Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It’s Not Fair!

As a father of five, I have heard that lament hundreds of times. I’m fairly certain that as a child I lamented the same frustration. My response as an adult is (you’ve heard this before as well) ‘Life is not fair’.

This is a story about life being unfair. On the scale of tragic injustice it ranks about a 2 or a 3; actually, compared to tsunami victims being wiped out on a Christmas Day, it ranks closer to a negative 100 – but it is a story of injustice none the less. More along the lines of finally get the nerve up to ask the person of your dreams to the prom, they accept, and hours before the once in a lifetime event, you develop a big zit on your face. In the long run it’s not devastating but it spoils the quality of the moment, wouldn’t you agree?

My partner, Krista Adams, was married this weekend to her long time fiancé, Regee Rauch. Krista is a hard working, self employed still photographer and Regee is a hard working un-employed carpenter. If you’ve experienced either: self-employed or un-employed, you know it can be difficult financially, emotionally, even spiritually at times. I know both of these young folks are hard working because Krista is my business partner and I have seen her putting in 12 to 16 hour days both in the office and in the field. One of her staples is wedding photography and I often question her about the seemingly overwhelming amount of attention to detail and work she puts into each image before she turns it over to a client. I know about Regee’s work ethic because over the years, my wife and I hired Regee on occasion to remodel or repair our old (125 year old) North End home here in Boise. Time after time I would have to insist that Regee stop for a lunch or even dinner break. Once he started he would keep going until his day’s task was complete. Sometimes I would have to gently hint that we were going to bed and he could call it a day if he wanted. Krista and Regee are hard working, honest and considerate people that have been together as a couple for over 7 years. We are fond of them both.

Dori and I were pleasantly surprised late last year when our friends announced they would be getting married. They decided on a unique venue: The Anthony Lakes ski lodge outside of North Powder, Oregon. The out of season lodge is small compared to regular ski ‘resorts’ and therefore a cozy wedding venue. It is rustic in keeping with their down to earth tastes and penchant for camping and hiking. We were honored to make the 3 hour drive to join Krista, Regee, their families, and about 50 of their closest friends in celebrating their nuptials in the simple yet majestic surroundings. The ceremony was also elegant in its simplicity. Vows were made and then Regee serenaded his new bride with a hauntingly beautiful song he had written composed while he accompanied himself on guitar. It was an impressive performance and I was dumfounded to discover that he had taught himself to play guitar only in the last year or two. I had no idea that he could sing.

The reception was held directly after the ceremony and I was again happy to discover that Regee’s Mom was doing the cooking. She’s a Filipina like my own mother therefore the food was delicious and plentiful. You can imagine the rest: touching and humorous toasts were made, folks indulged in the feast and the free beverages, old folks started the dancing and young folks eventually got out on the floor to show us how it’s done now, etc., etc.; being part of the former group – the ‘old folks’ I ready to retire about 9:30PM, so Dori and I made our way back down the mountain to our quaint motel room in North Powder. The ride back takes about 30 minutes and we reflected on the events of the day, Krista and Regee, how great it was to meet their families, our own wedding day, our kid’s weddings, and again: etc., etc.

Sunday morning we drove back to Boise and Monday I was back at work with the knowledge that Krista would be back in the office on Wednesday after a brief honeymoon right there at Anthony Lakes. Far from extravagant it was a great wedding and a memorable weekend. Then I logged into Facebook.

The first message I see was one of Krista’s good friends complaining about the lack of decency in the world. Thinking that she is normally a soft spoken optimistic person, I was curious and inquired further. Here is the facebook conversation verbatim:

Olivia Sorensen: Seriously, who steals gifts from a wedding?
Yesterday at 9:49am • Comment • Like

Mary Dawson: WTF what happened?
Yesterday at 10:30am

Bob McSherry: Sounds pretty FUed to me. That is a new one.
Yesterday at 10:40am

Carrie Bridges: lame!
Yesterday at 2:00pm

Eugene Boyle: What happened, O?
Yesterday at 3:16pm • Delete

Olivia Sorensen: After Krista's wedding, we all headed down to the campsite. Apparently Krista and her parents realized they had forgotten to put some of the food away so they went back and saw a couple of teenage punks crawling out of the window. They had opened a bunch of the cards and taken all the cash and gift certificates. Regee had seen them earlier and knew what campsite they were at, so a bunch of the guys went down there. They got some gift cards back from them but there's not really any way to know how much they lost. Friggin' jerks.
Yesterday at 3:26pm

