A moment of solitude and reflection at moon-set along the Prairie Trail.
 ”Our job is to stand together, to carry the burdens of one another and to meet each other in our questions…”    —Jamie Tworkowksi 

A moment of solitude and reflection at moon-set along the Prairie Trail.

 ”Our job is to stand together, to carry the burdens of one another and to meet each other in our questions…”    —Jamie Tworkowksi 

charitymiles:

The road goes on forever and the party never ends. Thanks to @hamiltonguevara for being awesome! http://ift.tt/1i32djs

charitymiles:

The road goes on forever and the party never ends. Thanks to @hamiltonguevara for being awesome! http://ift.tt/1i32djs

A Fearful Thing…

Sigh.

“Tis a Fearful Thing”

‘Tis a fearful thing
to love what death can touch.

A fearful thing
to love, to hope, to dream, to be –

to be,
And oh, to lose.

A thing for fools, this,

And a holy thing,

a holy thing
to love.

For your life has lived in me,
your laugh once lifted me,
your word was gift to me.

To remember this brings painful joy.

‘Tis a human thing, love,
a holy thing, to love
what death has touched.”

―Yehuda Ha Levi  (12th century) 

Several events this week have led me to rediscover, read and re-read this old favorite of mine. I have used the opening line for years as a point of context and emotion and to help me align my ongoing thoughts about love, loss and death. This week, in addition to those thoughts, Death peeked ‘round the curtain.

I learned yesterday of the death of a friends Mother. She was about my Mom’s age. I knew there were no words I could offer that would make this proud, loving middle-aged man feel any better nor lessen his experience of his loss. And he didn’t ask for any. It’s not his way. And it is not the nature of our friendship. We’ve only really spent a couple of days together, shared a few drinks. We’ve traded some online exchanges and banter since then. I feel connected.

I offered what I could: healing wishes and positive vibes. Despite being an actual (somewhat casually) ordained minister, I do not ‘pray’ in the traditional sense, nor do I tell people that I will pray for them. It is not the way that I express those emotions.  And after years of feigning otherwise, now I am openly honest with people about that. 

Last week, a woman whom I have never met, sent me a direct message on Twitter asking me for help. We are both involved in the Parkinson’s community (both of our fathers have Parkinson’s Disease) and have exchanged PD related tweets and well-wishes in the past.  I knew her Dad was in pretty bad shape, PD was just one of his challenges. But I know, really, very little about either of them.

She messaged me and explained that her 70-year old Dad had suffered several severe setbacks and was near death and she was feeling completely overwhelmed. I wasn’t exactly sure how to respond. I don’t know either of them, don’t know much of the backstory, just a few snippets I’ve gleaned from her tweets.  I can only begin to imagine what she was going through. But I haven’t been there. I don’t know what it is like. I offered sympathy, kind words of support. She was grateful and asked to contact me again if she felt this way again. “Sure,” I said. 

Yesterday she phoned me, clearly overwhelmed, emotional, distraught  and exhausted.  I was a bit taken aback. After all, the impersonal nature of all this social media interconnectivity offers us a false sense of any real connection, right? “I don’t know you, wanna ‘like’ me and be my ‘friend’?  We get to have all these ‘likes’ and ‘friends’ without any of the mess of real life, right?  Maybe yes, maybe no.

I know that I am deeply flawed, scarred and troubled, but I have been told that I am a pretty decent listener and I like to feel as though I am a compassionate man.  So I listened. I listened to this distant, scared, exhausted voice. Listened to her talk with real love and sadness about her Dad and memories she has of him. Walking on the beach together, talking, running. Listened to her voice as she broke down, discussing his current state and things the doctors had told her. Listened as she confided that she hadn’t slept in I listened and I responded the way I would to a ‘real’ friend who might be going through the same thing.

She told me the doctors have given her Dad only a few days to live, maybe a week at the outside. He was about to have more surgery. Hospice, but not Hope.  We talked for 30 minutes. I offered her advice as best I could, told her to get others to help her, try to get some rest. She thanked me over and over for my kindness and generosity. As if kindness and genuine compassion was no longer a normal part of our existence. As if it was something special.

I was shaken by this interaction. After our conversation, I thought “Wow. That was very ‘real’, very authentic.”  That was the kind of conversation I’ve only ever had with someone I really ‘know’ well.  Of course, now I feel like I ‘know’ this person more. But shouldn’t we always look for a path to kindness and compassion to our fellow human? Even if they are ‘just’ online friends?

O.K. I know this was a random and rambling post. I just continue to try to understand this human experience we share. The way we touch each other’s lives. The commonalities of Love and Death that we all share. And yes, it IS a fearful thing to Love that which Death can touch. But we have no alternative.

Good night, internet. 

-G-

Making a Difference

https://www.michaeljfox.org/mobile/news-detail.php?with-charity-miles-your-workout-funds-parkinson-disease-research

Being a sponsored athlete is fun…and you can make a difference.

It was great to be interviewed and featured on the MJFF ‘FoxFeed’ blog yesterday.  So grateful to be able to contribute to this amazing group using Charity Miles to help The Michael J. Fox Foundation fund Parkinsons…

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Being a sponsored athlete is fun…and you can make a difference.

It was great to be interviewed and featured on the MJFF ‘FoxFeed’ blog yesterday.  So grateful to be able to contribute to this amazing group using CharityMiles to help fund #Parkinsons research.

Quest for 5000

“I tramp a perpetual journey…” –Walt Whitman.

I often feel like I share Whitman’s affliction.

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As a young elementary school boy, I was blessed to be able to spend a lot of weekend at a beach house we had outside of Watsonville, CA on Monterey Bay. Many an early Saturday morning, I would get up and set out through the dunes alone, exploring. I’d grab a bike and ride up to the adjacent state park,…

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postmodernjukeboxing:

'60 girl group / doo wop version of Ellie Goulding's “Burn,” featuring Robyn, Cristina, and Ashley….and the original Flame-O-Phone (yup- a saxophone that shoots fire from its bell).   Probably one of our most rewarding and dangerous shoots.

postmodernjukeboxing:

Just in time for tonight - the “smooth” version of the ‘Game of Thrones’ theme, featuring Dave Koz.  Pairs nicely with wine. Perfect for wooing the Khaleesi in your life.

I walked 1.352 @CharityMiles for @MichaelJFoxOrg at work…but this is prettier than where I  work:  (at Riverstone Park)

I walked 1.352 @CharityMiles for @MichaelJFoxOrg at work…but this is prettier than where I work: (at Riverstone Park)