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Farms and old green trucks…

It’s been a productive weekend. I hope it continues into the weekdays. Since they took my PICC line out I’ve experienced the freedom to sweat like everyone else. Believe it or not, I enjoy it. I get to work outside in the garden and go to the stables most days. I’m close enough to the house that I go in a cool off when it gets too much.

There’s something about the physical labor that calms my spirit and reconnects me to the things that are truly important in life. I pray a lot when I’m doing manual labor. We have a friend who calls it ‘dirt therapy’. I’m sure many of you understand.

I was telling Margaret this morning that I’ve been unusually nostalgic lately. It seems to be directly proportionate to the gratitude I feel. The more gratitude I have, the more reminiscent I get. I’ve recalled memories I haven’t thought of in years and I’ve noticed changes more acutely. Maybe it’s simply coming up on the ‘Big 6-0’. The reason isn’t important. It’s good to be reflective at times. My wife says it’s just because I’m getting old. I didn’t hesitate to remind her that she’s not far behind me. My bad…

I grew up in Fort Worth, but I spent my summer vacations with either my Uncle Carl on his ranch in South Texas or on my Uncle Roof’s dairy farm just northwest of Fort Worth. I may live in the city but I’m just an old country boy at heart. That’s one of the things I love about living on the westside in White Settlement. It has a small-town feel despite being a part of one of the largest metropolitan areas in Texas. The real estate developers saved the westside for last, I guess. Urban sprawl has favored moving north and south. The eastside is hemmed in by the ‘mid-cities’. Unfortunately, I spied several new developments on my last drive through the western edges of Tarrant County. It’s a little scary…

I don’t remember my childhood like many people do. I had a counseling professional tell me it was probably related to some trauma during my youth. I must’ve been abused in some way. I didn’t think that was the case, but I gave it serious consideration. The only thing I could come up with is the one time my Grandmother, who never engaged in corporal punishment, gave me a spanking because I was playing with matches and almost burned the carport down. Now that was traumatic…

I suppose that’s why I’ve come to cherish the memories when they come up these days. Unlike my right-wing friends, I don’t long for the ‘old days’, but I appreciate the little things I remember. One of my earliest, and favorite, memories is of my father’s 1951 Chevrolet pick-up truck. Trucks like that belong on a farm.

The truck was Hunter Green and had wooden side-boards so it could haul more papers. My dad had a third job ‘throwing’ a local paper called The Shopper on Saturday nights for a Sunday morning delivery. He’d often go straight there from his second job at a Striplings, a local department store.

I remember Dad coming home exhausted, around four-thirty or so on Sunday mornings. He’d crawl into bed for an hour and then get up, get dressed, and take the family to church. Sunday lunch always followed, and it was always a time to get with another family from church for lunch. If we were lucky, we got to go to Wyatt’s Cafeteria and eat out. It always seemed like a real treat, although I’d give anything to have Mom’s homemade Sunday dinner again…

Dad usually took a nap on Sunday afternoon. That meant I could turn on the matinee of old horror movies that came on every Sunday. There were always two of them and I hated to see the second one end. It meant that soon Dad would get up, pack his suitcase, and leave for the train station. Our primary income came from his job as a traveling auditor for the FW&D Railroad. He would take the train to wherever he was going along the line, work for the week, and return on Friday night in time to work his other two jobs on the weekend. The only thing I liked about his job was the occasional visits to the trainyard and the gift he brought me each time he was away.

If there really is trauma somewhere in my young life it had to be one Saturday evening when Dad was leaving to throw papers. He hugged and kissed my mother and I and headed out to the truck. I don’t remember the details and I’ve relied on my father’s telling of the story over the years. Apparently, I broke away from Mom, little legs pumping as fast as they could, and launched myself around my father’s legs. “Please don’t go, Daddy, please don’t go!”, I pleaded as tears ran down my face.

