The Beacon Crafter Pt. 1

Have you ever been charged with making a fire?  Ever been charged with keeping that fire going?  Ever been charged with keeping that fire going with palm branches that quickly burn out due to their nature?  Ever been charged with keeping said fire going by your parish priest?!

It was kinda stressful, I’ll be honest, but fun in a way.

Maybe it’s odd that I find a high point in a time like Lent, but here I am, shooting upward towards the heavens again.  Ah, I wish I could just settle, or perhaps it’s good this way, experiencing a certain rejuvenation, a cleansing of the mind if you will.  No, I shall not have mediocrity from myself.

So, recently, I was given the task of being “the fire guy” during the Shrove Tuesday service.  You see my friendly old (or young) reader, I saw the fire, but not a world on fire yet, fortunately.  When we get there, heh, it would be wise to run.  Still, as I watched the fire, my mind went to Baptism, specifically the part with the candle, the light entrusted to the parents, to be kept burning brightly.  I’ve wanted to be a parent for quite a while.  Anyone who knows me realizes that babies are kind of a weakness of mine, and as for having a child of my own, oh, don’t get me started!  Of course, that all depends on what route I take, but that’s beside the point for now.

Returning to the fire, did I mention that I was panicking over it at times?  Yes, every so often, the wind would threaten to blow it out, and the flame would bend and crackle, shrinking in size and intensity.  My solution: throw more pine branches on the thing.

Like a magic trick, it would flare up for an instant, roaring brighter than I’d expected before, but in the next moment, it would die down to a quiet, resolute image, still withstanding the windy evening.  Other times, unfortunately, I came close to smothering it with too much thrown on at once, but if I gradually added on, the flame could grow.

Why am I writing about this?  Oh, things have just been going well, and depressing times are exactly that, so why not find some joy in things for once?

This whole fire thing, in case you haven’t guessed, is reminiscent of our lives.  I am the fire.  You are too.  Welcome to the flame club, by the way.  I’m afraid we don’t have nametags or any nice slogans, but we glow pretty brightly at times.

Being flames, we face a lot in our – pretty short, even without the analogy – lifetimes.  There are quite a number of storms in life, and even when we think we’re in a calm place, there’s that deceptive gust that suddenly blows through.  Now, that’s not meant to be discouraging, but it is what it is.  We sway, we risk going out, we blaze up when we’re most needed.  Regarding that last one, perhaps all it takes is some fuel.  My fuel comes from others, they energize me, they bring me to my greatest potential.  Introvert though I am, I need the people in my life.  They have an odd habit of sticking with me at the strangest of times, and I must say, it’s been the case where I’ve found myself in a situation, and I hear words of wisdom coming to me from my friends.  Some of these words are from so long ago, I’m surprised I even remember them, but there they are in the memory, aiding me in the moment.

However, the voices, the retreats, the brief moments of meeting, they’re not enough.  They are the quick palm branches that bring the blaze to life for an instant, but that’s all it is, an instant of intense power.  Friends are the lasting fuel, the huge pieces that take a little bit before the fire encompasses them, but when it does, it lasts.  Unfortunately, when you remove the log, well, there goes a foundational part of the fire with it.  It’s a sacrifice, but it’s worth the effort (cue Father nodding in the background).

A long time ago, I told a bunch of my peers not to give up, never to give in, because they’re not alone.  Well I pray none of them are now.  Isolation is a dangerous thing to play with.  Isolation and sad music.  Bad mix.  Kill it with fire.   Your fire.

Here’s some practical advice:  Make a playlist of hype music.  That’s literally what I did.  Make a playlist with songs guaranteed to lift your spirits, and listen to it when you’re down.  Then like… dance around your room or something, I dunno.  Fires move and crackle about, so I’m curious as to whether you can imitate them.  Send me a video or something if you can.

Oh, one more thing on us fires: Perhaps we’re stronger than we think.
See, during some of the times where I stepped into the church antechamber to listen to the prayers, the wind grew dangerously, and I’d have to rush back outside, thinking my beautiful fire would die.  Well, while yes, it did shrink, it never died.  It withstood the force, perhaps even retreated further than I would have liked, but it held on.  You hold on too.

I’m writing from the blaze, the high point, on a dual retreat high, you might say, even if both were more sobering experiences than “usual”.  I know I’ll be going down in time, but hopefully when I get back there, I’ll still be able to withstand the storm.

Why is this piece so childishly written?

