BLOG: A Gift of Peace and Hope!
Whether you follow the political news in the US or not you probably have heard and maybe have even seen in your own life how crazy and divided things are right now. Maybe you’ve tuned out and I do understand.
I have a confession....As someone with a legal background I have watched the political circus and felt compelled at times to understand why and how things are the way they are right now. Is our democracy safe? I have often wondered, “What can I do”?
And it’s the season for love and joy yet many may not feel that now. We have the Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza holidays coming up so I was inspired to share a story of another pivotal and dark time in our history and the powerful message from a song-the author of this story is unknown....
ENJOY and have a beautiful holiday season!
Tragedy struck the home of America's most popular poet. On July 9, 1861, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's wife, Fanny, was near an open window sealing locks of her daughter's hair in a packet, using hot sealing wax. It was never known whether a spark from a match or the sealing wax was the cause, but suddenly her dress caught fire and engulfed her with flames.
Her husband, sleeping in the next room, was awakened by her screams. He desperately tried to put out the fire and save his wife. He was severely burned on his face and hands.
She, tragically burned, slipped into a coma the next day and died. His grievous burns would not even allow him to attend her funeral. He seemed to lock the anguish within his soul. Because he continued to work at his craft, only his family knew of his personal suffering. They could see it in his eyes and observe his long periods of silence. His white beard, so identified with him, was one of the results of the tragedy - the burn scars on his face made shaving almost impossible.
Although a legend in his own time, he still needed to find peace. On Christmas Day, three years following the horrible accident - at age 57 - he sat down to try to capture, if possible, the joys of the season. He began:
"I heard the bells on Christmas day.
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men."
As he came to the next stanza he was stopped by the thought of the condition of his beloved country. The Civil War was in full swing. The Battle of Gettysburg was not long past. Days looked dark, and he probably asked himself the question, "How can I write about 'peace on earth, good will to men' in this war-torn country, where brother fights against brother and father against son?" But he kept writing - and what did he write?
"And in despair I bowed my head:
There is no peace on earth,' I said,
'For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men!"
It seems as if he could have been writing for our time right now. Then as all of us can do, he turned his thoughts inward to that still, small place where all problems are solved - to God who can give true and perfect peace, and continued writing:
"Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."
And so we have the marvelous Christmas carol "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." A musician named John Baptiste Calkin wrote the musical setting that has helped make the carol a favorite.
Just as that Christmas in 1864 was made better for Longfellow, may you experience a wonderful holiday season! May you actually find the peace that Longfellow wrote about in the carol - true peace with your inner self and a feeling of well-being and a knowing that spiritually all is well and always will be.
NAMASTE and Happy Holidays!
PS- If you want to share a gratitude story or who/what you are thankful for we’d love to hear from you.