This week I had the opportunity to sit down for breakfast with a dear friend. As we began to discuss the happenings in our lives, I learned that my friend’s family was going to be moving to Florida within the next month. What a shocker! It was not the news I expected or wanted to hear. My family is not ready for our friends to leave!
As I have processed the news of my friend’s departing, I was reminded of a time almost ten years ago when my wife and I left our adopted home in Alabama. We spent a number of our formative years in very close relationship with a group of families. My friend’s pending departure has reminded me of the feelings I experienced when I had to leave those close relationships in Alabama.
More than one year ago I embarked on the journey of publishing this blog. In fact, almost exactly a year ago is when my original commitment to write a blog each week ran out. My goal was to make it from the beginning of June to Labor Day 2016 posting every Monday. There were times when I felt like giving up, but thankfully, I was able to overcome that resistance and did not allow failure to be an option.
Although I was a good student in English class during my years of schooling, I never considered myself much of a writer. I was a math and science person. My attitude towards writing was one of something I had to do in order to get good grades. I do not recall ever thinking it might be an activity for enjoyment. And yet…I have now written a blog post every week for fifteen months.
As I slowly crept along the interstate one day last week, the sign above the road caught my attention. I have written about impatience with my commute previously, but on this day the sign warning of an incident ahead took on a deeper meaning.
Thoughts flashed across my mind, and I was struck with the sensation that we all have incidents ahead in life. These unexpected events may be blips on the radar and minor irritations, or they may turn out to be something very large and time-consuming. As much as we try to take the unpredictability out of life, we inevitably come up against circumstances out of our control.
The superhero genre of TV shows and movies is big right now. Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman are just a few of the examples. The last several years have seen a resurgence of superheroes making the leap off the comic book pages onto the screen. Why?
Perhaps it is, quite simply, that the world is starving for heroes. It seems that many people hold out hope that wrongs should be righted and good should triumph over evil. Often times, the perception is that we live in a world exactly opposite of this hope. In a world overrun with an endless supply of problems, is there a way we can make a difference? Can we be a hero to someone in the orbit of our life?
After lying in bed listening to my six-month-old daughter fuss for fifteen-plus minutes, I could not take it anymore. I had to get up and take action. As I attempted to comfort her, I thought of the many times before that I had been in the same situation. Holding a little one not knowing exactly how to help or what is wrong. In moments of exasperation I just want to know what she wants!
In the simplest terms, the scenario described above boils down to one of communication. Infants are not equipped to communicate what it is that is troubling them. As I reflected on my sleep-deprived night, I remembered how important it is to communicate well.
The camera pans through a dimly lit old house. It is dark with not much light emanating from anywhere. Dust covers everything in various thicknesses. Countertops are dirty and strewn with clutter. The living area is unkept and grimy. Finally, the camera settles on a gnarled-up old hermit sitting grumpily in a beat-up high-backed leather chair.
What words come to mind when you envision this scene? I would wager a significant sum of money that one of those words is not thankful. Well, perhaps just thankful that it is not your life. I imagine the pictures described above as the type of spirit that hovers around those who do not live a life of thankfulness. Descriptive words such as critical, ungrateful, lonely, and uncaring seem to characterize people who are not thankful.
Roller coasters have never been my thing. I experience motion sickness riding in the back of cars sometimes. I shut my eyes when the sensations caused by IMAX films become too realistic. I can only imagine what an actual roller coaster ride must feel like.
While I may not have physically experienced a roller coaster, the past couple weeks have been quite the emotional ride. My journey has taken many ups and downs during this latest period of time. Here is a synopsis of the major events.
Over the weekend the 2017 edition of The Championships, Wimbledon wrapped up. This event is the third major championship for the top men and women tennis players in the world. As a child, this event captured my attention. I remember watching Breakfast at Wimbledon on NBC and I especially enjoyed the musical highlight reel that they always showed at the end of the tournament.
In my youth I imagined myself playing at Wimbledon. Every year after the event was on TV I was inspired to go to the tennis courts. If I couldn’t find a friend to go with me then I would hit balls off a wall. I never could beat that wall! I still dream of someday traveling to London to attend The Championships, watch tennis and eat strawberries and cream.
Over the past several weeks, I have found myself struggling to prepare a blog post. I always want the satisfaction of having a beautifully written piece published, but it can be a challenge to make it happen.
With the whirlwind of life, I have not been reading as much idea-provoking material or putting enough thought into blog topics. I have noticed that this has made a difference in my creativity. As I was preparing to write this week, I was inspired with the thought, “keep persevering”. It was a quiet and quick motivation that sparked my spirit.
With the approaching July 4th holiday and the recent news I heard about the financial struggles of Colonial Williamsburg (one of our family’s favorite places!), I am again contemplating the importance of history. If we fail to remember our heritage, we begin to lose the appreciation of liberty. The majority of people throughout history have not lived enjoying the freedom that life in the United States provides.
Last year our family heard a suggestion to read aloud the Declaration of Independence on the 4th as a way to remember the history and honor the proclamation that led to the country we have today. This year we will revive that tradition and read it aloud again as a family. Of course, some of the content is difficult to understand, but the idea is to open up discussion about the larger concepts and themes in the document.