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Gift of Human Kindness

Well hello good person :) Happy... ummm... yeah, Monday. :)

I know.. like what the hell Josh?! .... well, if it's any consolation... I too have had my habits, spirit, motivation all kinds of derailed here lately. At the end of the day, I am just as human as everyone else... so I should have this week's weekly picture / grateful message to you in a timely manner this Friday like always. :)

This past Friday we were supposed to host our yearly event in honor of the life and legacy Marc Lee lived. Like most things going on, it was also cancelled. Was a total bummer. :( but I understand why. In addition to that being Friday, it was also Marc's birthday.

Being fully transparent, I've also not been in the super best of moods. Not that I was in an angry or bad mood.. but pretty much hyper vulnerable, frustrated, positive, sad, positive, neutrality, confusion, positive, weak, disciplined, lazy. man... if I could throw in more legit oxymoronic combination of words I would... But I think you get the drift of what was going on in the head.

I was not the right state of mind to honor such a person let alone talk to a friend.

Although I dislike breaking consistency, and hell, with everyone home lately from work due the ongoings of everything, I missed a good day to email a friend who likely wanted something to read.. but I'm happy I took my time here before sending... even if it's on a Monday. :)

Over the last week I've been very surprised by people.. I know my perspective is from our safe city of Surprise and is likely different than some people whom live elsewhere, however this is all I have to qualify things. I've been surprised and moved at the amount of people whom have checked in on our family and the status of our boys... and then equally so, surprised and hurt at those whom have not done so either.

I'm not sure if you've waited in line for food at the grocery store yet, but Chas and I have. So much so that we needed to take the boys out of school early [before it was temporarily canceled] as we weren't going to have the time to get them once in line. It was wild.. it's still wild.

For the most part though, from what I've witnessed first hand [that's all I can rely on as the media and news can be misleading] from what I've seen, people are frustrated but are surprisingly understanding about this suck factor.

Leading up to a couple of days ago I was missing the spirit of September 11th... definitely not the loss, terror, all the horrible things of that day... no right person ever would... what I miss though is how united we all were. We were facing a terror unlike any that we've ever faced, yet, we were, again from what I saw and participated in, we were united... we were together.

Fast forward to today, our present time... our terror is something that can only be seen under a microscope, not like an airplane in the sky. Something so small, but so big is now affecting the entire world... as gross as it all is, we hear and see things that show how selfish people are in the grocery stores... if you look closer, you can see the selfishness in life too.. some of this is easy to laugh at for sure, I mean hell, it's ridiculous out there some what... but, comparing it to the united spirit of almost 17 years ago, it's sad.

So much of this past week for me has been very reactive, but necessarily reactive. I have conditioned myself over the years to embrace the moments of being uncomfortable - hell I went into real estate - ha! ... but this stuff feels like a different kind. I'm not sure if it's the responsibility I have at home being the Dad and the one who goes out and works to provide, I'm not sure.. but deep inside this stuff has worn on me vulnerably speaking.

When things are out of my control, when things scare me, when things affect my ability to make a decision, I've learned to step back from the situation and evaluate it. Although I don't do this all the time, I try to make a considered effort to do so.

I think of my buddy Chris who lost his life on a rooftop in Afghanistan... or Marc Lee, a person whom I've never met, who stood up in the front line, leading his team of seals forward into the unknown.. he lost his life as well.... as dreary as that might sound, it's grounding for me. They were in a spot where the unknown could and would likely kill them. There was a high likelihood that their decision of X would lead to never coming home again... and as life happened, they didn't come home.

So when things stress me out, when I feel out of control.. I step back and think of them,

for what's on my plate right now, for what's affecting me now... will this take my life, will I not come home to my family because of this?

No... no, it won't.

that's it...

When I step back and assess what I'm feeling, I feel better about what the hell is going on or not going on. That doesn't take away the stresses, no not at all. But it calms my nerves. If these men, and others like them, although scared and terrified I'm sure - they did it... If I am not going to lose my life or those around me, there is no reason why I should let the feelings take over the way I know my vulnerable heart can go.

As I write this I can see Marc's last letter home...

The final thoughts within Marc's letter resonates so much of where we are today.. and with as overwhelming as the times are right now... his words bring a sense of calm over me and am compelled to share them with a friend..

"Ask yourself when was the last time you donated clothes that you hadn’t worn out. When was the last time you paid for a random stranger’s cup of coffee, meal or maybe even a tank of gas? When was the last time you helped a person with the groceries into or out of their car? Think to yourself and wonder what it would feel like if when the bill for the meal came and you were told it was already paid for." More random acts of kindness like this would change our country and our reputation as a country. I think the truth to our greatness is each other. Purity, morals and kindness, passed down to each generation through example. So to all my family and friends, do me a favor and pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life to each other so that when your children come into contact with a great conflict that we are now faced with here in Iraq, that they are people of humanity, of pure motives, of compassion. "

As the days move on, there is a lot still unknown to what's going to happen. When we do come through all of this, I believe we all will be changed forever. With as globally terrifying as this could be - if you let your head go that way - I'm thankful to the heavens we as a human race are facing this together and are not in a global world war with each other.

The most powerful thing we have is ourselves.. and the easiest thing, the most impacting thing we can do is pass along the gift of human kindness.

Next time you're in a long ass line at the grocery store, be kind and patient to the family who's in front of you. When you check out at the register, or get some meat from the deli, remember these people serving you are in a 180 degree role than they ever would have imagined. People chose the military and first responder jobs for a reason... where we are today, our grocery store people have found themselves in a first priority kind of role. We all are under stress and vulnerable, I can't imagine how these people are feeling and dealing with their new found role. They are there to serve us, yes, but more importantly, I believe, we are here to serve them. Be sure to thank them, they probably need to hear it more now than ever before.

Life right now has given many people, many families an opportunity to be home... to be home without playing hookie from work or spend it over a holiday with other people that bother them. HA! :) One could see this as a punishment if you'd like.. cabin fever is a real thing I know... but in addition to being uniquely kind and selfless to those around us... take advantage of this time for you.

Take the time to better yourself... start something you've never done before. Challenge yourself in ways you've not done before. The whole world is metaphorically on pause right now... don't squander this time. Be diligent, be intentional, be you for you, be you for your family.

As I wrap up my final thoughts I just want you to know if you need something we have more than enough to help someone out. We have space in our freezer if you're out, we have ideas, a shoulder to vent or cry to, just ask. If we have the ability to give, we will.. if you need a buddy, please reach out. We are all in this together.

It was my intent to share this with you this past Friday. Months ago I had designed this metal art field cross in honor of Chris, Marc, and all those whom are not here in our life today... Military, First Responders, Civilians... all good people who did the right thing when their life was second to the decision they were faced with. When we have the next event for Marc's birthday there will be another one of these for auction. Until then, it's sibling will stand tall in our yard, below the flag in which means so much to us.

Happy belated birthday Marc. RIP.

A huge special thanks to Damon Gabriel in Georgia for helping make this possible. As he said, "this was one hell of an alley oop!"

I hope this message resonates with you. We are grateful for and appreciate you. Have the best week possible! We got you! Enjoy this week's picture ;)

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