Eugene Boyle: Freaking Incredible.
11 hours ago • Delete

Bob McSherry: METH is a horrible thing!!!!
9 hours ago

Now, gentle reader, this is not fair. Rain on your outdoor wedding, your best man getting drunk and hitting up on married bridesmaids, the ring bearer temporarily losing the ring; these are all future anecdotes to be chuckled about years later. Being robbed of your family and friends’ well wishes and gifts on the day that you are officially starting your life together – not right. It’s not fair! Not funny, not anecdotal, not quirky – it is not fair!

The Bible states that “..it rains on the just and the unjust alike”. I know that in my heart. I accept that. It also says to be compassionate to those in need:

"In case some one of your brothers becomes poor among you in one of your cities, in your land that Jehovah your God is giving you, you must not harden your heart or be closefisted toward your poor brother. For you should generously open your hand to him and by all means lend him on pledge as much as he needs, which he is in want of... You should by all means give to him, and your heart should not be stingy in your giving to him, because on this account Jehovah your God will bless you in every deed of yours and in every undertaking of yours. For someone poor will never cease to be in the midst of the land. That is why I am commanding you, saying, 'You should generously open up your hand to your afflicted and poor brother in your land." (Deut 15:7-11).

I strongly doubt that Krista or Regee would admit to being in need. As I stated earlier, they are hard working, down to earth people (self-employed / un-employed). It takes a full on meeting for Krista to ask me for a favor no matter how small. She has all the different ways that she will pay me back planned out and she offers to put agreements in writing even though I tell her I trust her unconditionally. Regee has never asked me for anything.

It’s ME! I have the problem. It is me that has a need to undo an injustice; I want to turn a ridiculous travesty into an anecdote worth smiling about years form now. Here is my idea; if you agree with it, then welcome, fellow traveler; if you don’t – you can tell me how I am an emotional unrealistic idiot (and I will probably agree) or do nothing and I will never know how you feel about it. Fair enough?

I am estimating that roughly $3000 was stolen. It cannot be proven because the couple had yet to open their gifts and cards. I have 573 friends on facebook. If this story touched you in any way or if you just want to generate some good karma (actual, not facebook quiz karma) then I invite you to join me in creating a small miracle. I request that you join me in replacing the stolen wedding cash gifts by making a small donation via my business’ secure PayPal account. If we each tossed in $5.25, we would turn a travesty into a cherished tale to tell. When my wife and I were starting out, the gifts we received on our wedding day went a long way to helping us get started. Like Krista and Regee, our parents were not wealthy and we had little money.

I have created a PayPal donation account in Krista and Regee’s name. Any amount you feel comfortable with would be a blessing to these deserving newlyweds, even a dollar. These are my friends and you may or may not know them, but I would remind you that giving is for the giver. Krista and Regee are not aware of my little campaign as they are still incommunicado on their mini-honeymoon. They may very well be insulted and embarrassed when they find out. If they cannot or will not accept our gifts, I will refund your donation promptly. However, if you will join me, here is what I can promise. Krista and Regee will receive 100% of your gift. PayPal does not charge a fee for donations. I will not retain even a single cent for any reason – either the couple will realize 100% of your generosity or your gift will be returned to you with a ton of love and appreciation attached. Our business PayPal account is a secure transaction and you do not need to start a PayPal account to donate. If you have a PayPal account or plan to use an e-mail address or credit card that was once associated with a PayPal account, you will need to utilize that account. If you need any help guidance or reassurance, you can contact me directly (viralimedia@gmail.com or 208-779-0080). I understand that you may have concerns or you might be dealing with your own hardships. If that is the case, do that thing which serves you best: maybe a note of condolence or a gift card that you already have but have not used, or maybe it’s just to shake your head and commiserate given your own hard luck experience. Regardless, I do not intend to put you on the spot or create any guilty feeling if you choose to do nothing more than read this or shake your head and shrug. I am simply presenting an opportunity to create a positive alternative resolution to an otherwise sad story.

Namaste, Eugene Boyle

PS- if you chose to donate, you can do so by clicking here.
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