I have a wonderful 89-year-young uncle named Vern. Actually he is my second cousin but when a person is nearly 40 years older than another, it just seems right to call them aunt or uncle. Anyway, here is his Saturday blog from today and my response to him:
Folks, it’s March 1st already! And yesterday was leap year, February 29th. How time flies..This morning early I was roaming around in this great little book “The Intellectual Devotional” that I have come to remember I have talked so much about this little gem, given me by Rebecca and Paul for Christmas. I will be through it in about another month although it’s designed to read a page a day for 365 days, but I’m too impatient.Now that I’m to a point where I buy ripe bananas, and eat desert first, how do I even know I will be around 365 days from now? Well, I have no plans to the contrary.Anyhow, under visual arts I picked up a page on Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”. He painted this on the evenng of June 19th, 1889. He was living in an asylum at the time.. The painting is 29 by 36 inches and now hangs permanently in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. One of my favorite museums, which is the permanent home of my favorite American painting, Andrew Wyeths “Christiana’s World, painted in 1948.I guess everyone remembers Starry Night, one of Van Goghs best known painting generally is believed to be his outpouring of his greatly troubled emotional state at the time.The other day, in writers group we were talking about “audiences”, in other words, who do we write for? Serious writers always have an audience they are or are attempting to write for. Well, this troubles me, because I really don’t know who I write for. In this pleasant little task which occupies a part of my Saturday mornings, I am obviously writing for and to my “family”, which now is a list of about 30 names. Yippy, I have an “audience”. But in everything else, I don’t know who I write for. I guess any one who is dumb enough to waste their time reading these little efforts on my part. Now, over 300 such little efforts, plus a family history. All I know is that I have had a tremendous lot of fun putting this togther. I write mostly, I guess because I believe I have something I want to say and that in itself is enough.At this present time I am sharing with the writing group something that has been of tremendous interest to me, The 70 years and thousands of people it took to publish the Oxford English Dictionary, first edition published in 1928. This ties in well with something I did back in 1966 under the title of “The writings of Mortimor Adler” and the Encyclopedia Britannica which he served as editor in the last half of the 20th Century. Both of these ended up around twenty pages. Mortimer Adler was a fascinating guy. He published 20 of his 60 books after he was 80 years old.Holy Cats, talk about being carried away on favorite subjects. WOW! Oh well, thanks for listening but it’s time to quit or I won’t have anything to talk about next week.Do any of you have any birthdays or anniversaries in March? I don’t find a single one and it’s a little early to talk about April…Well, take care of yourselves. Be happy, healthy and in love. The best formula for life! Love from Gramps, great gramps, POP along with my constant companion, Nancy Lee.
Dear Vern,Most Saturdays, I am happy to simply read your message with my heart wide open for a man I admire; a man who believes in staying connected the people he loves, a man who is my 90-year-young father’s favorite cousin and dear friend, a man who clearly wants to make a positive difference for the entire time he is on this planet, a man who is humble and loving and kind and intelligent, a man who stays connected to the beauty of our world through his appreciation of art, a man who stretches his comfort zone by being a part of a writing group in his late 80’s, a man who is living life in his 80’s with an aliveness and connectedness not found in many men half his age, a man who always tries to be the best husband, father, uncle, cousin, friend he can be and a man who never forgets his connection to God… do you get that I am speaking about you Vern?Your audience is all of us who have the privilege of being graced by you in this life. And, if you publish your writings, which, in my humble opinion, I think you should, your audience will grow to those who want to expand and stretch themselves and tap into your wisdom. Please do not disempower yourself by saying “But in everything else, I don’t know who I write for. I guess any one who is dumb enough to waste their time reading these little efforts on my part. ” You have a gift and you are a gift!!! Continue your writing and publish your words of wisdom with the interpretation of those of us who love and respect you.As a reminder, I am send you a copy of the Nelson Mandela quote that is often credited to Marianne Williamson:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.~Nelson Mandela