On a Beach Walk: No. 35

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

I see the faces of people I pass during the walk. I believe some people look at the sea and see faces in the water – but I don’t.

On the other hand, the sky is a place for faces. On this day, a full moon is in the daytime sky. Although it is not a bright smile as its nighttime glow, Mr. Moon’s presence is known – yet it can be easily missed. Each of us have memories of that face and how we see it.

Given that it’s daytime, we know Mr. Sun brightly shines to illuminate other faces; but we don’t see its face – yet we value its presence as it warms our face.

The clouds in the sky are always moving and changing. Sometimes they are happy and/or spiritual; other times a menacing evil. Sometimes a distinctive profile; other times an imaginative image as an ultrasound baby.

I think about real human faces – the ones that I pass during my walk and the ones that I’ve encountered through my 65 years. The many faces I’ve seen in malls, crowds, in my classes, during travels, and at any gathering I’ve attended. The faces of different people – the young and the old – the able and the disabled – the men and the women – the faces of different cultures and races.

The faces of different gifts and abilities – the musical, the artistic, the analytical, the athletic, the strong, the generous, the helpers, the kind, and many more.

The faces of smiles and kindness who are willing to embrace everyone. Those whose help lifts the faces of others.

The faces who are willing to share. The faces who truly try to help change the faces of others by helping a variety of needs – these are the faces bringing the shining light of humanity – but so are the kind faces who smile to each other as the pass when walking the beach.

Let’s keep on smilin’ because I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On John Glenn

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Many stories have been published about John Glenn since the news of his recent death. Then again, after 95 years of life, 73 years as a husband to his childhood sweetheart, 23 years as a military pilot and astronaut, 24 years as a US Senator, and 18 years of retirement – there is much to tell outside of his accomplishments and high awards.

Those of in Ohio probably get more about the man and his life because Ohio is his state – the state where he was born and raised – the state whom he served – the state he has always called home – the state where he was born and died. In those articles, what touched me the most were the adjectives describing John Glenn: Kind, gentle, patriotic, genuine, patient, humble, charming, decent, respectful, smart, brave, gracious, determined, heroic, dedicated, simple, likable, and quiet.

The day after his death, I greatly enjoyed this story in the Cincinnati Enquirer focusing on his life. On the political side, he didn’t get the Democratic party nomination in his first attempt to be a senator representing Ohio. After all, the incumbent criticized him because he had “paid his dues” in politics.

He ran again six years later for the same seat as the incumbent was retiring. The road in the primary wasn’t easy because his opponent (Howard Metzenbaum) ran the incumbent’s campaign the last time and had the support of the state Democratic party and the unions. Glenn eventually dropped out, but Metzenbaum lost in the general election.

Ohio’s other senate seat came open in 1974,  so Ohio’s governor appointed Metzenbaum to complete the term. Because the seat was up for vote in the fall, Glenn challenged Metzenbaum.

During the campaign, Metzenbaum told Ohioans they shouldn’t vote for Glenn because he “never worked for a living.” Glenn response to that criticism during their debate was strong, which may be a reason why he won the primary – and eventually the Senate seat – so it is worth reading below.

I served 23 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by antiaircraft fire on 12 different occasions. I was in the space program. It wasn’t my checkbook; it was my life on the line. It was not a nine to five job where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank.

I ask you to go with me. … as I went the other day to a Veterans hospital and look at those men with their mangled bodies in the eye and tell them they didn’t hold a job. You go with me to the space program and go as I have gone to the widows and orphans of Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee and you look those kids in the eye and tell them that their dad didn’t hold a job.

You go with me on Memorial Day, coming up, and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends than I’d like to remember and you watch those waving flags. You stand there, and you think about this nation, and you tell me that those people didn’t have a job, I’ll tell you, Howard Metzenbaum, you should be on your knees every day of your life thanking God that there were some men – some men – who held a job. And they required a dedication to purpose, a love of country and a dedication to duty that was more important than life itself. And their self-sacrifice is what made this country possible. I have held a job, Howard. What about you?

Godspeed, John Glenn … and thank you for your service and for being a role model.

