Thursday, July 23

A letter to a Brother I haven’t yet met…

Dear JBB,

We haven’t met, yet, and I do hope that someday we will be able to meet and shake hands and get to know one another. I feel like I know you to a certain extent. See, we share a bit in common. It’s more than just the fact that our lives seem to have shared similar experiences. I have been told of some of the things you’ve survived through and often I have survived the same things. More important than that, to me at least, is the fact that we share the same person. In this I’m talking about your Mom.

It’s funny to me to think that even though we are not related in any way, I feel as if your Mom is my Mom. We even have a joke that she’s my Internet Mom. :-)

I was listening the other day to the song “Mama, I’m Coming Home” by Ozzy Osbourne and it got me thinking. I wanted to share those thoughts with you. It seemed to my heart that you might appreciate them. See, I know what you’re going through right now and while I haven’t been in the exact same situation that you are, I have my own parallels.

“Times have changed and times are strange
Here I come, but I ain’t the same
Mama, I’m coming home
Times gone by seem to be
You could have been a better friend to me
Mama, I’m coming home”

Now, just reading this verse, it doesn’t seem to be a very friendly song for Mom, right? But think about it this way. He’s really talking to the World. See, we all have the opportunity to give the World a try and eventually we come to find that the World “could have been a better friend to me”. The World, as we find, only looks out for itself. But in the end…”Mama, I’m coming home”.

“You took me in and you drove me out
Yeah, you had me hypnotized, yeah
Lost and found and turned around
By the fire in your eyes

You made me cry, you told me lies
But I can't stand to say goodbye
Mama, I'm comin’ home
I could be right, I could be wrong
It hurts so bad it's been so long
Mama, I'm comin’ home

Selfish love yeah we're both alone
The ride before the fall, yeah
But I'm gonna take this heart of stone
I just got to have it all”

I know what it’s like to be sucked in to everything that the World says that it offers. Friends, money, love, fame, power, and lots and lots of things. It’s pretty easy to fall into that trap and once we’re in it, we SO want to just stay there. We often are completely willing to trade those people that honestly want the best for us, for those that want the best FROM us. We get worn down, beaten, broken, and still, the World wants more from us. And in the end...”Mama, I'm comin’ home

“I've seen your face a hundred times
Everyday we've been apart
I don't care about the sunshine, yeah
'Cause mama, mama, I'm comin’ home
I'm comin’ home
I'm comin’ home”

I heard this part with new ears, wanting, with all my heart to be present when you are finally able to say this. Wherever I am when this happens, know that I will rejoice with all my heart. I will take a moment, several actually, and know that you have survived again. I will know that you have come home, better than when you first left.

I hope that this finds you in good spirits, my brother that I have yet to meet. I pray that you always remember that you are never the sum of your mistakes, but rather, the product of how you chose to live your life. Love amplifies love, compassion begets forgiveness and healing, and you are an important part of many people’s lives. It seems to be a lesson that we all need to revisit from time to time.

As the saying goes…

God love you Brother, and so do I.

Wednesday, July 22

I’ll have a side of Hope with that…

So, I’m getting ready for work this morning, letting my mind wander, as is my wont. And I‘m listening to the comedy station on my phone, as I usually do, and one of my favorite comedians comes on, Christopher Titus. Now, I tried…really I did…to transcribe the bit that he was doing, but, let’s face it, I have zero future as a secretary or transcriptionist. :-)

So, here’s the link to the bit. Titus. Now, before you go any further, I insist that you go listen to this one. It’s only 5 minutes and 14 seconds. So go…I’ll wait…

Back? Great. Now, one of the things that I love about Titus is that he makes me think about things. Things in my own life and about the World in general. I believe that that is the best kind of comedy. The kind that makes you think. That takes the way things are right now in the world, good, bad, or unbelievably stupid, and they question, prod, poke, and make you think about it.

“Sanity may be madness but the maddest of all is to see life as it is and not as it should be.”
Don Quixote

So, what about Sergeant Pepper? Did that make you think about the World today? I know…I know…I can hear you asking now…This is it? This is his Profound Thought today? Sergeant Pepper?

Nope. I’m thinking about the very last bit of what Titus said. “The World’s not coming to an end right now. And I had some hope.” And I thought to myself…Do I have some hope right now? Do the people that I care about have hope? What about the World in general? Do you think there is an abundance of hope in this World?

Now, the cynic in me wants to loudly shout “No! Hope is at an all time low!” and I’m certain that there are lots of people that would agree with that. But is that the truth of it? For some reason, I’m inclined to say no. So, I thought and thought about hope in the World. Let me give some examples…

• Every time a boat full of people throw themselves out into the ocean, in an attempt to reach the US, there is an abundance of hope.
• Every time a group of oppressed people band together in an attempt to make the wrong things right, there is an abundance of hope.
• Every time an abused child, spouse, or person leaves an abuser, there is an abundance of hope.

Now, I’m certain that there will be people pointing to these few examples and saying, “It’s not hope! It’s desperation! They have no other options.” But, I don’t think so. Every desperate choice is fueled by a hope of something better. Hope is the basic underlying belief in any attempt of change, no matter how big or how small.

“Once you choose hope, anything's possible.”
Christopher Reeves

There was a point in my own life where my hope reserves started scraping bottom. I just didn’t have any hope in anything at all. And then, I met someone that helped me to find that small nugget of hope that was hiding inside me. Today, he’s one of my very best friends. He showed me that life without hope is, in truth, no life at all. That all of life is based on hope. Hope for tomorrow, hope for change, hope for love, peace, friendship.

When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time.”
Author Unknown

Every time that I look at my sons, I know that familiar surge of hope. I also feel that immense burden of hope. See, I now know that hope is a double-edged sword. Hope is what allows us to carry on in the face of unbelievable trials, to face fear and strife and smile as you make your way through. Hope is also the biggest responsibility we all have to the next generation.

WE are the example that children will live up to. WE are the ones that will teach them how to live. WE are the ones that will show them what it truly means to live with hope. And how can you do that if you don’t know how yourself?

See, hope is what lets us catch a glimpse of the future. Of what could be. Hope facilitates our own personal belief in tomorrow. That is a precious gift that we are compelled to give to our children.
Because what is a World…without hope?

Not someplace that I want my children living in. :-)

And a World with…well…all the hope in the World?

I think Titus sums it up well…

“It’s a park. And there’s a white guy, and a black guy, and an Asian guy, and a Latino guy, and, OK, THAT guy, he’s Canadian. Don’t worry about him; they never affect the World much at all. But, you see what they’re doing, honey? That is called praying. And they are doing it for each other. Your Daddy has never seen this in his lifetime. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe this is the best time for you to be born, cuz that right there, that what it means to be an American. And they’re praying for peace and if we can’t have peace…well, that we destroy the people who screwed up the peace. So we can have peace!”

I’m proud to be living now…in THIS time…in THIS place…on THIS planet. With you. God bless.