Category: About Love


covingtonOn January 18, 2019, Covington Catholic High School faced heavy backlash after a group of predominantly white students was filmed harassing and insulting Native Americans participating in an Indigenous Peoples’ March in Washington, D.C. The students were visiting to participate in the simultaneous anti-abortion March for Life, which attracts many Catholic groups. Many of the students wore “Make America Great Again” hats.

In one of several videos of the incident, a student wearing a Covington Catholic sweatshirt is seen smirking and blocking the path of Nathan Phillips, an Omaha elder and Vietnam War veteran who was playing a ceremonial drum. The students reportedly chanted “build that wall“, while others stood in a circle nearby and chanted “CovCath is the best.”

There’s several ironies. First, all of this comes days before Dr. Martin Luther King Day. Second, students attending the anti-abortion March for Life seem to subversively claim, “We march for life, but we impugn the life of anyone notwhite.”

Go figure.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote:

I’m concerned about a better World. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood and sisterhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.

And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to humankind’s problems. And I’m going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn’t popular to talk about it in some circles today. And I’m not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love; I’m talking about a strong, demanding love. For I have seen too much hate. […] and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we aren’t moving wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love. He who hates does not know God, but he who loves has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality.

Love is ultimately the only answer to humankind’s problems. Unfortunately, love requires effort.

Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~

Chances

From a Sacramento dinner I looked at the rain as it beat a gentle rhythm upon the roof. The grey sky rolled left to right as dinners ushered dates under umbrellas. Pools of puddles widened as rainfall became heavier.

Good evening,” said a voice awakening me from the moment. “My name is Michael and I will be your server tonight. May I start you off with a drink?

Ah,” I said recovering. “Just a Diet Coke, Please.”

With that Michael darted off on his rounds.

Throughout the meal, I heard Michael’s name whispered amongst the guests. Finally, I gathered some mental strength and queried the patrons in the table next to me.

“Oh,” one guest whispered. In a hushed tone, she leaned inward, “We are friends of one of Michael’s friends. By day, he is a TSA Agent. But he has to work nights during the shutdown to pay expenses. We understand he won’t take charity, so we’re going to leave him a hell of a tip. It’s our way of helping him.”

Their meals came. The table received the bill and headed out. Michael came to collect the check. He momentarily looked. He exhaled heavily, wiped a tear or two and returned the check-holder to his pocket.

My check-holder arrived twenty minutes later. The bill was $59.87. For a moment, I thought about client policy, only fifteen percent tip maximum. “Too bad I muttered,” as I wrote a $100.00 tip.

Friday saw an early wake-up call. Flight 323 was due to leave in a few hours. I arrived at Sacramento International well before departure. TSA interactions were cordial, but none reminded of Sheila from a few days earlier.

When boarding started, I met a stunning older blond woman. Approximately 6’1” or 6’2,” long blonde hair, a silver back pack, and towing a standard black roller carry-on. We engaged in conversation. Just as I, she was a consultant. And strangely, we had similar experiences, similar travels and similar travel horror stories.

Sadly, I never asked her name. I wish I did. Two strangers, hitting it off on a Southwest jet bridge, traveling to the same city, in the same career field, knowing one another, yet never not knowing one another.

In Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman said their last words to each other in a weird foggy glow on the taxiway. A Lockheed 12 aircraft looms behind them, promising adventure. This is a threshold of escape — a point of departure for the characters, an apt space of closure for the film. In real life, our films move forward, unending. And for once in the past nine years, I wish I had more time.

Strange.

As I write this, I realize how much I miss her. Like many others, it makes you feel warm inside and you feel lucky to have met someone special that is missed in your life. However, I am jealous of the people she gets to meet. I wish I had another chance.

Life is about chances. Maybe it was chance that I met Michael. Maybe, chance had nothing to do with it. Maybe it was chance I met a wondrously beautiful and engaging woman on a Southwest jet bridge. Maybe ‘chance’ had little to do with it.

