Sunday, January 8, 2012

A new perspective

Today I was tasked with that all too familiar Christmas chore of disposing of the tree.  Fortunately some boy scouts were collecting them across the street with one little demand -- that the trees be stripped of ornaments and tinsel.  Since it looks so darn pretty and seemed like a good idea a month ago, I had sprinkled 1000 strands of icicle tinsel on the tree that now required removal.

Last night, I tirelessly stripped strand after strand of this *&#^@*&! tinsel off the tree!  I would work for a while and still see a seemingly endless supply of sparkly glitters taunting me as they lay carefully intertwined with each branch.  After a while, I got to the point that I couldn't really see many.  I knew there was still more because it's like one of those pop-a-weasel games.  Anyways, I felt pretty good and went onto some other task.  A little while later, I happened to be on the floor and looked up the tree from beneath.  Lo and behold, sparkles everywhere!!!  I grumbled and went about my task.

Now this isn't very profound, but I haven't blogged in a while and I need something to write about.  I got to thinking that life is kind of like that.  You look at something for a while with one perspective and you think you see the whole thing.  You probably even know that you don't, but you still listen to what your eyes tell you.  All of a sudden, something causes you to look at it with a different perspective and you see all these things you didn't before.  Maybe this is good; maybe this is bad.  I know this has happened to me many times in my life whether it be with the CFM Internship, Ireland, or any number of other things.  However, even now, sometimes you can't see things until you see things.  Who knows what will give you that new perspective or when it will happen.  That might be God or that might be taking a risk or it might just be life knocking you down.  Whatever the case, there is probably more work ahead.

And you know I was taking the tree out today, there was still even more tinsel!!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

You can never go home again

They say you you can never go home again.  But then Bon Jovi rifts "Who says you can't go home again" as he comes to realize the importance of the place he had been trying to run away from.  I'm not one to say that either is right or wrong, but perhaps both are correct.

I suppose I have an odd family -- one that is completely close and distant at all the same time.  We all genuinely love one another and want to see one another; on the other hand, we are all independently minded and doing our own thing.

I never really know what I'm looking for when I go back.  I'm probably yearning for conversations of a certain elusive criteria -- conversations that I don't know how to have nor know what they look like.  Instead, we talk about the same things.  My dad will deliver diatribes on the government or the state of the fallen World, my mother will join along  They'll ask about my life; things won't have changed and I won't know what to say -- so I won't say much.

And there we are, another year gone.  Another semi-wasted opporunity and another Christmas to blend in with all the rest.  I love being with my family even if we usually don't do much.  I know one year, one of us will not be there for good.  I can feel my lament before it happens, that I will have wished to have done things differently.  I am trying to reverse the fates, but I'm not sure I am strong enough or even know what to do...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The majesty of snow.

This Florida boy always gets excited when it snows and boy did it snow!  I was thinking that snow is one of those things that is either good or bad based on your circumstances.  It was great for me because I got to work from home, but not so great for those with the 7 hour commutes or those who had to spend the night outside.

But if you're dressed warm enough and have your car parked safely in front of your house, it can be a wonderful thing.  I always try to do something special with the snow.  This year I went on a run around Green Lake.  At first I wasn't very excited as it was bitterly cold and windy with snow falling down all over the place.  But the moment I got to the lake, I was so glad that I did.  "Majestic" was the only word that came to mind.  The beauty of nature and man flowing seamlessly together to a perfect scene.  The lake was pristine and I almost had it to myself.  It was an incredibly peaceful run and reminded me once again why I love this city and living where I do.  It was as if this was a confirmation that this is where I am suppose to be.

Of course, halfway around, my knee that has been bothering me started acting up again and I had to walk.  It was a damper on a near perfect scene.  But even walking (and frustratingly muttering about my knee), it gave me more time to soak up the scene.  At the end, I threw my hands up like Andy DuFrain did when he escaped from Shawshank and praised God for such a magnificent creation.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

This old gelapi

I recently bought a new car from a friend who is moving to Boston.  I bought it because my last car was a lemon and this new car will be a lot more reliable.  I also got a great deal on it because the hood had some minor cosmetic damage from a fender bender.  If you know me, this type of thing doesn't bother me one bit.  I drove an 82' Caprice classic in high school that was called "The Boat", "The Godfather", and "The Brown Bomber".  It also had no AC in Florida among many other problems.  My recent lemon actually had the back window duct taped on because it had collapsed!

I bring this up because twice in the last week I've had mechanics who saw my car in a parking lot offer to fix the hood on the cheap and one of the guys told me that it was going to fly up on me.  I politely told them "No thank you".  It got me to thinking about cars and how anal we can be with them.  I've seen people take up two parking spots, drive around parking lots for a carefully selected space, and getting upset over the slightest scratch or dent.  Why do we make such a big deal out of these things?  At the end of the day, it's just a car!

