29.

10.25

I never expect to, but around my birthday season I always end up reflecting on my life. I burrow deep down into some existential spiral that’s a mix of “what am I doing with my life?!” and “what have I done with my life?!” This year, it snuck up on me.

About four years ago, around this time, I was in a bad way. I was heartbroken, flat-broke, living in half of a one bedroom basement with no job or prospects. Mom was really sick and dad was almost out of the picture. Every day had a weight of anxiety and uncertainty. I was definitely a sadroot.

I think if sad 2013 Sunroot could see me now, he would be really excited. Everything looks great. I’m dating a super cool babe who is good to me. I’m getting paid full-time to work on the kingdom of God. I’m in a great seminary through the generous support of my church. I’m living in a pretty dope pad above a bustling area. My finances are more in the black than the red and by way of some generous friends, I just recently acquired a beautiful Ford Mustang GT. I am reading, writing and boxing in my free-time and I’m in the best shape I’ve been since early on in college. Everything is awesome. Young SR would be stoked, but young SR would not have known how terrifying everything is.

I’ve done and accomplished more than I could have hoped from that basement in Brooklyn. I’ve driven all throughout the U.S. I’ve backpacked through Europe based on a dream I had. I’ve compiled and published my own writing. I’ve enjoyed the freedom and independence of a man in his twenties with limited responsibility and some disposable income. Many days, I’m tempted to complain, but by the grace of God, I’m in a good spot. There’s some stability for once in my life.

All that said, the weight of uncertainty is replaced with a weight to maintain everything that you do have. I’m afraid of messing things up with Stephy, especially as we get closer to making bigger, scarier and more permanent decisions. I’m afraid at work, there’s a great burden of responsibility that falls on my shoulders to provide a spiritually nurturing environment for these youth and every day has a sinking feeling that I’m messing it all up. I’m afraid when I drive, because I’m driving stick and 400 horsepower is a terrifying power to wield. I’m afraid when I box because apparently, I forgot how to defend and I’m getting punched hard in the face. I’m afraid of my writing, because I’m not that young—I don’t have any excuses for sucking anymore.


(Me when I drive)

In the Dark Knight, when Joker is talking to the half-exploded Harvey Dent, he calls himself a dog chasing a car, and he wouldn’t know what to do if he caught it. In many ways, I feel like I caught the car and it’s terrifying. I’m sitting in the seat that I hoped I would be sitting in at this point in my life and I’m finding out that nothing could be scarier. I have more to lose than I’ve ever had and I can’t help but be nervous because by past experience, I’ve always lost most everything I’ve wanted to keep.


11.09

I wrote the above passage a few weeks ago, a few days before my birthday. I didn’t know how to end it, so I just left it floating in the cloud of my google drive. The impetus behind it really was the car. I think the visceral tangible terror of driving the Mustang provided a very present metaphor for the weight that came with the gifts of my adulthood. That post captures how I felt then.

Today feels different. I think it’s because I’m 29 now. I’m clearly older and wiser. I’ve also grown pretty comfortable driving the car. I mean I still try to avoid driving it sometimes (partially because of gas), but we’re getting along better. We’ve come to an understanding. I mean, I still can’t play pokemon and drive or anything, but maybe thats a good thing. In this small aspect of my life too, I think there’s a lesson for me to learn, which is that I’m going to carry that weight. And that’s ok.

This season of my life is challenging me to trust God in a different way. For young Sadroot, it was trusting God to get me out of the muck. For me now, it’s trusting God to sustain and grow what is already there. And if He decides to let it fall into ruin, well that’s my comfort zone anyway. There are a lot of things I cannot control, and that get’s scary when you have even more to lose than you’ve ever had. But I enjoyed driving the GT today. I’m enjoying the life I have. I like who I’m spending it with. And I get the sneaking suspicion that the best, not the worst, is yet to come.

new york state of mind

This week, someone drove a truck into a bike lane full of bikers and runners, killing 8 and injuring a dozen others. This random act of violence in such a public space is meant to make you think that it could happen anywhere at anytime. It’s meant to put fear into people’s hearts. But I wanted to take the time to post a message up: you ****ed with the wrong city.

I grew up in New York . We build our lives on pushing through the muck. Our entire lives in this s***hole have prepared us to take a punch on the chin and move forward.

