“You don’t want to give Amu a hug good bye?” his mother asked. “NO!” he said in reply. He sharply and curtly ended his words with a pout and a scowl. He chopped the ends of his words, a trumpeter punching his staccato and blaring. His face detailing the sour taste the words left in his mouth and his mind. The words themselves were painful, they made his eyes water, and choked his throat so swallowing was made difficult. Saying them was admitting that they are real. Mentally admitting that painful enough?

Calvin in his three year old wisdom couldn’t understand why anyone would willingly try to embrace pain, and saying goodbye is pain. Why we would anyone want to say goodbye to anything that seems to be working out just fine.

The night before, he wedged himself in tightly between the adult bodies. He climbed our arms, shoulders, and necks to squeeze into the 20 minute impromptu group hug my best friends wrapped around me in their dinning room. Calvin is usually a little grumpy, but in our mutual embrace he found solace. Peace maybe. As such, this morning he didn’t want to say goodbye to it.

He didn’t want to say goodbye to the big scruffy faced guy that tickles him all the time. Who lets him crawl all over him, pull his hair, and even bite him without lashing back. I loved him despite, because I knew he deserved it. I loved him even while he tested me.  Thankfully, he found he liked what he found, and he didn’t want to say goodbye.

I have friends, I have family, and the two have blurred. All of them now know, I am always here. They are there for me. We don’t need to say goodbye. I’m always here. I will do whatever I can for anyone.

 

I am now in Seattle on a layover. It is too short to call people here to meet, and too long for it to be brief. 1 year ago I left this town and had an experience—an experience that changed me forever. An experience that changed me for good. A change for good for good.

It makes total sense that I am going to the Pacific Northwest. I know it intimately as a child, and yet it is a stranger to me now. I have the best feeling about this reunion. Sitting here in the airport, my word is about to change drastically. There were requests, offers, and opportunitie that could have taken me to other places. Requests from friends and family to move to Seattle, San Francisco, Phoenix, and places farther afield. I’ve been offered to run entire gyms in California, head coaching jobs in Texas, and a gym buyout offer in Arizona.

And yet nothing feels more right than the intentions that I have for Oregon. However, this will be hard.

Hard physically, because I will commute in the rain and cold via running/walking/bicycle and live as much as possible by the work of my own hands in the soil. Hard mentally, because I must come into a new environment and do the greatest good I possibly can. Hard for peace, because I am not always the man I wish. Hard economically, because I will attempt to live simply and seek to help others with their basic needs. To help them have “enough”.

It is a tall order.

I see myself as an archer. My target is far away. Hitting a bullseye will require more than skill, but it will also need a little luck. But, if my travels have taught me anything, it is that the very fabric of the universe is woven with love. Why wouldn’t the universe help you when you seek to help others? The very nature of people is that they  are good, why wouldn’t they help?

Thankfully, there are plenty of simpler, easier to hit targets all within arms reach as I “train” for the bigger demands. Practicing my precision with those which are closest, informs my experience and judgement for those farther afield. Accuracy in the small things will lead to a steady hand in large.

Providence is too many coincidences. On the flight here, I was surrounded by artists, all of them painting and drawing on the flight. The pieces above are those that they shared with me. And really, that is just it. That is really what I am all about here. That is my entire life goal from now on. “Create beauty with every act. Every word. Every thought. Create beauty in the world around you.” When you create beauty, you aren’t creating ugly. When you create art, you aren’t creating war.

Calvin didn’t want to say goodbye. Our relationship is pretty beautiful. So, I told him, “You don’t have to say goodbye.” As I told his brother, I told my friends, and I told my family. I am always here. There are no goodbyes. I’m always here.

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