From the time I was a seedling, I wanted to be something worthwhile. Every day I stretched higher, farther, reaching for the sun to bathe my leaves in life giving photosynthesis.
My life in the forest ended when soldiers wearing helmets, red cloaks and armor cut me down.
I hoped the soldiers would form me into an honorable, useful item, like a fine chair, magnificent bed, or maybe a grand formal dining table. I would’ve even been satisfied to be a powerful support post in a house or mansion holding it all up.
Instead, their axes hacked me into a long, rough beam. Still, I hoped.
They loaded me in a wagon and hauled me to a city. There they cut off a smaller beam from my top, notched a side to fit over the beam, and secured my pieces with long spikes and rope.
Continue reading Cross Talk
When my first grandchild was born, I found it interesting how you can love a newborn so much. Throughout his life, we’ll share DNA, and the same last name.
He’ll carry our family name down the generational rivers entering a sea of names. Maybe it’s just a man thing, but that’s downright satisfying!
I looked back at a flash drive of old family pictures that included a scan of an article my grandfather wrote in 1974. My Grandpa is my grandson’s Great, Great Grandfather.
He only had a 6th grade education, so to write a life summary and family history is phenomenal! It was exhilarating to read! Continue reading Age to Age
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
There’s so many things I don’t understand, so I’m writing You hoping You can swoop down and take care of things, at least the questions.
Like, why do kids starve in parts of the world? And why was a child somewhere, probably a lot close than we want to think, abused beyond measure by someone who is supposed to care and love them?
And God, why do you let evil people kill in the name of false gods? And why does it rain like crazy one year, then a drought the next….wouldn’t it be better to just even it out? Continue reading Dear God
Between almost awake and half asleep, my brain registers discomfort. Oh no! An earache! I had so many earaches as a kid and hate ‘em. Just hate ‘em!
The throbbing’s the worst. Each heartbeat bangs on the ear drum. No matter how you twist or turn, you literally feel, and hear, every beat of the heart. Like a marching band, the regular beat on the drum creates a disconcerting percussion concert.
It’s fingernails down the blackboard!
I try to go back to sleep, but things on the “to do” list start cluttering the mind. Too tired to get up, too conscious to sleep, several hours of nothingness tick away in the dark with only my thoughts and the striking of the ear drum with each beat of the heart.
In a way, it’s fascinating. The never seen heart constantly pumps life in rhythm. The body, soul and spirit, it rises, and falls, in a life dance with the ever present heartbeat on the ear drum. Continue reading A Heartbeat Away
A college student in an electric wheel chair was moving up the sidewalk beside our local university.
She controlled her chair with one hand while tapping a cane back and forth in front of her with the other. She was partially paralyzed, and on top of it, blind! Yet there she was, out in public, on her own, making her way from place to place! Amazing!!
I respect her immensely for doing what seems impossible to me!
She reminds me of a blind friend named Randy I knew in college. Randy was 7 or 8 years older than me and had lost his sight his senior year of high school when he caught a rare virus. Continue reading To See The Way
Three months ago. Saturday. 8:04 AM. Work rings. Never good. Answer phone.
“Dee’s mom called. His wife is a nurse and woke up and heard him gurgling. She called 9-1-1 and started CPR. They don’t know how long he was without oxygen. He’s at the ER now, but non-responsive.”
My heart sunk. We’d worked together 23 years. Dee’s a quality guy. I knew then I’d never see him again, not the same. At minimal, brain damage from oxygen deprivation would forever change him.
~~Something awakened Dee’s wife, Alanda, at 6:15 AM. She heard Dee gurgling from fluid filling his lungs. She flipped on the light, called 9-1-1 and started CPR.
Alanda saved Dee’s life. He’d crossed death’s doorway, but at the threshold, Alanda grabbed the tip of his little toe toenail and began pulling him back.
Five minutes later paramedics arrived. They took over CPR and used an AED.
One electrical shock to the heart. Two. Continue reading You Come From Good Stock
I saw a co-worker and his wife in a social setting. The man turned to his wife, “Tell Jeff the story you told me.”
Her face lit up as if she remembered something important. She began a story from the high school cafeteria where my kids went.
She told me about a young man who doesn’t “fit in”. She said the student being picked on wasn’t popular, struggles in school, and in all reality, is not very socially skilled. By all accounts, he’s a little odd. Add it up, and he’s an easy target.
The young man’s primary defense mechanism is to blend in like a social chameleon, then avoid others. That’s impossible during school days when he would unwilling become the center of attention. He’d shrink alone, virtually defenseless, and silently absorb any words, jokes or laughter directed his way. Continue reading The Other Table
Maybe it was congenital. Maybe brain damage. Either way, he was effected.
His leg drug faintly when walking. At the repeat of each pair of steps, he swung his hip to the left so he could pivot his right leg up for the next step. It would have been slow and tedious for others, but he’d had a lot of practice, probably a lifetime, so he was fluid when he walked, even if it wasn’t smooth.
He was short and stocky, wearing simple blue jeans with his plaid blue shirt neatly tucked in. His glasses were thick, and although his eyes seemed to move just a hint slower, they were overshadowed by the peacefulness of his face.
We all walked into the church auditorium, and as circumstance would have it, we ended up sitting diagonally behind the stranger in church. Continue reading Singing in the Rubble
He hobbled slowly to a stone wall to lean on it, caught his breath to gather strength. A few meters away, he half fell, half sat in a shady spot on the dusty ground.
His threadbare clothes were so tattered and thin that most people wouldn’t even use them for rags.
He carefully placed a beat-up cup within reach right in front of him. He’d learned that given half a chance, other beggars more agile than he would snatch his few coins and run. He was barely able to move across the street now, much less give chase. He tried in vain not to close his eyes.
There was just something about closing his eyes though that eased his pain. Every joint in his body seemed to ache, right down to his bone marrow. He wasn’t sure why, but sometimes sharp pains in his side doubled him over, causing him to curl up in a tight ball until the pain subsided. Continue reading Just For Crumbs