Because… there’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes.  I think we tend to get bogged down with our worldly, adult responsibilities quite often, and we don’t really take time to kick back with authentic childlike joy.  That doesn’t mean ignore the reality, but a nice balance with escapism tends to do wonders.  ‘Tis my writing for me.

We are children, we are fires, both tend to be/go awesomely mental and wild.  Be it.  Live it.  Fire fire fire.

-M

P.S. It’s gonna be lit.  Sorry college fam, couldn’t resist, don’t start dabbing though, please.

The Onsite Tour – Eagle Eye Teen Summer Institute Pt. 7

On that note of philosophy, we moved to a quick choir prep, then celebrated morning Mass.  Lunch followed in the aftermath, then another choir session for Thursday, if I remember correctly.

IMG_9931 (2)

Under the bright afternoon sun, we gathered outside on the grassy field near the dorms. People were playing ultimate, sitting around, and generally listening to CJ doing some fantastic impressions of humans. In that time, I would have liked to have gone to the gift shop, but alas, it was not to be. We instead prepared for a tour of the Cathedral led by Brother Randy.  We took our time going through the place, observing the beautiful architecture of Our Lady of Consolation and its rich history of healing the many pilgrims who traveled there seeking her aid.  The sheer amount of crutches left there is astounding.

As the afternoon started moving to a close, we finished another To The Heights session and entered Theology once more. Now I have to confess, by this point in the day, my brain was not at full capacity to process what it was hearing. My notes from the lecture were less numerous, and if possible, even more erratic and lacking in context than my Philosophy notes. It’s one skill I really need to work on in life.

For this class however, we turned from looking at justice and the nature of things to mercy and its actual meaning.
Now, mercy is often taken as a simple relief from suffering. This view is not incorrect, but it lacks the full extent of the meaning. Brother Maireshawn (I honestly have no idea how to spell his name, it sounds like Meer-Shawn kinda, but I’m so lost on this one you might find me wandering in some other forest on another continent) told us to firstly look at the word in Latin: misericordiae. Misery and cardio… wait…
Putting aside the joke, it shows what mercy truly is: taking the suffering of another on our own hearts.  When we show mercy, we’re not just relieving them of the burden, we’re taking it onto ourselves through this love and understanding.  As the father stays his hand when he sees the sorrow of his child caught in wrongdoing, so mercy is granted by love that speaks to our innermost humanity.
Thus, one can see the mercy of Christ in His forgiveness of our sins.  Yet where does justice play its part?
And… end class for that day.

A holy hour followed, where I sat in contemplation, inspired by poetry from yesterday. I wanted to write some uplifting verses myself, and yet my brain was bereft of anything awe-inspiring, so I put it away eventually and simply read scripture while trying to focus on being in Christ’s presence.
Overall, an enjoyable experience.

We finished the night with another fantastic campfire that grows hazier as I try to recall the details… it’s sad that the only main point I can remember is the religious sharing their vocational struggles and joys, and yet… perhaps it makes sense that way. I’ll continue toward an explanation, following in the footsteps of our procession to Our Lady of Consolation, whose presence was a boon that night and especially the next.

End Wednesday.

TBC – M

Tomatoes… No Seriously, Tomatoes – Eagle Eye Teen Summer Institute Pt. 6

As you can probably tell, I don’t write nonstop, nor do I write like I’m running out of time. I think I can, and then… life happens. I abandon my mojo, but I always get back into the swing of things somehow.

When I woke up early that Wednesday, I felt like I’d hit my groove at last. It really takes me time to ease into things, and I thought maybe I’d finally hit that point.

Silent prayer at 6:15. It felt good, which was in direct opposition to the interior side of things; I felt hot and sickish, yet I managed to push both aside and focus. I thought of loved ones, of dreams, of those I’d met there at Eagle Eye. I brought my struggles, my joys, my musings before the Lord, and allowed myself to rest in that peaceful stillness. Sounds satisfying, doesn’t it? Heh.  As the pews around me filled, I admit I was tempted to wave at everyone, but I restrained myself.
Lauds, the Angelus, and silent breakfast all followed in quick succession, spelling an end to my hunger pangs. To be honest, I doubt I had time to fully process everything before it was over.

