While in southern France in 1998 I was privileged to rejoice with my hosts when France, led by Zinedine Zidane, defeated Brazil in the World Cup final. Wherever I was in 2002, I watched Brazil defeat Germany in that year’s final, alternately cheering on Ronaldo and Oliver Kahn. While in Barcelona I sat amazed during World Cup final 2006 when Zidane was red-carded for head-butting Materazzi and Italy won on penalty kicks. This year the final found me at the Arco Iris retreat center outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, when Spain shrugged off a flurry of fouls (a record fourteen yellow cards being awarded) to defeat the Netherlands in South Africa, thus fulfilling the final prophecy of Paul the Psychic Octopus, who made his successful predictions from his digs in Germany’s Oberhausen Aquarium.
In Brazil for purposes of Ayurveda (www.ayurveda.com.br, www.naradeva.com.br), I proceeded from Arco Iris to the ever-astounding Iguaçu Falls, an excellent setting in which to read The Lost City of Z, David Grann’s recounting of Percy Harrison Fawcett’s last foray into the Amazon. New research suggests that an ancient civilization was in fact there in the Amazon, waiting to be found, and that the city for which Fawcett searched may have been Kuhikugu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuhikugu).
Also during this trip I read Markus Zusak’s gripping novel The Book Thief, and finally went through Simon Winchester’s The Professor and the Madman, the true story of how the unhinged Dr. W. C. Minor became a crucial cog in the machinery that churned out the 1st Oxford English Dictionary. Ironic it was that Minor was so available to do the work he did because he was confined in an institution for the criminally insane; and ironic that Eliza Merrett, the widow of the man that the mad Minor murdered, eventually forgave him, and on several occasions agreed to carry books from London to him in the asylum.
Incredible historical narrative for the month: recounted from the pulpit of the First Baptist Church Floresville by Pastor Mike Clements, the saga of the relationship between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Click here to read the details.
Mike’s message: Forgiveness can change things. Though Adams and Jefferson did not speak for several years after Jefferson’s election to the presidency, Adams went beyond their mutual offense, apologized for his own bad behavior, and initiated reconciliation between two dear friends who had become adversaries. Adams forgave Jefferson, which inspired Jefferson to respond in kind, and in their last years they repaired their bond, before both dying, within hours of one another, on July 4, 1826, fifty years to the day after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. May all such broken relationships be so mended!