I AM I DO

I AM I DO 

Lee Broom

Our first scream is an involuntary response to the first gasp. It occurs at the moment of our first sensation of fear; our first decision, our first affirmation and our initial attempt at managing our place in this new world.

This first noisy protest is interrupted with cradled arms and soft, cooing Mommy Words, which lend a hint that this dangerous world into which we have been thrust has an oasis of safety; ours for the price of a scream.

The calming voice, the gentle words are familiar to the newly initiated. The touch of Mother’s hands are a new sensation but it too is somehow, known.

Our first scientific experiment has begun.

This is our first experience at asking for and receiving Love, a sensation which will in future decades become confused with Approval.

Our  experiments will become more sophisticated if not necessarily objective; life and the events that greet us will be measured, examined, dissected and reassembled as we seek to secure Maximum Safety.

Life may be more difficult for those of us who have missed the touching and the softly spoken words of gentle parenting. Perhaps we ask for help.

Later, in the language of Mommy Words we may even ask another, untouched soul “May I lend a hand?”

And a Spark of The Spirit ignites the flame of LOVE.

I AM I DO 
Lee Broom

A Day Like No Other

September Eleven

I had recently lost a business that I’d spent most of my life building. Looking back today it no longer seems much of a tragedy but at the time, to suddenly be uprooted with no advance warning was very traumatic. Unless I was content to camp in a dumpster that first night, I needed to acquire in very short order, a home for myself, a means of earning income; I even had to find an automobile. Most of my problems I solved quickly; in a few days I would accomplish what young people do with the benefit of having planned and educated themselves for the biggest event of their young lives, taking decades to do what I must do in a week.

The more difficult problems would take me the rest of my life and the worst of these would never be solved at all. I had owned several retail stores and my work was the very heart and soul of my life for twenty-five years and suddenly a chain of surprising events had mysteriously collided and brought about the demise of Lee Broom Gallery and Design.

These were the pathetic musings of a pathetic old man, racing across the freeway that morning toward the call center where he was planning to spend the day fielding calls from customers of Qwest listening to complaints deemed by the complainers to be more threatening than his own.

It was early morning, the sun was above the horizon and I was listening to the pitiful voice in my head; I was comparing my emotional pain to the kinds of complaints that I would surely be listening to that day. Finally, I tired of all that nagging and I said to myself. Lee Broom, you silly old man, remember what the world was like when you were a boy and at age two and a half the attack on Pearl Harbor upset your young life and how everything worked out and here you are an old man who is starting a new career when in fact, there are hundreds of thousands of young people  looking for work and here you are with an opportunity and in fact a duty to help hundreds of people who will be calling in today, complaining about their phone service.

And as I talked myself down I was beginning to notice another voice,  the voice of a young man reading the news from National Public Radio; he was reading news bulletins with his usual dependable demeanor, his attention suddenly in full focus;  he had to stop and reread the words for a second time, muttering mostly to himself as though he didn’t believe what he was reading, as though surely some thoughtless prankster was playing a callous trick on him and then he read it for a third time, this time with more volume and a stress that seemed to make his young voice sound older somehow. He was telling all who were listening that an airliner had crashed into one of the towers at the Trade Center and I listened as though this were a replay of War of the Worlds and that none of this was real; this was entertainment.

I don’t know how much had played out by the time I reached work but I remember that traffic on the Interstate had slowed and that cars were beginning to pull over onto the shoulder and that when I finally sat down at my desk and started to load all the different windows that I would need in order to work that day, that all the computers around me were displaying news bulletins on their monitor screens.

Customers were not calling in. More and more videos were playing and replaying the events of a horrifying morning. It would be that way all day long. And as the day passed, I remembered that I had friends working in those buildings and that my youngest brother was at the Pentagon and later that the attacks had occurred hours before his appointment. A few people called that day. Most just wanted to talk about what was happening to America. I listened to people cry. I listened to one lady who called because she was a customer service representative for another company and was not getting any calls. Could we talk? I said Yes and we visited for a while.

My life has changed considerably since September 11, 2001. That day was the last day that I complained about losing my business. I still work for myself. And I do lots of volunteer work. I love life. I love sharing it. I have learned the importance of living the life that is handed to me from one moment to another.

 

Healing at the Gallery@CityHall

 4 17 2013gallery at city hall

Lee_Broom

Last week I posted on thebleuglasvestibule.wordpress.com about my recently waning health. A few hours later I was asked if I was ready yet to man my docent post at the Gallery@CityHall. I said yes and steeled myself for the occasion.

Fifteen minutes after my arrival the gallery which usually has no more than two visitors at any given time, suddenly began to fill up. A man named Robert Braxton whose name and face were familiar to me from The Veterans’ Hospital in Phoenix AZ was in charge of this crew and with them was a lady psychologist who explained that this was a group of returning veterans whose mental and spiritual state was in bad disrepair and that it was Robert’s job to encourage them to start joining the community. It was the therapist job to get them ready for the series of events which would hopefully help them to assimilate.

From an email to my friends and family: “Great bunch of guys. Several were in pretty bad condition. All were enthusiastic to be a part of this PRRC program. All asked questions and discussed what they were learning about the lives of the two artists whose work was on display.”

It made me feel real again.

http://www.washingtondc.va.gov/departments/psychology-PRRC.asp

To all who have served, I salute you and thank you for your service. It was an honor to serve you.

Lee Broom

Accept The Love and Pass It On

012

Yesterday there was a party honoring three of my friends for time in attendance while contributing to the welfare of a community of people for whom the absence of such help would be disastrous.

I did what I always do when invited to a party; I shopped for ingredients to make potato salad (I do it differently every time) , I tried to write a poem for each of the people being honored but succeeded only in blocking the path from whence these gifts come. Sometimes I get there, sometimes not. If I am not familiar with the terrain and can visualize no escape hatches I will probably not be in attendance.

And as it turned out I was not in attendance. Instead I feted these three in absentia, devouring the Potato Salad Perfecta Trifecta and paid tribute by quoting a poem from a previous celebration for others of our ilk.

ACCEPT THE LOVE AND PASS IT ON.

To accept Love is to Be Healed.

Healing begins when Fear is vanquished.

Perhaps it is the other way around.

Fear returns to the shadows and birds begin to chirp.

Fear reveals itself at first light.

The Light of Love is felt with the decision to Accept.

Acceptance lights the Path.

The Path is Today.

This is the way,

To Heal;

To be Healed.

Love becomes the Lover.

And Fear becomes a fading memory.

by Lee Broom