The Inexhaustible Variety Of Life

The Inexhaustible Variety Of Life

See the beauty in our differences.
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This summer, my family and I went on a very enjoyable and educational week-long vacation to our nation’s capital. Washington D.C. is full of interesting museums, towering monuments, and grand memorials, and while I learned a great deal at these places, the most intriguing lesson of the week came from a surprising source: the sidewalks.

You have to do A LOT of walking in this bustling city because the traffic is so heavy that it is actually slower (and much more frustrating) to drive everywhere. Most people recognize this, and thus, the sidewalks are crowded with swarms of busy tourists and city dwellers. While I was slightly surprised by the sheer number of people, I was much more stunned by the incredible amount of variety around me. It seemed like every other person spoke a different language or was of another ethnicity or religion. I passed by monks, nuns, Amish families, Indians in their traditional and non-traditional clothing, Muslims, European teenagers, excited Chinese tourists, people from Egypt, African Americans, Hispanics, homosexual couples, heterosexual couples, atheists, Christians, the poor, the rich, old veterans, playful children, individuals of Native American ethnicity. You name it, and I most likely saw it. This was an extremely different world from my home of West Omaha, a place where it seems like nearly 95% of the population in white and middle-class. Therefore, I was fascinated by the diversity around me. I wanted to take in every second, and I enjoyed, more than almost anything else on the trip, watching and learning about the different walks of life.

My observations on the sidewalks of D.C can be perfectly embodied by a phrase from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. While looking through the windows of all of the New York apartments in his sight, the narrator states that there is an “inexhaustible variety of life.” How true this is! Not only are there thousands of different religions, spoken languages, ethnicities, careers, and social classes, but there is also a ton of variety within these groups. For example, two middle-class, white, Christian, and English-speaking nurses could end up having completely different personalities, interests, and values. In fact, even members of the same family can be quite distinct. This is because everyone has their own story. Different genes, life experiences, decisions, and people shape each one of us into a unique individual.

As I observed the inexhaustible variety of life on vacation, I began to realize the beauty of the differences between people. Throughout history, we have let these differences divide us, but when we embrace them and live in peace, the result is wonderful! Different perspectives, values, art, music, clothing, languages, sports, and customs combine to create a more vibrant and prosperous humanity. In fact, this is not only true for humanity! Variety makes everything more beautiful! I would much rather have a multi-colored quilt than a monochromatic one, and similarly, I would much rather live a life with some spontaneity and surprise than a life with an unchanging routine, where each day is alike.

Even though the human race is full of abundant diversity, it is important to point out that at the core, we are not vastly different. Genetically, we are 99.9 percent identical, and even though we each have distinct stories, we have many shared life experiences! Life and death, love and pain, joy and despair. These are the inevitabilities of human life. Thus, we are similar despite our many differences, and we can work together and accept each other. It is possible. We must look at people, no matter how different, and view them as fellow human beings, each with a story to tell. We must try to understand one another, and we must try to love one another, even if we don’t always agree and even when it seems difficult. This is how we can reach our full potential and make the world a more beautiful place
Cover Image Credit: canalblog

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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10 Vacation Destinations That Are Worth Hopping Over To During Easter Break

Colored eggs and chocolate are not the only treats you can get for Easter Break.

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Easter is a time to spend with family, have time away from school, go out with friends, and remember the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. However, it is also an opportunity to visit many fun and exciting locations. Whether you love swimming, dancing at clubs, indulging in five-star restaurants, or getting a massage, there are a variety of activities that will make anyone's Easter more enjoyable. Here are 10 vacation locations that will meet the needs of any family this Easter.

1. The Royal Hawaiian

Hawaii is one of the best places to visit for vacation. Families will love walking along the shore, getting delicious food or drinks at one of the many bars, and even stopping by the Royal Hawaiian Hotel for a massage at the Abhasa Waikiki Spa. If you are courageous enough, head out to the beach for surfing or just to relax. With so many sites to explore, this is a vacation that will bring lasting memories.

2. Berry Springs Lodge

Here is a nice and quiet location that is definitely a treat if you want to experience a less hectic vacation. The Smoky Mountains in Tennessee is great for anyone who loves taking photos or exploring landscapes. There are two Whirlpool Suites with a fireplace, deck, and whirlpool that gives you an awesome view of the mountains. Activities include playing a game of pool and going on a mountain bike through the nearby trail, so try to stay observant and take in the environment.

3. Lake Austin Spa Resort

If you plan on traveling to a much warmer state for the holiday break, then this would a good choice. This resort is just a short drive away from Austin and is an excellent place to take it easy. Here you can stay at one of the cottages, take a nap by the fireplace, stroll through the outdoor garden, get a massage at the spa or have a seat in the hot tub. This is a vacation that will certainly take your stress away.

4. Fredericksburg

This is another city located in the state of Texas that features a special Easter tradition that families will love. Dress up for the Easter pageant and have a fun time. Visitors can see the Easter fires in the surrounded area that light up the night. There are plenty of food, drinks, and activities to keep everyone occupied, and ensure that they will have a happy Easter.

5. Bay St. Louis

Here is a vacation spot in Mississippi to celebrate Easter. All families will enjoy watching the sunrise and hunting for Easter eggs. Other activities to check out include the Stella, Blues and Barbecue festival for some tasty food and fun. There is also a yelling contest in which participants scream "Stella!" which is a reference to "A Streetcar Named Desire." No matter what you choose to do, this location will result in plenty of excitement, laughter, and possibly a sore throat.

6. Flagstaff

If you are traveling with a small or big family and do not mind the heat, then head down to this destination located in the very hot state of Arizona. The land is beautiful and gives photographers a chance to capture the amazing forests and mountains there. If you are feeling adventurous, check out the Snowbowl Ski Resort or if you want to take it slow, there is always Humphreys Peak where you will see gorgeous landscapes. Lastly, make sure to visit one of the restaurants that they have to offer for a delicious breakfast for an amazing start to the day ahead.

7. Lake Powell

This destination features cool rock landscapes and is located on the border of Utah and Arizona. Despite the place being surrounded by boulders, families can still have a fun time. You can take photos of the environment or visit a petting zoo. Take a walk around the land, find a spot to catch some fish for dinner, and you will agree this vacation definitely rocks.

8. Santa Monica

Here is an awesome vacation spot for anyone who loves working out and engaging in various outdoor activities. This is the place where you will find the Half Marathon for Easter. There are other options like the 5k, 10k, or 15k run, as well. The weather is sunny and it's a nice place to go for a swim, visit a farmer's market or participate in other Easter themed events.

9. Savannah

Do not let the heat discourage you from visiting this location. There are multiple gardens and parks to check out, along with markets and a music festival. If you are looking for additional fun, there is a Savannah Riverboat Cruise for families to travel around the city. There are a variety of delicious options for brunch or dinner, and other surprises for your holiday.

10. St. Augustine

During Easter vacation, there are so many things to do with family and friends. If you decide to travel to this location, you will enjoy the Easter parade known as the Parada de los Caballos y Coches or the Parade of Horses and Coaches. If you are looking for a nice family event, head on down to the parade and listen to the music. The horses and carriages are great to see as well, and there are multiple restaurants located around the city when you need a break from the festivities.

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