Lessons in peace, lessons in joy

Since early this morning I’ve been working to unclog the sink in my little French kitchen as well as the garbage in my mind.

The sink is finally starting to look better and my attitude’s also showing signs of recovery.

Yesterday’s horrific violence in Nice clouded my memories of great joy and peace for my late husband Richard when visiting there years before.

Richard had traveled to France for work, but my journey was purely for pleasure.

Though once my husband’s responsibilities were completed, he eagerly joined in on the bliss.

The palm trees, the people, the promenade were unlike anything we’d ever seen before.

Oh, and the light.

No wonder the city’s an artist’s paradise. Even the murals brightly painted on our bedroom walls celebrated the vistas.

Nursing a box of French chocolate covered biscuits bought to toast Bastille Day, I instead watched the news reports last night.

Grieving for the city and the French, I was also saddened by what I thought was the loss of my favorite pictures of Richard in Nice when I recently downsized.

So much of my life was tossed in the trash.

But this morning, I came across a box with an image of the Eiffel Tower on top where I finally found the photos.

I see such contentment in my husband’s face in every shot.

A sense of peace I never saw again due to the dementia that followed.

Still I believe that peace will shine once more on the faces of the French.

And their smiles will eventually return.

As for me and my attitude, today I’ll honor peace along with the children I work with.

Perhaps we’ll color symbolic doves and lambs.

And I’ll patiently try to teach them what joy to the the world great peace can truly bring.

Harvest of peace

We rock away our worries from a chair and old porch swing.
My view’s a field of drying hay.
And hers, of chicks that sing.
She left a city full of woe where no one gets along.
It seems those birds know more than us when breaking into song.
They chant of peace, the plant we crave to feed each hungry soul.
I pray we harvest a bumper crop before there’s a bigger toll.

We have so much to learn

I grieve this morning for my country, my home state of Minnesota, and the city of St. Paul in the aftermath of yesterday’s shootings. I grieve for the families and friends of those involved, and this morning especially for our children.

May there be peace for the sweet four year old daughter of Philandro Castile’s girlfriend who witnessed the violence from the back seat of a car.

May there be peace for the children and tight knit community of J.J Hill Montissori who adored the late Mr. Castile, a cafeteria supervisor.

May there be peace for all children in this country who seek to understand the fireworks of violence that continue to explode before them. And strength for their parents tasked with helping them make sense of it all.

I too work with young children in a Minnesota school. As I pack up my peanut butter and jelly sandwich to join the children in our summer program today, I’m including a spoonful of strength I read from a mission statement for James J. Hill Montissori School:

“To nurture and empower individuals to become lifelong learners, skilled peacemakers, and problem solvers.”

I’ll be keeping those words handy in my pocket this morning.

Perhaps we all should.

It seems we have so much more to learn in this country.

And so much more to teach as well.