SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 288: “Relationships Will Never End”

5:58am, sitting next to a new friend…. as we wait for the 9:30am door opening of registration for the community centers summer arts classes that our kids will be attending.

To give you a feel for the geography, to the left of me is the entry of the center and between it and I are around ten people. To the right a line that is growing to be longer than I can count, literally wrapping the sidewall as far as I can see with a quick lean forward from my position in line.

Usually my wife does the morning wait, but this year I have become the chosen one, partially by my decision, and partially in respect to my wife for the past four years of her sitting in the folding chair that I now find myself occupying.

I’ve mentioned my friends to my left, and the length of persons to my right, but let me introduce you to our new 365 friend who I have already hinted of. To my immediate right, mother and artist, So-Ok.

And in regards to the aforementioned 5:58am arrival and the knowledge of the much later opening for class sign-up, I settle in for a morning of meaningful conversation with So-Ok. It is not often that I get to spend extended time with my new friends and I must give thanks for being able to set with a person that I consider a highlight in my 365 journeys.

Three hours I share sidewalk with So-Ok and from it I can definitely say I am a better person for breaking morning bread with her.

I ask So-Ok for her words of advice to us. Humility is an understatement in describing So-Ok as she pauses in grabbing her jacket while reflection how to answer our questions.

Jacket on, she shares three simple words, “Respect the other.”

It’s not often I get to write on the spot, but with hours to sit, and with time to spare, So-Ok snaps a photo while I work on our blog entry.

Yet in her succinct summation there is deeper meaning, So-Ok quote, “People can become selfish and they have to begin to think not only for themselves. They need to learn to be concerned for the other people. That is what it means to not be selfish.

Relationships will never end: Spouses, friends, people and in-laws.

If you don’t now how to deal with it, you are loosing out. If we don’t think about only ourselves… we gain.

I am scared for the future. We have to be organic in the way we treat each other. What is most important is the relationship.”

As we talk, a palpable trust is forming. Perhaps it is the fact that we are both enrolling children in the same community center class, arts and crafts. Quite possibly it is the morning grogginess that has numbed our senses. Or maybe it is the fact that we are stranded together in wait and are merely entertaining one another… All thoughts that are questionable, and all are results of the pessimistic side of my brain.

Yet, what is really overpowering is the spirit I feel when speaking with my new friend So-Ok. It is palpable in her every word, and she is enveloped in peace. No pessimism here, just acceptance of another human who has meaningful thought to share. I am engrossed.

“When my kids grow up, it might be a little different…” So-Ok explains, “…like in a Sci-Fi movie…isolated… individual… The way they communicate will be different from now. I am a little sad about it.”

So-Ok references an advertising campaign that addresses the perils of irresponsible use of new technology. A series of billboards, sponsored by the Ad Council, that compare the joysticks of the virtual world to that of interacting with nature, Like the ad proves, we need to be more organic in turning away from digital facades to appreciate the real beauty of the world around us.

“Advice to the future?” So-Ok again becomes reflective. “We have to realize what the true value of life are… living with others. If you don’t lose that part, the future won’t be as difficult.”

So-Ok speaks of relationship, “If you think about living by yourself… it is so sad. I am always with my kids. And I am sad for those who are lonely… being lonely is really bad.”

And if you are lonely So-Ok offers this encouragement, “The person who is lonely has the key to open the door. If you are, do what you can to get out the house and be ready to accept that people are there to greet you. Otherwise it does not work.”

And for those of us who are not lonely, So-Ok gives us this. “It is hard to approach the lonely person, because the loneliness is based on their life and you don’t know what they have gone through. Like if someone is in depression in your family… it creates a whole depression in your family. At least that family member can try to help within your family or circle of friends.

Although we are not like a counselor who spends a lot of time to know the life of their patients, we at least need to open our hearts to those that are lonely.”

So-Ok is a compassionate and loving person, but as importantly, she is a mother of two children. “As a parent, my heart goes out for children who don’t have parents, that must be a really sad thing. It is not their choice to be here and we need to be aware of that.

I volunteer in my children’s classes and I see it in the faces of children, some are angry, some are not. We need to take care of our children.

Too many parents don’t care. Some teachers don’t care. That will carry in their character.

For me, saying I love my children is never enough. Love is the starting point. If it does not happen in the family, we should express it. Love is like water… like nutrition.

That is how my parents raise me and that is what I believe.”


The Home-To-Home Reach-Out is still open, Please submit your snap shots. We are still at fifteen pictures in so far. I’m still expecting many more than that. Your input is vital to really make this outreach impactful. So wherever you are, you matter and your photos can be part in bringing us all closer together. Thanks friends.