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Alec John Jameson (JohnnyJ) [userpic]

Beautiful Day!

May 22nd, 2001 (07:33 pm)

current mood: cheerful
current song: "I Love A Parade"

Okay, the high today was 98 degrees (no, I wasn't referring to a boy band!) -- and in spite of the heat I found the day fabulous. Sunny and bright and spirit-lifting.

Our band is performing soon -- yes, Rose Festival is just around the corner now! -- and I've got some of the band kids in my classes. As always, they are both excited and just a little nervous. Doing well in a Rose Festival parade is a very big deal to them. And the event is broadcast on TV and is very important here in the Pacific Northwest.

I'm taking a huge bunch of kids over for the Junior Parade this year. Some will be helping out a group that's going to march and others will just be watching the fun. I arrange this every year, and it's sort of a big deal...

Plus I'll be going with a group of my 'special' (favorite and closest) students and some friends to attend the Starlight Parade. Love it -- it's just a really fun evening event. Undoubtedly the kids will end up down at the park going to the festival center for rides and such afterward while my friends and I hit some club. (It's catch as catch can for rides home after the parade!) The fleet doesn't get in until later in that week, so the clubs will be a little busier, but not full of sailors (and Marines!) until mid-week. (After all these years I still haven't decided if I like the influx of the military guys or not. Guess it depends on the guys and how much they've had to drink. Sometimes I play and they like it and tip well -- other times they can get rather nasty.)

There's just something about Rose Festival that brings me up! I'm looking forward to the end of the school year and all the tons of festival events during the month of June and just getting some time with friends and by myself.

Guess I need to get to grading papers.


Alec John Jameson (JohnnyJ) [userpic]

Students -- Gotta Love Them!

May 21st, 2001 (03:26 pm)

current mood: aggravated

Okay, I guess it's just expecting too much that students would work on the organizational aspects of a production... and not just get off on the 'fun' elements (like painting scenery, coming up with/sewing costumes and collecting props and so on).

I even kind of lost my temper today when it turned out the students in charge of scheduling one of the 'performances' hadn't connected with the administration office and had it put down for this week. The day we'd hoped to 'invite' the student body to view this in the auditorium is now 'previously' booked. This will bump us into next week -- which is delightful (please read some very strong sarcasm into that!).

Alec John Jameson (JohnnyJ) [userpic]

Seeing the 14th Dalai Lama speaking on "Ethics for the New Millennium"

May 16th, 2001 (10:26 am)

current mood: jubilant
current song: "A Hundred Million Miracles"

I'm so glad I was still able to go over to Portland with my friends to see the Dalai Lama at the Memorial Coliseum yesterday evening.

This was the event of a lifetime in my mind. I consider him to be more important in world affairs than the President of the United States, or any one world leader of any given nation. The only other person on the level of this great man would be the Pope, I guess.

So as he came out on stage everyone rose to their feet and I stood with tears just streaming down my face -- I was so overjoyed by the moment. To know that I was in the same room (even if that room was a huge venue) with one of the greatest men who has ever lived -- and truly one of the greatest men of our current time -- it was really incredible.

He is 66, and has a youthful and animated face just full of love and joy. He kept shielding his eyes as he tried to stare into the audience. He wanted to see the faces of the people he was speaking to.

He spoke of the 'power of vision' and of how each one person can make a difference. He encouraged us to be more peaceful inside ourselves, so that we could spread that peace to others. He made jokes and made us laugh and he spoke of world changes that made us applaud. I will never forget this special time as long as I live.

It put my recently burdened and difficult life into much better perspective for me. It made me realize how foolish I've been and how trivial my petty worries are in light of my looming future -- and in light of this big world I live in. (It made me reflect on how the internet has the means to make this world smaller -- and to bring us closer to one another -- if we can avoid the same conflicts that are in our face to face contacts.)

He spoke of violence and peace in ways that were enlightening for me on a personal level. And he spoke of love in ways that made me realize that it IS okay for me to love unconditionally and without expectations of what I might receive in return. I found that reassuring in light of my own desires to go on loving individuals (like my deceased friend, Jack) when there is no possibility of knowing that my love is being reciprocated.

I was uplifted and humbled by this experience. He spoke specifically about educators, and I was moved by that. I've always tried to do what he spoke of -- to impart ethics along with learning. I feel that his words will encourage me to continue doing so in spite of the difficulties involved.

Again, I felt love for someone who stood on a stage and inspired me. It was far different in many ways from watching a Backstreet Boys concert -- and yet interestingly enough, it was also the same in many ways. I came away from both experiences feeling happy, feeling renewed and feeling inspired. I wonder how the BSB would feel about being compared to the Dalai Lama? (And the greatest Dalai Lama to ever live. The man who has won so many awards they are too numerous to list, but include the Nobel Prize for Peace, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award and eighteen honorary doctorate degrees.) I suppose it's silly to make a comparison -- but if someone impacts your life in a positive way then they are great. Even if they are musical performers!

Of course I've read about the Dalai Lama, but seeing him made me want to find a book filled with his inspirational thoughts. I'll have to search at a bookstore the next time I get there.

