The Country We Live In

I saw them first on the train platform. The clean, smiling little girl was bouncing about playing with a balloon animal, being a child, unaware of the world and its problems. A man nearby that I assumed to be her father was digging through a little pink and clear backpack.  I always chuckle when I see juxtapositions like that, as are often presented in this city. What if the girl wasn’t near him? That couldn’t be his backpack. Why not? Don’t we all have things we need to carry?

As the train lumbered down the track, I hear a man’s voice. I could tell it was the beginning of one of the appeals that people make daily to ask for help from riders. I looked up to see this appeal was from the man on the platform with the little pink backpack.

“Excuse me ladies and gentleman for the interruption. We’re homeless right now, living in a shelter,” he said. “If you could help in any way at all with some money or food I would appreciate it.”

His voice trailed off near the end. I wondered what was on his mind.

I don’t know that a train car ever felt quieter than that moment. No one budged. No one would look up at the man. The little girl still was fascinated with the balloon animal right across from me now, bouncing it in the air. The man continued down the train car carrying the little pink and clear backpack and the little girl, still silent and smiling, followed her father.

 

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I Still Haven’t Watched

In this moment in our world, it is possible to find out about any major event almost instantly. Thousands of people can watch an event live or see released footage in moments. On my timeline, over and over again I see shared the recently released footage of the murder of Philando Castile in Minnesota. The officer who shot him was acquitted this week of all charges.

I started writing this week as a therapeutic mechanism. Even the largest tree starts with a seed and the hope is that, like a snowball on a hill, I can regain momentum to really just feel better. To that end, I have not watched this video. I want to and I will but I cannot.

I wonder what it is like for people who are able to live in a bubble in which they remain indifferent to such acts. They think that things like this are something we should accept in the course of human events. To believe that caring about someone else’s child as blasphemy to some imaginary orthodoxy is sickening to me.

I cannot put my head in the sand. But I still haven’t watched.

 

On Gratitude

I know that gratitude is key to living well. Being thankful for where you and from where you came is key part of success in my book.

But what happens when it’s hard to see over the mountain? What happens when you’re thankful but so ready to get out of that valley?  You can’t go into turbo-gratitude to push you higher. There is action that takes place. I think some times those who encourage thankfulness sometimes enable complacency and resignation.

While gratitude is key, what is the right balance to strike to still push toward progress?

What Do I Want?

Whenever I get asked this question in nearly any context, I have a bit of hesitation. This should be the one question that should not produce any hesitation whatsoever since there is no such thing as a right or wrong answer. The answer only comes from within and no one else can answer it best. Individual choice is at the hallmark of so many institutions from the free will of God’s creations in religion to the concept of individual freedom that is the cornerstone of western democracy.

Why is there hesitation for me? Someone reminded me recently when I mentioned that I am socially awkward at times that I don’t appear that way at all. Yet, I still think of myself internally. If I had any goals from seeking to learn more about myself through therapeutic sessions, this would be high on the list.

Live. Breathe. Write.

This is the post excerpt.

I commit to writing something everyday. Over the past few months, I have felt myself descend into a darker abyss. I get up later. Everything takes a bit more effort. Those moments where I feel lonely even among the company of great friends appear with increasing frequency. Self-doubt surrounds me, suffocating my efforts to ascend.

I shared these thoughts with a friend who reminded me that I am a writer and as long as I am not writing, that which builds up inside of me will only burden me. This is why I started this– with the hope that I can live better, breathe easier and  ultimately survive. Perhaps a theme or focus can develop over time but for now my goal is to lift myself into a space of greater confidence and out of the muck of morass.

By committing to write, I am making a commitment to live and progress. As long as I am breathing, it is the least I can do.

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