September 12, 2017: Disobey
Not one comrade disobeyed the order. The order was strict, non-negotiable, and without exception. Yet, the guardsman could not hold on any longer. He collapsed. His friends did not even watch, the rules did not allow it. So, the young man lay there, unconscious, with his comrades by his side, obeying orders.
September 11, 2017: Sympathy
They called it soft, we called it sympathy.
They called it weak, we called it strong.
They knew no other way, we knew no other way.
So, we lent a sympathetic hand.
September 10, 2017: Peculiar
Jaromir was not the most handsome gentleman around, though a gentleman still. He had a strange face – very small forehead, very large eyebrows, super small eyes, a razor thin nose, a fat upper lip and skinny lower lip, very long cheeks and a triangle chin. Chessa was his love, and he was hers. Chessa was slightly taller than Jaromir. She had a symmetric face and warm brown eyes. Chessa did not love Jaromir despite his physical peculiarities, but partly because of them. They helped make Jaromir who he is, a gentleman with a range of loving, charming and caring personal peculiarities. They make him as resilient and hopeful as anyone she has ever met.
September 9, 2017: Overcome
Stan’s stutter often stopped him from realizing his potential. He would watch his classmates in the debate club argue over issues that mattered to him. Issues of justice, equity and social welfare. He watched from afar, resigning his own participation, held back by his stutter. He stuck to listening, passively and helplessly. When his friends would talk about girls, Stan would timidly step back, knowing that his stutter added too much pressure for his courage to handle – approaching her was already hard enough.
When he saw his ideological opponent win the debate competition, when he learned his friend asked out his crush, and when he realized his life would only continue this way, Stan set out to make a change. He began to meditate. He began to practice speaking more often, despite the laughs and awkward looks. He began to accept himself. He slowed his thoughts down.
He practiced day and night, night and day until he overcame. He still stuttered, but not like before. The difference for Stan, he realized, was that he was not at peace with himself. He wanted to be like the others around him. In the end, Stan overcame his stutter by being himself.
September 8, 2017: Crescendo
As she came in through the window, was the sound of a crescendo.
He came into her apartment, left the bloodstains on the carpet.
She ran underneath the table, he could see she was unable.
So she ran into the bedroom, she was struck down, it was her doom.
Annie, are you ok? Are you ok, Annie?
Dag gone it !
From Michael Jackson: Smooth Criminal
September 7, 2017: Finite
Between 0 and 1 lies an infinite amount of numbers.
Among 88 keys exist an infinite combination of sounds.
Inside one’s brain hums infinite thoughts.
Within one glance lies an infinite truth.
The infinite lives in the finite.
September 6, 2017: Anticipate
In some sense, it was better for her not to anticipate anything at all. Ashleigh was coming up in the world, ready to take it by storm. She left her loving community for the big city, far far away. When she arrived, Ashleigh could not hold back her wonderment. Sky high buildings, flashing lights, beautiful people of all shapes and sizes, and everything she imagined it to be. After settling in to her new, humble abode, Ashleigh was ready to live the life she dreamed. It did not take long for her wonderment to turn to confusion, anxiety, and disillusionment, however. The way the world worked outside her corner of it was much different than she anticipated.
Commitments, responsibilities, personal relationships, romantic relationships, politics, international affairs, racial relations, injustice, historical inequities. All these things merged with love, hope, creativity, ambition, inspiration, the new and exciting.
It was a lot for young Ashleigh, all at once, but she has a strong heart. She began to write to herself. She began to think for herself. She began to take the world as it is.
She began to let go.
September 5, 2017: Elevate
Ready, set, go! They were off, on a race to the bottom. They were on a mission to win, no matter what. The winner, they believed, would be the fastest. The fastest, they believed, would be better than the others. The best, they believed, would be revered, respected, and righteous. Little did they know, of course, that the better person is not the fastest or the best, but the wisest. The wisest, they believed, is the smartest. Little did they know that this was not so. In fact, the wisest is who elevates others. This way, she wins because they win.
September 4, 2017: Educate
A well educated man stood upright on the long carpet before the Main Hall. He took a deep breathe, expanded his chest, took two steps forward past the high door and mechanically turned his frown upside down. He greeted Mr. Hanafi with a munificent embrace, partly to avoid making eye contact. He disliked Mr. Hanafi, and only Mr. Hanafi did not know. He proceeded to work the room in a routine fashion, until he met another man whom he had not seen in the Main Hall before.
This man, Watu is his name, is also a well educated man. He also stood upright. His shoulders were relaxed and his hands by his side. Watu wore an easy smile and a clean shave. The man greeted Watu with a bombastic hello, and Watu replied in humility. The man’s smile was still an upside down frown, and it slowly reverted somewhere in between smile and frown as he began to engage with Watu. It was clear that Watu was just as educated as the man as their conversation dove deeper into similarities and differences of regional philosophic traditions, but it was not clear to the man why Watu held the public good in such high regard. To the man, an individual must work hard to grease the wheels and put himself on top, for the well being of him and his family. To Watu, an individual must work hard for the well being of him and his family, and fellow man. For without fellow man, Watu would merely be a human body who has not (yet) discovered fire.
Here they were – Watu and the man – standing in the Main Hall, exemplars of humanity. The educated: as rich and poor as society itself.
September 3, 2017: Priceless
He could not sell his watch for any price. It belonged to his father’s father, and his father’s father before that. It meant too much to him.
She could not sell her bracelet for any price. It belonged to her mother’s mother, and her mother’s mother before that. It meant too much to her.
When their son came, he knew he would wear that watch as his own, one day.
When their daughter came, she knew she would wear that bracelet as her own, one day.
When the war came, they knew they would do whatever it takes to keep their son and daughter alive and well. They sold everything they had left.
In the end, some things are more priceless than others.