Security or Balance?

I noticed, when going downstairs while using the handrail,

That I don’t cling to it for safety/security,

But I lean on the handrail,

For balance.

And, as always, I seek the metaphor for life, my life.

I think security/safety is important for a stable life, but

It is balance I seek for a meaningful life.

Balance is often thought of as a teeter totter between two members of a dichotomy:

Good/evil, fit/unfit, religious/atheist, etc.

But there are no dichotomies; there are three or more forces involved in each problem.

As a physics teacher, I believe in force vectors, in which the sum of each force AND their directions determines your movement.

Unattended, forces are exerted, causing movement.

And so what reaction to these forces do you perceive?

A. Nothing, I am blown by forces not of my making.

B. Resist the impinging forces by my own personal strength.

C. Seek balance, seek to balance forces with other forces that act in opposition or in replacement of forces arrayed to place stress in my life.

For me this balance comes in the form of meditation, jigsaw puzzles and bike rides.

Walks in the beach, turning off cable news, spiritual practices, walking with the dog etc. offer balance to my stressors.

Hugs, cuddling, touch, kisses, are powerful forces in this regard.

And so, instead moving according to forces I don’t control,

I sit quietly as the whirlwinds if life,

Not fighting,

Just leaning 

In a direction that

Gives me balance.

It is this balance that sustains me in the face of trauma,

Like death of a loved one, illness, surgery, motor accident, addiction, and so on and so on.

Balance, and God,

And my wife of forty five years.

Love is a great balancing agent.

I see others, people who don’t have balance,

And I can’t give them balance,

I can only be sure that I am balanced.

Can you see?

That I am balanced?

And not teetering?

Sometimes, sometimes, I teeter,

When I teeter I know what to do,

Seek balance, find equilibrium,

And go on to the next event.

– Small town boy

Healing/Greiving

I had surgery on Tuesday, and now I am in the healing process.

Healing is like grieving, you can’t hurry it.

Both are recovery processes.

Both trying to repair the body,

from trauma.

The mental body, the emotional body, the physical body, and the spiritual body.

We’ve been given the necessaries for this process,

And though we grow impatient,

they work, after a fashion.

Seeing it in others or helping them see it,

Doesn’t help much when it’s you that is healing.

Small steps, some backwards, some forwards,

Like the frog in  the well: two forward, one backward.

Oh, how we take for granted the uninjured self.

When we’re whole our minds, hearts, bodies and spirits

Are involved with other things, not suspecting

What’s around the corner.

What is the good of trauma? It shakes me up, like an earthquake,

That allows rebuilding of fundamental structures, 

Allows change to occur.

Things I thought were important, aren’t so important now.

Things I had forgotten were important, become important once again.

Grief and healing; healing and grief,

Once thought too painful,

Now seen as brief.

bless me father.

-Small town boy


My doctors, Brant and Wang.

Trees fell down

There are trees down in the forest.

Some fell, but mostly as a result of storm damage.

A natural end to life in a vertical posture.


Now I lay me down to sleep…

No!

Prematurely, not due to any weakness in my limbs,

I am fallen to die,

And then, after a time,

Resurrection, just as Christ died on a tree and was resurrected after being placed in a cave on the ground,

I, laying here on the forest floor,

Will become a nurse log for others to grow from.

The cycle continues.

I m fallen, but others will rise 

With my help.

From

My life comes the life of others,

Standing in the sun.

Amen

– small town boy

Sons-in-law

Sons-in-law are different than daughters-in-law.

As I’ve said elsewhere daughters-in-law are God’s gifts to dads.

Sons-in-law are God’s quiet warriors,

that enter the family on the arms of my daughters,

And caretake everyone, quietly, with honor and greatness.

If, if, you are blessed enough to have discerning daughters,

And that is not always the case.

Some men are not more than sperm donors.

Some men abuse my daughters,

And leave them pregnant, alone and unsupported,

Only to return later to try to take the glory denied them by their denial.

But the good ones, like my sons-in-laws are superior men.

I have great sons, don’t get me wrong.

 But these sons-in-laws, of their own volition, married my daughters,

And helped in the raising of the family,

Providing a role model for the boys,

And for the girls too.

They don’s spend a lot of time boasting, preaching, being totalitarian

Heads of their families.

They work. They are at home. They argue with their wives. They hold their children and spend “quality time” with them.

I had no such father myself. So I really appreciate these men who fathered (really fathered) my grandchildren.

I have followed the line from Marco Polo (the TV series) in which Ghengis Khan said, “You have to become the father you wished you had.”

My son-in-laws help me with that.

Thank you Russel and George.

I. Love you.

– Small town boy

Breath

I breathe.

Again.

