I’m sitting here with a script already written. So it would be easy for me to post it and get the few likes that we all crave. Maybe I’ll even gain a few more follows from all the porn bots out there. Apparently this desperate old man fits the algorithm for such a person. But I honestly don’t waste too much time “chasing skirts”. I’d much rather connect what someone and get to know them. Maybe learn a little more about myself by seeing through there eyes. But being the impatient humans that we are, a lot of us spend our time engaged in a chase none of us are going to win.
Simplicity and modesty never seemed to be the great attributes we look for in romance. We want to be floored and swept away by the electricity and the attraction of it. I don’t know maybe I got a sorta misguided image of love way back when. But after a few screwed up flings, one totally failed marriage, and one long term compromise: my priorities have changed. Although I may sound like I know what I’m talking about. Honestly, I’m just as screwed up and disappointing as everyone else.
Beyond the honeymoon phase of a relationship comes the compromise and sacrifice phase of a relationship. The parts where the rubber meets the road and sadly you often have to change the tires. Usually the ride will smooth out on a new set of treads. But then you notice the shocks and the front end need to be replaced as well. But somewhere out there is a dream. A dream of a life where the compromises aren’t so severe. And the weight you have to carry can be shared by someone else.
So it is here that you ask yourself, are our lives already written? Do dreams never get a second chance once the die has been cast? I try to not dwell on such questions. Preferring instead to cast my dreams to wind to see if they’ll manifest. I like to think life isn’t so cold and calculating and hardwired like the algorithms used to predict our lives. So maybe there is an answer already written, where the boy gets the girl. And life even with all it’s up’s and downs isn’t so matter of fact.
Like I Did This Morning
It’s taken me a few minutes to adjust to the outside since I got up from my nap. I don’t know if it’s my blood pressure or my allergies that were dictating my discomfort. But after a little bit of disorientation, I’m feeling much better. It’s still a blustery day Pooh, with that baby hurricane sitting off the Carolina coast. The sky can’t seem to make up it’s mind rather it wants to be cloudy or sunny. Either way I’m just sitting here watching the bark fall from the sycamore trees, like I did this morning.
I suppose you could say it’s rush hour traffic out here in Alamo. There’s the usual number of cars and trucks headed home from either Vidalia or Dublin, depending on where they work. Ain’t heard too many log trucks today; but I have seen a bunch of EMC trucks loaded with wire and power poles apparently anticipating the weekend. I suppose none of this really matters much in the overall scheme of things. But I suppose in my own silly way, this is me recording everyday life.
We get so caught up in trying to make ourselves look so special; that we forget the every day things that actually make life special. Sitting out here alone seems to give me a certain perspective about how seemingly insignificant I may be. Yet in the interconnectedness of life, we are truly important and special. When I begin to think about it that way, I am actually humbled by the thought. Life has a funny ways of giving us perspective. Meaning, either through prayer , mediation, or just plain observation. We begin to understand the utter complexity and simplicity of it all. So don’t sell yourself short by thinking you are nothing. Because you are someone in this great tapestry we call life.
This is the Peace
There are lawnmowers buzzing all around the back of my head. My right shoulder aches and my left eye is full of floaters. The competing noises nearly drown out the songs of the mockingbirds overhead. But there is a gentle wind is on this late spring morning. And with no apparent sign of rain, I put on some laundry and hung it out to dry.
I pull myself free from the daily distractions by focusing inwardly, even with all this noise. Because eventually all things go quiet when given time. Outwardly I’m the same man the world has always dealt with for decades. But inwardly given time, I’ve found peace in the beauty that is both the natural world and the manmade. I struggle to explain myself, to get people to understand that life isn’t just about possessing. That if given the chance life will create everything you’ll ever need.
I took a leap of faith some 30 years ago, when I moved my family from Savannah and what we called home. To this place where the familiar was unfamiliar and still is to this very day. I’m often treated like a stranger in a strange land, and it can be lonely when you lose the familiarity of home. Here everything I touch isn’t really my own, but I’ve learned to adapt to the nonattachment this life brings.
Like I said it isn’t easy to explain. But through decades of sincere study, I’ve learn that detachment actually draws you closer to the truth. So I often sit here under someone else’s sycamore tree. Breathing in and breathing out. Asking myself, am I okay? Giving compassion to the person that I am inside. Hoping that the decisions I make benefit not only myself, but the world as a whole. Knowing this is the peace I sought for myself.
