Reflection by Kristin

Memories of Ben.

Apologies as I am writing this like a stream of consciousness. I have more but I will send what I have for now. In addition to these memories, I also have a lot of Ben's writings (printed, not digital) so I can send these on via snail mail if this is desired or at the time that it's best. I have some papers he wrote in college, high school and copies of his AT journals. 

Meeting Ben: Ben was so much to me. He was an inspiration, a friend, someone I leaned on and learned from. He was funny and, smart and kind.  I remember when I first met Ben he was carrying a huge orange juice cut-out (bigger than me) to his room. This was at the end of our first semester of our freshman year. I remember helping him carry this back to his dorm room. He loved orange juice. I  from the moment I met him, I knew he was a really incredibly special person. Ben was always thinking, evaluating and maximizing his life.  I was only seventeen when I started college and I really hadn't met anyone quite like him. He taught me to step back and think about things more deeply. College is a great time for self-examination and Ben challenged me to learn more, to think more. "The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates.  

From what I wrote above, I realize I have known Ben for fourteen years. Almost 15. That seems unrealistically long. As we have gotten older our friendship has changed shapes and colors but I always felt him there. I knew that if I needed to I could call him or even ask him to visit and he would be there. Ben was an incredibly loyal friend. 

Freshman year, we 'attended a concert' in Ben's room. We turned off most of the lights, turned up the music and cheered for the band (CD player). We shouted requests. The band played all of our requests.  We jumped around, moshed. Ben was so much fun. I loved him for that. other people came too. They joined in. I could be myself 100% with Ben and sometimes I was an even better part of myself. I loved Ben's sense of humor. He was one of the funniest people I've ever known. I think one of the reasons he was so funny was because he was so smart. He gave me one of the papers he wrote in high school. His theory proved that there were two suns. I still have this paper.  I saved it, I saved so much because I knew how special he was. How exciting his ideas were. He would go to places other people didn't dare go.  His mind was so alive.  Here is what he says in the preface to that paper (dated May 25, 1998). "My goal is not to describe in detail every part of the solar system. If that were the case I would have to write an entire textbook....As Thomas Edison said 'We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything.' Here is my 0.0000005%."    Ben was not only funny but he was joyous. He knew (and thought a lot) about how to have a deeper joy and he passed that deeper joy on to others. 

Ben saw the light and humor in most situations. I have some great videos of him singing along to our favorite songs (or lip syncing). In one song he takes a big swig of orange juice in the middle of the song and then moves towards the camera like he is going to eat it. We're all laughing like crazy. Ben always made me laugh. He was a hilarious dancer and unlike anyone else in so many ways but particularly the way he danced. He brought that joy to all situations. (video of Ben dancing on a trip he took to visit Seattle while I was there).

Ben also had a serious side. I'm finding trouble writing about this because this is one of the things that I admire most about Ben but I am having a hard time finding the particular anecdote or story that encompasses this to its full extent. This may be the most powerful, lasting influence that Ben had on me.  He talked to me about big T and little t truth. I loved this. I loved how he helped me understand how we won't know everything on this side of Paradise. I trust so strongly that Ben is finding out about big T truth right now while we're still squinting at little t truth. I loved this distinction.  I liked the quote he used about saying "I believe 3 times in the morning." This helps.  Honestly, as I said above, this part of what Ben brought me is very hard to put into words but it has had the most profound impact on my life. 

Ben 'fought against the dominant paradigm'. He fought to change things. He didn't believe that we should just leave people alone. He thought we should change things for the better. He actively sought to do good rather than just avoiding bad. He had courage. He had so many gifts. 

Ben was so completely honest about his life and all the good and bad parts. Sometimes I feel we try to make our lives "all pretty for the t.v.".  Seeing Ben go through really, really tough times during our Sophomore year taught me how important it was to keep fighting. Ben was strong even when he didn't want to be and he did this because he simply believed it was the right thing to do. He always did the right thing. Not the easy thing.

