Greetings from Holden Beach, NC, where I’m spending a few days with most of my family celebrating my Dad’s eightieth trip around the sun. Mason and Deanna are napping, so I thought I would take a few minutes to write a quick update. When they wake up, it will be time to teach Mason how to fly a kite.
It’s a rich and exciting time. We recently moved to Chapel Hill, where Deanna will begin a masters program in Public Health next week, while Mason begins preschool. Meanwhile, I suddenly find that my calendar is full to overflowing. After a wonderful year working on staff at the NC Council of Churches, I am now returning full-time to my own pursuits, and they are proving to be more than enough to keep me busy.
I looked at the calendar a couple of days ago and realized that in the next ten weeks I will be in eight states and two foreign countries. Most of that involves music or speaking, but there are some other good adventures mixed in there as well. Next week I’ll be in Detroit taking part in some Peacemaking Trainer Training with Dan Buttry (i.e. learning to be a trainer). I’ll also be heading over to the Greenbelt Festival in England at the end of the month, and north to New York and New Jersey for two events on Sept. 11. That morning I’ll lead an event at the Presbyterian Church of Woodbury, NJ, then I’ll head into Manhattan in the afternoon to play with Pete Seeger at a concert in support of the Gardens of Forgiveness Project. Needless to say, I’m deeply honored to share a stage with Pete, who is now 94.
In October I’ll go back to Guatemala, where we will celebrate the beginning of construction of two additional classrooms at an overflowing school in Pachaj Cantel, funded by donations to PEG, the non-profit I founded with Deanna in 2004. There are several other exciting shows coming up, too. The most moving, perhaps, is that I’ve been invited to spend a day in Joplin, Missouri, offering some songs and thoughts on healing to that community which was hit so hard by tornadoes.
I’ve been particularly enjoying speaking gigs recently, in addition to concerts. Music is often a part of the talks, just as talking has always been a part of my musical performances. If you’re curious about those talks, here’s a video of a short event I did in Asheville in April, wrapping up a night of speakers on war and peace issues. It’s twelve minutes long and a good sample of the kinds of things I’m talking about these days.
It’s good to be getting back to some places I haven’t been in a while. If you’re in Missouri, Oregon, Michigan, Texas, North Carolina, New York or New Jersey, be sure to check tour dates and see if we can catch up. If you have friends in those areas who you think might enjoy connecting, please let them know where I’ll be.
I’ll also be heading to Philadelphia in late September for my first annual face-to-face meeting of the AFSC Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Committee. That has been fascinating work, and I’m looking forward to sitting down in person with this inspiring group after communicating by email and phone for nearly a year.
Yesterday morning, before heading out to the beach, I returned a ladder that I had borrowed from my new neighbor, Mike. We talked for a few minutes, and the conversation quickly veered toward some interesting ideas. At one point Mike noted that “passion is the enemy of balance.” For me, that profound observation falls into the category of “true statements that I wish were not true.” There isn’t much balance in this kind of travel schedule, but I’m grateful for the passion that drives it, which mostly comes down to connection. I look forward to catching up with you again.