Well I went over to my daughter’s earlier to check on George. Then I was going to take a walk in the park, but I forgot to put on some shoes before heading to my daughter’s. (You can blame that on my upbringing). So instead I went back at the house and put on a pot of black eyed peas I had soaking. I then made myself a cup of iced coffee from the leftover coffee I had this morning. So now I’m sitting outside just watching the cats take a nap under my old Ford Ranger. I guess there are better things I could be doing, but at the moment I can’t think of any.
I’m not a big fan of the last of the month. Mainly cause I only get paid once a month and if you pay any attention, shit ain’t getting any cheaper. I’ve watched gas across the road from me go up 50¢ a gallon in the last week. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say some Big Corp was trying to pull a fast one on us. Using the current world situation as an excuse. Too bad all my Atlas Shrugged friends believe in the no regulation way of doing business.
But we all believe what we want to believe. And here in America we believe each individual has the right think as they wish. Until of course it offends our sensitivities, then we want to legislate their beliefs out of existence. It’s not up to me or you to judge who another person wants to love. No more than you have the right to tell me how to pray. Yet here we are demanding to control a woman’s body and legislate what we believe is righteous and good according to us. How dare we play god beyond our own selves. Teach yes. Set an example, no problem. But I’ll be damned if I’ll watch anyone condemn and shame and marginalized the less fortunate. Just to suit their own personal agenda.
Got a line full of clothes today. It’s a nice breezy day in the low 70’s so it shouldn’t take long for them to dry. For the last few days I’ve been hearing more and more songbirds gathering in the area. And while Easter’s a little late this year, I don’t think we’re going to have much more cold weather. This coming Saturday we’ll be celebrating my father-in-law’s 80th birthday. Doesn’t seem that long ago when we are celebrating his 50th. But Lisa and I just celebrated our 34th anniversary in December. Barely ahead of our oldest 34th birthday this month. Don’t worry it was a miracle birth.
Growing up in a world where my parents were looking for the devil in every toy, book, and portable radio me and my siblings had. You had to be sneaky about appearing sanctified while playing footsie with the devil. Don’t ask me what got me on this subject other than my father-in-law being a retired Pentecostal minister. I guess that it’s just the fact that I’ll be surrounded by like minded religious individuals this weekend. But as my Mom used to say, I ain’t nothing but an old heathen anyway. And I’m sure it’s my fault that three of my four kids tow the heathen family line.
It's not that I’m anti-religious, quite the contrary, I respect anyone’s faith if they are sincere. But I’m not here to lay out any particular conditions for my “lack of faith”. I simply embrace what I think, feel, and see. Life should be a golden moment. Moments when stitched together make up a fine line. Between doing our best and being compassionate towards others. Now if you can’t embrace those terms without hatred, distrust, or fear then I feel sorry for you. For life is more than just about us waiting on some heavenly reward. I’d rather turn to dust in the ground knowing I did my best. Then gnash my teeth and wish destruction on anyone.
This is one of those rare occasions when I’m actually bored. Where I don’t feel like watching TV or reading a book or even writing. So I suppose I’ll just sit outside and enjoy the sunshine and watch the world spin around. But in a way that’s not so bad, I mean it entails that I sit on my ass, look around, and stay quiet. What’s the trouble in doing that?
I guess the trouble comes when you don’t know how to sit still and allow your mind to let go. I remember back when I was first trying to quiet my mind. I had just gone through a wonderful series of mental breakdowns. I was heavily medicated and just barely able to function at any capacity. Still there wasn’t any peace, just the numbing sensation of the medicine beating down my destructive thoughts. The mental health clinic was satisfied with me barely functioning, but I knew I needed more. So long story short, that’s when I discovered the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.
He gave me permission to grieve, he showed me how to mindfully and compassionately listen to my soul. To learn and make amends with the broken parts of myself that needed compassion and not hatred. We are all hurting and we all need a little compassion sometimes. It’s just that often we find stupid ways to take care of it. Listen, I am far from the perfect Zen Master. Hell, I’m really not even Buddhist. But I do understand the importance of quieting my mind. And that through observing nature I learn about balance. Because too much of any one thing usually isn’t very good.
It’s funny how freedom itself can become a kind of prison. Without others around you the very word free becomes meaningless. Trapped within ourselves with only your own interdialog to keep us company. I remember a time when I was surrounded by people. Not everyone being a close friend, but close enough to share an experience or a moment together. Now I sit here with just my words and images to share over a lifeless social platform hoping for just a few likes.