Ben encouraged me to do join many things that enriched my life so much. For instance, Ben got me to start DJing with him at Ktru. We shared a show and I learned things I never would have about music. He helped me enjoy music in a way I never had before. We went to so many concerts. Once, we went to a Kings X concert and I caught the pick. Ben loved King's X and he especially loved the song "there is no room inside a box." He always fought to think outside the box. He taught me how Doug Pinnick was rejected by mainstream Christianity for being gay. And he had so much love for Doug. 

Once, around our Junior year, Ben & Saheel & I decided to eat a shirt. We read that someone had eaten a plane in the Guiness Book of World records. We figured that if they could eat a plane then certainly we could eat a shirt. We picked out an old Banana Republic shirt of mine. Ben wore it to a party and got the guests to eat little pieces of it (cutting the shirt off him and eating it). He ate that shirt every night for a while with cereal.  He ate lots of cereal. I should also mention that somehow he made a statement out of this shirt-eating since the shirt was Banana Republic and they had some human rights abuses at the time. Ben could make a statement out of anything.  

When Ben was vacationing with me & my family in Whistler he broke his chin. Rather than taking it easy & skiing with my mom & Saheel, Ben zipped away with me & my brother. It turns out he could ski but he couldn't stop. He was wearing my mom's red ski jacket. Ben was never put down long by injuries. In only moments, he was back up and cross-country skiing with Saheel. 

That same trip, we formed a 'band' 'The What'. Saheel was on drums, Ben was on guitar and I was on bass until the boys turned me down so low that you couldn't hear me anymore. Ben was wild and creative and I loved doing things like this with him. How many people in the world will form a band with someone who can't play an instrument (me)? Ben taught us 'instrument switch' which was a Wacko-Hed original.  I have all the lyrics from two Wacko-Hed albums. One is all about eating. Ben explained to me that it was a metaphor. I still don't get it all.  

I took a class with Ben. We liked to do this game where you create boxes and the person with the most boxes wins. He was so smart. He did really well in the class despite playing the box game. My grades suffered. He taught me not to care (for the best reasons). 

I ran with Ben. I wasn't much of a runner before but we did four loops of Rice campus together (12 miles total). This was the longest I had ever run at the time. Now I run that far regularly. Ben taught me about displacing pain, pushing through it, putting it elsewhere and this works. 

Ben came to Seattle in the fall on year. We went running in Discovery Park when the trees were changing colors. It was overcast and somewhat cold and we just kept running. We didn't have a goal or anywhere to go. These times were good. He climbed on top of the bathrooms (it was a serious feat). We ran some more. 

At Rice, Ben organized a Food Revolution with me (and others). I put the email from that  below. 

Ben always saw the best things in me and encouraged me to cultivate the talents and positive things that I have. He had an uncanny ability to see the best in people and to pull that out. He also did not allow me to be lazy.  Sometimes friends will allow you to get lazy, to quit trying, to not give everything. They want to be polite or they want you to like them so they won't call you out when you're not living to your potential. Ben wasn't like that. He was honest and he expected me to be that best version of myself. I almost can't believe that I won't have that from him anymore. 

Ben hated grammar and spelling. He also hated fashion. He taught me to consider what's important and what's not important. Anyway, I say that in the way of apology for the grammar here and the stream of consciousness style. I also have so much more that this barely scratches the surface.

I will close by saying that I really do believe Ben is looking on us from Heaven where he doesn't have to fight anymore and can finally rest in Love. I believe that he sees that truth with the big "T" he searched for and  that gives me peace. Ben certainly lives on in me. I won't give up his quest for truth, for change and for love.  I know I'm a better person for having him in my life and what an honor to call a man like Ben my friend. 

Much Love and Peace,


They shall have stars at elbow and foot;   

Though they go mad they shall be sane,   

Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;   

Though lovers be lost love shall not;   

And death shall have no dominion.

