I read this article in the September 24th Boston Herald. There is so much going on that you don't get time to process everything. But if I could process and I did have time to write I would have written this. It tells a lot about the story we are all going through.

-- Ernie

Fearing the bad when life is good

By Beverly Beckham | September 24, 2006

You try to teach them the eternals -- that life is good, and people are kind, and nothing is so bad that you can't get through it. And most days you believe this.

But then you replay history, or you watch the news, or you pick up a paper and see the face of yet another person maimed, killed, robbed, blown up, beaten, kidnapped, raped, sick and dying, and you think you're selling your kids a pack of lies.

Because life isn't always good, and people aren't always kind, and sometimes things happen that are very, very bad.

My friend Sal was a big, strong man who used to sit his two children on his lap and put his arms around them and sing, ``Nothing's gonna harm you, not while I'm around." And they believed him. But then his wife died. And then he got ALS and he couldn't hold his kids anymore, never mind protect them.

We live in two worlds -- the one where everything is as it always was, safe and solid and predictable. You wake up. You put one foot in front of the other. You go to work. You come home. And life is good.

And then there's the other world where a cough is cancer, or a scaffolding falls, or a tunnel collapses; where bullets paralyze, and planes fly into buildings and bombs explode; where drunks drive and light ning kills and levees break and lunatics kidnap and rape children.

I sing to my grandchildren, to Adam who is 2 and Lucy who is 3, silly songs: ``The itsy, bitsy spider went up the water spout." And ``Old MacDonald Had a Farm" and ``Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."

And we watch silly shows -- ``Sesame Street" and ``Cinderella" and ``Bob the Builder."

And we read silly books -- ``Click, Clack, Moo" and ``What Do You Say to a Bee?"

``Look at the leaves," I say as we walk. ``See how they're changing color?" I stop the carriage, where they sit side by side, and they look up at a tree that was green all summer but that is orange and red now. ``Soon the tree will be bare," I tell them. ``All the leaves will be on the ground." And maybe they understand and maybe they don't. But they listen.

We play ``I See." ``I see a truck!" ``I see a flag." ``I see a school bus." ``I see a red car!"

We stop and talk to everyone we know and to people we don't know. And then we sit on the wall in front of the high school and eat cookies.

Louis Armstrong should be singing ``It's a Wonderful World" -- life is that perfect.

And then I look up and away from them, into the past and into the future. And I am afraid. For they have never seen the news. They have never been hurt or neglected by anyone, never mind by someone they love. They don't know that bad things happen. And I wonder, when will they learn? When they're 4? When they're 5? And how will they learn to be wary, to distrust and to be on guard?

From my office window, I see bushes and trees, cars and trucks, a busy street, a sliver of sky, and Al and Katherine's house. Their door is open. My door is open. It's early morning. It's every morning.

This is the reality, and this is the delusion. It isn't every morning. Life lulls us with its patterns and its symmetry and its predictable dawns and dusks. And we lull each other, too, with lullabies and fairy tales and happily ever afters.

But the reality is that we live in a world that is as dangerous as it is beautiful, where men build bunkers and kidnap children, where bullets fly, where even young hearts fail, where a mosquito can kill a 200-pound man.

My grandchildren wrap their arms around each other like two teenagers in love. They're always hugging and kissing. It's all they know.

People stuck in traffic see them in their carriage, kissing and smiling, and they smile, too.

It's what we're born to do. Love. Smile. Laugh. Trust. It's what we do before we learn not to. Before we learn fear.

And it's what we're called to do despite our fear. Lean on each other. Embrace. Laugh. Hold hands and hold on because life is good and people are kind.

Most people. Most of the time.


-- You people have proven this true and this is what gets us through this. We truly thank you for your prayers and support. 

-- Ernie