Monday, June 28, 2010
Vintage Tom & Larry, Kansas City, MO
Vintage Arnie, Kansas City, MO
I started playing golf while discovering I had absolutely no interest in pursuing a lifetime as a Mechanical Engineer. That left a lot of room for the time needed to develop a budding love for the game on the officers’ course at a nearby military reservation. The experience also taught me that if you walk into a situation acting as if you absolutely belong there beyond a shadow of a doubt, no one bothers to question or validate your presence or qualification! That worked for the two years it took to accumulate enough low grades and finally have a curious MP ask for our credentials. But by that time, I had hit enough golf shots to be hooked for life and also have a better understanding for the direction of my life. During the following years, golf has proved to be a great venue to develop many lifetime relationships, connect with business associates, meet lots of really talented professionals, throw off tons of life stress, enjoy many a walk on some of God’s most beautiful real estate, and realize that a good part of the attraction to the sport is the uncanny way golf imitates life. I took these priceless candid images of Arnold Palmer at Tom Watson's Children's Mercy Hospital Charity Classic where our company sponsored a winner's check. So, I jotted down some of my observations from my last fifty years of life and golf. I suspect I’m not alone in these musings either.
• Everyone enters the first tee with par.
• Everyone putts out on the eighteenth green and then must account for his round.
• Truth is more important than tradition.
• Be in control or be controlled
• Laying it up to play safe may sometimes be the rational move, but a faint heart will never soar.
• The euphoria of pulling off a low percentage shot is long remembered after all the miss hits.
• We must see the green over the sand and water, not the reverse.
• To achieve greatness, you must visualize it in advance.
• Focus on the positive results of a difficult shot. Do not entertain negative possibilities.
• To make a long breaking putt, you must hit it with conviction and visualize its path to the hole. Fail to plan and you’ll plan to fail. Our brain's Mission Control Center can take over once it has direction for the shot. Trust it.
• Practice with a purpose. Don’t just bang balls with a driver on the range. Take courses and volunteer for assignments that will help you achieve your long term goals--especially those which others consider too difficult.
• Never focus on a tree limb close to your desired path or you will hit it more often than not. Mission Control kicking in again.
• It absolutely helps to have a lot of different shots in your bag like a draw, a fade, a low stinger into the wind, etc. Most of us weekenders have those shots. We just don’t always know when they’ll come off the club face! Life can be just as full of surprises. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. That kind of luck takes a lot of the surprises out of life. No one likes surprises except at Christmas time.
• The probability of a perfect shot is inversely proportional to the number and importance of those observing it. That formula also works for business presentations.
• Golf isn’t fair and neither is life. Shots hit sprinkler heads, bounce the wrong way and roll off line from a spike mark. Many folks spend too many unhappy hours thinking they should be living a TV sitcom.
• Once you’ve put in the practice and gained experience, it then becomes most important to simply trust your swing. The same goes for life and placing our trust in our creator to get us through the hazards.
• A round of golf reveals more character than a lifetime of casual interaction.
• We can’t control all the bad breaks on the course, but we can control how we react to them.
• Blaming trees, rocks, clubs, and others instead of ourselves and our poor decisions will reveal a character that we and our playing partners do not like.
• A wise man seriously considers character flaws exposed on the course and works to fix them more than his swing flaws.
• Many times it is easier to tolerate someone’s slight swing flaw like a consistent fade than it is to try to change everything about their swing. We all have our little flaws in life.
• One of the challenging and satisfying things about golf is the wide variety of courses there are available to play all over this planet. We also need to celebrate all the differences in others.
• The significant interruptions in a round of golf, as well as those in life, are those that shape our character and define our life. No one plans to end up in a sand trap or deep in the rough and no one expects to fight cancer or deal with broken relationships, etc.
• If you do lose your cool, do not react to anything without first taking a dozen steps to cool down. If you are rapidly responding to an irritating e-mail, hit the “send later” key, not the “send” key.
• Just like going to bed after a particularly terrible bad day and committing to get up the next morning to try again, so it is to walk to the next tee with a new attitude of determination after carding a devastating score on the last hole.
