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Mary’s arms…

December 25, 2009

In the Hebrew Talmud,

the book where all sayings of rabbis are conserved over time,

it says:

Be very careful if you make a woman cry,

because God counts her tears.

The woman came out of a man’s rib,

not from his feet to be walked on,

not from his head to be superior,

but from his side to be equal,

under the arm to be protected,

and next to the heart to be loved…

When Little Gem was four,

and we were in the tub one night,

she told me straight out,

Mama, there are two ways to make a baby…

One where the sperm meets the egg,

and then there’s the other way…

The way in which it just happens…

 

Four years ago I worked with a student whose father is the captain of a freighter…

He is always away at sea,

for a year at a time…

I could see that this was very hard for his little girl,

and so we brought him into our life at school…

We charted his route on a large wall map,

wrote letters,

followed the ship’s coordinates,

and learned about the countries and continents he traveled to…

We even made WANTED posters offering a reward for the return of the Captain…

He sent back letters,

postcards,

and a DVD showing a tour of the ship and his professional,

and after hour activities…

The whole crew is fine with me here in spite of a very long journey…

We played games on the weekend like basketball, table tennis, Bingo, and watching movies…

Every Saturday we have a grill party…

This has become a ritual, not before but only during my command…

I like my crew to be well balanced in their morale, personality and health…

It only makes sense to keep them better because of the nature of our job…

Away from home one needs strong camaraderie…

He even wrote of the threat of pirates,

and how he has to sleep with a pistol under his pillow,

in case of attack through the Strait of Malacca…

That Christmas I volunteered for an organization,

which provides services,

for the men who live,

and work,

on the ships anchored in Burrard Inlet and English Bay…

Services like knitted socks, internet, table tennis, care kits and a hot turkey dinner…

My older daughter Starshine once said to me,

Mama, you might be sad that you don’t get to be with us all of the time,

but think about this,

some people never see their children…

I do think about this…

I also think about families that are separated,

for better and for worse…

Forced separation,

for all kind of reason,

that happens all over this world…

Yesterday afternoon,

as the sun was setting in my upper floor,

I read a story about the internment of Japanese-Canadians,

written by Thomas King,

in Our Story: Aboriginal Voices On Canada’s Past

This part broke my heart,

So Coyote gets all the Women Enemy Aliens and the Children Enemy Aliens out of that Livestock Building smells like horses and cows and sheep,

and that one gets those Men Enemy Aliens with those targets painted on their backs from that other place,

and that Coyote puts all the Enemy Aliens into the back of his pretty truck says,

“Okada General Store” on the door…

“Okay,” says that Coyote, “Let’s start dispersing…”

So that Coyote drives that truck into that valley,

and then that one drives that truck into those mountains,

and then that one drives that truck onto those prairies…

What about those Enemy Aliens with the targets painted on their backs,

who look pretty angry?

“Oh”, says Coyote, “Those are the dangerous Enemy Aliens. They’re going to Angler, Ontario.”

“Holy,” I says, “Those Enemy Aliens must be real dangerous have to go to Ontario. Have any of the Enemy Aliens caused any troubles???”

“Not yet,” says Coyote, “But you can’t be too careful…”

In his contributor’s note King writes:

I’m not suggesting that Native people have suffered the way the Japanese have suffered or that the Japanese have suffered the way Native people have…

I’m simply suggesting that hatred and greed produce much the same sort of results,

no matter who we practice on…

So never ask a writer why he wrote something…

This is the first Christmas that I have ever spent with my children,

completely free of family obligation…

I’ve been working up to it,

and this year I made it happen…

My mother,

from her own pain,

said a lot of things at Christmas,

including,

Smile at me the way you smile at your friends,

when she was taking Christmas pictures…

I looked long and hard through all of our family photo albums,

and I was the one who is always smiling,

and looking happy…

Sometimes people don’t see the sunshine that you fill up the house with,

until you aren’t there anymore…

Then they have to admit that the cloud they saw you through,

belonged to them,

and not you…

You have your own clouds,

but you know that your light is always there,

underneath it all,

and that clouds come and go with the changing weather…

My gift is my song, and this one's for you...

This morning,

after opening presents,

the three of us went back to bed,

to read together,

and Little Gem said to me,

I have a message for you…

You have to love yourself…

All the parts…

Even the parts you don’t like…

I asked her where she got that message from…

She said,

It was in my brain…

And my brain just told me,

to give the message to you…

All I want for Christmas...

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 25, 2009 5:23 pm

    I just stopped by your blog and thought I would say hello. I like your site design. Looking forward to reading more down the road.

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