Friday, December 14, 2012

How can I help?

Writing has always been a way for me to express my thoughts and feelings with those that have a long enough attention span to get through a paragraph or two of text.  I always start writing to make a point, but it never ends that way.   I attempt to write something persuasive, but I always just ramble through a number of thoughts that, I feel, may illustrate a perspective that may be worth while.  If it's not, at least the process was cathartic enough for me to go about my day, attempting to live according to random thoughts on a page.

My thoughts today are similar to just about everyone else.  First came the heartbreak of knowing twenty children, not too much older than my own, we executed today.  They will not be meandering from school - distracted by the wonders of the world around them - home to their loved ones.  They are gone.  Their lives were halted, abruptly.  Crudely.

I then felt rage.  The rage of bewilderment why in hell we as a people could allow this to happen?  That we allow people to possess tools of such awful capabilities.  I do not give a damn about your love for hunting, or sense of security, and I no longer recognize your "right" to own such an instrument of destructive capability.  Screw it.  Twenty families are broken today.  Twenty Christmases ruined.  Twenty little hearts stopped beating today and I cannot come up with any good reason why I shouldn't go door to door and take every last possible weapon out of the hands of a people that obviously are not adult enough to handle such a responsibility as to know that an elementary school of children is meant to be safe; a sanctuary for the minds and hopes of our future.

Now I know that tragedy will force the absolute extremes of our feelings to the surface of our consciousness, and I know that those who wish to create pain, will always find a way to do so.  But one must ask why?  Why do people wish to do these things?  Why are they so lost in their own world's that they cannot see that the tender youth of Moses Lake, Springfield, Littleton, Taber, Chardon, and Newton deserve their life of school lunches and homework like everyone else?

And if the next question asked is not "How can I help stop this?" then I have lost faith in the human race.  How can I help?  I cannot get the guns, I don't believe anyone can.  I cannot police the schools.  I cannot stop bullets.  I cannot do much.  All I have to offer is the love that I possess and my willingness to share it.

I believe that the unconditional love from those around us is powerful enough to reverse the evils of the day.  I cannot speak to the mind and actions of others.  But I believe that from this day forward, if I give away all the kindness in my heart, I can make a difference.

A friend of mine has a well-known saying, "Take care of each other" that I think sums up my thoughts today.  And I think it is the thought that I want to hold onto, as a result today's tragedy.  Be kind to each other.  Love each other.  And for the sake of the future, please take care of each other.  I would like to help.  Try me, I will.  Tell your friends you love them today.  Be kind to those around you and look forward to tomorrow with a hope that twenty young children lost their lives, only to rally the world in a cause to re-kindle the spirit of love and understanding and peace that we all deserve.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


I learned this morning that a friend of mine had passed away, which was one of the more sobering messages I have received.  For a time, in high school, I spent almost every day with this friend.  We sang together, we laughed together, and every now and again we attempted to wade in deeper pools of conversation.

I haven't seen my friend in ten years.  After high school we ended on opposite ends of the country and quickly became involved in our new lives and friends.  It's been hard for me to make an emotional connection to the news of his passing, because my life has not been altered in any way.  Tomorrow will not be much different because of what I have learned today.

But as I reflect on my years in high school (which I still regard as some of the best years of my life) I realize how much I was influenced by those around me.  I discovered a passion at 16 and learned how to develop it by watching my friends grow.  I found courage my senior year by watching my friends fearlessly put their talents on public alters, almost guileless of potential criticism and failure.  Most of all, I learned to love a group of kids, regardless of who they were are what they believed.  I loved them because they loved me.

Because of the countless days I spent with my late friend, I learned to believe in people - and believe that the best days are ahead.  I learned that the time spent singing, laughing, and dabbling in intelectual theory strengthened my character and shaped who I am today.

I was wrong.  My life has been altered.  I have had the blessing of being reminded of the good in people, though through the saddest of circumstances.  I am reminded that there are still bright tomorrows if we stop to recognize the good around us today.  My tomorrow will be very different because of what I have learned today.

