Come my friends, it is not too late to seek a better world – Tennyson
Most of the time, I work hard in silence. It is not dead batteries in my hearing aids, it is that I want success be my noise. What I feel, only matters to me; what I do to others; for others, is what matters to the world, and I believe, to God… Faith makes things possible, not easy.
Perhaps we cannot prevent this world from being a world in which children are tortured. But we can reduce the number of tortured children. And if you believers don’t help us, who else in the world can help us do this? – Camus
This week has been filled with assisting people trying to make this world, a better one. New Sheriff Nominee Cliff Pinkney, New Domestic Relations Judge Frankie Goldberg, new Common Pleas Judge Shannon Gallagher, each is both a professional and a civic ambassador for their community; whether that be justice, or just rich.
They are not running against someone, they are running for something. Being a member of that community doesn’t impose some limit on their effect, it amplifies it in lessons applicable without boundaries, for those boundaries are usually (mentally) self-imposed, except to those who refuse them.
I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal’d by the same means, warm’d and cool’d by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, do we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. – William Shakespeare
What’s past is prologue, says the JFK movie. The rite and lessons of passage are typically are far more formative than the victories. You can’t unring the victory bell, nor can you take the highway to skip those equally formative and for more important lessons along the way. No past should limit our future, but we allow it too, all the time.
Good friend Roger Weist was in a serious car accident, and spent December 1st to January 9th in the hospital. He is finally home now, but can’t get around yet, so I made him some Irish brown bread and stopped in to check on him.
Roger is always laughing. He lets nothing but a great sense of humor and a pure love for all things Irish, rule his responses to life. Roger is a natural as an MC at Cleveland Irish Festival; host of Beyond the Pale radio show every Sunday afternoon, and friend to all who share his love of mankind. He is well on the road to recovery; now the hard works of rehab fill his days. With the amazing view of the sun setting over Cleveland, we caught up; the devil of pain can’t keep such a good man down.
On Friday, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, who I work for, announced the promotion of Sheriff Frank Bova, who I also work for, to Chief Community Safety and Protection Officer, a newly created position that will oversee the county’s public safety agencies, and the nomination of Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Cliff Pinkney as the next county Sheriff. Sheriff and the Chief have continued a focus on modernizing the Sheriff’s Department and collaborating with the community for a better Cuyahoga County.
It was a proud day, full of acknowledgement for vision and overcoming inaction and obstacles certainly, but of a sense of hitting our stride and as we tackle the challenges of the day too; no challenge is too big, the right people are in place to lead forward. Media relations is my job; this was one of those good story days. Though the media may choose not to report it, we have many, many good days.
Fr. Jim O’Donnell leads the Little Brothers & Little Sisters of the Eucharist, a non-profit foster home and neighborhood help center in inner city Cleveland. Fr. O’Donnell has hugged with a loving embrace and served Cleveland, safety forces, the poor and the Irish, for more than six decades. The sheer number of weddings, funerals, masses and moments he has blessed is mind boggling massive. He doles out blessings, but we all know he himself is the blessing we have all received.
The annual fundraiser at St. Clarence Hall last night has extensive community support, grows every year in attendance, gift baskets, silent auction, Chinese raffle, side boards and side mini-events. I get to see so many friends and catch up on their lives. Fantastic music with Andy Cooney Band guided a packed dance floor in a packed hall.
The event was moving, even inspirational, as Fr Jim talked of being with Mother Theresa near Calcutta, coming upon a man now all alone, with his spouse passed on, his children moved on. He spoke of the man whose only unbroken beautiful piece, was this gorgeous, but time dirtied auld lamp. The man did not find himself, or anything within or out of himself, beautiful.
The sisters offered to clean the lamp for him. He said no. You will go, and I will just be here, alone. They offered to clean the lamp, and come back that evening. Eventually, the man relented.
They cleaned the lamp, revealing more light, more beauty under the accumulated duress of time, only revealed when loved. Then they came back that evening, to the man and the candle that he lit for them. As they came back, day after day, always to a lit candle, the man grew worried he was keeping them from a greater work. He told them, each night I will light a candle for you, whether you come, or do not come. I will light a candle for you.
Fr. Jim then said, all the folks there at the fundraiser, were his candles.
It was so hard to get up this morning, for I had much work to do before my first meeting of the day, as a committee member for the 5th Annual Ohio Rose of Tralee Rose selection event, coming to the West Side Irish American Club on St. Valentine’s Day, February 14th. The first 90 minutes of my day are brutal to me. I am not trying to be dramatic, or to sell my mystery, my story. My joints have no fiction.
Tho a night’s rest is essential to re armouring for the next day, Pain has had all night and a head start of inactivity to brew and simmer its concoction of vice grips and boiling pots of angry connectors. Once I get past that, I am well steeled to slam and bar the door on the disease that tries to devil me into living with less than a generous spirit. But those first 90 minutes are a fog and a straightjacket in a thirty-year battle I consistently take lessons from, but rarely have succeeded in overcoming to returning love conquers all to.
I got there late, but gladly, for the Ohio Rose committee is a strong group of people; the success of the event and its ripples are proof in the pudding. Beyond the committee, I have been honored to get to know and become friends with Maureen Hennessy, Denise McConville, Colleen Dunne and Ashley Speaker, seeking and seeing them outside of the Rose commitments, to become friends – one of the many blessings I have been graced with over the last four years of assisting. Strong women, giving women, people I admire greatly.
The Ohio Rose of Tralee International Festival is an annual ambassador selection among Irish women or women of Irish decent, aged 18 to 27, who exhibit outgoing personality, confidence, ability to communicate, charisma, talent, aptitude and attitude. The selected Rose must endeavor to showcase all of the fine qualities that lead to her selection, knowing that she represents her heritage and Ohio. Tralee, Ireland is twin cities with our own Westlake, Ohio.
The International Rose of Tralee dates back to 1959. Rose of Tralee centers can now be found in Irish communities across the world, including USA, Canada, Dubai, Europe, Australia and the UK. Each center selects a Rose, who in turns represents their region for an entire year, and travels to Ireland for the chance to be selected as an International Rose of Tralee.
Every Ohio Rose of Tralee speaks of how being a Rose has enriched them, changed them. They speak of the experiences of volunteerism in areas singed by tragedy, and of the gifts of friendship that keep on giving, year upon strengthening year.
In a gloriously good week, what’s Next? The SuperBowl of course! I am a football fanatic, with more regard for the substance than the stats. The annual Monster Mor event was once a day in the life; speed, power, grace boomed into big business for the No Fun League. Face it; America’s pastime is not baseball anymore. Domestic violence is getting a very long overdue attitude readjustment.
Our Football, which art on television … will be celebrated with friends, food and oh yeah, football, at the West Side Irish American Club, our cultural home in Cleveland. The art of conversation from the last blog shifts, to the art of inclusion. Salad Bowl days duke it out with Super Bowl days, and the world could be better off with no hyphen; Irish American, Italian American, African American – how about American Team instead, the Greatest Generation’s approach; just American, that is as good as we would ever need to be.
I am 21 days into the 6-12 week regimen of the new med Luflunomide (Arava). As yet, I feel no benefit. In an attempt to jump start, I am soon off to the place where the warmth of the sun never sets, unless there is a hurricane. The break from the bitter cold of Cleveland, of Rheumatoid, is an annual defiant snap of resistance. I shall return (probably), with the hope that the time to take effect is far enough along, that the effect has taken up residence in my body, permanent or even just beginning, positive and worth the investment of the past minor matinee horror peep show.
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Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.
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