The Turtle and the Star

With the Solstice a few days away, Christmas nearly here, 8″ of snow outside, and howling winds breaking off trees (dashing my desire to go anywhere, until commitments demand it!), I find there is little time, energy, or focus for card sending and shopping….but I have this simple story I wrote last month.  Mike (my totally non-objective ‘tester”!) liked it, so I make it my gift to you…friends, family, readers, all of whom I am grateful for and to whom I wish a holiday season of love and peace. A short-short story, to be shared with a child, or read to the child within!

IMG_0443_2The Turtle and The Star

 “Come out, come out, see my brilliance!”

 “Go away, I am trying to sleep.”

Thus went the conversation between Little Star and Turtle.  Every night it was the same, the star wanting to show off how bright it was, the turtle pulling into his shell to shut out the starlight.

Little Star would plead and cajole.

“Pleeease…your green shell will shine like a knight’s armor in my light.”

Turtle would resist.  “It is night time, it is dark, it is time for sleep. Go away. I have no use for you.”

This last remark deeply hurt Little Star, already feeling a bit puny in a vast universe full of a gazillion stars, most far brighter than Little Star could ever hope to be.

Then one night there was a flood of light, so dazzling, it turned night into day.  The sleepy Turtle, seeing light seep into his shell, was ready to voice his usual grumpy complaint to Little Star when he noticed an immense star, far above Little Star, radiating down to Earth golden rainbows and sparkling light, making his green shell not only shine like armor, but reflect back the golden light.

Turtle’s friend Little Star was just staring, for once speechless, feeling both in awe and terribly inadequate.  This gigantic star with the golden light was not ominous, it was a warm, loving, grandmotherly star casting a steady glow throughout the heavens and over the earth.

Turtle and Little Star sat silently in the golden light throughout the night, sharing the love of this majestic star.  By morning Little Star and the Grandmother star both had faded from sight.  The following night Turtle looked forward to the golden light and return of the Grandmother star, but only Little Star showed up, a sad Little Star.

 “I will never be able to radiant such warmth, such love, such a golden light.  That was soooo awesome, but made me feel even more puny.”

Turtle felt sorry for his little friend.  He knew there was a special place for the friendly glow of Little Star, and he knew where that place was to be found.

IMG_0445After a trip to the forest, Turtle returned with a beautiful evergreen tree. The tree gave him permission to cut it down, for it had a ring of babies around it, seedlings from years of fallen cones.  The young trees needed more light than was filtering through the branches of the giant tree.  Turtle explained his plan to the tree who thought it a grand plan.

Once Turtle had the tree secure in its new home, birds decorated it with berries, flowers and IMG_0451bits of shiny bric-a-brac. Then Turtle asked his friend Bluebird to fly high as she could and invite Little Star to come down to a party.

Bluebird guided Little Star to the top of the tree, and from there its starlight shown down on all the forest animals, shining with warmth and love.

May the blessings of the season light up your life in the New Year.

Our Precious Children

IMG_1464_2The tragic sadness of today leaves most of us speechless, especially because it involves so many young children, and because it comes just days after a shooting closer to home in a mall in Portland. A mall, a school, a few months ago, a temple. All places everyday people go everyday, and where they usually feel safe.  Young friends who are parents have posted their compassion, shock, and anger on face book. I am sad that as parents they now have to think, “could this happen to my child, at our school?”  We all think of children, teachers, people we love whose lives, ages, work place are not unlike that of the victims.  With compassion we think of the tragedy that a son, someone’s child, was so disturbed that he killed his parents, then turned the gun on others and himself.

The arguments and blaming have begun about gun control, mental health care, both complex, multifaceted issues, but to me the larger issue is how we value children as a culture, a society.  From TV programs and music that teach and desensitize young people to violence, to the growing incidents of domestic violence, as a culture we do not cherish children in a manner that makes them so precious no one would think of harming them. Today’s tragedy is a situation where a broken adult-child committed a heinous act that has left many children dead and traumatized.

I know most people do feel children are precious and special, but we must be proactive to change those aspect of our society that counter our personal values.

I’ve had the joy of watching friends and family raise children who were indeed cherished, but a life time in social work, including working with those with psychiatric problems, has given me more than enough exposure to the damage done when a child is not loved, respected, and treated as the Divine gift he or she is.

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The very special and precious son of friends,
now twice as big!

The greatest way to honor those who have been killed, and those whose lives have been changed forever, is not to let the incident, nor the person who did the killing, invoke fear and paranoia, but rather to let the incident invoke a heightened awareness that every child we see, whether we know them or not, deserves our smiles, our love, our kindness, our concern.  If you view every child you encounter with a deep sense of personal responsibility for them, you contribute to them feeling precious, and perhaps that child will grow to be a person who will change how we value children.

There are cultures we consider ‘primitive’, or ‘underdeveloped’ whose attitudes toward children make our cultural values toward children seem barbaric.

Endless prayers to those who have suffered today.