Wednesday, November 26, 2008

twenty five

Words aren’t coming very regularly these last few weeks. Even these ones have been stopped and started and deleted and continued several times this morning. I guess that I could come up with all kinds of excuses. Most of them might even be legitimate. I’m still not back to any kind of routine after my wife’s surgery. I thought about trying Starbucks this morning. I haven’t even been to the beach except for a brief drive by to get her some fresh air. At this point, I’m just being the over-protective husband. She’s much more independent. But I’ll give it one more week. Grad school has been draining during this time of schedule juggling, and we all know how important my schedule is. I haven’t really had one for three weeks now and that’s been an adjustment. Things have even been far from normal in my community o’ faith. So if I wanted to, I could find an excuse here or there. I just don’t want to….find an excuse I mean.
I don’t even want to write to be honest. Today is a discipline day for me. I just have to suck it up and do it for my own good. It’s like the 25 minute mark for me on the treadmill. When I get to 25 minutes I have an overwhelming desire to press “stop” to end that workout. After all, who’s going to know? It’s not like I’m getting anywhere anyway. The thing is though, when I began the workout, I programmed 30 minutes for a reason. I always forget just what that reason was at about the 25 minute mark. So far I have resisted the urge to press “stop” before the finish. I could also just fall down and let the “clip on” safety switch do its thing and stop the work out for me. I’ve resisted that urge also. In the end, deep in my soul I know that the last 5 minutes will benefit me in ways I probably won’t see until later on. It’s the last 5 that really matter. It’s those moments that you have to find inspiration from somewhere deeper than “how you feel”.
This morning I’m at the 25 minute mark. I don’t want to even write anything. I’m fresh out of inspiration for the journey at the moment. I don’t have any big corporate giants to whine about. I haven’t been around the public much to make any observations or smart ass comments. Spiritual inspiration has been on reserve and what I have has been channeled to leading my community o’ faith.
Don’t cry for me though….whatever. I have plenty to be thankful for this season of thanks. I have a wonderfully resilient wife who has not whined even once during this recovery process. She’ll be wheeling around the kitchen today and tomorrow, with only one good leg, performing the culinary wizardry that keeps me looking forward to this day each year. I am exceedingly proud of my kids and the choices that they’re making as adults which I might have had a hard time imagining during their teen years.
So , even though I don’t really feel like it, with the 25 minute mark telling me that I could call it a day, I’ll do what I’ve always been able to do at this point. I’ll choose to look deeper and press on. I’ll write even when I don’t want to, knowing that, somewhere down the road, I’ll see the benefit of not giving in.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shadow

It’s been a few weeks since Starbucks. It may be a few more, I don’t really know at this point. Right now I’m sitting in front of my own fireplace (electric), drinking my own coffee (Hotwire), and looking out at the world from my own window. I’ve spent the past two weeks living as a shadow of sorts. Now living as a shadow can be seen in a very negative light I suppose. We’ve all heard the phrase “living in someone’s shadow”. That’s not a very flattering concept. Shadowy figures are usually looked upon with suspicion. Even Peter Pan was always trying to elude his shadow. For me it’s a bit different. I’m not living in someone’s shadow, I am their shadow. I have been my wife’s shadow. She had surgery two weeks ago on her foot and leg and we’ve been almost inseparable ever since.
One of the benefits of a marriage, a good one anyways, is that you have someone to go through traumatic times with. You get to laugh together to be sure, but you also get to hurt together and you get to hang together. We’ve been hanging together for two weeks now and I’m sure that it has been more beneficial to me than to her. I can imagine that I can be pretty boring at times. Thankfully for her, the first few days were spent mostly sleeping or in a drug induced haze that probably helped make me look better than I am. In my defense though, I have been a good movie companion and last night I actually suggested that we play a game together which, if you know me, you know is the supreme sacrifice. We have been to appointments together, spent a fun filled day at the ER, and wheeled all around the neighborhood. This shadow deal is not bad at all.
In the typical arrangement, there is the original object, a source of light, and the shadow that is created. In the traditional sense, it always seems as if the shadow gets low billing. After all, it’s just a by product. In order to have one, you need an original and you need a light source. But on further thought, I have imagined all of the benefits that being a shadow brings. The other day we were in Barnes and Noble and I spied a cool book on making shadow animals. Those shadows were quite imaginative, but they all benefited from the creativity of the original who supplied the hands. I know some shadows that can be much better than reality even. We’ve all had the opportunity to witness some big beast like impressive shadow coming towards us from an unknown source, maybe from around a corner or whatever, and when the original appears you realize that it was only a Chihuahua. Shadows can be taller, thinner, more muscular, more whatever, sometimes only controlled by the original.
Shadows aren’t forever though. Circumstances change and the shadow disappears. Like Peter Pan, my wife is each day eluding her shadow a bit more. She is healing and gaining independence and the shadow isn’t needed as much, although I’m still trying to stick around as much as I’m allowed. This shadow thing is a good deal, especially when you’re attached to a beautiful blond. Like a shadow, she makes me better than I am. I can stand taller, appear more muscular, but we’re still working on the thinner bit. I’ve enjoyed it immensely and she’s recovering faster than expected. I like to think, other than the time I dropped her, that it’s because of her shadow.
So I don’t miss Starbucks at all. Shadows are only for a time and I’ll take this for as long as I get. It’s not a bad deal at all.