In high school, I was assaulted twice and mugged once on the subway back from school. You know what I did right after those happened? I moved to the other side of the train. I went home. And then I went back to school the next day. Once, I saw a friend walk into the deli bleeding from being stabbed. He chatted with a friend and bought something before we walking over to the hospital. I’ve walked past bodies under a sheets while transferring stations. Every one of us has a story about being a witness to or victim of some kind of crime. All of us have these stories. We collect them. But you know what we all did? We kept going. It’s what we do as New Yorkers. we shrug it off because we got s*** to do and s*** doesn’t get done by sitting around and being afraid.

Every day we walk through chaos and tragedy and we keep walking to our crappy internships and tiny apartments. I’m talking about rivers of black slush, air made of hot garbage, Brooklyn hipsters. We just keep going. A coke fiend can be snorting a line next to us on the 6 train and we won’t even change our seats. We can hear gunshots or sirens outside and we won’t even go to the window to check anymore. You can attack our public spaces and we’ll be there tomorrow, because **** you, that’s why.

I’m mourning this week, and praying hard for these families, but if you think this is gonna scare New Yorkers, you don’t know who you’re messing with. We survived 9/11. We survived Sandy. We’re surviving the Jim Dolan Knicks. Terrify us? Us? Get the **** outta here.

“When Were You A Stranger”

I have stronger feelings than I’d like to admit about this one. I’m a little too close to the issue. I know too many loved ones, friends and former students who are recipients of the DACA program and through it, have been able attend higher education and/or provide for themselves and their families. I’m around too many people whose lives would be entirely upended with the loss of a work permit and are spending today feeling confused, betrayed and afraid of what is to come.

To help understand how a DREAMer might feel today, here’s some context. In the early part of this decade and since the introduction of DACA, undocumented immigrants have come forward in good faith with the promise that their trust in our government would not be used by ICE as a weapon against them. Now, there is an announcement of the end of DACA with no information about the future prospects after expiration. There are no assurances that their trust will be met with protection and their security is pulled out from underneath them.

I don’t want to get into the politics and details of this. I don’t want to discuss all of the stats and numbers. I didn’t make this post to debate policies and pick sides. It was created because I hope to address hearts and hopefully convey biblical values in the midst of rhetoric and politics.

I’m not even trying to make an argument that accepting the stranger, whether DREAMERS, refugees or Muslims is better for our country or not. I’ve seen arguments about GDP impact, unemployment, tax issues, security, etc. What I’m suggesting is that the Bible encourages us to welcome the stranger and give to the needy.

I’ve seen numbers on both sides in support of and in contradiction to the effect of immigrants on the national economy and security. My point here is this: even if it came at a cost, should we as Christians be averse to it? I think we’re foolish to think that we can give to other’s without cost to ourselves. But isn’t a self-sacrificing generosity our calling? Wasn’t it the example set for us?

Matthew 5:38-48
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,[h] let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[i] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 25:31-46
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Leviticus 19:33-34
33 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 34 You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

 

art-shaped hole

I’ve been in a funk. It started before I left for Taiwan. A week before the trip, something awakened inside. In my sternum, a dark egg-shaped weight started to rumble with life.

Then, suddenly, I found myself in Taiwan, rushing around a humid island, trying not to lose team members and my job. The weight slept, dormant under the bustle of the mission trip.

Then, once I returned stateside, it rumbled again. I know exactly when it was born.

In early July, a week before Taiwan, I was on a boat to Catalina Island with Stephy. We were trying to stay warm on an unusually cold Southern California day and combat sea-sickness. She leaned her head on my shoulder, fighting the urge to vomit in front of a literal boatload of vacationing families. I pretended like I wasn’t getting hypothermia. There, it occurred to me, I needed to put my submission together.

You see, I had a deadline for an annual writing contest I wanted to submit to. Since I had previously submitted, notifications for the contest came into my inbox reminding me of this year’s deadline. The emails started coming in June, but on account of June being a busy, nightmarish hell-month, I put it off. That is, until my frozen, hallucinogenic mind brought it up.

Later, during the submission compilation process, I realized something rather unpleasant. My work kind of sucked. It wasn’t fake-ass creative false-humility, I mean that I looked at my previous submission for the same contest, and realized that it was better than anything I had written since. Thus, a weight was born.

Someplace, in my chest, there weighs a strange sensation that I should be creating something. It weighs heavier when I’m listening to podcasts and interviews with writers, creators and artists. At times this week, it could have been a thousand pounds.

There’s an art-shaped hole, and you wouldn’t know it, but a hole can be very heavy.

