near Kerrville, Texas. I watched hundreds of kids splashing in the water, playing tennis, tossing a football and promoting mayhem wherever they went. They were doing something my mother did not know too often in her childhood: Play.

She picked cotton from the time she was three until her father lost his sharecropping livelihood and the family moved to town. If she'd been an urban kid and born just twenty years before, she would have worked at any number of places -- sewing warehouses, factories, coal mines or mills. If she'd been a boy, she might have been a newsboy hawking papers along street corners.

Unions put an end to most of this outrage and gave our children a real childhood. On this Labor Day, send a prayer of thanks to all the workers, organizers and pickers who fought and died for a living wage, a 40 hour work week, and a childhood for our children. Say a prayer of thanksgiving for the unions of today who continue to protect these rights and organize for more such as adequate paid time off, meaningful family leave, and healthcare for all.  They endure being called communists, socialists, leeches and all because they fight for the working and middle class.  Enjoy the video. It features a kid going down the water slide at Mo-Ranch.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Be Foolish

The worst part about turning 50 and sending the oldest child off to college is that most of the current and future transitions of life will not be about "hellos" but "goodbyes." Maybe it's been that way all along, but before there was a balance. Now the scales tip toward endings instead of beginnings. Yes, I get it -- my life is starting a new chapter but what could possibly top giving birth, kissing the back of your kid's neck, singing silly songs, watching them play sports, taking them on vacation and most importantly, reliving the wonders of the earth, nature and the universe through their eyes. It's been a terrific ride, bringing up babies, but the future looks hazy through my misty eyes. As my sister said, "It maybe the best of life is over." And so what if it is.

We baby boomers are writing a new book and not just a chapter. Until the last century most folks died by their 50th birthday. "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in at this steady pace," so said the guy who died at 52. For only the third or fourth generation in history, humans will live the majority of their lives after their children grow up and leave home. How to spend the time?

The danger of aging is not staying relevant. It's a chore, but keep at it.  Read what the young write. Listen to their music. Hear their ideas as if their fresh; relish the fact there is nothing new under the sun, but smile knowing it is new to them. Change careers. Travel. Take risks. Exercise every day. Paint. Play piano. Learn a new language. Learn Welsh! Write poetry. Write bad poetry and I dare you to read it at an open mic night. Be Foolish.
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human one.
Teilhard deChardin