I think of two stories that I've heard relating to damaged cars.  The late Randy Pausch (of "The Last Lecture" fame) tells a story where he had bought a brand new convertible.  He was going to take his niece and nephew for a ride and their mother was telling them how they had to keep the car pristine.  At the same time, he was pouring orange soda on the seat because the car was just a thing.   On the way home, the boy wasn't feeling well and he threw up in the car.  I was also listening to an interview with the Car Talk guys from NPR.  One of the guys was talking about his gelapi.  He told the story of how a lady hit him.  He rolled down the window and asked if she was alright.  After she told him that she was, he told her not to worry about it and drove off!  How much more freeing is that?

Monday, April 26, 2010

The people we all know and most of us love

We all have those people that we see all the time.  Maybe we know their name -- maybe we don't.  They typically have a smile on their face and are eager to make acquaintance.  Busy folks typically brush on by to something more important; a passerby on occasion will stop by to have their day brightened for just a bit.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately.  The corner of West Paces and Northside Parkway was made famous as the corner of Robert the rose guys for the better part of 20 years.  This man stood on this corner almost every night and took such pride in selling flowers.  I never had occasion to buy flowers so never stopped to chat.  I knew people that did though, and he would carefully describe the best way to cut and store the roses as if they were a rare bottle of wine.  Sadly, Robert recently passed away and Atlanta lost a piece its heart that day.

But Robert isn't the only one of these people in my life.  Others have been sprinkled throughout my experience to remind me of what life is really about.  There was Edward, the real change guy, who faithfully sold homeless newspapers for years outside the Brooklyn Safeway in Seattle.  He always told me, "Have a nice day, sir" despite never having bought a newspaper from him.  In my office building, there is Dallas the security guard although I don't think he could stop a crime if one were to occur.  This man in his 70s faithfully graces the doors every day and knows everyone's name.  He has the same phrases he always uses like "going topside" or "they're waiting on you".  If you ever stop to chat, you likely won't be leaving for 20 minutes and will feel like you're being rude when you finally leave.  This kindred old man will surprise you with the occasional profane word and endear you with stories of his wife.  There's Johnny, who is stationed by the light on the exit ramp as I drive to Church.  I have never seen anyone smile so freely -- even though he has little in the way of possessions.  He's an avid Tech fan and always gives me "the rock" during our brief 45 second conversations.  He scrapes by on the kindness of those passing by, but on Easter morning he shared with me how he was helping those less fortunate than him.

I really wish I would have stopped just once to talk to Robert and become a minor player in his legacy.  Maybe I've finally learned that hurriedness is rarely as important or as necessary as it seems at the time.  Perhaps taking a few moments to be blessed will more than compensate for arriving a little late.  And just maybe, I will learn to treat others as these have treated me.

R.I.P Robert


Friday, April 23, 2010

Sometimes the losers are remembered more

I've been meaning to blog for a few weeks now, but time has a way of disappearing on me.  All that to say that I apologize if this post is a bit dated.

I am talking of course about Butler's epic near miss of winning a National Championship!  It was the perfect underdog story in the perfect city and it even had the whole Hoosiers thing going on.  But alas, real life often doesn't follow the script of reel life and a half court heave that climaxes a fairy tale script painfully misses by mere inches.

All is not lost though.  I think this is one of the rare occasions where the loser will actually be remembered more than the winner.  For whatever reason, a loser sometimes captures our imagination whether we identify with them or they have an epic collapse or they show the heart of a lion.

I think of Jean Van De Velde or Greg Norman whose names have become synonymous with gargantuan collapses.  I think of Andy Roddick at last year at Wimbledon who left everything he had on the court and remade his image in the course of a few drawn out hours.  I think of the one loser who may capture these qualities more than any other story.  I was listening to the story of Julie Moss in the 1982 Iron Man.  She was a 23 year old College Student who just did the race trying to get a degree.  Amazingly though, she found herself winning by 20 minutes in the run.  At the end of the race, her body just gave out on her in a fashion that is painful to watch on video.  After competing for 11 hours and being 30 yards from the finish, her body just gave up on her.  She was passed for the victory, but yet she was determined to finish.  In a remarkable display of courage, she crawled to the finish to win the hearts of millions.  Yes, sometimes we learn more from the losers and remember their story.  Hollywood be damned.

Video of her finish:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Lord's Prayer

My maker
Blessed be thy name
Thy message carried out
Right here, right now
My provider
My atoner
Thou tempts me not
My deliverer
To thine be the glory