the saga continues and the irony of grocery store music

I don’t want to wait for our lives to be over
I want to know right now what will it be
I don’t want to wait for our lives to be over
Will it be yes or will it be sorry?

Lyrics by Paula Cole

I was in a bit of a daze, lost deep in my thoughts as I pushed my
shopping cart up and down the aisles of the grocery store.
A familiar song, that was playing over the store’s intercom system, pierced
my melancholy mood with a bolt of searing heat.

Suddenly I was very conscious of my attempting to blink back stinging tears.

“I don’t want to wait…for our lives to be over…”

And just as suddenly, I had to stop myself from shouting it out loud, lest everyone look at
me like some sort of nut was now loose on the cereal aisle.

NO!
No, I don’t want to wait.
I’ve already waited for 60 years.
And in many ways, it is too late.

Most of you probably recall my recent posts regarding my quest to find my birth mother
along with how that abruptly ended via the response of an attorney to a social worker.

“You are in the past, and the past is where you will remain…”

However, biology teaches us that there are two parents involved in the
making of a baby.

A mother ‘and’ a father.

Yes, yes, I know… we are living in odd times when the father may simply
come frozen via a sperm bank…but nonetheless—there is a female and a male involved.

And to me, that female remains the biological mother and that male, the biological father.

The door was obviously gut punched shut regarding my birth mother but the social worker
followed that slamming of a door with a question…
“would you like for us to now search for your father?”

Now let’s back up this story a tad.

You may remember me telling you how, at the first of the year, I opted to
participate in the growing DNA puzzle quest…23 & Me

And thus searching for my past, I sent in a vile of spit.

But if the truth be told, that was in part because my doctor suggested that I do so
in order to learn some of my medical history.

Odd things continue creeping up and my doctor didn’t want my son and grandchildren to
have the same sort of out of the blue surprises.

Once the specific DNA company sends you your breakdown, as part of the information
you receive, DNA matches are automatically shared.

And it just so happened that there was a very strong DNA match with a person
who was marked as a first cousin.

Out of the tens of thousands of “relatives”, I had but one close relative match
and that was of a first cousin.

As more tests continue being processed, more matches come your way.
And nearly 6 months after the fact, I still have but one close match.

There is a messaging option on the DNA site so when I saw the numerical link,
knowing this might be my only opening for some sort of answers,
I immediately knee jerked and excitedly reached out to this man.

His smile in the provided thumbnail picture was warm and genuine.

I explained who I was and provided an abbreviated version of my story of adoption,
an adoption of which eventually lead me to look for answers in a DNA test.

I’m sure it is no doubt a surreal feeling to find sitting in one’s inbox
a new and unknown relative has, out of the blue, reached out.

But I was fortunate—he messaged me back.

We exchanged e-mails and began corresponding.
I shared the redacted information from my original adoption file
regarding my birth father and he shared his family’s history.

I told him my father was…
28 years old
A Lt. in a southern state’s State’s patrol
Romantically involved with a 23 yr old nurse in Georgia…

He later shared this story with his two brothers.

Following a few days, he emailed back that both his dad and his dad’s cousin were
28 in 1959 and were lieutenants in their state’s State Patrol…
but that it was the cousin who had dated a nurse in Georgia.

And given our DNA percentage as only cousins and not high enough to be siblings,
he was pretty certain, the cousin was my father.

Sadly both men are now deceased.

There is, however, a daughter, now grown and two years younger than myself.
This cousin of mine has now encouraged her to do the DNA testing.

So when the social worker had asked about searching for my biological father,
I had shared with her about the DNA testing and the connection with this cousin.
She asked if I had a last name.
I did.

Yet the surreal thing throughout all of this process has been the fact that my complete file,
a file full of all the answers to all my questions,
has been sitting right in front of this social worker all along— a person who knows
the names, the states and the dates to my entire life but due to the laws, she
can not share a word.

It’s as if I’m telling her everything she already knows…things I’ve labored and toiled
over discovering yet information that is readily sitting in a dusty old file on the desk
of the person I find myself spilling my guts to.

Well… she called yesterday.

“Julie, do you have a few minutes?”

She begins by telling me that since her office has determined that my birth father is deceased,
they could release his name…

of which she did…

and he is indeed the state patrol cousin.

This story is obviously fluid and on-going.

I have once again reached out to “my cousin” with
this latest information.

I now wait as both he and his family must process this information…

There is a half-sister who must decide whether or not she is ready for
a half-sister she never knew existed.

How they will respond is yet to be determined.