• We shouldn’t pray to God to help us hit the perfect golf shot. Rather, we should pray for the kind of strong character that can handle the pressure.
• We can never master the game of golf and we can never achieve perfection in this life, even though we should always strive to that lofty goal.
• There’s no point in getting our club head covers all tangled up trying to shoot below par when we never take the time to practice purposely to be capable of it. The same goes for success in life.
• Dedicated commitment is needed to perform at the highest levels. And we generally have more important priorities in life than golf.
• Accepting our position of a weekend golfer makes for a much more enjoyable round. Accepting the odds of being president can make life more enjoyable also.
• We may not ever attain perfection, but we are capable of keeping the ball between the tall grasses on either side of the fairway. We generally get into trouble when we stray waaay off the fairways of life.
• Golf can tear your heart out when you find yourself beginning to take it waaaay too seriously. Especially if you consider it much more serious than life and death and treat it or anything else in life as your god. You can always find your heart where you spend a lot of your time. Be careful.
• Every now and then it’s good to take a risky shot like attempting to thread the needle between two pine trees. Just the anticipation and possibility of making this shot gets the heart jump started, starts the adrenalin flowing, and makes you more alive.
• Sometimes you just need to commit and “go for it”. You can lay up when you’re no longer on the green side of the fairway grass.
• When faced with a difficult shot, draw upon your learned knowledge and practiced skills to define the moment. Don’t let the moment define you.
• To successfully maneuver around the course, stay in the moment and take each shot as it comes. Don’t fret about missed shots and don’t worry about possible hazards ahead. Learn from the past, plan for the future and live in the moment, for that's where life unfolds.
• Sometimes when your ball is laying up against a tree that is directly between you and the green, you just have to mutter that golf spelled backwards is flog. Then take your medicine and pitch out to the fairway. We need to choose our battles in life well, grasshoppers.
• Cheating is bad Karma. Admit it, when you ever so slightly move your ball to a better lie, the lingering guilt creeps into the balance of your round to affect it in a negative way.
• We are constantly sending out positive and negative energy that is returned to us. Rising tides raise all ships, so it’s good to always encourage your golfing buddies on good shots, as it inspires you as well.
• A little random luck is always welcome and appreciated, both on the course and off. Just remember, the best kind of luck is when preparation meets opportunity. And the three keys to preparation are practice, practice and practice.
• To experience the very highs of a high risk shot well played, we also have to risk hitting the Death Valley lows of a shot hit into the hazard. That seems to be part of the balance of the universe.
• Hazards abound on the course and it is our challenge to navigate around them. Those hazards were placed there by the course creator to test our game and grow our character. They don’t have to be there, but it makes the game more interesting. See a parallel?
• Once we have enough experience at golf, we can then begin to trust our instincts and play with confidence.
• We may win some and lose some, but we suit up for all of them. Quitting is never an option to walk off the course because things aren’t going well.
• Patience will finally see a putt drop after sliding by the hole on the last six holes. Our “instant gratification” culture doesn’t teach patience very well.
• Sometimes a miss hit shot will miraculously bound back into the fairway, when perhaps it wasn’t a miracle at all.
• Sometimes the devil will guide an improbable shot to its unrealistic destination just to tempt us back again for more grief.
• Sometimes a very poorly struck shot will actually end up on the green through no good reason at all, certainly not due to our involvement. When that happens, say a short “thank you”, and move on down the fairway.
• Putting is as simple as knowing the correct speed and direction for the ball. A steady pace to the finish line while maintaining a healthy direction for our life also serves us well.
• Golf is the game for a lifetime that must be adjusted with each trip around the sun, as growing old gracefully and adjusting to the challenges of life. Learn the difference between happiness and joy.
• Long after all the players forget today’s scores, they’ll remember the beautiful surroundings, good company and handful of good shots. Don’t spoil the ride with negative thoughts and actions.
• If the game of golf were easy, we’d never find it challenging enough to come back again and again. A little drama in life keeps it interesting. We all find “easy” quickly boring and abandon it. Se la vie!
• When our round is finished, it’s great to move on to a comfortable club house at the nineteenth hole with good company. When we’ve breathed our last, it’s good to know that we have a heavenly home where all our loved ones reside, the fairways are pristine and no hazards exist.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Hand of God, Branson, Mo
The Bible contains numerous accounts of how God and His angels interact with humankind. Many of these interactions involve the protection of people that are not even aware of it. Angels of the Lord are sometimes seen and many times not seen. There’s a story in Numbers 22 about a sorcerer that is traveling on his donkey to meet a ruler that wants to curse Israel before they conquer his land. An angel of the Lord with his sword drawn stood in his path three times and was seen by the donkey which turned off the path only to be beaten by his rider who could not see the angel. Then the Lord opened the sorcerer’s eyes and he finally saw the imposing angel who delivered God’s message to him. It just may be for the best that we're not wired to normally see these spiritual beings. There’s a reason that in almost all confrontations between human beings and these spiritual beings, the angel says, “fear not”. Their presence apparently scares the living daylights out of us mere mortals!
There’s another account in 2 Kings 6 regarding how the prophet Elisha continually told the king of Israel about the logistical tactics of the king of Aman. This enraged the Amanean king so much that he sent an army with horses and chariots to surround the city where Elisha resided. When Elisha’s servant rushed to Elisha and sounded the alarm, Elisha quieted him by observing that they had a larger army on their side for protection. Then Elisha prayed to the Lord to open the servant’s eyes and he saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. Then as the army attacked, Elisha prayed for the Lord to smite them with blindness. Their blindness was only removed after they were captured and then released to their king so that they would stop raiding Israel’s territory.
Some time later in 2 Kings 7, the king of Aman again raised a large army and laid siege to the Israeli city of Samaria where the king of Israel and Elisha were residing. The people were being starved out. Then the Lord caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they thought the king of Israel had hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack them. So they fled in the night and ran for their lives. Then the people went out to their camp and plundered it of all their food and livestock.
The Israelites settled into their promised land to the east of the Mediterranean Sea. But they did not follow God’s command to destroy all of the pagan influences and gods that could lead them away from God. Until that time, God had protected them by leading them out of slavery in Egypt and into battle to displace the indigenous peoples of the land. He sent an angel to guard and guide them (Exodus 23:20). Both the northern and southern tribes were invaded twice as a warning not to turn their backs on God. Finally, God withdrew his protection and turned his back on Israel and the Assyrian Empire conquered the north and Samaria (2 Kings 17) and later the evil Babylonian Empire to the south captured the remainder and Jerusalem (2 Kings 25). The nation had rejected its original purpose to honor God and be a light to the world.
Revelation tells us that there will be a detailed accounting of each of our lives at the final judgment. Who knows exactly what all might be revealed to us at that time? Quite possibly we may finally have our eyes opened to numerous instances where angels of the Lord had protected us from all manner of calamities that never happened. Have you read of all the accounts of those people who did not show up for work in the twin towers on September 11? Was it simply fate or were they being protected from harm for some reason? Was the actual attack a punishment as some say, or perhaps did God simply respond in kind from this nation turning our backs on Him? Many scoff at even the question, but we should reverently search our hearts and souls to try to find the answer if it was perhaps a first warning.
Volcanic Lightning, Internet Domain
In it's most basic form, the final chapter of the Bible, Revelation, speaks to our contemporary culture as a wake up call that the lives of all humanity will ultimately be judged by God. The book spoke to first century oppressed Christions of the hope for relief from the ruling Romans. The final end of human history will see evil eradicated with Satan, the false prophet, the beasts and all their evil worshipers destroyed. I'm not sure there are any absolute interpretations of John's symbolism. But it certainly cannot be taken literally. There are a lot of comparisons to the Roman rule over the persecuted Christians in John's time when he wrote the Apocalypse while exiled on the Aegean island of Patmos. It was meant to be read aloud for effect (1:3).