In a lot of cases, life is about opportunity. When I met Michael, I was drawn to his cause simply because others were so drawn to him. As for my chance traveler, we were drawn to each other for some reason. But I forfeited my chance when we parted.

I whispered a personal thought into the hotel’s bamboo plant, remembering the opening of “Red Corner.”

“When I was a child, I would come to this park and play. My grandmother told me why the bamboo is here. She said, “It is waiting for the wind to touch it. It is filled with emotions. Listen to the sound and you can feel them.””

In closing, I think of the woman I met and of the missed chance. We are somehow interconnected. Borrowing from the character Shen Yuelin (Red Corner):

My Iife has changed. She opened me up and in some way, will forever be a part of my Iife. And hopefully, I will never be the same.

Remember, leave nothing to chance.

“Next,” Sheila called.

The African American woman was a beauty. At five-foot 7 inches, neatly tucked hair, smooth complexion and deep black eyes gave way to a wonderous smile. I placed my phone face down on the electronic reader. “Bobink,” sound the familiar signal while simultaneously lighting green.

“Thank you sir,” Sheila replied.

For Sheila, this common interaction probably plays hundreds time a day. In the several hours prior to my flight, I watched Sheila from my gate, interacting easily, with a level few could exhibit. In wake of burning hours and no salary, she continued to perform her job.

Sheila is a TSA Agent.

I’ve never met Sheila. More than likely, I will never see her again. In prior flights, this interaction would have been greeted with a warm simile and quick hello. Truthfully, TSA agents like Sheila would remain unnoticed. Yet today, I was in the ‘moment.’ I quickly grabbed my stuff, looked her in the eye, and complimented her for all her effort, even in spite of an ongoing government shutdown share all facets of legislatures willingly play chicken.

I’m confident President Trump will never meet Shelia. I don’t believe he would care enough to go out of his way to engage her in any meaningful conversation. I presume Trump only revels in a game of win at all costs – never back down, never surrender. In Trump’s mind there’s only one path to this shutdown – it’s victory. Complete and unconditional surrender.

Objectively looking, there are two wars. The White House have drawn battle lines on many fronts: internally, with the GOP and of course with new House leadership. Each war increases the number of victims, often termed as collateral damage. People become fractured. Friends become enemies. And battle hardened leaders must address a war never imagined, one of the heart and soul of America. Trump’s war can only be won through fortitude, unity, coherent messaging via Twitter and the willingness to fight.

Shelia experiences a far different war. She’s not out for accountability. Neither does she search for blood. Her war involves keeping millions of travelers safe. Finding weapons, suspicious packages and other illegal items is a minute-by-minute battle, fought on the front lines in local airports.

However, in the midst of this shutdown, she’s required to fight hunger as coworkers fight homelessness. Maybe she’s denying herself required medication. She forgoes an electric bill payment, a school payment, or a mortgage payment. The battle is on all fronts and extremely complex.

On January 11th, on the 21st day of the shutdown, TSA agents arrived at work with the painful reality that their biweekly paycheck would not arrive. Many government employees live paycheck to paycheck. Yet TSA agents, like many other government employees are required to work. And still, Sheila can smile. She treats every passenger with respect and dignity.

I am not sure if my words made any difference to Sheila or not. But I stoped and said:

“Thank you so much for all you do. I know you’re going through a difficult time. I just want to say thank you.”

Sheila is one of many selfless employees who are the heart and soul of America. They deserve better. America deserves better.

Don’t Let Go

loveAn airline employee discovered a love letter written on an air sick bag. Discovered last year, the letter chronicles a woman writer on her way to confess her feelings to her crush.

“If you’re reading this, hello 🙂 My name is Andrea and I am incredibly bored. Right now this flight is going from Miami to DC. I’m 21,” the letter begins.

So, I bought the ticket last night at 4am because I have a huge crush on my best friend. He’s flying from Boston to New Orleans and has a layover in DC. I actually live in DC and was gonna go up soon anyway so I thought why not, I’ll surprise him at the airport during his layover. I’m gonna tell him I have a crush on him.

But see I’m going to Australia for a semester abroad in 4 days and I won’t see him for 5 months so it’s really the last chance I have.”

