“If the events of the past eight days have taught us anything, it is to honor the moment. Cherish those around you. Try to find a balance between work and family. Contribute something to your community and, above all, share the love you feel for each other each and every day.”
Words to live by, surely, are these offered 10 years ago at the memorial service for plane-crash victims Lauren Bessette, Caroline Bessette Kennedy and John F. Kennedy Jr. They were delivered by the women’s uncle, Jack Massina. And this will be a short column so they can be “boxed” for you to clip, reproduce and post anywhere and everywhere: share with family, friends and also power people in government, media, and mental and physical health care, including the spiritual kind.
About the spiritual care—the last column’s assertion that “clergy need to change what they preach,” should be tempered to read, “We must share our thoughts on what needs to be preached.” Mine include sermons and lessons about how to fulfill the “love one another” creed central to most religions, how to find the balance (in all things), how to cherish our dearest—who are often not the physically nearest—and how to contribute to and be part of the community, which encompasses not only where we live, but civic, philanthropic and religious ones as well.
And, of course, the balance between work and family means including family members too often excluded from “the couple” or “parents and dependent children nuclear family” unit. John F. Kennedy Jr.’s paternal grandfather strongly believed that the clan’s greatest strength lay in its close extended family support system; would that the surviving Kennedys would make this a societal dictum or platform.
And here’s to setting Massina’s words to music; if ever a balance were needed, it’s equal time for family and friendship love songs. Ditto for all entertainment themes! As for beneficent lyrics, America the Beautiful’s aren’t for patriotic holidays only, especially the line, “God mend thine every flaw, confirm thy soul in self control, thy liberty in law.” Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church’s July 5th prelude, postlude and congregational hymn so thankfully featured this most movingly beautiful anthem, with so many lessons to teach and subjects for sermons, including drug and alcohol dependence.
Ah, but we’re losing another physically “nurturing” everyday place: the bank at 80th and York with its large picture windows and wonderfully high ceilings about which the manager said wistfully, “They don’t make them like that anymore.”
“First do no harm,” should be climate environmentalists’ oath, so only safe and healthy energy-efficient/pollution-reducing ways are employed, not depressing lights and claustrophobic ceilings (or small cars). But thanks, dear bank and sweet-natured tellers and managers, for making it a comfortable place to do business all these years. The “everyday place ambience,” like the “everyday people temperament,” matter—a lot!
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