Transfixus Sed Non Mortuus

Here I Stand, Pierced and Transfixed

Browsing Posts tagged friendship

The reunion was as always full of joy and happiness when the dog and the fox met with playful jumps and dance in the frozen grass. Side by side Tinni and Sniffer trotted slowly through the forest and made tight tracks in the white grass, showing how close the two friends really were.

This past weekend, I had the amazing experience of being able to take a weekend camping trip to Warren Dunes on the west side of Michigan. I took Friday off from work and finally got around to packing on Friday morning. We then loaded up the car and sped away from my life, heading for the beaches and beauty to the west!

A very large group of my friends came with me.

Fall Camping at Warren Dunes

Here’s a few of the adventurers from the Warren Dunes trip

Me Dune Jumping

Here I am doing a little dune jumping

We spent a lot of time relaxing, eating, and generally having a wonderful time. We even had quite a bit of rain on Saturday night, but we definitely made the best of it!

Rainy Evening Meal

A Rainy Evening Meal at Fall Camping

All in all, it was a wonderful trip and really enjoyed seeing the interactions between the members of the group. Quite a few of them had only just met, but they all got along splendidly. It was a great time!

My full name is Jack Leroy Tueller. This is two weeks after D-Day. It’s dark, raining, muddy, and I’m stressed. So, I get my trumpet out and the commander says, “Jack, don’t play tonight because there’s one sniper left.”

I thought to myself, “That German sniper is scared and lonely as I am.” So I thought, “I’ll play his love song.”

The next morning, here came a jeep up from the beach about a mile and a half away. And the military police says, “Hey, Captain. There’s some German prisoners. Get ready to go to England.”

One of them keeps saying in broken English, “Who played that trumpet last night?”

And he burst into song and he said, “When I heard that number that you played, I thought about my fiance in Germany. I thought about my mother and dad, about my brothers and sisters, and I couldn’t fire.”

And he stuck out his hand, and I shook the hand of the enemy. He was no enemy; he was scared and lonely like me.

The power of music.


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Today is definitely a milestone for me. Also, it is my one thousandth post for the blog.

I think it’s important when I hit one of these milestones to take a moment and reflect on what was, what is, and what might be.

I wrote my first post way back in 2006, and (of course) it was about Saint Patrick’s Day. What is interesting about these posts is that I can almost remember some of the feelings I had when I was writing them, and that lends some interesting food for thought in this crazy head of mine. I remember what my life was like back then, especially some of the friendships I had and some that I didn’t even know about yet. It’s interesting to think of all the people that have really made a huge impact on my life that I didn’t even know existed in 2006. I am so grateful for all the friends that I had back then, even if the friendship has since waned or is no longer. I’m also really amazed at the friends I’ve met since then and all the joy we’ve shared. I hope that in the future some of these friendships I have gained will continue to blossom, and I look forward to the friendships I’ve not yet seen. I think it will be an amazing thing to see.

Washoe’s Compassion

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A chimpanzee named Washoe was taught American Sign Language. One of her caretakers became pregnant and then missed work for quite a few weeks because she miscarried. Roger Fouts said:

People who should be there for her and aren’t are often later given the cold shoulder – her way of informing them that she’s miffed at them. Washoe greeted Kat [the caretaker] in just this way when she finally returned to work with the chimps. Kat made her apologies to Washoe, then decided to tell her the truth, signing “MY BABY DIED.” Washoe stared at her, then looked down. She finally peered into Kat’s eyes again and carefully signed, “CRY,” touching her cheek and drawing her finger down the path a tear would make on a human. (Chimpanzees don’t shed tears.) Kat later remarked that that one sign told her more about Washoe and her mental capabilities than all her longer, grammatically perfect sentences. When Kat prepared to leave that day, Washoe did not want her to go without some emotional support. She signed “PLEASE PERSON HUG.”

My Birthday Dinner

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On Saturday, I was able to celebrate my birthday with quite a few of my friends. It was a lot of fun for me. I have found in my life that I feel the most fulfilled when I am a part of a community. In this case, it was great to have so many of my friends able to share my birthday with me, and that made me feel included and special.

I am incredibly grateful for my friends. Some have been with me for a very long time and some have been with me only a short while, but I can say that each one has made a mark on my life and in my heart. I really feel that that is what life is about. When I feel that friendship and love is flowing, I really feel alive and that my life has purpose. What an amazing gift it is when I can feel that way!