Dad picked me up and hugged me until I stopped sobbing. “I love you, Daddy”, I cried over and over. I eventually calmed down. Dad was late for work that Saturday night. He quit his job at Stripling’s on Monday. He continued to throw papers since he was gone while I was asleep. Not long after, he received a promotion from the railroad and only had to travel occasionally. He was home most of the time and I loved it.

What I didn’t know, until I was well into adulthood, was that my father worked so much so he could pay back my grandmother for loaning him the adoption fees for me. My parents couldn’t have children and wanted them desperately.  My sister and I were both adopted. My dad always told me that we were special because we were gifts and were chosen to be their kids. We were ‘handpicked’! He couldn’t stand to be away from us after that Saturday night so long ago.

Dad’s been gone since 2002 and not a day goes by that I don’t miss him. He’s the one that showed me what my Heavenly Father is like. His love was truly unconditional. Boy, did I test him through the years!

I wish he could see just how wonderful my life is today, despite the difficulties of my past. I’m sure he can. I love you, Dad and I hope I leave a legacy, as you did…

I guess that’s the trauma the professionals talk about. If that’s the extent of it, I’m a truly blessed man. Thinking about it today, I can’t help but pray ‘thank you’ over and over to a mighty God who has shown me so much grace. How can I refrain from loving others after receiving so much love, mercy, and grace?

Anyway, I’m just sitting here enjoying the cool of the morning and enjoying the memories. I still dream about that old green truck. Maybe one day I can run around on the farm…

Children, Christianity, Communication, Community, Emotional Health, Faith, Family, Friendship, Grace, Gratitude, Growing Up, Hope, Listening, Love, Movies, Neighbors, Patience, Prayer, Recovery, Simplicity, Spirituality, Texas, Uncategorized, Writing

An absolute must see!

Last week’s rain was a welcome guest during the hot Texas summer. Unfortunately, an obnoxious high-pressure system chased away the unstable air that brought lower temperatures and cooling rains. Thus, a week of triple digit temperatures and heat advisories lie ahead. It was a noticeable difference on the porch this morning, but the coffee and conversation with my beautiful wife made up for any discomfort due to the temperature I may have felt. I wish likewise for all of you…

It’s been a great weekend here in Fort Worth. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had much ‘desk-time’. Margaret had a procedure done on her back on Friday morning and the results have been good so far. She felt enough relief to get out and about Friday night and hasn’t paid dearly for the experience as usual. We’re cautiously optimistic…

Friday night, our son Paul came over and we went to see “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, the documentary about Fred Rogers and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.  I wrote about him recently, so I hope this isn’t too redundant. We’d been looking forward to seeing it since its release. I don’t pretend to be a movie critic. I know what I like when I see it. I don’t look for entertainment as much as I look for an emotional connection. That’s what good stories do. They reach somewhere inside and connect deep inside. If that appeals to you then this is a “must see’ film. Be prepared to be touched…

I was a latecomer to the whole Mr. Rogers thing. The Public Broadcasting System, of which I later became a huge fan, didn’t start broadcasting until 1969. I was in junior high school by then, but my sister, who is six years younger, would be watching Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I was too old for such nonsense and just got ticked-off that she got to control the TV programming…

The only thing I knew of Mr. Rogers were the parodies of Eddie Murphy and The Firesign Theater. Even Mr. Rogers himself thought some of them were funny so long as they weren’t mean-spirited. It wasn’t until I became a parent that I began to take Mr. Rogers seriously. The simple message of kindness, of being special, and of being loved just as you are resonated with me. I wanted my own children to hear and internalize his message. Now that I’ve been down the road a bit, I find myself wishing that everyone, including myself, could feel that message deep inside.

I spent yesterday evening with a close friend who is going through a major struggle right now. I won’t bore you with the details, and it’s a private affair. What I can share with you is how I felt. It’s said that men are ‘fixers’ by nature (although I’ve known a great many women who have tried and tried to ‘fix’ me in the past… believe me, I needed fixing…). I can get with that. As I listened to his struggles and frustration with where he’s at, I wanted desperately to find the ‘right’ words that would miraculously make things better for him. I thought about the film and one of the children’s questions to Mr. Rogers, “What do you do with mad?” I still don’t have a good answer. The harder I tried to find the words, the more powerless I felt. I can’t take away his pain, his frustration, or his anger, but I can be present and walk through it with him. Sitting with him in my truck, I remembered a part of the movie I saw Friday. Sometimes we just need to be silent. Sometimes there are no words. Sometimes we just need to be there and ease the burden for one another.

