Thursday, December 20, 2012

Longing for a perfect world

American Gothic House Center
If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should not grow old.
        -  President James A. Garfield
Normally, I prefer to reserve this place for something rather light, nothing serious or contentious as this world is already filled with too much of that. Today, however, the grievous event from last Friday prevents me from doing this. It is impossible to ignore.
In the aftermath of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., the above quote from James Garfield kept popping into my mind. I ran across it some time back and it struck me as words to live by, reminding me that life is good. Regardless what troubling situations come my way, no matter how disconcerting, it should not be allowed to damper the spirit. Although my mind may be troubled, my heart should remain constant and my spirit should remain young and soar on the wings of life. After last Friday, it has been much more difficult to believe this.
In life there are some things that are invariably written on the heart—good things—a kind word or gesture, the love of spouse or companion, or a magnificent sunrise that fills the soul with all the beauty and possibility of a new day. For a parent, the heart is forever stamped when holding a new-born son or daughter, and gazing for the first time into the wonder of life; touching the tiny fingers and toes, telling her for the first time how she is loved—only minutes old—while holding close the sweet pink bundle of life.
As time and years progress the handwriting on the heart continues. An “I love you, Mommy” spoken through tears and a trembling lip after a hug and a bandage following a sidewalk mishap. The pride of writing his name for the first time, of being able to read Green Eggs and Ham and asking you to make to make it for supper. The loss of a tooth and the magical appearance of a quarter beneath the pillow the next morning. “Did the tooth fairy really leave this, Daddy?” Words that long for answers to the wonders of the life that is unfolding before his eyes, every minute of every day. Words that were undoubtedly spoken by the 20 first-graders in Newtown.
Of course the early years can be thought of as the most precious, when life is new and exciting—for everyone—and before the teen years arrive, where life, at times, is trying but not without its moments. Unfortunately, the parents of the 20 first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary will never experience comforting that child as a sobbing teenage daughter suffering her first break-up (“it will be alright, honey”), or putting an arm around the shoulders of the son who just won the 100-meter dash, squeezing hard and saying “Good job, son.” A bullet ended this dream, not an accident, not a random act of nature, but an intentional act of violence that dashed hopes and dreams that will never be realized. An act so heinous, so disturbing, so inconceivable, that it can never be understood or accepted, and for ever—and ever—written on the heart.
As of last Friday, the spirit of parents, and grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and strangers like me grew older. The handwriting on the heart caused by the actions of a lone gunman is too heavy, too burdensome, to carry without affect. It is not the way it should be. In a perfect world a parent should never have to bury a child. But we live far from a perfect world. How unfortunate.

Endowment Fund Raffle
There is one matter of American Gothic House Center business that needs to be addressed today and that is the announcement of the raffle for the American Gothic House Center Endowment Fund.
As many of you know, the Center has been in the process of establishing an endowment fund through the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation in the hopes someday fully funding the center to make it self-sufficient. This, of course, is years down the road, but every journey must start somewhere.
Recently, the endowment fund has been approved and the Center, as an initial act of raising money for the fund, has a print of the American Gothic House framed with original porch boards salvaged from the renovation from last summer. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5 with the drawing held on Feb. 9 during the Grant Wood Birthday Soup Smorgasbord at KD Center in Eldon, Iowa. Click here to view the print and to purchase tickets.

Brian Chambers
Media Coordinator
American Gothic House Center

The American Gothic House Center strives to become financially independent through gift shop revenue, sponsorships, and by establishing an endowment fund. Funds raised in this campaign will be used to match the Iowa Cultural Trust Endowment Challenge Grant and will become endowment funds to support the Center's annual operations. As a subscriber to the weekly newsletter, you have already shown support for the American Gothic House Center. I invite you to strengthen your role in the valuable experience we provide the community by making a contribution to our fund drive. Click here to give your tax deductible gift, or head to our website for more information. Thank you to all who have donated so far!
        Our Mission: Integrating the puzzle pieces of American Gothic
300 American Gothic St | Eldon, IA 52554 | 641-652-3352 |

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your interest in the tragedy in New Town. The gal in the Gothic House using cookies to raise money shows a lot of initiative, and the endowment. The American Gothic house is not only an Iowa icon, but a national icon.