My life is amazing today in large part because I have such amazing friends. My thanks to all of you!

This weekend, I was able to go to Saugatuck, Michigan with my friend Kam to visit our mutual friend Alisha. I met Alisha through her boyfriend Rich, and I had met Kam through Rich and Alisha. Though I’ve only known both Kam, Rich, and Alisha for a couple of years, I number them among my very dear friends.

On Saturday, Kam stopped by my apartment around 10:30am and off we drove to Saugatuck! It rained a bit on the way there, but it looked like it was going to clear up by the time we arrived.

When we got there, we met at Alisha’s house. She is currently living with her parents and her younger sister while she works at Holland Hospital. The place they live in is filled with history, as her father used to own a hardware store, and they still live above the same space that the hardware store used to occupy. It was a really cool place, to be sure.

Alisha, Kam, and I went to lunch at this restaurant called Wicks Park, and we shared a delicious meal of pasta, scallops, and ribs. Everything was delicious and I had a great time as we sat and talked around the table.

After lunch, we went to Lake Michigan by way of Mount Baldhead. Mount Baldhead had a lot of history surrounding it as well, and it was awesome because Alisha was an excellent tour guide as she showed us lots about the surrounding area. We ran down the “mountain” and onto Oval Beach, which Alisha was proud to inform us that it was one of the top ten beaches in the United States (according to MTV), and it definitely was a great beach.

Alisha and Kam Hiking

Alisha and Kam Hiking Down from Mount Baldhead

Us at Mount Baldhead

Alisha, Kam, and I at Mount Baldhead

We walked along the water for a while towards a pier, but then we decided to jump in the water. The waves were about three or four feet high, and it was really cool to jump up into them and through them. It felt awesomely freeing, and all I could think of was that it was great to be alive. A storm was rolling in to our south. We saw lightning split the sky a few times, which was amazing to see with all that distance between us and that storm. However, the storm turned a bit north and it started to rain. So, we got out of the water and continued on our hike. We hiked to the pier and then did a really cool hike through some woodlands and dune areas. Kam got pretty tired and discouraged by the rain and the challenging hike. He also accidentally dropped his towel in the lake, and so he had to carry the heavy wet towel for the remainder of the hike. Soon, we made it back to the car, and we were safe and warm at Alisha’s house. It didn’t take long before Kam was back to his normal happy self.

Kam Dropped His Towel

Kam Dropped His Towel in the Lake

We had dinner with Alisha’s family that evening. Her father, Ron is a great man. He has traveled a lot and has a great number of interesting stories to tell. I also really appreciated his sense of humor. Her mother, Bonnie is an amazing woman as well. I could tell that she was really intelligent and empathetic from the moment I met her. They were both excellent hosts throughout the entire weekend, and I soon felt like they were my friends. Alisha also has a younger sister named Tess. Tess has a wonderfully sarcastic sense of humor and is really cool. She baked a blueberry pie for the dinner, and I have to say that it might have been the best blueberry pie I’ve ever tasted. The presentation was excellent with the top crust having that great lattice-work you see on television. Oh, and the taste was sensational! It seemed to me to have a perfect blend of sweet and tart. I even asked if there was rhubarb in it or something to give it that great taste. Tess informed me that it was just blueberries, corn starch, and splenda. Overall, I was very impressed at how generous, kind, and loving Alisha’s family was. I could definitely see where Alisha gets those same qualities.

Tess Makes Awesome Pie

Tess Makes Awesome Pie

After dinner, Alisha took a short nap, and then got ready for work because she would be working third shift. After she got up, we were able to spend a short while with her and that was very nice.

Alisha is Off to Work

Alisha is Off to Work

At midnight that night, Tess would be celebrating her birthday. Kam and I joked about hanging out with her as her bouncers. I was very surprised when she asked if we actually did want to hang out with her. That’s another example of how that family seems to operate. Even though we were Alisha’s friends, Tess was willing to include us in her life! I thought that was incredibly nice of her. I was hesitant at first but she seemed geniunely serious about it, so Kam and I decided to join her. First, she and a few friends went to SwirlBerry and had frozen yogurt. I had some as well, and it was quite good. After that, we met her friend Sam, and the four of us drove to her friend Edgar’s house. There were quite a few cool people there, and I enjoyed spending time with them. We counted down to midnight and when it came, we all clapped and wished her well. I considered it an honor that she included us on her special day. We hung out for a while after midnight, and then headed back to Alisha’s house.

