Gratitude from a Soul Saved

 

I’m starting with an apology. Ninety-nine percent of the time I sit down to write something, the end turns out quite differently than my original intent. So if I stray a bit by the end, I blame it on too much Hugo-esque romanticist tangent. What I mean to express is my heartfelt gratitude for being part of the Ricochet community. It truly is a special group that is defined not by some platitude-riddled mission statement, an out-of-touch, heavy-handed cabal, nor an elitist clique demanding oaths of servitude. It is shaped and conditioned by its members. And the founders, editors, contributors, and moderators keep us ever striving for the best we can offer each other, and I am in awe at how the bar keeps rising.

Today the news media environment is unimaginative and condescending. The condensed national network news shows spend 30 seconds on a few breaking stories (a full minute if it’s on Republican voters and QAnon). They’re the Thin Oreos of news: Sure it’s called an Oreo, but without the good stuff in the middle, is it even worth it? They might as well run a ticker across the screen and save the money they pay their teleprompter readers who are so serious, so articulate, so unrelatable. Cable news is just as bad but in a whole different way. Most of it is the same stories from a decade ago, just with more gray hair. The hosts use their platforms to throw grenades at other news shows, pundits, or politicians. The ‘debates’ are either struggle sessions or yelling matches that leave viewers feeling like a kid watching his divorced parents fight.

But Ricochet is different. Posts come from people across the country and throughout the world. People with different perspectives and backgrounds that foster rich, smart, informed debates that might not come to any solid conclusion, but leave one feeling the investment was worth the time. They inform, they entertain, they inspire. On any given day, no matter what has happened in the world, I am always surprised by the treasures I find from fellow members, both in the posts, and the comments that follow. Rarely is there the brief flash of rudeness, usually a byproduct of the passionate voices represented here. Ricochet is the model for intelligent, thoughtful, civil discourse that seems to be badly lacking in today’s attention-deficit, hyperactive, politicized society.

When I was introduced to Ricochet by one of the editors, it was as if I was given the key to the Secret Garden. And I could help tend the grounds! It was a priceless gift for someone who spent a lifetime being on the outside looking in. I was the poor kid in hand-me-downs with her hot little forehead pressed against the window. I spent my formative years a bookish introvert who dedicated her time to school and sports. Friendships beyond my family were non-existent, and it mostly persists today. Growing up, it taught me self-reliance and I developed a fierce independence, but it left a cavernous hole that personal relationships should fill. My long-suffering husband should be eligible for sainthood by now, being my only partner to ride the rollercoaster of ups and downs. At Ricochet, no one seemed to care that I was Quasimodo. There are no pariahs, no diktat, and no allegiance to this ideology or that. The boundaries are limited only by the interests and opinions and thoughts of the community, which are extended each and every day.

I very nearly gave up recently. My mind seems to be a soft target for personal anguish and dejection. The details don’t matter – they hardly ever do – but every setback cancels the gains by twofold. I’m very used to rejection. I think anyone who hasn’t gone through failure isn’t trying hard enough at life. But lately the no’s piled up higher than I could see past. Every rejection was a confirmation that I was an unwanted soul. I believed God had picked me for his amusement: To lead me on by dangling a few morsels of hope, only to watch me trip and fall flat on my back. He was Lucy with the football, and I was the pathetic Charlie Brown. I wondered if the pain was worth the process. But in the darkest time, even the faintest light can reveal a path out of the desolation. I was given that light by someone who has the wisdom, insight, and grace to understand that to write is to be. And this may be my chance to fulfill a purpose – probably not to change anyone’s mind, or be an earth-shaker, or cross any ‘important’ person’s radar, but to give back to a group that has given me so much.

In closing, I want to express my deepest, most sincere appreciation for my fellow members, the contributors, editors, moderators, and the technicians who keep the site running. I’m thankful for the men and women who keep making this place one of constant enrichment – through posts, stories, podcasts, conversations and debates, and friendships. I’m grateful for the people here – Founders on down – who continue to make political and cultural challenges fun and interesting instead of life-or-death perpetual wars. Because where else can I go to get the latest Saturday Night Old-Time Radio Show, hear an interview with a thought-provoking author, hear about the latest chicken-coop adoption, and get the latest from the anarchy in Seattle? It’s all here, and sometimes it works in mysterious ways.

“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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  1. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    JennaStocker: I’m starting with an apology. Ninety-nine percent of the time I sit down to write something, the end turns out quite differently than my original intent. So if I stray a bit by the end, I blame it on too much Hugo-esque romanticist tangent.

    Prince said it best.  “I was dreaming when I wrote this.  Forgive me if it goes astray.”    Ricochet is a party!

    • #1
  2. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    God Bless, Jenna.  Here’s to better days ahead.  I’m glad you’re here too.

