Hold It All

Philosophy/Poetics/Politics

Category: Good News

The Good News of Knowing Them, 6.17.2017

So many of us inter-are with Doctors Neil Munjal and Neeta Shenai!

 

The Good News of a Fence, 7.11.2017

For her 60th birthday, Joanie’s family helped resurrect our backyard, including setting up a bamboo fence.

 

The Good News of Giving and Receiving Books, 6.26.2017

Ten years ago, because of a Social Justice theology class, I got to know Melissa Banerjee, a Bengali-American.  It made sense to me to give her a hardback edition of the The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.  Later on, after staying several weeks in India, she brought back to me Letters of Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna’s foremost disciple. Melissa inscribed the book this way: “Dr C., Hope this brings  you a small ‘piece’ of the peace I experienced at Sri Ramakrishna’s Mission and Math at Belur, Kolkata.”

This selection of Vivekananda’s letters  range from 1888 to 1902, and address members of his community as well as  Westerners eager to learn more about Indian spirituality.   The following is a small sample  of passages I noted of the swami’s observations, advice, exhortation, and insight…

On the Buddha: His greatness lies in his unrivaled sympathy. 18

Have faith in yourselves, great convictions are the mothers of great deeds.  64

Every soul is a sun covered over with clouds of ignorance, the difference between soul and soul is due to the difference in density of these layers of clouds.  69 Read the rest of this entry »

The Good News, 6.4.2017: This Leads to That and That Leads to This

A couple years ago, Andrew Long suggested to one of his Barat Academy  students that she read The Book of Mev.   So she did.  And through social media we got in touch.  She just finished her first year at George Washington University, and it has been a delight to have visits and exchange correspondence with Liz Burkemper.

 

The Truly & Exceptionally Ecstasy-Inducing Good News, 4.29.2017

Last September, Brendan, and Jen, friends whom I had in Social Justice class years ago at SLU, told me that he had been diagnosed with malignant metastatic melanoma. The other day, Jen sent me the following text: “We just found out that Brendan’s full body CT scan done on Tuesday was normal—so no signs of cancer 12 weeks into treatment and 6 months after his surgery!”

The Good News of Publishing a Novel, 4.19.2017

At Amazon.com, I see that my friend Jason Makansi’s novel, The Moment Before, will be out in November. It’s about “a woman and her beloved Syrian father, separated forty years earlier when he is swept up in a geopolitical odyssey from hell, are almost reunited by a lawyer struggling to save his Illinois hometown from financial ruin.” I read a gripping draft of it this past summer, and I am pumped to facilitate a reading group of his book this fall.

 

The Good News of Pregnancy, 4.10.2017

Eileen McGrath Mosher responded to my out of the blue text with word that she is expecting her third child this September.

Adah, Eileen, Brent, Eamon

The Good News of Remembering a Friend, 4.8.2017

In 45 minutes I wrote three post cards, two letters and one note to a friend on the East Coast; I’ll post one a day for the upcoming week.

The Good News of a Knock on the Front Door, 4.7.2017

We were eating dinner when there was a short knock at the door. Whose knock was it—Charlene? Davion? Andrew? Joanie answered the door, and it was Chelsea Jaeger! She lives several houses up the block, and I told her just the other day I was out walking and composing a postcard in my mind to her. We had a catch up chat over the next twenty minutes. She’s been one of my teachers since we had an Honors Freshman class at SLU in 2010. Wise beyond her years, she’s now at the Brown School of Social Work. They’re lucky to have her in their midst.

The Good News of Jean Abbott’s Accompaniment, 3.30.2017

Jean Abbott* is like Kwan Yin, a bodhisattva who hears the cries of the world and through such listening knows what to do, or knows sometimes that there’s nothing to do except the being present and sharing accompaniment. She listened to me in those months of Mev death pang. She’s listened to hundreds of Bosnian, Somali, Guatemalan, Afghan, and Ugandan women. She’d lean forward in her chair as she’s listening and extend her hand to someone who doesn’t believe there’s a way out of hell. She’s given ten thousand hours of her life to this person, then that person, then another person. Andrew Wimmer said he’d go crazy doing for three hours in a single week what she’s been doing since the mid-1980s. She’s assisted people in recovering their some of their humanity after experiencing devastating violence, but she’d say to me, “Marko, it was the Bosnian woman who helped me to stop being a zombie, she gave life to me…”

*Jean founded the Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma.