Category Archives: 250 words

2016’s Post

It is the end of another year. What a year! I will not review because, seriously, so much trauma happened to so many people all over the world that I do not like to think about it.

In one regard, I have termed 2016 as the Year of Self. By this I mean, people seem to have felt a need to hunker down, worry about themselves only, and felt empowered to tell everyone else that they were now worrying only about themselves and their self-interests. It is an interesting development that appears to still be taking place in many locations here and all over the world. It very definitely seems that much energy and effort is being applied to separating exclusively rather than uniting inclusively. For me, I become distressed when people decide that they only want people around them who look, act, believe, and live the same as they do. Since when did we loose our desire to tolerate, love, forgive, and see the best in each other?

Life happens, as has been said by those wiser than me. This is my fifth Christmas without any Christmas spirit. I enjoy being around others who embrace the season and I love the colors, sounds, tastes, and meanings behind the season but I personally am not ready yet to jump back in. Almost, but not yet. Maybe next year.

I continue to sit with hospice patients, I am finishing (two classes left!) my undergrad work with graduate school starting in 2017, grandkids get bigger and older, sons keep pushing through, and friends keep changing and adjusting as time moves on.

The stream current of time is a beautiful and scary thing – all at the same time. I feel privileged to be sailing it, however.

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Passing By

loingtimeIt’s been awhile.

There isn’t going to be a writing resurrection of any kind here but for some reason I wanted to post a few words this evening to add to the din of words that already exist in your world. Consider my words more racket to filter.

It’s a week away from Christmas. I’m not sure what I will be doing. I’m glad that so many seem to have a nice time during this time of year – it can be special. Context is everything, isn’t it? A day on a calendar doesn’t mean much of anything but if one attaches traditions, beliefs, memories, or relationships to a day then a calendar day can become very special for some. Good for everyone.

Well, since we talked last there have been more divorces, weddings, funerals, new babies, new jobs, very happy people, very angry people, classes, tragic world news, silly newsmakers, lunches, dinners, movies, vet visits, trips, patients, professors, trash mail, and so much more. The thing is, once a person (like me) gets over the newness of living in new ways then one realizes that it happens all the time and everywhere and it always has and it always will. This being the case, my story isn’t much different than the thousands and millions that swirl around us all the time.

You know, though? I kind of like how things work out. There was a time not too many months ago when I felt I needed to tell my story – probably more for my sake than anyone else’s. But now, anonymity is my friend and companion. In fact, I find a comfort and solace in not being seen, heard, or otherwise noticed. I find I need very little acknowledgement or notice to do what I feel and need to be doing. Instead of being analyzed, rated, or compared to what others do, I can pursue my dreams and hopes without worrying or wondering about what someone else is thinking. It’s actually quite freeing.

I’m doing okay. It’s just different. Still. I’m happy to know that I no longer stand in the way of anyone else’s success or failure. I don’t have to guide or lead nor do I have to be looked at and considered. Perhaps this might change in the future but for right now – where I am – I can do with the small support system I have around me and what I am doing for myself and a few others.

I hope you are well this Christmas season.

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Bad Stories

leyeI wish to share a reality – for me, anyway – that I am continuing to deal with. When a person is alone – like me – with little accountability to anyone, it is very easy to lie. There. I said it.

I’m not sure if this is a problem for others who are alone. I haven’t talked to anyone about it and no one has talked with me about it.

The secondary problem with being tempted to lie about things is to wonder more if other people are telling the truth. The problem of lies seems to further develop into a case of mistrust – is everyone else telling false stories, too?

Here’s the thing. There isn’t anyone who knows my schedule, finances, plans, motivations, private thoughts, or hardly anything else about me. I don’t tell them and they don’t ask. It might seem nice to some of you (I wondered in the past what it would be like to be alone) to be unaccountable to anyone, but for me, I am finding it brings up more than the obvious issues that might be associated with being alone. I would have never thought.

Yes, I have lied and I feel bad about it. I don’t think anyone has been hurt somehow but this makes it even harder – if there aren’t any apparent victims, then it makes it easier to lie? See what I mean?

It’s like a disease. I acknowledge my weakness and I am working on it, praying about it, and hoping that I won’t lose the trust of my family, friends, and acquaintances.