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Today, I realized something. I realized something that I realize periodically and always forget. Kind of like Alzheimer’s or the ending to the notebook (insert crying emoji). Today I set aside some extra time to read the Bible and pray. I was time set aside for myself, not for church-work or anything else. Just solo time with the Big Guy. Even as I just started to read, I could sense a weight being lifted. The anxiety and tension of not successfully being a failed writer was assuaged.

I had turned back to the creative world to substitute something God is meant to provide. I ravenously drank from poisoned wells and suffered the resulting explosive-poop-laden dysenteric existence. I keep thinking back to a passage that Thomas often shared with me in our college days. I’ll wrap up by sharing it here.

John 6:67-68
So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

P.S. Funnily enough, time spent in a decent God-time made me pick up a pen (keyboard) for the first time in weeks. So… you know, (moralized summary of anecdote).

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

This week, the city of St. Anthony, Minnesota has awarded the family of Philando Castile $2.995 million in a settlement over his death during a tail-light traffic stop last summer. This comes on the heels of an acquittal of wrong-doing for Officer Jeronimo Yanez who was charged with second-degree manslaughter and endangering safety by discharging a firearm.

Without getting into the specifics of this case (or the many like it) and without diving into topics of racial bias, “routine traffic stops”, police militarization or any of a heap of issues, I wanted to hone in on one heartbreaking aspect of this case.

After the shooting, when Diamond Reynolds (Philando’s girlfriend) and her daughter Dae’Anna are in the squad car, Dae’Anna can be seen comforting her mother.saying “it’s OK, Mommy. I’m right here with you,” and imploring her mother to calm down. “Mom, please stop cussing and screaming ’cause I don’t want you to get shooted.” She also says, “I wish this town was safer.” The irony of this statement coming from the back of a police car should not be lost on the viewer.

Seeing this video challenged me to think about the relationship that we ought to have with the authorities in our lives. I have some of my own thoughts, but I wanted to do a little dive into what the Bible says. Here are some of my findings.

For Those Not In Authority

Submit:

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” – Romans 13:1-7

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” – Titus 3:1-2

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. – 1 Peter 2:13-17

The Bible is pretty clear that the attitude of those who are not in authority should be that of respect and submission. I know that isn’t fun to hear, but respecting the authority of those above you is found all throughout the Bible. To answer your question: yes, this still applies when the authorities are unjust.

Before we assert our own rights, lets remember that Jesus himself submit himself to the Sanhedrin and the Roman authorities to be unjustly tried, crucified and killed. Did Jesus’ silence make him complicit in the unjust system around him? I’d argue that his character did more to cast a bright light on his captors than protest would have.

Am I saying never protest? No. But character is key. “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” 1 Peter 2:15

Pray:

“1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior…” – 1 Timothy 2:1-3

Pray for those in authority. Beseech God on their behalf. Pray for their wisdom and discernment. Don’t let bitterness corrupt your ability to care for those who have the power to influence. Jesus compels us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

Trust:

“But the LORD abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment, 8 And He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity.” – Psalm 9:7-8

“He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. 9 The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow,but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. – Psalm 146:7-9

It’s important to have perspective and remember that God is just, and is the loudest advocate for the oppressed. God is in the business of righting the scales and no amount of circumstance should shake our belief and compromise our character. Remembering that God in the author of Justice should set our perspectives right and as Christians we ought to know that standing up for things is most effectively done on our knees before God.

For Those In Authority

This is kind of tricky because there aren’t lots of scripture that address law enforcement, but I’ve tried to look into principles that guide different authorities and leaders throughout scripture. I believe that they would apply to our police as well.

#blessed:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” – Matthew 5:9

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13

The Bible is clear that those who would lay down their lives, particularly to protect others are blessed. Those who would bring justice to the weak and oppressed are worthy of our thanks and praise. They are agents of the love has called us all to, and they are blessed by God.

A Higher Standard:

“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. – James 3:1

“And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him. – Ephesians 6:9

“Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. 1 Timothy 3:1-4

I believe that those in authority are called to a higher standard. There is nothing so crushing and disillusioning as an authority figure that does not adhere to the expectations that they themselves give out. Parents, politicians, educators and any form of authority figure lost credibility and trust whenever they implement a “do as I say, not as I do” policy.

The police are more intensely scrutinized because more is expected of them. The badge is meant to represent a bastion of character that speaks not only of the integrity of the one wearing it, but the security and protection of those around him/her.

Accountability should be a natural aspect of having power to ensure that it isn’t abused. There’s a price to pay with authority, and perhaps that price is receiving grace when you make a mistake.

