In which I will discuss TLC, Bill and Ted, and the Rapture, together in one semi-coherent thought.
Jesus was probably a time traveler, and never really meant to become an idol worshiped by half the human race. This statement really has nothing to do with anything but if you’re going to say something inflammatory, you might as well say it first.
I like the stories about the guy and I think the words he spoke were most excellent (because I said I would bring Bill and Ted into this). Really though, I have a hard time with the whole rapture thing. I mean seriously, the same guy who says we’re supposed to love everyone regardless of their past, and calls people to serve their neighbors (as long as they eventually come to worship the guy’s father) is really the son of another guy who is going to punish the entirety of the human race with fire and brimstone just because they didn’t worship him? Weird. Sounds like this guy has some repressed anger issues that could really be tackled with some intensive work with a good therapist.
Again, the previous paragraph has nothing to do with anything… I’m just thinking about my week and this was one of the subjects that floated to the top.
Another subject that floated to the top was the meeting I had with the advisory board for this new venture I have embarked upon with Bridgeway Behavioral Health. This crazy endeavor has had me preoccupied for the last several years as the seed was planted, and the experience was gained to make this thing a reality. Just what is it you may ask? Well, I could talk about it for days (just ask the people closest to me) but essentially, it is a completely new way for those that society has written-off to reconnect and become members of a vibrant community once again.
I opened the meeting by flashing the image of the three young, attractive, African American women included in this post above. These are the ladies of TLC, kind of a big deal back in the mid 90s. This particular room of people probably had no clue who these girls were, what they did or, most importantly, why I would be showing them such an image when I was supposed to be giving a report on the really rad road trip they funded just a few weeks prior. I proceeded to tell them about the mega successful ladygroup’s hit from the mid ‘90s called Waterfalls. The refrain to the song states, “Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.” Now typically, this would be good advice especially when you’re say, nine, and the only transportation you have is a bicycle, and the only reliable source of food you have is your mother’s cooking.
But, what about the rest of us, should we go chasing those proverbial waterfalls?
The advisory board voted yes, they sent me on a journey to visit several “waterfalls” (a.k.a. social enterprises and therapeutic communities serving addicts, alcoholics, and people returning from incarceration) last month.
I vote yes. I vote we chase those waterfalls. Why should we keep doing the same things over and over?
Why should we tolerate the current rate of recidivism from our criminal justice system, or the failure rate of our drug and alcohol treatment centers? Why should we tolerate such an utter insult of our human resources? The people suffering from these issues deserve better. We, the people who pay for these treatments deserve better. Hell, if those two reasons aren’t good enough, what about the 1,706,600 children, 2.3% of the U.S. resident population under age 18, who have parents in prison? Don’t they deserve better? I think we all deserve better.
If all we can expect is a 35 to 40% success rate from the current state of affairs in our prisons and treatment centers isn’t it time we do something different?
For those among us who comment on the nature of the situation, and are quick to talk about how the decisions these people have made brought them to where they are, I say, “you are absolutely right.” But don’t we, who have been so fortunate to have never made those decisions owe it to our own futures to make sure that no one makes those decisions again, and again, and again?
The presentation went well. I was able to convince the group assembled to hear of my journey that they had made a good decision in sending me out to chase those waterfalls and that we should work to mimic the effects of those waterfalls here in St. Louis.
The second magical moment of the evening came when I revealed the plan for how we would implement the principles I discovered while touring the organizations out west. I proceeded to describe the plan to build the buzz which would fuel the growth of the blossoming organization. I described the community service projects we would undertake to attract the interest, respect, and ultimately, the support of the immediate community. I described the mini-documentaries I would build to capture the thoughts and actions of the group of ex-cons, addicts, and alcoholics who were working to rebuild the neighborhood and themselves. And then, I started to tell how I was going to get the word out on a massive scale. I spoke of guys standing on exit ramps and everyone’s eyes fell. There were groans of disapproval. I desperately tried to regain ground by asking everyone to refrain from judgment for one more minute. Then, I dropped the bomb.
At this time, I cannot drop the bomb here. If I did, everyone would know about it and it would not be the bomb anymore. Rest assured that when it drops, you will know it.
As I finished talking, there was a silence in the room. The people looked at each other and at me with an amused glimmer in their eye as if to say, “Really, who the hell does that? Who the heck thinks this stuff up? This is brilliant!”
We are chasing some pretty big waterfalls over here. Like, the kind that make a deafening roar when you’re next to them; the kind that people take pictures of and tell their friends about. It is exciting to be a part of it all. It’s kind of surreal really, three years or so of dreaming and it is finally happening. It is exhilarating.
My question to you: What waterfalls are you chasing? What personal limits are you surpassing? What have you looked for lately that is somewhere other than you have always been looking?
If you say none, I’d challenge you to look harder. You never know, the next apocalypse may be just around the corner!