Synchronicity, Connectedness, and Love – A Grandmother’s Promise: Blogging 101

Carol A. Hand

Synchronicity – “the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.” (1950s, coined by C. G. Jung)

Events like the shooting of a teenager in Ferguson, Missouri and the declaration of yet more “military action” (a euphemism for ongoing war in the Middle East to control oil and protect U.S. world hegemony) cause me to worry about the future my grandchildren will inherit. I am particularly concerned for my grandson’s safety and future. I witnessed his birth – with the neonatal crisis team on alert to make sure he survived. I made a silent promise to the tiny, blue six-pound infant I held gently in my arms soon after his birth: “I will always be there if you need me, my little one. You are my heart.” By age 11, he was taller than me, and now at 15, even more so.

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Photo Credit: Aadi, Ava, and Ahma (me) – At the Rest Stop in Hurley, Wisconsin – 2010 (photographer, Jnana Hand)

I worry about the future of a handsome young man with a darker complexion in a country that fears difference. Can a gentle young man survive in such a world? I treasure the memories of him as a toddler gazing with wonder at flowers,

aadi and crocus

Photo Credit: Aadi – 2001 (photographer, Carol Hand)

as a little boy laughing as we blew bubbles,

Aadi & bubbles

Photo Credit: Aadi and Ahma – 2003 (photographer, Gary Hand)

or gently and patiently holding his great-grandmother’s hand.

Aadi 7

Photo Credit: Aadi, 2006 (School photographer)

I realize now, though, I can’t always be there to protect him. I can only hold him in my thoughts and my heart every day. I can also do the small things within my modest life to let him know I care, to build a kinder world in my tiny sphere of influence.

How does this relate to blogging and synchronicity? To the topic for blogging 101 today, “to be inspired by the [blogging] community”? I’ll do my best to make the links, although I have often been told that I see connections among too many dimensions: my grandson’s football game, blog posts written by mothers that I happened to read this week, advice from a blogging friend in Vancouver, and the connections to an advocacy organization that resulted from following my blogging friend’s advice.

On Monday afternoon, I sat next to my grandson’s father as we watched the junior varsity team from the better side of town (where my grandson lives) play the team from my neighborhood (the working class side of town). In past years, my grandson was one of the stars on his team, and no wonder when he can block players who are much larger and score 80-yard touchdowns. But this year, his father told me the coach hasn’t given him many opportunities to participate on the field in a game that he loves and has trained so hard to play. To be honest, on one level I’m relieved. The growing attention to the long-term harm caused by football injuries worries me. Still, in the fourth quarter, my grandson intercepted a pass and ran more than 50 yards, artfully weaving around the defensive string opponents to score his one touchdown. But I worried as I observed him engage in what appeared to me to be overly aggressive blocking, something his father also noticed. Is this something he feels he needs to do because of his size? He’s tall, but he still looks so small next to many of the other players. Does he need to look macho these days to be safe from bullying? Are there pressures he needs to release in this way? This is the gentle young man who just a few weeks ago walked by my side through my gardens, asking about the plants and listening thoughtfully to my responses, seemingly reluctant to leave despite my daughter’s urging to hurry up.

I can’t be there to block those who pursue him on the football field to protect him from harm, or classmates or teachers who accuse him of things he has not done. I can’t force his coach to give him more playing time for the game that he loves. Like the mothers who wrote of their challenges, the tension between protecting and encouraging freedom, I find myself searching for a balance. My unwillingness to tell my grandchildren how to live their lives prevents me for doing more than sharing my observations of their strengths and my concerns about their choices. I am reminded of Kahlil Gibran’s, The Prophet.

Your children are not your children,
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. (Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, p. 17)

As I reflected on my conversation with my grandson’s father and my own observations of the game, I was compelled to ask the question: “What can I do to help create a different future for my grandchildren?” The answer came from a phone call last night. It was a call that came in response to something I was inspired to do by a blogging friend from Vancouver, Silvia di Blasio. one of my virtual friends whom I have learned to view as a sister in spirit.

In a comment about one of her recent posts, I responded. “This is an inspiring discussion, Sylvia. I thought you would appreciate knowing that as I read your insights about how important it is to use our skills to improve things, I decided to return a phone call to an advocacy organization to offer my skills as a volunteer writer. I’ll let you know how it works out. Thank you 🙂 .” (September 4, 2014).

I have received two return calls from the organization expressing interest and possibilities for collaboration. During the call last evening, I was invited to attend an “important phone bank event” tonight. My role would be to meet people and observe the event and write about the volunteers and issues of concern. These might be letters to the editors for local papers in the region or stories about the volunteers, their reasons for engagement, and the importance of issues from their perspectives.

Those of you who follow my blog know that I am, by nature, and introvert. Attending the meeting is not something I would choose to do on my own. My readers may not know, however, that I question whether this is something I have the skill to do effectively. Really. Yet I owe it to my grandchildren to try. I owe it to the grandson who has trained hard to excel at a game he loves and who had the tenacity to sit on the bench for a season hoping for the call to the field. I owe it to the bloggers who continue to inspire me and rekindle the hope that together we can make a difference even though the task seems so daunting.

Aadi fb 2

Photo Credit: Aadi 2012 (before his got his bight green shoes)

Chi miigwetch (Ojibwe “thank you!”) to all bloggers who are keeping the light of hope burning in the darkness of our time.