We sat there in silence for a while. Finally, we said our goodbyes and we went our separate ways. I don’t know if he felt any better, but I know he felt a little more loved than he did when we first started talking, and when I talked to him later in the evening, he was going to bed so he could get up and do it again tomorrow. I said a prayer for my friend. Tomorrow’s another day…

I guess that was my take away from the movie. Be kind. Be loving. Be there and don’t try and fill the space between those you love with the constant buzz of words. It’s okay to feel your feelings, to walk through them and walk through them together. Above all, you’re loved and special just as you are. A pretty good message if you ask me, for adults as well as children.

There was a book by Robert Fulghum called, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, that was popular many years ago. It was a reminder that all the life skills I would ever need I learned when I was very young. I was reminded again as I watched “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”. It saddened me to reflect on how much I’ve lost since childhood. I came to worry about what others thought of me early in life and stifles the child I was. The loss of innocence sounds so cliché but it’s true. Somewhere along the line I, like most of us, traded in that childlike wonder and innocent spirit for worry, self-importance, and all that comes with being grown-ups. I used to accuse my dad of entering his second childhood when I’d see him do childlike and silly stuff, especially with his grandkids. Now I wish I was like him…

Maybe I’m entering my second childhood? (Margaret says I am. She asks me all the time if my voice is going to change when I reach puberty.) I hope I’m more okay with being a kid than I was all those years ago. Back then it was so important to ‘keep up appearances’. One of the blessings of getting older is that you just don’t care what other people think as much. Such is the wisdom of a child. I find that I take things far less seriously and much more wondrously than I did in the past. I don’t feel a need to ‘fix’ someone else, but I can be present to walk alongside them today. Jesus said that to enter the kingdom of heaven, you must become as a child. I think you also should become a lot like Mr. Rodgers…

One of the most striking things to me about Fred Rogers is that he was an ordained Presbyterian minister. He may very well have been one of the first televangelists. He was ordained for the television ministry. Yet, he never preached a word (or asked for a “donation in order to receive God’s favor….”). He lived it instead. Talk about attracting others rather than promoting one’s self. No wonder kids flocked to him just like the poor and marginalized did to Jesus.

To paraphrase Fred Rogers, love is at the root of everything, or the lack thereof. I’ve seen what happens on both ends of the spectrum. All I need to do is read my newsfeed and the lack of love is apparent. So, I strive for the former rather than the latter. The Teacher I follow says that if I just love God with all my heart, mind, spirit and then love everyone else like I do myself, I can’t go wrong.

I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but there’s a line in the movie that left me with incredible hope. One of Fred Rogers’ friends said that many people think that Mr. Rogers was one of a kind, maybe like a fluke I guess. His opinion filled me with hope and gratitude when he reminded us all that there are a” lot of people out there just like Fred Rogers”. Yes, there are. I know some of them and for that, I’m so grateful.

If no one has told you today, please remember you’re loved – just the way you are. Pretty good words to live by. Thanks Mr. Rogers…

 

Activism, Christianity, Community, Faith, Grace, Gratitude, Hope, Neighbors, Patience, Prayer, Recovery, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Writing

Thundershowers…

We had a good rain yesterday afternoon and it made it quite comfortable on the porch this morning. It’s become unusual to have thunderstorms for several days in a row during July, but there’s still a chance we may get some today. The yard, the flowers, and my tomato and pepper plants are jumping up and done for joy (okay, not literally…). There’s something about God’s watering that far exceeds anything I can do with the garden hose.