The writer requested that whoever found the letter to “do something crazy today like I am.”

Good luck whoever you are,” the letter concluded.

Of course, a search is underway to find the love struck passenger who wrote the note.

Some will call the writer childish, a dreamer lost in the fog of burning hormones. Others are enchanted by dreams of a lost love who’s memory has given to the daily rituals of life. I am in the ‘enchanted’ category.

Over the course of thirty-years, I must have written close to a thousand letters. About 40% were romantic. The addressees were numerous: Karen, Kelly, Valerie, Farrah, Ruth, Jennifer and you, my readers. A few were even addressed to God. For the most part, many were read, several were ‘returned to sender.’

Even today, as my body continues its decline, writing remains a privilege, though many aren’t love letters. But the hope that propelled 21-year-old Andrea to Washington, D.C. remains alive in me.

I close with a few thoughts.

Cruising the Internet some time ago, I ran across a love note, perhaps written by an 8th grader.

“But RU ready to be there when I’m mad, or need to cry, and can do things that I can’t do with anyone else but you. Yes I am ready unless I’m eating fried chicken so chicken is more important than me Only fried chicken and only when I’m hungry. But if not then you are the only thing I care about.”

So, to the Andrea’s of the world, I say this: relationships are not predestined. They cannot be guaranteed. Care not for life’s typos. Care only for love. Rings are the perfect harmony for those in love. If you fail to care for them, they may no longer fit.

If you made it to D.C., but failed in your mission, remain true to your spirit. You weren’t thrown away. You are the most important person to me. You’re an incredible person. And so, you’ll become someone else’s incredibly precious person.

My final thought to all, if you meet someone willing to grasp your hand tightly through life, don’t let go.

Don’t let go Andrea.

Don’t let go.

Does Integrity Matter?

Every person is given either a moment or moments to shine, to show who they are and what they mean to the world and to oneself. The people we meet in life, allies, former lovers, friends and acquaintances, each have their own opportunity to become a sensei. These opportunities show the capability of how one uses their strengths, regardless of who they are to another.

It is in this light I thought of President Trump’s signed an executive order, a week into a government shutdown, that freezes pay for 2.1 million federal civilian workers in 2019. The Office of Personnel Management issued “salary tables” the same day that show “rates frozen at 2018 levels.” This action pours salt upon open wounds of 800,000 furloughed federal workers.

Does character matter? How would you define “good character” and has the meaning evolved in any way over time? One definition of good character, would include a cluster of qualities: integrity, trustworthiness, flexibility, understanding, empathy and a set of values from open-mindedness to concern for human rights.

For Trump? Nada. Doesn’t exist.

As Jennifer Rubin noted:

President Donald Trump has an uncanny knack for making a mess of simple, traditional functions every other president has managed to carry out with ease.”

I keep wondering, is Trump’s presidency really the presidency American voters envisioned?

In reviewing action, it’s hard not to see that the Trump administration likens most as movable pieces on a chessboard, serviceable only to political agendas. Through circumstance and systemic oppression, constituents voluntarily chose manipulation, as they are continually promised movement on issues of deepest concern without significant action in any measurable way.

As columnist Brandi Miller captured, over the course of several years, Trump:

“… simply cares about maintaining a base. He has put children in cages at the border, disregarded the value of Black lives, desecrated Native land with the Keystone XL pipeline, oppressed trans people in the military and regularly dehumanized people through his petulant Twitter tirades.”

From someone who’s traveled far and wide, Trump exemplified a slow migration from an NBC evening entertainer to irrational tweets positioned as policies. Such antics are nothing more than a prop for self-aggrandizement. Facts subordinated. Reputations be damned. Honesty dismissed. Integrity trashed.

From a Buddhist perspective, honesty and integrity are essential components of a good life. Integrity is essential in understanding ourselves, our relationships, our knowledge of the world, and most importantly, our efforts to help those in need.

