This month is more than merely the month we celebrate Christmas.
This month is also the month that marks the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - written in 1948, the wake of the Nazi Holocaust in hopes that clearly affirming and explaining basic human rights might help shape a more positive and peaceful future for all people.
This month is also my own anniversary, marking the day when my husband and I got married.
Many many many Christmases later, as I carefully decorate our Christmas tree it is good to look back on our years together, counting our blessings. Life has not always been easy (or fair), but we have managed to, day by day each day in turn, rise to every challenge- and survive. Good intentions help immensely- and so do compassion and empathy... and hard work.... and focusing in on the positive... and attention to detail...
Every year at least one if not more of our Christmas ornaments and decorations gets broken.
We try to fix what we can as many of our ornaments are symbols collected through out the years... symbols of ideas and people and places and times that we want to remember and cherish:
It might seem silly to have an old pair of baby socks on the tree- but those little socks have decorated our tree since one of my babies pulled them off their adorable little wiggly baby toes years and years ago.
Some of our ornaments have been more recently purchased, such as little wooden ornaments made in Palestine from Olive tree wood.
I like the idea of investing in Palestine- and investing in peace... a just and lasting peace for all people.
And I believe in investing in beauty and the arts- and poetry...encouraging the best, and the most inspiring.
Investing in Civilization
The Internet is an amazing gift- allowing us to communicate with far away family and friends- and complete strangers. What we post and the emails we exchange and forward can help open up hearts and minds- make connections & keep connections... help reaffirm human dignity and decency.... help civilization survive.
The opposite is true too... but from what I can see most reasonable and intelligent people tend to ever so politely and quietly walk away from the impossibly rude and crude and cruel and stupid and insulting and deceitful, preferring not to waste time and energy on totally negative pursuits, leaving hate mongers free to think they are winning... when really they are not.
There are countless people world wide worth listening to and learning from, and the more we reach out beyond our own small circle of friends and family to appreciate various perspectives and insights the more we enrich our entire world and our own selves, in much the same way that ancient trade routes enriched communities all along the way.
Last week I came across a fascinating op-ed in one of my favorite newspapers, The Jordan Times, which I blogged for my notes for letters- and for inspiration for myself :
"The 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights could have been a propitious occasion to reintroduce the “duties of individuals” ...."
"....This phasing out of the duties of individuals meant a devolution of this dimension of human rights at a time when this complementary feature of human rights is much needed in order to attain more balance and symmetry between rights and duties of individuals" ‘Dwarfing’ the declaration by Walid M. Sadi http://www.jordantimes.com/?news=12745
Duties and rights are in many ways two sides of the very same coin as we the people seek to make the world a better place for more people.
When I was growing up and my mother did some stranger a favor, they would want to repay her but she would smile and say; "It's a favor- pass it on"... and they would smile warmly in response and promise that they would. That's a treasured lesson I very much took to heart- as have many who have benefited from the kindness and generosity of others... as well as good examples... pass it on...
My mother-in-law is the queen of forwards- most of them deliciously funny- some a bit naughty... but none are intentionally cruel. Most are heartwarming and adorable- mood lifting- and entertaining. Some are simply informative. Some are hard to fathom. Many she has received from her friends and she passes them on to friends and family.
Everywhere on earth there are decent and good people quietly and gently and each in their own way being kind to and about family and friends- and strangers. That's civilization. No one person or government or religion owns it- it belongs to all of us, as one wonderfully diverse humanity learns to get along.
My advice to my own children as they learn to accept responsibility for their own choices and their own future is to make making priorities a priority. Every choice you make has ramifications, so be mindful of how you choose to spend your time- and thought-and money:
You can not control what others do- but you can control your own response.... and the messages you send... and you can help shape a better world where all children have a chance at a decent life....
- Growing Gardens for Palestine
- Planning a garden is one step towards planting it ...
- "Come, I'll tell you about Palestine"
- Honoring Arabic & Arabic Calligraphy
- Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 17th
- Poetry continued-
- Lavender ...
- Bulbs & Birdhouses
- Getting distracted by snow geese
- Embroidered keepsakes
- Going Green for St. Patrick's Day
- Seeds of hope and connection
- A good priority
- Poppies & Palestine: 60 years of forced exile-Time for Return
- The Garden Center
- Mid East Market
- In all Connection (Key shaped poem by Anne Selden Annab)
- PERSISTENCE : "And my heart flies..." Mahmoud Darwish 1941-2008
- The Day The Palestinian Poet Darwish Died
- Ibdaa 'to create something out of nothing'
- September flavors - books & films proving that Palestine is real- and Palestine is right!
- A poem on Al-Awda
- ...Universal Echo
- Autumn leaves
- It's October- a good time to start thinking about hats
- Discovering our Shared Heritage... & please get out and VOTE!
- Be the change you want- DARE HOPE !
- ...To be True
- Christmas Lights
- Giving Gifts
- Anniversaries- and Accountability