the Baton of Kindness

 Posted by on December 26, 2015  My stroke
Dec 262015

December 26th, is the anniversary of my life being turned upside down. 3 years ago, at around this time of day, my mind and body both began to fail after an artery in my head ruptured, leaking blood into my brain and wreaking damage on my head-equipment that I deal with to this day.


For the past few years, BOXING DAY has become my own personal Thanksgiving; a day to reflect on any progress since the same day last year, no matter how slight, and be grateful that I’m here at all. However, this year various dear friends of mine suffered their own losses, including some tragedies just before Christmas, and I’m thinking of them instead.


As I grow older, my circle of friends grows too, and today’s social media means that I know intimately and immediately about the grim dramas unfolding in the lives of people I care about. It can be hard to process and make ‘sense’ of all these heartbreaking tragedies, whether you’re at ground zero and it’s happening to you personally, or whether you are trying to offer comfort to others in distress. Some people, perhaps doubting their own ability to offer any profound wisdom, simply stay away, but having been on both sides of the tragedy equation, I think that simple human connection is the most powerfully healing thing we can do for each other in times of crisis. No words of wisdom required. Tragedy of course is inevitable in life, we all must face it eventually, and even the most privileged and sheltered among us will eventually have to deal with setbacks, failures, and wounds. Facing these unsolvable problems is somehow less daunting in the company of others.


I love people who believe in God and I also love people who believe just as strongly in nothing at all, but whoever is right, I think we can all agree that the day to day decisions of what to do in any particular earthbound crisis are up to us humans. So, when there’s a tsunami, a plague, a humanitarian crisis, a murder, a medical emergency, or a tragic death, it’s up to us frail human beings to respond, and I think the reason that we’re here (if there’s any reason at all) is simply to help each other through crises such as these. Keeping that baton of kindness, empathy and love being handed from hand to hand is what makes this at-times difficult life not only bearable, but sometimes actually wonderful.


  63 Responses to “the Baton of Kindness”

  1. beautiful words!!

    And yes, Jamie and I can also relate to this my own world

  2. ‘baton of kindness’ – trillions of them!

  3. You have an amazing ability to say it all so well.

  4. Beautiful words…thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks James Baker, for the inspiring words!

  6. Good on you Jamie! Your strength against this adversity is mighty. Here’s to more healing in 2016. Cheers.

  7. Good on you James. Having walked away physically from an emabalism 20 years back I can somewhat share your thoughts. It is these experiences that provide us with the empathy that makes us whole human beings. Lots of love to you on this seminal day.

  8. And we are grateful too lovely Jamie, you are a peach and we are so glad to know you

  9. Great words Jamie. You’re a a huge example to me of courage and good humor.

  10. Love ya, buddy. Wonderful thoughts.

  11. Thankfully you are still here to show all us novices how life and art is meant to be. Perhaps soon I can to make it down to the Bay Area to toast you!

  12. Love this post, JB. Tons of love to you.

  13. Would it be shallow of me to ask for more pics where we can see more of Jamie’s shapely legs?

  14. I’m honoured to know you as a friend. So pleased that we can catch up where we left off everytime I’m in town. Good on you mate.

  15. Thank you for this.

  16. You are an amazing example of the human spirit, and every tiny step you take is observed and applauded by so many. I’m privileged to know you, Mr. Baker.

  17. A beautiful message Jamie! Thank you! Xo

  18. You are a warrior amongst men, Jamie. A wonderful and talented warrior. Big hugs.

  19. Well said brother. Thanks for being an amazing human being!

  20. Jamie, wow. Brings back my own memories stuck in ICU with the worst headache of my life with my own leaking. We are survivors

  21. So well said, Jamie, especially acknowledging that sometimes we hang back for fear of not knowing what to say. It’s important to just be there.

  22. Always the Jamie I admire. A goldarned inspiration in whatever timeline you meet him. Happy holidays.

  23. Nice1 JB-its the challenges in life that shape us. Happy Christ-mas to you & your family

  24. Art is the best part of us: courage, humor, observation, understanding, and expressing all these things in an illuminating way. You are the hero who personifies this.

  25. You make me happy, sir. I miss your face but, stalk you via social media. Happy Thanksgiving, James – I am thankful for your continued existence – leaky brains and all!

  26. Beautifully said. Xx

  27. So well put for a guy with a leaky brain! Jamie, your spirit and grace and dry sense of humor throughout your ordeal has been nothing short of miraculous and it only points out what an amazing person you are, even without your astounding reslience and commitment to learning to draw with your left hand! May God and Buddha and Yaweh and the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Force bless you! Big, kinda gay hugs from the filthiest man on the planet…xoxo

  28. Perfectly put. Thank you for saying what needs to be said Jamie every day. With gratitude Lili

  29. I have always felt the same way–that we’re here to help each other out and make life easier and better for one another

  30. I’m am so glad that you are recovering and being an artist. Peace and love Jamie

  31. I couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you for your beautiful words and the reminder. Happy Boxing/Thanksgiving day to you.

  32. So grateful you are here with us! Miss your wonderful spirit!

  33. Jamie, you are a constant inspiration.

  34. Glad you made it through my friend

  35. I was good friends with Rob and Dom in high school. So, although we don’t know each other, thank you! I, too, had a speed bump in April this year where I was diagnosed with a very large brain tumor and had brain surgery and consequently, had many complications and severe pain. We are so lucky to still be here to tell our story. May every day bring you more recovery and improved health

  36. Hitting the nail on the head as usual! Right on Jamie!

  37. Nicely said, as always!

  38. You have as beautiful a way with words as you have with drawing!! Well said!

  39. Jamie- Here is my baton of love, empathy, & kindness!

  40. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, Jamie! Happy Anniversary, and I’m so glad your recovery is continuing to go well. Happy New Year!

  41. Here here brother! Wonderfully said, as usual. And Lord let us all have a better year ahead. Love ya buddy.

  42. Well said. You’re a force, Jamie!

  43. Well said, Jamie! Thank you. Lots of love!

  44. Beautiful Jamie! Happy new year my friend

  45. Very well said. Your courage is admirable.

  46. Lovely words..Happy Anniversary Jamie..

  47. Have a blessed new year, Jamie. Keeping good thoughts of you!

  48. Thank you for this most eloquent posting.

  49. I am very grateful to have been able to spend time with you recently, and especially thankful for your very wise insights. Very strong reminders of the precious moments we all live. Thank you!

  50. I sure do miss seeing you, friend… here’s to another year of health and progress!

  51. you doing great jamie!

  52. Thank you Jamie for sharing so much if yourself. Your words are very meaningful.

  53. Jamie… Well said, as always. You’re an amazing writer. As you know, I, too, have my own dubious life-altering anniversary to rememebr, if not celebrate. The day the 19 year-old realized he wasn’t quite immortal. Couldn’t they just have sent me a brief memo?

  54. Very powerful James. Lxx

  55. Good on you buddy. thanks for sharing.