Books Worth a Look

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave - This book is a must read. Better than anything else I've read, it takes you vividly into the life of a person in the 3rd world who has no choice but to escape. It is brilliantly written & works well as an audio book. Often I've sent info about the wonderful refugees I've met in Europe. We know only so much of their plight as it is painful for them to recall much less live through again by recounting it. But over time it is clear what they've lived through. This book is excellent as you discover the horrors of their world. Somewhat how to me, it is like being in Europe near a Concentration Camp. One has an obligation to visit it. 'Never to Forget.' In this case, to have our eyes opened.
  • Garbage King by Eliz Laird - The book is set on the streets on Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia and here lives Mamo and his sister Tiggist. When Mamo's "uncle" offers a job, he soon sets out on a bus to work. Little does he know that he is actually being sold into slavery...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

People and places you meet- a Reflection

A reflection - should you be so inclined, read on.

It has been my good fortune, blessing, to have met so many wonderful people. Added to the blessing of my terrific daughter & son in law, family & friends in the U.S. Europe and Latin America, this blessing simply does not end.

I think my visit to the Alhambra has put me in quite reflective place.

Yesterday arriving at the hostal in Madrid, I met Mislav who is German/Croatian. Such good fortune. Along with Ana from Brasil, we enjoyed the tapas tour (Madrid style, Andalucia style and finally Basque).

Though I had not intended to, I joined them and about 10 others for part of the Pub Crawl (4 pubs for them, 1 1/2 for me!) While sampling a local beer, I talked with 3 young men from Turkey, several Aussies (Australia), and many Brasilians & Aregentinians. Watching the young Brasilians dance was a treat. Such form Crowded and loud beyond belief , well for an ole dude) two Spaniards struck up a conversation.

Our guide from the hostal, Xavi from Mexico, amiably kept an eye of us, lest we get lost in the crowd.

Two days ago, after six hours at the Alhambra & a commnity dinner at the Hostal in Granada, I sat quietly working on my uploads. After two hours of loud, animated conversation among the 15 Aussies (I said nada - really!) one 24 year old came to my table to start a conversation. Soon there were 5.

Now I know you will find this almost impossible to believe, but I really just wanted to be alone & quiet. But, when young people seek you out, you simply cannot ignore them. (I kept wondering why not now & when they'd join the others smoking shisha (sp?) a non narcotic water processed smoke. I passed!

They simply just wanted to hang out w/ this ole man, possibly like attending a curiosity!

Days later, as I walk around Madrid and reflect on my 3 1/2 weeks in England, Croatia and Spain, I cannot but think of the beauty I saw in Dubrovnik & Granada, think about myvisit with my good friends in England, and then day after day ,meeting one after another, practically, such really good people. There is such goodness out there. If only leaders could get a clue.

Some say you cause what you experience. Maybe, but not in the case of my good fortune in travel and at home. From family & friends in the US, to 'holy' and real friends in England and Latin America, from visiting places of awe like the Alhambra, the old town in Dubrovnik, the Muslim Quarter in Mostar, Bosna - all so real, so full of grace, such a comfort.

How can one not bask in the wonder that is the ground of our being?

How can one dare ask for more?

A footnote (which I've edited here ) in one of Marcus Borg's book summed it up well:

He comes to us as One Unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lake-side.

He came to those who knew him not. He speaks to us the same word.

He will reveal himself in the toils, ghe conflicts, the suffering which we pass through no alone,


as an ineffable mystery, we will learn in our own experience Who he is.

When I was a kid, I often heard: See Christ in others. Verdad! I'd say see the ineffable ONE, in Christ, Buddha, Oscar romero, Francis of Assisi, Dorothy Day - all with whom you come into contact. A ready blessing and one we simply forget almost daily

Phil or as my Zutijil friend in Guatemala says in his native tongue. Talip!

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Thoughts on the amazing people I get to meet.

Rich, my 19 year old friend, soon to be Franciscan and recent community member at Haley House in Boston. An article he wrote.