    • #2
  3. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    JennaStocker: At Ricochet, no one seemed to care that I was Quasimodo.

    Well, if you’re going to post on Fridays too, we might as well forget about Hump Day.

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    JennaStocker: But in the darkest time, even the faintest light can reveal a path out of the desolation. I was given that light by someone who has the wisdom, insight, and grace to understand that to write is to be. And this may be my chance to fulfill a purpose – probably not to change anyone’s mind, or be an earth shaker, or cross any ‘important’ person’s radar, but to give back to a group that has given me so much.

    I so identify with this part of your post, Jenna. Actually, with all of it. You are as much a gift to this site as you feel we are to you. Thanks for hangin’ in and being part of our rowdy band!

    • #4
  5. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    JennaStocker: I’m starting with an apology. Ninety-nine percent of the time I sit down to write something, the end turns out quite differently than my original intent. So if I stray a bit by the end, I blame it on too much Hugo-esque romanticist tangent.

    Prince said it best. “I was dreaming when I wrote this. Forgive me if it goes astray.” Ricochet is a party!

    Us Minnesotans stick pretty close together! What a great song. Thank you, Don.

    • #5
  6. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    She (View Comment):

    God Bless, Jenna. Here’s to better days ahead. I’m glad you’re here too.

    Thank you for the optimism, and even more for your kindness, as always.

    • #6
  7. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    JennaStocker: At Ricochet, no one seemed to care that I was Quasimodo.

    Well, if you’re going to post on Fridays too, we might as well forget about Hump Day.

    I’m a bit slow, but when I got it I really had a fantastic laugh. Thank you!

    • #7
  8. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    JennaStocker: But in the darkest time, even the faintest light can reveal a path out of the desolation. I was given that light by someone who has the wisdom, insight, and grace to understand that to write is to be. And this may be my chance to fulfill a purpose – probably not to change anyone’s mind, or be an earth shaker, or cross any ‘important’ person’s radar, but to give back to a group that has given me so much.

    I so identify with this part of your post, Jenna. Actually, with all of it. You are as much a gift to this site as you feel we are to you. Thanks for hangin’ in and being part of our rowdy band!

    @susanquinn you are ever an inspiration. Your kindness and compassion are of the many gems of this community.

    • #8
  9. Dave Carter Podcaster
    Dave Carter
    @DaveCarter

    I don’t know if a quirky little Cajun equates to Quasimodo, but I do remember long nights at the wheel, driving cross country in a semi and seeing little neighborhoods in the distance. So far away were some of those neighborhoods that they looked like little toy villages in the distance, warm lights illuminating their windows.  I’d envision families inside their homes, tucking the kids into bed or watching television, or relaxing by the fire reading a favorite book.

    Though I felt like the quintessential outsider – a passer-by on the highway, never quite fitting in but still enjoying the experience – I willed myself to be content (something made easier by my own introverted nature). Ricochet became, for me, an ever present community that would unfold in all its clever and friendly glory whenever I opened my laptop.  Friends, extended family, great minds and great spirits were all just a click away. Still feels that way to me when I log on (though I’m not able to log on as often as my once-nomadic lifestyle allowed).

    So thank you for reminding me again what a special community we have here.  And thank you for opening your mind and heart to us with your thoughts and graceful expression.  You’re a treasure, ya know, and I’m glad you’re part of our merry band of writers and thinkers here.

    • #9
  10. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Another great post Jenna.  Thanks for being here!!!

    • #10
  11. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Dave Carter (View Comment):

    I don’t know if a quirky little Cajun equates to Quasimodo, but I do remember long nights at the wheel, driving cross country in a semi and seeing little neighborhoods in the distance. So far away were some of those neighborhoods that they looked like little toy villages in the distance, warm lights illuminating their windows. I’d envision families inside their homes, tucking the kids into bed or watching television, or relaxing by the fire reading a favorite book.

    Though I felt like the quintessential outsider – a passer-by on the highway, never quite fitting in but still enjoying the experience – I willed myself to be content (something made easier by my own introverted nature). Ricochet became, for me, an ever present community that would unfold in all its clever and friendly glory whenever I opened my laptop. Friends, extended family, great minds and great spirits were all just a click away. Still feels that way to me when I log on (though I’m not able to log on as often as my once-nomadic lifestyle allowed).

    So thank you for reminding me again what a special community we have here. And thank you for opening your mind and heart to us with your thoughts and graceful expression. You’re a treasure, ya know, and I’m glad you’re part of our merry band of writers and thinkers here.

    It is special. Something I take for granted here, and in more parts of my life than I like to admit. Thanks for being a part of this.

    • #11
  12. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Another great post Jenna. Thanks for being here!!!