My Personal Appeal:

My personal appeal to those in law enforcement is simple; please protect us. As you bravely do already, take risk upon your shoulders so that we don’t have to. Be the ones who run headfirst into danger because we cannot.

I know it is too much to ask for, but show patience when we don’t. When you’re scared, protect us before you protect yourself. When someone seems like a threat, be willing to take the consequences. Please be willing to be shot if it means you won’t shoot someone unjustly.

I’m asking that you don’t view this as a war, where it’s kill or be killed. You’re shepherds where some of the sheep are looking to commit terrible evils. I’m asking you to be trusting and brave when we don’t deserve it.

So What Can I Do?

If you’re looking at this complicated issue around Police Accountability and looking for some action to take, I would encourage a couple of things.

1. Get to Know/Appreciate a Police Officer
For many of us average joes, we can’t imagine the complexities of the job of a cop. To constantly be called into the darkest, most dangerous places and occasions of our society must be nerve-wrecking and terrifying. Get to know someone in law-enforcement. Listen to them. Appreciate them.

2. Look Into Accountability

There are many policies surrounding accountability, including not only the practice of Body-Worn Cameras(BWC) but their admissibility in court (it’s complicated).  Look into your local and regional policies and see where they’re at. I’ve attached an email I sent to my local Police Chief to ask about BodyCams and Bias Training. You can start as easy as that!

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What are you doing here?

There’s a scene I love in Forrest Gump. Inspired by his late best friend Bubba (spoiler), Forrest has decided to become a shrimp boat captain and sends a letter to Lt. Dan, asking him to be his first mate. This seems pretty far fetched since Lt. Dan has since the war become a double amputee, wracked with guilt for surviving his stint in Vietnam and falling into drug and alcohol addiction. And by the way, he kinda hates Forrest.

But, to Forrest’s great surprise, one day, Lt. Dan appears on the pier. Forrest immediately proceeds to leap off of his boat and swim towards the him, leaving the boat to crash elsewhere in the harbor.

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Forrest Gump: Lieutenant Dan, what are you doing here?
Lieutenant Daniel Taylor: I’m here to try out my sea legs.
Forrest Gump: But you ain’t got no legs, Lieutenant Dan.
Lieutenant Daniel Taylor: [mildly irritated, but understanding] Yes… yes, I know that. You wrote me a letter, you idiot!


Today, I am sitting in a corner of Panera off Culver and Barranca with a terrible cup of watery coffee and my bible. An app I use leads me to read John 21, a passage where Jesus makes a similarly unexpected visit to Peter.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.  He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. – John 21:4-7

Peter realizes that the resurrected Jesus is on the shore, and refusing to wait for the boat’s return, decides to jump out and swim a football field’s distance over to his Lord. He even brings his coat, for appearances.

Jesus appears suddenly to his disciples, and Peter can’t contain himself, he dives off of his fishing boat to greet his Lord, his teacher, his best friend. He is fresh off of his worst failure, but he doesn’t let the guilt drive him away, he recognizes how wonderful it is just to be in the presence of Jesus again. So, without hesitation, Peter swims feverishly towards the shore. Reading this today, I was moved by Peter’s response.

In that way, Jesus popped up unexpectedly in my day too. I just hope I won’t mind getting wet.

04.12 the guys at o’briens

04.12 the guys at o’briens
the guys at o’brien’s
in o’hare are
just warming up

ten in the morning
and they’re on their second pilsner
talking now about their children
about their golf swings
and if the bulls will
get past the wizards

the conversations in airports
boil down to what’s true to
the average american
football
hoops
celebrity divorces
hurricanes in foreign countries
riots in the name of justice

o’brien’s is
a lowest common denominator
say what you want
‘shallow, surface level shit’
but this is the common thread
under our mountain of differences
the canvas under our reds,
blues, whites and blacks

so it’d be wise to raise your glass
tip your hate and salute

these elevator topics
are glue for this cracked earth
you’re goddamned right – go bulls
go bears
even the cubs too
especially those cubs

09.27 totems

I am writing this as I nurse a hot 奶茶 in the back-corner of a HK style cafe in Chinatown. The tables are rickety and sticky and green and the condiments on the table are watered down. I’ve finished my 皮蛋瘦肉粥 and accompanying 油条. Both were soggy and bland but my meal was six bucks and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I’m surrounded by senior citizens, but hearing so much Cantonese reminds me of a good friend and that makes me feel at home.