Prophets understand today and speak of tomorrow. Apocalyptic visions discern spiritual reality outside of time and space. Christian legend has it that John is the only one that actually died of old age versus the terrible executions the other apostles endured during this tumultuous time of early Christianity's development.
The dragon represents Satan who controls the first beast from the sea or Rome, the evil empire, the great whore or adulteress who worships false gods. Roman conquerors came to Asia Minor on ships from the sea. Babylon symbolizes Rome (with 7 hills), the beast (with 7 heads). Modern day Baghdad is in proximity to ancient Babylon. The second beast comes out of the earth, or the governors and political supporters of Rome who enforced the edicts. The self proclaimed Roman emperors decreed they were to be worshiped as a god. Jews had an exemption, but not Christians. Others note that every generation has it's own version of Revelation, including a beast such as Hitler, etc. and today's Bin Laden. The number 6 stands for imperfection, one less than 7(perfection), so 666 is really evil--the mark of the beast. And 666 also refers to Nero Caesar through Hebrew numerology which translates to 616 in some ancient manuscripts, just to keep things unclear.
Revelation is full of symbolism and 275 of the 404 verses have some kind of Old Testament allusion. Armageddon is the symbolic place of God's ultimate victory, the cross. The great confrontation will be won by Christ's blood (love) and his Word (truth). The old order will be replaced by a new earth and new heaven of God's Kingdom (21:4-5) flowing from the river of life to the tree of life.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
American Gothic, Chicago Art Institute
It just might be a bit pretentious of us to think that we're the only occupants of this vast entire universe. It's possible that God may have created another similar planet with a human race that was created perfect right out of the starting blocks. And they're using us as their Thursday Night Reality Show!
If we bought tickets to a highly acclaimed movie and it didn't deliver any drama, we'd probably get up and ask for our money back. Life's like that. If there wasn't any drama in our lives occasionally, we'd complain of boredom!
As the old saying goes, you can pick your friends but not your relatives. And we all have that one person in each family that you can tolerate spending a holiday with, but would have a very difficult time going on vacation with for an entire week. In fact, I bet you can think of who that person is in your family right now. If not, you're it!
--Thoughts from the Mark Lowry show
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Presenting the Check, Kansas City, Mo.
What if you had just won the biggest lottery of the year? The prize consists of a daily bank deposit of $86,400 in your account each and every day. The prize comes with only two rules: You only have that day to spend each deposit--anything not spent is forfieted. The lottery comission has the option to cancel the deposits at any time.
Wouldn't you try to spend every dollar on yourself and those you care about? And since you'd still have something left, wouldn't you also try to help out others that are not so fortunate? Actually, all of us are winners! In reality, we all get exactly 86,400 seconds as a gift of life every day we awake on this planet. That gift of time is infinitely more precious than money. Use it well. Live life to the fullest. Take care of yourself and others. Live in the moment, for that is where life unfolds.
And time waits for no man, until the brief moment it stops to fix the second date on your memorial stone. Hopefully, that date represents your second birthdate.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Cast on the Waters, Greensboro, NC
“I am the way, the truth, and the life”—John 14:6
“The best religion is the one that gets you closest to God.
It is the one that makes you a better person”--Dalai Lama
The law of action and reaction works not only for physics,
but also human behavior.
Bread cast on the waters returns.
You see in life what you look for,
and you receive in life what you give.
The universe is an echo of our conduct.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Mom Davis, Emporia, KS
Grandpa Davis Smokin', Emporia, KS
I had the wonderful good fortune to grow up in a rental house next door to my dad’s parents. Grandpa Davis was the consummate grandfather and from my child’s perspective, he couldn’t have been more perfect. One of my many fondest memories of him was when all of us grandchildren would run hysterically past his cigar smoking lounge chair. He would grab us one at a time and wisker us until we sometimes peed our pants! It was some of the best times of our lives. Now, years later, I understand.
