An open letter to James Crestwood thanking him for opening his home in Salina, Kansas to me. Just a personal journal entry to a friend who has walked with me in hard times of life.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“By compassion we make others’ misery our own, and so, by relieving them we relieve ourselves also.”
Thomas Browne Sr.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 17:17 NIV
Some of James goats!
Now that I am back from Kansas I just want to write a letter, and say thank you for inviting me out to spend time with you and your family. Thank you for opening up your home for me. This season of life has been so hard, especially as I adjust to the void of my Mom being gone. This has been so hard, and I still finding myself from time to time crying over this situation. This was not supposed to happen James, my hopes, pleas, and more were for more time with my Mom. A child should never be separated from their mother. There is a number of things that I want to say to you that I just need to express. So let me go through them,
When I traveled to Kansas I struggled with guilt as I traveled from Washington, D.C. to Missouri and Kansas. When I was in Reagan National I had memories of the various gates and remembered coming and going to California. I felt like I had to go to California to see and help Mom as I got ready to travel and as I moved around from Missouri to Kansas and more. It was just a feeling I had. When I was at the Eisenhower Library I remembered sitting in my Honda in 2000 and the library just closed. My Mom was disappointed as she always wanted to go. I had that thought flash through my memory. That was the reason why I went to Abilene in that I finished and did something that my Mom always wanted to do. I thought and reflected on Mom as I walked around and looked at the exhibits. Another thing that has been challenging is having my family be redefined. Roles have changed and its been a challenge in many ways. Its hard for me to write about this as its still ongoing and changing. One thing I appreciated James is that I want to say thank you for your caring and compassionate words. You taking an interest and being an ear during a hard season of my life means so much to me. From the illness in the hospital to my Mom’s death afterward you were involved. If I remember correctly I believe you were the first person I contacted when my Mom died. Thanks for being there for me as I walk this difficult season of life.
James it was neat to be in Kansas and walk your home turf. I have to tell you that I love Kansas. It has grown on me quite a bit, and this is the third time that I have spent time in the Sunflower State. I love the people, the culture, the pace of life and so much more. I could see myself dealing with I-135 or I-70 instead of I-495 or 66 here in the Washington, D.C. area. The traffic and the people are nice and they make Kansas very attractive to me. But there is so much more…standing on the plains and seeing the sky and the landscape carry on and on is just amazing. What is it like to wake up day after day to such a site? I can only imagine. Kansas has some beautiful scenery. You know what baffles me? As the United States expanded westward many people referred to the plains states up unto the Rocky Mountains as the Great American desert. When I see all the agriculture possibilities I wonder to myself how could that be?
Another thing I have to say is that it is cool to watch you and your family grow with time. You are an amazing father and your wife is an amazing mother. You guys compliment each other quite well. You have done and are continuing to do a great job raising your daughters and the rest of your children. I still remember when your oldest daughter visited me in the hospital in 2012 and I still recall when she gave me a band-aid when I was ill in my condo. I still have that band-aid. As I recall it was a princess band-aid. I am really going to be looking forward to seeing you guys grow and watch how things develop. As I told your wife, you need to cherish these times, even the frustrating things your kids do now because 50 to 60 years from now you will be laughing about it.
This is going to be a short letter to you but I just want to wind it down with this thought. I still recall the first time we met at the Capitol Hill South Metro station in 2006 or so. I remember having Thai food with you and talking with you. Back then, I had no idea as to the role you would play in my life because of your friendship with me. And yes we have had a couple of rough spots but I also remember what you have seen me through. You have seen me in the hospital and also a nursing home. You have seen me in a faith crisis and you even came to an atheist meeting (Center for Inquiry) with me once. You have seen me in highs and lows. But in my life you have come alongside me and helped me walk forward in the lowest spots. You wanted to meet with me when I faced a false accusation, and you opened up your home to me as I process the death of my Mom. Seeing you grieve and hear the things you said touched me deeply. I also want to let you know that my Mom was impressed with you. As you recall when you worked in politics and had a job on Capitol Hill you helped arrange a tour for my family. My Mom spoke fondly of you and was impressed with your charity, love and grace. Over the years Mom asked how you were doing and I would explain. Today I am quite certain that Mom would be looking down and smiling that you would be there, helping and walking with me through this difficult time of life. For that my family thanks you.
I love you brother, thanks for being involved and thanks for being there for me. I will be back in Kansas sometime in the future. Kansas in many ways feels like home and I can understand why you like it so much. If I were you I would be proud to be from Kansas also.
Take care bro, I will see you in Washington, D.C. hopefully soon.