Roxane B. Salonen
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." I've been thinking about this Edmund Burke quote a lot lately, especially in light of a recent column of mine that had some demanding I be silenced. Recently, I spoke at a National Day of Prayer event here in Fargo. Two things seemed more clear than ever that night: 1) We faithful need each other's prayers — knowing others were praying for me during that time of public scrutiny brought tremendous grace, and 2) The silence of believers would be detrimental, for all.
FARGO — No finely tuned strategy came into play at its beginnings. Rather, a need became apparent during a local mother's mission trip to Mexico, and with her heart swelling at the sight of children desperate for a loving home, she jumped in to help. "(My mother's) initial focus was just getting these kids out of Mexico; from that, I don't think she knew the agency would be around that much longer," says Lindsey Ness, director of God's Children Adoption Agency, formerly known as Los Hijos de Dios, on the organization her mother, Amy Twedt, founded in 2004.
I doubt she even knows the song I've been humming in my head for weeks now, every time I think of her while trying to fall asleep each night these busy days. "Close to You," by Karen Carpenter, burst forth when I was only 3, but following my father's lead and affinities, I eventually became drawn to the singer's rich, beautiful melodies, too. "On the day that you were born the angels got together, and decided to create a dream come true. So they sprinkled moon-dust in your hair of gold and star-light in your eyes of blue."
Just hours after I'd come to a place of knowing I'd start today's column with an apology, someone demanded one, nearly prompting an about-face. There is no less authentic apology, it seems to me, than one insisted upon. But I realized how unfair it would be to not extend the sincere request for forgiveness I'd wanted to offer those I'd hurt — yes, very unintentionally, but hurt nonetheless. Because I know as much as anyone right now that intentions cannot heal a wounded heart.
FARGO — For the past 30 years each Passover season, Helen Levitt has spent hours changing out dishes in her cupboards and days preparing unleavened bread and other kosher foods for her family and other Jewish groups and individuals here. But this year, she and her husband, Ralph, will be in Seattle during Passover—commemorated this year April 22-30 — as guests at their youngest son Michael's Seder table.
It's happened twice in the last several months. Visiting another part of the country — or world, in the case of my most recent trip to Regina, Sask. — I've caught a happy glimpse of heaven. Each visit involved speaking engagements, tours of the respective cities, and stepping into the everyday lives of my hosts for a few days. But what encircles my heart most of all from the experiences are my hosts themselves and all the premeditated actions they carried out well before and upon my arrival.
FARGO — In May 2015, Lauren Knoll, then 13, listened with rapt attention as "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts shared her story with the 100-plus other young volunteers who'd gathered in Washington, D.C.
It was a rare day that you'd find a hair on her lovely head misplaced or her lipstick the slightest bit smudged. My husband's maternal grandmother, Gladys Hofer Kleinsasser, was a picture of physical grace and beauty. Which is why her comedic ribbing often caught us so off guard, but at the same time, delighted us so much. But it wasn't until her funeral last month that I received such a clear glimpse of all this woman really was and gave in her nearly 94 years of life.
MOORHEAD — Every year around this time, Francisco Cabello-Cobo begins to feel a soulful yearning for his hometown near Seville, Spain. Though he's lived here for 40 years, the wrenching in his spirit cannot be denied. "I believe there's sort of an animal cycle to people's lives and certain rituals that you go through in any given year," he says, noting these customs are necessary to keep the psyche healthy. "For me, it's Easter ... I count the years from Holy Week to Holy Week."
At his funeral Mass, he was named a spiritual giant, and despite his relatively small bodily stature, no one present would've argued it about the Rev. Bill Mehrkens. During his March 3 burial, the unpretentiousness of this holy soul showed. "Just a plain, wooden casket?" my daughter had remarked at seeing the photo I'd sent by text from the event at Red Lake Reservation.