But it was our grandmother, Mom Davis, that was quite the ubiquitous unforgettable character. She wore her feelings on her sleeve, so you never needed to guess her mood. Her every move in life revolved around her large family. From my child’s perspective, she never showed any signs of pretentiousness. She grew up in a large Kansas farm family and raised her own large family the same way. Her later years were lived out in a Kansas town with a bustling main street and her Methodist church within a six block walking distance. She never missed many Sundays, even though she actually may have attended many Sundays without any surrounding family, as most of her children had married and either moved out of town or attended their spouse’s denomination. I know she had a strong faith that sustained her through a rather hard life. That now seems to be the basis of another one of my many memories of Mom. My future wife, Karen, just happened to grow up Methodist in another town before we met in college. So, the first time we attended church together, we went to Mom’s Methodist church. She cried the minute she saw us enter together. Now, years later, I understand.
My grandparents had one of those great Victorian homes built in the 30’s that had a sweeping porch around the side and back. It was a great place to sit and talk on warm Kansas summer evenings to wait for the house to cool off enough to attempt sleep. One day, after Karen and I had been dating for some time, I was sitting on the porch and overheard Mom talking to one of her many ”telephone friends” in her circle, stating that she was so happy I had fallen “head over heels in love” for the first time. I remember being somewhat shocked that perhaps she was right! Now, years later, I understand.
Mom could be outrageous at times. You never really knew just what she might say or do. Of course, that was one of her very best qualities. I remember a hallway conversation she had with my uncle Ed one Sunday afternoon. She was bottle feeding one of her seemingly ever present grandbabies and remarked that she had breast fed all of her seven children on the farm. Uncle Ed inquisitively asked how on earth she had ever managed that. Mom replied that the only difficult part was weaning them. With the ever present twinkle in his eye, Uncle Ed asked how she did it. Of course, that was a knowingly loaded question for Mom. Without hesitating, she simply circled her breast with her index finger to explain to Uncle Ed and me how she took a black shoe shine applicator and circled each nipple. She matter-of-factly stated that they would take one quizzical look and decide on the spot that “I’m not going back there again”! I can still see Uncle Ed bursting out with uncontrolled laughter and I completely wilted out of site from utter sheer embarrassment. Mom just widely smiled at her creativity. Now, years later, I understand.
One of my earliest childhood memories occurred on an early evening when my great grandmother died. I didn’t know her very well as she was bed ridden by the time I came to know her. Mom had transitioned into her primary care giver at their home during the final years of her life. I remember family members arriving and becoming uncharacteristically solemn as they slowly gathered around the fireplace at our home. The moment that made the most vivid impression on me that evening was the gasp that my mother suddenly uttered while everyone was still reverently celebrating this woman’s life in our dining room. She was pointing to the old black clock on the mantle. On this night, the hands were frozen in time at the precise hour and minute that my great grandmother’s spirit had passed on from this life and into the sanctuary of our ultimate home, as if in tribute to and respect for her long and most recently painful life. Mom lovingly cared for her until the moment of her death. Now, years later, I understand.
Our grandpa actually ran for local politics and worked hard all his life. Mom was never formally employed, but ran the best household and kitchen in the world. In the farm country tradition, she was the last to eat, especially at our large Sunday dinner family gatherings. Consequently, she never had much disposable income and I suspect she never had much spending money in her large black purse. But, I do remember that she always had a present for everyone on their birthday and at Christmas. And I could pretty much count on receiving a nice white handkerchief in my nicely wrapped present. I received enough that I still have them and have no intentions to ever part with them. After receiving the fifth or sixth though, I vaguely remember thinking that this isn’t much. But it was very much to Mom. Now, years later, I understand.
Emporia, Kansas, was the birthplace for honoring all American veterans on the new Veterans Day holiday after WWII. Mom personally knew the VFW veteran who went to Washington DC to finally sell the idea. I remember walking down to main street as a boy with my older sister, Carolyn, and Mom on many of those special days and standing on a street corner to sell red poppies. The proceeds helped veterans who made it back from the great war disabled. Mom was a Gold Star mother in recognition of having a son that didn’t make it back. But she wanted to help those who did to channel her grief. I guess some of that modeled behavior rubbed off on a young boy. Now, years later, I understand.