One half of my life’s puzzle is now known.

Yet, I wonder if this will be welcomed news to this unsuspecting family
or will it be just too much?

I went from feeling a euphoric sense of joy following the news the social worker shared
to that of a guarded sense of trepidation.

And in all of this, the irony came flooding over the intercom system of
a grocery store with its choice of song.

And I couldn’t help but notice…

So open up your morning light
And say a little prayer for I
You know that if we are to stay alive
Then see the peace in every eye
She had two babies, one was six months, one was three
In the war of ’44
Every telephone ring, every heartbeat stinging
When she thought it was God calling her
Oh, would her son grow to know his father?
I don’t want to to wait for our lives to be over
I want to know right now what will it be
I don’t want to wait for our lives to be over
Will it be yes or will it be sorry?
He showed up all wet on the rainy front step
Wearing shrapnel in his skin
And the war he saw lives inside him still
It’s so hard to be gentle and warm
The years pass by and now he has granddaughters
I don’t want to to wait for our lives to be over
I want to know right now what will it be
I don’t want to wait for our lives to be over
Will it be yes or will it be sorry?
You look at me from across the room
You’re wearing your anguish again
Believe me I know the feeling
It sucks you into the jaws of anger
So breathe a little more deeply my love
All we have is this very moment
And I don’t want to do what his father
And his father, and his father did
I want to be here now
So open up your morning light
And say a little prayer for I
You know that if we are to stay alive
Then see the love in every eye
I don’t want to to wait for our lives to be over
I want to know right now what will it be
I don’t want to wait for our lives to be over
Will it be yes or will it be sorry?

Paula Cole

our confliction…

“Two souls, alas, are housed within my breast,
And each will wrestle for the mastery there.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust

“History is much more the product of chaos than of conspiracy.”
Zbigniew Brezezinski

As people of faith we learn to be bi-focal.
We look through the eyes of secular newsflashes,
and we look through the eyes of spiritual and theological discernment.”

Bishop Gavin Ashenden

Anytime a Western coalition is mounted against “the bad guys”…whomever
those bad guys may currently be…more and more questions abound…
more questions than there may be answers.

Maybe it’s because I grew up during the Vietnam war.
A horrific conflict and war where thousands were killed, maimed, scarred and lost…
leaving no clear win or victor.

The bad guys were still bad and we were left limping back home…
home to a Nation now divided…and still dividing as we speak.

For Christians, the notion of war is a tough call.

The Koran makes no bones about the allowance for war and killing.

Our faith, on the other hand, admonishes those who opt not to turn the other cheek
or refuse to offer the shirt when the tunic is first taken.

For the Believer there is an inner turmoil…a conflict of both faith and righteous indignation.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the pacifist German theologian, lived this turmoil.
It also lead him to the gallows.
A walk he took decidedly confident because he knew his faith secure.
He looked to the words and teachings of St Thomas Aquinas when he agreed to be a part of
an assassination attempt against Adolph Hitler.

The moral issue here is that of tyrannicide…
the killing of a tyrant, and specifically, the killing of a tyrant by a private
person for the common good.
Technically, there are two classes of tyrants: a tyrant by usurpation
(tyrannus in titulo), a ruler who has illegitimately seized power;
and a tyrant by oppression (tyrannus in regimine),
a ruler who wields power unjustly, oppressively, and arbitrarily.

The key conditions for a justifiable act of tyrannicide in this case include
that the killing be necessary to end the usurpation and restore legitimate authority;
that there is no higher authority available that is able and willing to depose the usurper;
and that there is no probability that the tyrannicide will result in even greater evil
than allowing the usurper to remain in power.

However, if the tyrant by oppression attacks the citizen,
jeopardizes the welfare of the community with the intent leading
it to destruction or killing the citizens, or commits other evils,
then a private citizen can morally commit an act
of justifiable tyrannicide.
Moreover, if because of the tyrant’s rule, a nation cannot defend itself,
is on the course of destruction, and has no lawful means to depose or to condemn the tyrant,
then a citizen may commit an act of justifiable tyrannicide.
Interestingly, many modern political philosophers would posit that a leader who abuses
power and has become tyrannical ipso facto loses legitimacy and becomes a usurper.

(Catholic Resource Education Center / Fr William Saunders)

(see the previous post:
https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2016/07/16/the-seeds-have-been-planted/)

And so it is with interest that I’ve read a couple of the most recent posts by our friend
Bishop Gavin Ashenden regarding his feelings and thoughts about the coalition attack
on Syria.

