What is the Sequoia project?
Thursday, February 18, 2010
The drive to the small town took about an hour. In the car with me was Tim. He had screwed up and found himself sitting in jail. This was nothing new. The only thing he knew was one incident after another of trouble. Tim is only 19 and his future looks bleak. Something has to click inside him.
The town we were traveling had a special project put on by a small elementary school taking place. A four-year project finally was coming to life. In Washington D.C., the Vietnam Wall has a replica of it that moved town to town. The Traveling Wall it was named. This Wall had every soldier fatally taken in the war America had in Vietnam. Over 50,000 lives lost.
About 15 people were needed in setting things up. Tim and I planned to get there at noon. The travel time gave us a chance to talk about things taking place in his life. He had been in trouble all his life. The trip in helping to construct this Wall would be good for him. It would show him how fragile and quick our paths in life can and do change.
When we arrived, the entire project was already set up. Many more showed up to help than expected. The Wall stood about 4 feet tall and looked to be a hundred yards long. Tents were set up sharing information of soldiers from the state. We walked the Wall and looked at all the names. When we arrived to the tents, Tim kept commenting about the ages of the lives lost in this war. He was surprised that many, many, were his age. We talked about this and how he was lucky to have this new chance at his life. A second chance to do things right and claim a happiness that was his for the taking. We talked about small steps and simply trying new things.
I shared with Tim the we all screw up. Do we make things worse and try to buck the system? Play the blame game and victim. No one has lived a life free of injustice. It is not fair to be struck down with illness, or any of the million other things that are not fair. Why do we think that life is about “fairness” and complain so much when it does not exist?
Tim didn’t try the blame game though. He was honest about his mistakes and trying to take responsibility for them. He didn’t have to come on this trip. He did because he really wanted to change. I respected this. I did not feel bad for him, but did in the odds of his actually learning, while so young. Society throws at everyone that fun has to come first with a beer or a party. Products are designed to make you feel like you missed out on something if not bought.
The sides these products do not show you is the pain related to over use. It is all about going “up” and doesn’t concern itself with the truth of the “downs”. Tim knew the downs. When he used substances to feel good things quickly would get out of hand. Not because he was a jerk or because of being a “bad” guy. To the contrary- he was actually a nice guy.
Tim admitted on the trip back that he thought he was going to cry while walking the Wall. It impacted him. I believed him.. Did the time taken (all day) working with him matter when it was all said and done? I have no clue. Certainly don’t expect him to suddenly change into someone he isn’t. What I want to encourage most is him to just look at the one life he has been given. Each day can never be repeated. Its gone forever. What control he did have was in the 24-hours he had when his eyes opened each morning.
Posted by Mike and Bobbi Stouffer