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05 May 2013


Peggy Fitzpatrick

I so agree. Again, you found words for an experience that was as visceral as any we have ever had. The beauty was real, vivid, and at times even so tender and gentle. We met many people who were as good and as kind and warmhearted as one will ever find. But the reality of daily life was so raw, with so little to buffer or protect from generations of latent hopelessness and rage and desperation that could spill over or lash out or just expire right there on the sidewalk while people walk on around, continuing on their own paths of flickering hopes and survival. It was so hard to process and live strong even as a mom with an element of objectivity by virtue of age. I think it was a life-altering experience for all of us; one I am grateful for in so many ways, but one also that causes gratitude to well up for the ways we have been privileged to live life--for all its ups and downs, so comparatively safely, peacefully and joyfully. Thanks for another writing from the heart.

Peggy Fitzpatrick

One more memory jogged by the video: I recall asking a young Russian friend how the Russians respond to all the beggars encountered at the market or subway entrances (with my jaded mind thinking thoughts of being targeted as a foreigner, being taken advantage of by schemers, etc)--and being struck with the simple purity of her answer: "Oh, if anyone has anything to give, we give every time we can." I was deeply, memorably impacted by the genuine compassion and empathy alive in the hearts of those like my friend who could have become immune to the harshness of life for others, but understood the genuine and dire need. We truly do live in a bubble of great privilege. I don't think we should be ashamed of it, but instead pray and work toward extending that blessing to others in whatever ways we can--as you are so beautifully doing.

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