What a Wonderful World
You Think to Yourself....

It has taken nearly a lifetime for me to figure out life at least the way I see it. Allow me to explain. About 15-years ago, my family was having a Campbell gathering with dinner and dancing. It was a celebrative occasion. However, dancing is not my forté. I know how to dance one slow dance and am able to do that dance moderately well. Nevertheless, no one will be standing around admiring me dancing while commenting upon my grace and style on the dance floor. 

Description: http://th06.deviantart.net/fs71/PRE/f/2014/079/9/b/9b8fdd8322a11aaaf236c916b8cc5582-d2jki9u.jpg

Louie Armstrong

However, Michelle, my youngest daughter, had the disc jockey play a slow dance for us. In fact, she picked a song that was not only slow, but I liked it. It was Louie Armstrong singing, What a Wonderful World.

Indeed, it was a wonderful world. All was going well and everyone at the family's dinner/dance was happy at least in the Campbell corner of the world. Nonetheless, over those past 15-years, problems have arisen. I did not get a job that I really wanted, I danced with death twice, I did not become independently wealthy, and the list goes on of small and insignificant problems to larger and major difficulties. Nevertheless, I remember dancing with Michelle and feeling very happy. Over that time span, I have experienced other times that were like that moment dancing with Michelle. They have occurred while teaching, traveling, writing, and enjoying Jack and Owen.

However, I still want to achieve additional things in life. I went to return to Myanmar (Burma) hopefully to interview Aung San Suu Kyi, who I consider the greatest champion of human right of anyone that I can name. In addition, my list of must interviews does not stop Daw Suu Kyi.

I want to interview Barack Obama for obvious reasons such as his success of getting Americans a universal healthcare program. Teddy Roosevelt attempted to do that a century ago. Both Roosevelt and Norway pushed for universal healthcare in the first decade of the 20th century, only Norway accomplished that task. America was the last of all the industrial countries in the world to acquire universal healthcare.

Additionally, I would love to interview Clarence Page. Here again, there are several reasons for wanting to do so. While looking on the Chicago Tribune's webpage for Page's email address, I noticed that he had video introductions to his columns. What an excellent idea. I have used that mixing of communicative skills for my webpage for the past a year and half. More importantly, I would interview Page, because he and I grew up in the in the civil rights movement many decades ago. I would love to discuss his view on racism and the civil rights movement then and now. 

Additionally, I want to write about and in some manner assist in the human rights movement in Myanmar, Ukraine, and here at home. America faces the social conservatives on a long list of critical issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, and income parity.

I want to enjoy my children who are adults, my college-age granddaughter, and especially Jack and Owen who will be five and three in a couple of weeks. I would love to understand especially about those two toddlers. I would like to know why those two and I have our relationship. It haunts me. I have learned over many decades that if I peruse a question that I will, in time, find the answer.

Several weeks ago, Jack and Owen made a Mother's Day gift for their mother. It was to be a surprise. They completed it, I put it atop their refrigerator, and I told them both not to say a word to their mother. However, when their mother returned home, Owen excitedly started talking about what they had made for her.

Jack heard Owen beginning to tell about their floral arrangement, which they made. He started to cry as if the end of the world had just arrived. In the handful of years of being with Jack, seldom have I seen such remorse. I put my arms around him to comfort him. His mother, realizing what had happened, tried to explain to him that she did not understand what Owen had said. After 10-minutes, the pain was resolved. When Mother's Day arrived, all was forgotten. This is a picture that I took the day after Mother's Day when I went to Indy.

Description: Jack, Owen, and their mom

After returning from Indy, I thought about the various problems that I faced in comparison to Jack being upset the week before. On the surface, the two sets of problems were different. Jack was worried about a small matter, and I was concerned upon major issues such has helping others, enjoying life, teaching, and working on social issues. For me, it was a comparison between silly little issues and my major problems...at first glance.

Then I recalled years ago in high school when students had to memorize hundreds of lines of poetry or prose. I absolutely hated that requirement. However, never has a day gone by that I have not thought about one or more lines that I had memorized. Even now after a half century, I can still remember large sections of some poems or prose. I recalled much of George Eliot's paragraph in Silas Marner.

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Silas Marner at work

In old days there were angels who came and took men by the hand and led them away from the city of destruction. We see no white-winged angels now. But yet men are led away from threatening destruction: a hand is put into theirs, which leads them forth gently towards a calm and bright land, so that they look no more backward; and the hand may be a little child's.

I realized that what Jack felt was for him just a painful as what I have felt. Pain is relative to where one is at any given time. Jack's pain is gone regarding the surprise for their mother. Moreover, many of my gut wrenching pains have receded into ever fading memories also. That experience about the surprise of the floral arrangement was a great learning experience for me.

Therefore, for all 5-years old to 72-year olds, we all need to fight on in spite of the difficulties in life. Whether we are making something for our mothers or grown up issues, we must not yield when we seemingly fail. Tomorrow will dawn a bright new day. In the meantime, we must act even if success seems dubious. We will often find the best of times in life during the worst of times.

Nonetheless, we are the ones that determine that reality. Louie Armstrong determined his reality regarding life when he sang, "And I think to myself, what a wonderful world."

What we see and believe becomes the truth for each of us. This is a critical lesson. If we believe that we live in a wonderful world, we will do so. Therefore, we need to see the wonder of our lives in the world in spite of setbacks.

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