Following my divorce, the boys and I moved back to Texas at the end of 1986. I went to work as a Field Engineer for the company my dad had gone to work for after he took early retirement from the railroad. He didn’t care much for retirement. I think it had to do with being at home with my mom all the time, but that’s another story…

It turned out that ‘Field Engineer’ was a fancy title for surveyor and gopher. My crew did everything from laying out huge warehouses and building roads to baling hay. It was quite a change from the real estate partnership I had in Denver. I often tell people I started at the top and worked my way to the bottom from there. Professionally, that’s not entirely true. It’s seriously accurate personally and spiritually, though. Some of you know what I mean. The rest of you will just have to wait for further information until another time. That isn’t what I was thinking about this morning…

I enjoyed the change from an office job to being in the field, except for the extremes of bone-chilling, windy, humid cold of winter and the brain-frying heat of summers spent on concrete slabs or roadways.

At least there was a brief break in the afternoons, even if cooler temperatures brought higher humidity. It seemed to rain for a brief while every day. Maybe I simply remember things different, but it seemed to rain almost every afternoon. It only could be euphoric recall, but I don’t think so.

We’d be working, often on a stretch of the interstate, and about 3:00 in the afternoon, the first puffs of clouds would appear in the northwest. On cue, the concrete guys would put plastic over any areas of wet concrete there may be. The clouds would slowly sneak across the sky, alone or in pairs, quietly conducting reconnaissance for the coming cumulonimbus army. About 3:30 or so, clouds began to gather on the horizon, forming massive thunderheads that seemed to reach for the stars. Once they formed an orderly line, the order was given, and they slowly started advancing to the east.

A welcome breeze would start as the clouds began their march. Soon, they would be closing in faster and faster, creating a breeze that became a cooling wind as they got closer. One by one, and then in groups, large raindrops hit the pavement and then the downpour would start. Some of the guys would run for cover. Others would keep working and soak up the rain like they were enjoying sitting in front of a fan for a bit, knowing that afternoon showers would march double-time across the Texas sky.

The thundershowers would only last for five or ten minutes or so, but they’d appear like clockwork, and we’d all enjoy a brief respite from the often triple-digit heat. It was the timeclock for our days, a reminder that soon we’d call it quits and find the comfort of air conditioning.

We don’t often have that kind of rain anymore. Rain is sporadic, at best, during North Texas summers and drought has become a regular fixture. I’ll refrain from all the various climate change arguments here. I have my own opinion and unfortunately, I only see the situation getting worse for my kids and grandkids. I’ll try to be a good steward of God’s creation and do my part to advocate and mitigate climate change. That’s my responsibility, whether anyone else does or not.

I really miss those rains, even if it’s just my imagination. I find that as I’ve gotten older, I tend to be more nostalgic and nostalgia isn’t always what we believe it to be. Still, I’m incredibly grateful for yesterday’s thundershower. I just may get some more homegrown tomatoes before Fall…

Activism, Christianity, Communication, Community, Faith, Freelancing, Gardening, Hope, Listening, Neighbors, Non-Profits, Patience, Prayer, Recovery, Relationships, Service Organizations, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Writing

Como

A couple of days ago I mentioned I had been sleeping late the last couple of weeks. I know 8:30 doesn’t sound late to some people, especially my kids (to whom noon would still be early), but I prefer getting up and getting on with my day. I can still hear my father say, “Get out of bed son, you’re burning daylight”. Apparently, his spirit has entered my dog Maggie, because she has limits on sleeping in as well. By 8:30, she decides I need a morning bath. She jumps up on the bed and licks any exposed skin – usually my face – until I get up and get moving. My father would be proud…

Margaret went back to bed after I got up. She’s had a rough week. We were out and about for several days and she worked on her quilting with her friend Mary. I love to be able to go places with my wife and I really appreciate her spending time with friends. The unfortunate consequence to that occurs in the following week. She pays for her time going places with a week in bed. Anyone who deals with chronic pain or fatigue knows what I mean.

