For me, May is a time for reflection. Four years ago, I retired from an amazing decade of work at Intersections International. I wrote a blog that first week in May that shared in a very personal way the core idea behind my time at Intersections—that seemingly contradictory forces can co-exist in our lives and if we are attentive, we can learn from these “intersections” and become ever more responsive human beings. On the day of my retirement, my Dad passed away—a moment of both profound joy and profound sadness at the same time. I am reminded that it has been four years since my Dad passed (and a year and a half since he was joined by my Mom), how much influence these two amazing people have had in my life and how much I still miss them.

Unstated in that post is the fact that the same day my Dad died is my wife Blythe’s and my anniversary. This year marks our 22nd. The poignancy of four years ago has diminished over time but the joy and gratitude of having had such an amazing person share my life for more than two decades does not diminish. Intelligent, creative and sensitive to a fault, her patience, support and understanding of me is beyond mind boggling. I love the way she bounds out of bed in the morning…to feed the birds. Blythe has a way of elevating every one of God’s creatures to sacred status. Her heart is so big. Sure, we’ve had our “moments” as all couples do—but the thought of life without her is too difficult to bear.

A couple weeks after my initial entry, I wrote another that outlined what I hoped to do with the next chapter of my life. Thus began a weekly ritual (I have missed only four weeks since) through which I’ve been able to connect with you, dear readers, on a consistent basis. I am humbled by your continuing loyalty to these posts. Sometimes I am surprised to read entries in the comments section (or in personal notes) as they come from individuals whom I’ve not heard from for a long time. It is always great to reconnect and to know that we continue to be in contact. Even though I may not be fully aware of the particulars—I feel the presence of this cosmic community all the time.

And, those moments when you respond to a certain topic or, as happened this past week, simply offer an affirmation of these writings, are moments that mean more than you can imagine and make the hard work behind this weekly pattern so infinitely rewarding.

In one of countless zoom conversations this week, I was reflecting with others on cycles of life and the value of the passage of time—as expressed in relationships, in long-running projects, in the seasons of life—all existing within the context of the recent divisiveness in our society, the seemingly endless pandemic, the volatile economy and uncertainty about the future. Someone mentioned two words that have stayed with me as I reflect on my annual journey down this road of memories that emerges each May. Those words: humility and gratitude. Gratitude for those who have enriched my life in ways too numerous to count, and humility for the varied and often intense life experiences they have shared with me. Yes. It is a good thing to sometimes step away from the headlines and to pause and reflect on the many blessings of life.  

4 thoughts on “Moments and Milestones

  1. Hey, we don’t need no namby pamby, breath of fresh air-edness from you!

    Where’s your take on the FaceBook/Trump debacle? How about Biden’s hope to remove patent protections from COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers? Or that Chinese-made rocket booster about to fall on Manhattan?

    We’re hard-news addicts here, doom scrollers all!

    Just kidding.

    Thank you, Chase, for your continued good will, good words and good acts. They are appreciated.

    Parenthetically, this reader found your mention of Intersections International to be timely, in that he has struggled a bit of late with the media’s increasingly prevalent use of the term “intersectional.”

    Please find below a (relatively) brief elaboration on the word, courtesy of YW Boston, a group dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women:

    “If you’ve ever scratched your head when a friend, colleague, or writer has spoken of intersectionality (or you’d like to deepen your understanding of the theory), then this post is for you.

    “What is intersectionality?

    “Intersectionality, n.: The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage; a theoretical approach based on such a premise. (Oxford Dictionary)

    “Intersectionality is a framework for conceptualizing a person, group of people, or social problem as affected by a number of discriminations and disadvantages. It takes into account people’s overlapping identities and experiences in order to understand the complexity of prejudices they face.

    “In other words, intersectional theory asserts that people are often disadvantaged by multiple sources of oppression: their race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and other identity markers. Intersectionality recognizes that identity markers (e.g. “woman” and “black”) do not exist independently of each other, and that each informs the others, often creating a complex convergence of oppression. For instance, a Black man and a White woman make $0.74 and $0.78 to a white man’s dollar, respectively. Black women, faced with multiple forms of oppression, only make $0.64. Understanding intersectionality is essential to combatting the interwoven prejudices people face in their daily lives.

  2. Thanks, Bob for your reflections. Anniversaries are so complex, multi-layered. Thanks for the great photo of your Mom and Dad.

    Blessings to you and Blythe

  3. What a wonderful time as a group we helped you found your footing at Intersections. People from 4 churches rounded out a big table and talked about all of our ideas. We all learned about each other and our goals. Very glad your 4 years have kept you busy and more in love with your wife, We all fell in love with her. Take good care of yourself

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