I wish it would rain.

splash

Day in day out my tear-stained face
Pressed against the window pane
My eyes search the skies desperately for rain
‘Cause rain drops will hide my tear drops 
-The Temptations

This week has been a lot. Monday was an even more somber Memorial Day than usual for me. I am so thankful for all of those people who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It just felt really sad and strange to do the reflection in the midst of the pandemic existence.

Tuesday morning I learned about George Floyd’s death at the hands of police officers in Minnesota and saw the video. I am still grappling with it. I am so sorry for his loved ones because they are dealing with a real loss and the social media aftermath.

I know that a lot of people are hurting, but looting and destroying property are never the solution to a situation like this. I sincerely hope that real, helpful, long-lasting change can be affected when all of these hash tags have fallen out of fashion. The future of our nation depends upon it almost as much as it depends upon those sacrifices of our military. Martin Luther King Jr’s words reflect this: “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

Dear Class of 2020,

gcapsI have had the honor of seeing so many of you navigate your way through celebrations of your degrees and diplomas. I admire the fact that you are moving through this pandemic with kindness toward those who share your community with you while you are still making responsible choices for yourselves. I hope your tenacity will continue to be a driving force in your lives and in all of the lives you touch.

I wish you the best of everything in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. Here are a few things I’d like to share that have helped me in the years since my high school and college graduations. Learn from the people you agree with and learn from the people you don’t agree with. Some people are in your life for a reason, some for a season and a few for a lifetime. Embrace them, but when the time comes, let them go without bitterness. Treat people with kindness and respect whenever you can because you have no idea what they are going through. That includes yourself. Work hard. Play hard.

All the best,
TJ

On May 18, 1980 at 8:32 am local time,

mtsthelensMt. St. Helens blew its lid. Literally. I remember learning about it the next day at school. I remember seeing images of the clouds of ash and smoke and wondering what one does when a volcano erupts, especially since there were nothing close to a mountain in the place where I lived. I had no idea that someday, a little under two decades after this eruption I would find myself living in the state where it happened.
The first time I encountered Mt. St. Helens up close and personal, my mind needed a few moments to completely register the fact that a chunk of the mountain was missing, even though I knew why. The violence of the eruption was far more clear at that moment than it has been at any time I’ve seen it from the city where I lived, almost 62 miles away.
Yesterday afternoon, I saw a wedding photo that was taken shortly after the volcano had erupted. The wedding party was wearing face masks because of the particles in the air. It was a sad reminder that the more things change, sometimes, the more they stay the same.

 

When friends turn into mythical creatures.

unicorn2I have read about people having strange dreams because of everything that is going on (or not going on) during this pandemic, but I have only experienced it twice and both times I had eaten dinner a bit too late in the evening. Last night was one of those times.

One of my old friends and his wife were helping me with a project. The only problem was, they had somehow turned into unicorns. They still sounded the same and were very kind and helpful, but they looked a teeny bit different. Cute, but different. I was a bit standoffish as a result. My friend did not appreciate it and he informed me of this. I, in turn didn’t appreciate him informing me…

Friend: “What’s up? You are acting real weird…”
Me: “Ummm…”
Friend: “You haven’t spoken or anything. We are taking time out of our schedule to help you with this.”
Me: “I appreciate that, but. Dude. You’re a unicorn. As a matter of fact, both of y’all are unicorns. Can I have a little space to adapt to that, um, reality? Cause THAT’S weird!”

Friend then looked at me like I’m tripping out when he was a freaking unicorn. Can you believe some, er, people? He continued to help, so I guess I should be thankful that I still had good friends, whatever their form, but next time I will skip the late meal, have a glass of water and call it a night.