Blogtalk link

Listen to Internet radio with It Matters Radio on Blog Talk Radio

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Today I think of children, and find this comment by Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister: from The Monastic Way  -- a daily word for each month.  The reference to this quote is the portrait “Head of a Girl” by Paula Modersohn-Becker. This is her word for Wednesday, February 16, 2011:

“All over the country, all over the world, children are being bought and sold, beaten and killed, abandoned and – worse, perhaps – simply ignored by the very people they depend on for food and care and love and security.  We love to think of children as “innocent.”  But, I thought, as I looked at Modersohn-Becker’s “Head of a Girl,” are children really innocent – meaning unknowing of evil – or are they simply the silent bearers of the sins adults commit against them?  And at what cost – to us as a society – as well as to them?”

In researching for my book Rachel's Children: Surviving the Second World War  (on Amazon)  I now find in Sister Joan's comment a truth that is proven by what happens to children during a time of war.  Not  only during wartime, however, but under all kinds of circumstances, as listed in her comment for today.  I have to wonder what it is we could be thinking of, when we take our future and cripple it emotionally and physically by the actions we are guilty of committing against children.  Even though most of us would never consider behaving in such ways towards children, we are complicit indirectly when we simply sigh and shake our corporate head over such sins.  We accommodate the brutal behavior if we fail to speak out, to draw attention to, and advocate for a change in our common humanity. 

None of us came into this world as full-blown adults.   Along the way we too were wounded in some way, seen or unseen.  Do we avoid advocacy for the children of this world and this time because it would remind us of our own vulnerability in our growing years?  Or do we make judgments that reflect the sense that because we have come through that storm others can as well?  How do we heal our own wounds, or do they simply exist in the shadows of our psyches unattended?

The portrait referred to is a haunting reminder of our own lost innocence, and serves as a reflection of who we are today.  Look it up and define what happens to you as you study this portrait of a young girl who represents more than one child.  What is the secret behind her eyes?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Where's My Birth Certificate?

There are some political figures who are championing tighter standards for a presidential candidate, which include the presentation of the original birth certificate in the list of qualifications for President.  Well, that really stunned me.  I'm not planning to run for President in 2012, but who knows what opportunities might arise further down the candidate road?  And here I am, without my original birth certificate!

In case you are wondering what happened to it, here is the story:  when I applied for my first passport as I prepared to join my new husband in Germany, my mother handed me the original form.  I was born in an Army hospital near Denver, Colorado, and the obstetrician's signature is on the paper -- a friend and colleague of my father the Army pathologist.  It was a treasured piece of family history.  Thinking the Passport Office would later return the form to me along with my new passport, my mother had me include it with the other information I submitted.  Alas . . . that's the last I saw of that certificate!  I wrote the Office once asking about it but was told there was no way to research their files for it -- too involved and not enough staff available for such.  I did send for a copy from Adams County, CO but it was not a replica of the original, simply a typed version with the same information.

This concerns me a great deal.  What if this requirement of displaying an original birth certificate goes into effect legally?  That will definitely prevent me from running in any future presidential election.  And although my mother held no political ambitions, had such a requirement been in effect during her day, she would have been unable to produce any kind of birth certificate.  The courthouse in Nelson County, VA where her records were filed burned down, and all the records were lost.  She had nothing but her name in a family bible to prove her existence.

I suppose it would be possible in this age to prove that neither my mother nor I ever existed.  Without that original birth certificate we have no way of proving that we were actually born, not to mention born again.  Whoever reads this blog may be forced to decide if I am real, or simply the reader's imagination.  You will have to come to your own conclusions about that.