10 days, 12 heartaches, 2 funerals, and hope

The last time I posted on my blog was June 9th*, then I logged off.

I decided to take a sabbatical from connecting/making efforts mostly to connect with people in the WordPressiverse.

In that time, I said that I would make a greater effort to connect with friends in my real world, not just rely on the company of the people who sought me out in the magical ether.

And so, I logged off. For 10 days.

Within 3 days, I had to go to a funeral. One heartache.

On the night of the funeral, old friends came over for dinner, which led to long talks, dominoes, and a 40-something pajama party.

The next few days after that brought the ups and downs that a community organization often endures:  Losing funding for a community center one day, being selected to open 2 new centers the next.

And then came Charleston. Nine more heartaches for the ones we lost. One more heartache for the terrorist among us.

And the day after that, another funeral. One more heartache.

Yesterday, on my last day of self-imposed digital vacation, I had long quiet talks with myself. I could wallow in what could be deemed the futility of human existence. But I decided not to.

You see, ftom the first funeral I attended, I held on to a piece of the minister’s sermon. It went something like this: In life, we have to look for J-O-Y:
Jesus first.
Others second.
Yourself last.

I’m not a particularly religious person, but I do like the idea of a unifying spirit that could connect us all, that despite our differences, there may be a Larger Purpose. I’m not a pious do-gooder, but I know my professional life can be described spent in service to people and community. That’s important to me. And then there’s me. I don’t put myself last in the sense of not taking care of myself, but not being selfish, or extensively self-serving. It’s not that easy, but I try.

But I have to admit. On a day-to-day basis, I don’t live my life looking for joy. I need to get better at that.

There was no flash of lightning. No grand epiphany. But I did muster up some motivation. And hope.

So, I called my friends. I made adult playdates. I wrote a letter. It’s a start.

This photo is of a backdrop to a student show called, “Art Against War.” It was a collection of stories that speak to what I’ve been getting lost in this week: the universal experience of war and violence, and how art – not necessarily the paintings and dances themselves, but our acts of creation, our sense of beauty in the depths of despair – is really hope manifested. And when violence can’t take that away, well, that’s certainly something.

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*I wrote the last post on June 9th, but I scheduled it to come out on June 10th.