The VigilanceVoice

Tuesday-- May 14, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 245

The Vigilance of Rain & Tears
Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

        GROUND ZERO, New York City, May 14--Rain and tears wash the Terrorism away.
        They fight the fires ignited by Terrorism's attack, drenching the soul and soil in a bath of comfort, releasing the air, parched torment that leaves both the earth and a human being a scorched desert, unyielding of its potential.
        At least, that's my take on tears on rain.
        I cried in the rain yesterday.   My tears were soft, not acidic.  They were tears of joy.  I was finally being united with my sister with whom I had been estranged for nearly a half decade.
        We were going to spend a week together as brother and sister, something time and circumstance and Terrorism has made virtually impossible until Vigilance stepped in to hack away at the thorns of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency that separated us.
         I will write more about this later today.   
         But if there is something standing between you and someone you love, consider reading this to see if you might find the rain and tears as cleansing as I have to heal old wounds and to return the earth of love back to its rightful state of bearing love's fruit.
         I won't go into the details of our separation as brother and sister, except to say that within our family was a major division that forced my sister to leave home at the age of sixteen and live with my grandmother.
        Over the years, the animosity toward my sister grew within members of our "domestic" family--chiding my sister for her fervent religious beliefs, and prejudice toward her as a "family outsider."  
         My two brothers and sisters in the "domestic" family were half-brothers and sisters, and my estranged sister was my full-blood sister.   Our mother and father were divorced when we were very small, and my mother remarried when I was five.  My step-father adopted us.
        As the years progressed, I felt the alienation of my sister, and participated in the feelings that she was an "outsider," full of resentment and anger.   I avoided her and sided with my mother, brothers and sisters of the "domestic" family.
        Then certain things happened these last few years where I began to delve into my sister's feelings, her walls of resentments built over years of being "exiled" from her family.   As listened and opened myself up to the pain she had suffered, I realized how Terrorized her life had been by being ostracized by her family, and how alone and singular her life had become without the resources of a "family" to fall upon when her husband died of cancer, or she fell ill, or to share the joys of her two son's accomplishments, or to feel part of a family Christmas or Thanksgiving, or receiving birthday cards, or being invited to family reunions.
       Slowly, I realized the importance of blood relations, of the obligation we have to understand the pain and angst of those closest to us--our relations.   I had not known either of my grandmothers or grandfathers--not as people.   I had no idea of their wisdoms, or their sense of care or consideration for me.   Neither did I have that feeling with my uncles or aunts, for the idea of a parent or relative being a Relative of Vigilance didn't exist.
       As far as I was concerned, family members were just names on a birthday list, or people you were forced to send gifts to when they graduated, or to attend their funerals when they died.
       I didn't have relatives in my life who taught me the elements of Vigilance--how to be Courageous in the face of Fear, how to stand tall with Conviction when confronted with the yoke of Intimidation, and how to decide what the Right Action was when wallowing in the quagmire of Complacency.  Frankly, I was Terrorized by my relatives--Fearful of them, Intimidated by them, and certainly Complacent about their interest in me as a person seeking to evolve into a human being.
       The word "family" to me became a joke.  It was hollow, void of any richness, without substance as it related to my life.   I cannot recall one philosophy of life I learned from any family member except from my biological father, a drunk, who once told me "all veal turns to fat."   As I grew older and my body's metabolism slowed, I found his wisdom deadly accurate.
        However, my sister opened up to me.  Over the last few years she began to tell me about trying to resolve her pain of being disenfranchised from the family.  She told me about her hurt soul and how she was trying to sew up the ragged edges so she could live in peace, and not bury the pain, but expose it to the healing of the Truth.
        I began to listen to her and to realize my own pains of shame and guilt for denying my sister a brotherly shoulder to rest upon, and how I had developed a hard crust against her, siding with family members with comments about her evangelism and how angry she was.  I had fueled the seeds of discontent along with my mother and half-brothers and sisters, and my step-father.   I had Terrorized my sister's Terror, adding acid to the already sores on her soul.
        As we began to talk openly about our past, I found a refreshing sense of honesty within her that I didn't find in myself.   I had denied many things about "our family," or simply become "complacent" about addressing them.    As we spread the issues on the table, I realized how neglectful I had been in attempting to understand her, to relate to her beauty as both a woman and a sister, an emotional confidant, not seeking to spray dissent on the "domestic family," but rather attempting to shoo the Terrorism from her soul in a mature, Vigilant manner.
       That's why the other day in the rain, I shed tears.   They were cleansing tears, not sorrowful ones.  They coursed down my cheeks as the rain quenches the parched earth.
       I was happy because my sister is coming to spend a week with my wife and I and our family here in New York City.  We invited her to attend our older daughter's graduation from Union Theological Seminary, an event of massive importance to all of us.   I was honored she accepted.
      This will be the first time my sister and I have been brother and sister, sharing as a family, in well over forty years.   It will be the first time we have been open with one another.
       Part of my tears were of joy, and part of them sad.   I thought of all the families in the world where relatives were separated by certain events, circumstances, conflicting viewpoints.    I thought about mothers and daughters, as my sister and mother were, so separated they were orphans to each other.  I thought of fathers and sons, as I was with both my step-father and biological father, divided and wary of each other.  I thought of uncles and aunts, and brothers and sisters, and cousins, all of whom could help each other mature and evolve in the deepest sense of human honesty, driven by genetic and blood brotherhood, but somehow estranged, cleaved by some Terror of Relationship that wedged Fear, Intimidation and Complacency where Courage, Conviction and Right Action ought to exist.
      I thought of a new Pledge.   The Family Pledge of Vigilance. (see rough draft below)  
     The purpose of the pledge is to allow family members Pledge their commitment to insuring open and honest communication with another so that children in the family do not grow up fearful of being excommunicated from the Family Circle.  
      Had our family had such a Pledge, or recognized its tenants, perhaps my sister and I would not have wasted four decades of separation.
      The tears I shed the other day included tears of Sorrow as well as Tears of Unity. The Unity Tears overpowered the Sorrow ones.
      I thought that if I could reunite myself with my sister, and she with me, then there was hope for all the disenfranchised family members of the world.
      But to achieve this, it would take more than circumstance for such unification to occur.  It would take an commitment, a pledge, a vow to overcome the dangers of Family Terrorism.
      If there is a "black sheep" in your family, one or more members you have "written off," for whatever reason, perhaps it is time to consider reconciliation.   Certainly, there is pain on both sides of the coin, and Complacency often keeps us from addressing that pain. 
      But, there is also wisdom and strength behind that pain.   If there isn't something more valuable on the other side of any journey, we don't take the first step.   If nothing else, by bridging the gap we often find a sense of relief, a yoke lifted from us, a pound of internal Terrorism reduced to an ounce, or perhaps the weight of a feather.
      I have learned to feel for my sister rather than to reject her.   In those feelings I have found a hidden love, like the needle in the haystack.    It has been worth searching for.  I feel a weight lifted within.
      Let me share with you a rough draft of a Family Of Vigilance Pledge.  I will work on it, and, if you have any suggestions, please forward them to me.


