We need 4 hugs a day for survival.
We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance.
We need 12 hugs a day for growth.
~ Virginia Satir ~
“I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set him free.”
~ Michelangelo ~
I cry out to the Sculptor but he does not hear me from within the stone.
This tomb is cold and dark and heavy.
My words echo endlessly, repeating, repeating, growing quieter with each pass.
My feet cannot move, my hands are paralyzed, my lungs crushed against the weight.
My eyes are permanently open, yet see nothing but darkness.
I wait. Within the stone. Alone.
I was born once, and lived.
I was born once, and loved.
I was born once, and lost.
Now I wait to be found.
Now I wait to be birthed.
Now I wait to be heard.
Now I wait to be free.
He chips away steadily, with purpose,
until my feet are created upon a well-muscled pair of legs.
With each chip, something drops from me.
Grief litters the base mixing with the liquid of old tears.
Loss piles up as my legs break free.
Identity. Health. Title. Marriage. Jobs. Pets. Dreams.
The Sculptor gently blows away the dust of the ages,
and the motes sparkle in the sunlight as they lift from the heavy stone.
I wriggle my toes, happy for the sturdy foundation upon which I stand.
My feet remember sand squishing between my toes as I ran along a beach,
blades of grass tickling my soles while running through a field.
They itch at the thought of such freedom.
My arms and hands are next.
The muscles and tendons within my fingers protest as I stretch them for the first time.
No longer imprisoned in the stone, they let go of what they have grasped for far too long.
Blame, intolerance, despair, hopelessness break free and drift into nothingness
as my hands lift in supplication and thanks for another chance, another life.
Regrets disappear as The Sculptor blows away more dust,
His fingers running over the curves in a knowing caress.
He carves both ears, and as the waxy stone is removed,
a symphony of Divine beauty courses through the tunnels as my fingers shake in awe.
The notes echo through to my toes.
My eyes – yes, please – my eyes.
He chips away what seems like forever, then chips away some more.
What is wrong? Why can’t I see? There is only darkness where there should be light.
The Sculptor replaces his chisel with a sharper one,
and delicately crafts the blood vessels and membranes of sight.
Suddenly, like a dawn of ages past,
the light rises in colors more brilliant than I remember,
dazzling in its rainbow display.
Tears drip onto my frozen cheeks as I remember
the breathtaking beauty of things forgotten.
Focused, the work continues as He chisels and shapes and carves,
every detail from the flowing hair to the perfect, gleaming teeth a work of art.
Finished. At last, but for one last thing.
He walks to the Tabernacle and carefully opens its door, reaching in for His Precious Gift.
A heart, shimmering, pulsating, rests in His hands.
He walks toward me, and with eyes filled with love
and a voice barely more than a whisper,
gently pushes it into my chest.
“I give you My heart.”
A flood of compassion swirls through my body,
and I take a deep breath with my new lungs.
I breathe out warmth and love and contentment.
How can I feel weightless when carved from marble?
How can eyes see when chiseled from stone?
But I do. And I can.
All that weighed me down is no more.
I am no longer a prisoner of my own making;
I am blessedly, wonderfully free.
Free to take part in a further journey.
But this time, I will love more and take less.
This time, I will see with the Eyes of His Heart.
This time, I choose to remain free.
Behold the hands how they promise, conjure, appeal, menace, pray, supplicate,
refuse, beckon, interrogate, admire, confess, cringe, instruct, command,
mock and what not besides, with a variation and multiplication of
variation which makes the tongue envious.
~ Michel de Montaigne ~
Photo Of Young Boy Hugging Officer At Ferguson Rally Goes Viral And Becomes ‘Icon Of Hope’
The Huffington Post by Lilly Workneh
As photos around the web show images of nationwide protests in reaction to the events in Ferguson, Missouri, one particular image has received widespread attention.
Earlier this week, freelance photographer Johnny Nguyen captured a photo of 12-year-old Devonte Hart during a Ferguson-related rally in Portland, Oregon.
Hart, an African-American boy, was holding a sign that read “Free Hugs,” and the image Nguyen took shows Hart with tears streaming down his face while in a heartfelt hug with a white police officer.
