If

4

May 10, 2019-

If I lose my way,

there is always

a light that beckons.

If I am down to my last cent,

in a still far-off time,

there is a way

to rebound.

If my health,

somehow begins to fail,

there is a way to recover,

while knowing this life

is hardly the end.

If I am encircled,

again,

by those who

don’t understand me,

on account of

their own pain,

I will keep on

showing my true colours

until their pain

is relieved,

and their vision clear.

Through the ebb and flow,

of a wonderful life,

it has always

been so.

(I’m doing fine.  This verse is just a reminder to self and others.)

A Timely Bit of Guidance

0

April 29, 2019-

Today was the Ninth Day of Ridvan, the period of time when Baha’u’llah and His family/friends gathered in a garden north of Baghdad, preparing to leave that city, for an overland journey to further exile, in Constantinople (now Istanbul).  We Baha’is commemorate this Day, as it was one of the days that He first spoke more clearly of His Mission to the world.

I wish to share, and to examine closely, a quotation found on page 285 of a compendium of His Writings, itself entitled Gleanings From The Writings of Baha’u’llah.  I find it a good daily guide to my own behaviour, which has a long ways to go.  Then again, isn’t that the whole point of this life- to develop our spiritual qualities before we head for the next level of existence?

“Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts. Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility.”-Baha’u’llah

It’s easy to give, when we have lots.  Giving, though, is too easily seen only in terms of money.  Hardly a day goes by, that I don’t see someone standing on a corner, holding a sign, get a message from someone far way-begging for my financial help or get an e-mail from someone with  a money-making scheme.  My generosity, though, is most often put to use, providing someone with information that they can use to help themselves, or extra items that I don’t need, or a connection to resources here in town.  The other gift I can many times offer, is that of time and energy.  Being thankful in adversity:  Well, as I have often done for myself, the thankfulness comes from being able to draw a lesson from the trouble.

Trustworthiness has been the source of a few bumps in my road, in the years immediately following Penny’s passing.  Trust, though, comes from self-knowledge, and self-acceptance.  No one who doubts one’s own worth is going to go the extra mile for another.  It took me a few years to get back on that highway.  I have, however, taken ownership of every single hiccup.  The sanctity of my pledge is again true.

I will look at sentences 5-8, in the next post.

 

Love vs. Romance

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April 11, 2018, Prescott-

It’s no secret, among those who know me, that I am a loving soul.  I have no reason to despise anyone, among my wide circle, either in real time or online, and disagreements about politics or religion cannot negate that, at least on my end.

I have had only two real romantic relationships in  my life.  One lasted a whopping three months, in 1972-going nowhere, because of my immaturity.  The other, as most know, was durable, a thirty-year courtship/marriage, cemented by adversity and challenges.  My lover became my angel, my spirit guide.

Of course, like many who go through the trauma of loss, there were a couple of cases, after Penny went homeward, where I imagined myself having feelings, above and beyond those of friendship.  Fortunately, for all concerned, these did not go very far.  No harm, no foul.  Both women have fallen off my radar screen, so I hope they are okay.

Right now, other than an occasional message from someone who imagines herself having post-traumatic feelings for yours truly (also not going anywhere), romance and I live separate lives.  I enjoy real friendships with several women, across ages, faiths, political mindsets and national boundaries, and very much like it that way.

Friendship has the strictures of honesty, loyalty and mutual respect.  Romance, if it does not remain rooted in mutual respect, becomes toxic. Therein lies the fallacy of an affair that comes solely as the result of trauma-based illusion.  I thank my loving angel, for guiding me away from the toxic.

The Road to 65, Mile 163: Mom

6

May 10, 2015, Prescott- She is the eighth of nine children, born to a German-American shoemaker/farmer and a proper English-American country wife.  She loved and married a gregarious, gentle man, of French, Irish and Penobscot descent, and together they raised five of us. My youngest brother and I, the eldest, had our mental health challenges, his being complicated by other health issues, which took his life, when he was just shy of 30.  Our third brother, following Mom’s example of dealing with adversity, has toughed his health issues out, as I have my mental health issues, in my latest years.  Our sister rose above a life-threatening injury and has raised an exemplary family.  Our second brother has worked tirelessly, all his life, and shown the way to success, on many levels, seeking no one’s approval more than that of our mother.

She has said, time and again, that the time to pay homage to a person is while they are still alive.  My late wife used to echo those words.  In honour of both, I pay as much to my mom.  Having overcome her own health issues, which came late in life, she still drives, socializes actively and gets her exercise.  While Mom shies away from any technology more complex than a flat-screen television, she keeps current in other ways.  Always a progressive, politically, she speaks favourably of marriage equality and hopes to see Hillary in the White House. That she raised three Republicans and a political gadfly (me) doesn’t faze her a bit.  She loves golf, preferring these days to watch it on TV, and no one is more loyal to the Red Sox and the Patriots.  Her flower gardens used to be the toast of the neighbourhood.  They’ve pretty much gone away, but the lawn is still kept up- with local kids taking up the slack.  Above all, Mother’s mind is still a steel trap, and her eyes are eagle-sharp, after Lasik about five years ago.

I was raised lovingly and well, as were my siblings.  Mom set the example, in her single-minded care of my youngest brother, even in her darkest hour, following Dad’s sudden death in 1986.  ONLY because of her, and for her, did Brian hang on as long as he did, another eight years.  When I had the responsibility of caring for my slowly-dying wife, from 2003 to 2011, all Mom had done on his behalf was mine to follow.  It couldn’t have been any other way.

So, with all that she has given us, to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I  love and thank her, eternally.

The Road to 65, Mile 60: A Father and His Daughters

2

January 27, 2015, Prescott- Pop would have been 91 today.  That he made it to 90 years, 4 months and 10 days, before returning to the Spirit Realm, last year, was the prime force of his indomitable will.  He showed his Nazi captors, various other bullies throughout his life, and all of us who came to be his trusted circle of family and friends just how adversity ought to be handled.

The Universe gave that man’s man three girls to raise.  He gave that task his all, as any father worthy of the name, would have.  All three, two of whom are twins, were unique individuals, and Pop played to their strengths, challenged their weaknesses and gave them a secure framework for growing into women of achievement.  His eldest, my late wife, Penny, achieved three Master’s Degrees, a thirty-year career as a classroom teacher and showed her own triumph in dealing with a lifelong illness, which only brought her down after she had made her mark and touched the lives of hundreds of young people, across the globe.  Her sisters have worked hard and proven themselves indispensable in their respective businesses- which have run the gamut from telecommunications to equestrian training.

Horses were, in fact, central to the Fellman family’s life.  Riding, both English and Western, was a family trademark, and was one of the endeavours that brought Norm back from his end-of-war near-death status.  That, and the equally indomitable will of his wife of 65 years, gave him the lease on life that made his influence on so many of us, such a force of nature.  He was a pilot and a motorcyclist, which the ladies respectfully declined to take up for themselves.  Horses, dogs and cats, though, remain essential- and Pop was never without at least one of the three within calling distance.  He imparted that love of animals to his daughters, and none of their houses have been without pets.

Men are indispensable to their girls.  Both parents are indispensable to all of their children.  I never had the honour of raising a daughter, but as a proud parent of a an American sailor, I would be fully engaged in the lives of any grandchildren he may sire, in the future.  Norman David Fellman set that mold, both as a father and grandfather.  His pride in each of his girls was infectious, in the best of ways.  The mold will not be broken.