The necessity, the truth, the need, the deception, the compassion, the empathy,
the indignation is each woven into the fabric of our confliction as human beings.

The conflict between right and wrong, defending the undefended, the truth versus
the deception…
that which is right versus that which is wrong,
the need for freedom versus the oppression of tyranny…

What are our roles, our responsibilities, our culpability…

The good Bishop offers one more perspective, one more layer to the fabric we
Christians continue to weave…

Do I agree with his doubts, his concerns, his pointed questions?

I think his questions lead us all to a place of asking even more questions.

Yet the real question found in the Bishop’s concern is simply leading us back to wondering
where the real true answers rest…

So Syria has been much in the news.
But to the community of faith, Syria is not just a place.
It is both a birthplace, and an end-place.
Theologically, for Christians it is the birth place of the Church.
It is the place where in Antioch, we first became known as Christians (Acts 11.26);
for Muslims the place at the end of time, the apocalypse.
This dual identity lies at the heart of the present secular conflict and how we unders
tand it.

And yet, it is clear in geo-political terms that what is taking place in Syria
is a proxy war fought over future energy sources and types of Islamic hegemony
between Iran on one side and Saudi Arabia on the other.
The opposition to Assad was not a plea for regime change by democratic Syrians,
but an attempt to remove a non-Muslim ruler and replace him with a Muslim regime by
Saudi backed terrorist groups.
Twice now chemical attacks have been attributed to the Assad regime with the
immediate effect of inducing in the West a moral indignation that led to a call
for bombing the Assad regime.
But though the video footage was provocatively emotive, the hard evidence that laid a trail
back to Assad was always just missing.

Syria and the Western Christian conscience.

Answering the question…

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
he breaks out against all sound judgment.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion.
When wickedness comes, contempt comes also, and with dishonor comes disgrace.
The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the righteous of justice…

Proverbs 18:1-19:29


(a hidden Iris in the straw / Julie Cook / 2018)

The Cross had asked the questions;
the Resurrection had answered them…
The Cross had asked: why does God permit evil and sin to nail Justice to a tree?
The Resurrection answered:
That sin having done its worst might exhaust itself and thus be overcome by Love that
is stronger than either sin or death.
Thus there emerges the Easter lesson that the power of evil and the chaos of any one moment
can be defied and conquered for the basis of our hope is not in any construct
of human power but in the power of God who has given to the evil of this earth
its one mortal wound –
an open tomb,
a gaping sepulcher,
and empty grave.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen

what is Grace

“I have had to experience so much stupidity, so many vices,
so much error, so much nausea, disillusionment and sorrow,
just in order to become a child again and begin anew.
I had to experience despair,
I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, to thoughts of suicide,
in order to experience grace.”

Hermann Hesse


(even the weeds provide sustenance to the bees / Julie Cook / 2017)

I do believe in a personal God, because I too have had revelations,
answers to my questions, to my prayers, and if the answer fails to come,
which is usually the case because God wants us to work out our own salvation,
I have that assurance God gave Saint Paul and he passed on to us,
“My Grace is sufficient for you.”

And what is grace?
Participation in the divine life.

Dorothy Day

with certainty I know

Hearing the word is the devout receiving of the will of God.
William Ames

DSCN1721
(the cliffs of Timoleague, Slieve League, County Donegal, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

I know you hear me.

The others aren’t so sure.

“I Keep praying because I know He hears me.”
Words repeated often to the skeptical.

Prayers asked
Prayers offered
Prayers given…

Yet no word in return.

I know you know the plight, the ordeal, the big picture.
I remind you…
everyday…
multiple times during the day…
despite knowing…you already know…

I know you know more than I do because I know you see what has been, what is and what will be.
You have the bigger picture in focus while I remain small in my vision and view.

The others aren’t so sure that I know what I’m talking about.
They hear in my voice a certain certainty in the face of great uncertainty…
with no change, no results, no “answered prayer”
yet I know
and I continue with my prayers
because I know you know…

They scoff, they walk away rolling their eyes, they grow irritated with my seemingly empty insistence.
I speak with a peculiar confidence…
that only I seem to have…
since there never seems to be the answers, the results, or the much needed miracles,
others want or need…they think that there is no need for my irrational words, hopes or invocations…

No matter…
I continue to press on,
pressing you with my prayers, my words, my tears, my urgings, my yearnings,
my hopes, my dreams, my desires, my needs…

Because I know…
Because I know you know
and because I know that what will be will be
as only you would will it….
because I know you hear….

“Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”
1 Kings 18:37

The story and the questions

“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.”
― George MacDonald

DSCN3408
(tired eyes struggling with a sinus infection)

This is part II to a previous post, Who in the heck is Sylvia Kay and what have you done with her? Published March 13, 2013

Have you ever looked into a mirror and wondered who’s that person staring back at you?
No, this is not some psychological question.
Not some deep search for man and his meaning.
Nor is it a trick question.
For here rests a more literal question.

Who do you see staring back at you?

The answer is not simple.
The answer is not the obvious.
The answer is not exactly. . . you.

If not you, if not me, then who you ask?!

The face you see in the mirror is a combination of those who have gone before you. Are those your mother’s eyes? Is that your dads’ chin? Maybe, sadly, your grandfather’s nose? Perhaps your aunt’s earlobes?
It is the bits and pieces of others which make you, you.
Individual, yes.
Conglomerate, yes as well.
You are not just a mere product of a mom and dad but rather a product of generations prior to your parents. You possess a lineage–for good or bad, of a certain family, of a certain people, of a certain clan.

But wonder if you didn’t know whose eyes were looking back at you, whose nose, whose ears, whose facial structure. . .?

Ah the real question—
It is the question of Who.

And so this takes us back to examine an earlier question.
Who in the heck is Sylvia Kay?
“But Julie,” you say, “it doesn’t matter about Sylvia Kay because you are you.” You’ve turned out swell. You have a swell life and and a swell family”
My reply is you’re right—it doesn’t really matter. Life is good, I’m good. It took 54 years of picking up pieces, but you’re right, it’s all good.
But. . .

Who is staring back at me?
Whose eye’s?
Whose lack of lips?
Whose thyroid issue?
Whose horrendous sinus issue?
Whose temper?
Whose intensity?
Who makes me me?

The time: 1959
The Location: Atlanta

The cast of characters:

We know there is a woman. By the time our story takes place she is a nurse. We’ll call her “the Nurse”

There is a man, around the age of 28. A former serviceman, we think, turned State Patrolman, a Lieutenant. We think from Alabama but we are not 100% certain of his state of origin.
We will call him “the Lieutenant.”

There is a baby. We will call her Sylvia Kay or simply, “the Baby.”

There is a Social Worker from the Child Welfare Association, who we will call “the Social Worker.”

Allow us to look briefly back on the life of the Nurse.
At the time of our story she is 23.
Living with one of her older sisters in Atlanta.
She is a nurse, but for which particular hospital is unknown, but probably not Georgia Baptist.
She is a petite woman around 5.5 feet in stature weighing in at a 103 lbs.
Dark brown straight hair, fair complexion and hazel eyes.
Of Scotch / Irish decent.

During high school, the Nurse was involved in music, loving to sing. She was also a part of her high school’s Annual Staff and was even a member of the Future Teacher’s Association.
Funny, we know that the Baby, once in high school was also a part of her school’s Yearbook staff and actually grew up to become a teacher, a lifelong educator. . .and although she can’t sing a lick, loves to sing none the less.

It is believed that the Nurse is from south Georgia but of this we are not certain.
She comes from a close knit family—2 sisters and 2 brothers, a mom who worked in a dye lab and dad who, having had heart trouble, retired his job with the Government. The Nurse was the next to the youngest of the 5 siblings.

There is not nearly as much known about the Lieutenant.
At the time of our story the Lieutenant is 28 with light brown hair, blue eyes and a medium complexion.
He is tall, 6.3 and weighs in at 220 Lbs.
It appears he is friends with the brother-n-law of the Nurse and that he and the Nurse have known one another since high school.

Question: Odd, does that mean they were from the same town, same state?

It also appears that he comes from a family which is considered to be “wealthy” and socially affluent. Perhaps that was a tipping point in the story, yet we do not know that to have ever been an issue.

We do not know how the relationship began between the Nurse and the Lieutenant. However it appears to have been an extensive relationship with marriage having been discussed.

But.
Something happened.
The questions for us, the reader, remains sadly just that—questions upon more questions.
What had happened to this couple? They were not kids but rather grown young adults each having a good education under their belts, each with a secure job. They were enjoying a committed relationship that suddenly, somehow, goes a rye.

The following information is derived from official papers regarding that of the Baby.

In the later half of the year in 1959, the month that the Baby is born, the Nurse calls the office of Georgia’s Child Welfare Agency. The Nurse explains that she is a registered nurse who is to soon deliver a baby out of wedlock at Georgia Baptist Hospital. The Nurse (who should have known better) had not received prenatal care and delivers a baby girl prematurely. There were fictions names.
The Nurse leaves the hospital the very same day, leaving the Baby behind.