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On Humanity

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“Burger” on trumpet with his band, TBC, at a second line on St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans

The majority of the world is good – I’ve written those words on past posts here because I believe it. Even when the news constantly reminds us about all the evil, I continue to believe the majority of the world is good.

Humanity is a term that refers to all of us. All … not all with a but or except … simply all. Regardless of skin color, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, location or any other qualifier or disqualifier, humanity includes the characteristics human beings have in common.

Acceptance
The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. (Brian Tracy, author)

RLAcceptance

Men in support of the Lady Buckjumpers second line in Central City, New Orleans

Compassion
Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love. (Stevie Wonder, musician)

RLCompassion

Sammy Eubanks comforts his wife Corrie after he was notified that his band did not win the blues competition in Memphis, TN

Cooperation
The requirements for our evolution have changed. Survival is no longer sufficient. Our evolution now requires us to develop spiritually – to become emotionally aware and make responsible choices. It requires us to align ourselves with the values of the soul – harmony, cooperation, sharing, and reverence for life. (Gary Zukav, author)

RLCooperation

Members of The Stooges brass band rehearse prior to a second line in Central City, New Orleans

Goodness
Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people. (Dennis Prager, journalist)

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Three generations of Mardi Gras Indian queens on the most important of all nights — St. Joesph’s Night — in Central City, New Orleans

Humility
Humility, that low, sweet root, from which all heavenly virtues shoot. (Thomas Moore, poet)

A discussing of who to trust on the street, which is basically nobody. La salle Street, Central City, New Orleans

Mr. Otis gives me a little advice about life on the street in Central City, New Orleans

Integrity
Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not. (Oprah Winfrey, entertainer)

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Coming out in Treme – the neighborhood, not the HBO series

Kindness
A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. (William Arthur Ward, writer)

One Giant Smile.

Sometimes we celebrate. The world’s biggest smile at Uncle Lionel’s Jazz Funeral in Treme, New Orleans

Love
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses. (Ann Landers, journalist)

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Two second line walkers greet each other in Central, New Orleans

Patience
Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting. (Joyce Meyer, author)

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Taking pictures requires a little patience at Mardi Gras, Uptown, New Orleans

Respect
I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being. (Jackie Robinson, athlete)

Respect is what we owe; love, what we give. (Philip James Bailey, poet)

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Mardi Gras Indians greet the elders during Downtown Super Sunday, 7th Ward, New Orleans

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Ray Laskowitz is a photographer in New Orleans. I can’t recall how we found each other, but I find his photos capture many aspects of humanity. Fittingly, he describes his blog as “about pictures and their backstories.” My experience told me he is the perfect artist for this collaborative endeavor. I gathered the text, then he supplied the images.

I encourage everyone to visit Ray’s blog for his stories and his website to see his photos, where images are available for purchase. I’ve invite Ray to respond to comments when he can, so feel free to ask him questions.

All photos are copyrighted by Ray Laskowitz @ Laskowitz Pictures

On Humility

Humility – a 14th century word from the Latin humilitas

Humility – a state of being humble

Humility – a modest opinion of one’s self-importance

Humility – demureness, down-to-earthness, humbleness, lowliness, meekness, modesty, submissiveness

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. (C. S. Lewis, novelist)

I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps. (Mahatma Gandhi, leader)

Humility and knowledge in poor clothes excel pride and ignorance in costly attire. (William Penn, statesman)

I don’t have a set of tenets, but I live an ethical life. I practice a humility that presupposes there’s a power greater than myself. And I always believe, don’t inflict harm where it’s not necessary. (Michael J. Fox, actor)

If I could I would always work in silence and obscurity, and let my efforts be known by their results. (Emily Brontë, author)

Personally, I rather look forward to a computer program winning the world chess championship. Humanity needs a lesson in humility. (Richard Dawkins, scientist)

I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men. (Lao Tzu, philosopher)

What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself. (Abraham Lincoln, U.S. President)

Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights. (John R. Wooden, college basketball coach)

Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved? (Carl Sagan, scientist)

Enjoy this video with more wisdom from Carl Sagan about humility.