Riding on a train in Germany, less than a week
before I go home. What I am leaving behind! What I am going home to!
What am I leaving behind? What am I going home to?
What I am leaving behind is the
family I built for myself in Deutschland. The people who were around me
everyday, from all corners of the world, from different religions,
different cultures, different families; people who came to Deutschland
with different intentions of what they would accomplish here. What I am
leaving behind are a few hearts which I have connected to. What I am
leaving behind is a land with a history that I have just begun to
understand, a land of beautiful greenery and a beautiful respect for the
wonders of nature, and a climate where the rain falls just a little too
often to be to my liking.
What I am taking home with me
are the names and addresses and photos of people who have come to mean a
lot to me. What I am taking with me from these people is probably the
most important of all; that the Mensch, the human being, shares a common
desire, a common goal, and that desire is to succeed. What I am taking
with me is an understanding that people, for an infinite number of
reasons, are afraid of their own and others� success. What I am taking
with me is a hope that I will embrace all the success in life, and will
learn more about letting go of the taking away that is fear. What I am
taking with me is an opportunity to be a part of more success through the
people I now know all over the world. I will need to plan to fully
realize this opportunity.
What I can not figure out is
why we had such bloody and brutal strife against one another, and how it
can be possible that it continues today, when the human being has the same
heart and the same soul, regardless of where it comes from; and the only
thing I can figure out is that such strife, such brutality, such death, is
necessary for us to come to the understanding that the human being shares
everything with every other life it contacts when it chooses to.
The possibility that this
strife might be necessary twists my heart and hangs on my soul as though
it were being held in a vice, eternally cranked tighter and tighter in
torture, but never to death.
What I have come home to is a loving family
� 2 caring brothers, a best friend for a sister, and a mother and father
whose example of love for one another demonstrates to me what love is, and
whose love for me is told in one word�unconditional.
What I have come home to is a
family of friends who I have built around me�people who are in my life
because of my choice and their choice to be a part of my experiences.
Most of the closest of these people have embraced me so open-heartedly
upon my return home, which makes my heart tingle with appreciation and
What I have come home to is a
nation where many people are overweight and don�t seem to think much of
it, a nation where healthy people worry they�re overweight or sick, and
this worry creates more of a problem than may have ever existed, if it
existed at all. This is a nation that is over self-confident to the point
of egoism, a nation where trying to be �cool� and �in� seems to be more
important than anywhere else I�ve been.
It�s also a nation of such
wealth and prosperity, of possibilities and opportunities, a place where
you can go grocery shopping at midnight; I love that!
A new found friend from Poland told me that an unopen heart experiences
little pain, as well as little joy.
A German priest whose name I�ve
Wer sich an guten Tagen richtig freuen kann, ist der auch an
schlechten Tagen besser daran
(Those who know how to really celebrate the good days will be much better
off when they�re having bad days.)
Goodbye is hard. Goodbye can break a
heart. And hopefully, instead of letting it be broken in two, the carrier
of that heart allows that break to open wide, so that it is even more
prepared to say hello again.
November 19, 2001
What I have noticed, at least
in my country, is that the vast majority of people are largely ignorant of
the world which resides outside of their view. Perhaps 80% of the
population is largely ignorant. 10% of them are vocal and ignorant, 70%
quiet and ignorant. Both are equally dangerous.
I have also very deeply learned
the crucial importance of programs which promote cross-cultural exchange
of ideas, experience, and friendship. Without such programs; the hate
which allowed September 11th, and the fear which supported the
U.S. Response, will continue to feed off of our limited bodies and
infinite spirits like a school of sharks tearing away at the belly of a
As I close these comments, I
ponder the possibility that I have the responsibility, and more
importantly, have the desire, to bring about new and innovative ideas and
change, to support widespread proliferation of actual knowledge and