Monday, November 03, 2008

undecided

I’m a statistic today. I’m one of the undecided. I’m not very politically astute. I do attempt to be informed, but all of the misinformation clogs my arteries and muddles my mind. Do I really care which candidate has which solution to the current crisis, whatever it might be? I don’t. The reasons are fairly simple. Number one, I’m not na├»ve enough to believe that either candidate actually came up with said plan themselves. Number two, regardless of whatever plan you have to solve the “crisis du jour”, I don’t think for one minute that you can get it accomplished by yourself anyway. In our current political system, the president doesn’t really have much more influence than the Queen. I’m much more interested in congress than the president. Remember, it was the congress from both sides over many administrations who have gotten us to this point in our history. All the presidents have really contributed, in all honesty, are sound bites and state dinners. So I’m still among the undecided. I prefer to look at it as pacing myself.
My son is frustrated with me, as he and my wife are much more interested in this process than I am. They had a great, and often times very animated conversation while my daughter-in law and I got to roll our eyes. I lost interest in this process about the time Hillary was trying to find a way to bring Florida back in. He asked me last night what my basis was for choosing who I was going to vote for. To be honest, at one point it was who would be the first to appear without a tie at a campaign stop. If you really want to identify with me, then lose the tie and the blue blazer, especially when bowling. I don’t care how bad a bowler you are, if you wear a tie at the lanes, I don’t know you. Lately, I am looking to Saturday Night Live for some political insight. At least they are honest about the process.
Really what I was searching for was a bit of honesty and fair play. I must have slept through that part. You may have an opinion one way or the other on who is or was or will be. It is not just the honesty of the candidate that I have been searching for. I think that it carries through to the people who follow you as well. I am tired of the talking droids who are paraded out to comment on their party’s behalf after each speech, sound bite, or debate. Do they ever really surprise us with their comments? I’d vote for honesty. I’d vote for the side that admitted their candidate just screwed up royally instead of trying to paint it as brilliance in disguise. You may call it strategy, or good politics or whatever. I’ll call it for what it is….lying. So, I’m sitting here in my seat by the beach, with my dilemma of being undecided with only 24 hours to go, trying to wrestle with how I will finally make my choice……. and in walks my solution.
This guy just walked in with a laptop bag slung over his shoulder, not unusual certainly for Starbucks. What was unusual, and what has finally given me a standard to vote by, was the image emblazoned on the side of his bag. It was the insignia for Batman. It’s answered prayer for me. Now you may think me ridiculous and shallow, but even I’m not that far off to think that I could actually cast my vote for Batman. But I would vote for someone whom I thought would call on Batman if given the opportunity. I have always admired Commissioner Gordon and his willingness to call on Batman without hesitation. It’s a true sign of humility. Anyone who would outright convey to me that they “can’t do it alone” and would be willing to humble themselves, just might get my vote. In the absence of what I really want to see, servant leadership, I’ll take the next best thing; humility. So now I have 23 hours left to wrestle with this. Who would be the most likely candidate to call on Batman should the need arise? I think that I already know the answer to that one, but I just have to make sure in my heart that the call wouldn’t first go to Oprah. That would be a deal breaker.