Ed H. Moore: In life's joy and adversity, we build our own village

This column is a bit different than the normal output from me. It is not politically based or policy based. It is not about ethics and standards or any of the number of things I feel compelled to address in this most excellent venue for the exchange of information. This week I write about the most basic of topics – human emotion. Why do we care so much for those we know and love and why do the lives of others have such an effect upon our world view? A simple topic, but one deep with content, character and confusion.

For some reason May and June have had an inordinate number of events that have touched my heart this year. But when looking back upon my life it seems those two months have always been filled with memories, both cherished and of the nature one would prefer to discard. This year they have seemed to happen across the spectrum of emotions, and I cannot help but feel both nostalgic and, to a degree, anxious, about the emails, calls, and Facebook postings of friends and family members of late.

We hear all the time about the ‘unfairness of life,’ the vagaries of misfortune and the bounties of grace and gratitude that fall upon each of us as we journey through our own lives. Often I forget my own cares and desires as I focus upon the lives of loved ones and even those I might only know tangentially. Some of us are inwardly focused, but increasingly I find myself focused outward, unable to cast a blind eye to the joys and the pains of those within my daily or even monthly contact sphere. I surmise one would need to be either totally narcissistic or a complete agoraphobic to miss the news that slaps us in the face from both electronic and social media. However, it is the modern realm of social media that seems to capture my emotions more easily as I see people from throughout my six-plus decades of life who share their joys and their sorrows and then are gratified or consoled by those who take the time to offer words in response.

I saw this in May, when one of my daughters joined in the bonds of Holy Wedlock and we were able to share that days with thousands through social media in addition to more than 100 who took part in the day. May and June are big wedding months in the U.S., and ours was no different than the millions that occur. But to us and our friends, it was different. It was a special day that created not only a new bond, but also a bucket filled with memories for those who were there, filled with the joy of the day. We need to find ways to build more days filled with joy.

I saw it all during that week and afterwards as our extended family gathered and shared laughs and love, taking time to re-connect or maybe just to solidify the bonds of connection already there. It is interesting to gather your children together as adults, something I never realized when younger, with age giving us gifts that are not so evident, so we must be alert to capture them or they are quickly gone. When family gathers, there is an occasional transport back in time. It might come from a quick word or saying we used way back when, or from a simple look or smile from one of the kids that reminds you of them at the age of 8. It comes from their laughs together and their tears of joy at the happy occasion of a wedding. Then, in a matter of days, life gets in the way again and they are all gone, but the happy memories remain.

I saw it again the week of the wedding, but this time without joy. It was a great sorrow that hit me in my gut but also opened my eyes to God’s guiding hand or voice that is always there, even if often I do not hear it. My Mom was in for the wedding. She recently turned 86. I decided to just take her out to grab a bite, just the two of us, away from the maelstrom of wedding plans and activities. I didn’t really have an idea of where to go, but a voice in my head said to go to a specific restaurant- one I rarely frequent. My first thought was to go elsewhere, but the voice was insistent. When I walked in I knew why. A friend was there with his entire immediate family. He had just lost his Mother that evening and said his goodbyes, but they are never enough. We hugged, and I asked him if he would like to meet Mom. “Boy, would I!” was his response. We talked for a few moments and he asked, “Can I give you a hug?” She obliged but seemed a bit puzzled. Then his sisters came over and also asked for a hug. My Mom was unaware of why, but she did as all good mom’s do, offered warm hugs back. Later my friend told me, “It was like getting to hug my Mom one more time.”

The week after the wedding my oldest son drove for a day to New Orleans to visit with a childhood buddy, a young man I had watched grow up from the age of 5, and who I hold great love for as well. They have two children, a robust and healthy son and a daughter who has not been well since birth. Shortly after my son’s visit the diagnosis was finally confirmed, and beautiful Porter, an adorable baby girl, has Spinal Muscular Atrophy and is not expected to live more than a year. The parents are as devastated as one might expect, yet when I hear from them I see a joy in life and a strength to handle this or whatever life throws their way. Losing a child can be one of the most terrible possibilities in life. They are determined to make these months, or with prayers maybe longer, as warm and loving as possible. We have choices to make in how we respond to tragedy. They have chosen one filled with life.

And finally I now see the possibilities of a life of fullness, as tomorrow I attend a birthday party for the dad of a lifelong friend. His dad is turning 90, a marvelous and joyful event, and the day will be filled with the love of family and friends in celebration of not only the life Walter built for himself, but the lives, the joys, and the happiness his choices made so long ago and through the decades created for so many others. Our life is not about us. It never was and never will be. It is about others; those we spawn ourselves and those we gather around us as we pursue our lives. It really does take a village, but not as it is being used. It is a village we create of our own; our families, our friends, those we come in contact with every day and those we see very infrequently, although with social media are much more immediate in their joys and sorrow.

Life is good. We are blessed. We just need to figure out better how to capture the bliss when it is offered, holding it near so it becomes a part of our soul, while using the love within and the love created by others to assist us when we are in a time of need. There is an abundance of both joy and sorrow in life, and neither can be avoided. How we deal with and share each of these with those who matter defines who we are and what we might become.

Ed H. Moore resides in Tallahassee where he is perpetually awaiting a rebirth of wonder. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Guest Author


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn