Monday, August 23, 2010


Hate is a powerful emotion. I do my best to steer clear of it. I detest situations. I try to assign my anger to an action and not to a person. I work to reserve my dislikes for experiences and not for any living, breathing creature. I don't want to hate. I don't want to harbor negative feelings. But I am not perfect.

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hate cages all the good things about you. ~Terri Guillemets

Hatred is one long wait. ~René Maran

hatred bounces ~e.e. cummings

You lose a lot of time, hating people. ~Marian Anderson

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain. ~James Baldwin

Love the Way You Lie

I read one review of this video that basically said you want to look away because it's so violent but you can't because it's so sexy. That's the perfect depiction of an abusive relationship. The parties involved become trapped in a vicious cycle.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Oh Brother

Years ago, I journeyed to my beginnings, searching for my birthfamily and eventually discovering that we are a product of our environment and of our decisions and not necessarily of our genetics. I chronicled that journey on this blog. (The links follow.) Throughout that experience, my birthmom and I exchanged many letters and emails and pictures. And I learned that I came from a very large family that included siblings and step-siblings. I always wanted brothers so I was excited to learn that two of my siblings & step-siblings were brothers. In the end, I never met my extended family face to face. But every detail and every image from that frame of time is burned in my brain.

Flash forward to this past weekend... As I stood in the middle of the dance area on the patio at a downtown St. Louis bar, I looked out over the crowd. Suddenly, I recognized a face. How did I know him? And then, it hit me. It was my step-brother. Quickly, I grabbed a friend, pointed him out and exclaimed, "Oh my God, I think that's my brother!"

I have to tell you that my friends and I often joke about seeing my random family members when we are out and about. Tall, skinny, long-haired old men are usually "Wilson," my birthfather. Dark-skinned, American Indian types (like Kyle Lohse) are usually my brothers. It's a joke and we have fun with it. So when I told my friend Kate that I thought this stranger at the bar was my brother, she laughed at me. Until she realized I was serious.

Soon, Kate chased him down and asked him for his name. Reluctantly, he obliged and Kate stammered around trying to come up with an explanation for approaching him. Eventually, I collected myself and joined them. I warned that we were about to get a little deep for a Friday night at a southside bar. He smiled nervously. "I recognized you from a picture," I said. "See, your stepmom Denice is my birthmom."

He paused. And then he threw his arms around me and hugged me for a long time. His smile grew broad. We talked for twenty minutes or so before he asked me to call him and gave me his phone number. Soon we will spend some time together and get to know each other a little. He promised that meeting with him would be a softer introduction to the family than the first time. He left me with another long hug, encouraging me to contact him. His name is Dan.

My story just keeps on unfolding. And now, I'm the nervous one.

links to the journey blogs:

Life & Baseball

(Author's note: I was prompted to write this after the Cards vs. Cubs game Friday night. I met my brother for the first time after that game. And I was surrounded by my friends from the bleachers when it happened. See, life changing events do happen around baseball.)

People often wonder how a motley crew from various corners of the state can grow from being baseball fans who just happen to sit in the same section of a stadium to a sort of family. Over the last ten years, I've been a St. Louis Cardinals season ticket holder and I've experienced the transition from a fan enjoying a Sunday afternoon with like-minded people to a member of the St. Louis Cardinals family.

Sharing high fives and hugs and toasting with giant cups of beer organically brings people together. Bonding through the joys of victory is natural and normal. Disappointing losses, bad calls and mutually hated rivals run a close second to happy times when it comes to creating connection among sports fans.

But, in the course of a season, life still happens. In between games, and sometimes during games, life-changing events occur and thanks to timing season ticket holders, who spend a good portion of their weeks around one another, end up sharing those moments with each other. Engagements, marriages, divorces, births, deaths, new jobs, new homes, personal wins and losses... They happen. And baseball goes on and sometimes your fellow baseball fans help extend the happiness of those moments or help you through the tough times.

Throughout our ten years, we've lost two bleacher friends and two players that we loved to tragic untimely deaths. We've watched most of the guys get married and some of them get divorced. There have been many babies born. Some of us have been unemployed together and many have changed jobs. We've made new friends and heckled many a right fielder from the Reds or the Astros or the Brewers. We've laughed immeasurably, cried many tears, hugged a lot and sometimes hated each other. We've traveled to other states to see our boys play, celebrated year after year in playoff runs and enjoyed the sweetest victory of a World Series. Tragedy and comedy, victory and loss, happiness and sadness... We have been through it all. Together. And sometimes it was about baseball. And sometimes it was just about life.