As Mitchum’s group was jogging along, we planned to re-commandeer our spot near the statue for morning Lectio, but the girls had already laid claim it.
We then chose the next optimal position: right outside the classroom doors.
Our discussion continued where we’d left off in the Bible: Matthew’s gospel.
We talked about how we should pray and fast, and how these things could be put into action in our own lives by actually implementing times when we would do it. Concretely. Not vaguely saying that we would make more time for prayer. We made promises.
It sounds restricting doesn’t it? Locking that part of one’s day away for prayer?
Well… near the same subject, Philosophy followed:

When one thinks of freedom, rarely are rules part of the equation, the idea of which seems stifling and inconvenient. Father Nathan worked to show us that there was a different way than what we believed.

He gave us the image of a tomato plant, or even a body of water.
For the first, he told us us that we are like tomato plants: if left unaided, we may grow in all different directions, wild and unfocused. The water, for its part, showed how we may become giant puddles that go nowhere, lacking the crucial element of the banks that form us into raging rivers.

We are the same way, in that if we are left to our devices, without that guiding force that may be set by parents or mentors, we become less than what we ought to be.
We need tomato stakes to guide us upward, or the banks on either side to push us onward: They do not restrict us, they direct our trajectory and make us strong. Our journey to adulthood involves our appropriation of the banks, making them a part of us.
And going back to freedom, who truly is? The man who has chosen to openly love his bride for all to see, or the boy who has used the girl and now hides in fear from the just retributions of her family and friends? Again, these taught disciplines do not inhibit us, they focus our passions and lives such that we may stand without shame, proud of who we are and confident in our righteousness *cue heroic music*.

Father then left us to ponder that and think about how it related to justice, to be discussed in one of the later classes.

With that, I have to pause, because it’s just going to be an overload if I write full days in a single post. This was the first one where I had to restrict myself, because I kept writing and finally noticed the word count. Whoops. Hopefully what I’ve put down thus far keeps making sense. Part 7 should be up basically right after this. Cheers, mates!

TBC – M

Gift Beyond Gift

Christmas arrives.  2 days.  Well, about 1 by now.

The point is that it’s a time of celebration.  Christ is coming.  Hallelujah, he is coming!  God arriving, making himself known to us as a child.
That’s the real reason, isn’t it?  Have we lost sight of that recently?  Quite possibly.

More often, it’s become more about – well… getting.  And you’ve all heard the old thing about not making Christmas all about what gifts you can get people to buy you, how expensive and nice and shiny they are, yada yada yada.
Well, I guess the best area to focus on is… the flipside.

How can one prepare for such a joyous event?  This magnificent yet utterly humbling coming of Christ?

It’s a huge sacrifice on God’s part to come to us in that lowly form of a child, and in return, perhaps we can imitate Him as we were called to do.
So, the first way for preparation is making sacrifices.  Perhaps it’s not in terms of gifts; we can still have pretty much the normal routine there.  No, what we can sacrifice is a particular thing or situation we find trying.  Perhaps it’s certain family members, or tasks that have to be done.  A way of sacrifice is to strive to be with those people or complete those things with a spirit of cheerful service.  Sacrifice our normal attitude in the face of oncoming, outpouring joy.  Yes, I struggle with this area too.  My mother and father can certainly attest to that, and so I openly admit it.
I’m very stubborn and set in my ways, but times change, and so must we in some areas.
We are striving for perfection after all.

Another method of preparation is to meditate or join in the journey towards Christ’s birth.  It makes sense, doesn’t it?  Joining the Holy Family and Israel as a whole as they wait for the Savior promised so long ago.  This can be done a number of ways, the most common of which is reading the bible passages before the Nativity and/or simply praying with each progression towards the day.
It provides an interesting chance to analyze the messages and parallels that can be seen before (and after) His birth.
It can also build a good habit of reading the Bible.  Again, something I fail at, often.

Lastly, one can make a new commitment.  As Christ committed Himself to taking on human flesh and the path of the Savior, we too can do similarly and take up a cross of sorts.  We can become something outside the bounds of our normality.
Perhaps it’s writing letters to great friends (something I really want to get into the habit of); or taking moments to put down our electronics and see the physical world with our own eyes, seeking to deepen our understanding of its mysteries; or even strengthening ourselves physically or mentally, through martial arts or – yes, you know I’ve got to add it in – ballroom dancing, and trying to view others with charity in mind, among other things.

All these things should push us out of our comfort zones in a way.  Sacrifice, silence, and commitment are all disquieting on some level.  Often, they also overlap.  And these are pretty wide ranging topics.  There are an infinite amount of possibilities one can explore.

So by doing each of these things, whether listed or not, we ourselves can make a gift for Him who is the greatest Gift of all.

-M

Movement And Resurgence

First off, I included a video here.

No, this isn’t a strictly writing blog, but it does have heavy emphasis on it, because… well, I have yet to get into serious photography and filming.  Might happen, you never know.  Perhaps I need better materials, but at any rate, I digress.

School at C State starts this Monday!  That’s always exciting.  It’ll be quite an interesting year.  A new beginning.  Having been a homeschooler for so long, I’m curious as to how this transition process will go.  Oh well.  I’ll adjust eventually.

Resurgence!  The great stage of revitalized revisions has randomly been placed here and now, and I have no idea why I’m writing a number of R words, but there you go.
What with a Freedom Award Board of the Review on the horizon (some people will get it), school starting the 24th, a kick-off event for SGYM the day before, and numerous activities ahead in the summer, how could I possibly be… discouraged?

Yes, I’ve been a bit out of sorts lately.  Scholarships, and future plans that involve Industrial Design, as well as the SAT and college admission timing, have put my head out of whack.  I think this “calm before the storm” is the moment that will test me most.  I’m in limbo, as far as life is concerned.  Well, no, maybe that’s inaccurate.  Having a good amount of work to keep me busy, but not so busy as to be completely wrapped in its embrace.  It’s a lovely moment, or would be, if worries didn’t keep cropping up, and frankly, it’s going to be a bit of time before I’m fully back on my feet, as far as most things are concerned.

So, as an attempt to speed that process… I do have some things that might help me rediscover some form of clarity.  This post is, actually, one of those things.  Surprise, surprise.

Right!  Consecration.  Total Consecration to Mary.  Took place on the 16th, which – technically speaking – counts for the 15th!  The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It was a glorious feeling, standing before the Mary statue at Annunciation church.  I stumbled over the words for the consecration quite often, but I finished it, and here I am now.  It’s a promise.  A lifelong one.  It doesn’t guarantee Heaven or make me a better person just by saying the words.  It’s a devotion I have to live out.  To Jesus through Mary.  Veni ad me.

Not many of the present moments are easy, whether it be adjusting to a much earlier waking time, or simply taking care of my younger brother despite my being in an exhausted state.  With each hardship, there is also a chance at self-mortification, a word I’m pretty sure I’m using correctly, but doubt, at the moment.  A chance to atone and sacrifice, and thus gain a better understanding and self-control in our lives.  To reach higher.  Verso l’alto!

With that spirit of sacrifice in mind, I am also constantly tested in the spirit of charity.  Confession to make, I’m a very judgy person.  Not sure whether I’ve said that before.  An expression, a word, or just the appearance of a person can raise some shields on my part.  It’s a great fault of mine, and one that I constantly catch myself falling into.  So, moving forward, with that message to myself, I shall battle onward in being more charitable in the way I think of people.

Yeah, this is one of those posts where it’s just like… yeah… that’s me.  Experience and unity work wonders together, I will say.  Right, so..!

I’ve had a brilliant three months of summer, and I am genuinely looking forward to getting back to school.  There’s so much to learn and prepare for, and I just hope that we – yes, you too, oh reader of this… thing – approach the new school year with that endgame in mind, not focusing on the things that we have to leave behind, but the brilliant opportunities and people that are before us.  There is so much we miss if we’re too caught up in the past.  Not to say that we shouldn’t learn from the past, but it requires… balance.  Onward.

-M

Question Games or The Nino Interview Part 2

A continuation in between Steubenville posts.  This was kind of an in-between activity, and well… I gleaned some more interesting info about my brother.  I should really have a family interview day… hmm…

Key:
Quotations = Nino
No quotations = Me

“This is Nino and Migi, we are in an interview.”
What?
“You can ask any question.”

Who is your favorite fictional character?

“Why would you ask that?”
Because.
“I don’t know why you’re saying because.”
Just answer the question.
“I don’t know what fictional means, dude.”
Imaginary.  Made up.  Not real.
“Okay… I’m thinkin’…. hmm…. like… people I imagine.”
Okay… who?
“Like… all kinds of people I think up.  Like minifigures and LEGO creations.  I once even created a big LEGO creation.  It had arms.”
Anyone specifically?
“Hmm… sometimes I get names from Batman and there’s variations and my favorite fictional characters are imaginary.  Dude, can you please just ask another question!?”

Fine.  What’s your favorite part of the outdoors?