Plenty of Time
Retirement has it’s advantages, at the moment it gives Buffy endless head rubs. Along with plenty of time to sit on my belly while I’m trying to work. Other than that I do have time to pursue my passion for writing and improve my general well-being. Yesterday was yet another day of doctor appointments and test. This time I went back to my new kidney specialist for my test results from last week. I really didn’t learn anything my body wasn’t already telling me. But they were optimistic about a treatment plan in the hopes of keeping my kidneys functioning.
I also got the additional x-rays my PCP requested of my neck, back, and hip. Once again, I’m pretty sure I know what the diagnosis is going to be. Although I’m curious about the options she’s going to suggest other than just pain management. But such is the life of a once self-abusive fool with chronic depression, and apparent health anxieties. But I'm doing my best to improve the situation through mindfulness, awareness, forgiveness, and gratitude.
Listen my growth has not been an overnight process. I’ve been working on myself since 1999 mentally and since 2015 physically. Believe me when I tell you it’s a “one step forward, two steps back” kinda thing. With many more disappointments than victories. So why waste the time, you may ask? Well for me the alternative may have been, let’s say…nothing. In other words being just another headstone in a long forgotten cemetery. Or worse yet a forgotten shell of a man pretending to be a cast member of The Walking Dead.
Listen if your reading this, you still got plenty of time. Plenty of time to ask forgiveness those you wronged and who wronged you, while also forgiving yourself. Listen to what your insides are telling you. And understand that your actions do effect you and those around you. You are worthy of change and forgiveness. But it’s up to you to try.
It’s a bit damp this morning with the wind blowing in from the coast. There’s a sweet scent of flowers being carried in the air. Which is a pleasant distraction from the usual diesel and lawnmower fumes I usually get. I got my back turned to the street, it seems the gnats are a lot less abundant away from the fig bush/tree. Buffy’s on top of the Ranger standing guard in case there’s a squirrel attack.
It's sad that in the relative solitude of the morning so many troubles dance across the land. We’ve had three or more mass shootings within the last week. And that’s on top of the more personal tragedies people face everyday across the world. Yet I sit here watching an EMC Lineman train on the training pole across the street. While Buffy jumps down from the truck to follow Lisa to the Post Office.
I’m lucky I guess to live such a life. But in the not so distant past, things weren’t quite this way. It took a series of physical and mental troubles to take me down. To show me life often needs a pause. My adult children are in such a hurry sometimes living their lives and gobbling up moments like sweet candy. Yet in the background are moments of sheer terror. Where paranoia and propaganda ignites the evil that lives inside the fearful. Don’t get caught up in the distractions, listen to nature and what it has to say. That there will always be troubles, but also there will be moments of utter peace.
A Ton of Racket
Sometimes my neighbors (The Local EMC) can’t help themselves but make a ton of racket. Today it’s run around with the forklift dragging metal strips across the concrete. Yeah, that kind of racket. So instead of getting all bent-up about the noise, I’m focusing on the idea that it can’t last forever. And at least they’re not using a leaf blower…at least not yet.
Hiding behind a sycamore tree to avoid the morning sun. The bird songs are quite comforting, while a steady cool breeze blows. There are the usual sounds of the day like log trucks rolling down the highway and throaty old pick up trucks hauling raggedy old trailers of lawn equipment. You can’t expect much more from a small town, even if it is the country seat. The rhythm of life pulses everywhere, both urban and rural, large and small.
There’s nothing profound going on, other than me taking a walk in the park later. I think about my friends that I don’t get to see very often. And on those days when we do get together. It’s like a giant family reunion where it’s nearly impossible to check on everyone. So as I plan for the rest of my week, I got to make a trip to Savannah. Then I got at least three doctor visits to make. So as I work on my schedule, I hope each of you has a quiet day. Where the sounds of life don’t tear through your brain. Like metal on concrete or a trucker pulling a Jake Brake.
The feeling of being alone, for me is just a way of life. Some thrive in the solace, but I myself crave some interaction. It’s funny how the ones you want to impress the most, are usually the one’s you impress the least. For the last little while, I’ve allowed myself to be walled off. Mostly by the options and accusations of those that say I am “too hard” or “too unkind”. I personally don’t see myself treating anyone any different than I always have. It’s just over the last few years my “brittle canter” hasn’t been tolerated very well.
I don’t know, maybe all the folks out there are right and I should tuck myself into a quiet corner. But I think back to my own rising. Where fighting and scrapping were the proving grounds for survival. At first I was a very timid child. I was verbally abused for a number of things. I was asthmatic, I was fat, I spoke with a nervous lisp, and I worn glasses. You pick your poison and I’m certain was I bullied for it. It wasn’t until high school and beyond that I learned to use my sharp wit to win over my adversaries.
