Thoughts on Baltimore (and other issues)

I’m sure by now you’ve heard about the riots in Baltimore. You’ve heard about how people have taken to the streets to destroy, loot, and hurt. You’ve probably read the stories about the 15 officers (last I saw) who were hurt by the rioters. But what do we do about it? We can sit here, behind the comfort of our homes, our keyboards, our tv screens, and criticize, call them criminals, and tell them they should have done it another way.

And we wouldn’t be wrong.

But it’s not their fault.

If you are looking for someone to blame, look in the mirror. Continue reading

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The End of an Era (or So Long and Thanks for all the Fish)

The past three and a half years have been among the most challenging & rewarding times for me. There were days where as a staff, we would sit around and wonder “why are we doing this?”. I would sit there and think “I can’t go on, I can’t do this anymore.” It was in those moments, that my favorite quote from Lord of the Rings comes to mind (here’s the YouTube version, if you prefer it)

Sam: It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the ending, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened. But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come and when the sun shines it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr Frodo, I do understand… I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only the didn’t. They kept going, because they were holding onto something…

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr Frodo… And it’s worth fighting for.

But now that struggle has come to the end, and I find myself again wondering if it was worth it. If the time we spent mattered, or if it was all for naught. And again I find myself finding comfort and solace in the words of Samwise Gamgee. Continue reading

The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

“The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.”

From the first moment I found out about the passing of Robin Williams, this line has been stuck in my head. Over and over and over it plays.

“The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.” Continue reading

No one talks about the son who stayed at home

I sat and talked with a friend the other day. We were talking about life, faith, and stories. As I shared about another friend of mine who has majorly turned his life around, he said “Joel, I’ve grown up my whole life in church, I’ve never partied, I never even touched alcohol until I was 21, I never did drugs, I’m not married, so I’ve never had sex, I’ve never majorly screwed up. I’ve always done exactly what the church has taught me to do. And I feel like that’s not good enough. Like I don’t have a story to tell.”

He paused for a moment and drew a breath as his eyes moistened. Then, with his voice quivering, continued,

“I hear people talk about all these people who are turning their life around, who used to be really bad, and everyone celebrates them. But here I am, and no one even mentions how well I’ve done at keeping all the things that Jesus commands and the church tells us. I feel like I’m not good enough, that I don’t have a story to tell, that I have nothing to say that is worth listening to.” Continue reading

Dear Mr. President

Well, this morning before I went into work, I wrote an email to our President Barack Obama. I wanted to be respectful, but also address some concerns I had with his administration and what direction it was headed in. I’m not posting this to open this up for a big political debate, so if you are looking for that, go somewhere else, but I wanted you all to know what I wrote, and maybe if more people write messages, he will begin to realize what it is the people actually want. (I included my email address and phone number in the original that I took out, and I had the URLs in the message, but for cleanliness on here, I hyperlinked them) Continue reading

Graduation Bingo

Well, it’s graduation season.

That means we get together, listen to cliché words, phrases, and quotes, all for the sake of something that, let’s be honest, you probably wouldn’t have finished if your parents hadn’t pushed  you.

I love celebrating accomplishments, but I HATE cliché stuff… I hated my own graduation cuz of all the clichés, but I went to a graduation last night because my “little brother” was graduating… As I was live tweeting Pequea Valley’s Graduation last night, I said this: Continue reading

Holidays are here :)

I love Christmas. For so many reasons. Presents are nice, but honestly, “gifts” is not one of my love languages.

What I love about Christmas is how everyone seems to be willing to help others during this time of year. People go out of their way to do an act of kindness. To me, that is beautiful.

But why only during this time of year? Amidst the story of Christ’s birth, we need to remember the reason He came, and the life he lived here on earth. A life of generosity, a life of love, a life of compassion.

So maybe this New Years, maybe we should set our New Years Resolution/Revolution to be more like Christ in our actions throughout the year…

 

Homeless For A Week

For those of you whom I am not friends with on Facebook or twitter, let me quickly recap my weekend for you:

I ate dinner on Friday night at work around 7:30pm. I got home around 11:30, couldn’t sleep, so I played a game with my friend, then went to bed about 2:30am, which is when I finally got tired.

Woke up at 4:30am, and was at work by 5am. Spent the next 12.5 hours outside, moving stuff, barely getting a chance to sit other than to dump pictures to my laptop, and I didn’t eat all while at work… Continue reading

I Need a Good Cry… And a Solution

I don’t know how many of you know this, but I guess I need to take some time and be transparent about all of this stuff going on in my life, because trying to not get stressed about it, or not letting the stress show is getting tiring. So very tiring… (sorry if this post is more whining than normal, but I need to get this out) Continue reading