Day before yesterday was the Winter Solstice. Mir and I were travelling on that day, back from New York City where we'd been visiting with good friends, and stopped in on the National Museum of the Marine Corp on the way back to visit the statue of Sergeant Reckless. We were surprised also to see a piece of the WTC that we'd seen transported to the museum along the New Jersey Turnpike a long while past now… and remembered the Firefighters on the bridges paying their respects as it passed. To lay my hand upon the concrete and steel was a profound moment… one right for the introspection the Solstice and winter season invokes into a life.
Perhaps that's where my coming journey begins… like a seed, buried in the dark earth, sheltered from the cold and the wet and the external pressures latent in the unfolding year, held together by the protective pressures of my own internal thoughts, like the arms of Mother, holding Her child, who has wandered.
Here is some advice for you:
make peace with all your family.
And here is more: never seek revenge,
even when you have just cause.
An here's yet more: never break an oath,
for bad luck follows liars.
And here is my last advice: watch your words,
speak with care, avoid all
thouse whose speech is careless, for foolishness is loud,
but wisdom whispers.
--Scandanavian Lay of Sigrdrifa
The goddess tells us to be prudent and truthful, to be honorable and loving. Beyond the changeful forms of society, some values seem to be constant.
Talking about constant values in changeful forms of society seems actually to be the crux of the matter - the values part being the reason for the changefulness maybe.
I'm not necessarily suggesting that the 'Good Old Days' are something to be harped after, longed for with nostalgic sorrowing and shaking of heads, not at all - but there has been change, even in my lifetime, and it's not necessarily been all good.
The biggest change has been in the way we as people interact with our fellow human beings. With the increased competitiveness in modern society today's attitude is far more 'every dog for himself!' Each person wants the accolades for some wonderful new innocation for him or her-self; charity is something you give in monetary value to organisations suddenly, and not in inherent kindness in your heart and everything moves so fast that no one has time for each other any more. That's the really sad part.
There are two exceptions that I can think of that are important to me... provide a link between the two halves of my life. One is the 'South' and one is here in Egypt. The latter, once you get past the fact that many out here will try to rip you off if you seem to be a green behind the gills foreigner, most Egyptians are good hearted, and can't do enough for you... but in the South - oh the warm sweet South...
The very first time I visited Chapel Hill, which admittedly is very... um... cosmopolitan for the Southern US (It's a Uni town after all), I was struck by just how warm and welcoming its people were. They say 'have a nice day' and they actually mean it - it isn't just something to say. Their doors are always open, their home is your home, and if you need something, and they have it to give, they're actually offended if you don't take it. This is what it means to 'have time' for one another - being ready and willing to change everything at the drop of a hat (or a call or a message) to do something for someone that needs something. Just being there for each other.
This is the essence of being human and having decent human values... and community spirit... at least to me.