Two Words We Are

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This is issue #1 of the motivational magazine. Each issue is based on a two-word phrase and several authors each write 300-700 words on that phrase.

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Two Words We Are

  1. 1. Winter 2009 Issue One O ords w A magazine dedicated to Hope, Inspiration, & Change ... from a Simple Phrase
  2. 2. r’s Ed ito N e ot next decade. People desperately want to look forward again, and seem willing to chip in to do what they can to make that happen. If I can lend a hand within my small quadrant of the globe, making a positive contribution — who knows — it just might spread. After all, even tsunamis begin as ripples. And in the end, no matter where this path on which we find ourselves leads, it sure can’t hurt to uplift a few others along the way, can it? This is the introductory Words Matter issue of Two I am blessed that I come from a family of writers; maybe Words. Therefore, it seems it was in the blood. However it came to be, three of the appropriate to explain, at least somewhat, writers in this premier issue are family. My heart overflows what is Two Words. The concept is simple; each issue with joy to have them as the backbone of my project; is dedicated to a two-word phrase, which will be the sole because they are indeed — at least with regards to me muse for the writers, who will use it as the launching — part of what “we are.” Beyond that, Brian Millet has point to each write 500-700 words. Their styles will vary, grown up with my sons and I consider him my extended as will the implementation. It is a unique, wholly creative family. I also put out the word to find other writers and endeavor with one main intention: To instill within the was pleased, not only with the interest, but the caliber of reader (that’s you) feelings of hope, inspiration, and an writers who responded. I tried to choose those who most acceptance of change. (This two-word theme is also used understood the mission of Two Words and am honored in the subject headers, titles, and in general throughout the to include my dear friend, Faydra Rector, as well as two publication.) writers I met through LinkedIn: Hollee J. Chadwick, Joseph Why Now? Langen Ph.D. I wish I could have included more authors but utilizing a three-point font to fit everything in seemed People ask, “With fewer folks reading, an economy on problematic. the abyss, and the print media evaporating, why would you choose this particular time to start an independent I — as well as you — might not necessarily agree with magazine?” every point of view, but in a world that seems to point fingers more often than extend hands, remember that “We I’d love to wow you with a brilliant, thought-provoking Are” diverse. Embracing that diversity will only strengthen reply. Alas, the honest answer is, “I don’t know.” It just us. seemed, like, well, the right time. Too often, I have delayed pursuing goals, saying, “There will always be time,” or “It’s It is my utmost wish that these words and images make a stupid idea; it won’t work.” For some unknown reason, I your day a little better, fill you with hope, and remind you decided that would not be my path this time. that “we are” a wonderful species. I am honored by that S fact that you choose the premier issue of Two Words. Your I must admit I was encouraged by the 2008 presidential feedback is welcomed. election. Change and hope appear to be the words of the cott “Q” Marcus, publisher, editor, and founder of Two Words magazine is a professional speaker, coach, and syndicated columnist. As a “Recovering Perfectionist,” he uses a unique approach to help people transform their thoughts and beliefs to get more than they ever knew they could. He is the author of several books (available at www.CompletelyInspired.com) and he blogs regularly at www.LongDistanceMarketing.com as well as www.ForeverFightingFat.com. Although he started speaking after losing 70 pounds over a decade ago, he will not watch what you eat if you do not watch what he eats. However, he just might speak to your group in exchange for enough chocolate or french fries. He can be reached for writing, speaking, or coaching at: scottq@scottqmarcus.com • 707.442.6243 • www.TwoWordsMagazine.com
  3. 3. Issue One Winter 2009 Winter 2009 Volume One The Aut hors “We Are...” A B A magazine dedicated to Hope, Inspiration, and Change from a simple phrase t age 17, Hollee J. Chadwick was hired as randon Marcus is a writer located in southern a staff writer for Gibson Greeting Cards California. A student of Bradbury, Sterling in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since that time, she has been a and King, he has submersed himself in literature humor columnist, advertising copywriter, proofreader, since a young age, from sprawling novels to a large reporter, and newspaper editor. Chadwick now variety of graphic novels. Aside from writing, he works from her home office in southern Ohio as a is a film maker, critic and pop culture enthusiast. A freelance fiction and nonfiction editor, copy editor, You can read his take on the worst of pop culture at D ghostwriter, and copywriter. She can be reached at www.BadMusicVideosBlog.com. www.holleedazeink.net or hollee@holleedazeink.net. His article is on page 4. Her article is on page 10. fter growing up in northern California, r. Joseph Langen is a retired psychologist Daniel Marcus moved to Hollywood now writing full time. He has published to pursue his dream of filmmaking. He has acted four books, the latest being Navigating Life: in — and co-produced — several short features. He Commonsense Reflections for the Voyage. Others loves movies of all kinds, writing, and cooking. He B include Commonsense Wisdom for Everyday Life, cooks a mean mac and cheese. He can be reached at Young Man of the Cloth, and