To An Open Door

Discussing the state of affairs in the US has become part of my daily routine. Everyone has been profoundly affected by recent events, all of them involving guns aimed at children.

Ideas for resolution range from the simple, to being almost as frightening for a child as their scariest nightmare come true. It is without precedent that parents, and the public as a whole, have to deal with their children being targets of deranged, aggressive people, armed with weapons, determined to murder.

Yesterday, a friend and I were discussing what constituted protective actions at school, intended to help keep a child safe, but in reality had the potential to scar him, emotionally, for life. My friend asked about children in inner cities, and how they must feel on any given day. I found myself unable to compare their lives with those of children raised in, what I termed, Sweet Home, America. Lives filled with soccer, ballet lessons, school parties, neighborhood games of basketball, and sleep overs could not be compared to street gangs, and rampant violence that some children face, daily, just to survive. Finally, my friend concluded with such a simple statement: Times have changed.

I have witnessed times changing. But the one thing that has not is a child. Their job from birth is uniquely consistent; they laugh, they play, they discover, and they reach out for love and affection. Children are always in search of the why’s and how’s of the world around them. They learn what they live, and become the person they are told they are.

As I thought about challenges children face today, and pondered what steps could be taken to ameliorate violence and or death at the hands of damaged peers, I kept remembering a time where my family lived at the beach in a rural Washington State town.

Life was happy, filled with activities, and never once threatened by anyone with a weapon. Others came and went; our home was a safe place where people were welcomed and loved during their stay. It seemed so normal and right.

Years ago, I wrote a poem about our home and life, there. Today, as we contemplate how to repair a society run amok, I wonder if more homes with open doors, filled with the basics of loving nurture, approval, discipline, and healthful activities wouldn’t help. I believe an absence of these has broken the hearts and souls of too many, and we are seeing the sorrowful results.

Just to show how easy it is, this is the story of one home that was available to anyone who found their way to an open door.

hearthstone treasure; my rustic, worn, salt-tinged home, long buffeted from without, surely fortressed from within; a hard fought, and well worn path leads to an open door. come soujourner, welcome entry as love bids rest awhile, linger; peace and quiet are here, respite, brief or more. strong rough hewn walls bathed in flickering light; moments of truth established to nurture, remind and uplift a tattered soul, weary but not spent beyond the raging tempest’s roar. for as long as hope remains, so too will shelter; safe comfort and wisdom’s patient dwelling, free from fear or harm; so, come sojourner to hearthstone’s treasure, up a well worn path to an open door.

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