“Impressing people.”
That’s not part of the outdoors.
“What?  I can go outside and just impress people.”
But… I mean like things like the trees or the sky…
“How about this… hmm… bike practice.  My stage is balancing on two wheels.”
Okay, that works.  Activity works.
“And my goal is two blocks.  I’ve already rode one block.”
We need to work on grammar.

What have you done recently?

“Um uh, can I tell about stuff that I haven’t finished yet?”
Sure.
“My LEGO minifigure display.  I have already built it.  It has four minifigures.  It is big enough to house nine minifigures.”
Cool.

Who’s your best character?

“I would say my LEGO movie police robot. Next question!”

Favorite candy?

“Okay man, hmm… candy cane!  And… hmm… chocolate blueberries?  And, and um…. um um um… ummmmmmmm…. I’m thinkin’….. I’m thinkin’…. I’m tryin’ very hard to think and you don’t need to type all of this.  So you can stop so you don’t make this thing too long… I guess… nothin’ else.”

Do you have a new favorite song this time?

“Angry Birds Transformers songs on Spotify.”
I mean like, your favorite song to sing.
“The LEGO movie!”
*he starts singing Everything is Awesome*

What’s your least favorite food?

“Vegetables!”
(Not a single hesitation was had by this kid)

What’s your favorite thing about Mom and Dad?

“I like to hug Mom.”
“I like to ask him (Dad) questions.”
What kind of questions?
“Like… sterilized stuff?”
What does sterilized mean to you?
“It’s stuff that goes through your kidneys, I got that from Dad.”
Okay… wait, Dad said that?
“Yeah!  I think it meant it goes through our kidneys.  What are kidneys anyway?”

What else do you like doing with Mom and Dad?

“Um… going on dates with them?”
(By date, he usually gets ice cream or heads to the park)

What’s your favorite time of day?

“My favorite time of the day is when I can do anything, so I build LEGO creations, or read, or just play with stuff.  And you know what Kuya Mig, I found out that you can make almost anything a toy.”

Who do you enjoy playing with?

“LEGO.”
No, who.
“I dunno.  Anyone.”
“Yup, that’s what I said.  Anyone.”

What’s your favorite park?

“Blue Ash!”
Blue Ash isn’t one huge park.
“Dude it’s awesome, I love that park.  Blue Ash & VOA!  And the Elementary school park.”

Do you have any dreams?

“No.  They’re too blurry!  I mean, that I can’t remember what happens.”
So you do dream.
“Yeah!”
That’s what I was asking!

What’s your favorite dream?

“How about… favorite nightmare?”
Okay….?
“I’ll tell you what my favorite nightmare is!  NONE OF THEM!”

Do you like horses?

“I hate horses, because you could get pooped on!”
*starts singing a very modified The Judge by Twenty One Pilots*

What do you love most about Jesus?

“You know what I would like?  To travel back in time and learn the real history of Jesus… that would be AWE-SUM.”
But what do you love most about him?
“Dude, I cannot tell you that, I do not know.”

What’s your best magic trick?

“The twenty card trick.  Don’t tell them how to do it.”
“Let’s end the interview after this trick, k dude?”
“*starts running off* Goodbye, dude!”

End transcript… no wait… nevermind.  Reconvening 5 days later…

What’s your favorite joke?

“Can you write the whole joke?”
Yes.
“Knock knock.”
Who’s there?
“Punch.”
Punch who?
“Not me!”

Any good books you’ve read recently?

“Um… Phineas and Ferb Across the Second Dimension.  Hmm… I’m thinkin’.  Tom Sawyer?”

What’s your favorite thing to act out?

“I guess… impressing people?”
What?  You like acting like you’re impressing people?
“Yeah, dude.  I like acting like I’m impressing people, even people coming down the sidewalk.  I don’t even know them.”

Any LEGO things you’re planning on building?

“Uh… I always think of stuff to build…. so I get ideas from my Lego inspirations book.  I haven’t read it in a long time.  I even make my own crazy creations… and I have good ideas.  They.  Are.  Awe.  Sum!”
So any specific things you’re planning to build?
“Uh……. noooooooo…. not right now.”
Okay.

What did you have the most fun with in Trail Life?

“The most fun thing to do in Trail Life was make my flubber.  Flubber my bubber.”

Do you like drawing?

“Not really.  I do it very rarely.”

What food are you craving?

“Bacon!  And chicken on a stick.  I LOOOOOOVE Back-on!”

What’s the funniest thing you’ve heard?

“Uh… I don’t know, dude.”
No?
“Of course.”
Okay then.

What movie did you watch last?