The Pastor’s Inferno. DanielScottMarcus@hotmail.com. He also writes a regular newspaper column and His article is on page 2. maintains a writing blog, Conversations with Calliope, at www.commonsense-wisdom.blogspot.com. Visit C rian Millett is a writer, raconteur, youth www.commonsense-wisdom.com for more, including development professional, filmmaker, avid sample chapters, and to receive his free newsletter. traveler, and pizza enthusiast. He has spent the His article is on page 14. majority of his professional career working with at-risk youth for various government and non-profit indy Marcus is a screenwriter with a host organizations. He is currently working for the City of credits: Disney’s Lion King 2, Enchanted of Eureka and is writing his first novel. Find out more F Christmas, the independent Jack and the Beanstalk, and about Brian, as well his internet radio show, Raconteur several other films. Years of success in the Hollywood Revival at www.CreativeRebel.net. trenches convinced her it was “time to give back” His article is on page 8. so she started a national theater program for teens called Showdown. Several shows have now been aydra Rector, M.A. is a mental health published with prominent publishing companies administrator, author, speaker, educator, (Pioneer, Dramatic, and Samuel French). Her first and life coach who lives in Red Bluff, California. book, Playdate, published by Meriweather, will be She believes that through accepting accountability released in Spring, 2009. Cindy can be reached at for our own lives and circumstances, anyone can www.ShowdownStageco.com. achieve anything that they desire. She can be Her article is on page 6. reached at lifecoach@shasta.com or at her blog at www.FaydraAndCompany.blogspot.com. Her article is on page 10. Magazine concept, editing, and layout by Scott “Q” Marcus • Magazine design by Six Rivers Graphic Design Photo on “Twenty Five” by Scott “Q” Marcus. Photos on “Forever Blessed” by Joseph Langen. All others: iStockPhoto, Fotolia, iClipart
  4. 4. I Twenty Five Daniel Marcus I am twenty five My friends and family September 11th is the only come in all different shapes time in my life where I have years old. I was and sizes. We are black, seen this country come born in Northern white, yellow, red and together. There was a week California, but any color in the spectrum of perfect union. People presently find of the rainbow. Some of treating others as equals, myself in the us are straight, some are as brothers and sisters. But gay. I’m the product of a since then we had become southern end. middle class family. My a divided nation. A nation I work at a corporate coffee roommate comes from that fed off of fear. A nation shop. My favorite color upper class roots. And I where it was not okay to is blue and my favorite have other friends who question the direction of the food is Italian. I go to survived off of food stamps. great nation. The freedom movies frequently, almost These are the people that to be who you want to be religiously. I would visit the I converse with every day. had been taken away. We river over the beach and I These are the people who are all Americans, but we prefer the Beatles over Elvis. share similar problems. became a broken family. I could go on and on about The people who I spend Seven years of division my likes and dislikes, my the holidays with. The took their toll. This country annoyances and pleasures. people I share my successes has not been that “beacon But when I think about who with and the people who of light on the hill” that I am, I come to pause. hold me up when I fail. we have always aspired to be. We have become the Is it who I was? The child We talk about how our bully on the playground. growing up on Bacchetti adult lives are being America was not the Drive playing with his shaped. Our greatest United States anymore. squatty, little basset hound? commonality is the Is it my present self? The difficulty of burgeoning This is what my adult man paying monthly bills adulthood. How the life has been. This is the and rent; who seems to freedoms of growing environment where my find himself worrying older cause us to take friends and I came of more and more about the on more responsibility. age. We came after the economy. Or is it who I Relationships aren’t just election of George W. want to be? The man with about fun, but the hope of Bush. We came after 9/11. the family who makes creating something lifelong. Just because I disagree his living off of writing Work isn’t about buying a with what has happened and cooking. The older cool toy to play with, but or where we have gone, it I get the more prevalent maintaining a balanced life. does not mean that I am not this question becomes. When did this happen? completely thankful to have grown up now. We can
  5. 5. not appreciate life without “September 11th is the the downs. Pleasures would seem so much less only time in my life where important without the sadness. Disappointments I have seen this country are necessary. They make come together.” us who we are. They make us learn. Our responsibility never seemed so clear. And then there was 2008. After all the pain and sadness of the past seven years, we finally stood up and said, “Enough!” We took on that responsibility that was being given to us. We realized that we are now adults and we have control of our destiny. This is not only our parents’ country anymore, it is our country. And soon enough it will be our childrens’ country. In 2008 we finally became those adults that we had always wanted to be. I am still twenty five years old. I still have many likes and dislikes. I still am my own individual. But when I think about who I am and who we are, the pause no longer remains. We are professionals, we are adults and we are leaders. We are no longer the generation of the future, we are the generation of now.
