12 July 2016


I wrote this a few weeks ago but neglected to upload it to Blogger. I'm traveling back to my family after a short business trip to Toronto and the thoughts feel as relevant as ever. Here goes:

A few weeks ago I listened to an interview of author Sebastain Junger by Tim Ferriss. Junger spent time talking about his new book, Tribe, which I have begun to read. In the interview, and what I've read so far of the book, Junger spends time considering the implications of how our social structures have changed, and not for the better. We lack the kind of community connections that have fostered societal accountability and unity. This lack of tribe, or community, has led to some people feeling so alienated and disconnected that they commit terrible crimes, such as mass shootings, which are truly anti-social at their very core. I am looking forward to spending more time on the book in the next few weeks.

Today's thoughts on the subject were prompted when I decided to close my eyes on a flight (we're on a family trip) and listen to some of the music from the tv show LOST. The song, "Life and Death" (actually an arrangement by Paul Cardall inspired by music from the show),  made me think about what that show was about, really, and why it was so impactful for me.

Much of our initial interest in the show (speaking of myself, Lacy, and other friends who followed it from the beginning) was in the mysteries it proposed. They were very enthralling, and answers were teased out over time in bits and pieces. Eventually, the connections and relationships between the characters were what truly sustained the show, at least for me.

For some people, the final season of the show was a waste. They devoted an entire season to off-island narratives that we came to understand were a depiction of some after-life, in-between place where people go to find the ones they love and belong with and to. It was an interesting choice, and I understand why some people were frustrated by questions left unanswered.

I thought it was perfect. As I sit here on an airplane with the most important people in my life, I feel deep gratitude for the relationships that we have. In addition to them, my other family, my good friends, and other loved ones constitute the wealth of this life. Why wouldn't that be the most real thing that mattered for the disparate characters from lost? In the end, I don't think I'll be too concerned about historical patterns in the stock market or other temporal matters. A tribe, a family, these relationships, are what remains when our loved ones leave us, and what we take when we go.

A central tenet of my faith is the eternal nature of our souls and the continuation of family relationships. It won't really matter exactly what we did together, just that we were together. And that we gave our time, our most precious commodity, our real wealth, to the people that we love.

It's tempting to focus on things that have no connection to these most important connections. I have no emotional energy to devote to the presidential race or to other similar issues, at least not at the expense of the people that I care about. It's not apathy, and it doesn't mean ignoring the need to help others. Doing so enriches our most important connections. What I mean is putting my resources where they will have the greatest impact and do the most good.

Today's random thought, brought to you by music from the tv show LOST.