The next morning, I woke up fairly early and told Kam that I would wander around town for a while. I checked out quite a few of the sights and sounds of Saugatuck, as well as some of Douglas (a town practically connected to Saugatuck). I also thought it was pretty cool to see one of Tess’ friends that I had met the previous night on the sidewalk when I was coming back from Douglas. We chatted for a couple seconds and continued on our separate ways. Saugatuck itself is a really cool village with a lot of little art galleries and interesting hole-in-the-wall-type places. Before too long, I noticed it was getting to be about time to head back to Alisha’s house.

When I got back to the house, Alisha’s mom and dad helped me to make some eggs, and Alisha’s mom offered me some amazing tea that was mixed green and black tea with an Earl Grey sensibility. I was very impressed with it. Kam and I then listened to some music with Alisha’s dad. He has great taste in music, and I was really happy to hear a few bands that I hadn’t heard of before. Then, he took us on a tour of his former hardware store, his current workshop, and introduced us to a couple of his tenants. It was really fun, but it was also greatly informative. His skills as a tour guide are well-developed. It seemed that he was very nonchalant, but he definitely kept my attention with all the little tidbits of knowledge he was willing to share with us.

We went back upstairs and relaxed for a while before Alisha got up. However, when she did get up, she was still really tired from the night before as it had been quite stressful for her. We talked for a while about our plans for the day. Finally, we settled on Kam and I going to a local museum, as Kam is really interested in urban history and architecture. Alisha would then meet us there. We took the chain ferry across the river and walked to the museum. The museum was small, but they had quite a few excellent exhibits on village life over the past hundred years or more. I learned a lot about Saugatuck and they had some cool maps of the town at various stages in history, which I thought was really interesting. I love maps, and especially old ones, so it was a lot of fun for me to see them. Kam seemed fairly interested, but not as much as I thought he would be. Before long, it seemed that he was getting antsy to go, so we walked outside to call Alisha to let her know that we were finished. Lo and behold, she was walking up as we were about to call! She didn’t seem too put out by the fact that she had come across the chain ferry just to stop in for a moment, which I appreciated. So, we then took the chain ferry back across the river to eat a meal.

The Saugatuck Chain Ferry`

A Real Working Chain Ferry!

Alisha and Kam on the Ferry

Alisha and Kam on the Ferry

We ate at this wonderful restaurant called Mermaids. The food was superb. We sat on an outdoor deck that butted up to a dock, so we could see the boats moored up as well as some others passing by from time to time. It was lovely.

Alisha Likes Her Meal

Alisha Likes Her Meal!

Kam Likes His Meal

Kam Likes His Meal

After eating at Mermaids, Alisha, her mom, and I took a hike up to a place called “Crow’s Nest.” It held a fantastic view of Lake Michigan! As I looked over the expanse of green, brown, and blue, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of wonder and joy at the world. It was absolutely beautiful. It was also great to hear stories from Alisha and her mom about the area and its people throughout the hike. I love how connected they are to that place, and I could see that it means so much to them. I was really grateful for what they shared with me.

View from Crows Nest

View from Crow's Nest

Us at Crows Nest

Alisha, Bonnie, and I at Crow's Nest

That evening, Tess was going to have a birthday dinner with the rest of the family. Although they were really kind and generous, I thought it would be a bit forward of us to stay although Alisha had invited us to do so. Eventually, I was talked into it, and we stayed for the dinner. It was a great steak dinner, and I really enjoyed basking in Tess’ happiness and the family’s joy. They sang a special birthday song to Tess, and it really reminded me of my family’s birthday song. Though they are two very different songs, my perception was that it was something as special as my family’s.

Guess Whos Birthday

Guess Who's Birthday

After dinner, Kam and I said our goodbyes and we headed on our way. Though I was physically tired, my soul felt very refreshed from such an amazing time with such wonderful people. Overall, it was a fabulous weekend and I am so grateful for all the people, places, and things that made it that way.

A few years ago, I thought I had an accurate and true trust in another human being. I had a deep and abiding faith that things would be fine especially because I felt our friendship was strong from moment to moment. I began to expect that my feelings of trust would continue growing and developing.