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Communication Breakdown

Social-Media-ConfusionI can’t put my finger on it but, more and more, I find less satisfaction in communicating with friends via electronic communication. I grow weary of spotty, sporadic, and sometimes vague bursts of words from everywhere that somehow are meant to pass for conversation but often simply add to the otherwise ever-present droning din of continuous words all around me that have questionable meaning and value sometimes. Oh certainly, there is occasionally important and very clear communication that takes place so it isn’t all bad by any stretch. But sometimes I wish there was more.

Perhaps it’s because there isn’t anyone here at home to have a conversation with whenever I am so inclined. Or maybe it’s because I get tired of haggling over the meaning of words and sorting out confusion electronically when a few verbal sentences would take care of things. Or maybe I simply want some companionship.

Regardless of my reasons for thinking I need more, here is what I think I miss. First, it’s important sometimes to hear voice inflection and tone, isn’t it? How something is said is often as important as what is being said. I also like to see eyes during a conversation. Eyes also often say as much or more than what is being said. Volume in voice tells much about what is being said. It’s good to know, by observation, that someone is listening. A good conversation requires both appropriate talk but also concerted listening. And sometimes, when appropriate, touch is important to a conversation, is it not?

Maybe I simply desire more meaningful conversation and less ambient words. I don’t know. But whatever the reason, I am much more inclined to have a conversation over some coffee than having conversation in blasts of electronic words.

Just me…

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Choice Time

choiceThe idea is that the moral freedom given to us by God is meant to be used less as an opportunity to experience anything and everything in this world that we can but, rather, it is meant to be more of an opportunity given to us by God to eventually realize and come around to God’s way of thinking. God doesn’t change us without our awareness, permission, or knowledge. Instead, God gives each of us the freedom – to work over time – for each of us to realize that God’s ways are the better ways.

We’ve all heard about the erroneous thinking that some spouses think that their purpose and role in life is to change their spouse. The end of the story, of course, is that rarely can one spouse really and intentionally “change” his or her spouse. Rather, the better way to “change” a spouse is to exhibit love, patience, and understanding all while giving plenty of time and space to the spouse. With time and space and more often than not, two marriage partners will, over time, come to a much better level of relationship.

It’s the same with God. He isn’t going to strike me with a bolt of lightning and change me in an instant. Instead, he gives me love, patience, and understanding along with time to learn and grow to appreciate the ways of God. With God setting the world at my feet, he waits for me to understand God’s ways over time.

Freedom isn’t as much about making choices as it is about taking an opportunity – or not – to come to God’s way of thinking.

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Dry Spell

Bored-bored-bored-baby-budding-politician2Admittedly, being in school takes up lots of time but, at least, I have something to do everyday. I have a schedule, plans, and work to complete. This sounds whiny, of course, but when school is out I feel dry. There is plenty to do around but my days are less structured and they have less purpose, it seems. It’s nice for awhile but after a bit of not having any school around to structure me, I get antsy and nervous. It’s weird.

Today is a nice day out and I’m waiting to connect up with a friend later but other than that, I am honestly feeling like I need to stir up something in order to be engaged and challenged.

“You have a real problem there,” you are saying with snark in your voice and as you roll your eyes. “Must be hard to relax and not be driven by a phone and schedule. Sure, I really feel for you! Too bad!”

Okay, I get it. I’m complaining about something that, not too long ago, was something that I wished for like a Christmas morning. Time off! Not having to think! Not being the tip of the spear! Ah, it all sounded so nice.

But yes, it’s all relative, isn’t it? You do your thing and I do my thing and, after awhile, we all get in the routine and, maybe even, rut and we begin to take things for granted and we figure the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

I’ll survive.

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Color Signals

culoursBeing in mountains with colorful fall trees is, for me, one of the most beautiful experiences of the year. Of course, fall is about death and dying in nature – not being a bummer here but it is – but in the ending of a fall season there is always hope for a new season of growth and maturity. Thankfully, this is how our universe works.

Not only do I see the colors of leaves, but I can smell them, sense them falling from high up in the trees to the ground, hear them when they touch the ground sometimes, and taste the fall air that is often heavy with decay. Being in a forest – as I was yesterday – the experience of fall is a full-senses, multi-sensory experience. Along with the leaves and trees, of course, are the animals who are getting ready for winter – the squirrels storing up their last nuts, the deer running about like they do this time of year, the geese that are moving to other places, and, of course, the decline in buzzing insect population. Additionally, the summer always brings croaking frogs around here – but in the fall the nightly cacophony of amphibian harmony lessens and lessens until it completely stops in the late fall.

