Posts Tagged ‘Albert Einstein quote’

From discord, find Harmony. (Albert Einstein)

An Old Man’s Final Wish

Along a back window

at a huge family gathering

at a rented hall

the oldest uncle sat in his wheelchair

with the youngest child curled in his lap.


In the center

long tables covered with

gold, red, or blue

painted signs demanded isolation.

They claimed truth, whole

perfect, beyond criticism.


The families divided the space

into zones, while ugly words

stung the air—

How can you say that?

I can’t forgive you . . .

You are a fool.


While the family members argued,

the elderly gentleman and the tiny girl

met with approving eyes,

a twining of fingers, a gesture, a smile.


He celebrated the exquisite fit of

her name to her personality,

despite the hardened hearts

that fed her and his inabilities

to respond beyond a crooked grin

and speech delayed by multiple strokes

and advanced age.


She giggled, tugging gently

at the sagging folds in his face.

Then, as the toddler grew tired

and slept in his arms,

the man’s wife, gone twenty years,

appeared, clothed in soft light.


She called to him.


Before he allowed his spirit

to separate from his body,

he whispered his final wish

into the girl’s small ear.


The buffet opened as

the child’s mother noticed

her waking in the lap

of the dead man.


Unwilling to touch cold flesh,

several family members

abandoned their divisions,

at least for that moment,

and called to the girl,


Please, Hope, come to us.


They didn’t know they were

echoing the gentle man’s

deepest desire for his family.


poem previously published in For a Better World and in Piker Press



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The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. Albert Einstein

Mother Nature and I are mere acquaintances in the plant-life realm. I could destroy the hardest-to-kill houseplants as well as a plastic rose or two. My thumb isn’t green; it has a gangrene touch.

Nevertheless, I’ve kept one plant alive since my father’s funeral, more than ten years ago. The plant blooms occasionally. Today I noticed what could be seeds on a leaf. In-the-know friends could tell me scientific facts about the foliage.

Instead I see metaphors. I see the unexpected. And recall my dad’s voice.

Hi there, eldest daughter. Remember when we went to LaRosa’s for lunch? Before I went to the nursing home. I looked forward to those lunches.

From somewhere in my past I hear advice he told me when I was an easily insulted teenager. “Consider the source.”

I have added a part two: Love anyway.

Seeds of concern may be planted with kindness, then fertilized with manure.

Actions centering on the safety of schools and the lives of immigrants, have been received as political insults.

Somehow discord is inevitable. Growth rarely occurs in direct straight lines. Art consists of both positive and negative space. Sunshine creates shadow.

I’d rather coast and take it easy, than work toward balance. Unfortunately, coasting doesn’t work on uphill slopes.

Beauty and mystery. Science and metaphor. Inside are unexpected seeds. Planted in the mind or in soil.





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The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. (Albert Einstein)

Ella leads our play and I follow: trick or treat, hide and seek, happy birthday in multiple forms—bunny’s fifth birthday and mine. Ella plays the role of Daddy; I am Daughter. I ask how old I am today. The reply? Seventy. In the make-believe world, the next obvious question has an unknown answer. It doesn’t matter.

While my spirit keeps up with the imagination of my granddaughter, my bones don’t. My lower back aches. But, I don’t tell Ella. Later, when her daddy and Grandpa come back from their errands I will put heat on the complaining area. For now, I will move a tad slower.

Then, I notice the microwave announcing my food is ready. I didn’t put anything in it. My bed buddy is warm.

Ella admits she did it. She shows me how she placed the fabric-covered bag of rice inside and hit Express. “For your back.”

How did she know? And get this warmed for me so quickly? During hide and seek?

Ella goes to the toy room and grabs the box of bandages. She places a strip inches from the most annoying area. Comforting heat relieves the discomfort in my back. I sit leaned against the chalkboard on the floor in the room with the toys as we play.

“You are amazing, Ella. How did you know my back hurt?”

“And your throat, too.”

My hiatal hernia has enlarged and burned the inside of my throat. Not a problem I would share with a child of any age.

Ella’s Down syndrome may have affected her muscle tone and other areas of her development. However, she has been reading phonetically for several years. Her intuition is beyond exceptional. She is a blessing in my life.

I’m not sure she knows how to explain how she understands what most people of any age would never recognize. To me, the answer is a mystery. For her, she is simply being Ella.

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Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous. (Albert Einstein)

Ella is excited. We are meeting her daddy for lunch. Even in play she lowers her voice as she goes off to an imaginary workplace. She is the daddy. He is her introduction to words—she has been reading for several years now. He is her fun. Daddy makes her laugh and lets her know she is important, no matter how many challenges she needs to overcome. 

