I watched the sun kiss the dawn this morning. I checked my messages from the evening and replied where I could. I then checked my blood glucose and started pressing my finger to this screen. You’d think my days were more important than this, but usually aren’t. I sit here and prod away at my silly manuscript or I write some silly little notes of encouragement. Like some old granny at the kitchen table fretting over her children.
We worry so much about purpose and meaning, and I suppose those things are important. But in the grand scheme of things, can that drive overtake a deeper purpose? Like watching your family grow or the rising of a new dawn. Maybe I’m just being silly, telling you stuff you already know. But in a way maybe I’m just reminding myself of the value of just living.
I don’t poke my head out much during the summer. I find it hard to stay hydrated. Who knows what really causes that, I mean I could blame it on any number of things. All I know is I dry out like a needy seedling in the spring. So I stay contained in this dark room, keeping out the light to stay cool. My family frets over me like a sickly child, which by the way kinda pisses me off. But I deal with my limitations and begrudgingly accept them.
But the words and the thoughts, now they give me room to breathe and dream. Now purpose may not be all that important. Neither is legacy, I mean do you know everyone’s headstone in the cemetery? Life has meaning all its own. It has purpose, it has drive. Maybe not at your pace, but just enough to keep the dreams alive.
Each of us brings our own spool of thread to this tapestry called life. Weaving into it our own story, our own tales of emotion and symmetry. But there are forces that wish to break the string, to weave their own meaning into our story. But life was meant to be shared, not torn into pieces and scattered to the four winds. There must be balance and diversity to the story that makes up life.
At one time we were mire dust blown across the eons. Gathered together to form what we are, threads of a greater story. A collection of emotions that when put together tell the next generation who they are. Helping them to understand they are stronger together then when they are apart. Because loneliness creates pain and suffering.
Still we fight amongst ourselves for selfish reasons and for the pure intent of causing pain. And for what, silver and gold? Power? For things which we deem valuable, that in truth are shared by all. Art, music, intellect those are the things that should be of highest value. For they are created from nothing but the soul from which they came.
Life is a tapestry woven together from the threads that make up our lives. Some thread is spun of silver and gold. Some from the rags of a broken heart. But it is love and compassion that keeps the fabric tight. Holding us together to continue to weave. For this generation and the next, the story must travel on.
This entire morning has been conspiring against me. It first started off by waking me up way too early. Then my bride running into the room with yet another computer emergency. Then after three weeks of no response, a government agency I have to deal with finally decided to respond, by asking me more questions. Nope it hasn’t been a good day. And oh yeah, I burned my toast. Our lives can be so full of crap sometimes, it’s often hard to remember there’s still a sun above the clouds.
Going on a three-day holiday, you would think I’d been full of anticipation and vigor. But instead of cramming a lot of activities into those three days. I mostly sat around the Airbnb we rented and simply chilled. The rest of the family however ran around seeing the sights and going to the beach, while I just took time to turn off and do nothing.
Maybe to some that might sound counter productive to a normal holiday. But if you think about it, all that activity becomes nothing more than a distraction, much like the ones I experienced this morning. It seems now I’m all about the silence and quieting the noise. Giving my creative side room to breathe and explore places most fear to tread.
I more than understand the complexity and demands of life. I lived through that the majority of my life. Now I see things in a far different light. I understand that in order to survive I had to slowdown and shut certain things off. The key is to not let your slowing down to stop you from living. For me it was reexploring my creative side. Because the power of focus and introspection can be powerful tools in discovering peace and true happiness.
I’ve always felt at home near the water. I don’t know if it has more to do with growing near the coast or my time spent on the Ogeechee River. All I know is whenever I’m near the water I’m at peace. For the last twenty years I’ve lived inland. Far away from the salty air and the sound of the waves. Oh, we have rivers here and we have ponds, but it still doesn’t feel the same.
Here I am a stranger in a strange land, I’ve never quite feeling like I'm home. Now I’m not blaming the people, it’s probably more my fault than anything else. I suppose it’s because my life feels so…temporary. I only once ever owned my own home and rental properties never really feels like your own. It’s like pitching a tent in the woods, only to pull up stakes the next day and move on. You’re there and then your gone.