So, my time on the porch was spent in solitude this morning. It was already beginning to get too hot to linger there, but I stayed for quite a while. There are days when the thoughts dart across my head like the squirrels chasing each other across our front lawn. I have difficulty focusing, my prayers seem stale, and it’s hard to listen for His side of the conversation anyway. I used to get really upset when this happened. Today, it’s God’s way of telling me it’s okay, relax and simply enjoy the morning. It took me a long time to learn how to do ‘nothing’. The irony is that by relaxing and letting the wandering thoughts be is that I become centered and begin to gain focus. Go figure…

I’ve been working on a project I’m truly passionate about. The initial research has been both rewarding and extremely frustrating. It deals with the problem of ‘food deserts’ and the lack of good food in low-income neighborhoods. Food availability truly is a class issue. Working toward a solution and food equality is something I’m proud to be involved in. I guess that’s why I got to thinking about a community garden project I was worked on several years ago for Dr. Brown in the Como neighborhood.

The Como community grew up around Lake Como, which was built in 1889. It was originally a thriving resort area. By the 1940s it became a predominantly African American community. It had its own ‘downtown’ which became the center of life for the community. However, decades later, downtown had disappeared, the local theater was torn down and an old beer and barbeque place was all that was left. It was on these vacant lots that Dr. Brown and his community organization, B.U.R.N. Ministries, decided to put a garden.

I went to work for Dr. Brown and the various groups of volunteers that came to help. Much of the initial labor came from the kids enrolled in the B.U.R.N. Ministries mentoring programs, the Mighty Men and Women of Grace, that came to help prepare the hard-scrabble soil for planting. Neighbors would walk by periodically and comment on our progress – usually telling us that nothing would grow there. We told them we were going to try anyway.

There was one gentleman that rode by on his bicycle and stopped to comment on a regular basis. Most of his comments weren’t positive – at least at first. He said to me,

“You white church folks come down here with all these big ideas without talking to us and finding out what we need. Then you go home and pat yourselves on the back for being of service to us poor black folks. We’re left to clean up the mess. Nobody asked us if we wanted a garden.”

 I didn’t have much of an answer for him, except to say that Dr. Brown lives and works in the community and this was part of a long-term plan. Eventually, the garden would be replaced by a school for the community. I finished the stuff I needed to take care of and went home. I thought a lot about what he said. The harsh reality is that he was right. Too often, we think we know what’s best for someone without ever asking the people we’re trying to ‘help’. We don’t like to listen to their needs, their opinions, and their visions

Despite what everyone said, the garden was successful, and I spent a lot of quality time with the kids. Even the gentleman on the bike changed his mind about the project when he saw us there daily, weeding, watering, and harvesting. It wasn’t a one-and-done weekend project. By being there daily, we formed a relationship and an understanding. My planting became based on the neighborhood’s wishes. I stayed and listened…

Learning to listen is not easy. It takes patience, something I’ve never excelled at. It’s much easier to plow straight ahead, believing that I know what’s best. My experience in Como gave me pause and made me look at my motives. Do I want to show up for a couple of days or weeks and take a lot of selfies with the local community or do I want to build on-going relationships? Am I trying to help others or trying to feel better about myself? Do I listen, really listen, or do I think I know what’s best?

In my professional life I work with mostly non-profits and faith-based organizations. I’ve noticed that the most successful organizations are those who listen and build relationships. Personally, I’ve found everything to be about relationships. My personal success and growth depends on the relationships I have with others. Those relationships develop by listening. I might hear you, but I can’t listen if I already know the answer…

My friend Edgar has taught me two valuable life lessons. One is “watch and listen”.  The other is that “self-sufficiency is a lie”. I’ve learned just how right he is. I need all the relationships I have in my life today. Some set an example of who I want to become, and some show me what I want to avoid. It’s only by listening and having relationships that I find out which is which.

 

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Would You Write A Letter To A Fellow Blogger?

I read this today and thought I’d share it with you all. I love letters! It’s so much easier to shoot a text or an email but there’s something about something tangible that I can hold in my a hand, that really excites me. It’s the same way with books. I rad the news etc. on the computer but they can’t take the place of a book in hand. Enjoy my friends!