It is 8:30 and I realize that I’ve already been awake for two hours. When you sleep in your tiny car on a hill next to Candlestick Park, you don’t sleep much, and you don’t sleep well. I think it’s par for the course when you’re on the road, but I’m beginning to wonder if I’m getting too old for this [expletive removed]. I think there’s a special feeling inside of a man when he fills up the gas tank of his car and drives it until it’s empty. I did that twice yesterday, and I like to do it every now and then to quash the wanderlust. Every click of the odometer relieves the pressure that builds within me and tells me that there are goodies on the other side of the long road.

Despite appearances, I generally over-prepare for my road trips, booking campsites and establishing a working knowledge of distances between intended destinations and building a mile-based itinerary. This trip, I didn’t do any of that. It wasn’t until I was stuck in traffic in Big Sur and looking at a chart in the back of my atlas (yes, an atlas.) that I realized Seattle was a pipe dream, and I wasn’t going to make it unless I wanted nothing but highway for four days in a row. I set out with a cardinal direction (North), and my three day travel pack. That includes my sleeping bag, a bivouac sack, dopp kit, and three days worth of clothes. I didn’t have a mile or destination goal, just an understanding that I was going to end up closer to Canada before the day was over.

I set out like I did when I was younger: sans-a-plan, trusting that God would throw some adventures my way. So far, He has not disappointed. Circumstances have opened the door for me to stay in the Bay(ish) area and I’m given the chance to slow things down and ask the questions I need to ask instead of hitting the road and filling my mind with NFL betting lines and Debate commentary. The slowing of pace forces me to think.

Last year, I backpacked through Europe thinking about an answer to a question that I didn’t know until I got there. As I tossed and turned on the hotel bed in Madrid, I learned the question I needed to ask. Then, as I swerved on switchbacks through mountains in Switzerland with my tiny Fiat 500, I learned my answer. When I say answer, it was more like the sound of God laughing at me. Don’t be mad at Him though, I was laughing too. It feels like this trip is also becoming one that surrounds an important question. I can only hope I find out what it is in time.

For a wanderer, there are few anchoring forces, and perhaps fewer anchoring places. These anchors are few, far between and hard to predict. Ironic that for me, someone working in the church (a spiritual place industry), there are surprisingly few places that hold a mystical significance. I’m visiting two such places today. When I last visited these locales, I wrote extensively about them. They were places of ἀναγνώρισις (anagnorisis), that is, tragic revelation. At these locations, our hero glimpsed his fate, learned about himself, saw things that he didn’t before, and even saw things that were yet to be. Today, I will find out if his and ultimately, my own predictions are true. Wish me luck.

1. The Sentinel A.K.A. Columbus Tower, San Francisco. N 37° 47′ 47.774″ W 122° 24′ 18.288″

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2. Albion / Little River, California N 39° 16′ 33.842″ W 123° 47′ 8.415″

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Kyle Lowry: My Hero

Yeah, I know. They lost.

But there’s something that must be said about warriors. Homage must be paid to those courageous enough to fight. Kyle Lowry is coming off one of his worst shooting post-seasons of his career. He’s putting up terrible numbers after injuring his elbow in January and draining it in March. He was 0-5 from 3-point range before hitting this legendary* shot.

I add an asterisk because it would have been legendary if the Raptors ended up pulling off the victory. Because of the loss, his shooting woes are still the top story attached to his name. The story isn’t this amazing shot. It’s not the fact that he was willing to put the game on his shoulders, taking a shot that every statistician would have expected him to miss. He had nothing going for him but the will to win. So he put it on his back. That’s what a warrior does.

‘I would go 0-30 before I would go 0-9. 0-9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game… The only reason is because you’ve just now lost confidence in yourself.’ – Kobe Bryant

I’m by no means a Raptor fan. Drake is being a ridiculous clown on the sidelines and dropping purple from the uniforms was a mistake. But I admire the fight in guys like Kyle Lowry and I want them to be rewarded for inspiring belief in the rest of us. How can I not love a man who does this?

Reports say that he was in the gym until 1AM. Putting up shots by himself, no staff, getting his own rebounds until 1AM after a playoff game that went into overtime where he played almost 43 minutes. This is a man who takes responsibility for the wins and losses of his team, a man who understands his role as a leader of a group and puts the weight of these playoffs on his shoulders. How do I not root for this man?

They may not win, D-Wade is a hero too. And don’t get me started on the courage of Chris Bosh to get back on the court. But for the next few games, I’m taping a 7 on my chest and rooting for Kyle Lowry. His shot might not fall, but I know he won’t let me down.