Because I value living, I spend far too much time in the house of the dead.
Because I am a sober man, the plague of addiction rivets me.
Because I love the earth, I grieve her defacing, though I, too, plead guilty.
Because I care for the poor, I have rejected wealth only to become its servant.
Because I am a religious man, I often prefer the fellowship of the unbelieving.
Because I am committed to marriage and family, I have resisted most every other commitment, much to my detriment.
Because I need to understand, my mind can never truly rest.
Because I love the mind, I am prone to descend to dungeons of melancholy.
Because I serve my body, I have sought to feed it with discipline, though food has long been winning the day.
Because I celebrate life, I have compassion for the suicidal.
Because I long for peace, I forget that it sometimes comes through a sustained sorrow, or even through the shedding of blood.
Because I have been gifted with health, I am increasingly drawn to those without it.
Because I have long known freedom, my mind is never far from my imprisoned brothers and sisters.
Because I treasure memory, I feel a kinship with all citizens of dementia-land.
Because I value sincerity, I fight daily to overcome a well-manicured insincerity.
Because I care so much about intelligence, I am compelled to seek the wisdom of the simpleton.
Because I need to think deeply about things both trivial and profound, I find solace in neither solitude nor adjacent the singing siren.
Because I am white, I seek not so much to be color blind as to be re-formed through a deeper seeing and unmasked knowing of the other.
Because I champion life, I put first the right of those who are longer-lived to live the life they seek.
Because I wear hope as a breastplate, I desire to rescue the hope-deferred, ever mindful that such armor provides at best the thinnest of shields.
Because I am a servant of odious pride, I will not rest until hubris is swallowed in humus.
Because I have lead an itinerant life, I have comprehended neither the local who does not travel, nor the migrant who has not paused to settle.
Because I am straight, I will defend the rights of those who desire to define themselves as they are.
Because I am highly educated, I am suspicious of paper learning.
Because I am highly educated, I will always promote paper learning, people serving, and nature loving.
Above all other virtues, I resolve to continue cherishing the companionship of those who are humble, intelligent and empathetic, and who carry within themselves a wicked sense of humor, a love for their fellow creatures, and a general lightness of being. For what is a man, but a multitude of dissonance? It is in the resolving of the pieces that one finds the soul, both alive to its true purpose and at rest in an undiffused brightness.
2018 TSWGO Gala (photo by Alex@abelisle4)