     We, the members of our Family, do hereby pledge to support the unity of our members through Vigilance rather than Terrorism.
      We will attempt with all our power to not disenfranchise any family member whose actions or behavior fall in conflict with our own. 
      While we may not agree with such actions or behavior, we will strive to understand that such actions or behavior cannot neutralize the blood of that flows among us or the inherent Love that once existed between all members when they were innocent of human frailty.
       If we Fear the presence of such an individual, or are Intimidated by his or her being in our presence, or attempt to ignore his or her existence through acts of Complacency, we vow to reconsider the impact of such feelings.
       We must remember that by judging others as  "being part of" or "being apart from" our family, we send a signal to our children and their children that the family holds the power of judgment as to whom it will love, and under what conditions.  
       As a result, the family becomes a tribunal, issuing restraining orders against certain individuals from the power of Unconditional Love the family is duty-bound to offer all its members.  Alienation of family members is akin to incarcerating that individual in a cold, damp cell of Complacency and Rejection.
       This indictment against others can create fear in our children that if they do not "conform" to certain standards of behavior or action, they too will be separated from the fold.  
       The purity and innocence of "unconditional love"  is therefore polluted by the "conditions of love" we exhibit towards those we deny access to such love.
      Under these conditions a child may be Terrorized to Conform, and Terrorized if he or she doesn't.  By alienating other family members, we plant the Seeds Of Terror in our children.  
       Therefore, to protect the Power of the Family Circle and our children's access to that Power, we vow as members of a Family of Vigilance to make every attempt among ourselves to show the Courage to love those within our family we might otherwise Fear because of their opposing beliefs or actions.  
      We further vow to exhibit Conviction that the Family Whole is more important than its fractional parts, and that its preservation is a commitment on our part of Unconditional Love.
     Finally, we vow to take the Right Action rather than to wallow in the Complacency of "No Action" toward a family member whom we might consider to not represent "one of us," or to a member who falls short of our expectations or violates the established standards of behavior we hold dear.
         To this end, we as a Family of Vigilance, vow to offer "unconditional love" to any and all members of the family.  However difficult this may seem,  we vow to open our hearts to those we might otherwise discard, and, as a result, perpetuate to our children and their children the power of "Family Vigilance" in the face of "Family Terrorism."

Signed_______________   Dated_____________


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