Category Archives: Building relationships

Your life matters – to me

Black lives matter.

Blue lives matter.

All lives matter.

There is no argument that these are true statements.

So why is there so much controversy?

protest3I wonder if it is because we can’t get past the blanket of color or category to see into the personal life of a real person.

Perhaps we’d be better served to say:

Philando Castile’s life matters.

Brent Thompson’s life matters.

Cheyenne Stewart’s life matters.

It’s true that death doesn’t somehow hurt more if you are black, or a police officer, or an innocent child.

But it doesn’t hurt any less either.

Continue reading Your life matters – to me

To the bully

This is part of a series of letters to those who may feel lost. Sometimes when we are down, discovering something in the mailbox is just the thing.

It reminds us that we aren’t as alone as we think.

However, today I write to a young woman who feels safely distanced enough through Internet anonymity to mindlessly type words to one such as Lily and then hit send.

textingI’m tempted to not dignify her with a name, but that always gives more power to the deceiver. It’s important that we put both a name and a face with the painful text. After all, someone who really knows who they are would never hide behind secrecy.

Let’s call her Ashley.

Ashley,

I know what you’ve been doing to Lily.

I see you shrug your shoulders and say “it was all a joke, it really isn’t that big of a deal – besides everyone was doing it.”

My first instinct is to grab you and shake you so hard that your teeth rattle and then scream “What is wrong with you?”

Okay, it would also be my second.

And my third.

It is NOT a joke.

It really IS a big deal.

Fist beating into Water, vertical, splash

And right now, I’m dealing with you – you can’t hide anymore behind this nameless group called “everybody.”

So, I’ll punch the wall, pace for a few hours, and take some calming breaths.

And quietly ask again:

“What is wrong with you?”

Continue reading To the bully

To the friends and family of the adult attracted to the same sex

This is part of a series of letters to those who may feel lost. Sometimes when we are down, discovering something in the mailbox is just the thing.

It reminds us that we aren’t as alone as we think.

Today I write to the friends and family of a man I call Jack who is attracted to the same sex. Well-meaning though they may be, they probably don’t understand how much pain they can cause.

hand shake

 

It’s time to stop it.

And replace it with what Jack does need.

 

Dear Jack’s friends and family,

You know Jack: hard working, good looking, always ready to help you out.

And lonely.

My guess is that you sincerely want to help, and offer encouragement as often as possible.

You just need to be careful that your encouragement isn’t discouraging.

Continue reading To the friends and family of the adult attracted to the same sex

Freely given, not forcibly taken

The recent frenzy over the Powerball billion+ prize was actually pretty helpful in giving me perspective on just how much money $1,000,000,000 is.

It’s a lot.

money2I’m sure we all saw the math dividing up the mega-prize into “mini” prizes of roughly $4,000,000 – one award for every person living in America.

Wow.

Call me slow, but I never connected it taking THAT many millions to make a billion. I still can’t wrap my head around the trillions in debt hanging over our heads.

Like many of you, I had that moment of “that would be SO great if the powers-that-be at the Powerball factory would even just give each of us, say, $1,000,000 – leaving them 75% of the prize.” You know what I mean, that closed-eye moment feeling like we wouldn’t have to worry so hard about the future.

money3After all, it’s only logical.

Couldn’t the government just step in and take part of it?

No one needs that much. It’s only fair.

Continue reading Freely given, not forcibly taken

Yep, it’s a big bad world out there – but it’s also an amazingly great world in here

A few days ago our niece was scheduled to be in a talent show at the high school. Being three people with two cars (wow, there’s another of those first-world problems, right?) I was driving Ann in to work so I could attend the assembly.

The skies were crisp and clean and piercing. As we headed west, the sun was just warming the top third of the Wellsville mountain range.

It was pretty spectacular (almost as much as was the company).

When I arrived at the school, my sister was watching out for me in the auditorium. We sat right up front in the middle of all the students.

flag2As the lights began to dim, I could see that the room was filled to capacity. Without warning, everyone was on their feet and I was thrilled when everyone in the audience stood, loudly and clearly pledging allegiance to the flag.

No one had to be asked, or begged, or shamed into it.

It was obviously just a part of how they did things; part of who they are.

There was moment when I noticed the principal standing in the doorway – but he’s the only adult I ever saw.

The student association directed the program, gave announcements, invited everyone to the party after the ballgame, and told us all what a RAD time it would be.

I was blown away at the talent. For the next hour we listened to singing, rapping, piano and guitar playing and watched dancing, juggling, glow-in-the-dark yo-yos, and an excerpt from the upcoming school musical.

That would have been enough to keep my attention.

But the performance wasn’t the thing that we all needed to watch closely.

It was the natural behavior of the students themselves.

Continue reading Yep, it’s a big bad world out there – but it’s also an amazingly great world in here