So for the next few decades I used my words and my laissez-faire attitude to survive. But as the years rolled by, my cynicism could only take me so far. And with each passing hour the very fears and abuse I buried, bubbled back to the surface. So I sought out wisdom from many sources. Like the comforting wisdom of Jesus Christ and the quiet words Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Each guiding me down a different path then I was taking.
Now I don’t consider myself any sort of sage or even a wise man. I just know that for a very long time I was miserable. So while I have found for myself a certain amount of peace. I notice that many around me have remained the same. It’s hard to preach a redemptive story when your still seen as the bully. So I guess I once again have to change myself, while the ones around me hold their same ground.
Telling My Story
I had a pretty good idea about what I was going to write about this morning. But while doing my morning routine of sorting through the laundry and checking my messages. I allowed those thoughts to just drifted away. But such as it is with the creative mind. You drift into an idea of something inspirational, but then it quickly passes away.
Outside it’s another cloudless day. The wind is quite cool for a May morning, but as long as it keeps the gnats away, I’m not going to complain. There are times when I miss the connection of true human company. One would think with a family and a following I’d be anything but lonely. But the riggers of caregiving and being in charge dull the senses to informal chatter and true companionship.
So you take on a personal life laded out more like a business, with schedules to keep and obligations to be met. Being a bit of a dreamer my creative side often gets lost in the duties of the day. Further causing me to shield myself in this impenetrable suit of armor. Many of you that enjoy reading my words may actually find me difficult to get to know in real time.
So I drift in and out of moods of loud banter and quiet retreat. But at the moment I seek companionship. Not so much the kind with intimate I love you’s and passionate awaking. Just some moments of quiet communication where some selfless understanding and respect are displayed. Often these are the elements of a relationship that we forget. Partner’s are supposed to grow with you, but seldom do they ever.
So I sit here languishing under the blustery shade of a sycamore tree. Crying (well maybe not crying), for a hint of inspiration. I sometimes wonder if I dream too much about the things I want. And that maybe due to my station in life, there will never be anything more than unachievable satisfaction. But until then, I guess I’ll continue to hope and continue tell my story.
I'm Doing Just Fine
Living on a fixed monthly income is such a joy, especially the last few days of the month. I’m sure I don’t have to tell any of you the cost of every day items is crazy. At first when you saw the Dollar Store turn to the Dollar Twenty Five Cent Store, you don’t think much of it. But Jeez that’s a 25% increase on every item sold in the store. That’s not just a little bump in price, that to me borders of corporate greed. And I know, I know their cost have gone up. But damn, I have friends struggling just to keep the doors open on their small businesses. While we gladly pull out our debt cards at these big box highway robbers.
I thought I got all my ranting out yesterday but apparently I got a little more to give. But I try and keep some perspective on the struggles life gives. I guess we should look at it like a hot piece of metal being tempered and folded on an anvil. With each strike of the hammer, the metal takes form eventually becoming a strong piece of art. (Sorry I’ve been binge watching The Mandalorian.)
My Grandma Geiger used to give me such sage advice when it came to troubles. Often taking the hardships of life and laughing at them. Saying things like, “You can’t get blood from a turnip”. Or, “With life, you either gonna laugh or cry. So I just assume laugh”. These and a million more memories are buried deep in my psyche. Allowing me to feel the suffering, while at the same time holding on to my patience. That eventually better times are gonna come.
So pay heed to your troubles, don’t just bottle them up with words like “I’m fine” or “I’m doing alright “. Confess your sins as the church likes to say. If to nobody else but yourself. The freedom of release is a powerful tool when the burdens of life weigh you down. You don’t have to walk this road alone. There are plenty of us out here that know exactly how you feel. Rather you choose a solitary life or it’s simply forced upon you. Know that many suffer under the rusted armor of “I’m doing just fine”.
Mowing & Blowing
Since seven o’clock this morning the landscaping company that cuts the strips of grass around the EMC building have been “hard at work”. Mind you I have ten times more grass in my yard than the EMC building. Which by the way takes one man with one lawnmower 30 minutes to cut. But after 3 hours the landscaping crew (of at least 3 men), are still mowing and blowing dirt around.
But enough ranting about corporate America. It’s kinda cool this morning, with the wind blowing out of the southeast. I’m sitting here in the backyard trying to listen to a couple of birds overhead. Hoping that my buddy’s next door have finally “milked the clock enough “ to go on to the next lawn. The smell of gasoline and oil is finally dissipating since the leaf blowers have moved on. But there’s still plenty of racket to be heard over the birds from somebody banging on a dumpster and the large number of cars heading to the courthouse.
But like I said, I’ll stop ranting. Things don’t often go according to plan. My friends out there with their five year plans would probably go crazy with all this excess noise. But as nature often reminds us the unexpected often brings the most pleasant surprises. Such as the appreciation you feel once the noise is finally gone. You can’t appreciate happiness without experiencing a little sadness. Nor can you appreciate the sunshine without a little rain. Life gives to us what it gives. It’s up to us to create the balance.
This picture is a view of my ceiling. I’ve been up since before 7am getting things together to go over to my daughter’s. Today her brothers helped paint a room and mow the front lawn. I stayed outside and managed the grass cutting, because if I breath incorrectly I might cause a panic inside. Anyway, the yard is done and also part of the room. I just hope they finish it before it’s needed.
Now I’m back in my own yard (where someone else mows the grass) sitting under a canopy of green leaves. I could sit in the house and turn on the air, but I’d much rather enjoy this breeze out of the northeast and the big puffy clouds. To be honest I’m not fit for man nor beast at the moment. I’m still keyed up and a little pissed with everyone right now. Hell, I don’t remember why, I just know I am.
So the best place for me to be is outside isolating myself from everyone till the anger fades. A sweet friend of mine mentioned this morning, that sometimes it’s best just to keep quiet. Knowing her like I do, that’s probably pretty hard. I grew up around half a family that didn’t hold anything back, while the other half would just walk away. The dichotomy of this is not lost on me now. It just depends on which side of the bed I awake up on, as to which one you’re going to get.
So I refuse to say I went with the better angels in this instance. Because both sides are a blessed legacy for me. So I dine with the angels this afternoon no matter where I end up. Knowing that family has been taken care of and that life just keeps moseying along.
Catch & Release
Back when I was a kid growing up in Savannah Georgia in the 1970’s. There was a journeyman TV news reporter I grew up watching that was a jack of all trades. He was a late night reporter, he worked as a police beat reporter, and sometimes even a morning news anchor. His name was Johnny Cole, and if you grew up in the Coastal Empire through the ‘60’s to the ‘90’s you saw him regularly on WTOC Channel 11.
Now there’s not much I know personally about the man, other than what I saw on TV. But I do know he used to do a fishing segment on the morning news. Covering the best places to go fishing or showing off some kid’s first big catch. His catchphrase was always, “Get hooked on fishing, not drugs.” Now that all sounded a bit hooky, especially for us teenagers back then, but I always felt he was being sincere.
Another thing I learned from old Johnny was about “catch and release “ where you only took the fish you needed and released to rest. Now a pile of my relatives and old fishing buddies think that philosophy is a mountain of bullshit. That you keep everything you catch and freeze the rest. And I’ve had my share of disagreements with one of my dear late uncles about that very subject.
The reason I bring up the subject is to remind y’all. Is that often times you can have you fill of troubles. But eventually those troubles or burdens need to be let go. That putting them up in the freezer only means your putting up anger, fear, and hate for another day. It’s time we gather up the things that trouble us and simple throw them back into the pool of life. Now some of you may not agree. You may say it’s the anger that fuels your passions. But like I said, when you’ve had your fill, let it go. And like old Johnny used also say, “Take a kid fishing”.
Me and my oldest son just got through mowing my oldest child’s lawn. Hers is a complicated story which she has banned me from telling. Anyway the backyard is done and I brought home her weedeater to see if we can respool it with string. Right now I’m in my backyard, fighting off the gnats and dodging the sunshine. I stole three chicken nuggets from my son’s happy meal after we were done. But now I’m getting a little hungry, so I asked my wife to make me a turkey sandwich.
I try to stay as uncomplicated as I can. As I’ve grown older I’ve learned the least complicated I stay the better. That’s why instead of fiddling around with that weed eater spool, I saved the job for my youngest. He’s getting pretty good at figuring shit out. Plus in my own sneaky way I’m trying to work on his self confidence. With a little breeze stirring from the south and east, I catch a damn cardinal flying out of the corner of eye. Usually when you see one, there’s usually another one around somewhere. I’m not a big fan of Cardinals or Bluejays for that matter. They often act like big bullies when they hang out around the bird feeder.
In a community where we are all supposed to get along. For whatever reason certain individuals believe themselves to be better than most. That by some “divine intervention”, they believe themselves to be “enlightened”. Just because they drive a better truck or they inherited their Granddaddy’s timber claim. Whatever the reason, education or membership in the right click, we all have rules to abide by. For no one is above the law. But like I said, we got our bullies and they think it’s their God given right to rule as they see fit.
