Posts Tagged ‘Life’

Last night, I was filling up my water bottle, as per usual (I’ve been averaging between six to seven liters a day, but that’s another story), when I noticed a flash of light through the kitchen window. Mom and I went and stood out on the back porch for around fifteen minutes watching a storm off in the way-away distance, so far from us that you couldn’t even hear the thunder. It was very peaceful, with the lightning flickering on the horizon and the crickets violining and the night air calm and warm.

Then today, I was sitting outside of the McAlister’s on Lakeshore Drive, eating a roast beef sandwich with au jus on the side (om nom). It started raining, but I was sitting in a sheltered part of the overhang and decided just to enjoy the rain. I was reading, which was probably part of the problem, because when I read, it’s basically lights-out-Kellum and I totally phase out of the environment. Which explains why I failed to realize why the wind was getting blowier and the thunder was getting closier and the rain was getting… um… rainier.

And then all of the sudden, a bolt of lightning struck not a hundred yards away. It was absolutely the brightest thing I had ever seen—and I just happened to be looking right at the power pole that it struck—and the thunder absolutely split my brain open. You can bet I scurried inside at that point, heart trying to follow my brain out of my body.

I felt really like I had stared death in the face in that moment. Usually it is so far away, just a storm on the horizon that can be fascinating to watch but never moves in close. But occasionally, it visits you like a hangman, pulling back the curtains on your house and peering in at you with those blank eyes as if to say, ‘I haven’t forgotten about you. I’m watching you just like every other living creature on this planet.’

Humbling, to say the least.

Advertisements

Since you guys seemed to like the post I made a few weeks ago about goings on in the lovely Kim Kove (what a retarded name…), I decided to make another post on the same subject.

This time, we’ll be discussing the wildlife of this varied and rich ecosystem. (But in case you’re wondering… yes, our neighbor’s trailer is still there. My parents think it will eventually leave… but I don’t. We’ll see who wins.)

First, we’ll be visiting one of the creatures that also frequents the Harding campus in great droves: the grey squirrel. The Kim Kove variety are somewhat smaller and thinner, undoubtedly due to the lack of Chick-fil-A fries and half-rotten caf food (it’s only, I dunno, a quarter rotten when first taken out of the caf) left on the front lawn. However, there is something special about our Kim Kove squirrels.

They’re intelligent.

They use tools.

And, most of all, they use their intelligence and their ability to create tools to make weapons.

You think I’m kidding, but over Spring Break, Dad and I were outside grilling Whiskey River Burgers, which are about the most amazing thing since chocolate, when all of sudden we heard this crazy screaking noise. I know that’s not a word, but that is what it sounded like. Then we discovered what it was. A squirrel was sitting in our plum tree, gazing down on us, sharpening a massive stick into a point. Just watching us, as if daring us to continue to existing in his territory.

And you think living in suburban Alabama in boring. We have organized squirrel gangs, k? And what do you have?

Then… we have birds. But not just any birds. Demon birds. My first real remembered experience with these valkyries was a small incident, but an omen of things to come. I was sitting on the back porch when I was in, oh, fifth or sixth grade, and I got pooped on. Lovely. Sort of scarring for an awkward preteen but not that big a deal.

However, due to the fact that Dad has never quite gotten around to wiring off the little alcove in the overhang on our front porch, we have two birds that come every spring and stay until late fall to make babies in this high rise of a nest that gets bigger and featherier and poopier every year. And not only do they and their mutant children cause a two-foot-deep layer of bird manure to gather on our porch, but they don’t really like people being on their porch. Not at all.

For instance, the other day, I walked outside to see just how dead our herb garden has gotten in the unseasonable dry heat we’ve been having lately. I didn’t even get all the way out of the door before I was dive-bombed like a target in swallow military training. Dive-bombed, guys. Absolutely horrendous, having tiny, impossibly fast, beaked, angry birds attacking you. These little dudes give the iPhone app a run for its money.

But they aren’t the worst. The worst is the one that I call The Happy Bird. You know how birds generally sing, you know, during the day? Well, this one sits outside my window and starts singing at, oh, midnight, usually. Very happily, and very loudly. Way too happy and way to loud for that position on the clock. A few nights ago, I scared my parents out of their skins banging on the window around 1:00 in the morning trying to make it stop, please heavens above make it stop.