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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About Carol A. Hand

What matters are not the titles I’ve held or university degrees I earned or the size of a house or bank account. It’s really what I’ve learned from ordinary people like me whom I’ve met along the way. They taught me to live with gratitude and give thanks for each new day.
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16 Responses to Synchronicity, Connectedness, and Love – A Grandmother’s Promise: Blogging 101

  1. I found this so honest, beautifully written and touching. Thinking of my own son, it prompted me to think that as chlldren and grandchldren grow older, protecting them does become more complex and asks us to turn out to the wider world. So I applaud your courage in stepping beyond your comfort zone with the advocacy work, as an introvert myself.

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  2. Carol, this was so touching, inspiring, and exciting. First, your grandson is precious and sharing those photos of him at different ages really let us see him as you do. It is so difficult for teen-agers and especially now. You know he has a gentle nature and that can be nurtured. I don’t know if he’s shown interest in science, but with that interest in flowers, since he was a tiny boy to now, you can probably come up with some wise ways to guide him to nurturing that interest and becoming a quarterback in a safer endeavor. I know you will find a way – after all you are a teacher. 🙂 Of course, I’m dying of curiosity to know the group you’ve volunteered with, but I’m sure you’ll share that in your own time. I can’t believe you question your ability to do the writing for them. You know you’re an excellent writer. But, I do have to add this, as I’m the first commenter. You must have been writing very quickly because you have a couple of typos in this blog. In one paragraph you refer to the coach as a couch. I saw at least one other but can’t remember it. I was dinged the other day, because of the way I opened my blog, readers thought the lady who talked to me was near homeless, but it was me. So I had to swallow my ego and rewrite for clarity. You don’t have that problem, just a couple of typos I thought you’d want to be aware of. But, believe me, this was one of your most moving and endearing blogs you’ve written. Your love for your grandson shines through.

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    • carolahand says:

      Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comments, Skywalker. I so appreciate your specific observations.

      This was one of those stories that wouldn’t let me focus on anything else until it was written and posted – so breakfast was at 3:30 p.m. today, just in time to get ready for my meeting.

      I so appreciate your letting g me know about the typos. Even though I edited many times, it was one of those days when I also had to deal with ongoing interruptions that needed my immediate attention. Now, I finally have time to go back to edit the couch 🙂 and whatever else needs work.

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  3. mandy says:

    Such a beautiful post, Carol. Your grandchildren will count themselves fortunate to have had you for their grandmother. The life lessons you share with them can’t be measured in a monetary way. I love the Kahlil quote–it says it all.
    I understand the fears of an introvert. There are so many ways I could make a difference by “getting out there” yet introvert(ism) can be disabling. I hope you won’t let this volunteer opportunity go if the only reason is fear that your writing isn’t up to par. I consider you a fabulous writer. The inspirational content of your posts afford you a few typos!

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  4. It was my daughter’s birth in 1981 that inspired me to become a community activist. I felt I had a duty – after bringing her into a f*&ked up world – to do something to make it better for her.

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    • carolahand says:

      Yes, becoming a parent and grandparent makes one realize how screwed up things in the world are. My response was to head off to a commune when my daughter was 18 months old – perhaps not the best choice, but it taught me many skills and helped me realize how deeply I resist being told what to do by those who think socially-constructed positions give them that right…

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  5. Jeff Nguyen says:

    My son just started playing football which is something that the parental units have fretted over. I can relate to your struggle of wanting to protect your grandson from all of life’s snares but knowing that he must live his life “without a net”. Of course, I have no doubt you will always be there for him when he does hit the ground to help pick him back up, dust him off and get him going again. Another achingly honest post, Carol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolahand says:

      Yes, it is hard to allow those we love learn to live “without a safety net” sometimes. And all we can do is live each moment to the best of our ability and hold to love and light 🙂

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Jeff. Peace to you and your family.

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  6. Joan Treppa says:

    You are so inspiring Carol and I love reading these stories! I have a son but I will most likely never have grandchildren. I am okay with that because of my I belief that we are all a community and in many ways connected. So in retrospect, I still feel obligated to help protect and preserve the lives of those who need it most and I concern myself with thoughts about the future of our young people. In response to the paragraph about finding the courage to collaborate, I know that in my journey I have surprised myself by doing things I never thought possible. Maybe they weren’t done as well as how someone else could have done them but I made a decision to not let it stop me from trying. We do not have to be perfect but we have to be! I know you will be just fine my friend!

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    • carolahand says:

      Thank you, Joan. Your kind words mean a great deal given your inspiring work to address “The Green Bay fumble.” Your insight that we don’t need to do things perfectly, we just need to do what feels right in our hearts, is so true. Please know that I look forward to hearing that you are successful in reversing injustice soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. mjh333 says:

    A very inspiring post, the passage by ‘Kahlil Gilbran’ rings so much truth. These words ring with me,as I’m at the age when I will be having kids of my own very soon. I think the same,I want a safe equal world for them to live in, and that’s why I do what I do and campaign so strongly for equality and sustainability so I can at least pass on the ground works for this world. Tomorrows a protest for a living wage. Thanks for your inspirations 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolahand says:

      It’s so good to hear from you, MJH! Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I value your perspective and the work you do as an advocate and blogger. The thought and scholarship of your posts is an important foundation for others!

      I look forward to hearing about your experiences at the protest and know that you will be an awesome parent when the time comes 🙂

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  8. Pingback: Morning Memories and Reflections | Voices from the Margins

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