A Random Pattern

Archive for November, 2008

I’m not who I was

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008
Highway Lights In Motion

         Highway Lights In Motion

There’s been a song on the radio lately, with the lyrics:

“I used to sing about love and stuff, maybe cause I want it so much, but I’m not who I was.”

(Brandon Heath, “I’m Not Who I Was” iTunes link Amazon link lyrics )

Very recently, I gave in and joined Facebook.  There’s a lot I can say about that (and don’t you worry, I will) but maybe the first thing to hit me was the reality of establishing contact with people who, until now, were essentially part of my past.

They had gone on with their lives, I had gone one with mine.  When we had crossed, years or decades ago, the intersections might have been pleasant, encouraging, life-giving – or they might have been abrasive, tempest-tossed, fraught with misunderstandings.  Now we’ve “all grown up” as the saying goes.  At least, my first thought and hope is that those I’ve contacted have matured as I have, that there is not some long-held grievance out there against me.  Of course some of this is silly thinking: I don’t remember nearly as much what these people did as what I did; it is probably the same for them; And even what is remembered I wouldn’t hold against them now.  We all make mistakes, and most of us grow, learn from them, change for the better.

Another thing that struck me this morning: I don’t “do” memories.  I don’t live in the past much, nor look back.  In fact, I don’t remember most of my childhood before age 10, and I’m not sad about this at all.  (It is something I don’t care to remember anyway.)  But I do greatly value the many wonderful people I have met, known, and cared for over my time here on earth.  I’m just not a person who spends much time remembering or reminiscing – at least not anymore.

I have been looking to the future lately, realizing it is important for my children that I have a clear vision.  For me, looking forward also requires looking back.  I began to see how decisions (both mine and others) shaped my path through life.  I realized that I’m not who I was.  I’ve changed, grown up, moved on.  Yet so much of who I was still remains in various ways – habits, old goals unfulfilled and unforgotten, even reactions to certain smells all come from where I came.  I can’t move on from things in my past by ignoring them.

How have you changed?  Who are you now, compared to who you were?

One Uniform and One Toy

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Just a few days ago, after months of radio-silence (ok, blog-silence), I asked you for something.  It was an important day for our country, and I asked you to go out and vote.  I don’t know if you did, but for the many of you that made the time I hope you feel as satisfied about that decision as I do (regardless of who you voted for).

Today I want to ask for one more thing.  I know many of you plan to face very lean Christmases, with all that has happened over the last year.  But it’s easy to forget that most of us don’t really know lean.  Our kids have clothes, will go to nice schools.  We drive vehicles of our choice, and eat food of our choice.  When was your last meal chosen – REALLY chosen – by the dollar in your wallet?  When it wasn’t a choice of “not eating out” but of eating at all?

A new church is starting in my home city of Atlanta.  Before this church has even opened, they are hoping to help the poorest school in this city for Christmas.  It’s not much to ask – one uniform and one toy for each student in the school.  There are only 500 students.

Please help.  You can do something, however small, that will make a real difference for a child that needs it.  But action is needed now – not next month.  Please consider giving to 500uniforms.org.

Thank you for your time.  We now return to our regularly scheduled (Ha!) broadcast.


Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Go on, if you haven’t already, get to your polling place now.  If you have, sit back and enjoy the satisfaction from having done your civic duty.

Also, relish the fact that the election onslaught of the last few weeks will be reduced (in volume and tone if not eliminated).

I’ll leave you with this good reminder: chill a bit.  The last few years have been startlingly bitter and hateful, divisive.  Let’s get back to respecting our neighbors (yes, even those we disagree with) and our president – whoever it will be.