Becoming an Antique

Do you do it yourself?


Does it happen to you?

Or both?

Is it good? Or bad?

Does it add value? Or does it make you worth less (not worthless, but worth less = that space is important.)

Becoming an antique

What does it do?

If you are a car it adds value

If you are a house, it adds value – unless you are in really bad shape

But in the America of last year, what did it mean to become an antique?

Something to be put on a shelf and occasionally dusted?

Something to be sold to someone who knows value?

When I was in college, I worked at a used furniture store. Someone gave us a dining room table that was antiqued aqua blue.

Think about it. Imagine that sitting in your mother in law’s dining room.

But there was an older gentleman who came in once a week, always looking for the “special” pieces.

He watched this odd duck, this horrendously obtuse and disruptive piece of furniture.

Every two weeks, the price went down. Until we hit that magic number. He said to me, “Tom, it’s time, I’ll take it.”

And the Ugly Duckling found a home.

He brought her home and said to her, “Now don’t you worry, I’ll take good care of you.” He kept her warm and dry and he began the rebuilding process.

Layer after layer after layer of this aqua blue followed by green and purple, it really made him wonder about her history. But he couldn’t know, so he accepted her as she was.

Finally after 7 layers of paint were removed, he sat back and watched her. And took it all in. He looked at the signs of how well she was made and saw that she was solid mahogany.

That old horrendously colored table became an antique that was worth 30 times what she was purchased for.

Becoming an antique – I think we all need to reevaluate what we think of antiques and how we value them.


Again, Lord?

How long?

How long must your people suffer at the hands of your people?

It doesn’t make sense.

How could it make sense?

Who can explain Minneapolis in any other way than pure evil?


Help those of us who are white to stand up and say…..

This is not right.

This is not right and we will join our brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers and husbands and wives and neighbors and the guy on the other side of the counter at the gas station and the bank teller and …… and …… of color and stand for change.

Help us, because we are obviously failing miserably.

Help us to realize that Colin was right.





Don’t just read this and move on.

Don’t just shake your head and wonder what this world is coming to.

Don’t just say, “Oh, there is so much death and suffering right now….”

That’s no longer good enough.

We must

ask questions. Ask hard questions.

We must

look inward – even if we dont want to look at what we know is there.

We must

have higher standards. .

Especially for those in positions of authority.

Governmental authority – good call by the Mayor of Minneapolis for the firing of the 4 policemen.

But not just higher standards for sound bites.

Higher standards for real.

Higher standards for our families.

Higher standards that value all of us.

I’ve lost friendships over the “Black Lives Matter” compared to “All Lives Matter” school of thought.

Let me ask you a question…..

Do you think George Floyd matters as much as he would if he weren’t a person of color?

That’s the problem with the “All Lives Matter” statement.

What’s the problem?

The problem is that currently on a consistent and frequent basis, we are seeing reminders that black lives don’t matter as much as white lives do.

And its not just a problem in big cities.

We see it. We just need to open our eyes and look. Look where we hold people dear and look where it hurts.

To quote the Christian musician group, “Mikes Chair.”
⁃ then I shook my fist at heaven and said, “God why don’t you do something?
⁃ “I did, I created you.”

He created you and me and him and her and the people next door, all of us to make this world a better place.

But we need to acknowledge that this starts closer to home than most people are willing to admit. I live in a “bedroom community” about 15 miles from downtown Grand Rapids. You wouldn’t think you’d see it there. I have twice in the last two months, both very harmful to kids.

One last thing. I’m wrote most of this Tuesday night and the local news comes on – I had the NBC station on. They led their broadcast with the story of the tragic murder of George Flynn.

The first things that they said beyond one intro sentence were up on the screen in big letters:
⁃ He looked like……
⁃ He had previously…….
⁃ He………..

There were four things that the news reported about the victim. There was not one thing said about the police officers who murdered him. Nothing about their training or the number of years they have been on the police force or anything.

Is it merely a coincidence? Or did the people who originally wrote the news report either purposely or without realizing that they were attempting to make the police look better and the victim look worse, did they write it that way?

Lord, be with George’s family. They mourn without reason.

Help us to work towards this never happening again…..


Isolation 2.2.1

Isolation 2.2.1

The last time I wrote about being isolated, I called it Isolation 2.0

But now we’re a little farther down the road and that puts us at Isolation 2.2.1.

2 – the second month that most of us have had to live with limitations in order to make sure that our neighbors have the right to see their new granddaughter or watch their son’s basket ball game or go over to the neighbors to play cards.
2 – this is the second week of the second month that Covid 19 has been a big thing. It’s ramifications are broader than what was thought in terms of ages, in terms of the severity of it – it was previously thought that the elder generation was the only ones that would get it strong enough for it to kill them. Now we know that’s not true. It can bring death to patients of any age.
1 – this is the first writing that I’ve done now about Covid 19 and so it is .1. The next will be .2 and so it goes, on and on.

From here, what do I see?
• I see hospital staff all over the world doing their best in a terrible situation that was not planned for. A friend of mine has a sister working on one of the “Mercy Ships” in Africa. She said this virus has totally changed what they are doing and how they are doing it.
• Nicholas Kristof, author and social rights advocate did a piece about working in the ER in a hospital, I believe it was in Brooklyn. Let’s just say that his description of that hospital remind me of the descriptions my wife and friends shared about the hospitals in Port Au Prince Haiti. Scary and not nearly enough.
• My daughter is supposed to be graduating on May 18. She will stlll get her diploma on time but the ceremony and pomp and circumstance will be pushed back to “we’re not really sure yet.”

I see people who are doing amazing things to help others. I see people learning to sew so more people have face masks to wear to keep them and others safe.

I see truck drivers doing “one more load” because there are places that really need their stuff.

I see companies totally switching over what they are building and instead they are making part of the PPE that the medical people need.

I see ministers, ministers and directors of music and chaplains getting very creative in how they can communicate the grace and peace and support that leaning on God really means,

I see ambulance drivers and paramedics and EMTs often being the first ones to show up when someone takes a turn for the worse. They might know that they had the virus, but they were hoping to make it through without having to go to the hospital.

Unfortunately, as time goes on, the economic pain is being felt further and further and deeper and deeper. And people are not happy.

Like I’ve told my daughter who will be a high school senior, “I know this sucks.”

But why? Why did they cancel it? Don’t they know what it means to us?

“Because if 400 people showed up at graduation, you could almost guarantee that at least one person who will be there was the virus. He will pass it to 10 who will pass it to 10 more and BAM! Just like that, you’ve got a situation where not only people at the graduation get sick but others do and suddenly the health department is looking at a spike in the number of cases and the funeral homes are going to see an increase in business. Yeah, it’s that serious.

Let’s talk a minute or two about the protestors:
-Everyone has the power of free speech. They have the right to say they don’t like this or they think that about government or what ever.
-the first amendment doesn’t give them the right to put other lives on the line. Because we’re still in the middle of this pandemic, there is an extremely strong chance that they would pass it on to someone else and we’d be looking at a “protest spike.”

I need some help here. Yes, the protesters have the right to say what they want, they can’t hurt or risk the lives of others. But I don’t get it:

Can you tell me what carrying big guns that, to me a non-expert in types of guns, have to do with protesting a stay at home order from the governor? I don’t understand why. Where they afraid they were going to attacked by the people who’se families were in that hospital? Why?

And what does the confederate flag have to do with a stay at home order? I would be hard pressed to find anyone in the civil war times who attempted to link the Confederate flag or the entire Civil war to people’s ability to go to the store without a mask on?

I don’t get it. To me, it appears that they viewed this as a way to advance their ideas and in the process showed a lot of America that the confederate flag bearing gun toting crowd might not actually be protesting what they say they are. Can you explain it for me? If you can, please do so in the comments below. Any obscene, rude or impolite comments will be deleted.

Explain to me, how do the confederate flag and big guns add to a protest?

And if it has been proven that if you are close enough that someone could sneeze or cough on you, they could give you the virus – even if they don’t have any symptoms of it. If that has been proven, then why do you think it’s good to gather in a direct violation of that law during your protest, especially if you know that you are going to bring it back to your home and community?

One more question for you, if I compare what Governor Snyder did and how he handled the Flint water crisis with the way that Governor Whitmer and how she has handled the corona virus pandemic, the size and scope of the problems are dramatically different but Governor Whitmer has done more to keep our people safe than Gov. Snyder did in. Share your opinions if can do it respectfully,

Thanks for reading,

Tom V


“The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” Psalm 139:16

Think about it.

Not kind of planned out.

Not “hope it will go this way.”

All prepared.

Like eating Thanksgiving Dinner at Grandma’s house. It’s all prepared.

Places are marked – reserved for Dad, for Mom, for Aunt Deb, all the way around there’s a place for everyone.

And there’s a place for every platter of food. It’s all marked out. All prepared.

But, in your grandma is like my mother-in-law, she started planning Thanksgiving in September.

Not God. That’s too small for him.

Before I’d even lived one day.

Can you imagine that?

As crazy as life is – with economic numbers that are truly mind-blowing.

Health issues on everyone’s minds.

Before all this……


Before political grandstanding and fact twisting and name-calling and confederate flag-waving

Before all this……


Before funerals, sometimes more than one in a family at one time, before ICUs and respirators.

Before all this……


Before my grandpa heard the words from his parents, “come with us, we are going to America.”

Before we knew where in America

Before two of grandpa’s brothers died “on the boat” on the way here.

Before all this…..


Before gangs and thugs and cartels.

Before guns and cocaine and heroin and more.

Before it became too risky to stay home, they left and walked to America.

How long will it take? What will we eat? Where will we stay?

Before all this…..


Before this virus

Before the staggering losses

Before the emotional pain and the helplessness.

Before all this…..