WPCNR NEWS AND COMMENT. By John F. Bailey. January 1, 2015:
I went to a Memorial Service in Mount Vernon on the last day of 2014.
It was for a former skating friend of my daughter about ten years ago.
The young woman died Monday afternoon at the age of 25 after a long illness. The hushed shock in Riverside Memorial Chapel had a chill and harshness that added a perspective on the meaning of life more shocking than the 25 degree temperatures outside.
As bereft father spoke of revealing and loving acts of his daughter and her wisdom beyond her years, cousins and aunt remembered their “astonishing” Rachel and her wisdom and selflessness, her grace and posture in her figure-skating, her compassion and sense of justice, her dedication to her art, her short career employed at the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim, it brought home to me a resolution that, if everyone resolved to observe one new rule in this new year, Rachel’s far too short life and grace under suffering could make everywhere each of us goes in our daily lives this coming year a better place.
I resolve to make 2015 and subsequent years “The Year of No Hate.”
I will try and be more compassionate towards the failings of others, or what I perceive to be their failings , instead of dismissing their positions as uninformed or inferior, selfish.
I will refrain from perpetuating prejudices about groups and organizations.
I will call my relatives more often and put aside annoyances and hurts of the past. As her father said of Rachel when he was having an argument with his daughter when she was 7 years old, his daughter won the argument saying this gem of wisdom:
“Daddy, you have your thinks and I have my thinks.”
There is so much wisdom in that statement of the 7 year-old Rachel.
If we could self-discipline ourselves to not use hates and fears and prejudices to justify treatment we would not want dealt out to ourselves, the condition of our communities,cities, and progress on our community issues might improve.
Everyday I can work on this:
I will not talk down about others and what they feel is important based on perpetuated stereotypes of the past , and putting self-interest aside.
If we all did this, and as my father used to say, “If you cannot say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” the rhetoric of the selfish, the greedy, the self-aggrandizing, the afflicted and the profane and, yes, the inhumane would have less of the fiery fuel of hate to spread the evil that permeates the world.
I will have more courage to do and write the truth and tell it. The problem with those who would report the news today is telling what people think is the truth in their own self-interest, not finding and reporting the truth.
I think making the years ahead years in which you put the hubris of superiority and opinion under scrutiny and preconceived notions aside would go so far in coming to grips with our problems in relationships with those who are different, or disagree with us which never seem to change.
The secret is making ourselves stop giving in to the easy course of continuing to hate and blame behaviors thereby perpetuating those behaviors, because “that’s the way those people are. They’re lazy, they are this and that.”
Maybe just maybe, those behaviors of the lowly and yes, the mighty,too, those in power victims of their own insecurity, might be made to change.
To paraphrase Rachel’s quote: “You have your thinks and I have my thinks,” I’d add, “And we have to think together.”
Refusing to hate is, of course, just a start.
But it is a good start.