Getting back on the horse

Wednesday 2 July 2008

So if you were paying attention (to my blog, that is — hopefully you’ve been paying attention to many other aspects of life), you probably realized the absence of any new posts since the month of May! Gasp, I know. I could give reasons and reasons, but I think it just boils down to the fact that I’ve been a bit removed from society since 1 June when I started work (once again) at Camp Mowana in Mansfield, Ohio. We first had two weeks of staff training and then I worked one week in Port Clinton, Ohio at a Bible School/Day Camp there and then last week at Mowana for a confirmation camp. Currently I have a (forced) week of vacation, but it’s given me a chance to visit my parents and a friend in New York (state), so aside from the loss of pay, I can’t complain. I’ve worked at Mowana in various degrees since summer 2002 (with a noted absence as a paid staffer last summer), and I’ve having a lot of fun and enjoyment again this summer.

But back to the fact that I haven’t written a blog entry in over 40 days! At first I was thinking that being away from televisions and the Internet (for the most part) while I’m at camp has just caused me to have less to think and write about, thus the lack of any blog material, but then I realized that wasn’t true. I think it’s two-fold: first, there is little (if any) time when I can sit in front of a computer and spill out some thoughts into a blog to post and share with you; if I have a free moment, I like to either be taking a break or hanging out with other staff members, as Mowana is probably the best community I can ever hope to live in.

The existence of community is much the reason why I probably don’t post much any more, too. I tend to think most of my blog posts tend to be about thoughts of ideas that I have and like to think about while I’m writing then down and then they get to be shared with you. But when I’m around such amazing people all the time who love to talk about different ideas and subjects of life, I tend to have those conversations in person, thus getting a lot of the thoughts out verbally and thus not feeling as much need to write anything down.

That being said, I think I’ll try to carve out some more time this summer (I think this post has taken maybe 15 minutes to write) to find some quite time to type up some thoughts and ideas I can share with you, especially since people actually do notice when I’ve been absent for such a long period of time! Here’s to you, loyal readers!

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the people in your life

Tuesday 19 February 2008

Ever since my blog about 1 million Iraqis being killed in the past 5 years, I’ve been thinking about whether or not I actually might know a million people. The perfectionist in me wants to make an excel spreadsheet list of all the people I’ve met (and remember enough to write down) in the past 25 or so years of my life, but the realist in me knows that would take quite a while and probably not be worth it in the end — and it would likely become just another list I’d want to keep track of as I meet more people, kind of like my ever changing imdb.com list of movies I’ve seen (those I want to see but haven’t just aren’t rated).  Plus, it would kind of be sad, deconstructing the humanity of relationships into simple spreadsheet.

So instead of turning my life into meaningless statistics, I instead try to think about all the lives of others that have intersected mine. There are definitely people I’ve been in the same room with that I’ve ran across but I would not say I “met” and certainly never “knew” them. And there are surely people who’ve “known” me but I never had contact with — those students for who my name came up in conversation and who were aware of my presence but for who I wasn’t their teacher would be one example. If you let the idea of “knowing” someone require the act of an introduction and/or conversation having taken place, the list becomes a little more exclusive, but even then I’m still amazed at the variety and abundance of people I’ve met and places I’ve met them.

School is one of the larger segments of ways I know people. Since I went to such a small school containing pretty much the same people K-12, perhaps I know fewer people than others that way, though with that small town, too, I came to know most of the people in the community in one way or another, and they can’t be forgotten about. I also know a lot of people form college — classes, dorms, and students groups — and if facebook would have came around a few years earlier, I might have a better estimate of just how many people that might have been.

Church and groups with a spiritual aspect are definitely another big connection for me. I’ve attended (regularly) about 4 churches in my life and have built lasting relationships with people in all of them. I’ve also attended many conferences, retreats, assemblies, and gatherings where I added more people to my “list.” I’ve met and formed many amazing relationships with those associated with Lutheran Volunteer Corps — volunteers, LVC staff, and the many people I met during my trip or otherwise recruiting for LVC. And this section would in no way be complete if I didn’t mention Camp Mowana. I’ve probably worked with around 100 people who were on staff while I was there, and then there are the hundreds, if not thousands, of campers and pastors/volunteers who I met during my time as a counselor. Because I have an issue with names, many of those campers would probably be slighted in a name-specific list format, so that’s another reason not to make one.

And then you have all the other somewhat random ways in which I’ve met people — parties, game night, community organizing, friends of friends, rugby/curling/frisbee/etc., jobs/work not listed above — I’m sure I could name many more ways. I invite you to reminisce about the many people who have stepped in (and maybe out) of your life, making it what it is today, for they are the ones who have truly brought it joy and meaning.

And I invite you (as always) to leave some of your comments about ways you’ve met some of the people in your life and why you find them special — be as specific or as general as you’d like, but I think it’s good to really give credit to those who make this life worth living.