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November 28, 2007

Illumination: Unspoken Relationships

In my search for illuminations I've had to do a lot of looking back to find things that I have found illuminating because I've had quite a bit of trouble realizing whether things are illuminating or not in the moment. To help you understand this illumination I need to explain my family. I live with my dad and my two younger brothers: Alex who is 17, and Zach who is 12. My dad has been a great influence in my life, and I credit him with helping to mold me into the person I am today, and have told him this numerous times. One of the things that he has always stressed with my brothers and I is how important it is to him for the three of us to be close to one another. Here enters the conflict. Since Zach and I have such a large separation in age, our relationship is more of one where he looks up to me, trusts everything I tell him, and we almost never disagree. My relationship with Alex is, well, different. Since we are a lot closer in age, my dad compares Alex a lot with me, which in all honesty isn't fair to Alex, since he is a different person, but it still happens. Alex is different from me in the fact that he is very hard headed, he doesn't deal well with being told that he's wrong when he thinks he's right, and doesn't do a good job with expressing what he's thinking, which gets passed on to me a lot when my Dad vents his frustrations with Alex and his college search to me. Since I have been away at college, I've tried helping Alex with a lot of the things he's dealing with in high school, since it wasn't long ago that I went through the same thing. Most of the advice I have tried to give has resulted in conflict, with Alex being one of the most frustrating people that I care about to try and deal with on a consistent basis. To summarize: Alex is hard to understand, mostly because he doesn't communicate which makes it frustrating for me because I am in a position where i want to help him as much as possible. So now, on to the illumination.

Illuminating moment

Several weeks ago, right after the elections in November, I got a phone call from one of the teachers I had in high school who has Alex in his history class right now. After talking about how I was doing, and how my teacher was doing, he congratulated me on having such a great brother, and couldn't stop with the compliments about what a great person my brother was. My initial reaction was, as you can imagine, shock, although I know my brother to be a very personable individual person with anyone that is not his own family, I didn't think someone's personality alone could garner such complimentary remarks. So then my teacher explained it to me. A representative from the Stark County Board of Elections had approached my former teacher trying to find students who would be interested in working at the polls and getting paid, since the county had a shortage of poll workers. He then explained how my brother, in addition to signing up to work, had taken the idea a step further. Alex approached his Speech Team adviser (who also teaches speech class at the High School) about this as a potential fund raising opportunity for the Speech Team. The Speech Adviser told my brother that she thought it was a good idea, but that if he wanted to do it, he would need to organize it. From there, my brother made contact with the director of the Board of Elections, who gave him the okay for the idea. Then, Alex made a presentation to all of the speech classes at the high school about the idea, and got somewhere around 20 people to sign up to work at the polls, and in addition to that got each of those 20 people to donate all of the ~$100 they would make in the day to the speech team.

I didn't know what to say. I still have trouble describing what I feel about it, other than to say that this was an illuminating moment. The fact that my brother had this idea, and saw it through to completion is still amazing to me. To through this one act, that even though he is a much different person than I am, he is still able to be successful was an illumination.

Posted by ndjames at November 28, 2007 05:22 PM


Throughout this post, which is about growth, evolution, adaptation, the plasticity and flexibility of systems of enclosure;

throughout this thoughtful post I was able to follow the beauty of active configuration and reconfiguration

so that this post also functions as a set of rules for a particular choreography of shifting boundaries, of expanding parameters

--this post breathes; good air comes in and expands the space
that now has the volume to support what you are able to say at the end of the post:

"through this one act, that even though he is a much different person than I am, he is still able to be successful was an illumination."

Posted by: thyliasm at December 22, 2007 03:27 AM

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