Two uncles are joining us. An all-around special day. The uncles have taken a wrong turn and need directions, so Daddy steps outside to help them by phone. Ella sees a man, alone, waiting for a table.

“Hi,” she says, and within minutes the man has a friend.

The talk seems general at first, as Ella chats about Daddy, chicken and fries, and games. I join in, obviously pleased with my granddaughter. Then the man shows us a picture on his phone of his twenty-five-year-old son.

Like our granddaughter, he has Down syndrome.

I ask about him and get a mini version of his journey, yet never learn either of their names. They are gifts Ella found—or intuited. I don’t know. I’d like to learn more, gather father and son as friends, treasures. Instead the moment becomes a single valuable pearl to savor and remember.

Sometimes higher ranked gifts come wrapped in an innocent hello, meant to be passed on—as far as possible, into the lives of other people.

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Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous. (Albert Einstein)

My sacred agenda is being tested. The sky is blue and the outside temperature holds in the low sixties—for a few hours anyway. My husband and I plan to explore a new subdivision in the neighborhood, to see how many new homes have sprung-up, while we enjoy spring in February.

And my mate is taking a lot longer to get ready than I expected. I tend to take on a little too much and move as if I were rushing out of a burning building. He enjoys the spontaneity possible in retirement.

Finally…finally we set out—at least an hour later than I wanted. However, he must have been listening to angel time. I was deifying my plans.

In the new development, Jay and I meet an incredible couple who are also walking along a cul-de-sac toward the back of the newer section. Three lots display sold signs; each area has not yet been excavated.

M and D will be moving into the neighborhood next week. They are much younger than we are. Nevertheless, we share common interests with them. I am buoyed by their capacity to actively care for others. Their church, close to the poorest areas of the city, assists the homeless.

“What items do you need most?” I ask.

“Socks and gloves,” M answers.

I remember a pair of socks we received in the mail as a gift after donating to an Indian foundation. I have never worn the socks because they don’t match anything I own.  A thought crosses my mind. Obviously, I have more than I need.

I have two more pair of socks that have never been worn, as well as red gloves I’ve been saving for that day when one of my old-faithful-pink-knitted-bargain-store specials, falls from my pocket and finds its way under the tires of a truck in a parking lot. 

The items are not as thick as I would like them to be. Maybe they would be useful in layers. I suspect the church will accept cash for whatever their ministry needs.

“I’ll drop some things off at your house after you move in,” I say. “And just leave a bag outside.”

Perhaps we will see M and D again after I drop off a bag or two. Maybe not. Either way, these two people were blessings.

I forgot about all the miscellaneous chores that were so essential a few hours earlier, and I focused on ways I could help someone else. Sure, the laundry can’t wait forever, but a rinse cycle that begins a few hours late won’t delay the world’s spin on its axis.

Something or someone? I’m grateful for the difference.


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Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand. (Albert Einstein)

I have more than enough work and projects to keep me indoors for the next century—or at least it seems that way. However, as Jay and I put clean sheets on the bed I look outside at the clear blue. And it calls to me to come outside and play.

How much worse will my back feel on a shady trail in the woods than it does now? I look at the clock. We have just enough time in the afternoon to enjoy the warm, but not-too-warm, early September.

Jay knows most of the trails in the park. He chooses one that winds through prairie grass reaching twelve-feet high. He can walk much faster than I can. Yet, as other people come through he lets them go first. “We move slowly,” he says, emphasis on the word, we. But he chooses to stay with my uneven step.

And the slow travel allows the discovery of a bird nest hidden in a bush on the side of the path. Jewel weed abounds. The stem of the plant can be opened and spread on skin to ward off poison ivy. The jewel weed acts as a guardian angel plant since it seems to follow poison ivy patches. Canopies of branches stretch across the trail. Huge bluebird houses, large enough for other birds, hide high in the trees.

We step over and into last year’s dry, dark brown leaves. Yesterdays that can’t be returned. The past. I remember when I felt I would always be 25-years-old. I acted as if each moment could be prolonged forever, too.  Some of those moments ended as regrets crunched now by the heel of my shoe, especially on my right hip where the pain hits sharpest.

But, I also notice the pain doesn’t stop me. Instead it teaches me to savor beauty while it lasts.

I smile as I recall a recent yesterday: My two older grandchildren visited. Kate and Rebe healed with their presence and their humor. They pretended to find cures from a mock healing source on a Walmart Internet site. And for no external reason at all I chuckle as the trail twists and so does my aching back.

