26.5.11

Day 318. The I Can't Believe I'm Writing This One.

Let's get one thing straight: I can't stand Oprah Winfrey. I'm not going into a ton of detail, but I have over the course of her 25 years, found her to get a bit full of herself and preachy among other things.

So, I didn't really care when she said her show was ending. I didn't care when she said she was starting her own network. And, I was really getting sick of the whole "20 shows left" "18 shows left" "we will miss you, Oprah!" thing. But I did break down and DVR the last 10 or so shows, mainly because I was intrigued with the guests she had on there (I was actually impressed with the James Frey interview). So, since they were sitting there, I sat down last night to watch the "Two Day Farewell SPECTACULLAAAAARRR". With wine. I was prepared to be drunk in minutes from having to dull the pain...I just wanted to see Kristin Chenoweth sing.

But, as I watched, my opinion changed. And, if I believe what I say I do in this blog then I do have to acknowledge Oprah here today. Because, as I watched my beloved Kristin sing "For Good", what looked like hundreds of young men - graduates of Morehouse University, and more importantly, recipients of Oprah Winfrey Scholarships - streamed onto the stage. I will admit that I shed more than one tear at the power of that moment. You could read on each of their faces the pure and simple gratitude they had for what Oprah had done for them. Even with my issues with the woman, I've never questioned that she's done quite a bit of good. She's got a ton of money that she earned every cent of and she has chosen to spend quite a lot of that on charitable endeavors. And those men, as some of the recipients of that generosity, were there to say THANK YOU. Most importantly, they were there to seize their opportunity to express their gratitude to someone who had literally changed many of their lives at a time when she could receive it. They were a living example of what I wish everyone could do.

What this whole blog is about is encouraging others to express to those in your life - fleeting and forever - what they mean to you while they can hear you. We all deserve such a gift. Because I do believe everyone is capable of making a difference...and I believe that should be acknowledged.

Not only did Oprah get to be the recipient of that exercise but she allowed herself to receive it. Yes, sometimes you could see the practiced behavior of someone who's been on TV for 25 years, but sometimes, like in the Morehouse moment, you saw her open and honest and truly realizing the impact of her work. These shows taught me an important missing piece of the puzzle of this project, "Make sure that if you are fortunate enough to hear the good you've done, that you allow yourself to hear it, take it in, and BELIEVE it".

17.5.11

Day 317. The Trucker One.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when driving, people don't obey the rules of how to merge. This can happen in two ways - first, the person in the lane to which people must merge are CONVINCED that if they let even one car over before them the world will end thus breaking the "zipper rule" - one car in from the left, one car from the right; and the second much more frustrating and insulting "even though I see a merge and know its coming and see everyone following proper merge protocol I will speed ahead of everyone who's already merged and nose my way in at the last second effectively giving the big ol' middle finger to everyone who followed the rules and was polite." THAT is the one I hate.

So anyway, last weekend DH and I got to spend 20+ hours in a car headed to a family wedding in Pennsylvania. The drive there is 8 hours so we break it into 4 hour chunks. I had the first shift. I had the joy of dealing with rush hour traffic in Columbus, Akron, Cleveland, and massive, non-stop, soul-crushing pouring rain...for all four hours. In the midst of this, we came upon construction (of course we did). And we started crawling along at 30 miles an hour awaiting the relief that would come once the merge was complete. I could just see the scenario I described above coming at us...people were actually merging as they should so the traffic was down to one lane about 500 yards before the actual merge. In the left hand mirror I saw the truck come barreling down the now empty lane from which everyone had merged. And then - he slowed. He, like everyone else, went into the one remaining lane as was his turn immediately following the car in front of him. It was a lovely bright spot in the midst of traffic hell. And, shockingly, everyone else behind him started doing it too.

Now I know that the trucker didn't have a flashing sign dictating "the rules of merge" and it could be that equal credit goes to every other car on the road that day, but, I like to think that seeing that big vehicle not take advantage of speeding past everyone else may have just set the example. Its amazing how knowing we're all in this together and noone's trying to screw each other can really change your mind set.

So to the trucker I never got to see (we were on a breakneck pace to get to PA), I choose to give you credit for being a highway big brother last Thursday and I thank you for setting the example for how we can all get there together if we just play nice.