My brother-in-law has been managing a bee hive for the past few years. In actuality he is on his third hive as the other two became diseased. While the honey is a wonderful benefit, more important is that he is able to ensure an elemental part of the environmental flow. A forester for the city of Jacksonville by trade, Larry is a wealth of knowledge and one of those people you feel grateful to know.
This Ted Talk speaks to concerns Larry has shared with me.
The picture on the back of our race shirts reads “I’m running in loving memory of my beautiful friend Kim Paradise Ross.” It is difficult for me to feel comfortable with calling myself a “friend” of Kim. Looking at one possible definition we find the meaning as “one attached to another by affection or esteem”. In today’s virtual society the term has become so watered down that its value more closely resembles acquaintance, and it is there that my comfort level is found. Friend is a title to be earned, not assigned.
Kim succumbed to breast cancer July 8th of last year. My memories of her are primarily grounded in our teenage years. She and I attended Fort Caroline Middle School and Terry Parker High School. While we did not necessarily run in the same social circles Kim’s personality elevated her above the social cliques. It was not difficult to be drawn to her smile and undaunted optimism, things she shared with all who drifted into her path. After graduation she became nothing more than a yearbook photograph but one not forgotten.
Last year a mutual friend of ours, Amanda Farmer, asked me to participate in the Team Kim Ross relay for the 26.2 with Donna. When Amanda gave me the back story it was impossible to say no. Kim had fought and overcome the cancer but was now in the throes of a second attack, one which would be described to me as virtually insurmountable. Both the pre and post race feasts were a mix of joy for the cause and sadness for the reality that this would probably be the last race Kim would run.
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As I slowly and painfully (to a degree) make my switch from Facebook to Twitter I thought sharing some of the “Twits” I follow might be a nice feature. It can be very much like going down a rabbit hole as you will find one, see who they follow, add them…you see where this is going. But in life that is how things work. The problem is that when you have so much information coming at you it can be hard to process.
Twitter makes it nice (for those who don’t use it) in that those you follow will re-tweet those they follow so your timeline can remain relatively clean.
I have actually been using Twitter for years as a resource for mostly my Jacksonville Jaguars writing through JaguarsBlog and BigCatCountry. However after a recent Twitter conversation which became nothing short of straw man arguments and blatant misinterpretation of intent I knew the time to pull away from this “football world” at a higher level was required. I didn’t like how I was reacting and the basic lack of civility and integrity created an atmosphere I was not strong enough to not be “corrupted” by.
It never fails to amaze how hard it is to admit weakness.
So enough with the history of this personal “Twit”. Here are a few folks that keep the timeline filled with great ideas.
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I had an interesting discussion on Twitter with @JWWalls a week ago regarding this tweet:
I have never been comfortable taking pictures with or getting autographs of “celebrities”. For proof, ask Chris Gandy how awkward I behaved when meeting all the guys from Toad the Wet Sprocket. For lack of a better term I am socially retarded when it comes to knowing what to say or simply how to behave. The burden of “knowing” them collides with them not “knowing” me and it is all down hill from there.
This sentiment comes from a place through which the person is seen not by what they do but who they are at ground level: another pilgrim.
For years I have preached that everyone has a story that deserves to be told. Over the past few months I have spoken with three people who I feel have lives which are inspirational and deserving of recognition. They are not soldiers returning from battle, civil servants risking their lives on a daily basis nor are they performing on a stage both grand and bright. Rather they are people who fail to allow fear to impose its will upon them. My hope is that through you will see a simple strength to Be.
I have complete faith there will be more stories to tell beyond these three, but until then look for pieces on Philip Hughes, Chris Gandy and Neil Griffin.