Thursday, April 06, 2006

Lech Walesa speaks in Flint

As I listened intently to the Noble Peace Prize Winner’s intonation translated by woman who travels with Poland’s President, I thought of many things. Translators do that to me as I so often wonder what is lost or added to the comments of a keynote speaker or even a sign in Chinatown. I once heard a story of a city – Toronto, New York? – where signs were purchased with the understanding they would say what the officials requested. It wasn’t until after they were posted that the officials discovered the words were offensive. Trust. It’s such a funny thing.

Translations. I find myself stumbling on the translations that abound all around us as we each listen and read and interpret the message of the day. Why is it that Bibles now have rows upon rows of translations, each promising the true interpretation of what Jesus said, what God meant? It’s mind boggling. The decisions of who is right and who is wrong is too overwhelming even on the simple things. I fear we have abdicated our freedom of choice to those we feel we can trust to do the heavy thinking for us. Some let James Dobson decide for them. Some let George Bush. Some even let Rush Limbaugh (before rehab!) and the former host of the outrageous non-credible Current Affair Bill O’Reilly.

We listen to their intonations. What about those prophets speaks wisdom? What speaks wisdom to you, to me?

Lech Walesa spoke about wisdom last night, downplaying his credibility - refreshingly. In fact, his humility was alluring, made me want to lean in and listen a little more closely. He spoke of the Pope and his unheralded role in the end of the true evil empire of Communism (his reference, not mine). He told of a time when the Pope traveled to his homeland of Poland and spoke with the people, not telling them what to do, how to act – and certainly not joining any conspiracy or movement for change. Lech said, “but the power of his words made each of us reflect in our own hearts.” His humble words sparked an intangible, galvanizing spirit that ultimately brought down a wall of division – not through force, through convincing oratory. Against all odds, he quietly and profoundly changed the future for us all.

And that is my point today. Reflection. It seems as a society we no longer value reflection, that inward review of our hearts and intentions, the supposed application of wisdom prior to action. We listen quickly, fill in our own blanks, interpret intonations. We’ve already decided what is good (or have been told) and what is bad. And we are on the lookout for all that is bad. We feel it is our right, our responsibility – to whom, I don’t know exactly.

I looked around at the crowd last night, hundreds sitting quietly as Lech spoke through his interpreter. Some held banners of Polish pride. Others wore union jackets or suits purchased with UAW dues. The Poles likely left satisfied. I wonder about the others, especially now with so many losing their bankrupt Delphi jobs. They likely came to hear the former electrician who climbed on a bulldozer and delivered a stirring appeal to Solidarity. Give us something to sustain us in the days and weeks to come…

As one who has traveled the world, speaks regularly with leaders from every nation, Lech admonished those who would listen to accept the new era that is just now beginning. Instead of drawing borders defining countries, we must begin to live together in our global village where everyone can undoubtedly survive. By sharing our wealth, our food, with those who have none, we make reliable friends and neighbors. By helping to train and provide equitable work for those in impoverished countries, there would be no reason to send our industry there, at the expensive of our own workers and economy. Teach them to fish.

As for the automotive industry, unions, he described a time when three sides would determine the outcomes – union representation, owners of companies and administrators, if you will, that would help make the system work for all.
He reminded us that the United States has proven that people of different cultures, religions can get along. In this country, Arabs and Jewish people can be friends and neighbors, individuals from every nation are represented in our cities and town, in our hospitals, in our schools.

So as we war against the extremists in other countries, how do we battle the extremists in our own, those who insist on drawing lines, who are bothered by those who don’t speak English, those who are willing to work the menial jobs we won’t (illegal immigrants), those who don’t want to help the poor because they are Muslim, Hispanic or African American? How can we as a nation move forward if we continue to decide along monetary lines rather than truly moral ones?

Lech admonished us to choose good leaders. It truly is up to us how this country will survive in the future.

There was something about him that I trusted last night, his intonations seemed wise, the translation full of hope. If nothing else, it caused me to reflect - something I hope to relearn in weeks and months to come.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Return, 7:30 pm, Flint

Just finished putting the last clothes away and shoving those questionables down the shoot with the withoutadoubts. So incredibly hard to believe we are back so soon. Not that the trip went fast mind you, it's more amazing that we can travel between such vastly different ways of life in so short of time. After one week in a 5,000 square foot beach house, to a $40 room last night (and believe me, you get what you pay for), it must be what Cindy felt when the clock stuck 12! The pumpkin chariot disappeared. My dress is torn!! Actually, that's a spin on Kathy's analogy. She exclaimed she was missing her glass slipper when she entered her 10x20 box of hotel...

Ahh, the good life. And I mean that in the most sincere way. We do have it good.

I end this trip with the abcs of our favorite moments in Destin, et al. Writing this blog is definitely on my list. It was great fun to steal away and write. In fact, I am going to try and make it a practice to do something on this thing at least once a week, if not more.

If you are reading this, I'm flattered. If you're not - well, you're not.

From home, home sweet home...

ABC’s of what is best about Frownfelter Family Bash ’06

A – Awesome house, Air force museum, A tv in every room (except the girls), Almost getting killed with Kathy
B – Best Value Inn, Best time of our lives, birthdays every night, bungee jumping (watching), Big 10 Tires, Blue Angels, Batman begins, Blogging
C – Cool cave (Lost Cave), caravaning with cousins, Chick-fil-a, corndogs, Crab legs, Colton’s frog, Collecting shells with Aubree, Colton’s tooth, Corvette museum
D – Dolphin show, Dolphins from the balcony, Decompressing, Destin
E – Extraordinary pool, everyone together, Exploring the hurricane damage
F – Frownie Cab, Frownfelter Family Feasts, Fun, Frownfelter Bash, fun in the sun, Family Circle of memories, Fresh squeezed lemonade, Florida
G – Great time, gorgeous sea shores, go-karts, Goodwill
H – Hilarious family, happy times, Hermit crabs, Hanging around the house
I – Incredible views
J – Job well done, Chad (for finding house), Jacuzzi suite, jet ski with Dan
K – Kids having fun, Kissing David on the beach, kitchen
L – lunar moon, laughing, lizards
M – mini golf, margaritaville, marble floors and stairs
N – No boredom, New cds – Heywood Banks, Trout Fishing in America
O – Old Bay Steamer, open roof/observation deck, Oysters, One Day in September, ocean
P – parasailing, Peter/Paul, Publix, Penguins, Photo shoot on steps, Playing/sleeping with cousins, pencil urchins
Q – quiet nights
R – repeating roast, relaxing, Royal Red Shrimp
S – Seaside, shopping, sunshine, scoot car, Sitting on the beach with David, Sharks, Swimming in the ocean, Steinmart, Shakes, Stealing wifi, Shark goggles, Scooter talks, Sun Dogs
T – Too fun, t-shirts for the Frownfelters, Toast (the song), Tahitian chicken
U – Under the sea, unbelievable
V – Verandas
W – water shows, Wings, Waffle House, Watercolor, white sand, weather
X – xpressway
Y – “Yes!”
Z – Zea Shells, zzzzzzz (good sleeping)