The sun shines and casts moving shadows. I call the brightness, hope.


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The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking. (Albert Einstein)

The world as we have created it is also a process of our caring, social awareness, and empathy. It cannot be changed without changing our approach to one another, without cutting out all biases and prejudices, seeing with fresh vision.

Wayne, the son of my long-time friend, Gladys, now deceased, shared this story. It fits into the attitudes I share weekly in this space:

“The coolest thing happened tonight. A friend was treating me to dinner at Frisch’s for helping with some mulch. I noticed a table with some special needs adults and case workers right in front of our table. I made eye contact and smiled at the people facing my way and went back to eating dinner. Suddenly, there was an arm around my shoulder and it was one of the adults with Down syndrome from that table. He was dressed in a Cincinnati Reds outfit.

“‘I love you,’ he said giving me a big hug. And I told him that I loved him, too. He then did the same to the young man sitting across from me. This gesture was an example of unconditional LOVE. I felt as if I were in the presence of an angel. I am profoundly touched and grateful.”

Several of Wayne’s friends mentioned a fact those who know special-needs folk realize; their good works aren’t hindered by overworked egos. In my April 8 blog, Scot: It Doesn’t Take Much To Make Me Happy, I introduced a loving adult with Down syndrome. Scot doesn’t let formality get in the way of giving either. He hugs and he is good at it.

Not many people are able to express affection without some reservation. Actually without a lot of reservation. All living creatures deserve respect. And yet I can’t imagine petting a pit bull without a proper introduction. True, I’m allergic to the dander in dog fur. But, this strong breed has an undeserved reputation. And yes, both ego and fear form a larger barrier around me than I would like to admit. I can be shy around people I’ve never met as well.

Wayne is a talented musician. But he was not taught to act as if he were better than everyone else because of his gifts. His mother Gladys also showed me what unconditional love means. At one time I wasn’t sure that I was capable of much of anything. Gladys accepted me as I was—and then helped me to view my life differently. She overcame enormous struggles in her life. Dire Poverty. The death of her mother when Gladys was only six. Gladys lived in the present and saw the good in each day and in each person.

I suspect the gentleman who approached Wayne sensed the honesty in his smile. Wayne wasn’t patronizing the group at the next table. His gesture came from a sunshine-heart.

And perhaps the difference between the special-needs-huggers and the reserved normal folk is spiritual. Just maybe the word needs should be deleted and special highlighted. These people erase the non-essentials: What could happen if?… I don’t know you… This is socially unacceptable… All the artificial contingencies disappear and pure gift remains.

Perhaps, if the special folk decided to take the time to consider the sit-straight, don’t-look-anyone-in-the-eye rest of the world, they might feel sorry for the so-called normal sector.

But I doubt that they would look down on anyone.

if disabled people were head

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The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it. (Jean-Paul Sartre, writer and philosopher 1905-1980)

My hourglass of life has had a lot of sand leak out. However, that doesn’t mean I look through the sides with any clarity. In fact, sometimes I rely on the know-how of persons far younger.

As I open the freezer door melted vanilla ice cream drips out. Fortunately our kitchen is small and a towel is handy. This is not exactly a welcome sight on a day when my two older grandchildren are spending the day with Grandma and Grandpa. At least the problem does not seem to be a faulty appliance. Either the door didn’t get shut all the way or something fell and blocked the vents.

“Hey, Kate! Want to earn a dollar or two and help Grandma clean this mess?”

My young buddy is ready and available.

Grandpa helps to empty the space. Then Kate and I get to work. The bottom metal tray is locked into place. I recall pulling it out once, accidentally, to removed spilled ground coffee. I don’t recall how I did itaccidents don’t necessarily replicate themselves for the sake of convenience.

Kate stands on my handy-dandy, short-person kitchen stool and checks the mechanics of the sliding drawer. Within seconds the drawer it out!

“Way to go Kate.” The girl has inherited her mother’s practical creativity. Soon the freezer is clean.

“So, how should we organize this?” I ask.

“Bags on the bottom; boxes on top.”

Somehow the small space seems to have expanded. “Smart girl, Kate. This looks great.”

Sure, I could bemoan the fact that I needed a ten-year-old girl to figure out how to remove a drawer. Or I could celebrate her and maybe even learn how to take the tray out myself the next time. Chances are there will be a next time. I have no plans to claim perfection anytime soon. The fun comes in the adventure of learning, eventually anyway.

judge a fish

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