Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Twenty-some years ago, somewhere in the 80's, I heard an interesting interview with a man, who had worked for the Legal Services Corporation of the U.S. government. He talked at length about how the LSC, in conjunction with the ACLU, went state by state across the country and sued each state government to make it illegal to incarcerate any person who was not homicidal or suicidal. The result was an opening of the floodgates, allowing thousands of people onto the streets who were mentally ill and incapable, in most cases, of being self-sufficient. These folks became, and still are, the homeless of America. Now, it was this gentleman's opinion that this coordinated action between the lawyers at the LSC and the ACLU was intended to create an "Achilles heel" with which to highlight the failings of American capitalism. He talked about the broken hearted families of these now wandering homeless men and women who were desperate but powerless to corral their mentally ill fathers, mothers, children, brothers, and sisters, in an institution where they would be protected and monitored so that appropriate medications could be administrated to curb the excesses of their illnesses.
This was a rude awakening for me who like so many others was naïvely swayed by, believe it or not, the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Not being one to jump on any bandwagon, I didn't exactly cheer like other members of the audience when the persecuted patients of the mental institution broke free – to become the homeless on the streets begging and sometimes intimidating passers-by. However, I was at that point prejudiced against the concept of mental institutions and opposed to the idea that people could be "committed" by family members. After all, isn't that what the communists in Russia did to their political enemies? Yes. But there has to be a happy medium. Someone like our latest schizophrenic murderer in Arizona, who not only has taken life and permanently impaired others, has brought great sorrow to his own family who may (or may not) have been trying to control him. Without the power to do so, they were unable to prevent the inevitable.
This article in the Wall Street Journal today addresses this issue with the knowledge and expertise that I do not have.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Danaher family (and while we're at it, Happy Saint Patrick's Day). Once again we have a blessed and busy year. God has guided us through this year and, as we look forward to 2011, we reflect on His gracious provisions during 2010.
Last year saw the birth of two new grandchildren. On April 6, Sean Michael Holler was born to Rachel and Joel. Ever since then, Sean has charmed the whole family with his bright blue eyes, red button nose, and contagious smile. Sean's big brother Ryan, who turned two in June, regales the family in his own right through his newfound vocabulary. Ryan's observations and tendency to joke at such an early age remind us of Uncle Dave and great Grandpa Bugs. But, sweet as Grandma's Christmas cookies, Ryan makes any gathering a blast. Joel continues to work for the Chicago Police Department while Rachel picks up the occasional shift at the hospital.
Rebekah and Elliott also added to their family this year when Eden Rose was born in July. Serene (and plump) as a sugarplum, Eden watches everything, including her big brother Caleb. Caleb does eat his carrots because Mom and Dad tell him vegetables will make him run faster. Caleb shows that he takes after Dad, toddling through the snow in the backyard even in the coldest of weather. Rebekah continues her role as a stay at home mom, quite a job given Caleb's energy. Elliott continues to work for
John still works at UOP. While he has spent many years with the company, John also started something new this year--fantasy football. John finally realized that the best way to actually support in winning team is to create one himself. Though the Bears gave him much less cause for grief this season, John still enjoys the distraction that his fantasy team provides from the woes and disheartening losses present in every Bears season. John also enjoys his role as Grandpa. From taking Ryan to see fire trucks to singing little Eden to sleep, John has taken his role as grandpa almost as seriously as his position as leader of his very own football team.
Gina thought that an empty house would give her more time to catch up on her reading. Instead, she has spent the past year on the run after her four grandkids. Gina willingly lends a helping hand whenever Rachel and Rebekah need a babysitter, ready to drop everything in order to help her daughters. Gina also invests herself her new hobby –facebook. Mom puts all her kids to shame by the amount of time she spends updating her status, sharing links, and keeping up with family members. When her children express frustration at her for not informing them of important events within the extended family, Gina simply replies, "Well, it was on facebook!"
David reached a milestone this year when he finished and defended his physics thesis in August. He passed with flying colors, or at least the Ph.D's at Northern thought so. At home, we just nod our heads and smile…and ask David to please remember to put his dishes in the dishwasher. For the time being, Dave lives at home while teaching Science and Math courses at Moraine Valley Community College. Along with Matt, he continues to rehearse and practice with his rock band, which has been a work in progress for almost as long as David has been writing incoherent lines about electrons spins. However, while the physics rabble has earned him a degree, the band has yielded no returns thus far. Yet mom and dad are not sure whether said "returns" would be kind to their eardrums anyway.
Matt has been blessed with a job change this year. While he started out 2010 working for a basement waterproofing company, he finished the year as an employee at Costco. Matt's hard work has already earned him a few promotions. It also caused him to leave the nest for the second time. Though he began working part time at a store on the South Side and consequently lived at home, Matt transferred to a fulltime position at a new Costco in Lake Forest and moved in with bandmate Dustin. It seems that on the second try, Mom has finally succeeded in pushing the fourth duckling out of the nest. What she plans to do about his science-spouting older brother remains to be seen.
Maggie is a sophomore at Hillsdale College. After much deep internal reflection, she finally chose American Studies, (a combination of American history, American literature, and Political Science) as her major. This past semester, she worked as an RA in the freshmen dorm, traveled to Washington D.C. for Constitution Day (September 17), and joined a country band – Pickled Beats. In the most recent developments at home, Maggie has, due to Mom's urging, persistently endeavored to keep her bedroom clean. However, her parents have finally come to the conclusion that, while you can take a girl out of a messy dorm room…let's just say, it's a lost cause.
As you can see, a lot has been going on in the Danaher family throughout the past year. God watched over us without fail in 2010 and we are confident that He will continue to work in our lives throughout the next year. We wish you just such a New Year in 2011!
The Danaher Family
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
I don't like television. It robs people of their imaginations and squanders precious time. In Psalm 101:3, David says, "I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless." I think of that verse often when I find myself staring at the nonsense on the tube. The most annoying shows are the annual strokefests known as award shows featuring one celebrity after another talking about how "amazing" so and so is for his/her performance in a movie/show. Or how "great" some musician is for his/her new album - all highly produced of course.
But out there in the real world of poverty, pain, oppression, and suffering, toil the real heros on this earth. They give their all to heal the sick and along with that, they hope to "bring good news to the poor; ... to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and to open the prison to those who are bound;" (Isaiah 61:1)
When all is said and done, these servants of Jesus will enter the gates of the Kingdom of Christ hoping that they have been a blessing to the people they have served in this life and hoping to hear Jesus say, "Well done good and faithful servant!"
For a look at the world of the award winning accomplishments of a few of these truly talented people, check out the link above.