This new year, take time to carefully examine your life – the life you are leading, your world-view, and that which you take for granted. Don’t over analyze others, for it’s easy to pick on mistakes and faults of others. Rather, note the world’s faults and your own.

So, does integrity matter? Should we care? Integrity is what you have when you speak and when what you speak comes from a position of love. Ask 800,000+ federal workers if they’re feeling the ‘love.’

However, if you adorn the current rhetoric of America’s leaders, you are witnessing that which is not harnessed in love. Rather, you are witnessing the death of integrity and the increase of power.

Time recently completed a review of 2018’s most influential people of 2018. Thus far, I’ve read only a handful. However, I want to take time to celebrate the life and legacy of those who brought hope and healing to the world we have lived. There are of course, whose values of truth and compassion radiantly defined the courage we often lack. There are those who’ve spread universal, unconditional love and forgiveness. We can celebrate those who’ve reached the masses with inspiration and vision. I carry these leaders in my heart, for I do not live in a ‘world‘ but the world lives in and through me.

We’ve heard such inspiration before. Having vision is important, but once you have it, being able to properly apply these characteristics is completely different. Too often we expect our vision to simply happen, but expectation will never one closer to vision. On the flip side, as a general rule, we shouldn’t embrace those that celebrate government shutdowns, diminish human dignity, or propose the value of monetary gain over life, reporter or otherwise.

All of the above is true, maybe even overly simplified. However, for me, 2018’s most influential aspect was not a person. It was love.

I garnered a truthful nugget from the movie Love Actually during recuperation this past several weeks. Maybe learning an entirely new language is over-the-top. That being said, situations such as struggling to communicate present very real obstacles for many. Still, in life, barriers can be overcome. And while love may not conquer all, love can successfully tackle an awful lot!

Life is messy though. It’s often unexpected. And busy. Therefore, I suggest not spending a lifetime earning others adoration. Seek your own worth and accept that amidst hard times, do not forgot how beautiful love truly is. Anthony de Mellow brought a similar this message through the following story.

A man found an eagle’s egg and put it in a barnyard hen’s nest. As a result, the eaglet grew up among the hens. Believing to be a chicken, the eagle did as chicks do – scratched for worms and insects, clucked and cackled, and thrashed his wings. Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird in the cloudless sky. Majestically soaring among powerful wind currents with scarcely a beat, the old eagle looked in awe.

“Who’s that?” the eagle asked.

“That’s the eagle, the king of the birds,” said a friend. “He belongs to the sky. We belong to earth. We’re chickens.”

The eagle lived and died as a chicken, for that’s all he thought he was.

The lesson? Never let any one man’s opinion of you become your reality.

Toward the end of Love Actually, a washed-up British rock star achieves the comeback he so desperately sought. Immediately, upon success, he’s swamped by invitations to a lavish lifestyle. Our rock star attends the party. Shortly thereafter, he returns to his manager’s apartment. Having realized that the only real personal connection he had was with his manager, in the end, he chooses to be with someone he really loved. And that someone, loved him.

Truth be told, 2018 was exactly like 2017, 2016 and all the years before. We are a culmination of what we observe. Yet, I’d not be the man today without the tangible presence and love of a few good friends. The most influential people of 2018 were the same as 2017 – they are those who can, and have, loved. Your’s should be as well.

In 2019, ensure love is not something you have; rather love is something that has you.

I awoke to stifling lower back pain. A quick glance of the clock, ‘1:46 AM,’ Christmas Day.

Stumbling to the bathroom, located some Extra Strength Excedrin, swallowed three and nursed myself to a rocker overlooking the valley below. “Christmas Day!” I squinted as my eyes adjusted to the sparkling lights from the valley below.

As a kid, there were many times I sat waiting to surprise Santa. Armed with a Pentax K1000 35mm camera, surely Santa would be doomed by my conniving nature, as I would be the first in a couple hundred years to snap artwork of ol’ Santa. And like those days of yesteryear, I sat shrouded in the mystery, briefly revealed by an occasional flicker from below.

