Between homes and temporarily limited to an iPad, so I’m passing the baton to a journo whose essay I liked. Titled “Marie Kondo and the Privilege of Clutter”.
Monthly Archives: March 2016
A Life Built on Service and Saving
If my ticket gets punched sometime soon, I’ll have lived a life filled to the brim. Almost disorientingly so. I’ve crouched in the final passageway of a West African slave fort, been drenched by Victoria Fall’s mist, walked on the Great Wall of China, ran around the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, hiked in Chiapas, and cross country skied in Norway. I’ve lived in the Midwest, the West, the Southeast, and as one six year old here says, “the Specific Northwest”. I’ve interacted with thousands of young people, the vast majority who appreciated my efforts on their behalf. I’ve cycled up and down mountains in the Western United States. I’ve taught guest lessons in my daughters’ elementary classrooms. I’ve been blessed to know lots of people more selfless than me, some who will read this today. I’ve been loved by caring, generous parents, and been privileged to know my wife and daughters and their friends.
My life has been so full that I tend to think about whatever my future holds as extra credit. Everything from here on out is a bonus.
Maybe I don’t look forward to too much anymore because my cup has been overflowing for some time. Apart from a story well told and nature, not a lot moves me these days.
So getting choked up in church yesterday, during the announcements of all things, was totally unexpected. A guest was invited to the front to make a surprise announcement. A tall, dapper man in his late 30’s began describing his relationship with ChuckB, a member who had passed away a few months ago. He had been Chuck’s financial planner for eight years.
I didn’t know Chuck until I attended a celebration of his life that was planned nine months ago after the church community learned of his terminal illness. He worked as a forester for the Department of Ecology for a few decades and kept a low profile at church, driving the van, tutoring after school, doing whatever was needed behind the scenes. At his celebration I was struck by how everyone described him as one of the most humble, caring, and giving people they had ever known. He lived a simple life in a modest neighborhood that revolved around participating in church activities.
The financial planner announced that Chuck and his wife, who had passed away previously, were leaving the church $925,000, divided four ways, the largest portion for international aide, another for local charities, another for Lutheran World Relief specifically, and about $220,000 in the church’s unrestricted fund to use as the Council sees fit. A Council that has been seeking about $35,000 to fund a half-time position dedicated to strengthening our ties to local people in need.
There was an audible gasp. Two people stood and began applauding and soon everyone followed. My favorite part, and probably what moved me so much, was that Chuck wasn’t there for his standing ovation. Shortly before he died, he confided to one member that he was leaving “the bulk of his estate to the church,” but that person said she had “no idea it was anywhere near that much money.” No one did.
The most beautiful and moving part to me is that Chuck intentionally passed on his standing ovation. He didn’t need it. A life filled with service and saving was more than enough. Blessed be his memory.
This is Not Reality T.V.
Every seven years or so I like to have a guest post whether readers clamor for it or not. Can you guess the author? Hint: I know her well enough to assume “wiener” was intentional.
Who will get voted off the island next?
Who will have to pack up their knives or pack their bags and go home? Who will get FIRED! These are the questions that draw millions of Americans back to their TV sets week after week engaged in the newest version of their favorite reality TV shows.- The American Presidential Election.
Week after week, we tune in to the latest episode to see who will be voted off the stage next? Will it be Low Energy Jeb? Abrasive Ted? Little Marco? Low Talker Ben? Commie Bernie? Calculated Clinton? Or The Donald? Each episode we meet the remaining candidates still left on the stage. We listen to their stories and then leave them to the voters to see who will survive yet another week. In between episodes there is gossip (Jeb has so little energy and Marco, just so little!), backstabbing (Ted says Trump has withdrawn!), accusations ( Bernie’s a commie!), drama (is Ted even eligible?- he’s Canadian!), sex appeal (a little short on that, barring Melania Trump) and the sure bet ratings pumper upper –violence, (aka Trump campaign rallies).
CNN is airing a new series called Race For the Whitehouse simultaneously to the real Race For the Whitehouse. But I think they’re wasting their time, because the real deal is proving to be everything the American people could ever ask for in a reality TV show. And that is a big reason why Donald Trump has been so successful thus far. In the show that has gripped the nation, he is the star. And well qualified as a star as he was also the star of his own reality TV show from 2004-2015- The Apprentice . Donald Trump is an actor, an entertainer. He has seamlessly moved from The Apprentice to The American Presidential Election. He knows how to be in front of a camera, how to work a crowd, how to create drama & suspense, how to gossip , how to FIRE people off the damn stage and of course, his favorite, be the wiener week after week, episode after episode.
Please people, can we just turn the show off, switch the channel or wake up and realize this is not Reality TV, this is Reality?
scourge—noun. 1. a whip or lash, especially for the infliction of punishment. 2. a person or thing that administers punishment or criticism. 3. a Donald Trump-like cause of affliction or calamity.
I’ll never look at downtown Seattle or Olympia the same. See the whole 2 hour-long documentary here.
I’m an Idiot
Effective leaders mix humility, kindness, and composure, in what may be thought of quite simply, as “human decency”.
Most Republican primary voters do not share my view. The one candidate displaying the most decency is in last place. And it appears as if most Democratic primary voters do not share my opinion either. The Democratic candidate exhibiting the most humility, kindness, and composure is losing that race too.
I can’t help but conclude, I’m an idiot.
I also believe life in the United States has improved over the last seven years—fewer people are destitute around the world, GLBT citizens are enjoying new civil rights, more people are working and have health insurance, our environmental ethic is stronger, we’re opting for diplomacy over conventional warfare, the stock market has more than doubled in value, and everything has worked out beautifully on Downton Abbey.
Most Republican primary voters do not share my view. Apparently, the frontrunner’s success is the result of deep-seated, widespread anger at the state of things. In their view, we don’t win anymore. Who cares about people in other places, traditional marriage and religious liberty are under constant attack, socialized medicine means worsening quality of care, and who cares about the stock market when there’s not any savings to invest. If only “W” could have had a third and fourth term.
My whacked out thinking is probably the result of my white, male, well-to-do privilege trifecta. In the interest of going along to get along, maybe I should get more angry, think more negatively, and support the most brash candidate possible, human decency be damned.