Gil at age 18 high school graduation 1942

My father was born in 1921, a Jew from Brooklyn, New York. He was one of 6 brothers and very much grew up in his ethnic heritage of Russian and Romanian immigrants who had come in 1902. It was a tough life and family got you through it. 

During WW2, a few months after graduation from high school he found himself to be the only Jew and Yankee on a ship's crew of 257. He fought for his life most every day in real ways on that ship. Only because he was trained as a boxer, scrappy and smart did he survive his own countrymen and what he felt the Navy was on that ship. 

He found most of the others to be young men from the South. In his memories they were all bigots/racists except for a few who helped him stay alive. They all had their biases. Dad had his. He was a radarman isolated in a small room listening all the time to his equipment in front of him and also over his shoulder outside of that room. He literally didn't sleep much. 
He always loved this country and what it stood for but understood that principles are only thoughts, ideals, constructs and not actions. He clearly felt how men define themselves. Didn't endear him to the Navy, officers, or men from the South for the rest of his life. 

He was never free of the spiritual, emotional and mental wounds those three years on the ship fostered. He passed away at age 92 and for the rest of his life he was always polite, gracious and if you were from the South or a Navy man you had to prove yourself. Commanding respect for the man was not guaranteed because of any title. 
It always filled me with sadness to think that what was happening overseas at that time he was dealing with some of the same dynamics on ship, bigotry and racism. Much which are still present in this country.

And my sadness for all the young men who participated on all the sides of engagement who were like my dad, no matter their biases and their positions, to be forever changed by their service.  

The ideal of the melting pot assimilation the USA treasures is often only that, an ideal. The thought that it didn't matter what you believed you would be accepted was manna from heaven for so many. Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.  

Life is a mishmash of dynamics, time, space, experiences melding into this incredible expression of being. We are fortunate to enjoy life. No matter our sides of engagement and position we are all Consciousness in action. 

Yet we are creatures of habit, of judgment, whatever that might encompass for each of us. The biases formed in our original homelands have been brought here. 

When the helicopter or boat come to help you out of the rising water and they literally reach out their hand to pull you aboard, bias is not too important. We are all neighbors on this planet. We can all enjoy and participate in the community that Houston and disasters of human and nature foster for all of us. Perhaps they are how we relax the personal biases for the moment and just demonstrate care.  
 
Make the time to look into your biases and note if they are truly your guiding principles or just stuff you don't question that you picked up along the way to fit in. Misfortune opens us up to compassion. It has a way of cutting through our biases and reducing us to what is important.

Total strangers may provide. Someone may look different, dress different, believe different and may be lending you a hand. 

Grab on and treasure them as they must treasure you. 


Janet Barrett
Life in the Beyond/ Journeys Into Enlightenment
janetb@janetandbeyond.com 
www.janetandbeyond.com


 




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