In waning decades, not much has changed from such days. Even today, adorned by all our gadgetry, motion detectors, instant photo cams, city web cams, and Ring doorbell systems, Santa remains elusive. Today, I’m armed with the best of smartphones. But age has dulled reaction time as well as my ability to capture the red guy.

Ah,” I smiled. “Christmas Day.”

Looking back at the kid from years gone by, I was merely caught in gifts. Yet, by the age of 9, I started to keep the traditions of ol’ Saint Nick, having unknowingly moved from the spirit of Santa to a spirit of faith. What I had hoped for the world – more specifically, my world – was something bigger than just our world. I wanted to experience the beauty of love, in celebration and embracing one another. It was a world of faith that both Christ and Buddhist would have been proud.

In essence, all the presents in the world mean nothing without a faith for love and a faith for life. As such, the questions I reflect upon include ‘What difference did my faith and love for life make to me yesterday? What effect did my faith in love have on what I did yesterday?’ Much to the disparagement of some traditionalists, my personal faith is genuinely nourished by more than one religious tradition, by more than my home ‘root’ tradition.

One inquisitor queried, “What then, is your great way?

Love,” I replied. “Many people can follow a ‘great way.’ Only a handful understand and follow the small way.

Just as in years before, I fell asleep shortly after my search began. A welfare check from a friend wakened me early morn. Alas, Santa silently sleighed by in the night. There was no Mercedes-Benz in my driveway, no WeatherTech Floor mats, nor any diamonds from whatever jeweler. Just a new day … and new opportunities for love.

What I’ve realized though, is that Santa is bigger than any one person. His life of love has gone longer than any who’ve lived. What he does is simple, but powerful. He teaches how to have belief in something unseen or touched. As such, all of us remain students of the real Santa, the real Christ and the real Buddhist.

And the lesson?

Love.

When I started this project (opening all these unread letters from yesteryear), Letter 18 was held for last and remains the last handwritten letter written.

I never heard from her again.

After reading the message, the message remains true. Maybe, I should have posted it sooner. Thematically speaking, it’s a holiday message – God is love. That’s all my letters were about – Love.

Fast forwarding from eight years ago, I happened to catch to what I believe was a 1999 rerun of the cable TV show “Inside the Actor’s Studio.” If you’ve seen it, you know the basic idea: James Lipton invites celebrities to talk about their careers and how they do what they do. He always ended each episode with the same question:

If you believe that God exists, what do you think He will say to you when you finally see Him?

It can make for an interesting examination of conscience.

Lipton asked Spielberg, “What do you hope God will say to you when you finally see Him?

Thinking for a moment, Spielberg replied, “Thanks for listening.

Thanks for listening.

So much of the Christmas story is, truly, about two things: listening and loving. In essence, that’s what this blog is about – ‘listening’ to my thoughts and understanding the love I tried to instill.

If any one of the past eighteen letters help any of you, then my words were not for naught. I hope all these letters add some value to your holiday. Each reader, each follower, is important and I honor each one of you so very much.

So, I thank you for listening. And I thank you for all your love and inspiration.


My Dear Love:

When I was younger, I used to be enriched by the holiday spirit. Eyes sparkled with the excitement of the season and as Christmas carols played in the background. I had an overview of Baby Jesus, a lowly manger, and a couple of shepherds. Not sure if the real things were as glorious portrayed.

Let’s face it, I didn’t have great Biblical story role models. Ha. So, I settled upon a vision of God and Christmas Eve drawn from movies. My best all time movie? A classic. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ There’re several lessons I learned many years ago. One. When we are in pain, we tend to feel we are suffering alone. But that’s rarely the case. When someone we love hurts – we hurt. Two. Character speaks louder than cash. Always. Third. There’s always a Mr. Potter. Don’t let the buggar win.

In truth, there’s always someone who’s going to be different. May even put up a sign, “Bah, humbug” or “Go Grinch.” I read of a little girl who climbed onto Santa’s lap. When Santa asked, “And what would you like for Christmas?” the girl looked up and replied, “What do you mean? Did you not get my email?”