As lively and full of life as Mom was, she apparently still had some very bad days like all us adults. I remember my mother telling me that when she was having a down day, she might have trouble getting out of bed. That’s when my grandfather would go upstairs after he returned home from work and lovingly order her out of bed because he needed supper. He knew his wife of so many years very well. She would jump right up and then be fine for awhile. Now, years later, I understand.
It’s funny how we adults never fully realize just how much attention our children are paying to our every move. I’m certain it’s been going on since Cain watched the way Adam ate apples. Sometimes, out of sheer frustration over one of life’s foibles, I occasionally catch myself saying under my breath to no one in particular, “Oh dear, bread and beer”. That nonsensical little rhyme makes perfect sense to me, as I observed Mom saying it all the time. My grandparents were part of the “greatest generation”. Mom and grandpa lost a son in WWII and another returned wounded beyond repair. I’m sure there were many other tragedies in her life, including the Sunday afternoon she found the stable rock in her life dead of a massive heart attack on their living room floor after celebrating their last family dinner together. Mom was never the same again. Now, years later, I understand.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Firefly, Internet Domain
Mason Jar Fireflies, Internet Domain
A Native American legend relates that fireflies were created when a great thunder and lightning storm shook several stars from the sky. When they fell headlong to the earth below they broke into a multitude of very small pieces which blinked on and off. Hence, some folks also call them lightning bugs. Others say that fireflies were created by God simply for the amusement of children on warm summer evenings. Many childhood memories are created by chasing the Morse code flashes through neighborhood backyards. The magical treasures are placed into Mason canning jars filled with fresh grasses. The jar lids were poked with ice picks to permit oxygen to enter. Little did we know that the oxygen was a key catalyst in the bioluminescence process that activated other chemicals released in the insect’s lower abdomen to produce light.
Firefly eggs hatch into a larval stage, then pupate and emerge as adults in about two weeks, somewhat similar to butterflies emerging from cocoons. The miraculous transition from crawling creatures to magnificent flying artists has captured the imagination of humans for all time. This transformation represents the new birth and soaring flight of the human spirit and soul as God’s kingdom and spirit begins to grow within everyone who has accepted our creator God as their Heavenly Father. These messengers of the moment demonstrate that change, growth, courage and trust enable untested wings to soar on the wind with eagles. Their joyous dance in the air beckons the smallest child to join the warm evening firefly dance and celebrate life!
My daughter and I were sitting on the backyard deck at home discussing the contemporary worship service we were going to direct the following Sunday morning. I was sharing a message on the three senses of God’s Kingdom that I had been studying recently. She was creating a “prayer for the people” at the beginning of the service. The heat and light of the early June evening were slowly diminishing. As we sat at the table, one of the first blinking heralds of the season flew into our line of sight and casually zig zagged in our midst until it had our rapt attention. And then the delicate winged spirit creature left as abruptly as it arrived.
Suddenly my daughter had the inspiration for a prayer of thanks for the simple priceless joys of the season, like fireflies, iced sweet tea and our relationships. I validated the illumination God provides within all of us to a metamorphosis rebirth of discovery in His kingdom; He lights our path through the darkness to a better reality for our life on earth today; and at our spiritual journey’s end, our winged soul departs and is carried on the wind to a beautiful forever.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Wikipedia tells us that “In physics and fiction, a wormhole is a hypothetical topological feature of spacetime that would be, fundamentally, a "shortcut" through spacetime. The theory of general relativity predicts that if traversable wormholes exist, they could allow time travel. This would be accomplished by accelerating one end of the wormhole to a high velocity relative to the other, and then sometime later bringing it back. For example, consider two clocks at both mouths both showing the date as 1950. After being taken on a trip at relativistic velocities, the accelerated mouth is brought back to the same region as the stationary mouth with the accelerated mouth's clock reading 1960 while the stationary mouth's clock reads 2010. A traveler who entered the accelerated mouth at this moment would exit the stationary mouth when its clock also read 1960, in the same region but now fifty years in the past.