But I try and to not be that complicated. Oh I have my opinions, but there left said to just a handful. In a country where we all are supposed to be able to live free and happy. Most women, minorities, the poor, and the gender fluid are treated like second class citizens. Yet among us are many led blindly like pigs to the slaughter, never understanding they to are just part of the game.
Decades of Practice
Just when you figured things out, circumstance pulls another trigger and there you fall again. The last several hours haven’t been easy on my mind. A situation I often face reared its ugly head again taking my house of cards down with it. To be the one in charge is never easy, especially when you’d just assume be another ignorant drone. But with some degree of enlightenment comes the burden of being aware. I remember as a kid asking God for wisdom. What a foolish request to make when looking back. Because for the rest of your life you end up seeing things you wish you could unsee.
Living a life in total control places the burden of perfection upon your mind. Unfortunately perfection is an unreal goal to work towards. So the result is a failed self-image and ever increasing self-hatred. That when left unchecked creates this distorted view of everything around you. Within ourselves it creates totally unrealistic demands while fueling an anger you carry against the world. At the moment the depression I carry is reigning over me. Pulling every ounce of energy out of my body. But don’t worry, cause you’ll never see it. I am a master of disguise with decades of practice.
But my reason for writing this is two-fold. First is to give voice to the pain I currently carry. And second, to express to those of you out there that feel the same, that these feelings are only natural. Many would have you believe that depression, self-anger, and fear are elements we can live without. But I often find myself questioning these assumptions. For me to live a life in balance, you must accept all elements that make you who you are. While many see my words as dedicating, in truth they are about simply about acceptance. For what is love without hate and what is healing without pain. Conscience acceptance of the life as it is, is the first step towards healing and forgiveness.
Trouble on the Wind
With the sun to my back, I watch the shadows dance along the ground. For a day that supposed to turn stormy, this morning is anything but. The songbirds play in stereo across my ears, while the noise of mankind interferes like a clanging cymbal or beating drum. I can smell moisture in air blowing from the southwest hinting at the trouble coming our way. But I’ll sit here as long as I can till then.
I listened to a young woman this morning complimenting me on the kind words I said to her. As most of you know, I have no real agenda when it comes to flirting other than to remind myself I still can. Unfortunately at my age I’m just a toothless old lion that occasionally likes to hear himself roar. But beyond that, making a sincere comment is much better on the ears than a blaring bullhorn of cynicism and distaste. As many around me would point out, I should be the last person to lecture anyone on cynicism. But just watch me, I am trying learn.
My point here is, keep a check on yourself. Don’t always assume that you are right. Don’t let your fragile ego write a check get your ass can’t cash. People aren’t to be played with, even the ones who deserve it. And please don’t start going on about your God given rights and the woke media. How about cutting everyone some slack and not open your mouth. The point is not rather your right or wrong, it’s about civil discourse. That young woman appreciated that my comments didn’t end with some crude innuendo. To a greater extent you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Be a gentle soul. Not everything is going to go your way. Don’t be afraid of your own vulnerability. Because you never know when there’s going to be real trouble on the wind.
Passing By My Ear
It’s sorta funny how I can be sitting in my yard while the rest of the world rushes by. It’s just after 5 in the afternoon and the boys at the EMC have already closed the gates. The few folks are still leaving the courthouse speeding by heading on their way home. While I’m left here swatting gnats under the shade of the old fig monstrosity. Mr. Brown came out earlier today to hoe up beds around the greens he’s planted. While me and my oldest son made the trip to my daughter’s to mow her front yard.
I watched my soaps and took a nap after lunch. Now I’m just enjoying the sound of the songbirds and the distance moan of cars and semis passing by. By this point I’m writing just for the sake of writing. Putting my finger on this tiny keyboard hazing through my thoughts for the day. Not having anyone to talk to that honestly gives a shit. I understand why hurting people write manifestos of death and destruction. When they also believe nobody cares. Wow. That took a weird turn didn’t it?
We blame the easily marked for the world’s troubles. While we ourselves rant and rage when things don’t go our way. So maybe I am blessed in that I can rant and rage across this screen that nobody really gets anyway. But in the end I have enough self-compassion to see past my own self-judgement to free my soul. But it still gets lonely out here, while the world goes deafly silent except for the sound of a lone bumblebee passing by my ear.
