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On the Mindless Menace of Violence

A fellow on twitter posted a link to a YouTube video from a speech Robert Kennedy gave in 1968. I was moved to tears over it and in light of the more visible extremists these days, I watched with more sorrow than I even I expected. I wish I could find just the audio because the video’s images are more politically charged than I can appreciate but I offer the link to view it. It’s probably what was so compelling to me anyway. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_Vll-t0H6A

Every day, I grow more fearful of what other American’s are threatening than I do of any foreign threats. Men with guns, yards from the president, quoting Jefferson’s tree of liberty is threat to our very existence. And, this is just one example of hundreds. Frightening.

The text of the speech is offered below.

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road maps

I read this article recently. In the article there was a quote. It was written that a road map’s no good without a destination. While I understand that the author was just using a simple analogy to make his point, I just have to add my thoughts about how road maps are much more than the fastest path from point A to B.

I love maps. Here are some other things I think maps have to offer:

  • A map shows you where you are so that you can decide the best route. (planning)
  • There are hundreds of paths to the same destination. Without a map how do you know the best route for you? (resources)
  • The map shows you all the stops along the way. (benchmarks)
  • Exploring alternative routes with no destination in mind is the best way to gain new perspectives. (flexibility)
  • Knowing the distance and when you arrive. (evaluation)

Of course, he was just talking about the end statement and I guess I am considering the process. For me, the journey’s the thing.

Baby on Board

Well, there have been a rash of fires in the area lately. On Saturday, driving on 635, we passed what looked to be an entire complex burning. Smoked engulfed the area north of the highway and poured thick clouds over the the roadway. It was dramatic enough to contemplate gawking but in the end we didn’t stop. Later I learned that an entire community had burned to the ground.

I’ve been purging stuff lately. My own fire sale so to speak. However, the news about all the families who have lost their entire history, their environment, and so much of their lives in the flames got me thinking even more about what things I hold most precious. My dogs and our human lives are the only really important things but I still have a collection of stuff that I have wrapped my identity around…art work, antiques, pictures, albums, journals, letters, my favorite t-shirt from the 1980’s and much, much more. I have been cataloging much of this into the computer through photo’s and by scanning materials. Storing these on hard drives and then rotating the drives to the safety deposit box for extra precaution.

So, I was remembering those yellow faux traffic signs with the slogan, “Baby on Board”. I thought I might like one of those in the window of my house that says “Save the Hard Drives” with a big arrow pointing the way. I know, it’s shallow, but a life is a life because of what we cherish. Maybe it’s just my only way to ensure I have a history.

when is a prick a prick?

Today I was talking, in a way, about crucial conversations. In a discussion about an incident that affected a friend and me at the same time. I was considering even though we sit on two completely different sides of the situations we had, for the most part, arrived at the same place in conclusion.

Her position was that she wasn’t up for saying anything about what had bothered her because she didn’t want to come off as a selfish prick and my position was that I would risk it because I needed to address it head on. So, I did have the conversation and she did not based on our respective positions. By sharing what I felt, I was risking losing a relationship but in the same turn by not sharing, so was she. Right?

It will be interesting to see how our situations will evolve. I feel much better having had the opportunity to address my issues directly. I actually feel better. So much so that I’ve not given it another thought. In talking about the incident today, I felt by our conversation that she is carrying a burden that still seems to hurt her. But here’s the rub, neither of us has had to face the people we were hurt by. There may be consequences to my actions that include a loss of a relationship because I brought it up. While she may be able to involve herself in the relationship again without any issues. All because no one will have any idea that she felt (feels?) hurt.

For me, open conversation is crucial in any relationship that I truly value. However, I understand fully the consequences of this personal philosophy. On more than one occasion, I have alienated people who were not prepared for a crucial conversation. It’s hard for anyone to hear how you feel hurt or whatever the emotion might be without taking it personally, without being defensive. Understandable. It is nearly impossible to convey an idea that if I value a relationship with you, then we have to be able to communicate openly and truthfully. If I love you then at some point, we are going to have a conversation that makes us uncomfortable but at the end of it, we will be the better for it. Better because we are not stuffing real emotion away and saving for later all just to be polite.

On the flip side, I also wish people would invest in me the same way. If I have done a wrong, I wish like hell that person would take the time to tell me. There is no greater feeling when a relationship is strained than to have someone allow you to apologize and you be forgiven. It seems like the right thing to do.

Maybe I am wrong. There certainly isn’t one right way to do it. I know plenty of people who can ignore hurt feelings and there are no long term consequences. They feel hurt alone, keep it as long as they need and release it without it ever causing a crack in their own heart. And, by not sharing their feelings with another person, even the one who caused them issue, they have not created a crack in anyone else’s heart or what is more typical, a crack in the relationship. In the end, there is at least one sure truth, it is just as easy to damage a relationship with honesty as it is without it.

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