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small

it is hard to not feel small and insignificant in los angeles. flying into the city gives you a vast breathtaking view of the homes and workplaces of millions upon millions of people. it stretches on as far as you can see north and south along the coast.

driving on the highways further enhances this state of mind. so many people traveling in cars from one place to another. where is everyone going? the nature of living and working here does not create the traditional travel between home and work. its a giant flowing mass of people heading in every direction.

but

when i think of it in this way, the feeling of connectedness begins to flow over me, and i can’t help but be overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for matt in this time. listening to him tell story after story of stranger and friend alike who have brought him food, bought him gifts, given to his fund. it’s amazing. truly amazing. it makes you believe again in peace and hope and love. it makes you believe in other people, and in this little girl:

i wish it could always be like this. it shouldn’t have to come from loss. i wish that we could see ourselves connected to our friends and neighbors and strangers a bit more often.

community is such an important word.

a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals

it’s one of the reasons that i really love my job. over and above the work that is technology, there is work in trying to teach students about community. we try to teach them to have a “deep sense of social responsibility” — that they are connected to one another in a community. that what they do affects their fellow human being, whether they know it or not. theirs is a generation of people that will be required to share common goals. if they do not, we will devolve further into the individual person. thinking about himself or herself. trying to get theirs. tossed to and fro in their cars. small and insignificant in the growing city.

but

if we come together, as a community, with common goals. i know we will find connectedness, peace, and love. i have seen it with my own eyes.

I thought about these two videos almost daily since i’ve seen them:

this video of Jill Bolte Taylor

and this presentation — new thinking on climate change

she believes in connectedness. he is optimistic that we will come together. i believe both of them.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi, AJ (and the world I guess), but mostly you AJ and those you love.

    I’m Penny’s husband and brother-in-law to Candee.

    I appreciate your website blog and just spent some time listening to Jill Taylor as posted on your link. She’s very interesting and obviously intelligent, but this makes me wonder if she’s missed an important link in all her thoughtful discourse about her stroke.

    At this point I need to tell you that I am a Christian. I found the following definition for “nirvana” after I learned how to spell it:

    nirvana, in Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism, a state of supreme liberation and bliss, contrasted to samsara or bondage in the repeating cycle of death and rebirth. The word in Sanskrit refers to the going out of a flame once its fuel has been consumed; it thus suggests both the end of suffering and the cessation of desires that perpetuate bondage. Epithets of nirvana in Buddhism include “the free,” “the immortal,” and “the unconditioned.” Nirvana is attainable in life, and the death of one who has attained it is termed parinirvana, or complete nirvana. This has often been interpreted as annihilation, but in fact the Buddhist scriptures say that the state of the enlightened man beyond death cannot be described. Nirvana in the different Indian traditions is achieved by moral discipline and the practice of yoga leading to the extinction of all attachment and ignorance. See also karma.

    This all sounds very ideal, but the love displayed by and shared by Christ exceeds this and everything else we might imagine, dream, or think of via our intelligence. I can hardly begin to tell you of the exceedingly great joy we who know Christ have in our hearts and lives. In addition we have the assurance of eternal life not through anything we have done, but through the grace of God who loved us so much that He sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to be sin for us and die for us so that we may be made righteous through Him. See John 3:16.

    I hope you are receptive of this message of true peace and joy through Christ cruicifed. I also hope that you have more than ‘head’ knowledge of this message of hope peace and joy and that you will share it with your family and friends.

    I’m sure that you like most of us have many questions about life and how this hopeful message equates the loss of a precious loved one like, Liz. No amount of thinking alone will ever make sense of this loss or any loss of life.

    My hope and that of fellow Christians is that you and those you know might turn to God’s word, the Bible, for answers to the many questions that we encounter in life. Joining others in worship and Bible study is a means to dig deeper and learn more of this loving God and coming to an understanding of how the death of His innocent son might clear the path for sinful folks like to be forgiven and freed of my sins so that I might know eternal life.

    God bless you and your family and friends, AJ. Please feel free to contact me if you would like me to share more with you.

    Liz’s Uncle Rich

    Rich Fick4/21/2008 @ 11:53 am
  2. Its often sadness and tragedy that brings out the best in people. I too agree that the world should give, feel, help, connect without those things….and some people do. I just spent the last few hours reading through every blog on Matt’s site from the time Liz went into the hospital. I laughed, cried, smiled, fell in love with that beautiful little girl, regained hope that love does exist, was reaffirmed that tragedy does happen to other people and sucks just as much, and felt hopeful. Hopeful that people aren’t all jerks. Hopeful that Madeline might have lost a great parent, but has a great parent left. Not to mention the ohhh so extended family that she will have around her always! After reading the blogs I thought about putting a comment to Matt and at some point I am sure I will. Then I looked through picture after picture and realized that you too should be proud. Cynical as you be, to paraphrase Matt you’re the #1 cynic, he needed you and you were there….above and beyond. How wonderful to find that your friends really can make your world better. Even if its just for a moment. Not sure why I posted a comment, guess it was just to thank you for standing up for a man (Matt) and a friend….when he needed someone to lean on. Could have something to do with the teary burning eyes and the lack of sleep too.

    Kari5/7/2008 @ 1:20 am



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