Monthly Archives: January 2020

The Priceless Population


As a society it seems as if we value just about everything as it ages. Things like…

Wine(Paul Masson “We will sell no wine before its time“) There seems to be a general belief that when it comes to wine, older is definitely better. People have paid out extraordinary amounts of money to own rare and highly sought after spirits.

And houses: Although most houses fall into the “decrepit” category after 100 years (or less in some cases), there are still many houses (even older) that are considered “vintage” and sell for a premium, especially American Craftsman Style homes if they have all or most of their original “built ins” or have been designated historical landmarks.

And of course, baseball cards: One of the most expensive baseball card in the world is one from 1909 that was sold for a staggering $2.8 million!

Now, while I certainly think all of these aged-collectables are nice, the most notable and surprising exception to inclusion in this time-established ranking of seniority… is people.

It’s really sad to me that as people get older, instead of treating them with respect and dignity, many of them are treated like a nuisance. An inconvenience at best. We cast our elderly aside like yesterday’s newspaper. Maybe good for recycling, but more likely to be used as lining in bird cages. Where is the honor many of the aged among us so rightfully deserve? When did we become so careless with our ancestry?

I’ve purposed to simply record conversation with my older relatives, especially my parents. I sit and ask questions about a bygone era that shaped the people they eventually became. People who fell in love, got married and gave me life. I realized a long time ago that there is so much to be learned from their lifetime of experiences. I learn about our country’s history from a first-hand accounting of events. I learn about the transformation of what constituted entertainment. And I learn about our community both large and small, as well as its victories and its defeats.

So just remember, by the grace of God, we’ll all get old eventually. Make the time to give your elders the time and attention they deserve. Because the hearts of this extraordinary population, and the wisdom-laden information they provide are in a word… priceless.

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Me. Human.


Which is to say…

  • I’m an irreparable tangle of contradicting actions that are both doggedly determined and laughably frail.
  • I’m one who often skates close to the hypocrisy of sound advice given, but personally unheeded.
  • I’m sometimes altruistic as a means of pacifying the self-righteous, legalistic martyr inside that would love nothing more than to indict me on multiple charges of being egocentric.
  • I’m just as broken as everyone else, with the most inane excuse for my occasional lack of consideration being that sometimes I’m just… tired.
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Hero Origins


Every hero has an origin story. Likewise, every person has a back story. You know, the details of their life that predates when you met them. The back story is an intricate weaving of life experiences, social environments, family dynamics and emotional woundings that initiate a predetermined response to certain situations. What I find interesting is that sometimes we tend to enter situations unconsciously assuming none of those things exist in others.

  • We may not realize a friend was bullied in middle school before telling a joke about kids teasing other kids.
  • We may not understand why someone is sensitive to large crowds after being lost at an amusement park for 6 hours when they were 7 years old.
  • We may even think it’s okay to drag a friend out into the ocean, laughing while ignoring their pleads and animated protesting, never asking if perhaps they nearly drowned a few years ago during a similar incident.

What makes things worse is when the ignorant and uninformed take umbrage at a person’s reaction without bothering to investigate their hypersensitivity. Sometimes we just need to exercise some restraint and compassion and perhaps get to the bottom of a matter. Perhaps then we might discover interactions that promote healing instead of hurt. Words that encourage instead of instigate. Perhaps we won’t find ourselves being unintentionally offensive.

Personally, I love hearing the back story. It gives me greater insight into a person and helps me appreciate them all the more. Who knows? It could be YOUR superhero origin. What’s your back story?

Categories: relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Sugar Coat


I’ll be the first to admit when I don’t understand something. I think everyone suffers when you pretend to understand something you don’t. Usually, I’ll go to the source to try and find out whatever bit of information I’m missing so that I’ll have everything I need on which to base my opinion. If I’m unable to go to the source or the source proves unreliable, I just leave well enough alone. It’s not that I can’t have an opinion, I just don’t think my opinion is any more credible than those who formulate ideas about what an actor is really like, based solely on the roles they play.

Seems silly.

That being said, I’m trying to understand something… how is it that people somehow find a way to make everyone a hero? We make horrible decisions and must deal with the consequences. Nevertheless we will still find a crowd of people rushing to console and defend someone under the guise of being a “real friend”.

I don’t need friends like that. I need someone who will tell me point blank, “Riis, that was wrong.” or “Riis, you need to apologize.” or even “Riis, you messed up bad. Either you make this right or you suffer the fallout alone because I can’t support this kind of behavior.”

See… give it to me straight. Don’t sugarcoat my feelings or pity my shortcomings with silence. I will never grow that way.

Let me say that again…

Don’t sugarcoat my feelings, or pity my shortcomings with silence. I will NEVER grow that way.

Growth is invaluable.

Growth is sometimes painful.

Growth is necessary.

I can’t live without growth.

But I can live without the sugar coat.

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Personal Thunderstorms


Have you ever had one of those seemingly endless seasons when you’ve gone through an incredibly rough time? You know, it’s not just a bad day, but it’s like you’re standing under your own personal storm cloud. We become completely engrossed in and preoccupied by the trial we’re facing. So much so, that we can’t see or enjoy the people around us.

As an empath, I sometime fight to resist taking on the struggles and pain of others. My heart genuinely breaks for those being mistreated, suffering abuse, or battling addictions. Thing is, people are rarely going through the same thing at the same time. For each of us, there is usually no storm “harder” or “worse” than the one we’re currently facing. And I get that.

In truth, we vary so much from circumstance to circumstance and from history to history (how we grew up or the particular experiences we’ve had), that one person’s thunder storm could easily be another person’s slight drizzle.

One thing I’m sure of is that every person’s struggle is different. And we never really know what someone is actually going through. Even if on the outside things look fine. We can’t always see the turmoil within.

So I would just encourage us to show a little more compassion to our family, friends, and colleagues. Be kind…

…on purpose.

Because we never know how hard it may be just to get through the next minute for the person standing right in front of us.

Categories: relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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