Today in Boston, a bomb exploded as people crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon. According to the Chicago Tribune, at least 2 people were killed, at least 80 injured with numbers rising, and “Without knowing who perpetrated the attack, the White House said it was handling the incident as ‘an act of terror.’” President Obama was, as reported, reluctant to call this a terrorist attack, and cautioned the American public to not jump to conclusions. A few moments after the attack however, Fox news contributor Erik Rush tweeted, “Everybody do the National Security Ankle Grab! Let’s bring more Saudis in without screening them! C’mon.” In response, a young man asked him if he was blaming the explosions on Muslims, and he replied, “Yes, they’re evil. Let’s kill them all.” In response, thousands of young Americans raised their voices on Twitter in defense of Muslims and Islam.
The question remains though, why does this “reputable” and “respected” news contributor think that it is ok to demand that all Muslims be put to death, in response to a bombing that no culprit has claimed responsibility for? The answer lies in the many myths that the West, and in particular Americans, house about Muslims and Islam. Myths such as this build walls between American and Islamic culture, and perpetuate hatred and misunderstandings.
Today was a devastating day, two kinds of terrible occurred. First, people died and suffered, terribly and senselessly. Secondly people hated, blindly and ignorantly. Today opened our eyes in many ways. Cling to what you love, you never know when you might lose it. Be kind to those who are broken, you never know what the broken are capable of, or what you may prevent with a smile. Finally, open your mind to what you fear and hate, because there is a ugly mess inside of you, but you can make it beautiful if you begin to understand truth, and love.
Today I really have just one simple question, which for me right now has all the meaning in the world:
What if instead of hoping to make a mark on this word, we are meant to let the world make a mark upon us?
Robert Frost once composed a poem, which has become one of the most quoted pieces of literature of our time:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I have just one request, read this poem (one more time) from the point of view, of someone who deeply and inherently regrets the path they have chosen.
The signs of this distress have always been within this poem, but until I was asked to read it this way, I never saw them. Which path to choose? That has always been the question, but is there ever a clear answer? Perhaps the answer today is to let the world make its mark upon me, because for once I don’t have the answers, and it seems that there are many lessons to be learned.
in one way or another, we are all familiar with unintended consequences. they come in many shapes and sizes. They can range from accidentally cutting off a community’s water supply by building a damn intended to supply power, to the smaller consequence of hurting someone with a simple comment made in passing.
life is complicated. it is busy, beautiful, and sometimes burdensome. it never stops (until it is over), and is constantly throwing loopholes and decisions at you. you never have all of the information, and you never know what the next day will bring. it is no secret that humans are imperfect. i think we secretly want to believe that humans choose to be flawed, but i also think this a lie we choose to tell ourselves. at the heart of it, how many people have you ever intentionally harmed?
and so, to all of you who may have been harmed by something i have said or done, this is an apology. i know i am not a perfect person, i have made mistakes both big and small. in realizing my flaws, it makes accepting those of others that much easier. it makes forgiving, forgetting, and accepting grace that much better. a clean slate for yourself means a clean slate for everyone else too.
i am starting off this year the happiest i have ever been, blessed beyond any measure i could have ever fathomed. i am also starting off this new year with my eyes open to my flaws and with the promise to be better, try harder, and love more.
you have three options in life: the path well traveled, the path less traveled, and the option to go wherever you please. very little of humanity has served as a role model thus far, so i propose we stop pretending to be perfect, stop pretending to be uniform, and just admit that forging your own path is actually a hell of a lot easier than trying to follow in someone else’s footsteps.
i am sorry my dear walt, but whichever path, however traveled it may be, is equally as exhausting as the other. liberate yourself, liberate your footsteps. follow where no man leads.
How many times have you rolled out of bed? Everyday (or almost every day we should hope). Now really think… how many days have you rolled out of bed with a chip on your shoulder, that you have managed to turn into a weight, and carried it around with you all day?
If you really think about it, too often we let obscure, intangible, unsolvable issues clout our heads, and make a mess of our minds. Life is simple… do what it is that makes you happy and do it often. For those of us of faith doesn’t the bible say:
Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t plant or harvest or gather food into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. You are more valuable than they are, aren’t you? Matthew 6:26
God has promised to take care of us. He has planted joy in our heart, and when we let the burdens of everyday life weigh us down, we might miss the true beauty this life has to offer.
For ye of little faith, this might be a more difficult task. I know all to well that there are many people in the world who do not have enough food, a roof over their heads, basic medical care, jobs, education, hope, or very much to have faith in. It is these people who do carry a weight around on their shoulders, and justly so. They have more burdens to carry than anyone should, but what is amazing is often times these people count their blessings and find beauty in the world more often than people with very few problems at all. It is those who carry unnecessary burdens, and ignore or belittle the real problems of the world who truly miss the meaning of this life.
Listen to the music as you read my blog if you care to experience the entire effect.
The funny thing about puberty is that its kind of like the metamorphosis of a butterfly… its a lot more public and unfathomably more awkward… but it still takes something young and tender and turns them into the most beautiful versions of themselves.
I think physically puberty ends. We grow into out adult selves, and our bodies slowly begin to fail…they’ve explored their boundaries. However, emotionally, we never escape the merry-go-round that is puberty.
We are constantly growing and changing, completing our understanding of one thing, only to have something else become new and terrifying. Always growing, manipulating our views and comprehension of the world around us. And just like in puberty, constantly growing more beautiful and complex.
It would be so fascinating to be able to sit down with yourself for coffee… even just to listen. The person who I was a year ago could have no idea of the changes to come. The excitement and pain a person can go through in one year is phantasmagoric, unfathomable and yet realistic. If the person I was a year ago was lucky enough to have been given the life I have today, I cannot imagine the person I will be a year from now, and that is safe to say.
My own personal philosophy, there is beauty in everyone, gets me into trouble sometimes. I see it everywhere, the potential of greatness in everyone I meet. There is this light in everyone’s eyes that draws me in, some call it an aura, some call it a soul. I don’t care what you call it, I care what you do with it.
I know most people don’t agree with me. It is easy to first notice the flaws, to have to dig to see the beauty. I am lucky. For me, most of the time it is staring right back at me, even when the person themselves can’t see it.
This love for people, the excitement I feel for their potential… this is where I run into problems. There is nothing more dangerous than the allure of someone you believe can be great, who refuses to see it themselves. I recently watched a television after-show where someone commented, “Girls these days are full of self-confidence, but have no self-worth.” It is so sad but so true, and this inherent social flaw does not end with women. It is everywhere, the inability for people to see their worth.
For what it is worth, no matter who you are you have someone rooting for you out there, because even if you can’t see it… even if I have never met you, I guarantee there is beauty in you. Believe it. Embrace it.
Love yourself enough to treat yourself right. A few simple words with many implications. Remove yourself from the situation and think: what should I really do right now? Be kind and patient with yourself, like you would with a friend, and learn to take your own advice. Practice what you preach. Once you start staying true to your values, happiness will ensue. There is nothing better than being true to YOU.