Fractured Faith Blog

Yesterday I posted about emojis and the death of the written word. It generated quite a dialogue and one of the themes that emerged was how much people miss receiving, and sending, letters. You know, in the post. Stamps? Envelopes? Am I ringing any bells here people? It brought back to me the excitement and anticipation of receiving mail from penpals. There is something in the care and attention of writing and posting a letter that cannot be replicated into today’s ‘junk food’ society of e-mail, text and social media messaging.

So today’s post is a challenge to you all. Whether or not you choose my metaphorical gauntlet throwing is entirely up to you. It’s a challenge to write a letter and post it to a fellow blogger. Or bloggers if you are feeling particularly inspired. It can be anything. A few lines or your life story. It can include…

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Mud on the floors…

Margaret and I were having coffee this morning when she spied the glimmering silver lines of a enormous spider web by the tree in front of the porch. When I say enormous, I mean huge. It extended from the lower canopy of the tree all the way to the ground. Although it was so large, you had to look carefully to see it as it waved in the spring-like morning breeze. It was the perfect trap for other insects and guaranteed our little eight-legged friend a hearty meal.

What truly amazes me about spiders is the seriousness and speed with which they work. We’ve had the privilege of watching one up close every evening for the last couple of years. I don’t know if it’s one of the offspring from the previous year, but it’s always the same species as far as I can tell. Then again, I’m no etymologist and Margaret’s content to watch from her chair, which is always a safe distance away.

We are always a bit awed by how quickly the little guy can get up, down, and across what looks like nothing but air. What’s amazing is that he does this night after night and in the same spot. In the morning the web will have disappeared somehow, and he must go about his business every night. It doesn’t seem to bother him that his fastidious work is needed each evening. He seems to have the idea of ‘one day at a time’ done pat. I could learn a lot from this tiny arachnid.

I came in the study and discovered it would be necessary to mop the floor before going any further into my day. We were blessed by a pretty good rain (for July anyway) yesterday afternoon. We haven’t yet figured out how to train the dogs to wipe their feet when they come and go through the doggy door. Thank God for laminate flooring.

In the spring, I tend to complain a lot about the continual mopping that comes with three large dogs and the springs rains. I begin to grumble over and over, forgetting that the day will come when I wouldn’t mind cleaning up after them at all. Today is one of those days! We’ve gone from above-average precipitation to moderate drought and burn bans in the span of two months. When the thunderstorm came yesterday, all I could do was sit on the porch, watch it fall, and say a prayer of thanks.

One of the few things I remember from high school science class is that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. I don’t know if that’s still true. It’s been forty-plus years and many changes ago, but it has sure been my experience. My dad always called it the ‘law of sowing and reaping’ and I can get with that. I love to work in my garden. If I sow good seeds, I get a good harvest – simple as that – and every blessing comes with a responsibility. We were blessed with rain and now I need to mop the floor…

I’m learning how to plant better seeds on a personal level, but I sometimes forget that responsibility comes with blessings. In the Torah of the Hebrew Bible, God asks Abram (later called Abraham) to pick up his belongings and head for a land where God says, “I’ll make you a great nation and bless you”.

Sometimes however, I overlook the end of God’s talk with Abraham, “All of the families of the Earth will be blessed by you”. Maybe I’m stretching a bit, but what I hear is “I bless you in order to bless others”.

Blessing with responsibility. Go figure…

Sometimes the word ‘blessed’ seems so ‘churchy’ and trite. I prefer words like ‘gifted’ or ‘graced’. I’ve been on the receiving end of a multitude of gifts and I’ve come to understand that everything in my life is grace. I can’t help but ‘re-gift’ or extend the grace I’ve received. ‘Re-gifting” has somewhat of a dubious reputation at times. I guess it depends on the gift. The one I’ve been given is priceless, so I don’t feel bad about re-gifting.

It is my responsibility to pass on what I’ve been given so freely. Not only is it just responsibility, but it’s a life lesson. I get to learn the joy that comes from giving, and the freedom from the lie of scarcity that seems so prevalent today. The more I give, the better I am. Life becomes different the more responsible I become.