Wherever it Leads
I read all the sunny messages I receive every morning. But after a while I’ve just learned to just stay mute, if I don’t share their sentiment. I try not to lie about how I feel at the moment. I’ve simply learned to accept the discomfort and negative emotions I feel. Some of you may think that’s crazy. To wallow in the mud of despair, not picking up your head. But this is my method, my modus operandi. To accept my emotions as they are and eventually seek solace through my journey.
One of the things I’ve been forced to accept is that I don’t always get to have things my way. Throughout my youth and adult life I’ve pretty much had to compromise. Part of that’s due to my submissive attitude and wanting to please people. Growing up never believing that your good enough can do a job on your self-esteem and motivation. Many folks will tell you that feeding yourself tons of slap-happy bullshit will cure that. But it didn’t take me long to figure out that I have a food allergy when it comes to BS.
So in other words, I'd usually just end up vomiting all over myself. But still I knew I was miserable and simply couldn’t maintain the emotions I needed to survive. So I began searching. First I tried more traditional methods of resurrecting my self-esteem. But the religious faux pas I’d been fed never acknowledged where the pain truly can from. Delving into Eastern practices never felt right neither. Always wanting me to believe in their demi-gods and second lives.
I eventually stumbled upon the Buddhist faith preached by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. His blending of eastern faith and acceptance of western theology. Brought me to a comfortable middle ground where I understand that acceptance, forgiveness, and self-care are key to a peaceful existence. Like I said, I woke up to a certain amount of discomfort. But as I write this I’m reminded that honesty, acceptance, and love are key elements to continuing my journey, wherever it leads.
Scent of Spring
There is nothing as sweet and invigorating as the smell fresh cut grass. I just got back from checking on George, and apparently while I was gone Mr Brown cut the lawn. Leaving the scent of fresh cut grass lingering in the air. With three days worth of laundry now hanging on the line. A southerly breeze blows reminding me it’s time to put away the dead of winter and embrace the rebirth of spring.
We could always use a little rain, but it’s the sweet scent of spring that livens up the senses. Now summer, winter, and fall all have their own way of teasing our senses. With their celebrations, vivid colors, and Yuletide glee. But spring with it’s focus on rebirth gently reminds us that life after death has its moments. But it’s up to us how successful we navigate those moments.
With the birth of our newest grandchild this spring. My senses are heightened to the promise and joy of the season. Thinking back on our lives, it’s easy to forget the moments that brought us here. Life has such a repetitive cycle that it’s easy to get caught in the loop. Forgetting that each moment has the potential to teach us something new. For far too long I’ve lived in a valley of despair, a place I find myself far too often these days. But as I already said, the scent of spring gives hope. That no matter the storm clouds, renewal is but a breath away.
But Not the Words
The old man stares at his phone. Puzzled by the text he received, he wonder’s what happened to the spoken word. He interprets each emojis and acronyms as best he can. Wishing he still had that old decoder ring he got from an old box of Captain Crunch. It’s hard to find a shaded space to read the screen. But texting and messaging are the only ways to keep up with the kids and grandkids. It’s not like they call or visit like he used to back in the day.
Faded glimpses of a life they hadn’t seen line up the shelves of the rundown antique shop. Remembering fondly, the old man sees memories in each wooden bowl and enamel canning pot. But he holds back from telling the kids why each item would be important in the old family home. Still he fears the memories he holds back will simply fade away, when the light in his eyes starts to dim.
For comfort he reminds himself that this is now a burden for a newer generation. A generation that never took the time to listen. They are always too busy looking for some shiny new something the old man never imagined. He remembers an old dinette table that stood in his grandma’s kitchen. Where the grown ups would sit around and hold court. It’s where they told stories and tall tales with a thick haze of cigarette smoke hanging over their heads.
It’s where a young man would ask for the keys to the car so he could go to the movies and hangout with his friends. Because he was too busy to hang around old people. Back when words to him didn’t matter. It was awkward kisses by the water that mattered. Being afraid of the words, I love you that mattered. Oh times may have changed, but not the words or the memories left unforgotten by you and me.
Sound of the Wind
With a warm breeze blowing out of the southeast, I can almost hear the ocean calling me. It looks like a rainbow colored parade dancing in front of me on the clothesline. As I sit under the new foliage forming on the fig bush and the sycamore trees. It’s exceptionally quiet for an early Thursday afternoon. Not much disturbing the sound of the wind but the occasional passing log truck or car.
