Category Archives: Hope

A New Life Chapter

His solid white beard was perfectly trimmed.  Occasionally, when he was trying to describe something, he’d take off his company cap and run his fingers through his full, thick head of equally white hair.  It was a stark contrast to his deep black, wire-rim glasses.

Today’s his last day on the job.  He’s been preparing a long time for retirement, and now, it’s here. 

As we all went through the day, I’d stop by and say things to acknowledge him.

“You know, this is the last 9:15 AM at work in your career”.

He stayed busy, in thanks partly to a number of phone calls from folks he’d worked with.  He said, “I’ve just been really surprised by how many nice things folks have said to me.”

I nodded my head.

Continue reading A New Life Chapter

The Mind Churn

My mind turns, twists, moves and churns. Earthquakes of urgent thoughts turn into raging thought tsunamis.

It’s not what isn ‘t. It’s what is.  

What’s isn’t, isn’t talked about.  What is, is.

Raging waters flow uphill, gather speed, then dribble down the mind’s mountainside spilling into the deepest depths, depths that do not surrender the issues of thought, whether forgotten or taught, surrendered or caught, given or bought.  

Words sound large, but quiet speaks loud. Its silence heals.  The healing rest, the energizing of silence slips away in our loud, boisterous, information-based system of living.  Yet the need to be still and hear the leaves rustle remains, even when it’s pushed aside.  

Continue reading The Mind Churn

An Inconspicuous Smile

A group of parents and kids were sitting around five or six tables strung together at a seafood restaurant.  They’d been at a sports tournament and the kids had on various versions of their team paraphernalia.

Most of the adults sat at one end of the long chain of tables. The kids instantly gravitated to the other, with the boys in the middle and girls on end.

As is usually the case, the girls were quietly enjoying themselves, but the boys, they were loud, excited and boisterous.

Whether by conscious decision or not, a mother was sitting in the middle between the adults and kids.  She was actively involved in the conversations on the adult side, but at the same time, completely aware of the actions and antics of the eleven to twelve year old boys at the table with her. Continue reading An Inconspicuous Smile

The Best Love Letter Ever!

Seriously, it was the best love letter!

I was in high school.  The summer before my sophomore year, I lived with and worked for my uncle in another town about an hour away. Through their church, I met two sisters, one also about to be a sophomore and one a junior. 

I was pretty naïve then, like Forest Gump at a dogfight naïve.

Continue reading The Best Love Letter Ever!

Brave

Nineteen years ago, at the moment this posts, 10:02 AM on September 11, 2001, United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a Pennsylvania field killing all passengers, and the terrorists who hijacked the plane. 

No one will ever know for sure how many lives the passengers saved.  They had just learned that both Twin Towers and the Pentagon had been struck by hijacked planes.  Instead of becoming lambs to the slaughter, they fought back as wolves against evil snakes. 

The passengers weren’t looking for trouble, yet when chaos began, they met the challenge. The law-abiding citizens who had families, children, and jobs fought back to protect others on the ground.

That, my friend, is brave!

Continue reading Brave

Like a Verdict

My wife, Janet, had surgery two weeks ago to remove a kidney tumor. The doctor said it’s an 85% chance of being malignant.

The last two weeks have been fast, and slow, lightening quick, yet forever.

Yesterday was the surgery follow up appointment, complete with the pathology report. It was also Janet’s birthday.

Strange, really. You find out about continued life, one way or the other, on a day designated to celebrate life.

The doctor came in quickly, and asked Janet how she was doing.  He sat down.  I asked to record the doctor on my phone so we could listen and rehash as much as we needed to later.

He agreed. I pushed the record button. He asked if I was ready, and took a deep breath…

Continue reading Like a Verdict

5 Course Meal Celebration

Last Friday I took my wife Janet out on the town! A five-course dinner date! I know! Right!?

But we live in the oldest town in Texas, and there’s not a great deal of five star restaurants in Nacogdoches, Texas. So we created our own “fine dining” experience in a mobile, drive around way.

I wrote down twenty restaurants and fast food joints up and down our hometown main drag. Each place was cut to its own little strip, and I put them all in a styrofoam cup that had all 5 courses scribbled on the outside. Janet blindly reached in the cup and pulled the first slip for the first course.