I suppose I should have seen this coming, after years of self-isolation. Burdened with a fear I never asked for, but sure as hell received. It’s a wonder I’m still around to be perfectly honest. Because if my mental state wasn’t going to kill me, my physical state surely would do me in by now. Yet here I stand (or at least sit). Pushing through to yet another decade. But as the clock ticks I’m getting to live longer than my parents. It’s a strange unfamiliar feeling to know that that with each passing moment, I’m experiencing more of life than they.
Well let me put my morbid thoughts back in my pocket and celebrate what I do have. A family that loves me despite myself. A wife that is faithful to a fault. And at least one person that I’ve never had to prove a thing too. To die without a legacy isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. But to die without your name falling off some one’s lips without love? Now that’s a fate I would wish on no one.
A friend of mine posed a question on social media a few days ago. “Anyone else feel like they are taking a leap of faith, over and over again?” At the moment my reply was, that it wasn’t some much me taking “a leap of faith” as it was me getting pushed off the cliff over and over again. A few decades ago, I did take a leap of faith and begin my journey toward self-improvement. Through therapy and of pursuit of mindfulness, my life and overall feelings towards myself began to improve. But in 2015 things started catching up with me physically.
While mentally I felt like I was heading to a good place, I was ignoring the warning signs that “something wicked this way comes”. While creating for myself a more positive attitude towards my self-esteem; I was ignoring the undo stress I was placing on myself. This led to my first heart attack, which led to a number of hospital stays and number of other major lifestyle changes. It blew the world I had planned for my family apart. This has since led to a number of other physical problems such as my gut situation, blood issues, and now kidney problems.
So I sit here and ask myself, were any of these leaps of faith worth the trouble? Other than the physical and mental inconvenience, I suppose not. If anything, this entire journey has taught me patience and how to let go. For so long I handled anything myself. I took on the responsibility of raising my family and being the caregiver. Now I’ve learned to accept that I could use a little help. Other interesting aspect of this “moral foil” is that I am no longer afraid of death. For so very long I worried about my family and who was going to take care of them after I was gone. But now that I have stared over the edge a few times, I’ve learned that we all eventually face that journey. And that, we can eventually face it with fear and dread or with peace and contentment that we did our best. Life is too short to fear tomorrow or even worry about yesterday. We have to be in this moment and learn to face it head on. So if that’s what you call a leap of faith, then I guess I’m all in.
After two days, I’m finally getting a chance to just sit down. The last couple of days have been a whirlwind. For the better part of a week I’ve had pain in my groin and a good bout of porcelain hugging. Thinking the pain maybe from a UTI I made an appointment with my PCP to get some antibiotics. What I discovered was instead of a UT infection I was showing signs of having kidney stones.
Well surprise, surprise . So they sent me to the hospital for a CT Scan, what they found were four stones of various sizes and one stone 17mm by 7mm stuck in the plumbing. Well talk about an overachiever. I’ve never had kidney stones, so this is a first. I had gall stones, but that old thing went bye, bye last year. So there you have it, I’m sitting here waiting for my appointment with the urologist in the morning to see what happens next.
None of this shit surprises me. I mean, “if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all”. Now some of you may think that’s a piss poor attitude to take. But in the real world you have to be prepared for the inevitable. I know that the damage has been done, and there’s no positive spin I can put on it. So would you rather see me claiming some faraway miracle that more than likely never comes. Or would you rather have me tell the truth and do my damnedest to “adapt and overcome” to the situation? So yeah, I’m hurting a bit. And yeah, I have a little infection. But I’m also sitting here with a gentle breeze blowing against my back enjoying another “blessed day”.
Sometimes turning off the noise is never enough. Distractions are but a momentary gap that fills nothing. I’ve lived through enough of these moments to know that wondering through them isn’t for the timid. Because when faced with the abyss, the unknown as it were; no one knows where you’ll land. So I guess I’m one of the lucky ones, with enough ignorance and/or determination to see it through. But all you ever really do is just walk through another door.
But I’ve come to an understanding that this to shall pass, but not without cost. For this decaying body reminds me every day of the of the toll stress and anxiety can take. But just as fatigue has taken the place of stamina, so to has determination overtaken paralyzing fear. The kind of fear that stops you dead in your tracks and forces you to second guess yourself and your faith. Causing you to waste time, by forcing you to stand in place.
So I do my best to watch the moments as they pass. Absorbing each one like a sponge in water. Taking in and pushing out with needs to be let go. Still there are those moments when I see reality and wonder into a dark place. A place where the seeds of fear are planted deep in your soul. With roots so deep they are nearly impossible to pull out. So you breath. Listen to yourself. And wait till the panic is chased away by peace. For avoidance only breeds more pain. But acknowledging what’s inside and accepting it are but the first steps to grace.
All post written by
FD Thornton, Jr
All Rights Reserved.