Wrapping up the Week – February 14, 2015

For those who follow Communicating Across Boundaries regularly, you know that I am buried under seven feet of snow. We have word that another 18 inches are coming tomorrow into Monday. I have nothing else to say on that matter!

But snow and indoors make for some great reads! We go from forgiveness to homes to vaccinations in today’s recommendations. I hope you enjoy them!

The Act of Rigorous Forgiveness by David Brooks is a stunning piece in the NY Times. The impetus for the piece is the scandal in the United States of news anchor Brian Williams and his lying about being in a military helicopter that came under fire during the Iraq war. What I appreciate about the piece is Brooks does not focus on the ‘sin’ of Brian Williams; rather he moves us into a deeper look at forgiveness, not as a sentimental gesture but as a ‘rigorous’ action. He then describes the steps of rigorous forgiveness. This is an article worthy of bookmarking and re-reading. The excerpt I have chosen hit me hard, because I see the tendency in writing to do those very things.

Excerpt:The sad part is the reminder that no matter how high you go in life and no matter how many accolades you win, it’s never enough. The desire for even more admiration races ahead. Career success never really satisfies. Public love always leaves you hungry. Even very famous people can do self-destructive things in an attempt to seem just a little cooler.”

Safe as Houses by Rebecca Martin in Curator Magazine. Of all the pieces I have read in the past two weeks this piece moved me deeply. The author begins by taking us into her childhood world and the houses she experienced in books. From there she talks about houses, safety, and paying attention to those around us. But that’s doing the article a serious disservice because it is so much more. Lovers of literature will especially love this piece as she pulls quotes of home and space from a variety of sources.

Excerpt: What is the point of yearning for a home if some piece of eternity can’t break into this present reality and illuminate ordinary days with a sense of belonging, of comfort, of peace, of history, of safety, of meaning, of home in all its best iterations?

On Vaccinations and Immunity, thoughts from east Africa by Rachel Pieh Jones. You would have to be an ostrich to miss the outrage on social media about the outbreak of measles at Disney Land. I love this piece because it gives the perspective of people who live in countries that don’t have a lot of money, that are not privileged, and that understand the terrible consequences of the decision not to vaccinate. As a public health nurse this piece resonates; as someone who has lived in the developing world it resonates even more. Rachel also quotes from the book on my night stand — On Immunity by Eula Biss.

Excerpt: “When someone tells me, in the US, that they don’t need to vaccinate because we don’t have those diseases here anymore, I want to say, ‘The reason we don’t see those diseases is because of vaccines.’ Kristen Howerton of Rage Against the Minivan quoted this statistic: ‘It is estimated that before vaccines and antibiotics more than 70% of children died before the age of five.’ It is an incalculable privilege to be able to raise our kids in a time without rampant diseases that blind, maim, and kill. The diseases have not been eradicated, our kids are simply protected. And they aren’t protected because of some imaginary ‘super immune system’ or because they are being raised in an illusion of isolation. They are protected because of vaccines.”

On my night stand: Nothing new to report, but some new ones on the horizon! Namely a book given to me by my husband for my birthday Midnight at the Pera Palace – The Birth of Modern Istanbul. I hope to get lost in that in the next few weeks.

Travel Quote (of sorts!)

door Narnia quote

Lastly, Happy Valentine’s Day to those of you who celebrate! We’ve done some posts on Valentine’s Day in the past and I have linked those below for any who want to read. We tend to challenge the notion of Hollywood and Hallmark expectations in these pieces!


2 thoughts on “Wrapping up the Week – February 14, 2015

  1. I am afraid that as a so-called “anti-vaxer” I will be opening myself to attack but this blog, I hope, will be a safer place to express that viewpoint. I have over the last 15 years grown increasingly disillusioned with medicine as it is largely practiced in the United States. There seems to be a growing alliance between the government and the large corporations (including media corporations) to advance the profits of corporations at the expense of consumers. This is evident in Congress passing a bill that exempts pharmaceutical companies for injuries caused by vaccines, government agencies approving medicines and food products on the basis of testing done and reported only by the company that stands to gain and media which profits from advertising these products and never looking/reporting about any negatives.

    On the issue of vaccines, for very well-researched information please check out the National Vaccine Information Center. Not all “anti-vaxers” are “low-information”. Most are not against every vaccination. But child mortality from childhood diseases like measles had dropped steeply in the US before the measles vaccine was ever introduced because of better hygiene and better nutrition. More people in the US have died of the vaccination than of the disease in the US in the last ten years.

    Further, there is another moral dilemma when you discover that some of the newest vaccines contain genetic material from aborted embryos. Even if you are comfortable with monkey genes, aluminum and other toxins in the vaccines, are you comfortable with that?


  2. I am just reading this after a walk in balmy 50ish degree weather in Louisiana. Beautiful day for walking and thinking. I have been wrestling with the immunization/vaccination thing for awhile. I want to write a post, because the poor that I knew in Honduras were eager to ward off anything that could potentially disfigure, harm or kill their children. I knew of a young American couple who were eager to start a friendship with our kids in our project. I knew they were anti-vax, anti Western meds, anti contraceptives. I didn’t establish a relationship with them as far as our youth going to their ranch in the country because the youth I knew needed all of those helps to stay out of poverty, and indeed, in some cases, to stay alive. As a former special education teacher with a master’s in learning disabilities, I knew there were no studies to substantiate the link between autism and vaccines. Yet, I had educated friends in the US who were delaying and even skipping vaccines out of a misguided concern for their child. It’s something to ponder.


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