100 Days

I saw a post from a former pastor of mine.  I consider him a friend and mentor – at least, I considered him one.  It’s a confusing thing.  I still love and respect him, admire much of his character and have nothing but the deepest appreciation for the things he has taught me over the years.  But, I feel conflicted, too.  Our ideologies are not the same, and though I have faith in God, I would no longer characterize myself as a fundamentalist Christian in any form.  Over the past few years my friend has become increasingly more vocal in political and religious matters, something I will certainly never criticize, however it has highlighted the rift that is between us when I compare what we think and believe.  He is unabashedly both conservative Right and conservative Christian,  even when those two viewpoints are in direct contention.  More recently, he has taken to bashing both the Left and the Islamic religion, often conflating the two in order to make a skewed point.  Given his background as both an IBM engineer and a teacher of Philosophy, I have no doubt he understands faulty logic- but he no longer pays heed to that in service of rhetoric.  This depresses me.  There was a time when he measured the character of a person by when they were willing to keep their mouth shut.  Have we moved so far past civil discourse that even good men step over the line to protect what they see as their way of life?  Is the perceived threat to Christianity, whether it is by political, social or religious agenda so great that we must forget our principles?

I hope not.

Day 165 – The day I didn’t sleep

I had a bout of insomnia last night.  That bout last exactly as long as it took to consume the rest of season 5 of Justified.  I am surprised and amazed at synchronicity that this particular circumstance displayed…but, the world is truly a wondrous place.

Yesterday I walked, but I need to walk further, longer.  So today, maybe one more step, maybe many more blocks.

I didn’t practice on the guitar last night, so it now sits beside me and gently weeps…

Day 135 – part 2

So what is today but another yesterday in the making?  Or perhaps, to quote the learned Axl Rose, “Yesterday there was so many things I was never told
Now that I’m startin’ to learn I feel I’m growing old”.

My father said something similar though he was surely no GNR fan.  Facing the frustrations of being sick with cancer and staring at a life cut short, he said, “Just when you’re starting to figure things out, you’re too old, too out of time.”

Mind you, I’m not feeling morbid, morose, ill or out of time, but I think it would be remiss of me to not learn from the very painful lessons of those who have come before me.  Carpe Diem was a popular saying thanks to Robin Williams, but I think it is apropos, too.  There are many, many miles to go before I sleep.  I hope.

So, today.  Fur Elise, The Firefly theme, and I heard an acoustical version of CCR’s Fortunate Son that I’d like to try.  I also need to find an amplifier since mine is broken.  Other than that, today is about sales calls, emails and maybe, exercise and coffee with my sons. Maybe a spot of tea, too.

What will you do with your day?  What mountain will you climb, lips will you kiss, flower will you smell?  Contribute that verse…

O Me! O Life!

Walt Whitman, 18191892

O Me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;   
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;   
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who  more faithless?)   
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;   
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;          
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;   
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?   
   
                                                        Answer.

That you are here—that life exists, and identity;   
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

To the future

I’m reading through a book that a dear friend sent me. It has an absolutely fantastic line in it. “…This space, however convenient it had been for his recent past, was much too small to hold his future.”

I look around and see the same thing with me.  It isn’t that I have not learned how to be content in my surroundings, or that I am greedy for more stuff, it is just that I look at the future and regard the wondrous, the fantastic, the beauty of it all…and I am smitten.

A Cup of Coffee With Dad

Yesterday was my birthday.  It was a time for reflection for me, but nothing earth shattering or particularly apocalyptic in nature.  I think about my life and place in this world a lot more than once a year.  Yesterday was just the first day I did it, aged 36.  No, yesterday wasn’t so much about my birthday as it was about having a cup of coffee with my father.

He’s been gone from this world for almost ten years now, but death is hardly something to stop a coffee date.  You see, I inherited this coffee cup from my father when he passed.  It’s a Burlington Northern coffee cup, with the words, “Safety in ’88” on one side and “Yellowstone Division” on the other.  In between the two, it has the BN logo emblazoned in gold lettering, all of it set on a blue colored mug.  When I’m holding it, the mug has a solid, comfortable heft to it.  It is a good cup for coffee…

Perhaps the most consistent image of my father when I was growing up was him sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee in his hand.  Whether it was at his house, over at our grandma’s, at one of our relatives, or visiting my brother and I at our Mom’s, Dad always sat down and drank a cup of coffee.  Cream and sugar, never black.  He’d sit there at the table, talking with us boys and sip that cup of coffee.  By the end of the day, it was a guarantee that there would be coffee stains on his shirt, almost like a measuring stick of how much coffee he’d had that day.  As I got older, I’d have a cup with him, and we would sit and talk about whatever we had going on that day.  Those times became our way of bonding.  Anytime we wanted to spend time together, we just turned to each other and said, “Want to go downtown and have a cup of coffee?”

So, yesterday, I sat down with that cup of fresh brewed coffee, thought about life at age 36 and told my dad everything that’s been going on for the past year.  He didn’t say much, he never does anymore, but we drank our cup, enjoyed my birthday morning, and, like my father before me, at the end of they day, I had a coffee stain or two on my shirt, too.