I’m feeling much better today than I did yesterday. At my visit with my cardiac surgeon, she pulled me off two medications she felt were dragging my energy levels and blood pressure way down. Also she placed a 24-hour heart monitor on my chest as part of a heart study which I’m a part. Sitting here I just pulled it off my chest as I was told, and will be sending it back to her office shortly.
It’s a bit of a struggle to survive in these times. Social Security and private business may have given some of us raises. But it don’t feel like much of a raise when you go to the grocery store or pay the electric bill. Everybody’s so busy and anger at each other. Never having enough time for themselves, they take it out on everyone else. But fortunately I seem to have been rewarded with a little time off today. Oh, there’s still chores to do and the care of loved ones for which I’m responsible. But in it’s quite southerly way, the wind is teaching me the patience that I need to be taught.
Part 2: Unexpected Times
It’s the first day of spring and the temperature is 29 degrees Fahrenheit this morning. But seeing that this is South Georgia and Easter still a few weeks away, I’m not surprised. That’s just how it works around here. So while I was wearing shorts and t-shirts through most of February. This month I’m back in what we southerners call our winter wear (a hoodie and sweatpants). Along with the usual idiosyncrasies that surround my life, I’m also being bombarded by fear. Fear that in many ways has been tamed, yet fear still haunts me at most unexpected times.
There are moments in each of our lives where we question ourselves. In my life self-doubt and low self-esteem ruled my way of life with an iron fist. Effecting every decision and every dream I ever had. In my personal life, relationships that seemed destined were sunk in an ocean of self-doubt and fear. But life has to be lived and while other relationships were eventually created. Others are not so easily cast aside. So I ask the question, should I just put away the old things and continue on my current path? Or should I take a chance and rediscover old passions by reigniting once shattered dreams?
I guess these are questions that stretch far beyond the mere 300 words given here. But that’s how it is when you’ve spent most of your life second guessing yourself. The inherent depression and anxiety that I deal with every day, has burnt everlasting scars into my psyche. So in these unexpected times it’s okay to doubt and it’s okay to fear. In order to overcome the fear, I must first acknowledge the fear and anxiety. Through mindfulness and forgiveness I’m learning that even the most damaged parts of me are worthy of my time and my love. So while I still don’t have an answer for some questions in my life. At least I know I have the tools to sort through the noise and eventually find my joy.
Part 1: Great Pretender
Under the protection of a heavy blanket, I hide from the world once again. The only progress I seem to have made with my clinical depression, is that I now manage to come up with better excuses for it. Other than that, it’s the same weight and overwhelming guilt that I always felt when paralyzed by it. So I lay here in troubled sleep. Finding the only comfort I can, in my total inability to get up and take over the day.
I was told recently that my words were so defeated. That I needed to brighten up my message and stop being such a “downer”. At the moment I laughed at the ignorance that wrote those words. For they obviously missed the point I was trying to make. I believe when writing about myself, I should tell an honest story about my short comings. And that hopefully my story will led someone to an eventual victory. But today isn’t going to be one of those days.
So maybe my short sighted commenter was right. Maybe I should use my words to only uplift. Even if those words are nothing more than a belly fill of cotton candy. That at any given moment while you’re enjoying your little carnival ride. It causes you to puke all over yourself and everyone around you. So what do you think? At least I haven’t lost my twisted sense of humor, as my family so delicately puts it. But there is something to be said for hiding under the covers. That for a few moments I can pretend I don’t have to be someone else’s savior. Not even my own.
How comforting is it to see the clouds part in the nearly spring sky. Even as winter in a last gasp effort tries cast a final shadow. As the sun that reminds me it’s nearly time to awaken from our slumbers. Despite my stubbornness to change I sit here trying my best to learn a new program. After years of depending on the spontaneity of my smartphone, I’m relearning to use the keyboard on my new laptop. Ignoring the pings of hunger and the need to pee, I’m sitting here asking myself more and more about where I want to go and how I want my life to eventually be.
Things seemed so clear in the land of darkness. Where my choices were limited by the restrictions placed upon me. But now that there’s blood flowing freely again through my veins, I have to wonder. Should I continue to limit myself even through the whims of spring? Awareness is a gift that quickly can turn into a burden. If not weighed in balance with the present moment. Foresight more so than hindsight creates a fear. A fear that in a previous life started the fire that consumed me so long ago.
Questions. So many questions pour through my brain. I suppose I should first question the discomfort I find in my gut. Because I see so many of my peers are creating plans and living their best “lives”, while I “feel” like I’m living in a stagnate pool of mediocrity. I know what my peers would say. I even know what those that don’t really give a shit think. But despite my best efforts to just bide my time, I am still creating, still seeking, and still questioning. All of which are worthy endeavors as the clock slowly marches to whatever possibilities I find before me…eventually.