Still, the most fearsome beast of the Kim Kove habitat is neither the the squirrel regiment of the Bloods nor the psychotic birds. No, the monster that is the most terrifying, the most horrifying, the most heartless and the one that keeps normal citizens from being able to take a simple exercise walk around the neighborhood is the Skeeter Dogs.

See how preciously adorable this dog is? Well, look closer. It’s really a devil in puppy’s clothing. You’ll be walking along, minding your own business, beebopping to Supertramp and Rihanna on your iPod, when out of nowhere, you are surrounded by a howling, bloodthirsty mob of Skeeter Dogs with slathering jaws and teeth that are just longing to rip your ankle tendons and leave you lying in the middle of the road, a fleshless carcass. So, in order to protect yourself, of course you start throwing rocks, hoping to scare them off.

Then the witch that owns the leashless horrors will undoubtedly appear and scream her head off about What Are You Doing to My Poor Precious Puppies? And you want to reply What Are They Doing to My Ankles? Haven’t You Read the Leash Laws??

Anyways. Haha. There was actually quite a sweet small little terrier that came up to me just the other day before going on his business, but you understand.

So—what are the denizens of your neighborhood?

So… this is slightly less inspired than what I consider to be usual. But I’m posting it anyways, in hope of enticing The Fickle Girlfriend to continue to stick around.

Also, here is a survey that is probably pertinent to your interests as a blog reader.

If you are reading this post, please, please, please, please, please answer the poll. Pretty please with brown sugar on top. (And I don’t give brown sugar to just anyone, you know. Only my beloved readers.)

____________

“So I guess it makes sense why we could afford such a big house, now,” said Mom, conversationally.

Neither of us had slept well. The only motel within a thirty mile radius of Meat Camp was a little Super 8 that I swear to you was harboring scabies in every dark corner, of which there were simply too many to seem possible. I had gotten up before dawn to water and feed and walk Bob, and then gotten a tray of continental breakfast that looked like it was about three years old warmed over and brought it back to the room.

I didn’t say anything to Mom’s comment. My mind had now slipped into that sunny green place called Downright Denial, and I preferred not to think about the house or what it entailed.

“You know, though,” said Mom, musingly twirling a bit of cardboard egg on the end of her fork, “it’s sort of a metaphor for our life.”

“What is? This food?” I certainly hoped not.

“The house. It’s ramshackle and it’s in pieces and all the windows are busted out by a generation or two of rock-throwing teenagers.” And the ivy, and the dead-hair flowerboxes, and the broken door, and my personal favorite, the tree that had taken up residence in the greenhouse. “But you saw it, Snell. It has so much potential, potential to begin again and become something incredible once again. Just like our lives.”

I thought about this, trying to make my way through a piece of toast that chewed like fossilized dinosaur hide. For once, though, I didn’t agree with Mom. Maybe that was her life—something made rickety and tumbledown by years of splintered dreams and Abominable Luck and manuscripts that crashed and burned like the Challenger shuttle. Here, in this isolated place where no one knew her and where we were only novelties because we were new and not because we were abominations, she had a chance to plant new seeds in this hopefully fertile new ground and see what came of it.

But I didn’t feel like my life was a dilapidated old house at all. I didn’t really feel that my life was much of anything or ever had been much of anything, like it hadn’t even begun, as if I were one of those seeds they find encased in amber for hundreds of years that never had a chance to grow. I felt strange, all hollowed out in the middle, like if you ordered a cake and all you got was the icing with no batter in the middle.

Mom delegated out the day’s tasks. I was to take Bob to address 3009 Meat Camp Road to a Mr. Tom Smith (I could see why Melissa had decided to sell him a horse named Bob) while she worked on calling the realtor to find out if there were any contractors in the area who could help with the house. I thought this was probably a good idea, as the two of us put together had the handy skills of a legless salamander.

“Oh, and Snell, ask Mr. Tom Smith about the surprise he’s supposed to have for you.”

I stiffened as I leaned over to pick up the keys off the questionable carpet.

“Surprise?” I said slowly. Those were never, ever, ever good.

“Yes, hon. Just ask him about it.”

Great.