It was Subway. Janet objected. She said Subway had the most expensive drinks in town, so she wanted to go somewhere else. Eventually, she acquiesced, and we ordered one large half and half tea, two straws.

The second course was Bottle Cap Alley for appetizers. A quarter mile drive and we were there, but they didn’t have many choices. Basically, we settled for fried onion rings. Besides, the next course was vegetables, so we could get something healthy then.

The third course drawn, however, was another fast food place, Taco Bueno! My five-course meal deal idea was falling apart.

We had to be creative, but guacamole with fried chips was as close as we could get to vegetables.

The fourth draw for the main course drew a groan from both of us, and then the laughter. Dominos Pizza!

While they made the extra thin crust vegetable pizza, we munched on the chips, guacamole and onion rings. After that, the pizza tasted like saltine crackers with onions and tomato sauce on it.

There’s a bloated, clog up your arteries with grease feeling that was kicking in, but we were committed to a 5 course meal…

Dessert! Should’ve started there! A quick draw from the cup and it was Whataburger, the Texas standard for fast food burgers. It was a no brainer choice!

But ice cream and milkshakes don’t mix with lactose intolerance, and the scrumptious home style cinnamon rolls were 580 calories a piece! We settled on apple pies that were only 200 calories each. Did I mention they were fried?

It was fun though, and totally random! We’ll do it again, but not tonight.

Tonight Janet will be in the hospital.

We’re in Houston. At this very moment, Janet is in surgery to remove cancer from a kidney. She was diagnosed three weeks ago.

I’m scribbling to redirect my emotions, blind my thoughts, dull the heightened awareness that the future has changed.

How much, and to what extent it’s changed, we won’t know until the pathology report comes in next week.

If all goes well, this will be a one and done surgery.

If it goes really, really well, next Friday we’ll be celebrating the 15% chance that the cancer is benign.

That’ll be worth a five course meal for sure!

Somewhere Near You

The small boy was on red alert.  He smelled the peculiar smoke coming from the bathroom where his mom kept a little pipe above the medicine cabinet.

He never knew how long it would last, but he did know it meant trouble.  It was always the same, but always different.

He looked for food.  There were no crackers or candy under her bed where she hid it, but he found a can of beans in the pantry.  He desperately tried to open it before she got out of the bathroom, but his little fingers couldn’t manage to get the manual can opener to work.

He didn’t hear her coming out. It was too late by the time he did.  Angry, she shoved him to the ground and threw the can of beans striking him squarely in his chest.

As he shrunk toward the door, grabbing the can in a frantic backward crawl, she lunged toward him, grabbing, jerking his skinny, little body across the floor.  He was terrified.  The kind afraid where you can’t breathe, can’t move, can’t cry.  The kind where every second felt like a year. Continue reading Somewhere Near You

Rainy Days

It’s going to rain all day.  Some say how great that is. Others say it’s horrible.  It’s the same place, same day, almost the same people.

They know each other well, yet their perspectives differ vastly.  It’s not that one’s right, or one’s wrong.  It’s just, different.

For some, rainy days are sad, depressing, maybe even frightening when the wind roars and thunder rolls.

Maybe it’s a psychological reminder of rainy days and storms gone by, yet consequences of those days resonate in the soul.  There were things to do, places to go, plans made, and now, it’s all scrapped onto a rubbish pile while the clouds cry.

Maybe it’s figurative. Maybe the sun is just being lazy, sleeping in and resting in bed all day, occasionally dozing off under the dark, cloudy covers of the sky. Continue reading Rainy Days

Hear the Music

Sometimes I just sit in my home “office” staring at my wall of collected musical instruments.  I don’t play any of them.  I just like them.

It seems nostalgic, yet, real. 44

It started with a casual garage sale purchase, but now I want a mural of music making contraptions.  Granted, most are non-functioning wall hangers, but when I stare at them, I wonder, imagining the sound of each instrument as deaf music flows to hearing ears.

Whether a solo, or a symphony of organized noise produced by metal, wood and strings, sometimes I hear it. Continue reading Hear the Music