  6. 6. I Ideal Paradox BrandonMarcu I don’t get stumped easily. When asked to finish a task, I’m almost always able to find a quick path to completion. I rarely need assistance when it comes to all things creative. That’s just the way I’ve always been. Reliable, independent and efficient. I cannot think of better attributes for a writer. This granted magazine is based on a the most completel genuine, original concept, honorable job on Earth o to build an idea from two to a black man. That, I words, to bring believe, is a fantastic transformation. inspiration in the simplest We are a people that say all are created of ways. I was equal, yet still deny basic human rights to more than willing select minorities. That is a continuing t to write something. We open our pocketbooks to people But when asked countries. We bomb others witho what we are, my brain stalled. We are, we are, We hate the idea of worshippi we are. The words filled feverishly purchase newsstan my head for days. I racked We are a series of yes’s c my brain. I tried over and crossing our fingers. A over again. We are what, I wondered. What are we? Then We’re an evolving s I came to a stunning conclusion. we need to hurt o I would probab Maybe I don’t know what we are. built into all That may seem like an easy way the genera out but it’s the truth. After a mere 22 We are years on this planet, I have yet to formulate a solid does opinion on the people I live with. I have a strong the love and admiration for my friends and family and o I’m generally happy with others in my community. However, if I’m asked to sum us up briefly I can’t. That’s because we are a list of things, many of them contradictory. We were a nation that abused and killed slaves, our democracy built on their backs. Yet, just months ago we
  7. 7. us “ We are a series of yes’s coupled with no’s. We make promises while crossing our fingers. We are a contradictory people.” ly sum up humans. While I think we should work on getting rid of some characteristics, there are many more we should be proud of. Let me rephrase my original statement. I do know what we are. We are many things, good and bad. We are everything under the sun. We are better and worse than what’s possible. Through the bad time, we are always o capable of some pretty amazing and stunning feats. tragedy. And me? I’m happy with that. e in foreign out protest or hesitation. ing celebrities. We nd tabloids weekly. coupled with no’s. We make promises while As I said, we are a contradictory people. species, one that learns from previous mistakes. Like a child putting his hand on a lit stove, ourselves before we are able to progress and learn. There are a lot of stupid things we’ve done and bly have less faith in humanity if it weren’t for our desire to keep learning, keep trying. It’s a feeling that is humans, regardless of what country they are born in. We are always wanting to be bigger and better than ation before us. So I can take the bad because I know that good is almost always just around the corner. e so many things and I think that’s for the best. A species that is easy to define is one that probably sn’t have a whole lot going on. Even the tiniest creatures on this planet are complex. Take a look at e ant. On the surface, an ant couldn’t get any simpler. But when you look at the way it works with others, the abilities an ant has, its desire to feed its colony, its strict routine and societal habits, that’s when you really see how complicated the little bug is. Humans are like that, complicated in so many ways and for so many reasons. Now if only we could lift things ten times our size. I’m glad that I can’t define humans in a simple term. For every term I come up with, ten more pop into my head. There aren’t enough adjectives in the dictionary to
  8. 8. W By Choice Cindy Marcus W e are. We who? We us? We him? We them? We who? Questions abound Father Flip. Brilliant writer. Funny Puppy Waiter. Golden Retriever. Answers desert. man. Private person. Moody Energy galore. Big goof. Willful soul. Quiet dreamer. Determined beast. Furniture destroyer. Eating A thought. visionary. Cancer survivor. machine. The spawn. Huggable Reluctant quester. Wise teacher. fuzzball. Happy boy. My baby. We me. Stubborn man. Open person. My north. Cousin Jeff. Aunt Susan. I’m writer. Ancestors past. Many people. I’m more? Aren’t I? Son Finn. Gifted student. Describing’s hard. Curious fellow. Adorable giggles. I’m person. Cuddly darling. Honorable heart. We’re neighbors. Total goofball. Big geek. Too PC. Generous cooks. Friendly Computer whiz. Future artist. wavers. Dog walkers. Concerned Young visionary. Beautiful boy. I’m woman. friends. Neighborhood watchers. My heart. Funny cliques. Book clubs. Very caveman. Mother me. Also woman. Turning Protective parents. Laughing