Monthly Archives: September 2014

Forgiving

fork in the road

Image courtesy of sacks08

It was my first year of college and I was anxious to find out who my dorm roommate was going to be that year. I had been in this dorm in a previous year for high school (I attended a boarding school on the same campus), so I felt like I was in my element. That was when Greg* walked in. He was big. Really big. It turns out he was a weightlifter and even though he was wearing a fairly puffy jacket on this cool fall afternoon, I could tell he would be able to snap me in half if he really wanted to. I just hoped he didn’t want to.

It turned out that Greg was a big softy. While he was dedicated to his weight training, he was a pacifist and as kind as he was muscular. He kept his side of the room in immaculate condition and kept a rigid schedule of going to bed early so he could get up early to work out, doing his homework before going out, and reading a book in the evening. I could set my watch to him; he was that dependable.

I, on the other hand, was having too much fun to worry about such trivial things as studying, cleaning, and exercising regularly. Actually, I was pretty much the opposite of Greg. While he was studying, I was out with friends avoiding my work. While he was working out, I was sleeping. When he was reading, I was playing games on the computer and cranking my music much too loudly.

I liked Greg. Something about him intrigued me and made me feel a bit guilty about my attitude towards work and exercise. Continue reading Forgiving

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Judging

2014-09-24 14.47.57

I am sitting here staring at $2.15 in change in a pile on my desk. It might seem like a fairly insignificant thing, but it actually has had me thinking about a great deal of things over the past hour or so. In fact, I still don’t quite know what to do with it. You see, it isn’t mine, but the person who owns it didn’t want it. Let me rewind a bit. Continue reading Judging

Spinning

woodcut_woman_spinning

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

I’m sitting here staring at my screen, a blank screen, hoping that inspiration will come. It isn’t that I don’t have anything to say, I have lots of things floating around in my head, it is that I am literally at a loss for words. Somehow, my creative juices have dried up. I want to write, but I am stuck. I have topics, ideas, thoughts, but no words. They are all jumbled up in my head and refuse to come out. I’m not sure why, but I felt I just needed to start writing, even if it doesn’t make sense. If you are reading this now, somehow I have managed to transform myself into Rumpelstiltskin and have spun gold out of the hayloft in my head.

Thankfully, this hasn’t been the case in my classroom as I transition once again into a different course with new objectives. Continue reading Spinning

Commemorating

rachel

This morning, the world lost a great woman. She likely isn’t known by anyone who reads this blog, but within her sphere of influence, she was a force to be reckoned with. She was opinionated, maybe even a bit bossy at times, but just slightly below that exterior was a incredibly generous heart. She loved animals and knew the names of each and every pet owned by her siblings, nieces and nephews, and almost anyone she came in contact with. She never made a lot of money, but if respect was a currency, she would have been one of the wealthiest ladies on the planet. She loved her family, friends, and God. She was faithful, diligent, determined, compassionate, loving, and giving. Who is she? My aunt Rachel.

What made her even more amazing was that she did this while dealing with the struggles of day-to-day life as someone with Down Syndrome. Heart problems, laboured breathing, and walking were some of the physical struggles, but the biggest hurdle came in the form of public perception. Seeing her, people had difficulty imagining she has much to contribute, but ask anyone who met her and you knew there was so much to her than her condition. She had an incredible memory and knew so much. She didn’t just know this information, she could piece things together and develop her own thoughts on virtually any subject.

I only had the opportunity to meet her one time in person when I was about 13 or 14 years of age. Even still, when mom and dad would visit her up until this last year, she would remember us and talk about us kids as if that day was still fresh in her mind. To her, it was incredibly important to remember details about a person since people were important to her. It didn’t matter what job you had, how much money you had, or how beautiful you were, just being you was enough for her.

I’ve learned a great deal from her. She taught me that people are important for just being people. I came to understand how valuable it is to focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. I am struggling to be as gracious as she was in the face of adversity and to not let obstacles stop you from doing what you feel is right and good. I know she lived her life as if the next day could be her last. She also didn’t let things get her down. Yes, she had her bad days, but she didn’t keep it bottled up or stop her from moving on; she dealt with it and then left it in the past.

Rachel, we will miss you. You have taught us so much in your 57 years on this earth. You were truly a gift to us and your memory will help us to be kinder, more loving, and more understanding to others. Most of all, you taught us that nothing should ever stop us from being the change we want to see in this life. As the tributes to you pour in from all over the globe from people you have touched over the years, may others learn what it means to never judge a person on their outward appearance, but to dig deeply and find out who they truly are.