TAF Real World – Week #20 of 51

Here’s Dan, the TAF historian, with a little bit of a TAF time capsule piece. Don’t forget to RSVP for TAF New Year’s! (2 weeks left!) and 31 weeks until TAF 2011!

Wow, 20 weeks since TAF and we’re well into the holiday season. Part of me is still wondering what happened to November, but I’m getting into the spirit of things – and not just because I’ve been spending too much time looking at Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other Christmas shopping deals. We’re into the Christmas/holiday (or other reason to) party season the last couple of weeks, which has been a time of good food/drinks, and just generally getting to spend time having fun with friends/family/co-workers/random strangers, etc…

Its nice to see the way people are during the holiday season – even among people who are busy shopping and running errands. A couple of Saturdays ago, TAF Chicago spent a few hours volunteering as Salvation Army bell ringers again. And although (once again) the weather was somewhat less than cooperative (cold + snowing), it was worth the time — not only for the money that we collected, but for the good cheer and smiles on the faces of the people who were dropping money into our buckets. (Plus its always nice to spend time with my TAF Chicago family!)

Another thing I’ve been doing recently is helping my folks who have been preparing to move out of the house they’ve lived in for most of my lifetime. Much of what I’ve been helping with is sorting through (and either rescuing, recycling/donating or discarding) stuff that has been in storage in their basement (and stuff still in my sister’s and my old bedrooms). Besides all the old magazines, school books, papers, etc to be recycled (or shredded and recycled), and old games and toys (donated/given away or discarded — depending on condition), there have been quite a lot of boxes full of TAF-related stuff — which have been kinda fun and really nostalgic to go through before shredding. (partially kidding — there were a lot of printouts of registration lists and stuff that was shredded and recycled, but I brought all the letters/cards/photos and stuff that I found back to my little condo, where they are now sitting in boxes and bags all over the place). Seeing all of these things and going though (some of) them has been a visceral reminder of just how important TAF has been to me over the years, and how much TAFers have meant in my life.

Anyway, since I’m already late on this, I’ll end this here. I leave you with one of the things I came across: a poem that our hospitality coordinators distributed on the last day of TAF one year – a long, long time ago…

Bits and pieces
Bits and pieces

People. People important to you, People unimportant to you cross your life, touch it with love and carelessness and move on. There are people who leave you and you breathe a sigh of relief and wonder why you ever came into contact with them. There are people who leave you, and you breathe a sigh of remorse and wonder why they had to go away and leave such a gaping hole. Children leave parents, friends leave friends. Acquaintances move on. People change homes. People grow apart. Enemies hate and move on. Friends love and move on. You think on the many people who have moved into your hazy memory. You look at those present and wonder.

I believe in God’s master plan in lives. He moves people in and out of each other’s lives, and each leaves his mark on the other. You find you are made up of bits and pieces of all who have ever touched your life, and you are more because of them, and you would be less if they had not touched you.

Pray God that you accept the bits and pieces in humility and wonder,
and never question,
and never regret.

Bits and pieces
Bits and pieces

Have a very merry Christmas and hope to see you all at TAF New Years!

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