Sunday, July 23, 2006

Messages of Unknown Origin...
...years ago I remember walking through a graveyard, with a babysitter, at night. For all intents and purposes, I suppose it was a shortcut toward my home...and I guess she considered the idea innocuous.

The moonlight was steely grey, and it's cool shimmer was cast on every object in such a way that many chills were sent deep into my childhood mind and heart.

Not wanting to see what could merely appear as a hand reaching up from each gravestone I passed, I purposed to keep my eyes straight the branches of the trees, also seemed like ominous arms reaching down to me...

I seem to recall she was talking as if we were in the canned food section of the nearest market...and I remember deeply sensing the contrast of her demeanor and the environment. I remember wondering how she could be physically next to me...but spiritually oblivious. I remember wondering if how I was feeling was just a child thing...and if someday I would be more like her...

And then my answer appeared. Lost in my thoughts, I had let my eyes wander...and instantly I realized a word...a single word...screaming out to me...


She grabbed my hand quickly and jerked me away from where I must have been I remember automatically setting one foot in front of another...but not really walking. I was locked in on the message I received from unknown origin.

I remember the shock and disbelief that it were even possible in this reasonable world for the adults to conduct their activity in such a way as to leave a grave this way. I wondered if it were really possible for someone to die unknown. I wondered if that was really all the adults could do with this person...and I know it was at that exact moment I realized I must make every effort to live my life in a way that my contribution to this existence is KNOWN.

From that moment on, I never saw life the same. From that moment on, I realized the soul of that stone could very well conclude to me: hey, what are you looking at? Someday you'll be exactly as I am.

And I will. Mission Statement was forged at age 8.


I had had a fight with my boyfriend...we had been together for about 7 years...and I was really very sad at the situation...

I remember the feeling of my powerlessness in the situation...the investments I had made in the relationship seemed to have absolutely no effect upon his need to also invest.

I remember his parting words in the I walked down the alley. I remember crying and smoking my clove...feeling the first pangs of what would later become our end.

I remember musing on the hateful words he yelled about me...and wondering if what he said were possibly true...and, perhaps I was just too prideful or arrogant to realize he accused. I began to allow his words to become my reality. And I sank further into a hopeless state.

I remember sitting down on the curb to cry...a few feet away from the delivery doors belonging to the florist.

I distinctly remember hating myself at that moment...seeing myself the way he apparently claimed I was...and drowning in confusion, as I knew deep down inside I was nothing like that.

Then...for no reason whatsoever, I began to be hit with repeated thoughts of other aspects in my life that seemed to completely unravel his argument. Situations and relationships where my "investing" has been exceedingly redemptive...and constructive. I began to survey the many relationships in my life that were thriving. And I began to consider the continual destructive relationships he seemed to crave.

I remember at that moment I raised my head to wipe away my tears one final time... and saw a small blackboard near some boxes by the delivery door dumpster.

I could see it had something written on chalk. I remember slowly walking toward the blackboard...still sad...still confused...and I read: THE DIFFERENCE IS YOU.

I still have that chalkboard with it's words and I look at it sometimes with a smile because...when everything was said and done with that was a message of truth.


Years ago, on New Years day, I was with a group of people in Bend, Oregon. They had all decided to go mountain bike riding that day...and...I decided at the last minute to go skiing alone.

Several hours into my runs...I realized a storm was quickly approaching as the light snowfall and breeze were becoming stronger in force.

I remember being at one of the expert runs, very high on the mountain, when I calculated I could take a quicker way to the lodge. Being unfamiliar with the mountain and it's runs...I apparently went off course in a really wrong way. Before I knew it, I was knee deep into the side of this steep run...and completely surrounded by snowfall...with the sun having set some time ago...

I remember wedging my ski out of the snow, taking off my skis and attempting to find firmer ground. I looked around and began to realize the situation I had put myself in.

I was alone, and more than likely no one would I hadn't told anyone from my group where I was going.

I remember a wave of panic hitting me as my efforts to walk seemed impossible enough...despite having no idea which way to walk. I probably moved 5 feet with every 3 minutes of struggle and knew I had run out of options.

I stood still for a moment, catching my breath. My heart racing and the fear welling inside.

In a flash I spotted a red figure some 200 yards away. I saw this figure stop. It stood still. And I realized it was the Ski Patrol. I had no clue what to do. I just stood there, waiting for him to see what he would do. Then he waved one arm toward him...and skied away.

I remember thinking he was going for help...but also...he was on firm I decided to help him, while he was going for help for me...and I would try to get closer to where he had been...

I couldn't tell you how long I struggled with the snow and my skis and my freezing hands and face...but I remember coming to the realization that the pack was more solid and I had come close enough to attempt to ski down.

And...I gratefully locked on my skis and glided to the bottom of the mountain.

Two ski patrol guys were near the lift when I arrived...they made some comment about how late it was and I remember trying to tell them I was the one the other ski patrol guy had need to go up there.

I will never forget when the explained to me that they were the only two ski patrols on that side of the mountain that day...all the others had gone home...and no one else was up there.


Not too long ago I was awoken by a phone call in the middle of the night. I answered in an automatic fashion, being barely coherent.

I remember the man on the other side...his words...he said, "You don't know me. But I want to tell you, God loves you."

And I was absolutely pissed off...I was like, "Hey. Who the fuck is this? It's 2 o'clock in the godamned morning--"

And he said, "Look, I know that. You just need to know that God loves you, and everything is going to be alright."

And I was like, "Okay, thank you crazy person. Good night." I slammed down the phone.

In the morning when I awoke...a few minutes drifted by...and the middle of the night phone call surfaced to my mind.

I immediately wondered if I had dreamt that call...or if it had been real...

I walked over to the phone...clicked on the button of calls received and it showed: 1.

I scrolled down...and the word I saw hit me as fresh and brilliant as that moonlit night long ago...when it penetrated my heart and soul...when I was 8...


"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Another beautiful birthday...
have a wonderful week...