Tuesday-- May 14, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 245
The Vigilance of Rain & Tears
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
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
I will write more about this
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
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
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
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
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
The tears I shed the other day included tears of
Sorrow as well as Tears of Unity. The Unity Tears overpowered the Sorrow
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
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.
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
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."
TO: May 13--Guns & Crosses Of Vigilance
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