    Thanks for having me, and for all of your conversation and contributions.

    • #12
  13. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    JennaStocker: I think anyone who hasn’t gone through failure isn’t trying hard enough at life.

    I find this to be very wise.  It’s hard to have this perspective when mired in the middle of some difficulty.  Thanks for writing.  You post has got me thinking.

    • #13
  14. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    JennaStocker: I think anyone who hasn’t gone through failure isn’t trying hard enough at life.

    I find this to be very wise. It’s hard to have this perspective when mired in the middle of some difficulty. Thanks for writing. You post has got me thinking.

    The hardest lessons are the most important (but oh are they hard!). Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. I appreciate it.

    • #14
  15. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I too love and appreciate my Ricochet friends. They are so intelligent and come from such varied life experiences. 

    Thank you for putting into words what so many of us feel. :-)

    Is there anything we can do to help you? 

    • #15
  16. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I too love and appreciate my Ricochet friends. They are so intelligent and come from such varied life experiences.

    Thank you for putting into words what so many of us feel. :-)

    Is there anything we can do to help you?

    Thank you so very much. Just keep adding to the life of Ricochet. We all benefit from that!

    • #16
  17. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Outstanding.  Thank you, @jennastocker.

    <Guys in the bullpen, “Mongo’s crying.  Again.”

    “Must be on that Ricochet thing.”>

    Excuse me while I go deviate some septae.

    • #17
  18. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Outstanding. Thank you, @ jennastocker.

    <Guys in the bullpen, “Mongo’s crying. Again.”

    “Must be on that Ricochet thing.”>

    Excuse me while I go deviate some septae.

    “I’m not crying – – you’re crying!!”

    Thank you, sir. 🇺🇸

    • #18
  19. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I love this post!

    • #19
  20. Dave Carter Podcaster
    Dave Carter
    @DaveCarter

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Outstanding. Thank you, @ jennastocker.

    <Guys in the bullpen, “Mongo’s crying. Again.”

    “Must be on that Ricochet thing.”>

    Excuse me while I go deviate some septae.

    Thought I heard violin music someplace…. 

    • #20
  21. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    And as she hit “post,” a bell rang, and Rob and Peter got their wings. ;) As well they should for starting all this. And wings for everyone else who keeps it aloft. <enable Oprah mode> And YOU get a halo! And YOU get a halo! And YOU! </enable Oprah mode>

    • #21
  22. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    And as she hit “post,” a bell rang, and Rob and Peter got their wings. ;) As well they should for starting all this. And wings for everyone else who keeps it aloft. <enable Oprah mode> And YOU get a halo! And YOU get a halo! And YOU! </enable Oprah mode>

    George had to jump into the water to save himself.

    Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls!

    • #22
  23. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Marine. (Check.)

    Bing Crosby reference. (Check.)

     

    • #23
  24. AUMom Member
    AUMom
    @AUMom

    Boss Mongo (View )

    Excuse me while I go deviate some septae.

    Only on Ricochet is a broken nose so elegantly described. 

    Thanks, Boss. 

    • #24
  25. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    JennaStocker: But Ricochet is different.

    Well we can turn on each other too. ;)  But for the most part, this is a good place.  

    • #25
  26. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Manny (View Comment):

    JennaStocker: But Ricochet is different.

    Well we can turn on each other too. ;) But for the most part, this is a good place.

    Disagreement is good. I’d be very suspicious if everyone agreed 100% of the time. I might believe it was just some bot-contrived info mining site!

    • #26
  27. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    We’ve got your six, always, but I think you know that.

    Forward now, and fear no darkness. 

    • #27
  28. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    I enjoyed Yer post, Stocker.

    Quite possibly the greatest example of Yer post was before You were around. It was an epic fundraiser by @westernchauvinist for @rayconandlindacon .

    I can’t find the original post from Western Chauvinist, but this’n is close: Linda Still Needs A Van

    I had the pleasure of traveling to Colorado Springs to shake Western Chauvinst, Raycon, and Lindacon’s hands and break bread with Them in Raycon’s Home. 

    This place truly is unique on the web. 

    • #28
  29. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    I enjoyed Yer post, Stocker.

    Quite possibly the greatest example of Yer post was before You were around. It was an epic fundraiser by @ westernchauvinist for @ rayconandlindacon .

    I can’t find the original post from Western Chauvinist, but this’n is close: @rayconandlindacon in front of their new van. I help a couple of people who rely on these for transportation, and they really are necessities and wonders of their kind. Thank you so much for sharing this, and confirming my faith in humanity (at least in Ricochet members)!

    • #29
  30. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    JennaStocker: I’m thankful for the men and women who keep making this place one of constant enrichment

    I hope you’re thankful for the rest of us, as well…

    • #30