Peace of mind is a valuable thing, but so to is a sense of place. Maybe I’m overthinking this, but the ocean breeze and the salty air. They call me back to a simpler place, a place where I felt more comfortable. It's like the many people that are now gone from my life that helped shape who I am. More than anything I just miss their company, thereby missing my place in this world.
Time is seldom a good thing or even a decent friend. In our youth it seems to drag on forever. But looking towards the setting sun, it often becomes just a reminder of what you have left to do. But there’s always the coast, that one constant. When I need peace, when I need comfort, I can go there and find my way home.
It seems I have achieved yet another milestone in my life. While pulling my arm through my t-shirt I noticed two things. First, I now have skin wings dangling from under my arms. And second, I am beginning to develop crepe paper skin. Now these are the sort of things we used to make fun of our Grandma’s about. But I must admit, it’s still kinda funny. My bride thinks I’ve lost my mind when I show off “my wings” to the grandkids. But to me it just brings back fond memories of two women that I dearly loved.
Growing old “ain’t worth a shit”, I’ll be the first to admit that. At first it was my eyes, then pretty much everything else. I suppose it all depends on how you look at aging. For a few folks I know, it’s fight, fight, fight all the way. For others it’s deny, deny, deny. I suppose I’ve just accepted growing old as a part of living. Now I’m not really concerned about the quantity time I have left, as much as the quality of the time I have left. Standing at death’s door some four years ago, relieved me of a lot of burdens. For one it gave me a whole new perspective on how to use my time.
I suppose what I’m saying is, be wise with your time. I know we all have chores to do, but making moments to love or say a kind word are just as important. Don’t allow yourself to come to a point where you realize there’s no more time. Cherish these moments, learn to laugh at yourself. Show off your wings, and learn to pass along the joy and wisdom you were given
Waking up in the middle of the night seems to be one of the things I do quite well. So to is my ability to stress over situations I can’t control. These past few days have brought back a lot of old memories. Of times where staying up all night was a common thing, where worry and stress were just second nature. I guess I’ve gotten a little soft around the middle when it comes to managing my fears. Maybe it’s time to take a look under the hood and check some things out.
It’s funny how a certain degree of arrogance can creep into your mind. When things are going pretty well, and the world seems to be leaving you alone. But I still have such a “hair trigger” when it comes to my stressors. That despite whatever armor I’m wearing, eventually the stress at the moment will take me down. For me peace and calm can be so fleeting, still I tend to forget.
Much like a recovering addict, I have to take things one day at a time. But often when you have stretches of really good days, I tend to forget a bad day is only a step away. But that’s how it is with anxiety and depression, they come at you from all sides. To be honest I shield myself pretty well from the stresses of the day. Often hiding in my sanctuary against whatever’s out there. So I have to wonder, is protecting myself from the snares that can trap me a good thing. Or are they just another roadblock on my road to recovery.
I sit in my isolation, away from the cries of those that weep. Yet I hear them, I really hear them. Crying out for justice and a fair break. Yet the system we hold so dear is held up with lies and red tape. Balancing the power to the strong and away from the weak. I don’t know why I am writing this, after all I’m among that most privileged demographic. But that wasn’t the way I was raised. I take the words the good book at face value not how you interpret it.
Compassion and empathy are our keys to survival. Brut force may win the game, but it never wins a heart. To change minds we must lead by example. But right now I don’t see too many examples laying around. Power seems to be the name of the game. We all play our victim cards, but who’s really the victim? You and your money or the mother selling her soul to feed her kids?
I don’t mean to get all preachy, besides that job’s already been cornered by hypocrites. All I’m asking is, are open-minded enough to serve? I don’t think so. Even I don’t have that ability sometimes. But honesty that is a first step, understanding yet another. Compassion that’s never a bad thing to have, and neither is the ability to love. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. (John 15:13 NIV)
When you walked through the abyss for as long as I had, you learn to appreciate colors more deeply. For a good part of my adult life I was robbed of the simple joys of light, darkness, and composition. But once I dropped my dependents on a chemical fix to make it through the day. The world became a wash with color and sound again.
At first it was a bit overwhelming, much like being an infant again. Certain hues and patterns brought such intense emotions. I would cry at the drop of a hat to the sound of a sad tune or the color of a beautiful painting. All this with the emotions I thought I’d lost and nearly forgotten decades ago.
