Via Basel: I Am
Millennium Park, Chicago
I remember it from years ago:
Yo Yo Ma, our beloved cellist,
after a concert with young musicians,
quoting Pablo Casals, his mentor,
the famous cellist, activist, and humanist:
I am a human being first.
I am a musician second.
I am a cellist third.
The news flash daily:
violence, terrorism, racism,
greed, hate, and xenophobia.
I ponder quietly,
then declare loudly:
I am a human being first, a physician second,
and an orthopedic surgeon third.
I am a human citizen of the world first,
a United States citizen second,
and a Chicagoan third.
I am a spiritual human being first,
a Christian second,
and a Syriac Orthodox third.
But why stop there?
Before being human, I was a sentient being.
And before that, a living being.
And before that, stardust and original.
May peace, justice, and compassion be with us this blessed holiday season.
Basel Al-Aswad, father of EIL founder Chris Al-Aswad, is a yogi trapped in an Orthopedic Surgeon’s body. His loves in life include reading, hiking, enjoying nature, meditation, and spending time with his large Iraqi family.
Thank you, Basel. And the best to you and yours as well.