Anything Mentionable, about my friend Fred, about writing and life

Stories from Tim.

."Don’t diminish the difficulty. Step into it! What you will find, I believe, is that God is there, too."

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"When I look into the eyes of a saint or Fred Rogers, he’s seeing me and seeing me all the way through to the best of me. After ‘I see you,’ it’s ‘I see I.’ I see myself as I really am because they see me as I really am. From ‘I see you’ to ‘I see I.’”

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"I think our lives make a little more sense when we better understand the shadows we all carry within. We’re less likely to be blindsided by them, for one thing. And understanding the universal shadow might inspire deeper compassion for others in our seething world."

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You came up to me after. I’m sure you knew that every moment I was on the ice I was playing scared. You said it was okay. You told me the other team was older and bigger…And I did fine.

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What I do remember, however, is how she made me feel—safe, cared for, loved, which are doubly important when you’re the new kid.

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“It was a dream. Only this time the dream spilled over. Only this time it wasn’t enough to swear and scream and sweat and thrash beneath the covers. Who was I supposed to be, some German?’’

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It wasn’t long before something said to me, “Look up.” Well, I did and there in a completely clear patch of sky was the brightest new moon I had ever seen. It looked a special apostrophe in the sky, and I thought, “Yep, it’s Steve’s for sure.”

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“Five minutes later they were ambushed and he took out all the attackers,” Gary said. “He began to cry (which I never saw happen in my whole life) as he told this story. I said, ‘Well, I guess you saved the lives of all of your buddies.’ He looked at me with peace in his heart and simply said, ‘I guess I did.’

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“Of course, I reassured him that his story was far from silly and that the whole purpose of the event was to encourage people to share their own stories just as he had. He hugged me and we thanked each other for sharing. He seemed delighted, pleasantly surprised, actually, that as a society we have finally advanced to the point of being able to share, openly, our stories of pain and suffering related to mental illness.”

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I keep waiting for something similar to happen here. How many of these episodes must we endure?Who will lead our version of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission? Fred Rogers said that it was impossible not to love someone if you knew their story. It’s time we learned the story of our neighbors, no matter how painful that might be.

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Wendell knew he would be dead in a few seconds, but he didn’t pray. He never thought of heaven or hell, or of God, because he knew that what had started to happen in that snow was way beyond God’s ability to do much about. Instead, Wendell remembered feeling amazed by how fast a soldier can die, how easy it could be.

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“I will be proud of you. I am proud of you. I have been proud of you since first we met. I’m deeply touched that you would offer so much of yourself to me, and look forward to knowing all that you would care to share in the future.”

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