fifty. Missing youth. Seeing children. Growing friends. Try again. wrinkles. Resenting gravity. New Community partners. I’m wife. aches. And pains. Loving Good schools. Safe streets. All wisdom. Accepting irony. ages. Shopping places. Many That’s better. Accepting age? Wanting to. restaurants. Movie theaters. Tract Fingers crossed. Toes too. Finding houses. Pretty trees. Joyful Passionate lover. Stalwart partner. path. Writer me. Bestseller memories. One dream. Brighter Gibraltar’s rock. Uncertain someday. I hope. future. caregiver. Trembling seeker. Needy friend. Laughing Growing country. audience. Driven creator. Many races. Different religions. Struggling economy. Battling There’s more. I think. Isn’t there? ideals. Homeless shelters. Rockefeller rich. Melting pot. I’m mother. Determined One vision. Everyone’s free. warrior. Hopeful teacher. Affectionate comforter. Magic Small world. weaver. Errand runner. Meal Growing smaller. Blue seas. maker. Tired parent. Midnight Clear skies. Jagged mountains. whisperer. Booboo healer. Pretty earth. We are? Huge hugger. Growing beings. Always We are. Much more. Aren’t changing. Seeking answers. we? Wanting security. Manifesting dreams. Needing love. Giving A family. That’s so. See below. hope.
  9. 9. “I’m mother. Determined warrior. Affectionate comforter. Magic weaver. Errand runner. Meal maker. Tired parent. Midnight whisperer. Boo boo healer.” We are. The universe. And beyond? What’s there? Endless possibility. We are. A definition. And not. We are… A thought. Any thought. Our choice.
  10. 10. W Family Is Brian Millet t W e are a family. Those are four words that can mean so many different things to so many different people. Some people think of family as the traditional mom/dad/brother/sister/ dog/two cat’s combo; but what about the children that are raised by their grandparents? Or the old lady who covers her walls with pictures of her Pomeranian? Does that count as family? What exactly makes a family a family? I suppose if I’m going to seek answers, I need to take a closer look at all of the people that I consider to be my family. First there is the family I grew up with: my mother, father, and sister. When I think of my sister and father, the first word that comes to my mind is strength. As a kid, there wasn’t a stronger person on the planet than Dad, but only now, as an adult, do I see how truly strong he was. You see, my dad was in construction, and the construction business has one simple rule; you go where the work is. So while my dad’s profession may have forced him to miss a 15th birthday here and a senior prom there, we never went without food on our table or a roof over our heads. Then there is my sister, who has grown from this awkward little girl running around the house in puffy dresses, to this beautiful strong young woman who doesn’t need her big brother to take care of her anymore; a fact that fills me with as much pride as it does sadness. It’s safe to say that we all got our strength from my mother. She was always a strong and independent woman, and my family reflected that. I can’t begin to describe the courage that it took for my mother to beat her first bout of cancer, or the strength that the rest us displayed after she lost her second one. Our strength has gotten us through the tough times and because of that we are an incredibly close family. Then there are my aunt and uncle, with whom I currently live. We share a fun and loving household. We keep each other company. We share our lives with each other. We cook for each other. We take care of one another when sick. We help each other out whenever needed, because we are a family that can depend on each other. There are also Jason, Brian and his brother Brad, the guys I grew up with. We came of age together. We experienced our first crushes and first heartbreaks together. A friendship that was built on a foundation
  11. 11. “My dad may have been forced to miss a birthday here and there, but we never went without food or a roof over our heads.” of tree forts and water balloon wars has developed into a brotherhood that is still an integral part of my life. I have dinner almost every Christmas Eve with Brian and Brad’s family. Just last year I took a trip up to see Jason’s first child. I introduced Brian to the woman that would eventually become his wife. The four of us have an amazing history that I know we will continue to build on because we are a loyal family. Finally, there are Ira, Adam, Cody, Joe and Daniel, who were my best friends in high school. Hand in hand, we all crossed the line into adulthood together. Over the years we’ve supported each other through career milestones, devastating losses, and all of the other things that comes with the territory of being a grown up. These days, geography separates most of us, but we remain in constant contact. Some I talk to once a day, while others are more on a weekly, or as time-permits basis; but we all remain a strong source of comfort in each other’s lives, because we are a supportive family. We are a family. Those are four words that mean so many different things to so many different people. I’ve come to realize that there is no standard definition for family. Family is whatever you want it to be, because when it comes right down to it, it’s not strength, dependability, loyalty or even support that makes up a family; it’s love. Love is what makes a family a family.
