smashed window / stolen guitar / the cycle of cynicism / the cycle of hope

As is my habit, I’m reflecting on a life event from a hopeful perspective.

I couldn’t find a great title for this post, but it’s at least descriptive. 

The story starts with Kaile leaving early this Thanksgiving morning for a sunrise service – a religious gathering honoring indigenous people and their experience in the Americas. Taking Silas out of his bed early, they drove to San Francisco and, to Silas’s absolute joy and three-year-old delight, boarded a ferry for Alcatraz Island. 

They watched as the dancers and worshipers sang and prayed, honoring this beautiful culture with their presence and curiosity. In their prayers and dances they confronted their painful history of displacement and genocide with a desire for harmony and newness. 

Those traumas live on in the lives of all of us, in the form of our personal narratives, whether it’s a trauma related to our personhood, our faith, our sexuality, or our possessions. The traumas live on in our ethnic narratives. They exist in our family cultures, whether or not we’re willing to take note. 

Sometimes our pain leads us to seek some kind of hope that is larger than us. Other times we try to drown it out with chemicals injected into whatever vein we can find, or melt it away with alcohol. 

I can be reasonably sure someone’s personal tragedy, which led to addictions, led them to smash our Volvo’s rear hatch this morning, searching for something of worth to steal. It’s getting toward the end of the month, so money was probably running low. I surmise the added pain of missing family members or feeling the weight of homelessness surely drove them back to their substances of choice – and that substance has a price tag. 

They did indeed find something: Continue reading “smashed window / stolen guitar / the cycle of cynicism / the cycle of hope”

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Saying Goodbye / Searching for Home

On Halloween, I said goodbye to a great friend, Mehmet [rhymes with Emmet]. He and I had grown close, sharing the life experience of parenting young children – in my case, two energetic [read: loud] boys and his situation one spirited girl.

As I said goodbye I realized how difficult goodbyes can be.

What was more difficult was watching my son, Silas, insist on giving Mehmet’s daughter a hug. He simply would not leave the playground until he had hugged Nur. It was as if he knew she was leaving, though I had avoided telling him about it.

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Saying goodbye to Mehmet, I was reminded how I had just said goodbye to Alvaro, who moved with his young family to the East Bay. Because of the distance, he and his family will find a new church community. Our friendship had really grown, and I felt a bittersweet sadness when the news of his departure settled on my consciousness.

I also remembered staring into my friend Marco’s tear-filled eyes not long ago as we parted ways in Grand Rapids three years ago. He and his wife Kari left our little going-away party [we were headed to San Francisco] at our bungalow home in Garfield Park for Continue reading “Saying Goodbye / Searching for Home”