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This quote from Arundhati Roy, an Indian author, actress, and political activist, prompted me to share it with others:

“What is this thing that has happened to us? It’s a virus, yes. In and of itself, it holds no moral brief. But it is definitely more than a virus.

“It has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to normalcy, trying to stitch our future with our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists.

“And in the midst of this terrible despair it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normalcy. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew.

“This one is no different. It is a porthole, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoking skies behind us.

“Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage and ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

When philanthropy goes bad, it goes really bad: crass suffering and irredeemable psychic damage occur, especially when children are involved. Such a travesty unfolds upon the pages of the historical novel Remember Me (2020) written by Mario Escobar who gives voice to the “Children of Morelia.”

One year into the Spanish Civil War, 1937, the Mexican government offered asylum to Spanish children, in harm’s way from Generalissimo Franco’s aggression. One was a relative of the author. She and over four hundred other children were shipped to Morelia and jammed inside the Spain-Mexico Industrial School barracks to live in sub-human conditions for the duration of the war. Designated funds for their care found other pockets.

To enflesh these events, Escobar develops three siblings: Marco, thirteen years old, and his sisters Isabel and Ana, ages ten and six, respectively. Their resiliency, courage, and spirit moved them in and out of shocks from bullies, from their cruel director and teachers, from abductions, and from hunger and worn clothing. Memories of their parents in Madrid fuel their determination to be reunited, at any cost.

Escobar’s skillful editing screens out unseemly details that could have interrupted the urgent flow of the narrative. At stake here is the survival of the siblings.

Because twentieth-century Spanish history eludes me, I found the author’s end chapters on the “Clarification of History” and “The Timeline” helpful in understanding the novel.

Thanks to the artistry of Mario Escobar, the “Children of Morelia” have found a permanent home in Remember Me. Their innocent suffering and even death will not be relegated to the backwards of Spanish or Mexican history.

Doors—Every day we open and close them, seldom noting their materials, their purpose their mechanisms: hinged, folding, sliding, rotating up and over, some with locks and some without. Perhaps with the advent of consciousness came doors: for specific rituals, for protection of homes from enemies or predators, and for so much more. Crossing their threshold alters energy, either positively or negatively.

Even tomb builders in the Nile Valley fashioned hieroglyphs of single and double doors to cordon off sacred space for the grieving. In later centuries, ornamental doors were hung on mosques, monasteries, cathedrals, and temples, bespeaking their mysteries within. From a first century AD estate in Pompeii, a set of Roman folding doors is exhibited in the Naples Archeological Museum. We could go on and on.

Many view their front door as sacred. Above mine is taped a medal of St. Benedict to ward off those with whom I’ve no business.

Yet, there is another door closer to the home we live in—the door to our hearts; its challenge is to pause before opening it to who or whatever attracts us. With instincts activated, discernment is critical. In the in-between space, questions surface: Are lesser motives involved? Is neediness demanding to be satiated? Who will benefit? What will I learn if I act? Or give in? Perhaps “No”—the closed door—is the wisest response when clarity is an issue. Such practice deepens humility and opens the psyche to spiritual guidance, without which we stagnate. 

Thus we thrive in our flawed humanness and bring our unique gifts to fruition among others—often behind closed doors.

Available on Amazon

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