Thank You, Jeff.  I will miss you and will continue to carry the sweet memories of our time together with me; in hopes that I too, may inspire my friends with the lessons I learned from you.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Walking the streets of Heaven

I read this article this afternoon, in wake of an event that has crippled my focus today, that has reminded me of the good in people that is so often overlooked by the bad.  It reminds me of this quote:

"More than any time in recent history, America's destiny is not of our own choosing. We did not seek nor did we provoke an assault on our freedom and our way of life. We did not expect nor did we invite a confrontation with evil. Yet the true measure of a people's strength is how they rise to master that moment when it does arrive...The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels tonight. They're our students and our teachers and our parents and our friends. The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels, but every time we think we have measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we're reminded that that capacity may well be limitless. this is a time for American heroes. We will do what is hard We will achieve what is great. This is a time for American heroes and we reach for the stars."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Things I wish I wrote

"We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God." - President Ronald Reagan on the Space Shuttle "Challenger" Tragedy.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Speechwriting for the common man.

For the past few years, I have held this not-so-secret desire to be a speechwriter. I have always wanted to be able to harness the inner emotions and desires of a speaker and give them the words to reach out and grab an audience (and if necessary, shake the hell out of them). I often look for the stories or events in life that call for an extraordinary speech that lifts a congregation out of their seats, beyond their despair, guides them through the haze of uncertainty and through the jungles of doubt and binds them in a common goal for good.

Turns out, unless I am waiting for a global tragedy or a Presidential Inaugural, I might be looking for my moment for a while.

Enter Speechwriting for the common man.

Part humor and part serious, I thought to myself – what if we spent the same amount of time and energy motivating us for average woes or everyday victories? What if we reached out to grab the common-day audience?

I have a couple of “favorites” but one of my top speeches was actually staged. Right before he saddled up to waste a colony of alien invaders, Bill Pullman stepped to the mic as POTUS in the movie Independence Day (Yes, fake speeches count too. Scriptwriters are just the long-distance runners of speechwriting) and rallied the world into believing that regardless of the oncoming global destruction, humans would “…live on, [we’re going to] survive,” the united the entire world into some pretty awesome, worldwide ass kicking.

Now follow me here for a second (I know that can be hard sometimes with the grotesque amount of commas, but I’m not in college anymore and I’ll use incorrect punctuation if I want to), but what if we took the energy of that speech into normal life? Today imagine Bill Pullman screaming, “We will not go quietly into the night. We will not go down without a fight. Today we celebrate our LAUNDRY DAY!” Trust me - that would be the best freaking load of laundry you have ever done.

But what if we spent more time reciting Reagan when determining our path in life ("...sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part 
of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave."
), or Wiesel when battling anxiety, anger, fear, compulsion, depression, or indecision ("Indifference elicits no response. Indifference is not a response. Indifference is not a beginning; it is an end. And, therefore, indifference is always the friend of the enemy, for it benefits the aggressor ­­ never his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten. The political prisoner in his cell, the hungry children, the homeless refugees ­­ not
to respond to their plight, not to relieve their solitude by offering them a spark of hope is to exile them from human memory. And in denying their humanity, we betray our own. Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment."

We need more moments that lift us to our feet and convince us that the impossible is possible, that self-doubt is an emotion only used to write sappy poetry and pre-teen romance novels. We need more times in life where someone grabs us and lifts us out of our ruts in life, slaps us in the face and convinces that we can conquer our world. We need those speeches.

And we need more speechwriters.

Monday, April 2, 2012

An interesting thought.

An friend relayed this quote today:

"If you do not feel yourself growing in your work and your life broadening and deepening, if your task is not a perpetual tonic to you, you have not found your place." - Orison Swett Marden

It's got me thinking, and you know how much I enjoy doing that...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 8

There are moments in time that we will try to erase, and actions that we would rather not remember. There will be logic unexplainable and motives indescribable. There will be men of obloquy, and there will be days that will, in fact, live in infamy. And sometimes it will seem that only hatred and devastation abound. We must remember those times; those people and those days - for forgetting them allows us to ignore the suffering that desperate hatred can cause.

But also, let us not forget about rebuilding, regrowth and learning to re-trust. Let us not forget about getting up off the dirt and starting anew. There will always be a new day looming ahead, not meant to replace the past. But giving us a chance to start again.

I will remember and honor December 7th. But I look for a promising December 8th.