Somehow and to me, the colors in the trees signal what is coming. It’s like a flare launched up into the sky to tell others to be on the lookout for something. The color signals a profound change that is about to happen – a life-ending, life-beginning, temporary yet sustainable event that reflects and manifests itself, too, in who all of us are.

We are people of seasons. There is no reason why we can’t and shouldn’t look for signals in our seasons of life.

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Fire Confessional

2014-10-17 19.28.56It was a few evenings ago.  We sit by a comfortable fire together on a cool, fall evening. We’re situated around his fire pit out on the back side of his property. We are hidden by covering trees and heavy bushes so it is a nice, private place but what makes it really special is that it feels like we are sitting isolated out in the mountains somewhere and not in the middle of a busy subdivision. It’s a very unique spot.

We’ve done this, actually, on quite a few occasions through the years. It is something he and I try to do several times every fall. As time goes by and as our lives are further seasoned, I think we both relish the good times we spend together around the fire pit.

I take my lawn chair and a mug of chai over to his house. My friend sits in his chair or on a bench sipping his mug of coffee. His dog pads between us – back and forth – all evening for an occasional ear scratch or friendly tummy rub from each of us. As the dusk turns into a starlit night, we move closer to the crackling, warming fire. Our conversation becomes less animated and more intimate.

We talk about relationships, concerns, things that make us happy and sad, and hopes and dreams about the future. We wonder aloud why God does the things that he does and how we need to react to God’s direction and care. We are amazed at how God has set us down life-paths that we would never have imagined.

Our conversation is spotted with silence as much as it is populated with conversation. Our ideas and emotions need to be said – but felt, too. We are comfortable enough with each other that we don’t fear silence. Sometimes what needs to be said can best be said with silence.

The fire pit is our confessional. It is a safe place.

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Avoiding It

avider
The holidays (and my anniversary) are coming up. This is not a particularly nice time of year for me – or at least it hasn’t been for the last two years. It’s not your problem and don’t worry about it but as much as I like the lights, colors, and sounds of Oct, Nov, and Dec, I kind of wish I could skip through to Jan 1. But, I know it is a special time for others so I wouldn’t deny them their enjoyment.

I’ve felt the last few months that I might decorate up and try to get into things this holiday season but I’ve about decided that it wouldn’t feel right yet so I think I’ll forgo the festivities again this year. I have some concert tickets that I will enjoy and a few other plans with some friends and family, but that will about be it.

I was at a restaurant yesterday with some friends. I knew the waitress and she knew me. Our group was rather large so the waitress was getting the bills organized and sorted and, somehow, I was the one she had missed in her head count. She, without thinking, looked at me and said, “Oh, you’re the one alone and by yourself.” As she said it, she knew what she had done (she knows my story) and she became pretty apologetic. Of course, it wasn’t a big deal but for a few moments there, and for her and me, it all came rolling back. We worked it out and things were fine but…

This is how it is now. I guess I prefer to continue to be an avoider.

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Thank You

mountainsFor friendship  For patience  For listening  For not judging  For telling it like it is  For caring  For pushing  For getting out of the way  For challenging  For laughing  For crying  For teasing  For touching  For hugging  For eating a meal  For drinking some coffee  For having a joke  For being spontaneous  For being honest  For having emotion  For being solid  For giving space  For pushing in  For your example  For getting my back  For giving direction  For adventures  For reading  For music  For texting  For being tolerant  For leading  For reaching  For empathizing  For coming along  For sharing  For needing me  For anticipating  For fixing it  For sitting  For recommending  For waiting  For nurturing  For making it not matter  For surprises  For reminiscing  For wondering  For questioning  For conversing  For trusting  For being along side  For the fire  For wanting to talk  For consistency  For consolation  For wisdom  For intelligence  For fun  For the cloudy days  For the sunny days  For advice  For keeping up  For taking charge  For saying it differently  For summing it up  For finishing it off  For getting it started  For mattering  For cooking it up  For good ideas  For being real  For relaxing  For compliments  For being crazy  For trying it once  For saying no  For saying yes  For explaining  For rolling your eyes  For teaching  For being a pal  For being a mentor  For backing off  For being in my face  For watching movies  For sarcasm  For being witty  For praying  For comforting  For loving

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