I find a place where I can be
away from clamor
away from contention
away from conflagration.
A place where I can see
sunlight on the grass
on the trees
on the rocks
on the water
flowing on and on.
A place that invites me
to see the good
to be the good
A place of recess
where I sigh less.
for this moment,
Perhaps this is a strange Fourth of July post. It came together strangely.
It was inspired in part by two quotes from children’s television icon Fred Rogers in the documentary of his life and work, Won’t You Be My Neighbor:
- “Whatever happened to GOODNESS? To just being GOOD?” Mr. Rogers, a man of faith who spent five decades helping others and building them up, asked this in the wake of the 9-11 attacks. He would live just seventeen more months.
- “Silence is our most underused gift.” In many segments of his program, Mr. Rogers was silent so that children could concentrate on what they were seeing.
I thought about children. About seeing our country, our world, through their eyes.
I remembered the photo of my first son contemplating the autumn countryside from the doorway of an old grist mill when he was just three. He grew up to be an American history teacher.
A sprinkling of our patriotic songs and lyrics returned to me, like sea spray on the breeze. America the beautiful. Land that I love. Land of the noble free. Crown thy good with brotherhood. Home of the brave. Home sweet home.
All stirring me to ruminate on beliefs and believing, on building up versus tearing down, on how, if all voices are shouting, no one’s being heard.
The word clamor came to mind and it somehow strung everything together—whatever happened to goodness and silence is our most underused gift and children and faith and long may our land be bright—like beads on a string.
So today, for a moment, I find a place away from the clamor. In the dawn’s early light and within myself.