What’s on your mind?


Who knew that such a simple question, “What’s on your mind?” could be so impactful? It blows my mind that four simple words laid out in a digital thought-bubble would be the key to unlocking so many vaults of personal information (with pictures no less) and unleashing such extensive wisdom, boundless humor and otherwise pent-up feelings between so many “friends” and, in many cases, on the world. 

With a reported 2.96 billion active users and nearly 2 billion daily users, Facebook is a veritable Pantheon of all things that inspire and/or the modern-day reincarnation of Pandora’s Box, by definition a process that generates many complicated problems as a result of unwise interference in something.

Personally, I like Facebook in the same way I enjoy happy-hour beers at a bar: I know it’s not necessarily good for me and my time could always be better spent, but it can be a nice way to stay in touch with and reconnect with good friends and family. Conversely I dislike it in the same way: I tend to drink more than I should, say more than I normally would, and often confuse my true friends and family with many of the random sots who take turns with me in serving up free memes—I mean drinks and poopoos (pun intended). But, it makes me feel good to have people who pay attention to and “like” me even if only superficially.
For those who aren’t on Facebook (I still know a few of you), “What’s on your mind?” is literally the basis for everything and anything that people post. Whether it’s a force for good or bad is up for debate (quite literally), but to engage or not to engage is the question. The same might be said of opinion columns (like this one) and the question is to read or not to read. I have heard it said that opinions are like…well…something that everyone has and that they all stink. It should be noted too that each of us has an inalienable right to share or not to share what we hold inside as we choose. Just as importantly, nobody forces anyone to go sniffing around where they don’t feel comfortable or worse where they don’t belong. (*Hint to reader: You can stop reading anytime you want.)


On a slight tangent, upon being given the opportunity to write this weekly column for the Saipan Tribune, its editor offered me the option to give it a specific heading or not (aside from the respective titles for each article, of course). I chose “My Glass Cup” as a cultural and linguistic nod to my Mortlockese side. In short, this is a term of endearment usually bestowed on those we love. Often used in references from parent to child (I think similar to how Chamorro people use Kirida or Kiridu), but also commonly used as reference between lovers. A girlfriend may reference a boyfriend as her glass cup and vice versa. The obvious symbolism is in the way a glass cup is handled with care—the manner in which we pick it up, hold on to it and gently set it down when letting it go. Beyond that, of course, is the notion of fragility or simply something we want to protect. Ultimately, my glass cup is a reference to someone (or something) precious…in this case, to me.


A few of my closest friends and I are not “so-called friends” on Facebook due to a combination of stubbornness and generally being stuck in our ways—creatures of “so-called principle” or habit, if you will—but I can say without hesitation that the foundational building blocks of what matters most in genuine friendships remain steadfastly intact in spite of Facebook and despite how old-fashioned and/or outdated we may be. As much as I appreciate Facebook for all the connections it makes possible, I wholeheartedly believe that people still need more face-to-face and less Facebook time. That is on my mind.


I read somewhere—likely and coincidentally on Facebook—about Kintsukuroi (“golden repair”), the Japanese cultural art of mending broken pottery or glass back together with gold—a metaphor for embracing flaws and imperfections or an ode to the passing of time, making beautiful something that was broken. With a little bit of Google research I found an interesting correlation with a biblical verse. God promises us that He “is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18), thus when we feel broken and our hearts are in pieces, God mends them back together with all the skill of a Kintsukuroi artist.

So these are some of the things on my mind and in real time. If I were to honestly post “What’s on my mind’ at this very moment, I’d say my glass cup. Except I wouldn’t be talking about this so-called column, but rather my glass cup (figuratively speaking), the one with a lifetime of cracks and broken pieces spilling hot coffee on me one minute and iced tea the next. I am no Kintsukuroi artist and my time here is limited, but I would gladly give it all to mending (with gold) the cracks with branches extending in all directions like the lines in the palm with which I hold the one most dear.

By JIM RAYPHAND (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Jim Rayphand is a former executive director of the Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc. and recently ventured into a startup fishing business.

By JIM RAYPHAND (Special to the Saipan Tribune)

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