Got up this morning pretending it was summer. So I put on some shorts and a t-shirt and made myself an iced coffee. It’s a cool and rainy day outside, so I’m sitting up in bed with a throw blanket over my feet staring intently at this screen. The good Baptist next door are looking a little thin today, if judged by the number of cars in the parking lot. Looking out this got me to thinking about my own spiritual journey and about how I went from point A to point B in my life.
After an illness that nearly took my baby brother’s life, my mom went on a kind of spiritual journey. First she started going to a little Baptist church we occasionally attended in the neighborhood. Then she started watching this strange little show on TV called The PTL Club, which later I discovered stood for “The Praise The Lord Club”. Mine you this was at the very beginning of the show before the greed and excess really became apparent. This program eventually took my mom (and us kids) knee deep into the “Pentecostal Movement” of the early to mid-1970’s.
Being an awkward impressionable young teen I so wanted to fit in t whatever click I could find. Attending church during my mom’s spiritual journey was mandatory for us kids. But I must admit I enjoyed the lively music and tingling feelings I felt during the worship services. So I hit it off with my fellow tag-a-long kids at the various churches we attended. But as I dove into deeper into the doctrine of the evangelical moment, I was divided by the absolutes it presented.
As I have learned most teens in the moment had the same conflicting feelings about “living righteously “ and “living in the world “. So there I was standing in the middle, pretending to be this “warrior of God” around my Christian family. While “living for the devil “ around frankly the same group of kids outside the church. As I grew older the pressures of adulthood grew heavier and heavier leaving me nothing but disillusioned. I ended up divorcing my first wife and running back to the church for comfort. Later on I got married again this time to the preacher’s daughter. But on a dare from God (this is a whole other story) I moved my family away from everyone and most everything we had known.
It was here that I grew up becoming the person I am today. I struggled, but I was building a new life for my family. But it wasn’t long before the realities of life; raising four young children and dealing with my wife disabilities. Took a toll on me emotionally and spiritually. Most of my family including my late mom would simply say, come back home to church, but it’s not that simple. When you’ve lived through twenty plus years trying to live up to some ideal planted into your head. You quickly discover you’ll never make it to those ideals. My upbringing would tell me to put it at the feet of Jesus. But son all I can say is, that’s a beautiful sentiment, but what does it really change?
Please, please, please let’s not turn this into an argument in theology. I’m long past the tingling I felt so long ago. Silence, awareness, breathing are my sacred prayers now. Listening to that crying child that was bullied. That was told to man up all the while being told he was worthless. It’s the listening and embracing of that soul that brings peace. So I no longer pretend. I no longer try to live up to someone else’s expectations. Now I take my weaknesses, rather mental or physical and use them as strengths. I’ve taught myself to find balance, not absolutes. To stop pretending to be something I’m not and to be who I am.
Given to Yourself
Well I never really know who my audience is when I’m writing. I doubt any Gen Alpha’s read it, because they’re way too busy with the latest tend. Millennials are either far too busy paying off student debt or raising kids. While Gen XYZ’s are far too busy being cynical a-holes swimming in the delusion that they are somehow superior. I’m part of the in-betweens, with my feet firmly planted between the Bloomers and the Gen Z’ers. Because I remember all too well the euphoria we lived in the early ‘60’s. And the harsh realities of life we faced in the late ‘70’s and early 80’s.
But who am I really kidding. When I started putting my work “out there” I had dreams of making an impact. Of writing about the journey I was going through and making a difference. But those dreams were quickly sunk by the fickleness of social media. I’m not a tend or a hashtag, I’m just a man with a gift for gab; that’s simply learned to survive by trial and error. I’m basically nobody to most, yet to a few, I am somebody. So I try and keep that in mind as I publicly bare my soul across the internet. Some worry about my privacy, but honestly there’s nothing about me that an abuser would consider profitable.
So sit out here under the growing shade of the sycamore trees and fig bush; not doing much of anything but apparently wasting time. But that’s okay. I keep a check my delusions of grandeur. Realizing that only a few with enough ego and drive make it to the top. I suppose the question should be, does what they have to say really deserve our attention? Consider all your options. Do your damnest to be in the moment. Try not to live outside yourself. Embrace the flaws that are you and fix what needs fixing. Use your talents for good. And for God’s sake, don’t live for the option of others. Only live on the grace given to yourself.
All post written by
FD Thornton, Jr
All Rights Reserved.