Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

Love in New York

Recently, the New York Times ran an article about some New Yorkers taking pity on immigrants from Venezuela who were duped and dumped on their doorstep. People who work hard for a living have been donating food and clothing and even taking immigrants into their homes. New Yorkers reputed to be cold. Not celebrities or billionaires, regular New Yorkers sharing what they have with people who need help. It’s as though those New Yorkers remember the hundreds of stranded airline passengers who were welcomed—free of charge—into tiny Gander, Newfoundland, Canada, during the tragedy of 9-11 when air travel was grounded. Or maybe these New Yorkers didn’t need any push to act beyond that of their own compassion. “What if it were me?”

Many Americans express their beautiful hearts without fanfare, whether or not they believe in “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” They look at people in trouble and help instead of worrying what they might have to give up to care. Just reading about them makes the world feel better. We haven’t all turned into monsters, after all.

Why aren’t more of us willing to share, to be there to help? Many of us have become addicted to fear expressed as anger. We have so much to fear—deadly disease, grief, disability, financial problems, social problems, kids we don’t understand and can’t educate properly, changes in society, changes in rules, employment problems, change itself. There’s always something new for us to dread. Even our most lucrative entertainment is based on winners and losers, fear, and conflict. And now that our emotional resilience is down, we readily proceed to be afraid and then angry. We want someone or something to blame. It makes us feel more powerful and less responsible. Forget the rules! Every man (and I do mean “man”) for himself! The people who become angry enough to be hateful and amoral are scary—perhaps appropriately scary—to the rest of us.

For those who’ve been participating in successful close relationships over time, what have you learned? After 45 years of successful marriage, I’ve learned that cooperating and working toward common goals can produce better results and far more happiness than arguments, jealousy, or manipulation. Love, good humor, mutual support, and trust feel good and help keep you healthy. Mistakes and troubles happen, but you can work through them if you talk to one another with honesty, tolerance, and optimism. Being mature and adaptable is essential.

Living together in a country is like a huge family relationship. The same principles are at work. And when circumstances dump a lot of extra people or trouble into our relationship, what can we do to preserve our humanity?

If my country becomes committed to a form of government that destroys safety and wellbeing for me and my family (or if a disaster does the same), I’ll seek refuge somewhere—especially if our lives are at risk. I’ll hope to find a place to go where we’ll be welcomed by people who can understand we don’t mean to be a problem. We’re escaping threat. We want to fit in, to contribute, to demonstrate our gratitude for shelter. We’ll hope to find people as generous as those particular people in New York have been. Thank you to the kind New Yorkers (and others like them) for showing us how love is done.

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