Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Older Trails

A friend of mine was brave this week and walked away when it counted. I love character. Another friend found a girl who I think he's falling in love with; and it makes sense. My wife is beautiful and her face is rosy from putting in insulation and she's adorable (but her face hurts a bit). This week I went for a run on the old trail I used to walk with my grandfather when I was eight. Sadness is softened and happines sweeter on older trails.

Tom Friedman wrote a book called the Lexus and the Olive Tree. In the book he defined our world with two conflicting themes--the new and interconnected world (he picked it up in a tour of a Lexus plant) and the disconnected world where guys are fighting over rights to the old olive tree. Much of World History can be defined by the struggle between these two elements, or more dynamically the attempt to reconcile them. The great upheavals of our time have primarily been society readjusting these forces (i.e. the Dark Ages, the Reinassance, The Westphalian Period, The World Wars) or one element sucker punching the other (The Crusades, 9/11). As in many things, these same large forces also play out in our own local lives and even in our hearts.

Most of my day to day is lived in the Lexus. A few days ago, within the same five minutes I got a cell phone call from Alaska, a phone call from India (routed via Oregon), and an E-Mail from Puerto Rico about something we would build in Ohio with parts from China. My day to day is in the Lexus, but sometimes my heart misses the Olive Tree.

It's good to talk to someone who knew you twenty years ago, who can remember how much your Mom prayed for you to live, or who knew what you weighed when you were seven months old. It's good to have someone who has seen you at your worst, or your best. Good to see someone who has been with you in times to laugh, and in times to stoically hold back tears, and even in times to cry: someone who knows that these things are not impostors and should be dealt with squarely. Sometimes it's good to calmly sit beneath the olive tree.

How best can we reconcile these forces for the World?

This question will be the big theme of my generation. I've never abandoned the idea that I was built for big things, and because of that I feel like I've got a part to play in sorting out this theme.

First I want to nail it in my heart. And the solution involves older trails.


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