Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Remembering Linda

Today is the anniversary of the worst day of my life.  The day that Jamie Morton took Linda Akers in a fit of violent rage that reached out to reek havoc on a society he felt wronged him.  24 years ago, half my life, I have lived without the woman I truly wanted to marry, to build a future with, to me together. As I read of my peers sending their children off to college, I think I could be in that same company today but my life was delayed by the actions of a man, mad and poised to make a mark.  But I have learned over the years that tragedy is a part of life and truly living is about acknowledging the good in the person you lost and finding a way to live beyond the hurt.  I won't say I have made the best choices since that fateful day, but here I am, a life time later.  Happy, in a new marriage, with a wide diversity of friends, a great job that has meaning and I think contributing to a better world.

In the next few weeks we will be saturated with images, stories and memories of a national tragedy.  It has been 10 years since 9-11.  The world is a different place but I recently read a small article that reminded us of the fact that grieving is normal, healthy and helpful.  But to truly get past and honor the memories of friends and loved ones lost to horror we must continue to live.  For the last 24 years I think I have done that, lived out a life, sometimes fully, sometimes sheepishly, sometimes in a haze.  I lost a piece of me that I am not sure can ever fully be recovered, but I do not honor Linda if I don't fully live and as a nation we can't honor all those lost as a result of terror if we don't embrace the freedom we hold so dear, if we don't enjoy the celebrations in our lives, and if we don't combat the hate that springs up around us so often, a hate like that drove 19 young men to kill themselves and almost 3000 others and wound a country.

The greatest way I can honor Linda would be to continue to fight hate, racism, the anti-Islam crowd as well as the Islamists.  To move us away from radical rhetoric that marginalizes an entire group for the sake of a few members who act with violent. I hope to both honor my dearly departed Linda and the memory of those lost on 9-11 by working to make the world a better place, join me.  Speak out, attend services this season that elevate the good of this country and not allow yourself to be absorbed by anger, fear and hate so seductive to a damaged soul.  Most of you knew not Linda, but if you know me you have seen a spark of her.  Take this opportunity to make her memory a blessing.

Thank you for this indulgence.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Noah turns 15 today....

Fifteen years ago today I held my son Noah for the first time, seconds after he was born.  There are powerful moments in one’s life and I have been both lucky and worked hard to be able to fulfill some childhood wishes.  I have stood on the ruins of Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness, touched the Western Wall, seen the buildings at Petra and seen the splendor of the Grand Canyon.  All those moments combined cannot match power of holding my son.  And in those 15 years I have found myself feeling at times like a failure as a parent and at times I know I have helped him be the young man he is becoming.  Today is a double milestone as he starts high school officially this morning.  So I wanted to think about the 15 things that makes me glad that Noah is my son.
1.        He can quote Monty Python skits including the over the top British Accents, and not just the popular one.
2.       He has always appreciated good food, he often asks for duck fat French fries and Truffle Mac and Cheese.
3.       He loves a wide range of music, but in the car he says “Do you have your Ipod?  Can you play the Kid Delicious Mix? 
4.       He can daven the Shabbat and Weekday services and even though he doesn’t always want to, he can engage the service when asked.
5.       He cares about the feelings of others and is always ready to see what he can do to help them.  He recently asked me for his allowance to donate it to a cause he liked. 
6.       He has never been materialistic and even when shopping for something for him; he balances cost versus the value to him.  He doesn’t care if he has the next big thing.
7.       He makes Dianne feel like a mom, and makes sure that we consider her when having fun.
8.       He lets me win on the Wii since he is 10x better at most of the games and feels bad for me.
9.       He has a great sense of humor and lets it out in subtle ways.
10.   There are times I have to tell him to stop reading…he reads when he brushes his teeth.
11.   He thinks sushi is the greatest idea in food, ever.
12.   He is at home in a museum of art.  Loves Pollack and Kandinsky.
13.   He acts like “A Picker” at garage sales and at what we call The Crazy Goodwill.
14.   He is curious about the world.  He wants to know things…about lots of things.
15.   He doesn’t truly know what he wants to do in life, but he wants to make a difference. 

Noah has been a great part of my life, today he take another step into being more independent and more “grown up”.  Happy Birthday to my Noah.

Why Hate Crimes Laws Are the Right Thing To Do

Indiana is one of a handful of states without a hate crimes (or bias crimes) law.  For many legislative cycles a bill was killed by the Re...