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Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Birthday Gift

Friday, September 9, is my birthday. I had the privilege of leading my religious community in prayer today, the eight. Fifty years ago, on September 7, I first joined the Society of Jesus. Since I entered, Malcolm X, John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy have been cruelly killed.
In one of my classes I had the opportunity to meet Huey Newton. While I worked at Seattle University I attended a lecture given by Elridge Cleaver. I have visited the grave of Frederick Douglass. I have spoken to FBI men following an arson fire in Tacoma, Washington. I was targeted in Tacoma by a local hate group.
I have attended the funerals of my grandmother, uncle, stepfather, mother, and three of my closest women friends.
I have begun to consider my own dying. And this evening I had an opportunity,at the Mass, to talk about my wonderful grandmother. She wanted to be a nun, was sold to an African American minister who married her. She got away from him, married again, was abandoned by her husband. She and my mother took care of me and made sure I got to attend a very good high school and college.
I highlighted my grandmother's courage, prayerfulness, commitment to service, and love for God and all people.
She and my mother taught me how to love deeply and persistently. What a great gift they are to me.


Lorraine Hart said...

Happy Happy Birthday Joseph! And happy "Golden Anniversary" of walking your path. It's beautiful and touching that you credit and honour the women who were strong for you.

You've seen a lot, felt a lot, and have so much to lovingly share. Your birth was a gift to our neighbourhood, and the world.

It sounds like you came from strong convictions and strong love, setting your feet on the journey. The miles you have walked are your own, but how glad I am to walk these times with you.

Any blessings I may bestow, are yours dear brother. xoxo

JosephMcG said...

Lorraine, thank you for your affirming words. I look forward to spending more time with you and other members of our writing community.

(Have you heard that the downtown Tacoma Public Library is going to be open 1-5 pm on Sundays, starting Sunday. I would love to be part of a writer's group that met there on Sunday??!!)

Mizu Sugimura said...

I think that we all have felt enriched over the years (years!) we've all participated more or less in this running neighborhood blog. You're a beacon for us all.

Lorraine Hart said...

I wish I could Joseph...but downtown Tacoma is a long way for me to go.

I am hoping we revive our group writing here this Fall.