During the weekend of July 23, 2010, the EHS class of 1960 will travel through spacetime back to 1960 in Emporia, Kansas. Yes Dorothy, maybe you can go back home. It just won’t quite look the same—trust me. Some folks say there is never so perfect a day as graduation day, like that glorious May day in 1960. Arriving at the Civic Auditorium in May of this year for my grandniece’s EHS class of 2010 graduation, brought back many delightful memories of that same month and place exactly fifty years ago. We had arrived sun burned and a bit out of sorts from a day in the young sun at Reading Lake just in time to cloak ourselves in a sweaty cap and gown. I somewhat remember that I also had a slight case of poison ivy on top of my sunburn which was nice. Life was becoming ever more exciting and ominous, and it was certainly never going to be the same. Like all youth, we couldn’t move on fast enough! And we did just that.
Country singer, Kenny Chesney, struck a cord with me the first moment I heard his hit song, “Young”, many years later. It could easily qualify as the national anthem for high school graduation with these lyrics that sharply resonate the experience:
“Man, I don’t know, where the time goes, but it sure goes fast!
Just like that, we were wannabe rebels that didn’t have a clue,
in our rock ‘n roll T-shirts and our typically bad attitudes.
Had no excuse for the things that we’d done.
We were brave, we were crazy, we were mostly young.
Young-- wishing we were older.
Young-- hey, I wish it wasn’t over!”
We’ve spent the past fifty years traveling life’s paths and encountering a myriad of forks in the road. Some of those turns were positive and some were not. Hopefully, we learned from our wrong turns and persevered on to better choices. If not, well, ironically, we still have time. We read that if we want to enter God’s kingdom, we need to have the trusting nature we initially had as a youth, before the world and the years hardened us. In almost seventy years now, we’ve had plenty of time to experience this broken world and we’ve all surely experienced many Colorado mountain top highs and Death Valley lows. That’s part of the deal. Like iron is hardened to steel in a blast furnace, we too are hardened in the crucible of life. And we’ve never been wired to be immortal—not our bodies anyway. Being close to 70 is called growing old gracefully which ain’t for sissies. We’ve probably acquired new body parts and new relationships. Hopefully, we’ve got new attitudes and outlooks to go with them.
It was quite an experience to briefly talk to the new 2010 EHS graduates at their post party. They had all gathered together while we older citizens from another planet amused ourselves in light conversation. Perhaps it was seriously beginning to soak in that things would never be the same again, as they had all converged together at one of life’s major intersections. But I did take the time to meet them and remark that my classmates and I were also in their flip flops exactly fifty years earlier. And they seemed a bit incredulous when I remarked that we still occasionally get together over the years. They even brightened up a bit when I mentioned that we also still enjoy each other’s company and we pick up on conversations just where we had left off while walking the halls of EHS or dragging the gut on Commercial Street. And although most don’t realize it at the time, there is never so perfect a day as high school graduation day, because we’re never 17 again.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Millennium Park Wading Pool, Chicago, Il
Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
The path of simplicity can be one of creative progress to a successful life with less stress. In her book, “The Heart of Simple Living”, Wanda Urbanska has emerged as another voice for the green movement of “living with less” to both benefit our personal lives and the environment that ultimately sustains us.
Some of her salient points include advising us to “pay bills immediately. As long as a bill is hanging out there in the unpaid category, it occupies mental space…Pay in cash. Identify a personal spending trouble spot and shift to a cash-only policy”. Her advice for the new American home is “small, green and paid-for”.
She advocates for us to “celebrate your victories. In the rush of our lives, too often we allow our ‘mountaintop moments’ to pass unnoticed”. She advises us to “spend time outdoors. Whether it’s sunny or overcast, step outside every day to reconnect with nature”.
She encourages modern Americans to “disconnect to reconnect” and “take time every day to disconnect from electronics. This will open the way for eye-to-eye contact and genuine engagement…When you’re out for a walk in the neighborhood, or in a supermarket line, make small talk. You will find that ‘small talk’ isn’t small, but big and meaningful”.
People will forget what you said.
People will forget what you did.
But people will never forget how you made them feel.