I hope I can work to avoid conflicts and to be even more supportive of human rights and environmental issues after hearing his words. I'd like to be more tolerant of others, express even greater respect and feel even more compassion in light of this experience.

I bought the souvenir canvas bag -- corny, I know, but I wanted a physical reminder which would bring the event to mind whenever I glanced at it. I guess I'll use it to carry my schoolbooks in from now on. And I'm sitting staring at my bookmark commemorating the occasion and feeling awed. I got to see the Dalai Lama in person! I am so lucky.

The small program they provided contains his picture and it was interesting that they included inside a small message asking that this program be treated with respect, as any images of the Dalai Lama are considered sacred. I think of how we attend events and people just toss their programs to the floor, and am hopeful that others saw this small print note and paid heed...

We who live in this great nation are so fortunate -- and yet so wasteful. I'm as bad as anyone else. I hope I CAN find a way to stir my students to really CARE about world events. Leo and I were discussing it, and he mentioned how the one time he did bring up an important event online (the school shooting that took place in San Diego), I was the only one on that entire list who even responded to it. He said it concerned him that online lists rarely (if ever) seem to care about what's going on in their countries or in the world (or if they do, they certainly never discuss it). We both feel that the internet should make us all more cognizant -- and not less so -- of these things!

This is a huge post, but I'm still home from school (supposedly writing Jack's eulogy) and pondering my life -- especially the past several days. I wish I'd seen the Dalai Lama before certain things happened. I feel I might have dealt differently with those things and the people involved. Hindsight is great -- isn't it? LOL.

Well, maybe I can make up for those mistakes in the future. I certainly plan to try. I don't kid myself that I'll be a different person -- but we can all make subtle changes for the better in our lives, after all.


Alec John Jameson (JohnnyJ) [userpic]

Love Lives On...

May 14th, 2001 (06:30 pm)

current mood: peaceful
current song: "Can The Circle Be Unbroken"

Just a short note to finish today. My friend Jack passed away while I sat holding his hand. I know the love he shared with others (including me) will live on, even though he is gone from this world. And I hope I can share that love with the people in my future.

I'm pleased to be able to say that friendship online can be as meaningful as friendship in our day-to-day lives. I've received some very kind words today from someone I thought no longer liked me. Those words were a comfort during a very difficult time. I guess even in dark times when I've shown my ugly side to others, I can be loved as a friend. That means so much to me.

I will now sit and quietly take a minute to celebrate the life of my friend, before going to comfort his poor mom. It was a very quiet and peaceful end.


Alec John Jameson (JohnnyJ) [userpic]

Life Isn't Static...

May 14th, 2001 (12:00 pm)

current mood: hopeful
current song: "Love Is A Simple Thing"

Thank God, life is NOT static. It changes, ebbs and flows. It's a mix of wonder and disillusionment. Joy and misery. Highs and lows.

My friend, maybe my best friend, Jack Davies, is dying. What does the Bible say? There is a time to be born and a time to die. Something like that. This is Jack's time. Even if I've been feeling it's too early and too rushed.

Leo said such warm and meaningful things to me about this. How it's okay to be angry at Jack for shooting himself. And how it was right for me to tell him I forgive him. He said that Jack was glad to hear me say it, even if he isn't able to tell me that. I'm pretty much getting over the anger -- and the guilt. I guess I believed if I'd been a good and true friend, Jack would have come to ME -- instead of shooting himself. Leo said Jack's struggle to hang on and to open his eyes again show that he didn't really want to die. I found that statement so true. I guess maybe Jack had second thoughts, and that's some kind of comfort to me.

But Leo is right. It's time for Jack to move on. He'll never be whole and happy again in this world. I can only hope, as Leo said, to meet him again someday.

Friendships come and go and love comes and goes for many people. For me, once I care and love it's forever. I'll always love Jack. And one day I'll be able to be with him and share that love again -- I believe that.

But there are other people I love that I'll never be able to be close to -- in this world or the next. But that's a part of existence, too. I can love without being loved in return -- that's okay. We do it all the time when we love the Backstreet Boys and wish them the best. They will probably never know it, but it doesn't matter. Somehow this kind of love is very pure and very good. And I think it reaches out and touches the ones we love, even if we never get to know it for certain.

I've learned a lot -- so very much -- about love in the last few days. I believe in love more than I ever did before, and believe it's endless. I don't think it has to be returned to be meaningful or true. Love isn't ever a bad thing, even when it hurts us. Pain is a part of life and can't be avoided. But that shouldn't stop us from loving as deeply as we can.

I wish every person who has had a difficult loss -- or who is having a difficult loss, or who will have one someday -- could have a friend as kind and understanding and gentle and loving as Leo. Someone who can see beyond the outbursts and emotion and tears and pain and make them feel whole and worthy and loved again. This man is beyond any simple words I can write here. I feel humbled by his simple good humor and gentle words and constant support.

I hope someday I can pass on these same feelings to others in need. Because life isn't static. Losses will always happen. Death or other losses. And we all need shoulders to lean on from time to time.

I'm going to think about the quality of love for the rest of the day. And next time I write, I think I'll put down all the positive things I know and I feel about it.


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