Archive | November 2012

I felt I just had to reblog this post by Samantha Craft for its stunning beauty. The beauty of words, the beauty of thought and the absolute beauty of the woman herself.

Several years ago I wrote a poem called:  Be Still and Know

Here is how it goes;

There lives deep within each human heart

a poet and a maker of music.

If we are still and listen we can hear them play.

And what glorious music they make

with the poetry of this human life ~ your life!

For the Author of all life and love bids you to come and play. . .

play the music, hear the poetry . . .

Be Still and Know!

Sandy Ozanich ~ (c) 2012

This post fits so beautifully with Samantha Craft. . .she is living her “craft” and life well.  I dedicate this poem to her today because she has touched my heart.

Everyday Asperger's

You are like music upon music upon music to me, a figure seemingly out of tune.

At times I think if I could only find your one song, the part that is truly you, then I could play you over and over, and dance, whether alone or together, in endless ecstasy.

Even as I tell myself you are complexity and spiraled wonder, I long to unravel you to thy very core—perhaps as some vegetable with heart or some flower with first petal.

I like to pretend you are easy to find, to see, to paint. For with easiness would come the grace of painting you into the shadowed corner of my existence: a mural to keep me safe, a walking space that requires no effort but touch. One finger slipped onto the wall of me and slid across your slivered silhouette.

For it is in my shadowed times, I cry…

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Taking Off The Mask

I posted this a few months ago.  I wanted to post it again for a friend who I think will like it and relate to it.

There may be others of you who will  find some consolation in it.  It is a short story of how my life has evolved over some years and how I feel about life now.  It wasn’t with out pain, suffering or lonliness ~ but my life has evolved into one of joy, peace, and love for myself and others.  Of course that’s not to mean that I don’t ever suffer pain or lonliness anymore, I have just learned that by trusting in God and sharing myself with my friends I can cope and come out of those hard times stronger and more in love with life than ever.

Sandy Ozanich

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Lord, I’ve spent a lifetime living within my carefully constructed world where survival and approval became the blocks that built my walls.  I was proud of the way in which I was able to live ~ protected and safe from those who frightened me.  It was good to know that somehow through all those years of pain and struggle I arrived safe and insulated and. . .

Now I hear your plea, your command that I come out from my well-worn tomb and I struggle.  Can you hear my cries?  Can you help me understand why I run from those I care about?  Do I dare ask what it is that keeps me from unwrapping the bindings of my fearful heart?

I asked you to change my heart and you replied, “Show me your heart my child.  I cannot change it if you do not show it to me.  I am not a God who would force myself on you.  How long I’ve waited to be of help.  How long I’ve been waiting for you to answer my call.”

After a while, I took off my fearful wrappings and showed you my apologetic heart, beating with timid longings for a love and acceptance I had never truly known.

You have told me to look beyond my fears and see the face of my neighbors, they have much to tell.  Learn from them, they are not much different than you.  When you feel  pain, go to someone in pain; in this you will recognize each other and together you will know true joy.

Yet, your smile is one of firm encouragement, urging me to understand that all I need is love if I am real and you keep telling me that love is what makes us real.

I hear your voice telling me to take off the death mask of self doubt that hides the beauty of my soul.  You gently but firmly ask me to see with new eyes and I resist. . you show me that in life no obstacle is too great when I can reach out and acknowledge who I am in your eyes.

Slowly, carefully the wrappings of guilt and fear found their way to a heap on the floor and I walk toward the Light of your Love.  Like a child learning to toddle I inch toward the opening of this empty tomb and feel the cool breeze of today on my face ~ my glorious, unmasked face.

Sandy Ozanich ~ May 1994

This poem was an eye opener for me.  It taught me to learn to trust and to feel good about my life and not to fear learning new things.  Sometimes these issues

 

Aron Lieb, Holocaust Survivor, a Stranger, Saved My Life

I came across this beautiful article as I was scanning the internet the other day.  After reading about Aron Lieb AND Susan Kushner I was in love with both of them.  Aron for his strength of character, Susan for her remarkable ability to introduce us to Aron and herself.  I felt I was at home with Aron while he and Susan talked, sharing a love and kindness together that we all should experience.  I would love to see everyone have a friend just like Aron because Aron is a great teacher.

(Special thanks to Susan Kushner Resnick for letting me reprint her article in my  blog. This story comes  from her book “You Saved Me Too”.   She is a gift as well.)

By Susan Kushner Resnick

You’re moving through life, trying to make it to the end of the day, when a stranger approaches. You immediately calculate a response: Open the door he’s knocked upon or pull it tight and turn away? Many factors come into play. Is he dangerous? Is your world too full of good things or too cluttered with bad for you to bother with someone new? Are you shy or embarrassed by how much you need to talk to somebody?

When it happened to me, I talked back. The man had stopped me in the lobby of a Jewish community center as I put my baby in his car seat.

“Vhat’s his name?” he asked in an accent full of history.

I sized him up: an old fellow wearing a cap and glasses. He appeared to be clean and unarmed, plus his eyes twinkled. Probably just a grandpa who missed his own cherubs, I thought.

I told him my baby’s name, asked him about himself and learned that my grandfather assumption had been way off. He didn’t have children or grandchildren. He only had one living relative because everyone else had been killed during the Holocaust.

Aron Lieb had spent the war in a ghetto, in forced labor camps and in several brand name camps: Auschwitz, Birkenau and Dachau. After American soldiers welcomed him back to the living with chocolate bars, he came to America. Here he worked as a deli counterman while enduring an unhappy marriage until his wife’s death.

It was a sad life, yet he had those twinkly eyes. I wanted to know more.

I suggested we meet for coffee the following week. This wasn’t something I’d ever done before, but it felt right. What harm could one coffee do?

No harm at all, it turned out. That morning changed my life. aron leib

At first we were just coffee mates. Then he started coming to my house for holidays, bringing my kids birthday candy and telling me all of his stories. You might think that he sprinkled his tales of tragedy with bits of wisdom, Tuesdays with Morrie style. But that wasn’t his way. Instead, he told jokes, complained about the headache he’d had since before the war and flirted with every woman he saw.

Then his eyes stopped twinkling. That’s when the life lessons commenced.

The Red Cross did many helpful things for survivors after the war, but I don’t think they provided counseling. Now we know about PTSD, but it was around then, too, and Aron had buried his symptoms for years. As one ages, psychological defenses break down as much as collagen and muscle tone do. He became depressed and anxious, requiring psychiatric care. When I realized that he didn’t have anyone to help him navigate the medical system, I signed health care proxy and power of attorney documents, essentially adopting him.

He recovered, but after a while, the misery returned. He spent all of his time alone in his apartment, eating not much more than rice and pills. When he threatened to kill himself, I knew he needed more than I could provide. But due to a complication in how this poverty-level Holocaust survivor had spent his German reparations, he couldn’t get into a Jewish nursing home until I collected a pile of money for expenses.

aron lieb

Organized religion can be wonderful and terrible. Fighting Aron’s battles showed me both. I’d expected the established Jewish community to provide anything necessary to help him die with dignity. When they wouldn’t, I was heartbroken. Already ambivalent about the religion I’d been raised in, their refusal to do what was right almost caused me to quit altogether. But my faith was restored when the rabbi of the small congregation I infrequently attended asked congregants for help. Soon, people who knew neither of us donated whatever they could — some sending checks for $5 and $10 — to keep Aron safe.

Aron used to tell me that I’d saved his life, but he actually did most of the saving. He gave me the gift of being able to help somebody. He exposed me to the best and worst of humanity. And he showed, through the example of his entire life, that we humans can endure everything. All because I talked to a stranger.

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