I want to thank David Parker, from the bottom of my heart, for such a beautiful column regarding his mentally ill son (“Father of man who set himself on fire tells family’s story,” Oct. 8).

The demands of mental illness are exhausting and endless. All family members struggle and are affected when mental illness is present within a family.

I compare it to a baby’s crib mobile; if even just one of the hanging characters is entangled onto another, it sets the whole thing off balance. I grew up in a family with mental illness and I know, as David, that my family members involved were also very supportive and caring.

David’s last sentence was so powerful and emotional for me. One day while my brother was going through a particularly difficult time, we held hands and prayed. We were quiet for a moment and then he looked up at me with his blue eyes and smiled.

A simple holding of hands and praying was all that I gave to him — but, in that smile, what he gave to me in return was the meaning of life.

I knew at that precise moment that God had chosen me, his younger sister, to be there for Alan, to walk beside him and help him with the most difficult mission in his life: just to get through another day. He finished his life’s journey and is now with his heavenly family.

Like David, I also felt truly blessed, albeit in small ways, to be able to help my brother. After all, the mentally ill are as loved by our Creator as the rest of us.

Betsy McCallum Reardon

Portland

 

Israel and the Jews linked for 3,000 years

 

The Maine Voices opinion of Audrey Farber (“Peace for Mideast a complex topic,” Sept. 8) was nothing more than a repetition of the same old anti-Israel propaganda that has been spewed for decades by Israel’s enemies.

Ms. Farber seems completely unaware of the amazing 3,000-year-old physical and spiritual connection that the Jewish people have had with the land of Israel and Jerusalem.

To deny the very real legitimacy of the Jewish people to their one and only, tiny homeland in the Land of Israel is to deny the existence of Abraham, Moses and Jesus, all Jews.

Ms. Farber has fallen under the spell of those who spread darkness and lies, when it is light and truth we need. Thank goodness Anwar Sadat of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan did not consult with her or they would never have signed their peace treaties with the Jewish State of Israel.

Robert Goldman

South Portland

 

Discontent with leaders heartfelt by conservatives

 

Many people in this country are complaining about something. The right wing wants freedom and a smaller government with a good president, and the left wing wants — well, whatever the right doesn’t.

Because I am 100 percent as conservative and political as you can get, I always feel like I have more to say than most want to hear.

I don’t deny it; I’m only 15 years old and still complain a lot when it comes to our president and government. I care about my future, and want to be able to have all of the freedoms I am grateful for now in the years to come.

Watching the country change so much in the last couple of years I have asked myself at least 100 times, why is it so difficult for people to understand that it’s a good thing to have a smaller government and put people who actually care about our country in charge?

Instead, we pick people who are only in it for themselves playing dirty politics and making us all look bad. Our national debt is now over $13 trillion, and what has Obama done besides go on more vacations and spend taxpayers’ hard-earned money?

This isn’t the change we wanted, and Obama has always known he wasn’t really going to wave his magic wand and make it all better.

This country has gone through so much, and we all deserve better than to be cheated out of good, hard-earned quality of life by people who are only interested in running the country because they want better lives than the rest of us.

We need to stand as a whole and remember who we are — and what we as Americans stand for.

Kimberlyn Beaudoin

Gray

 

Society run for profit in conflict with religion

 

Sages say that a peaceful society starts with a people at peace. Perhaps the conflict in our society comes from the collision in our lives between two basic beliefs: in free-market capitalism — a foundational economic theory — and in Christianity (or, indeed, any other great religion) — our moral compass.

And it does seem to me we face a very basic dissonance.

The 21st-century capitalist unleashes personal ability to create the greatest material wealth possible for self and an immediate circle. An economy based purely on freedom to compete within the market place surely allows such focus. Case in point: Wall Street excesses that led to great riches for those up top with no regard for potential effects on Main Street.

I don’t think deliberate evil was involved, just complete unconsciousness of (and therefore indifference to) how 90 percent of this country lives.

However, there’s this pesky force called religion. Most of the world’s great religions preach some variant of the Golden Rule — “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Most also stress the importance of charity and caring for, helping, those less fortunate. Certainly, the Christianity I grew up in spoke of the blessedness of the meek and poor, the moral challenges of wealth. Rendering to Caesar never trumps the need to love others.

So, how do we reconcile two basic beliefs that seem to pull in very different directions: free-market capitalism as economic Darwinism that stresses individual responsibility for personal success, and religion actually tending towards (dare I say) socialism that stresses individual responsibility for the welfare of all.

Compartmentalization doesn’t seem to be working very well.

Pamela B. Blake

Freeport

 

Too many ads, coupons make reader very upset

 

The inclusion of all the ads and coupons in my daily newspaper does not make me happy. It’s unsolicited, wasteful and a dang nuisance.

In fact, it makes me want to protest by canceling my subscription. You need the revenue, but is anyone trying to do something to improve this?

Mina Bender

Bath