May 10, 2010: “We can do no great things, . . .

. . . only small things with great love.” —Mother Teresa—

Last week while watching my energetic grandson play in a Brooklyn playground, I happily sat on a park bench in dappled sunshine. A mother with two children joined me, a daughter about 4 and an infant asleep in his stroller. After greeting the trio, my attention returned to never-stopping Dmitri. Watching him dart from here to there, I nevertheless was aware of the 4-year-old’s persistent and nasty cough.

Her raggedy sounds put me in a terrible funk: I was immediately reminded of a dire article re an alarming rise in childhood asthma in the NE. The sounds of heavy traffic just a few feet away from the playground didn’t help my “Oh, God, we’re doomed—these precious children are doomed!” terror.

And given the weird weather we’ve had this spring, thinking her cough might just be allergies wasn’t all that comforting.

Confronting my pervading fears re global warming, climate disaster, etc, etc., and what life will be like for Dmitri’s generation, it actually helps to remember that as a young(er) mother, I’d had exactly the same heart-racing fears around nuclear proliferation. And to remember that amazing anti-nuke march in NYC when my daughter Hope was just a baby. (1981? 1982?)

And, thinking about Mother Teresa’s wise words, to contemplate what small, loving, life-affirming acts I can be doing in my small, precious part of this ailing planet.

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