“El-Dorado! The Road to El-Dorado!”
Did you enjoy it?
“I don’t exactly think so…”

Would you rather ride a bike, drive a car, or fly on a hoverboard (actually, hover, but whatever.  Technicalities)? Oh, and why?

“Hoverboard!  I love – I want to ride on a hoverboard!”
Good choice.  Last question…

If you could be a superhero, what power would you want?

“Wow, you know what… ALL THE POWERS in the WORLD!  You know, like all the invincibility, all the intelligence, all the smartness, and that’s all I said.”
You’d be pretty over-powered (yes, I just realized that I’m a bit of a dream crusher).
“Dude, I’d be epic.”
(No arguing there)

Thank you for your cooperation.
“That’s it? That’s the end of the interview?”
Yep!

– End

Friendships and the Closing Circle

Another hiatus, another busy period of time.  Life gets in the way, people show up, and maybe you make a few friends who manage to distract you from the electronic universe.  That’s what I’m talking about today, after the long gap.  Yes, friendships, and their completions.

Recently, I had the privilege of participating in the P&G Resident Scholar Program, which, put simply, is kind of like an elaborate job shadow program.  I met some fantastic individuals, and received training alongside them for five days, at various P&G facilities.
In the end, as with all things, we each had to go our separate ways, but we’ve all somehow managed to keep in touch, at least this far.  Still, it’s not the same as it was when I was seeing them every day.  Sorry, I’m being Captain Obvious here.
On that note, I’ve heard that the best friendships are ones that can be picked up right where you’ve left off, no matter how long it’s been.  Perhaps we’ll be able to pick up in the future.  I know one of my friends from my shuttle joked about a reunion 10 years from now.  It’s always possible.

I will say, friendship is a fantastic gift.  The great thing about having friends is that they’re able to bring a part of you to the fore, and I said as much at the end of the week, when we were sharing our appreciations.  We praised the RSP for being a great training tool, but I think to each of us, at or near the front of our minds, were the bonds of friendship that we had developed with one another.  We’d been a close-knit group, having been pushed out of our comfort zones, in search of immediate common ground so as to battle the competitions we faced as forming teams.
Beyond brief reunions, I doubt I’ll ever see that group of people again, in person.  However, I am immensely thankful for the time I had with them, and yeah, a shout-out goes to the RSP Family, in case they ever read this.

It’s funny, the way God puts certain people in our lives at the right time.  Life is sort of like a series of stages.  A progression of stages.  That’s how I’d put it.  Every one that follows calls for a certain group of cast members.  Most likely, your stage crosses over with several others, like a sort of venn diagram.  The stages, in circle form, slowly revolve until each member has passed through the center, then it’s on to the next phase, as people move out.
It’s sad, true, but what can you do?

My heart, I confess, is heavy with the thought that in a little over a year’s time, I will be leaving my high school friends and various circles for a new area.  College.  This stage in life is brief, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t precious.

Now, we all have those friends that we know will in some way, shape, or form, will be with us to the end.  Maybe not through their physical presence, but a part of their spirit within us.  There are those friends, and still others who leave sooner than you thought they would.  No matter where you go, you will eventually run into those friends.  They just… drop away.  Sometimes they change so much that they become unrecognizable.
Is that good?  Depends.  If they become reforged into people of high moral character, then goodness, yes!
If not… well, I know a few that fit this other side of the coin.  I had hoped that all my friends would always stand fast in the face of adversity, but… that’s not always the way the pieces line up.

The thing that I can do for them is pray.  I never see them anymore, so that’s really all I can do.  Seek intercession, and ask others to – in turn – pray for me.  I am most certainly not a perfect man.  And on that note, I would hesitate to even call myself a good man.  That however, is something for another time.

What else can one say about friendship in simplest terms?  It’s never easy to step out of the circle, once you’ve become an integral part of it.  I always feel heavy-hearted when I hear the ending of The Jungle Book (audiobook version, Jim Weiss).  The jungle circle closes to Mowgli, and while his animal is always out there, his time with them is now firmly set in the past.  It’s a great analogy, and not always an unwelcome one, since it makes explanations easier, but it’s… sobering.  Each friend has their day.

So treasure the friendships you have.  They were put there at a specific time, for some reason.  Whether that reason be to learn from them, to further better yourself, to build up others, or a combination of many, don’t let them go lightly.
There is a time for mourning, and yet this is the morning.  After the break of dawn, with the sun still rising, there is still some time before it sets and the next day is borne forth.

#VanFam

– M