I breathe,

And with each breath

My lungs extract life

In the form of oxygen 

And send it to refresh my heart.

My heart thus refreshed

Sends it on to my brain,

And the cloud on my spirit lifts

Just a little.

More breaths, more breathing,

More refreshing,

And I can go on.

Simple, slow recovery.

I just keep breathing.

Thank you Jesus,

And all those tiny angels

That I sent to my friend last year in her grief,

They have returned to me.

Their job is never ending.

Their job is to give us strength and courage

And hope.

Take a breath, take another, and another.

Recovery is slow 

But hope is eternal.

– Small town boy

 

In my grief

I grieve.

I ache with it.

My heart is broken.

I am at a standstill,

Unable.

Unable to think.

Unable to feel ought else.

Unable to breathe or swallow or sleep.

How must my daughter feel, my son-in-law, my grandchildren?

I grieve for them, with them.

I weep, in spurts .

When I think I’m safe again,

I am over whelmed with grief.

I long for wellness;

I am heartsick.

Where is my recovery?

In you? In You? In solitarity?

In time?

In activity?

I die with Christ this weekend in hopes of my resurrection,

From this terrible grief.

– Small town boy

Pedal faster

Pedal faster, he’s right behind you,

In his power chair,

He’s going to overwhelm you, again.

I’m at my gym, Fitness Over Fifty,

Pedaling the stationary bike, faster and faster,

Feeling feelings I don’t want to deal with,

About to erupt.

I thought I dealt with his death, but

He chases after me, laughing,

Because he no longer needs his power chair.

But it’s good for the chase.

It’s good because it still gives him power,

The power of love,

The power of his personality that overwhelmed his disabilities,

The power of God that dwelt within

Him and me.

Oh lord deliver me from the great sadness chasing me.

Let me weep again, let my heart break again, let my guts turn to jelly once more,,

So that he can rest and quit chasing me.

Pedal faster. Ignore him, if you can.

Dear God, he is yours now, running and laughing in the heavenly domain.

And we are left here

With our sorrows,

Pedaling as fast as we can.

I love you Terrae.

Thanks for your light in my darkness.

– Small town Boy

Awesome

I hate that word and the way people overuse and abuse it.

Awesome, dude!

That was awesome!

He/she was awesome.

Fuck awesome!

If everything is awesome, then nothing is awesome. We’ve reduced it to triviality.

But, then…

When you have the honor and privilege to know and love an awesome person.

Awesome because, though he was quadriplegic, he ran to you for a hug.

In his power chair.

Though his speech was difficult to understand, he spoke plainly

When he was on the phone with his girl friend.

Though he needed help with the meanest tasks,

His smile was AWESOME.

His love was awesome.

His humor was awesome.

His strength in the face of disability was awesome.

His love for his young nephew, yep, awesome.

It is not hyperbole when you are talking about him.

You have led the way for the rest of us.

Today I will try to be awesome too.

I guess awesome isn’t so bad after all,

When applied to the right person.

– Small town boy

Dedicated to Terrae O’Neal, 

1/6/80-4/6/17


Awesome!!!

Where does the flame go?

Where does the flame go when the candle goes out?

Where did it come from?

It’s a zen question like:

“You know the sound of two hands clapping; what is the sound of one hand clapping?”

The heat, the light, the flickering,

Where do they go?

A flame is not what you think it is,

While it dances there in the melted wax,

Hiding the wick it relies on,

Forgetting the required spark that got it going,

Regardless of its pending demise.

It is merely energized molecules,

Vibrating so,

That we are able to see that part if the spectrum it displays,

Light. The light.

And to feel the heat it radiates when we hold cold hands to the flame,

And feel it’s life.

Flames can join other flames,

Till there is a conflagration.

Is that where it went?

When life was snuffed?

Did it join the conflagration 

Of the universal flame?

Energy is neither created nor destroyed,

Nor are you, my love.

You have been,

We shared your brief life,

And you are 

Still, resurrected.

I know. I feel your warmth yet.

I bask in the light of you.

I love you.

– Small town boy

Today is the next day

Since I decided to live out each day I have been given,

My life is much simpler and anticipatory.

After experiencing grief over the loss of my eldest grandson this weekend,

I realized this morning that today is the next day

In a series that is ongoing 

Despite death, and grief, and sadness.

The moon still shines and becomes full again;

The sun rises; the rain falls; flowers bloom again.

Even as they will when I am gone.

Even as they have since my father, my mother, and my sister have gone.

One day after the next.

So, each day holds the promise of a next day.

And this is it.

I still love you, even in your absence;

I still have those around me who love me;

I await the gifts you have for me today,

With great anticipation.

Thank you.

– Small town boy