So Bob and I loaded up and took off for 3009 Meat Camp Road. Since we’d gotten here in the middle of the night and all I’d been able to take in was the harrowingly narrow road revealed to me by the headlights, I’d completely missed the surrounding area. Having grown up in flatter-than-a-flitter Charming, waking up floating in the gentle mountains of western North Carolina felt like finding myself adrift on the swells of a gentle ocean. An ancientness hung about the ravines and the rounded peaks like the last bit of fading sunrise mist, so that it twinkled in the corner of your eye but was gone if you looked directly at it. A few houses dotted the slopes here and there, but mostly the undulation of the mountains was clothed in an untorn robe of trees that shifted from the young green of birch and oak to the dark verdancy of magnolia and pine. A tight sort of longing constricted my chest as I wound my way along the snaking roads that I could not name, but it was so strong that I wondered that I could not put words to it.

And then we were there, pulling up the gravely driveway of 3009 Meat Camp Road.

I suppose I had been expecting a modest farm rather like Melissa’s with some cute mares for Bob to flirt with and maybe another stallion or two for him to try to kill in a fierce battle of pheromones and mating instinct. But my expectations were immediately dashed. Over the entry to the driveway was an iron arch supporting a wooden sign where the words “Boys Ranch of the Appalachians” were emblazoned in fanciful white lettering. Rather than the small fields and farmhouse, a sprawl of building climbed up the mountain, dorms, a cafeteria, two barns, a large L-shaped stable, chicken coups, a goat paddock, and several cabins for, I dunno, group feel-good sessions or something. A few people, workers I assumed, were carrying buckets and farm utensils and such to various undisclosed locations, apparently beginning the day’s work.

I parked and got out. Up in the mountains, the summer heat and humidity that had already begun choking the life out of Charming had not yet arrived, and the air was pleasantly cool and the pungent, animal smell of farm animals filling the air. Looking around, I tried to decide which building looked administration-ish or whatnot.

“Well hey there, little missy!”

I turned around. A tall, stringy man in his late fifties was approaching me. He was quite possibly the most countrified looking dude I had ever seen, and let me just tell you, I had seen some real doozies in Charming.

“Hi,” I said.

Any normal person would have followed that “Hi” up with something like, “How are you today?” or “Nice weather we’re having, isn’t it?”, but like I’ve said before, I pretty much missed the development window for social skills. He eyed me through beady eyes for a few long seconds while I tried to figure out what to do with my hands—why do they make pants without pockets?

Finally, he asked me he could help me.

“Oh,” I said. “Um. Yes. I’m looking for… um… this guy. To give him this horse. His name is Bob. The horse. Not the guy.”

Gah.

“Oh well darlin’, you must be lookin’ for me. Mah name is Tom Smith, but you can call me Bill, everybody does.”

Of course. Because that makes sense.

“Hi… Bill,” I said. I didn’t tell him my name, missing the this-is-where-you-introduce-yourself queue. As usual.

Luckily, I was spared from much more conversation because Tom—Bill—immediately set to checking out Bob. He opened the doors of the trailer and took Bob out, not even commenting on the pile of slightly worse for the wear boxes and shrunken sheep head. He examined Bob’s flanks and eyes and ears and all of that other horsy stuff, including checking his teeth, something I never really understood the necessity.

“So missy, how did the trip up here go?”

I told him about trying to back the horse trailer up in the Cracker Barrel parking lot and the failure thereof. He laughed heartily, holding his stomach and shaking his head back and forth like a dog with ear mites.

“Ee hee hee, oh mah Lawdy,” he gasped. “Ee hee hee, rookie mistake, missy, rookie mistake. Did that mah-self, oh, a good forty years ago.”

I told him about Bob throwing up, and this made him look up sharply.

“He spewed, did he? Well, I’ll be.”

“What?”

“Missy, didn’t you know that horses don’t throw up? It’s not in their natures. They can’t even if they want to.”

I took a look at the soiled boxes and then looked back at him.

“Well, maybe Bob’s not a horse,” I said, rather flatly.

This made him laugh again. He sounded like a broken train engine.

We took Bob into the stables. The ceilings were high and well-lit with open windows lining the peak of the roof. About twenty-five horses of all shapes and sizes were sleeping and eating and laying their ears back at me as we walked in. A gigantic chestnut stallion tried to nip at Bob’s withers as we walked by, but Tom-Bill gave him such a stern look that the beast backed up a step.

“That there is Tolon, and he’d nip the hindquarters of the ass of Jesus himself if you gave him a chance, he would.”

It took me a second to realize he was talking about Jesus’ donkey and not what I’d first heard, which made me feel rather stupid, if you can imagine.

