The Day with the Sweatshirt

There are days where you would wonder why anyone bothers to continue existing anyway. Most days you’d begin with that question only to realize that the answer is right there for you to see. Today the whole conundrum of existence question only began at the end of a sordid argument with a friend. The secret in finding that answer is in finding that pattern. Today, it was the sweatshirt.

The student at the opposite apartment building was generous enough for a greeting this morning. So was the man with the truck as I waited for the bus near Traditions Square. It was the Sooners sweatshirt that had endeared me to them.

The lecture in the morning too was about finding a way of making a difference in the community. Mark Nehrenz was kind enough to share the story of OKC Good, a project that he’d started after coming from a Fulbright trip from South Africa. The lectures were different at the end of the day with things being discussed about news gathering but over some mild beer, it was the argument with an American friend that brought back Mark Nehrenz in my head. The argument was about the futility of existence. And how all of it didn’t really matter. At the end as the argument came down to why I didn’t bother killing myself, I came to understand the core of it all. It was the sweatshirt.

The answer to finding any meaning in existence is about the ‘other’. The idea of existence sometimes matters in knowing how we understand our own existence with reference to the others. That’s what made Mark Nehrenz come back to Norman to do something for the community, that’s what made the bespectacled student greet me in the morning. It is about acknowledging meaning where we accommodate each other. My Sooners sweatshirt was significant for the student and man with the truck. We exist for each other. Making a difference is about respecting that acknowledgment.

The sweatshirt taught me that.

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