Thursday, April 9, 2009

Our First Year Without

Today marks the first year anniversary of my Grandma's passing. I'm sure you've heard every person say it about every loved one they have ever lost, but if you were lucky enough to meet my grandma, you would know there are few people to have ever walked this earth like her. She was kind, loving, accepting, and most of all, she lived a life of integrity. It didn't matter who you were, or what you had done, my grandma loved you. And if she loved you, you knew it. And man, if she ever prayed for you, amazing things would happen. She touched so many people's lives, be them family, friends, neighbors, or even enemies, making a positive impact, and leaving them forever changed. I know for me, besides the amazing things she did for me all through out her life, even in her death she was still giving. At her funeral she was still teaching me about character, and reminded me how to trust my heart again after a long hiatus. And if you know me, I'm a person who makes every decision purely off a feeling, so this was the most wonderful gift she could have ever given.

Here is a poem I wrote the night after her wake, which I read at her funeral. I experienced a true dichotomy when I wrote it, experiencing fluidity of words, and the ease of writing, while simultaneously experience the hardship of death. Its called "those might be dogwoods."

I look out the window,
As a million thoughts pass me by,
To try and keep my mind from touching,
On what its like to die.

As I try to fight the grieving,
I hear someone say it could be,
That those beautiful white flowers,
Grace the branch of a dogwood tree.

And conversation stays light,
But it has yet to fail,
Because if silence breaks over us,
We know what that entails.

And as the car inches closer,
To the place that we all fear,
My heart begins to race and scream,
And I wonder if I will persevere

But the miles pass like seconds,
And the blinker flips to the right,
and the car passes over the street,
while I am wishing for a red light.

But belt comes off my chest,
When we land in our space
And the door opens wide,
And then we pick up the pace,

As the first door opens,
I know the time is here,
I’ll have to face the pain which I,
Have been trying to steer clear.

The second door way breaks apart,
And the silence pounds so loud,
My eyes sprint to the casket where my,
Grandma lays so proud.

I begin to wail just like the kid,
Who she always understood,
And the sleek persona I try to sport,
It felt like he was gone for good.

I had seen that face,
So many thousand times before,
And though the face still looked the same,
My mind couldn’t ignore.

The fact that she never wore a frown,
Or let company enter without saying well hi,
Or would sit quietly at a party,
As the time passed her by.

So I try and hide my tears,
And be strong, act like a man,
then a wave of consciousness comes over me,
and I begin to understand.

That although this life is fragile,
It only sets the stage,
For what is lying before as,
As we begin to turn the page.

As she lays there so still,
I let my hand glide across her face,
I know that with all my heart,
She’s in a better place.

And a peace comes over me,
that brings me back to feeling whole
My grandma’s legacy comes to mind,
And once again she touches my soul.

Then I smile so wide,
Like I did when she was here,
And I make it through the day,
The one that I had feared.

And tomorrow when I get in the car,
To drive back to the same place,
Someone will notice the beautiful white flowers,
And the dogwoods which they grace.

But this time it will be different,
Cuz no two days are the same.
And now more than ever
My heart will be touched by her name.

for Grandma Kirby, who remains in my heart each day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Conference on World Affairs

Section 1:

So this week at CU is the the 61st annual Conference on World Affairs. This week is packed with nationally and internationally renowned speakers who lecture on a variety of subjects, ranging from international relations to facebook. The campus is flooded with non-students, and basically, the student center where I work is chaotic. This week is a sociologist's dream, seeing how the "guests" of the university actually treat the students and staff, as well as looking at listening habits, and lecture attentiveness, between the large age span. But today, focused in on a lecture entitled "Winning Over Islamic Hearts," a speaker named Ziad Asali spoke some profound truth about American politics. What he eluded to was not based on tangible evidence of what the Obama campaign can and will do, but the symbolism behind it. His example was that one of Obama's first moves in the oval office was calling The Palestinian President. He said how this conversation did not lead to any new incite, but the fact that Obama showed interest, and actually asked the Palestinian President what Palestine needs, instead of telling him what America thinks Palestine needs, was a symbolic gesture that will lead to much closer ties between the US and the Arab world. I think this example is what many people are missing about the Obama campaign. Though his proposed policies were, according to the vote count, more celebrated then Mccain's, what will be so monumental is the symbolism that will come with Obama's actions. He is a man who understands that international relations are not only based on tangible efforts, counting the number of dollars or democracies the US is involved in, but also interaction, and acknowledging other cultures and ideas. So far in Obama's campaign, though things like his push for stem cell research, the bail out plan, and closure of Guantanmo Bay are all great, what has been most rewarding for our country is the flux in foreign attitudes towards our government and our peoples. Obama is a new, youthful face of America that shows other nations we are not all balding, closed minded, middle aged, middle class, white christians, but a nation of people who differ in race, thought, and ideals. Not all progress can be measured numerically, and though some of the symbolic gestures of the past have been left out of the record books, I think Obama's campaign will be remembered both as a sign of hope for a greater future, and for its tangible efforts.

Section 2:

Today's conference was on intelligent designing, and I left absolutely horrified. Three of the four panelists spoke on genetically evolving humans, one speaking on us becoming cyborgs, one talking about his top-ten wish list of genetic mutations, and one speaking of creating computers where we could download our selves too. Each one had fantasy-esque hopes and dreams, but the fact that each spoke of forceful evolution of the human race was haunting to me. The final panelist, who seemed the craziest of all, was the only one who, metaphorically, spoke my language. He began his speech talking about human parnoia, and basically, drove the point that "we are a society riding a bucking bronco." What he said was that we are evolving, producing technology, and finding scientific breakthroughs at a rate which our societal evolutions, as well as own knowledge and understanding, cannot keep up with. We are, in essence, a society on a bucking bronco without a bridle and the knowledge of how to tame a wild horse. This resonated with me, and also did what the CWA is here for, it sparked dialogue between a friend and I. We talked about how each technologic advance mankind adopts stops human evolution, and how not only do we have to worry about not evolving, but also de-evolution, deeming Wall-E not only a great movie, but true! So I guess the take home message from this lecture was with great power comes great responsibility, and with every action comes consequence, so we better be ready to reap what we sow...and Wall-E should be integrated into high school and college curriculum.