We did not have a car until I was 5 - imagine that. We had a phone and black/white tv; minimal amount of money, but mom could make a dollar out of a nickel somehow. Dad worked very long, diligent hours and every day walked through the door asking the same question - "Anyone call, cards, come over?" He would check the receipts from Butcher's, drink a shot and eat his dinner. My favorite memory was watching him eat chicken noodle soup, for he would add tons of salt then dramatically slurp the noodles, making a production out of his feast. Dad would not tolerate waste so he ate our leftovers, including meat left on steak bones. I personally could not eat vegetable soup and was left to sit at the table until I did. Eventually I held my nose, ate the soup and threw it up. Everything else mom made was delicious. Remember mock legs? She had a knack for finding the best sales and continuously discovered new products and dishes for us to try. Right up until the end, she amazed my dad and me with the new Clorox spray product. I called her excitedly about how remarkably it worked and that it shaved at least 40 minutes of scrubbing from my shower cleaning chore. My dad questioned "how does she do that?" We walked everywhere, to Cornell Park, St. Joseph's Church, Ashland Avenue.
When we moved from Back of the Yards to Brighton Park, it got easier and we grew older and embraced explorations with possibilities of any chance to get out of the house. We managed. How in God's name did we all share one bathroom? Is that even possible? We did not have a shower - only a bath. Our source of entertainment was dad playing the accordion, the radio and the television. That left so much to our imagination so we pretended and performed skits in the backyard and played kick the can, relevio and it. As we got older we hung out on each other's porches and listened to soul music and then classic rock. And we played record albums, 8 tracks and cassettes.
About relations ~ in an excerpt from Illuminata ~ relationships are our primary teacher. They are the context in which we either grow into God consciousness, or deny ourselves and others the opportunity to do so. There are simple keys to happy relationships, which is not to say that these keys are always easy to use. One key to abundance in every area of life is this: We experience God's peace and harmony to the extent to which we love, forgive and focus on the good in others and in ourselves. We ask God to help us do that relationships will keep getting better and ones that are broken will be repaired. God's law is that we love one another. Obeying that law is the key to a happy life.
None of this means that we then lack the capacity to set boundaries, say a healthy "no," or stand up for ourselves when we need to. Quite the opposite: Since love aligns us with the thoughts of God, it aligns us with the thoughts of God, it aligns us with our personal power. Where there is total love, there is no guilt. Where there is no guilt, there is no obstruction to true and honest communication.
What truly serves one person's good serves the good of all. We don't have to decide whether to love others at the expense of ourselves or ourselves at the expense of others, because utlimately we are all one. There are no separate needs, for there are no separate beings except in illusion. Understanding that paradox gives us a healthy sense of our own individuality, for it gives us a sense of ourselves based on love and not defensiveness. A healthy self-love is not narcissistic but self-extending. We are all waves in the same ocean and sunbeams of the same sun. Only in illusion are we separate, and we pray to transcend illusion. We pray to be able to perceive our oneness with others, with God, and within ourselves.
The idea that someone is supporting us when they foster our belief in another person's guilt is false. All minds are joined. That is the meaning of the Sonship. Whatever thoughts we hold toward others we are holding about ourselves as well. It is only in relinquishing our focus on another person's guilt that we can know the joy of our own innocence. From that place, we can say a very powerful "no" when necessary. We can tell them not to call anymore. Love is not weakness, but wisdom. God's answer is always loving, but the loving answer is not always "yes."