What is still strange to me is how just a few things I did (and a few things the other person did too) caused the friendship to stress and bend like a metal spring. Before I knew it, the metal was fatigued by fear and distrust, and it just fell apart. The worse part was that I didn’t really see it coming until I was at the stepping off place. As I held what was left of the friendship in my heart’s hands, I didn’t see any way to fix what was left. I didn’t see any way for me to trust that the same stressing and bending of my heart wouldn’t happen again if the die was recast. I was afraid.

In my fear, I chose to stand still. I held myself away from the friendship for a time and tried to sort those distrustful feelings out, but the time only made my fear grow. I felt disconnected and disjointed, like a kneeless giraffe that wants to run, but knows that it cannot. I stayed there in the silence of my soul for a while, cocooned from the hurtful words, pleas, and demands of the other person who couldn’t understand what I was trying to communicate nor what I was doing.

At last, a change happened in me and I emerged from the cocoon in my soul, willing to try to reshape the metal of that friendship again. But, I came to realize that the friendship wasn’t just broken, it was also only memory now as well. The other person wanted to hurt me in return for my previous actions. So, I wished the other person well, and worked to grow in the spirit of unselfish love.

Later, the person tried to rebuild the friendship, but this time there were situations beyond my control that disallowed the rebuilding of the friendship right away. So, I tried my best to put it all out of my mind and see if the roads of life would lead me back to that friendship again. I searched and grew in ways that I never thought possible. Like a butterfly unfolding its wings, I started to see things in new and interesting ways. I often thought of my friend from before and how I would have wanted to share these new skies’ grace with them.

Whenever I saw that person, my feelings were still confused and fearful, like I was struggling in a dragonfly net. My friend couldn’t see the change in me, and the descriptions I used to convey those changes were judged by the words I used and how I had used them in the past. The person was just hurting due in part to my actions, and I knew that I shouldn’t (and couldn’t) pull them up from this hurt. I could only try to amend the past in whatever way made sense.

This strange simile story isn’t complete because I don’t know the ending. I have a heightened awareness of things today, but I see that I am still easily trapped in the webs of my own dreams, instead of reaching for sunlight and letting others reach for me and with me. I see that I need to continue to grow and develop, but most of all, I need to learn to trust that as long as I do what’s right in terms of my head, body, and emotions, then the right thing will happen in the end.

Perhaps a friendship can be mended or perhaps not, but I do know that I must have faith that whatever happens, I will be loved and cared for. I must trust these new wings that I’ve been given by emerging from my cocoon of self so that I may reach the grace of the sky, and dance on the winds’ wings in the sunlight. That must be where I put my faith and trust…

I have a few friends who are going to do the frozen leap at Ford Lake this weekend. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a charity event to benefit the American Heart Association where participants jump into a sawed out portion of the lake.

I would normally be right there with them, but alas, I have other plans with my family. If you feel like joining up with them or would like to donate, please see the following web page:

This past weekend, I had the immense pleasure of being able to camp at DH Day Campground up by Glen Arbor, Michigan. It was a weekend filled with hikes, campfires, ghost stories, snacks, brotherhood, and all-around generally good fun!

We camped at a site that was a stone’s throw from the dunes that led to the lake, and it was simply gorgeous. Here’s a view from the edge of the woods where our campsite was:

View of Lake Michigan

This was the view from the edge of our campsite at DH Day Campground

We were able to go on a few hikes around the area to examine some of the gorgeous land that is part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Here’s a few pictures:

View from Pyramid Poing

A view off of Pyramid Point

Climbing the Dune

My friends Adam and Andrew climbing a dune

A View of Sleeping Bear Bay

A really great view of Sleeping Bear Bay

Sunrise over Glen Lake

The sun rising over Glen Lake

Even though it rained a bit while we were there, it didn’t dampen our spirits. We hiked to an abandoned homestead in the rain, and sat on the porch, watching the rain and mist come rolling down from the high hills over a meadow. It was a wonderfully peaceful sight to see.

At the evenings, we sat around the campfire and we were entertained by the musical stylings of Adam on the guitar and Gordon with the harmonica. We told a few ghost stories, laughed at a few jokes, and roasted marshmallows and banana boats.

I feel both tired and refreshed after such a wonderful weekend. It was simply glorious!