To Those Who Go Before Us

To the people whose lives were examples for us
Who showed us the way without trying;

To those who cared more deeply than was expected of them;

To those who quietly prepared routes for us
Not knowing where those paths would take us;

To those whose offhanded comments steered us
Towards the places we’d find and make lifelong friends;

To those who lovingly looked out for us as one of their own children
From near or far;

To those who taught us what we needed to know
To be prepared for what lay ahead;

To those who go before us and will never know
The fullness of our love and gratitude;

Thank you for everything you did, for who you were,
For who you continue to be in our hearts and memories.

We love you.

Musings Opinion

The Performative Nature of America

Always Camera Ready

It’s quite incredible how much society has shaped us into thinking we need to be “on” all the time. We have to be ready with the right inspirational quote, or drop a spicy take on some topic, to have a well-told story, to have the perfect Instagram-ready vacation photo no matter how you felt in the moment, or if you’re the more nuanced type, to also be mindful to not “say the wrong thing” to spark outrage online for simply sharing a thought about … anything. 



Every once in a while, I am reminded that we need to remind others that we exist and of what we “bring to the table.” It is not the natural state for many of us to notice others. It is not my natural state to do things intentionally to be noticed.


Nobody is a Stranger in Scotland

Once in a while you meet someone you didn’t quite expect and that person ends up imprinting a part of themselves onto you, whether they were intending to or not. And yet, you walk away from that experience being extremely grateful.


Don’t You Forget About Me

Don’t you forget about me
Standing over here quietly
Unsure how to draw attention to myself
Without feeling selfish
I don’t need the spotlight
Just don’t leave me in the shadows
My silence doesn’t mean I’m fine
This heart is heavy tonight
With much unspoken struggle and concern
Words will come once presence is felt

-June 3 2018


Do You See What I See?

During a recent conversation with a couple of friends, the topic veered off into ink colors specifically for what to put into a fountain pen. As I was looking at color swabs my friend T was putting on paper to get my opinion, I commented on how similar two of them looked to me and how I perceived another in a way she could not wrap her head around. They couldn’t be any more different (I’m sure she thought in a Chandler Bing voice.) 

It’s important to note that I am a tiny bit colorblind and have slight difficulties differentiating certain shades from one another across the color spectrum. Reds and greens in particular are a challenge. This manifests in me not properly perceiving what I’m told are dramatic differences between some colors out there. This may have resulted in me one time buying some pants I thought were brown until someone gently told me, “no, Greg, those pants are more of an olive green.” Oops. I often feel like I won’t be able to fully appreciate the beauty of a grand forest.

After explaining my eye cone deficiencies, my friend did her best to explain to me how each ink color swatch was unique, what underlying colors made each swatch look the way it did (e.g. one green has more yellow tones whereas this other brown had reddish tones) and how she’s able to perceive these things. I tried my best to see what she was saying in each color sample, doing what we all do when we can’t see something quite right: squint. Spoiler alert, squinting your eyes is neither a solution for improving overall vision nor one’s ability to see colors with greater accuracy. Regardless, I appreciated her patience in pointing out what I very obviously could not see. 

While an imperfect analogy, it got me thinking about the “colorblind” spots each of us struggles with. Some of us are blind, whether partially or in full, to understand the perspectives of people who grew up in a different setting, such as living in the suburbs and not being aware of the specific struggles of a dense urban city or quieter rural town. Perhaps you can’t get yourself to wrap your head around the differences between, say, Catholic and Baptist traditions and simply choose to live in the dark and be blissfully unaware of what makes each unique. 

A disproportionate amount of tension and misunderstandings in this world come from us 1) not being sufficiently aware of our surroundings, specifically of people, 2) being unskilled at asking questions, and 3) not being good at asking questions which is very closely tied to #2. Far too often we don’t recognize or ask to understand how others see the world. But what happens when we slow down to ask those questions, to pick up on cues both obvious and subtle, that the person you’re interacting with (or just consuming their content online) may have a blind spot that causes them to come off as harsh, cruel, or misguided. What is your response to that moment of newfound information? Do you pause, recenter yourself, and work to educate and share how and why you see what you see. It’s too easy to assume others totally “get you” and that you “get them.”

Dig, ask questions, share, explain. Don’t be afraid of your limitations, but do be aware of them.

Musings Rant

In Your Own Words

In the last few years, I’ve watched people I know take on new personas online and spout off with positions on topics on social media and speak in tones and absolutes that would trouble me if I heard them talk that same way in person. I’ve seen how calloused and stubborn we have become in positions on everything from politics to medicine to foreign policy to religion and everything else in between. And in most of these areas, the people I’m referring to are not professionals in those spaces but speak with the authority and audacity (pride?) of someone who is. It is baffling. Why do we feel so compelled to sound right all of the time (and everyone else wrong)? 


Pandemic Prose Ponderings

Is there room for me at the table?
Did you remember I was coming for dinner tonight?
I came hungry in anticipation
Even skipped out on instant noodles at home

There are a lot more cars in the driveway
Than I expected
I must have missed a group text
Hope it’s not a loud party
Where we can barely understand each other
And you know I’m even here

– March 2021