  12. 12. T Every Woman Hollee J. Chadwick T he feminist movement has created gender-non-specific terms, political correctness, sexual harassment lawsuits, hairline cracks in the glass ceiling, diversity, and equal opportunity — a mixed bag, certainly. It has also created a subclass of women— an under-groundswell — who are fighting to retain their most important right — to be feminine. We are women who:
  13. 13. Do not need the Equal listen, see, and act from the Florence Nightingale, the Rights Amendment to grant heart. Women are collectively mother of modern nursing; us equality with men. and singularly unique that Rosa Parks, who refused to We are created the same way. Some men have been be relegated to the back of as men — in the image of gifted with the same ability, the bus; Frances Perkins, God, who is neither male nor granted, but it is the woman the first woman member female, therefore our inalien- who knows what her child’s of a presidential cabinet able rights — life, liberty, and cry means, what her best (Franklin Roosevelt’s), Shirley the pursuit of happiness — friend’s silence is saying, what Chisholm, the first African- are already guaranteed to us her beloved’s various touches American congresswoman; by the Constitution and do signify. A woman may not Mary Katherine Goddard, the not need Congress to validate understand the words another editor of the Maryland Journal our importance or existence. man or woman speaks, but and Baltimore Advertiser, the Do not want to be treated she will watch the person’s first newspapers that bravely with the same respect one face, she will pay attention and defiantly published the man affords another. to the set of the shoulders, Declaration of Independence; Ah, I can hear the collec- the placement of hands, the Louise Blanchard Bethune, tive “What the(s) …” now. direction the eyes move, and the first woman inducted Hear me out. We want to be will “read” the words in that into the American Institute of treated with more respect. We manner. Do you remember Architects; Wilma Rudolph, don’t want to be subjected trying to lie to your mother? the greatest woman sprinter to “locker-room” talk. We How’d that work out for in history; Sally Ride, the first want you to open doors for you? Yes, we have a sixth American woman in space; us and pull out our chair in sense, that subtle perception Marie Curie, the first woman a restaurant. We want you of the unseen world. We to win the Nobel Prize in to take our arm or hold our do not do these things Physics and Chemistry; hand in public — something consciously, it is automatic Maria Montessori, who did we hope you are not doing — a sub-conscious act. phenomenal, groundbreaking with your guy pals. We want Are warriors of work with mentally disabled you to carry the heavy stuff, particular renown. children and adults; Sandra open stuck jar lids, and fix We are Queen Esther of the Day O’Connor, justice the car. This does not mean Old Testament, who saved of the Supreme Court. that we won’t pay for din- her people; Joan of Arc, We are every woman that ner, contribute to the family who led the French Army against the English Invasion works two jobs to support budget, or carry our weight in any endeavor — we will — or of Orleans; Golda Meir, the her family, sacrifices her that we can’t carry the heavy “Iron Lady” of Israeli politics own wants and needs stuff, open stuck jar lids, or and Israel’s fourth prime and stays home to raise fix the car — most of us can minister; Margaret Thatcher, her children, protests war, do that — but we would the “Iron Lady” of British supports the troops, ties a appreciate it greatly if a man politics, and the only woman shoe, sews a flag, bakes would flex his brain and to be elected prime minister a cake, drafts a proposal, muscles and do that for us. of that empire; Catherine of stands proudly at attention, Are emotional beings. Siena and Mother Theresa, and kneels in prayer. We want the world in general who dedicated their lives to to recognize that women helping the poor and needy; “It is the woman who knows what her child’s cry means, what her best friend’s silence is saying, what her beloved’s various touches signify.”
