Called To Change

The Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday has stirred my heart more than any other national holiday. Presidents Day is easily forgettable, other than being inspired by words from George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day are powerful, but the tone is more on remembrance and thankfulness. Independence Day is mostly a party. Columbus Day? Well, I don’t see many people making much of a fuss about that. Continue reading

Gunner

“GUNNER – COAX – TROOPS!”

Thirty years ago I was an Army Reservist. Most of my weekend drills and two-week annual trainings were at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, a small base just a few miles north of the border with Mexico.

I was a tank gunner on an M60A3 Main Battle Tank and heard the phrase “GUNNER – COAX – TROOPS!” frequently. It was the command my tank commander would call out when we came across the simulated infantry targets scattered throughout our tank gunnery practice ranges. Continue reading

Prepared

I was prepared.

In 1992, when I was 24 years old, I could take apart, reassemble and do a function check on a Colt M1911A1 .45 caliber pistol in less than 45 seconds.

I was prepared.

I had qualified as an Expert shot every time I went to the range with the Army, even knocking down my targets while wearing a gas mask. When I pointed a pistol at targets they went down. Continue reading

Losing It

I had a very simple task to do yesterday.

All I had to do was stand in front of a staff meeting and invite them to visit a few of our locations for an Awareness Tour.

No big deal. I stand in front of this group all the time. I’ve known most of them for many years so there’s no “stage fright”.

And I completely lost it. Continue reading

Good News

When I was a young boy we went to a Methodist church in Phoenix, Arizona every Sunday. And although we were there Sunday after Sunday, pretty much every week, without exception, I can’t tell you with any certainty anything the minister ever said except for a joke he told one day:

“What do you get when you cross a Methodist with a Jehovah’s Witness?” Continue reading

Free

I just finished filling out my ballot for this year’s election.  It took me nearly an hour to fill out but it feels like over a year’s worth of effort.

 Like many others, I’m sure, I’ve felt like this has been the longest, bitterest election ever.  It’s challenged so many of us in so many ways: beliefs, identities, customs, friendships, to name a few. Continue reading

Silent Night

When I think of the Christmases of my youth there are few presents I can remember receiving. A gallon of pickles when I was about 10 or 11, because I really loved pickles. A remote controlled airplane that I crashed and destroyed on the playground of my elementary school on its first flight. An electric typewriter, when I was 15 or 16, which I learned to type on while listening to a cassette tape of Sting singing “We Work the Black Seam Together”. To this day, if I’m really in the groove, I type to the tempo of that song. Continue reading

Them

I’ve been thinking a lot about “them” lately, and how if they would just see things the way I do the world would be such a better place.  If only they would just understand – if they could only see! Sometimes I can’t believe how foolish they are, or how much they must not care, or what terrible people they are or what horrible parents they must have had to have raised them this way. It’s all their fault.  I wish they would just get out of the way.  They’re destroying our way of life, our country and our planet. Continue reading

Lighting The Candle

I dropped Ben off at YMCA Camp Seymour this evening for a weekend of Winter Camp and as I walked the nearly pitch-black trail from the dining hall back to the parking lot my heart was heavy with the thought of what happened in Connecticut today. I stood on the trail for a moment looking down at the foundation of the new dining hall, poured just yesterday, and listened to the singing and laughing drifting up the hill, wondering just what the solution would be to put an end to such horrible violence. It occurred to me as I stood there in the dark that the answer was right in front of me. Gun control is unlikely to be effective. Endless debate and compromised legislation would probably just polarize the country even more. But in the midst of such darkness, what works best, what lights the candle of warmth and hope that lets us move through times such as these, is to lean ever more firmly into providing the children we have before us the opportunity to play, to be respected, to be honored, and to be loved. I’m proud to work with so many who are part of the solution.