The irony is that I receive so much more than I could ever give away. That’s the amazing thing about grace. I guess I’ll think about it some more while I mop the floor…

Christianity, Communication, Emotional Health, Faith, Gratitude, Growing Up, Hope, Patience, Prayer, Recovery, Simplicity, Trust, Uncategorized, Writing

Wait….

A friend of mine once told me that for the first year of recovery, he couldn’t sleep for more than a couple of hours. He was tired all the time and affected his work. So, he went to see his doctor to ask for something to help him sleep. She specialized in treating patients with addiction issues. She patiently listened to his difficulties and when he asked for sleep medication she refused. She went on to say that when he needed sleep, he’d sleep. That was it, discussion over.

 During his second year of recovery, my friend went on to say that he slept all the time. He grew concerned and once again went to his doctor. She listened attentively to his situation and when my friend asked if there was a medication to help, she replied refused again. She told him that his body must need the rest and that eventually it would all even out. He’d find his rhythm again and everything would be okay. He shared this story when I was going through my own physical inability to get the rest I needed.  He found balance and later, so did I.

 I haven’t been sure what’s going on with me physically, but I’ve slept until eight or nine o’clock in the morning for the last week. My normal routine has always been to wake up around 6:30 or 7:00, start coffee, have some time on the porch, and settle down to work. Quite honestly, I was a little concerned until Margaret reminded me that I had been in the hospital and on home IV infusion until this past Monday. I thought of my friend and I decided not to worry about it. It’ll all level out…

 I must issue a disclaimer here. There’s no M.D. behind my name. I’m aware that people in recovery have often physically damaged themselves beyond norms. I’d never suggest that someone should or should not seek medical advice for physical or mental issues, but I’ve also learned that not everything has an immediate answer. In all areas of my life, especially spiritually, the answer to my questions is a simple ‘wait’. Sometimes you just need to hit the ‘pause’ button.

 Waiting is still difficult for me, especially if the situation is extremely uncomfortable. My biggest discomfort today is the disruption of my routine. For that I’m grateful, because I’ve experienced far more troubling times of crisis. As my friend Jim used to tell me, “In the meantime, it’s just a mean time”. Just wait, it’ll pass. I’ve gotten much better at the practice, but I still have a long, long way to go.

 I’ve tried everything I could think of to ease any discomfort I’ve felt; usually in ways that weren’t good for me. If I talked to Jim, he would listen to my rantings – for a minute anyway – and then tell me, “Cowboy, lack of power is your dilemma”. In other words, ‘just stop’! If “lack of power is my dilemma”, maybe I need to find power. That’s where trust and acceptance come in.

 Over the last few years I’ve come to a degree of acceptance that sometimes, life simply shows up in ways I don’t like. No one’s to blame. It’s just living. My friends often respond to my troubles by simply reciting the old cliché, “this ,too, will pass”. That pisses me off. I want an answer now! That’s when my friend Jim would remind me that ‘it’ll all be okay on Tuesday at 2:00’. It was his way of saying, ‘quit struggling and wait’. It really will be okay…

 Waiting was far more difficult prior to my relationship with the Creator. A couple of my friends point to this reliance and belief in a power greater than myself and say I’m shirking responsibility for my decisions. They are entitled to their opinion. I used to believe that waiting was weakness, that it was failure of some sort. Experience has proven that the opposite is true. Today, I’m responsible for the choices I make. They’ve proved rash and somewhat insane in the past. Today I pause. I make more responsible decisions and as a result, have better outcomes.

 Waiting takes courage. Prayer is not magic. It is heartfelt discourse with the God of my understanding. Sometimes I don’t like the answer, especially when it’s ‘wait’. Still, I need to listen for the answer. If I’m not listening, I might as well be talking to myself (more of my insanity). It takes courage to believe. It takes courage to wait.

 I guess my sleep patterns will get back to normal. I’ll be back to my routine soon. Life will go on, all is and will be.” In the meantime…