Featured Column
Week of 2.14.2005
The Phenomenon
          Her whole body ached. She had just walked the 23 miles from her tiny village to the city of Gao, one of the largest population centers in Mali. Her 15 year old son had just been buried, another victim of the Aids epidemic in Africa. She wanted to be there when they lowered him in the ground. Now she was returning to her village. She knew she couldn’t pay attention to her tired legs and feet. She had to care for her ageing mother and two daughters. She could ignore the aches in her body, but not the immense pain in her heart.
           In Roseburg, Oregon a tall, sinewy middle- aged man sat in a rocking chair on his porch. His head was bowed and heavy. He thought about the news he had just received. A U.S. Army Lieutenant had just driven off after notifying him that his only son had been killed in battle in Iraq. He watched as the dust roiled behind the officer’s official car as it faded from sight. Only the dust cloud remained. Only the dust and his tears.
           The sun was unforgiving. Manila was baking. The young mother was carrying her 6- month old baby girl to the local doctor. Everyone knew that he wasn’t a real doctor, but who could afford to go to the clinic downtown? Her baby had a high fever and red splotches on her face, arms and chest, spreading by the moment. Her wide brimmed straw hat helped her avoid the blasting rays of the sun. She made sure that the shadow from her wide hat also protected her baby. The baby was too sick to even cry.
           All around the world people were going about their usual activities. Where night fell people welcomed relief from the sun’s punishment. In Iceland blankets were pulled up to protect from the bitter cold. In San Francisco downtown workers were stealing glances at their watches, anticipating their lunches. In Abu Dhabi families slept, building strength for the coming morning and the hours to be spent in the fields, harvesting their meager crops.
          As the noon hour struck in San Francisco and at the exact same time all around the world a gentle rumble was heard in the skies above. Those that were sleeping went outside or peered through their windows to find out what was happening in their world. The rumbling continued. Billions of pairs of eyes looked upwards and then to each other, asking, “What is happening?”
          Where it was daytime soft grey clouds parted and soft yellow rays filled the skies. Where darkness reigned clouds moved from in front of the moon’s glow and a gentle brightness bathed this part of the world.
           Never in history had anything like this occurred.
           Crying babies were suddenly still. The world’s pains and disappointments were set aside. Battlefields were tranquil. Anger disappeared. Cars, trucks and buses pulled over to the sides of their roads and everyone looked upwards.
           A sense of peacefulness and questioning flowed around the planet. Temperatures were all moderate.
           In Vatican City the Pope was awakened, dressed and accompanied to his balcony. He looked upwards at the parting clouds and slowly went to his knees and began praying. He felt that something miraculous was happening.
           The rumbling had stopped and a quiet came upon the earth. Six billion people were focused on the skies above.
           All the world heard it at the same time. All heard it and understood in their own language. 
           “I am here to bring you peace. It has come time for man to lay aside his hatreds and prejudices. For generation after generation you have brought misery upon the face of the earth by carrying unrighteous thoughts in your hearts. You have separated man by the color of his skin. You have brought pain and wars to millions by insisting on the differences between Christians, Jews, Islamists, Buddhists and others. You have grown far from what you were meant to be. Is it so hard to forgive and understand others? Must hatred and violence be in your hearts instead of love and kindness?”
           “Your children suffer from your thoughts and those around you. These children feel the pains of your ill thoughts. Disease and pain are not necessary. Your world was created to be a place of joy and happiness, not of wars, violence and hatred.
           “I come to bring you the message of peace and love. Throw aside your thoughts of the differences of man and see all as an image of yourself. Give to them what you would want.”
           “Start with the children. Teach them to love and forgive. Teach them understanding and kindness. Hold them closely so they may feel the love in your hearts.”
           “See not the differences in men. Let not the color of a man’s skin or where he worships alter the love in your heart.”
           “A world of peace and love can be yours. Pain and suffering can be removed from your lives. Love can bring you miracles.”
           “My message is simple – love one another. Lay aside your prejudices and hatreds and replace them with thoughts of love and peace.”
           “I leave you now with a prayer that your children and their children will live in a world unbounded, filled with happiness and joy. The possibility lies in your hearts.”
           Around the world, six billion people stood silently, still looking upwards.
           Soft clouds slowly rolled in place, covering part of the moon. Where the sun shone its rays resumed their travels.
           Slowly, the billions took their eyes off the skies and went back to their jobs, their homes, their activities.
           In Manila the young mother continued her walk to the local doctor. Stopping for a moment, she noticed that the red splotches on her baby were gone. The baby’s eyes opened and she cried – loudly.
           In the dusty village in Mali a woman tended to her mother and two children. Her pains had lessened and the tears for her departed son had stopped flowing. She told herself, “This was all part of life.”
           In Roseburg, Oregon a farmer smiled as he drove his tractor toward his fields. He was thinking with joy of the days he had shared with his son.
           On a balcony in Vatican City an elderly man filled with hope remained on his knees, praying – talking with someone.
The world gets a message of love
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger