A Farewell Tour

2015 is the year of no regrets.

For a couple of years Rachel and I have been thinking and praying about moving to California to be closer to family and because... well... it's California.  In January we realized that if we didn't want to wake up in ten years saying, "I wish we would have..." we needed to just do it, so Rachel started work in Orange County a few weeks ago, and I'm joining her in October.

Will Truman Bowling Alley
Will Fourth Of July White House

I've done and experienced a lot of what DC has to offer in the decade that I've lived here.  I've had the privilege of rolling a few frames in the Truman Bowling Alley, had the Speaker of the House show up at my office Christmas party, and celebrated the Fourth of July on the South Lawn of the White House.

But there are still adventures left to be had before I go, and keeping with this years theme, I don't want to leave DC saying, "I wish I would have..."  So here's what I still have left to do over the next seven weeks.  Let me know if you'd like to join me for any of it!

  • Frederick Douglass House - 8/24
  • National Building Museum/The Beach - 8/26
  • Marine Barracks 8th & I Evening Parade - 8/28
  • Supreme Court Tour - 8/31
  • Phillips Collection - 9/5 (Tentative)
  • Lunch in the Senators' Dining Room - 9/7
  • Vietnam Memorial - 9/12
  • Congressional Cemetery - These next four will probably just be Rachel and I while she's in town.
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Lincoln's Cottage
  • Roosevelt Island
  • lunch in the House Members' Dining Room - 9/21
  • Newseum - 9/26 (Tentative)
  • National Archives - 9/28
  • Supreme Court Oral Arguments - 10/5

What are your thoughts on the Inauguration?

Here are some of my thoughts:

What are yours?

Kingdom Bathrooms

The Kingdom of God has bathrooms!

You may have heard that there’s this little thing called the Presidential Inauguration in Washington DC tomorrow. It’s going to be cold, and even with the 5000+ portapotties that have been set up, I’m guessing that bathroom facilities will be an issue.

In response, Capitol Hill Presbyterian, a church just two blocks from the Capitol, has decided to open its fellowship hall (for warmth) and bathroom facilities to all comers.

This takes some effort on their part. It’s going to be messy. The bathrooms will probably need a lot of cleaning afterwards. Volunteers or staff will have to be around monitoring things all day long. It’s possible that stuff will get broken or stolen.

But you know what, those bathrooms don’t belong to Capitol Hill Presbyterian. They belong to God. Those are God’s bathrooms, and my guess is that the good folks there would agree. Maybe they’ve never thought of it that way before, but I would bet they’d agree. They’re being the lamp on a lampstand that Jesus talked about. Huge props to them. So again I say…

The Kingdom of God has bathrooms!

Eerily Quiet

When I left for lunch, Capitol Hill seemed to be bustling with activity. Afterwards, I went to CVS, where the cashier would hardly speak to me. As I walked out into the overcast day and rode home, it seemed that the streets were almost empty, and the cold wind did little to break the feeling of gray.

A Strange Occurrence

I was assaulted tonight on my way home from a friend’s house. It was kinda strange. I was walking down the street and it seemed like two people were following me. I heard them talking, and I could have sworn one of them said, “Why are we running away from him?” As they got closer I was alert and aware, but I didn’t realize exactly what they were doing until after they hit me.

One of them punched me in the back of the jaw and then they both ran the other way. I had gotten a pretty good look at one of them. He was around 15 or 16 years old and probably 145 pounds. I was a bit shaken but turned around to find them a decent ways away from me. I must say that my response probably wasn’t the greatest for a lot of reasons. I told them in some some not so nice terms to come back and get what was coming to them.

The one who was still around and who I had gotten a good look at yelled something at me. I don’t remember exactly what.

So many things about this situation amazed me. I was surprised that they attacked me at all. They didn’t try to take my wallet or anything else. There were people on their stoop across the street. It was a fairly well lit area, and judging by the size of the one guy (and I think the other guy as well), they ran a serious risk of getting greviously injured should I have fought back. That said, I’m somewhat surprised I wasn’t hurt worse. If they had some sort of weapon, they chose not to use it.

I’m not exactly sure how I feel about how I handled the situation. I probably shouldn’t have yelled back, both because it wasn’t the right thing to do and because you never know what will happen when you provoke someone. I called 911 and reported what had happened, and I chatted with the people on the stoop while the police came and took a statement. I gave them a description of the one guy I saw clearly.

Part of me wishes I had turned around and confronted them before I got hit. I’m pretty sure that would have ended in either no one getting hurt at all or two guys who would think twice before attacking someone again. A large part of me wants to beat the snot out of them. What just occurred to me was that I need to pray for them, so I’m going to stop writing for a minute and do that. Although, I’ll be honest; I don’t really want to.

I prayed for them, and I prayed for myself. I prayed honestly that I really didn’t feel very much love for them, but that I know God cares for them too. As I began to pray my heart began to soften, and I prayed that God would work in their lives, that He would help them to forgive themselves once they knew what they had done. I also prayed that God would help me to forgive them.

The whole thing was very strange. I ran the gamut of emotions from wanting to leave the city to wanting to rain down wrath upon their heads. Part of what’s odd is that I’ve always felt relatively safe in the city. I’ve always tried to watch myself, and I’ve only had one other incident, but that was even stranger, a long story, and not something where I was actually attacked, just a bit of an out of the ordinary confrontation with someone who I’m pretty sure was a drug addict.

One of the thoughts that ran through my mind as I finished walking home in the torrential downpour that started right after I finished with the police was how minor this was in comparison to what so many people deal with. Someone hit me, and it was someone who couldn’t have really done much more damage (barring having a gun or knife or something). People live in neighborhoods where they hear gunshots on a regular basis. There are communities that regularly mourn violent death, and that is just here in America. It doesn’t even begin to address the tragedies that occur in places such as Iraq, Darfur, and China.

In all I’m fairly lucky. If that’s the worst thing that’s happened to both my wife and I in the nearly three years that we’ve lived in DC, I’ve gotten off pretty easy.

I’m not sure what exactly comes of this. I don’t know how this will change the way I act and think. Right now I feel kinda like I did when I spun my father-in-law’s truck across four lanes of LA traffic. I didn’t really want to get back in the driver’s seat. Right now, I don’t really want to go walking around the city. On the other hand, that’s no way to live your life, especially considering that I don’t have a car, so I walk everywhere.

I know this wasn’t the most well written post. It was mostly stream of consciousness to help me think things through.

I think I’m done writing now. I’m definitely not done processing. I know I need to keep praying, both for myself and for those boys, not to mention for this city. I’ve resisted calling them kids throughout this. I think because I’m somewhat angry (although less so now than when I started writing). I want them to be held responsible, but really, they’re just kids. They’re kids that need to be taught and loved. They’re kids who probably don’t have the greatest home lives. They’re the children about whom Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

So, if you get the chance, say a prayer for me that I will finish processing this and will forgive, but more importantly, say a prayer for them that they will come to know Christ and His love for them. And God, if there’s some way I can be a part of that, then use me in that way.

A Running Fool

Will Johnston After Run
Me After My Run

So I’ve recently started running again. I’ve gone about 4 or 5 times in the past few weeks. This is after over a year break from the gym and a several year break from running regularly. Today I was out and decided to just keep going. I went 7.4 miles in 67 minutes, meaning 9 minute miles. I was pretty happy with my distance, but my speed could have been better. Ah well, what can you expect when you haven’t run in years?

I’m not going to lie, part of my motivation was a tweet from @joetrippi (Joe Trippi, the political consultant). He recently started running again as well, and frankly, I was a bit embarrassed that a guy who is twice my age and is, by his own admission, not in the greatest shape was running farther than I was (about 4 miles).

I can tell already that I’m going to be hurting tomorrow, but I think it will be worth it. No pain, no gain.

My Route:

2008-04-07 Run Map