Advice Upon Leaving

Last night, Wednesday eve, people in our area, and probably in yours too, held a vigil for transgendered people who have lost their lives, and for their families and all who grieve with them.

These cruel losses, of course, didn’t need to happen. Each lost person was the victim of hate. They caused no harm. They were hated.

One was the daughter of a cherished former student.

Friends of ours are accompanying their son, who is transitioning and working to be accepted as the male we all know him to be. They know all that lies ahead. At his high school he has been mostly affirmed. His principal has made sure the family can believe in his support. They can feel his care for them.

However, we can no longer trust that this is a government FOR the people. Especially people like this boy.

And yet at the same time, so many people care. It’s on their faces. People who used to engage in political discussion have recognized that civil argument is futile. Better to care: for the climate, for those impoverished in so many ways, for the transgendered, for anyone at risk from fear and hatred, and all you can think of who could be listed here.

Oh we’re all still physically here in the U.S., but many of us don’t live here anymore.

Lately, along with being with those who care, I’ve been living in the world of music. It’s no longer simply a soundtrack to my day. I listen. I really listen. I’ve resettled where there is care and where there is music.

Advice Upon Leaving

Learn how many teeth your dog has.
Enjoy the weather.
Listen to the sound of sweet voices.
Memorize silence
When you are alone, let nothing enter.
Be close to water.
Don’t make anything that can be used.
Find a friend you cannot talk to.
Look out.
When asked what you think,
answer, “Music.”

–Jack Ridl

From The Same Ghost (Dawn Valley Press). Republished in Poems from The Same Ghost and Between (Dawn Valley Press.)

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

15 thoughts on “Advice Upon Leaving

  1. Jack, I just listened to you talk about kindness at the Fetzer Institute. I can assure you that yes you were kind and yes you are kind and because kindness is part of your DNA you will be kind in the future!

    Sooooo…. find something else to worry about!

    Jack, I am so privileged to know you and Julie

    Bob Kenny

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. “Oh we’re all still physically here in the U.S., but many of us don’t live here anymore.” This feels so true. Hoping for a change in 2020–especially for those who have found life so much harder these past few years. Thank you, Jack.

  3. Music was, and always will be, my salvation……thanks for the reminder.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Jo

    From: “RIDL.COM” Reply-To: “RIDL.COM” Date: Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 8:33 AM To: Subject: [New post] Advice Upon Leaving

    Jack posted: “Last night, Wednesday eve, people in our area, and probably in yours too, held a vigil for transgendered people who have lost their lives, and for their families and all who grieve with them. These cruel losses, of course, didn’t need to happen. Each los”

  4. Hi Jack, thank you for this and all your work. It’s been a light in the darkness and cheers me up frequently.

    I struggle with the daily barrage of disturbing political news about the Trump administration and the damage they are all causing. You seem to, too. Part of getting through this with our sanity intact requires coming up with strategies on how to work past it. Your poems are one example, for me, and the time it takes to write those poems are no doubt helpful for you.

    Since I appreciate your work and since we are not through this garbage yet, I thought I’d offer a tool that’s been very helpful to me recently: I can’t avoid the news but I do try to limit how much of my day it consumes. So I have taken to diverting my computer time to working on languages via Duolingo, which is free, fully portable, and has an exhaustive range of language courses. In this way, any time I feel overwhelmed I switch over to Spanish – which I am terrible at – in the homes that I will have learned the language pretty well by the time Trump is gone. I take a break from the news and take a small step towards helping to understand the immigration struggling around us at the same time in this way.

    I hope this kind of idea helps. Thank you. We all have to get through this.

    Regards, Nathanael Buckley 202-413-7554

    >

    • What a beautifully layered in meaning idea. My thanks.
      And my thanks for your affirmation of what I try to
      do each week for any who wander across the post.
      May we focus on our thanks this Thanksgiving such
      as thanks to you, for you.

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