Roles

If an actor is defined by the roles he or she takes on, then by all accounts Chadwick Boseman was a man defined by dignity, strength and justice. Playing Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and the Black Panther, among others, Boseman’s talents were undeniable – as were the many ways in which he chose to share his gifts both on and off the screen.

His death last week of colon cancer at the age of 43 stopped me in my tracks – not just because it was a tragic loss of a talented person in their prime – but because the same disease has wreaked havoc in the lives of my family and friends.…


Here

I love the Beyonce song, “I was here.” It’s an inspiring and anthemic reminder and call to action regarding our purpose. Consider these lyrics:

I wanna say I lived each day, until I die
And know that I meant something in somebody’s life
The hearts I have touched will be the proof that I leave
That I made a difference, and this world will see

I was here


In this context and most, “here” refers to the specific time and place that we occupy. 


“We are the flood and we are the ark.”

The last paragraph on page 194 read, “The most hopeless conditions can inspire the most hopeful actions. We have found ways to restore life on Earth in the event of a total collapse because we have found ways to cause a total collapse of life on Earth. We are the flood, and we are the ark.” 

I paused before moving on to the next chapter and looked up at my oldest daughter finishing breakfast.…


“Best in” vs. “Best for”

As the decade comes to a close, there are no shortage of “Best of” lists — best stories, best films, best songs, best books, best teams, best players etc.

Perhaps you’ve also done your own personal best of the decade list. It would probably be filled with milestones, accomplishments, vacations, and events.

What we don’t see are many “best for” lists.  In other words, what were the best things done for someone else?


What are your greatest hits this year?

With just one month left in the year, it is natural to look back at the previous eleven. For some it will feel like a blur, others a slog, others yet a mixed bag.
 
In the context of our life, it is likely that only a handful of memories from this year will remain lodged in our consciousness this time next year, joining the handful of others from each previous year of our lives. …


Would you like more or have you had enough?

In his brilliant new book, We are the Weather:  Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, Jonathan Safran Foer recites a common definition of the American Dream as “having a better life than one’s parents – better primarily in the sense of affluence.” 

He describes how his grandparents had a better home than his great grand parents and how his parents had a better home than his grandparents AND how he now has a better and more valuable home than any of them. …


What kind of ancestor do you want to be?

This powerful question comes from Rom Mokak,  Australia’s first Indigenous Policy Evaluation Commissioner.  It is a question that the Yawuru people ask when a major decision is to be made for their community.

When I first heard this question, it made me think of what kind of steward I am for not just my children’s future but for their children and their children and so on. I…


“And losing him was like losing the rain.”

When he plays Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out in concert, Bruce Springsteen pauses in the middle of the song, where his friend, the late Clarence Clemons, sax solo used to be.  He does so to honor a man that he was not embarrassed to say he loved or kiss publicly.
 
When he played the song during Springsteen on Broadway, he went one step further, pausing longer to explain his deep affection for the person he called, “The Big Man.”…


What to do?

This week I watched a two-minute video and read a ten-page magazine article that hit me like a punch to the gut and left me staggering and wondering, “What to do?”
 
The video was of the sixteen-year-old environmentalist, Greta Thunberg, who had sailed from Sweden to address the United Nations.  Her provocative and passionate speech left me feeling shamed and helpless.  Watch for yourself.  How do her words make you feel?…


Wanted Dead and Alive

From the time I began writing this weekly note, at least five of its readers have died. Many more have lost a parent, family member, friend or co-worker during that same time.
 
Death, regretfully, is the ultimate fact of life.  Its certainty is inescapable.  Yet for many valid reasons we choose to put the question of our own mortality out of sight and out of mind.  …