  14. 14. H Life’s Orchestra FaydraRecor t H ow do you describe yourself? Do you answer to brother, sister, mom, dad, employee, earth dweller? Who are you? Are you a baker, a sports enthusiast, an introvert or extrovert? There is no one word to describe who we are. We are the sum of our parts. We are a wonderful blend of dancing the orchestration of my life’s music. The components harmonizing within our beautiful blend of each piece of who I own universe. As a teacher, I brought am is making a beautiful symphony. symphony music into class and asked my If I beat the drum of only one feature, or students to close their eyes and envision identify solely with but a solitaire facet, I the different instruments that stood out. create disharmony within my life. I become They were able to see that throughout the lost and depressed. It is in the recognition of composition, different instruments came the full range of life that makes challenges to the forefront and played a magnificent bearable and the course of life worthwhile. part of the piece. The symphony was the When I do not recognize that I am joyous entanglement of the parts that each more than just one of the titles I wear, it instrument played. Without each element, undermines my esteem and puts me at risk. the piece would have been far less beautiful. I am so many things and it is important to We too are a symphonic masterpiece. Who know that one facet of my life does not we are is the beautiful blend of the many define me. If I do not recognize that I am components of our lives. We are male and a symphony of titles, It’s like having empty female; we are this, we are that. Without nest for my soul. When I identify myself each aspect of who we are, we would be only as a parent and my kids leave, I begin flat, and without vibrant character. When feel lost and no longer know my purpose. the instruments of our lives come together, By recognizing the many titles that I hold, we have a melodic flow in our lives. I see the loss as a flex in the symphony of my life. If I see myself only as married and Most aspects of our lives fall my spouse dies, I may not recognize that I into five main categories: am actually so much more. By seeing my • Relational • Emotional • Physical • life as a symphony of titles, I recognize that • Spiritual • Financial • on any given day, I am many, many things. Yet, even within these divisions we are so As I reflect on who I am and inventory much. Each and every day, these aspects the many labels titles that I hold, I savor of who we are play more loudly or softly, the simplicity of each role, marveling harmonizing with the others. One moment, at the majesty that this totality creates. I am dealing with the fullness of love, or We are magnificent creatures who bring loss; the next day, I am incorporating a to this planet countless breathtaking new exercise regimen, putting the physical gifts and talents. It is our duty to let aspect of my life front and center. The those talents sing, so all share in the harmony of managing these aspects is symphonic of life day to day.
  15. 15. “It is in the recognition of the full range of life that makes challenges bearable and the course of life worthwhile.”