We got Bob settled into a stall that already had fresh hay and feed ready for him. I tried to say goodbye to Bob by scratching him behind his cheek like most horses I’d ever met liked, but he laid his ears back so far that I thought they would end up on his withers like vestigial pegasus wings, so I stopped.

“Got a ornery one there, aye? We’ll take good care of him, here, we will.”

I nodded, then I remembered something.

“Uh, Mr. T—Bill…”

“Just call me plain ole Bill, darlin’. None of that mister stuff. Just Bill.”

I wanted to say, So long as you quit calling me darling, I’ll call you anything you want. But I didn’t.

“Okay. Bill.” I took a deep breath. “My mom said that you had some sort of… surprise… for me.”

I sounded completely ridiculous, like I was expecting him to bust out with one hundred red balloons and a birthday cake. Silently, I vowed to memorize every synonym for surprise from our thesaurus the moment we unpacked it so I would never have to use it again.

“Mah, mah, I had almost forgotten! That darlin’ Melissa called me just a few days ago as a favor for your ma, and lo and behold, our stable boy had just quit and run off to the city! So what I mean to be sayin’ is that you’ll be startin’ here with us as stable boy whenever you ready!”

“Stable boy?” I said weakly.

“Well, stable girl, if ya like the way that sounds better!” He cracked up again. I couldn’t see what was so funny. I was a girl. “So when do you want to start?”

Never, I thought.

You are probably going to hate me for this, but I’ve never worked a day in my life. It just never crossed mine or Mom’s mind for me to get a job. Well, until now, apparently. So much for the hundred red balloons.

“Um,” I said. “Start. Um. How about… in a week?”

“Sure, sure, darlin’, just whatever you want. That works just fine, ‘cause that’s when the new boys get here for summer camp and we’ll all just be covered up in work,” he said, and he rumpled my hair like he was my favorite uncle that I’d known my whole life.

I hated having my hair rumpled.

He gave me his phone number and I told him I’d call him a few days later to get all of the details, whatever those were.

I went back to the hotel.

“So—did you like your surprise?” Mom asked coyly.

“Hmph,” I said, sitting down on the bed and folding my arms over my chest. “He called me a stable boy.”

“Well, I suppose you don’t hear all that much about stable girls, hon. It’s usually boys.”

“That makes sense. Since, you know, boys are accustomed to smelling like Bob’s turds all the time and don’t much mind it.”

“Oh, Snell, it won’t be that bad!”

You didn’t smell the stables. They smelled like the devil’s sewage system.” They didn’t, really. I had actually been surprised at how clean they had been in comparison to Melissa’s barn, but I wasn’t about to admit that.

“Well. I know you like horses, and I figured you would get bored just sitting around all day, especially before you get to know some folks your own age. Get you out of the house, keep you from going all stir-crazy.”

The way she said it, you’d think that if I were left to my own devices, I would, I dunno, eat the couch or something.

At this moment, I am taking a break from the Hill of Homework upon which I have been steadfastly trudging for the past three hours. Just in case you were wondering, I just finished a nine-page paper for my Human Lifespan and Development class about eldercare, and I wrote it in two hours and twenty minutes. Please just take a second to stop and marvel. I am. I’m not sure why God chose to gift me with fast-writing skills, but I am thankful for them, nonetheless.

(Is “gift” a transitive verb?)

Also, I am going to take up just enough space for single picture in order to momentarily return to the old days of the “Being a Girl” tag.

Okay, and also one word (deep breath): Ilovelovelovelovelovelovelove VampireDiariesespeciallyDamontheevilonesighgaspwow.

Hail, Readers, full of grace, forgive us our trespasses….

Anyways, lately I have been having a sort of introspective period. I am finally to a point in my life where I am largely at peace with myself—I know, you’re thinking, You are insane, why did it take you so long?—so I am able to look back at the past few years of my life with a degree of, if not objectivity, at least a little less of the haze of radioactive emotional fallout. During this period of introspection, I have come to a few conclusions:

