21 June 2009
3 Kinds of Men to Honor
Peace sign Photo by Steve Rhodes @ flickr
Today is Father’s Day on the calendar and I will be thinking of them throughout this week, we choose this day to honor the good examples of quality men who have influenced our lives beneficially. Most people reflect upon a father, a brother, an uncle, a grandfather, a husband, a good and trusted friend, even a mentor.
Neda killed by the police - Photo by Steve Rhodes @ flickr
Considering the political unrest in Iran going on I reflected upon the good men in Iran. These are men who are standing up against injustice and working toward a quality and trustworthy government, willing to give their lives in that pursuit. As a woman, and knowing the negatives in their harsh culture, what has impressed me the most about the male protestors was their willingness to march along side the women (termed the Lipstick Revolution). They also are willing to advance women’s rights.
Even more so, in a public demonstration, they have chosen to go to the defense of women that are strangers to them and not family related. In other words, they choose to be compassionate for the literally downtrodden, for the current harsh regime has ordered their police to target the women first and beat them savagely, kill them as well.
There have been video and cell phone photos released of men running to aid the women as they died. Now that’s a class act and certainly touches my heart for their public courage risks their own lives and that of their families. Yet, they chose to be heroes because someone was vulnerable and in need.
Soldier with peace symbol in hand Photo by Jayel Aheram @ flickr
Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan
I think of our American troops in this protracted war the public wants us to end and how this too long of a stressor has taken a huge toll. Suicides are way up the past year from returning troops and those still in the field. PTSD is rampant and difficult to treat. These men (and women) are someone’s parent, spouse, brother (or sister), uncle (or aunt), best friend and mentor.
They also deserve our thoughts and prayers to sustain them during their tough life test. Spiritual testing is often longer than we think we can endure yet eventually we come out on the other side. These troops have the courage to go on when they think they cannot move another step and yet they move forward anyway. Human beings really are not hard-wired for long-term stressful situations like war.
Contemplation Photo by alicepopkorn @ flickr
Today I also reflect upon a wonderful European friend I met while on my travels a decade ago. He is a Carmelite monk by the name of Brother Peter in Austria. What is unique about him is that he works tirelessly with the folks who fall between the cracks of the social network be they refugees (Islamic or Christian) or locals who can’t pay the rent because the husband has a gambling problem. Most of all he spends intensive hours battling the severe rampant depression of suicidal people in his area. He works without notice for what will not bring him status or riches in the world.
Brother Peter is joined with the local Jewish community to help reestablish the Jewish population in Austria that was decimated during WWII and works toward improving Christian and Jewish relations. He is a humble man, a kind man, a sincere man. Most of all he is a loving man like the true Jesus he follows.
I’ve always had a soft spot for monks. They are the global intercessors for Peace. They pray FOR people of all races, religions and misunderstanding - not AGAINST them. As an intercessor I can relate to my Carmelite monk friends and well understand the importance of their life long mission.
Brother Peter had a birthday in April but somehow Father’s Day seemed more appropriate a day to honor his service to others. The man would make a great Pope as he definitely has a heart for the people. I count him a treasured friend!
Father and infant son asleep Photo by *clairity* @ flickr
Recently, I happened upon a new blog by a father of ten children. What a treat! The Mommy blogs are popular and prolific, many a delight to read. This blog is a unique perspective from the dad, one with a huge brood of children. Take a look at his amusing and clever blog post that was published in a local newspaper: Father of 10 Turns Bathtime into a Career.
While I could go on with many other wonderful examples like my cool paternal grandfather whose spiritual legacy I carry with delight, a Taoist spiritual master in Taiwan where in his culture they never trained women, especially teenage Americans - he proclaimed me his student of a lifetime, quite an honor - and the tough guy military mentors I had growing up – the kind that don’t like women but took a shine to me, adored my hutzpah and chose to train me in the unorthodox, hence, the name “Warriors’ Pearl,” I’ll save those stories for another time. Know that you are all in my heart as treasures…