It's been a while, and things continue to happen. Isn't that always the way? Scarlett's hijinks are giving me sleepless nights and so much sadness. My trip to Virginia was an incredible blessing - what a beautiful place!! I can't wait to go back. I hope I get the opportunity.
I have a lot to say, but no time to say it right now. Gotta get in the shower in a few minutes. So I'm going to post this here - I've been more selective than usual with today's Writer's Almanac, but there are two profiles that spoke to me. Today is Gilda Radner's birthday - she was a brilliant light that was snuffed too quickly. And although I don't embrace all of John Wesley's teachings, it would appear he came to much the same conclusion as I have regarding the teachings of Christ and the Bible - it's all about the LOVE. Learn this and the rest will follow.
Today is the birthday of the founder of the Methodist movement, Joseph Wesley (1703). He was born in , and his father was a Nonconformist — a dissenter from the Church of England. Wesley studied at , where he decided to become a priest. He and his brother joined a religious study group that was given the nickname "the Methodists" for their rigorous and methodical study habits; the name wasn't meant as a compliment, but Wesley hung onto it anyway and managed to attract several new members to the group, which fasted two days a week and spent time in social service.
By 1739, he felt he wasn't really reaching people from the pulpit, so he took to the fields, traveling on horseback, preaching two or three times a day. He began recruiting local laypeople to preach as well, and ran afoul of the Church of England for doing so. He believed that Christians could be made "perfect in love" when their actions arose out of a desire to please God and to promote the welfare of the less fortunate. He wrote: "Love is the fulfilling of the law, the end of the commandment. It is not only 'the first and great' command, but all the commandments in one. 'Whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise,' they are all comprised in this one word, love."
He was also an ardent abolitionist. In Thoughts on Slavery (1774), he wrote: "Are you a man? Then you should have an human heart. But have you indeed? What is your heart made of? Is there no such principle as Compassion there? Do you never feel another's pain? Have you no Sympathy? No sense of human woe? No pity for the miserable? When you saw the flowing eyes, the heaving breasts, or the bleeding sides and tortured limbs of your fellow-creatures, was you a stone, or a brute? Did you look upon them with the eyes of a tiger? When you squeezed the agonizing creatures down in the ship, or when you threw their poor mangled remains into the sea, had you no relenting? Did not one tear drop from your eye, one sigh escape from your breast? Do you feel no relenting now? If you do not, you must go on, till the measure of your iniquities is full. Then will the Great GOD deal with You, as you have dealt with them, and require all their blood at your hands."
He's said to have traveled 250,000 miles, preached 40,000 sermons, and written, translated, or edited more than 200 volumes. He made £20,000 for his publications but gave most of it away and died in poverty. Though there's no evidence that he actually wrote it himself, "John Wesley's Rule" does a fair job of summing up his life:
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as you ever can.
Today is the birthday of comedienne Gilda Radner (1946) (books by this author), born in . She struggled with eating disorders from the time she was nine years old, and said, "I have weighed as much as 160 pounds and as little as 93." She gained national recognition as a member of the original 1975 cast of Saturday Night Live. She was the first cast member that producer Michaels chose, and in her five years on the show she created such characters as Roseanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella, and Baba (modeled after Barbara Walters).
In 1981, she met Gene Wilder on the set of the film Hanky Panky. They made two more movies together and married in 1984, and when she tried and failed to get pregnant, she found out she had ovarian cancer. After painful radiation and chemotherapy treatments, she went into a brief remission in 1988, and she wrote her memoir It's Always Something — the trademark phrase of her character Roseanne Roseannadanna — that same year. By the end of 1988, the cancer had returned, and she died the following May.
She wrote in her autobiography: "It is so hard for us little human beings to accept this deal that we get. It's really crazy, isn't it? We get to live, then we have to die. What we put into every moment is all we have. ... What spirit human beings have! It is a pretty cheesy deal — all the pleasures of life, and then death."