“It was an interesting juxtaposition that had to be captured. It fired me up,” Nguyen told The Huffington Post on Sunday. “I started shooting and before I knew it, they were hugging it out. I knew I had something special, something powerful.”
Nguyen said the photo has since been shared more than 400,000 times on Facebook and reposted on more than 68,000 Tumblr accounts.
According to The Oregonian, which was the first outlet to publish the photo, the officer pictured in the image is Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum, who reportedly saw Hart holding his sign and called him over to engage in a quick conversation about the protest, school and life.
Barnum then asked Hart for a hug — and it was during this moment that Nguyen captured the touching photo that he shared with the world.
“I’ve been told this photo has become an icon of hope in regards to race in America,” Nguyen said.
“Prior to that day, I would scroll through the Internet and see the photos of images out of Ferguson, which all showed some violence and anger — some even to the point of hatred and destruction. This was the first photo I saw that showed something positive. It showed humanity.”
Following the protest, Hart’s parents — Sarah and Jen Hart — wrote a Facebook post that detailed more about their son and the events that led to the moment captured in the photo.
“My son has a heart of a gold, compassion beyond anything I’ve ever experienced, yet struggles with living fearlessly when it comes to the police and people that don’t understand the complexity of racism that is prevalent in our society,” the post read. “It was one of the most emotionally charged experiences I’ve had as a mother.”
As the photo continues to spread across the web, Nguyen said he hopes it will provide some people with a sense of peace along with a message of love and compassion.
“In order to move on and progress toward real change, we need every reason for hope that can be garnered,” he said.
“We all have hurt in our heart but we have to turn that hurt into hope, hope for humanity. We need to find a way to come together and find a common ground and find peace.”
In doing so, Nguyen reflects on one particular quote from civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. that he believes really drives the message home.
“MLK once said: ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’” Nguyen recited. “I think that’s what my photo has done.”
This I Promise You…
For those who are alone, I will sit with you.
For those who have no voice, I will speak for you.
For those who feel invisible, I will see you.
For those who are afraid, I will protect you.
For those who know hunger, I will feed you.
For those who need help, I will offer aid.
For those who suffer emotionally, I will help ease it.
For those who go unheard, I will listen.
For those who mourn, I will comfort you.
For those who know sickness, I will nurture you.
For those who know hate, I will love you.
For those who are dying, I will help you to live.
For those who crave human touch, I will reach out to you.
For those who are blind, I will see for you.
For those in pain, I will bring relief.
For those who cannot walk, I will journey for you.
For those who are lost, I will find you.
For those in despair, I will hold hope for you.
For those who weep, I will dry your tears.
For those with no place called home, I will shelter you.
For those who are wounded, I will bring healing.
For those who wait in darkness, I will be your Light.
This I Promise You… ~ Theresa
Nine years after the trauma of Hurricane Katrina rocked his world, a sweet-natured rescue dog named Boots has found a successful new life as a volunteer nanny for nervous kittens at an animal shelter run by the Arizona Humane Society.
Boots, now 12, found his own second home long ago, when he was adopted by a volunteer at the Arizona Humane Society in Phoenix. He was one of hundreds of pets who became separated from his family in the aftermath of the devastating New Orleans flood.
His owner discovered that the Zen-like calm of this golden retriever/chow mix had a happy effect even on the cats in her home. So now, Boots spends Wednesday mornings at the shelter, greeting incoming kittens and giving them a welcome snuggle.
The project is designed to increase the adoptability of the kittens by giving them “one day of positive playtime and socialization” with the accommodating Boots, according to a post on the shelter’s blog.
The theory is that kittens introduced to Boots when they’re between the ages of two and seven weeks will be more tolerant of dogs in general. That makes them eligible for adoption into a wider range of homes, and less likely to be returned as problems develop between pets.
“Studies have shown that cats have a small window of time in kittenhood during which exposure to new things will directly impact their acclimation to changes as they get older,” the shelter staff explains.
“It is such a win-win for everyone involved,” a shelter spokeswoman told USA Today in a video interview. “Boots absolutely loves it. The kittens–most of them–love it.”
Flush with the success of Boots the nanny dog, the shelter now hopes to expand its Kitten Nursery program to include exposing them to other things that make kittens crazy, like a ride in a car and the sound of a vacuum cleaner.
Carol Kopp, Aol Jobs