Unexpected Lessons In The Human Spirit


I was about to get an unexpected lesson in “Chronic Conditions” of another sort: The Human Spirit.

The other evening my husband and I cozied up in our “movie” chairs, blankets thrown across our laps.  My dog was next to me, eyeing the popcorn bowl.   If a single fluffy kernel fell from my hands, it disappeared before my fingers could reach for it.  I’d look at his shaggy face, suspiciously then.  He knew he was wrong, he’d hide in the den.

The big TV was in front of us.  We were excited to see a picture nominated by the Hollywood Academy.  Every year it is the same.   We try our best to see them all.   As soon as we hear the names on the news or after they’ve been announced, we run for our tickets as soon as I can make the call.

We’re late this year in getting to many.  Some have already left the theater.  Instead we rented one from outside McDonald’s at a booth called “Redbox.”  That’s why we were in the chairs that swallowed us up, watching the television screen in front of us.  It was kind of fun you know.  So cold outside, it was nice to stay indoors away from the wind, untouched by the blowing snow.

Like the “real” movies the lights were shut off to watch, “The Butler.”  I won’t give all the story away in case you haven’t seen it.  Long before it was nominated I had wanted to watch it.  What a life this butler lived for all the years he served.  The struggles he had, the trials he conquered, the losses he endured and the lessons he learned.

Often my eyes filled with tears at the way we treated our “brothers and sisters.”  It came down to one thing you know.  Well, “two” things in my opinion:  ignorance and color.   I remember living in Michigan when the race riots broke out in Detroit during the time the butler worked in The White House.  Images on my parents 12 inch TV screen scared me.  Everything was wrong with the big world.  Even as a little girl, I knew.

“The Butler” had to quietly fight unimaginable “wars” and keep them silent his whole life through.  What an extraordinary man to live a life like that.  To fight a human spirit that was so different then.  War was right, peace was wrong.  It was a “Chronic Condition” like no other.  No medicine to be taken, no cure to be found.  

The human spirit has improved much since then.  I pray and believe our world is in a better place for my children and your children and their children, too.  Given the chance, most people are kind, generous, loving and trustworthy.   Yes, we have come a long way since the first day, “The Butler” served.

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