I really did envision angels coming to help the average soul. In fact, Christmas Eve 1978, God gave me His greatest gift – himself. I saw his transcendent beauty of faith and love. His purity of light and grace remains amazing. There were, of course, doubters for my experience. However, over the years, I learned to never let another man create your world for he always creates it too small. And neither should we create God’s world, for we always tend to create God’s too narrow.

My vision of God’s world evolved significantly, yet remains absolute. Many years had passed before learning God does not appear in the grand hall of a royal palace, but in the poverty of a stable. Not in power – but simplicity. And maybe as I write this, I just learned that’s the angle portrayed in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ Funny how God’s angle is never our angle, nor is God’s angel ever like our angel.

God does come on Christmas Eve. He’s in that recovering alcoholic who walks by a bar, hears the laughter, but keeps walking. He’s there in the silence, when the one who used to share your life and your home is no longer there, and you find your heart full of sorrow and longing and memory. He whispers “You are not alone. I am with you.”

This Christmas, I am so blessed for you, someone so beautiful, so capable of delivering love without condition. You seem to overcome any obstacles. I meditate and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. When I am with you, I am home, full of humility and gratitude for having shared this life, my life, with you.

This Christmas, regardless what anyone else does, be true to what’s inside – the goodness, kindness, a loving nature and joy. Ultimately, God knows these qualities cement real change. Christmas exists to remind the world of His love. He gives us His love so we can be part of the solution.

You, my love, are my Wonderful Life.

With all my love … W

Several years ago, while traveling through Florida, my dear friend called with a business dilemma. “How do I handle this ethical problem with a client.”  Sarcastically, I scanned my iPhone and found no app for ‘moral compass.’ Nope. Nada. Didn’t exist.

In essence, business leaders, generals, foreign dignitaries and presidents alike have found can’t simply Google search ethical doctrine, mouth a political sound bite, and appear real. So, I asked, “If everything went south, would she eat the peanut butter?”

Huh?” she replied.

To highlight my intent, I referenced the peanut butter salmonella case.

In 2009, a salmonella outbreak killed nine people. The ninth fatality, an elderly Ohio woman, occurred during a congressional hearing. At one point in the hearing, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) held up a gallon-sized bucket wrapped in yellow crime-scene tape, presumably containing some type of recalled peanut butter product, and asked the business leader whether he would be willing to “take the lid off” and eat any of it.

Sometimes, real leadership is about having to eat the ‘peanut butter.’

Letter 16 was written as a follow-up to that conversation. Unopened since, I found some meaning leaders could use today.


My Dear Friend:

Most business leaders are forever searching for a leadership secret that will vault their company to the stratosphere. Likewise, ever notice how many self-help gurus claim to have the magic bullet for which only they have discovered. At the end today (and every decade) leadership greatness is rare.

In truth, the values that shape what we, as individuals, decide is right or wrong can’t be digested, instantly researched or found in a corporate weekend seminar. The degree to which values and principles arise and again, and the degree to which people accept and live in harmony to those values will either create survival and stability or disintegration and destruction. We see this far too common from political leaders and followers alike willingly and freely accepting disunity.

Lincoln once said “… if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Decisions should not be judged as ‘good politics’ where ‘the path of the least resistance’ has firmly rooted like moss on trees. These types of decisions often lead to ‘peanut butter,’ i.e., a breach of trust.

It’s hard to describe good values. However, the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami offered a glimpse.

Rescue Teams searched for the missing along hundreds of miles of the coast, and thousands of hungry survivors huddled in darkened emergency centers cut off from rescuers and aid. Japanese citizens patiently waited and passed whatever available water there was, to those who needing it first.

Values are written over centuries. They were created over lifetimes. They were challenged during World Wars, renewed on September 11th, revisited during times of economic uncertainty and political fear, and celebrated during annual harvests, reaping leftovers from a drought-ridden field.

Stephen Covey stated we must develop our value system with deep respect for “true north” principles. If you need a hint, ‘true north’ is about people. Love for thy neighbor is unarguable. As such, for all the years I have known and loved you, your principles are proven. They endured and quite often mirror by young mentors.