  1. People hurt each other. This fact may seem painfully obvious, but when you think about it, too often we go through life with the attitude that people are not going to hurt us, and whenever they (inevitably) do so, we are immediately angry—because our pride is wounded, our trust is betrayed, our faithfulness made worthless by the other party’s unfaithfulness. And we forget, all too often, that we hurt people, too, and that other people have felt the exact same way because of us.
  2. Hurting people is absolutely unavoidable. I say this not to encourage you to give up trying to live in kind with your fellow man, but to try to help myself and you as well to understand that, as Westley says in The Princess Bride, “life is pain.” Half the time—I would even go so far as to say most of the time when we hurt each other, the hurt is unintentional and often unknown by the person hurting the other, or one person hurts another because she perceives a greater pain that would have occurred later without the perpetration of the first pain.
  3. The world is broken. The fact that even the kindest, most loving, most selfless people can still cause hurt to others demonstrates that something is fundamentally wrong with the world. Many of us recognize this as the Fall; whether you believe Adam and Eve actually caused it or if they are just a metaphor for the inherent brokenness in humanity is beside the point.

This philosophy as a whole deals largely with hurts that are, as I said, “unintentional” or to prevent “a greater pain that would have occurred later without the perpetration of the first pain.” I know that people cause pain purposefully, and if you are human like me, then you—like me—have probably purposefully hurt people before. But I also think that, outside of mental derangement, people cause pain purposefully as a backlash from their own pain, however twisted or apparently nonsensical this backlash may appear to outsiders.

So here we are, in a world where we hurt others and others hurt us, sometimes intentionally, many times unintentionally, and where pain bubbles up and flows from older pain. Although you may already know where I am going with this, I will still ask you the somewhat rhetorical question: What do we do with all of this pain? Where’s the solution?

The solution, my friends, is love. More specifically, the solution is Love (1 Corinthians 13, anyone?), Love manifested in Jesus and poured out from him through us to a world festering with wounds that too often it treats with only more poison. In essence, this Love works two ways. It acts always for the good of others, even by choosing that “lesser pain,” because sometimes pain is necessary to root out and destroy the final root of pain—sin, or if you don’t like that term, selfishness and pride, whether our own or that of others that has damaged our own lives. And, inversely, this Love acts like a quote I posted almost a year ago: “Love is an act of eternal forgiveness.” And with this aspect of Love, we have the ability to forgive others when they cause us pain, because they will. Without forgiveness, Love may flow for a little while, but that pain will dam it up if we cannot let go and continue to put that person’s needs above our own, even when they have hurt us.

Selflessness and forgiveness—interwoven, they form one of the main strands of Love, and interestingly enough, one of the most important parts about God himself.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

“There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.”

—Bryant H. McGill

“We are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.”

—Buddha

A great revolution?

Posted: January 26, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

When the Twin Towers exploded on September 11, 2001, my little brother and I stayed at school until the end of the day unlike a lot of the other children whose parents came to pick them up. When Mom got us after school, I said, “This is just too bad. Now I’ll never get to see the Twin Towers.” I remember my mom turning around, looking me in the eyes, and saying, “Kellum. Over two thousand people died today.” Immediately, I felt ashamed down to my core.

A month later, our class watched the memorial service they held at the disaster zone, and they showed the face of every person who died on the television screen. I cried, even though I did not really understand why.

Since that point, I have always had trouble reconciling my own comparatively perfect life with others’ lots in life. From the subsequent attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq by our own governments, to the tsunami in Asia in 2004, to the earthquake in Haiti just this month—and all the things in between, just the day-to-day living of people in less developed countries. And not even in lesser developed countries—I have seen the faces of beggars in Europe and in the United States, the hungry, dirty faces of impoverished children and women and men.

Today, I stumbled upon Steve McCurry’s Blog, the website of a photographer who (I think) lives in Afghanistan and photographs the people of this much understood Middle Eastern country. Just twenty minutes or so of flipping through the articles and pictures caught at my heart—some aspect of the eyes of those Hazara children makes them absolutely unable to be ignored.

In my nursing 203 Health Assessment class, our teacher, Dr. Myhan, has showed us numerous slides of the health problems afflicting people in countries other than our own. From the horrible burns on an African child who was playing too closely to a cooking fire and the contractures permanently marring the body of a woman who was struck by lightning and did not get medical attention in time to the grotesquely swollen limbs and appendages of men and women who had elephantiasis—I cannot get the images out of my mind. They seem burned there permanently, just as much as the twisted flesh of the woman struck by lightning.

And the overriding, absolutely incredible question that goes along with all of these images is: what gives me the right? I live here in America in a college dorm room, and the “few” possessions I have here are not only more than most people in the world will ever have, but more than most families will ever have. Not only do I have three meals a day, but I can eat whenever I want in between those meals. I have time to have fun; I don’t have to work to be at school, which makes me even luckier than a lot of other college students.

