I hate the word “resolution” when it comes to the start of a new year so I’m opting for a different word, if for nothing else than my own peace of mind.
In 2013, I want to…
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world.” - Fred Rogers
(This was on my daughter’s school district page to help parents talk to their school aged children about the tragedy at Sandy Hook. I felt compelled to share it.)
I woke up sick. I’m still sick. But today turned out pretty great anyway.
My family decorated the Christmas tree, did our cards, and wrapped some presents. It was a nice little Christmas-oriented day and I feel pretty lucky for that.
My UW and WWU applications are almost done. I just need to finesse my personal statements and I’ll be ready to roll.
I’m loving (LOVING) my book, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman.
The Packers won today. Not only did they win but they won against their biggest division rival AND clinched the spot as division champions. Not too shabby!
I won my fantasy football playoff round. That doesn’t suck!
The Homeland finale BLEW ME AWAY. I won’t say anything more right now but I fell in love with a character I previously hated and I had a lot of feelings centered around confusion. I cannot wait for season three. This is seriously the best show on TV.
I feel pretty grateful to have had such a simple day with my family and some of the entertainment that I love most. The small moments are sometimes the best. Hold on to each and every one.
At work we were shown a video of a TED talk done by Shawn Achor (which you can watch here). I could pull a dozen quotes from the talk but for the sake of brevity, I’ll take my favorite out: “See what we’re finding is it’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.”
Watch the video, really. It’s pretty fantastic and he’s a crazy charismatic speaker.
Anyway, what our manager posed to us was a challenge that is part of the talk. 21 days of attempting at least one item out of a list of five:
3. Conscious Acts of Kindness
I wondered if I could manage to pull off all five. Could I write a journal entry every day, outlining something good from that day and include three things I’m grateful for at the end of each post? Could I incorporate exercise into at least three days a week but meditation into each night before I go to bed? And, perhaps, could I also find a way to express kindness each day by sending an email or a text praising or thanking someone in my life?
I think it would be nice to try. Is anyone with me?
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Laugh as we always laughed
I want these marked for posterity. I want to never forget those moments on Saturday that made me sad but warmed my heart all at once. Rev. Ingersoll asked us all to never forget the way our hearts were open and full as we came together to share our memories of Lee and Judy. I know I never will.
This was read by his sister, Lisa, during the service, and was one of those moments that had me in tears but trying to commit each word to memory at the same time. So grateful that it was shared online…
We cannot judge a biography by its length,
Nor by the number of pages in it
We must judge it by the richness of its contents
Sometimes those unfinished are among the most poignant.
We cannot judge a song by its duration,
Nor by the number of its notes
We must judge it by the way it touches and lifts our souls
Sometimes those unfinished are among the most beautiful.
And when something has enriched your life
And when its melody lingers on in your heart
Is it unfinished?
Or is it endless?
- VIKTOR E. FRANKEL
This was read yesterday at the memorial of my colleague and friend, Lee, and his lovely wife Judy. There were many instances in the 3 hours we were gathered that had me in tears and the reading of this was definitely one of them. It touched me so deeply and I was so glad that it was put on facebook so that I can hold on to it infinitely.
It is a fearful thing to love
what death can touch.
A fearful thing to love,
hope, dream, to be —
to be, and oh! to lose.
A thing for fools this, and
a holy thing,
a holy thing to love.
your life has lived in me,
your laugh once lifted me,
your word was a gift to me.
To remember this brings a painful joy.
‘Tis a human thing, love,
a holy thing,
what death has touched.
by Chaim Stern
I start college again two weeks from tomorrow. I took the ultimate risk in hopes that it will lead to even better possibilities for me. I rented out my house, I quit my job, I moved back in with my parents, and I enrolled in college fulltime. I’ve got goals, dreams, hopes and the belief that achieving my potential will be the ultimate reward.
And I’m sad. As I got inspired to make these choices, I knew I couldn’t leap without talking to someone who knows the possible outcomes on the other side. I knew that I needed someone experienced to give me a steady hand and help guide me along the way. I wasn’t looking for someone to tell me what to do or how to do it but I looked for someone to help me navigate on this very unfamiliar path.
That someone was Lee Dirks, my colleague, my friend, my mentor. When I sat down in his office months ago to tell him of my frustrations, of my goals, of my confusion on how to get there, he listened. When I told him of my shaky ideas, he smiled. When I asked him for his thoughts, he spoke. When he spoke, I listened. I always listened. This man knew libraries. This man knew a love of information. This man knew what the road in front of me looked like and he’d traveled down it long enough to be the perfect hand to hold when I needed to. I lean on Oz references too much, perhaps. (It is my favorite movie.) But maybe he was my scarecrow - the first person I encountered in a strange new land who knew enough about that strange new land to make me feel safe and secure about being there.
When I finally made the decision to take this tremendous leap, Lee grinned at me and told me he was proud of me. He told me to come take that seat in his office any time that I needed help. He made sure I knew that his door was always open whether I needed to vent, needed advice, or just needed to talk. When I told him that I plan to pursue my BA in anthropology, he said that he thought I’d be awesome at it. When I told him that I then plan to get my masters in library and information sciences from the iSchool at the UW, I could see how happy he was. This was his domain. This is the world he knows. He’d already written a letter of recommendation to the iSchool about a job I was once interested in but he was thrilled at the idea of writing me a letter of recommendation to actually GO there. We talked about it multiple times and every single time I got more excited just from listening to the sheer enthusiasm Lee had around this particular area of academia. It was impossible not to catch that from him (on pretty much any topic he loved).
I feel a little lost now. I feel more than a little sad. I’ve cried a lot. I’ve gotten teary at random intervals. I can’t stop thinking about what the world has lost. I can’t stop thinking about what Microsoft has lost. I can’t stop thinking about what his family has lost. And, yes, selfishly, I can’t stop thinking about what I have lost. I feel a little alone as I approach the beginning of this new journey. How do I navigate without my scarecrow?
“Follow the yellow brick road.”
Rest In Peace, Lee and Judy Dirks. We miss you.
Back in Black - Campaign Fibs -
I laughed out loud the entire time. It’s a really good watch and I wish I could make EVERYONE I know watch it, too. “Is there anything we still hold to a standard of truth?”