My adult children find my sudden appreciation for color and sound a bit strange. They remember the days of dull and grey that covered my mind. Those were times when the responsibilities of life were pressing in around me and the walls began closing in. The paradise I sought to create vanished with each passing moment making it harder to find my way home.
But that moment truly came when I lay in a hospital bed, wired for sound and clinging to life. That was the moment I learned to let go. In life if you’re lucky you’re granted a few epiphanies. For me one came in the form of a heart attack and subsequent surgery to patch me up. Physically the damage is done, but spiritually over the last few years it has been nice to get reacquainted with myself. Life is more than just living, it’s about passion, happiness, and love. A love for the world around you, a love for family and friends, a love for your passions, a mostly importantly a love for yourself. Because without that, anything else is just grey.
Bad dream after bad dream rolled through my head last night. During the evening my thoughts went back to years past to clean out some of the cobwebs that were still scattered around. I guess the residual effect of doing that was reliving some old memories during the night. Some of those memories were rather painful and cut to the core. It’s funny how you think you got some things tucked neatly away in some corner, to only have then pop back up at the most inconvenient times.
When it comes to the heart and soul, things should be looked at head on. Facing the pain and guilt is often very unpleasant. Being able to forgive others as well as yourself is no easy task. In religious circles forgiveness is often given by proxy. But even then, I’ve discovered that is often not enough. That despite whatever cleansing you receive, the stain’s still there.
In its most imperfect way, life presents us with challenges to our character and even our soul. Circumstances that present themselves as opportunities often become roadblocks to our growth. Living in the moment is the focus of being where we are. Still the past and the future have a way of influencing the here and now. Facing ourselves and the pain we’ve lived is one way to create better moments. Even though last night was uncomfortable, it still grants me insights into creating a better today. Don’t let hidden garbage stink up your life. Face yourself and be willing to forgive.
Well my friends you know my tendency towards doing stupid. Anyway, I just got my lawn cut so I decided to sit outside. Well as many of my South Georgia friends can tell you the gnats were out in force. So after a light snack of eating sand gnats, I decided to go back inside. Life in a small southern town is nothing if not predictable. You can just about set your watch by the things that go on.
During school you can count on the school bus to hit the speed bump in front of my house at full throttle at 7:15 in the morning. Much to the delight of the little kids on board. At 8:30 three rural route carriers pull out from behind the Post Office, heading in different directions. And at 9:00 sharp the mail is sitting in the P.O. Boxes with the Alamo faithful waiting and gossiping.
I see these things nearly every day from the bay window in my home office. I grew up in a much larger metropolitan area. So the adjustment to small town living was a bit frustrating. But I have adapted and won’t have it any other way.
The way you adjust to change is pretty much the same way. You can either resist it or you can “adapt and overcome”. Rather it’s a change in policy, or different co-workers, or just plain going old; things change. Maturity breeds wisdom. In my case, I usually have to be dragged along for the ride. But in order to grew change has to happen. In order to reap a harvest, the seed must change. Life moves, it abhors stagnation. Remember this advice from a citified/country boy.
We cram so much into our lives in search of some “pie in the sky”. But from my experience all that ever got me was a mental breakdown, heart failure, and a whole lot of grey hair. So that’s it, I’m done. I’m years away from any retirement, but health issues have stopped me from most anything other than beekeeping I suppose. So maybe I do have some built-up prejudice against ambition and motivation. But believe me they were easy to come by.
I look at my past life and it’s hard to imagine I made it this far. I eat too much, smoked too much, worried too much, and run around like a decapitated chicken. When my mental health issues began 20 years ago. That put the brakes on some things, but only temporarily. The drugs I was fed got me functioning but at a great cost. Leaving vulnerable to other mental and physical issues.
For many years I was putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound. Thinking I was okay, but still repeating the same habits that got me where I am today. When I was finally forced to step back, I had to change or die. My recovery has been slow, I can’t do a lot of things that I once could do. So I’ve closed myself off, spending more time with nature than I do with people.
It’s an odd trade-off considering my past. I am of course very active on social media, that’s pretty much the best I can do. But you know it’s okay. Due to all my bad choices, I’ve learned to make better one’s. I chosen enlightenment over fame or fortune. Living healthier over living out of a bag. And being at peace with my surroundings instead of fighting against it every day. Life brings you misery and joy. But it’s balancing the two that brings contentment.
All post written by
FD Thornton, Jr
All Rights Reserved.