The lovely Karen and I had dinner at The Cultured Pearl, in Rehoboth Beach, this evening. Today is our 17th anniversary and we wanted a relatively fancy/romantic place for our anniversary date.
Seventeen years. Many marriages don’t last as long as ours, and yet we also know several couples who are well into five, six and even seven decades together. It gives us a target.
I’ve probably said here before that each of our anniversaries is an example of how patient Karen is; only partially in jest. We love each other and we have crafted a pleasant life together with two beautiful, bright daughters, two cats, a comfortable home and a sense of purpose.
I am a happy man. I am a lucky man.
We also spent part of our evening at the Bandstand, on the Boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach. The collected clergy of Lewes and Rehoboth had joined with several businesses and others to put on a “Music and Interfaith Candlelight Service” to gather donations for Hurricane Katrina relief.
It was a touching service, with short homilies from the ministers, priests, deacons and a rabbi. Jack Abel, of Epworth United Methodist Church, spoke last. I think he was a prime organizer of the event. I’m not much of a church-goer, but I respect leadership and Jack is a leader both spiritually and intellectually.
I wish I had a transcription of Jack’s message tonight. He spoke about what has come to be called “the blame game.” He noted how easy it is for us, as humans, to criticize others, but added that the noblest form of criticism is self-criticism. He pointed out that, as we look at the faults of others that led to the disaster on the Gulf Coast, we should also look to ourselves and examine where we have failed.
He was able to highlight the failures of government at all levels, of preparation, of personal responsibility, of the media, and of the informal ties of civil society. But he reminded us that we ourselves also play important roles in all of these areas. We are the government; we elect it and support it and it should answer to us. We have to be ready to help ourselves and others, we have to provide a voice to speak when the media fails, and we have to keep society together by taking responsibility for it every day.
Most importantly, though, we have to always remind ourselves and others that all people are our brothers and our sisters; whether they are gay or straight, white or black, rich or poor, educated or not.
We fail as people, as communities, and as a nation when we allow ourselves to objectify any group of people, when we stereotype people, or when we view a group as a mass of “others.” That, he preached, is the true sin.
I enjoy listening to Jack Abel preach.