From a religious perspective, going back to my theological days, the six major world religions all teach the same basic core beliefs – “you reap what you sow” and “actions are more important than words.”  In today’s world, those professing freedom, are men who want crops without plowing, rain without thunder, the of joy Spring without the heat of Summer. They want ocean breezes but not its storms.

Cloak your decisions in love and you’ll weather most storms. Yup. May have to rebuild a roof here and there, bandage a knee, and morn, but your friends, coworkers, employees, community and I all walk with you.

Truth is, that real life … real values … and real love … is about struggle. There is no ‘true north’ without struggle. However, real love overcomes struggle. And that, my love, is what I believe Christ referenced.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Real love is always with us. And like His, my love is always with you.

Don’t have that? Well, prepare to eat ‘peanut butter.’ Ha!

With all my love … W.

The fourteenth letter was written in reference to the question, “How will I find you if you’re not here?”

Reading this letter after so many years, I honestly can reinforce that no one can show you one true method. And self-help guru’s offering a technique offer only a program that had somehow worked for them. But watch yourself. When you talk to someone, are you aware of it or are you simply identifying with it?

A key to knowing someone is “watching.” Is that person aware of their anger, happiness or peacefulness? Can they study their own experience and attempt to understand it? Where did it come from? What brought it on? I don’t know of any other way to awareness. I belief one can only change that which is understood. As noted in my letter, one has to get to the middle to ‘know.’ For me, I’ve found that which is not understand is often repressed. But when you understand it, it changes.

I believe the key to finding someone is through that person’s love. Another way of saying it, perfect love casts out fear. In my letter I make a series of statements – a guide if you will – on finding me. In other words, to find me when not physically present is to experience pain yet be able to dream. One can also find me by being foolish for love and shout ‘yes’ (thank you) to God upon the shores of a lake. To find me you must be true to yourself. To find me, regardless of what life throws at your door, get up and help someone in need. Do those things and you will find me?

What I tried to provide was a compass. There were no demands, no expectations, and no dependency. I did not demand that my love make me happy or that my ultimate happiness lay in her. I provided a guide … for her … on how to find me. Maybe, just maybe … such a guide might work for you.


My Dear Love:

You once asked how to find me. In truth, all of us are constantly changing and we continually search, assess and rediscover ourselves. Even though I have a passion for life, for the few close friends who’ll stand beside me, for passions captured and passions missed. Still, does anyone really know me? Do I even know myself? The more I see, the more I believe I’ve remained a mystery, even unto myself.

While we are profoundly emotionally deep and rich in our belief for each other, just how do we attest to knowing? Often, I look upon myself with great curiosity, even wonderment. Robert Frost’s poem The Secret Sits is a simple couplet where its meaning is left unto the mystery of the reader.

“We dance around the ring and suppose,
But the secret sits in the middle and knows.”

All of us have spent our lives dancing in a circle while simultaneously contemplating life. And in the end, maybe the ‘secret’ is God. Only god knows the secret to all which exists. Another interpretation could be that the world we live is often left open to interpretation. We, as stewards, are given the right to interpret the world upon our own experiences.

However, to truly find me, can you understand ache while simultaneously dare to dream? If you wish to find me, will you risk looking like a fool for love for the adventure of being alive? To find me, can you sit in pain without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it? To find me, can you be in joy while dancing under a moonlit, start-filled sky? To find me, is it possible to live momentarily live in the space between disappointing another while remaining true to thy own self? Is it possible not betray your soul? Is it possible to live with failure and while standing at upon a lake’s shore and shout, ‘Yes?’ To find me, can you find grief and despair, experience being weary and bruised, then get up, and do what needs to be done to feed the poor?

In essence, to find me, you must find yourself, for ‘I’ am in the middle.

While deep and rich, I treasure our friendship and love. Our exchanges are extremely important. I suppose one could muster old fashioned boundaries, but that may impede our spiritual growth and love. Whenever the world bogs you down, wherever the compass takes, you can find me in my words, letters and love.

Find me and I shall find you.

Love … W

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