Thursday, May 21, 2015
With police escort, and more, the moving mobile Vietnam Wall rolled into Clinton Township Wednesday afternoon, north of Detroit. Always a solemn and sacred time, the Wall's presence provides an outlet for healing for many who have experienced the loss of loved ones in that battle. Merging misery with mystery, my tears wed wit the rain as it poured on to my head as I searched for my deceased brother's name on the black granite and polished wall in November of 1982 when the wall was dedicated. In the Washington National Cathedral the names of the more than 58,000 military personnel, among those missing in action, were read out loud. I got to say my bother's name, Lukas Ventline's. As I shuttered from the rain outside, and, the rush to the Cathedral, I had a grateful heart. I did. For Lukas. For those who served. With thanks to a grateful nation. My prayer tonight at the Wall sitting on the Clinton Township Civic Center, I will say: It was all sacred that night I flew into D.C. from Detroit, O God. Sacred silence and a hushed quiet awaited me. Soldiers assisted me in finding my brother's name on the wall as the rain wed with my tears. While the holy water poured and poured and soaked this saturated soul, it was clearly sacred ground. Silence pervades. Stillness did also. We were all like one soul silenced in the sacred moment of the many who died in Vietnam. I touched the granite black and polished wall and felt my hand feel his name, his heart, the wounds that mangled his temple. With thanks, and, the rain still pouring, O God, I said, "Give me always a grateful heart." I left. In silence. Amen.
Monday, May 18, 2015
Pope Francis looked to Palestine once more from the Vatican Sunday where he made examples of two women who were nuns before they died. Both are the first saints from the region since the early centuries of Christianity. Official saints that is. It is an affirmation of national identity. Of roots and relationships. Just hours before the Pope will sign its first treaty, "State of Palestine." Like a shepherd watching his flock. The good pope after the Good Shepherd.
A broken heart. The iconic and historic spiritual, academic and sports prowess Sacred Heart Parish of Roseville, Michigan has one. A crowd showed their broken heart Sunday as they sat on the steps at the corner of Utica Road and Gratiot Avenue, miles north of Detroit. Parishioners claim they are resigned. Go figure. Sure there was a process that led to the closure, shuttering and now, the selling of the vast parcel of property that saw thousands graduate from its schools, and, even more walk through the doors of the church where the bells will be silenced soon, or, sold, or demolished for some other business enterprise. Of course the people have a right to be heart broken. Grief is like that. It's a process like movement through the Detroit-Windsor tunnel. My eyes always aim toward the light at the end of of that water walled-in and murky tunnel. We all like light. Even a little bit of it. Were the people ever really involved in the process? Were they? When local officials and bishops framed town halls with little time for input from those attending some of those session, of course, one has to wonder. Trust and morale are diminished when people who built that edifice seem to be an afterthought. Or, a second though. Shame on such shepherds! Well, perhaps the faithful were decided upon even though some input came from them. Looks fine. But....? And, to think of an appeal? Fat chance. Mopping up those there hurting hearts will take time. Will anyone be there for them? Will a shepherd? Time will be needed to get through this one also. Life is like that, and, loss of life, a limb, a love, also. After all, those faithful are witnessing their hearts tore asunder...again...with the anguish, even torture, with the memories of Sacred Heart of Roseville that filland flood these elderly hearts. So much for shepherd. Dare they question. Speak up. Join together in solidarity. They are one. Someone brought communion with them. More could have been done to include parishioners. So much. Of course, one has to make decisions when money is limited and fewer parishioners frequent the place. But, what about looking at how leaders and pastors reach out or fail to? After all, it all starts at the top. At least in a hierarchical church. No?
Saturday, May 9, 2015
Went to class today. Had to recall when the previous time was sitting in session and learning something new. Learned about concealed pistol carriers. What a lesson. And. a lot to take in all day. Plenty of enthusiasm had me wondering also. Why so many people are getting a license to carry a concealed pistol. A different world.
Monday, May 4, 2015
The candid pastor pressed me, and, asked if I understood. "Listen to me," the wise and experienced Reverend told. What he said to me after the meeting made what he was cryptically saying during the session all the clearer as day. A white mayor, he implied, is getting a new fleet of buses, and more for my Motown that was in receivership. He spoke vividly now as a group of us listened intently. Like fledgling families and 40 million addicts across this Nation, the gap between the community and law enforcers these days, and,the gap in the home and school need intense communications. As in the neighborhood. People need to talk and know one another as families need restoration as the anchor of society, and,are the glue of a community and Nation. It all will take bridge building. That will be no easy task. But,worth it. For sure. It will be an economic spike also. Like the pastor and me. We talked until I finally understood what he meant about a white mayor. A pause to ponder. Worthy of thinking about.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Jesus' resurrection affords believers ten days more than the sorrow-filled Lenten season's trek of 40 days. I relish that. The central core of our Christian faith, Easter Sunday all the way through Pentecost, gives me time to savor the season with family, friends, church, and more in a conscious way that isn't so common today about dwellers on Earth. The 'hurry' and 'too busy' addictive culture, the newest and latest numbing experience is staved off by me. I want no part of a society that is too busy and in a hurry. No way. Such frenetic times bring on physical, emotional and spiritual consequences that are deadly. For sure.
High Holidays for Marijuana Movement and 'Pot' and Nicotine Smoke Need Clearing of the Air Now for Victims
To breath fresh air. I love it. For sure. I bet you do also. Yet, when smoke gets in your eyes, and 'pot' smoke, or nicotine toxins fill my office at 2231 Caniff Avenue, Hamtramck, Michigan, victims' right to a 'Fresh Air' ordinance explode in the 'hood, on the streets, and, where I work with addicts who valiantly strive to remain in remission of heroine or cocaine, for example. And, these trigger smokes can cause my patients to relapse. For sure. In Warren, Michigan, the muscle-minded, Mayor Jim Fouts is aiming toward a 'Fresh Air' ordinance for people like me. Putting up with the aroma of 'pot' smells almost daily in my VENT-Line Interfaith Center for Counseling/Coaching, Inter-religious Dialog and Strengthening of Family, merits pressing up against nicotine and cannabis users. Apartment dwellers in the same building where I pay $600 dollar a month for rent of the front business space, invade my counseling office with their 'smoke,' and think little of it violating my right to fresh air. Go figure. After all, narcissistic personality disorder runs rampant like the high holidays of the marijuana movement these days. Yes, me, myself and I -- that's all some think about. With 40 million U.S. addicts walking around numbed from food, shopping, gambling, sex, caffeine, work, and, yes, nicotine and 'pot' smoke, you think homeland security would listen up and lead on this one now!