But before the Nurse leaves the hospital, the Social Worker finds her. The Nurse explains that she does not want the Social Worker contacting her sister as she is currently living with her sister who is unaware of the Baby or pregnancy.
That she, the Nurse, is planning on returning to work at the hospital where she is employed (not the hospital in which the Baby is born), agreeing to meet with the Social Worker the following day once she gets off from her shift.

Question: Who has a baby, walks out of the hospital, and goes right back to work—in 1959?

The Social Worker learns that the Nurse had signed papers asking that the Child Welfare Association pick up the baby and place the baby in a foster home and that she, the Nurse, intended on paying for all of the medical fees from the birth and now for that of the foster home.

The Nurse shared with the Social Worker that no one in her family had known about the pregnancy. She had told her sister, at the time that she was soon to deliver the Baby, that she would be going on an out of state trip for a bit. No one knew she was pregnant–not family, not co-workers.

Question: How do you hide a pregnancy so well in 1959?

The Nurse and the Social Worker met several times over the course of the next couple of months.

The Social Worker noted that the Nurse guardedly discussed the Lieutenant, only offering basic pertinent information—asking not to discuss the relationship. The Social Worker noted that the Nurse still seemed “very emotionally attached to the Lieutenant.” When discussing the Baby, the Nurse would show “considerable emotion with her eyes filling with tears”—yet appeared very resolute in the decision to relinquish the Baby. The Nurse stated that during the entire 9 months of the pregnancy–she never entertained the idea of keeping the baby.

Question: What is it that we know today about the transference of positive and negative emotions in utero form mother to child?

The Nurse told the Social Worker that the reason she returned immediately to work following the birth of the Baby was due to the fact that working hard helped to keep her mind off of her troubles. She would even volunteer to work overtime and would take the shifts of the other nurses who needed time off.

Over the next several weeks, during each meeting, the Social Worker would share the progression of the Baby and of the Baby’s health. The Social Worker noted that the Nurse’s eyes would still fill with tears. The Nurse always wanted a full report about the Baby’s check-ups and growth progress.

The Nurse told the Social Worker that she actually enjoyed their meetings as it felt good to be able to confide in someone else. The Nurse expanded slightly on the relationship with that of the Lieutenant, noting that he was aware of the pregnancy and wanted to do whatever possible to help and make things right.
But.
Something happened.
Something was said.
The Nurse explained that “she had said something, something too much,” and that a deep rift between them occurred. Later one of the sisters of the Nurse sent a newspaper clipping of the wedding announcement regarding the Lieutenant. The Social Worker noted that the Nurse still seemed emotionally attached yet now also resentful. Nothing else was shared regarding the Lieutenant.

The Baby remained in foster care for the next 3 months before eventually joining an adoptive couple. It would take up to another full year until the adoption was officially complete marking the Baby’s case as closed. The Baby, who had been given the name Sylvia Kay by the Nurse on that fateful day in the hospital, was 1.5 years old before she would no longer officially exist as Sylvia Kay.

Fast forward to 2010. The Baby was now a grown woman. The Baby, now grown, had often wondered about her life prior, on and off, but had made the decision to leave it in the past to which it belonged. Yet there were always nagging questions. Why had there been struggles in school? Why was there often fears of rejection? Why was there the need to seek out the surrogate father in the Priest? Where did the love of cooking come from? Why writing? Why Art? Why the consuming need to communicate? Why the need to be the one in control? What’s the Italian thing all about? Why the tom-boy thing? Why the love of solitude?
Why?

So when she, the now grown Baby, stumbled upon the agency Families First, the current organization in the state which was now the defunct Georgia Child Welfare Association, she discovered that she could obtain the basic “non identifying information” for a nominal fee. The full disclosed case file would be $325. The Baby believed that the little pieces would be best first, telling herself that she could decide later whether she should seek the release of the original case file–or not.

The Baby, now grown, had a tremendous love of history, even minoring in such in college—but the nagging issue was what was the Baby’s, now grown, history? Yet part of the question was whether or not the knowledge of such was pertinent to life today?

Question: Is it important to know one’s past before progressing to the future?

And so here we are with all that remains–those eyes.
The eyes of one who wonders—wondering whose eye are staring back from the mirror.
Those eyes which stare each day from a mirror asking more questions than there are answers.
But does it really matter?
I suppose it only matters if knowing from whence you came is as important as knowing where it is you are going. . .

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
Psalm 139 13-18 NIV