So what do I do about this? What should I be doing to help reconcile this enormous discontinuity in the fabric of the human world, especially from a Christian perspective?

Don’t get me wrong—I know that as a nurse, as a human being, as a Christian, there is good to be done in the United States and the other developed nations as well. The pain and suffering that goes on this side of the metaphorical railroad tracks is just as real as anywhere else. But is this where I can do the most good? If I stay in the States, am I going to get to sixty and realize that my life, while certainly full of its small joys and adventures, that it should have been something much greater, that I missed the greatest adventures and the greatest sacrifices of all?

Where does God want me to be?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“A great revolution in just one single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a society and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of humankind.”

—Daisaku Ikeda

This semester is mine

Posted: January 8, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Tomorrow, Lisa and I will load up in my car, followed by Kathleen and Jeanie, and journey back to Searcy.

Sometimes, when I step back from my life, I find it strange that we carry out all of these dramas in this tiny little backwater Arkansas town that most people in the world have never even heard of. For the four years (or more, in many of our cases) that we go to school there, our entire universe swirls around that one little town, like a spiral galaxy with a super-massive core, all of our hopes and dreams and goals either spinning towards the center or careening out from the interior.

This semester is mine. I am going to make every second count and live in the present fully and wholly. This semester is mine, and it is God’s, and it is ours.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.

Nelson Mandela

Manfully and nobly

Posted: January 8, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Once upon a time, not so very far away, there was an unmagical land called Alabama where life came to a screeching halt because frozen precipitation fell from the sky for a few hours in the middle of the day and never even pretended to accumulate, even though the weather channel had been all like ONE TO THREE INCHES OF SNOW EVERYBODY BUY MILK AND BREAD AND BUILD A BOMB SHELTER for approximately two weeks now.

Epic fail, Weather Channel, epic fail.

On the bright side, in Florida, a huge herd of manatees crowded into the warm waters put out by a power plant in order to stay warm. I think I might be a manatee, considering that I haven’t moved from sitting next to the fire for the past four hours, basically.

So in lieu of yesterday’s post in which I shared my realization that I will only ever be me and my lifetime is all I have to do anything with, which still faintly surprises me, I have decided that as an antecedent to the list of things I will never do, I am going to make a list of things I really want to accomplish during my lifetime, in no particular order. The list in this post is not exhaustive by any means, but I want to start thinking about things that I want to do so that I won’t get to the end of my life and think oh wait but what about…? right before I kick the bucket.

  1. See the Pyramids.
  2. Shop in a traditional market in Morocco.
  3. Adopt a child from an impoverished country.
  4. Learn how to ride a horse and ride well.
  5. Maintain a faith in Christ and God that never stagnates or grows stale. (Remember the hippo poem by T.S. Eliot, post-IBers?)
  6. Own an Irish wolfhound.
  7. Have a mini, week-long internship with a shepherd in New Zealand.
  8. Write a book, even if it does not get published.
  9. Write a collection of poetry, even if it does not get published.
  10. Become a midwife or a nurse practitioner that works in an obstetrical unit.
  11. Make a real sacrifice.
  12. Live in another country for an extended stay (at least a year).
  13. Visit villages in lesser-known Asian countries like Myanmar and Nepal and Tibet and Cambodia and really learn about the cultures.
  14. Go on a medical mission trip at least once, preferably many times, to a third-world country.
  15. Learn how to love fully.
  16. Spend an extended period of time in Africa working under an African midwife. (Summer after next? I think so….)
  17. Become an expert about something really random, like banana slugs or Jurassic period dinosaurs.
  18. Have a family of my own.
  19. Figure out how to play an instrument, any instrument, with enough dexterity that people do not hold their hands over their ears and drum their heels on the ground in agony.
  20. Change the life of at least one child who is not part of my family.
  21. Read Crime and Punishment.
  22. Have lots of dogs.
  23. Become an expert on mythology. (This coming up summer….)
  24. Fall in love with the same person who is falling in love with me.
  25. Learn selflessness.

So… we will see what the future holds, but there you go, here are some of the things I want to do. You should make a list, too.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Dream manfully and nobly, and thy dreams shall be prophets.

—Robert Bulwer-Lytton