Here are just some of the videos I have:


From Ben's AT Journal: 

 "Trying to impress memories of ourselves is pointless, we are soon forgotten. However the ways in which we affect peoples lives and the world around us can be lasting even if no one remembers our name. The goal of changing things for the better can be reached- the key is to inspire others, to affect other people in little ways, and they in turn will continue to pass it down. When we seek personal glory, we can achieve transient fame; if we seek to better the world we can contribute to lasting results. If we don't pass it on, it will fade as memories of us fade." 

Quotes from Ben's emails:

i am trying to hold onto the little love i always had inside me, and get  back to a point where everything is beautiful. indeed there are some days here where i can tell you i am absolutely overtaken with the beauty of everything, the moment. the full moon, the stars, the village silence, the people, my own peace in my thoughts. actually that never lasts a full day, just a moment. and then it's over...but send me inspirational quotes, and i can hold onto them. its really a pretty tough life, being away, but i am strong, and i feel myself growing and changing. so quickly. it is mostly the ways i want to change, so i am content with that.

but i am honestly beginning, or i mean really experiencing to see the glory of God, to see myself so inadequate, to see my own shortcomings, and also to realize how that makes the perfection of God all the more compelling,. not that i am content with just seeing shortcomings; i need major overhauls, but to be in awe of God i think is the sufficient step, and the rest will come, i cannot force it, i cannot fake it

hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. and no good thing ever dies

also i got a quote in a fortune cooke (in the states) hope is the most precious treasure to a person. i got it in high school, i think maybe 6 years ago, and i still have it...

Re: Food Revolution

The FOOD REVOLUTION is about to begin.  I contacted you for one of several

reason, either you signed up to work, you're my friend and probably owe me

a favor for some reason I'll come up with later, you seem particularly

qualified to work at the food revolution, or you simply are a very cool

person who needs to hear about this. Of course if you love CK and have no

revolutionary tendencies, then tell me to stop annoying you.  As most of

you know the FOOD REVOLUTION is this Friday.  I know a lot of you signed

up for times to work which is very good.  For those of you who aren't

quite sure what the FOOD REVOLUTION is, it is a really great event and you

should have seen fliers around campus.  We are basically having a fun

concert with some of the best bands on campus.  At this concert we will be

serving choice chicken, savory rice, and who knows what else.  This

chicken is very good chicken (cater quality).  The purpose of this concert

is a FOOD REVOLUTION.  That is we are trying to advocate student imput at

CK.  We will be needing people to hand out fliers (which some of you guys

who already signed up will be doing).  CK is at a point where we really

think that we could make some changes.  The headman wants our input so it

is really important that we get these surveys out and get student input.

There is of course a lot of behind the scenes work that needs to be done

as well.  I am asking that some people come out around nine-thirty in the

morning (it's not that early!) and help set up the stage. It will be

taking place sort of near Wiess but you can meet in Ben Horne's room, rm

144.  We need support with this electrical stuff and we barely have anyone

signed up in the morning.  Your classes are really unimportant compared to

this. Honestly, think how many times you have skipped for a really lame

reason.  If nine-thirty is just a terrible time for you, you can volunteer

to work any time between then and three in the afternoon.  I will be

forever indebted to you if you come out, plus you will gain the person

satisfaction of being an integral part of the FOOD REVOLUTION, you also

can look forward to being part of the V.I.P. branch of the AFC!!!!  Please

e-mail back if you can work at all.  Sorry this is so long! 

If you for some sad reason cannot be a part of the food revolution, get

your friends to be a part!!!!!  


Sorry, I have to add more to this since I reread and realized that I did not make this point clear. The thing that I will take away most from Ben is his devotion to God, to his faith and to his principles that stemmed directly from this faith. I wanted to say that more clearly above but I don't think I managed to. Anyhow, this was the thing that I will take away from Ben and that I think most others have. As others have said so eloquently, Ben was consistent, unwavering and real when it came to his faith. I saw Ben struggle with many things and I also confided many struggles to him. He always pointed me back to God. He was always one-minded in these matters but patient and full of Godly love. Ben showed me what it truly means to have faith that is translated into action. I feel that I can't quite explain what an impact this has had for me but I did want you to know since I think this is the most profound thing that anyone could pass on. 

Love, Kristin