  16. 16. W Forever Blessed Joseph G. Langen W e’re familiar with “The Me Generation.” Once life was a communal voyage we shared together. Over the years, we came to see ourselves as more independent and less reliant on others. Our life became our individual journey. Others became competitors rather than companions. We forgot to wonder whether we needed each other. Viewing life as “I am” pushed aside a feeling of “We are.” In the winter of 1965, I removed my religious habit, placed it on the cot in my monastic cell, put on my new suit, and my best friend Gerry drove me to the airport. I returned to Rochester to begin a new life after nine years in the seminary and monastery cloister, where I expected to spend the rest of my life. In the monastery, time was set aside to socialize with other monks; but our superiors carefully monitored how close we got to each other. “Particular friendships” were suspect. No one ever explained why, but I thought it had to do with the dangers of becoming “too close and personal” with anyone else in our all male environment. Now, as the plane took off from LaGuardia Airport, I left behind all I knew. Older memories of family and relatives remained vague and out of focus, like the clouds in the sky. I had left behind everyone I knew to pursue a religious life, so their lives and mine had not crossed for years. I was just a passenger, a stranger among strangers. I felt a deep sense of aloneness I had not felt since the first day in the seminary when I left my childhood behind. I felt suspended in the airplane cocoon disconnected from the rest of the world. I was again a helpless baby. At that point, I could not have imagined all the wonderful people I would meet and how they have since enriched my life. In my first week back, my Aunt June and Uncle Tom packed me in the back of their Karmann Ghia with my cousin Kathy,
  17. 17. “Learning to share one’s life with others is not always easy. But would shutting myself off from them make my life any better? I know better.” for the drive back to their house in be back on that plane, as lost as ever. North Tonawanda. The next day I What is the ultimate value of life, tried to enroll at the University of friendship and connection with Buffalo. Missing the registration others? Manny Fortes, A friend of deadline for the spring semester by mine once described spirituality a few days left me with the strong as “awakening to the goodness prospect of heading for the Vietnam and joy for which you were War in short order. And I thought I created.” His words unlocked for was alone before. That night at dinner, me the mystery of why I am on my Uncle Dick asked about school. earth. I have also discovered that Hearing my frustration, he told me goodness and joy don’t exist until he was a classmate of the Dean of we share our lives with others. Admissions at UB. The rest is history. Learning to share one’s life with That was just the start. others is not always easy. People don’t always act the way I would I felt like I had just been reborn and like them to. But would shutting was being raised by people who cared myself off from them make my about me and helped me find my way life any better? I know better. back into the real world. I have never forgotten them. I am still blessed with Each day I treasure the friends old and new friends who help me find who stand ready to help me my way in life. Without them I would whenever I need them.
  18. 18. All Together M Scot “Q” Marcus t M y wife and I: Saturday night, on the couch, snuggled in a blanket, fireplace dancing orange and warm. It is only the two of us; no one else; just us. We are alone, by ourselves, only she and I, just the way we like it. We are connected to each other; bonded might work for large corporations or for forever, tightly joined, by law, by spirit, themselves. They might live in large cities or by choice. We have years of history that minute burbs. Even though I have not met expand with each tick of the clock. We have them all, they are my family and they each a full past and a blank future, constructed have a place in me that will remain until I of moments like these. Tonight is one more am no more. Because they are important to instant, gone before we recognize its existence. my wife, they matter to me. We are together, As we acknowledge it, it slides into our a quilt of souls enveloping the planet. What past. It is a flash, a beginning and an end affects them flows to me and to my sons and in one; it is a snapshot in time, just like the through their relationships. There is no barrier. photographs of family lining our stairway. We are tied together. It matters My sons live across the miles, but that does not not whom we know. diminish the unbreakable connection. They Some of my family exist only have other relationships; so do we; friends who in memories or return sustain and cherish us. When an event occurs in my dreams, in my life and I share it with my sons, it flows yet always as along a path to others I have not met, in places influential I have not visited with people I do not know. as ever. I am there, connected to all their friends even No without knowing who they might be. What I share with my sons might expand through their relationships and continue forever outward. We are all connected. Mary Ann hails from the east with siblings who span two decades in age. They might be lawyers or office workers. They
  19. 19. “We are each the source of a ripple expanding forever outward.” longer in this plane, they are as real as am I intermingled blended histories interwoven and what they say in those moments has great by the immeasurable dreams and actions affect, sometimes so much that I must talk to of each other, bound to untold more. my wife or call my sons. It alters what I feel, Each spirit is the center of a web without beginning the way I interact with others, and what I write, or end, spanning existence forward and backward, affecting what you feel. My history is now tied and intertwined with every other. Those we to yours. It has engendered a response, which know and whomever they know hold sway over you will carry forward, swaying others. us. We carry a portion of their hopes and fears within, shaping how we interact with each other, We are linked. who then adjust to those behaviors, and carry We are a tapestry of us forward. We are each the source of a ripple innumerable expanding forever outward. Every life is affected, some more than others, but none left behind. The path always returns home. What I do matters; it affects you. What you do affects them, and they affect me; even alone with my wife on a Saturday night, snuggled under a blanket, watching the flames in the fireplace; just the two of us. We are not alone. Not by a long shot.
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