Bruce’s Friday Five v4.6

My Friday Five is somewhat of a mishmash of stuff I have recently seen around the interwebs, some of which I actually kept track of and others, I just remembered upon the writing of this post. Enjoy.

After a truly stunning two-week excursion to China, there is just so much to catch up in life. Here are a few things that I offer for your contemplation, information and prayer.

ONE | Last night while stumbling around a bit, I found myself on the site, No website has been named so true and I am proud to say that I made it out without buying a roll of Glow-in-the-Dark Toilet Paper, the Fun Runny Nose Shower Gel Dispenser or the above pictured Pet Hoodie . . . though I would not be surprised if this coffee mug found its way into our kitchen some day.

TWO | For those of you who live in a city where finding a convenient parking space is like searching for a unicorn, you know that sometimes you know you are going to get a ticket, but you park in a space anyway. I am one of those who will park in at a one-hour meter and try my darndest to make it back in time. I usually make it back in time, but too often I am greeted by a $50 ticket courtesy of San Francisco’s Department of Parking and Traffic. Well hello Pay By Phone, the newest way to pay for your meter via your smart phone. Simply awesome and well worth the 45¢ fee.

THREE | This story of Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill I having a very expensive watch photoshopped out of a photo has been making the rounds. While many were outraged and found justified ranting fodderand yes, I would question wearing anything on my body worth $30K – my gut reaction . . . “What’s a watch?”

FOUR | Marion Barry is still in politics? What?!?!? For all of my friends in the Washington DC area, I’m praying for you all especially after Barry’s latest comments when he said, “We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops,” Barry said. “They ought to go. I’m going to say that right now. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.” He claims that these comments were taken out of context and offered his version of the “I am sorry that you were offended” apology, but again . . . What?!?!? [h/t: Angry Asian Man]

FIVE | With my family’s history of gun violence seeing the headlines about the Oikos College murders when we returned from our trip has been particularly wrenching. Thankfully the numbers indicate that instances of these kinds of rampages are going down, the pain inflicted on the families, communities and generations to come are too great to measure. I am so grateful for my hometown paper, the San Francisco Chronicle for their handling of this story. Yes, there has been much commentary on the social and political implications, but they have also been running stories on each of the shooting victims. Well done. Please keep in prayer the Oikos community, the families of the victims, the shooter and all who die as a result of gun violence.

For Those Who Struggle During Christmas, You Are Not Alone

Like many people celebrating Christmas, whether as a spiritual discipline or social experience, there is no calm before the storm for me. In fact, it seems like Christmas Eve EVE might even be the storm before the calm. Every year I commit to getting everything done early, but more times that not, I’m right in the mix of the final gift buying frenzy, braving the crowded grocery store fighting over that forgotten ingredients and mentally preparing for the interaction marathon that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and the Day After Christmas that is my family’s life.

And breathe.

In many ways, this rush is part of the experience, or at least part of what Christmas has become. Sometimes it makes me sad to see how much about Christmas is not about the hope, joy, love and peace that I understand it to be, while at other times, I am tickled by the genuine change in the tone of interactions that happens during this time of the year. From the skip in a business person’s walk, to the tough guy in a Santa hat, whether you think someone has declared war on Christmas or you are declaring your own war on those who have declared war on those who are declaring war . . . this is a pretty wonderful time of the year time of the year.

But, I know, not for everyone.

As I go into these last days, like everyone else, I try to remember the many people for whom this is not a joyous time of the year. With themes of joyous parties, happy families and generous giving surrounding us, those who struggle with depression, estranged family and/or economic survival are often forgotten.  I don’t lift this up in order to compel feelings of guilt or to cast aspersions on folks who are living large during this time, but simply as a nod and a word to those who struggle with these times to say that you are loved.

  • You are loved by this stranger.
  • You are loved by people that you might not expect.
  • You are loved by God.

And yes, I know that my words offered on a blog post will not heal your spirit, reconcile families or feed your body, but in this, I hope you know that there are many who show this love not only during the holidays or not only with words, but who are there for and with you when you need them.  I don’t know where the words and actions will come for you, but I believe there are those people for all of us: it might be your neighbor who has invited you to join them for a meal, or maybe it’s that stranger sitting at the table next to you at the cafe with whom you share a brief conversations or when it is really bad, it’s that suicide hotline that you never would have imagined that you would ever need.

So, while I wish those who are struggling all of the joy, peace, hope and love that I can muster, my greatest hope is that you know deep in your soul that you are not alone.

In fact, if you click on over to this link on my Facebook Page, feel free to say hello, share your story and I bet some folks will hang out with you for a bit.