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Feed your spirits

By Joseph Kellard
web posted October 29, 2001

I watched life-hating savages attack the nation I love. I've seen parking lots filled at funeral homes in Oceanside and neighboring towns. I've met with the loved ones of those who were murdered, veterans who were outraged, and rescue workers who described the destruction at ground zero as indescribable. I've watched our short-sighted leaders invite terrorist nations into an "anti-terrorism" coalition. Thus, our leaders are once again appeasing terrorists and thereby putting America in a position to suffer more massive, deadlier attacks.

In short, like many Americans, I've never experienced darker days. So how do I temper my despondence and find some encouraging light?

I've been developing the emotional fuel needed to sustain my spirits -- that is, my otherwise benevolent outlook on life.

First, I never allow my pain to go down too far, which requires that I remind myself the good, not the bad and evil, deserves my primary attention.

Next, I send our politicians and news people the right ideas. Voicing my ideas via letters to these prominent people are my main contribution to fighting terrorists, since they have the potential to persuade them and effect their actions.

I also interact with like-minded people. I belong to an e-mail discussion group with people who share my fundamental ideas, and we discuss world events. This group confirms to me that enough reasonable people exist to give our civilization a chance at survival.

Further, my countrymen have re-enforced my knowledge that when people are in trouble through no fault of their own, Americans are enormously benevolent to them, as evidenced by their over-abundance of donations in blood and money.

I've also feed my spirit with sports and art.

After 12 days of being absorbed in the events surrounding the attacks, I set a few hours aside one Sunday to watch football. That day, the Miami Dolphins, my favorite team, lead by quarterback Jay Fiedler of Oceanside, won dramatically in the closing seconds of a game against the Oakland Raiders.

The Yankees celebrate yet another playoff win
The Yankees celebrate yet another playoff win

A few weeks later, the New York Yankees, my favorite baseball team, rallied back from losing the first two games in a five-game series against the Oakland A's and took it all before an jubilant crowd at Yankee Stadium. Aptly, Mayor Rudy Giuliani said, "To come back like this, it's perfect for the spirit of the city."

I also broke out literature that has inspired me; stories glorifying individuals who fight for what's right against great odds. Passages from Ayn Rand's novels "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" and Rudyard Kipling's poem "If" fit the bill. I've played music that puts a triumphant lump in my throat, such as the opening movement of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" and all of Dvorak's "New World Symphony."

I've laughed by re-watching episodes of my favorite TV comedy, "Cheers." I marveled at how the World Trade Center was constructed in a recent documentary on the History Channel. Finally, above my desk I mounted a photograph of those skyscrapers soaring majestically into the sky.

When I first drove back into Manhattan, I found the hole in the skyline painfully obvious. Instead I gazed at other monoliths still standing proudly, the Empire State and Chrystler Buildings, and reminded myself of their foundation: human thought and ingenuity.

So if what feeds your spirits is observing your child learn, watching movies where good defeats evil, or dinning at fine restaurants, then indulge those activities. Now, more than ever, Americans must sustain their spirits.

On Sept. 11, many American had their values put in their proper perspective. Remember (or discover) that to pursue your own happiness is your birthright. Live your life to the fullest and fight to ensure that when it ends, it's when you're old and gray and due to natural causes, and not at the hands of life-hating murderers.

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and freelance editorialist living in New York. He also publishes a cultural-political e-mail newsletter. To receive information about his writing services and publication, contact Mr. Kellard by e-mail at Jkaxiom3@aol.com.

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