More Than That

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April 7, 2018, Prescott-

It’s been 6.5 years, but I remember:

He- “Your life has been one disappointment, after another.  Your delivery has been horrible.  You SEEM to expect others to carry you along.”

I (Thinking)- “My life is far from over.  I may not have my nose to the grindstone, but I am NOT letting one person condemn me to the scrap heap.  I may or may not amass the fortune he seems to expect, but I am going to get back to a quality life-on MY terms.”

The uncomfortable morning passed, and I’ve held my own.  There has been no fortune amassed, but there is a decent life.  I paid the above person back, every cent owed at the time.  We have a strong bond, again, and a mutual respect has been rebuilt.

I write this, in response to a young correspondent expressing a high level of self-directed anger, in the midst of a rough patch.  Some of us, indeed, hit more than our share of speed bumps, and some are imposed by other people- or by institutions, including governments.  There is no limit, however, on how many times one can get back up and continue onward.  Remember, Mohandas Gandhi, before he was Mahatma, and when he was a supporter of the South African government, was knocked down, repeatedly, for voicing a difference of opinion with that government.  Each time, he got back up, and eventually earned a meeting with the Prime Minister.

This resilience is true, for each area of our life.  I am known in my family to be nothing, if not as stubborn as an ox- and this has been the deciding factor, in keeping me alive and well.  There is no reason why any person can’t climb out of a hole- despite the depth.

Each of us is more than that.

Game Plans, and Other Inspirations

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February 19, 2017, Prescott-

It’s sunny/overcast, this morning, as is often the case in Prescott, after a day and night of heavy rain.  My phone tells me how things are, weather-wise, in Phoenix, and in Busan, as well as here.  It’s a fine thing to keep tabs on my son’s environment, with the aid of the second frame. Korea is a bit milder than Arizona, at the moment.

We old vets talked of earning one’s keep, and of game plans for our years ahead, at this morning’s breakfast.  I am optimistic, as to my own situation- for the simple reason that I don’t plan on sponging off anyone.  What this means, in practical terms, is that I will, as I’ve said a few times, work full-time until either December, 2020 or May, 2021, then take a couple of years for personal pursuits, helping my son with his efforts and traveling- in a mix of discovery and service.  After that, if health allows, I would be glad to return to service-related work, such as I am now doing.  TIME Magazine, in this week’s edition, posits that elders will need to consider several “retirements”, interspersed with work, unless/until infirmity sets in.  I am pretty much covered, thanks to my late wife’s foresight and our son’s personal vow, in the event of my own infirmity.

Children inspire me, first and foremost.  Besides those with whom I work, day to day, there are little souls, incidental to my life, the thought of whom lifts my spirits.  There are my grandnieces and grandnephews, looking out at me from the side of my refrigerator, and whose exploits are regularly relayed by their proud grandparents, my siblings.  The little neighbour kids, brother and sister, bring me to my picture window, whenever I hear their voices and the wheels of their mini-vehicles, from the alley across the way. There are 5-year-old “Boo”, my surrogate granddaughter, in Nevada; her age mate, “B”, in Juneau; the now 11 and 12-year- old sisters from Belgium, who were just full of mischief, three years ago, when we were in a dining car restaurant, in Bastogne; the spirited middle schoolers from Koln, Germany, who enlisted my help in a “take home” exam, in Brussels’ Grande Place, during that same cross-Atlantic jaunt; my nearly 13-year-old sponsoree, “I”, working diligently at his studies, in the Philippines; countless youngsters who have weighed in on matters great and small, in chance encounters during my travels.

The other main source of inspiration is human resilience, which I see every day, in people of all ages and backgrounds.  My cross-town friend, “M”, toughed out some very lean years, as a single parent, before finally arriving at a place of stability.  My cross-country friend, “K”, slept many nights, God-knows-where, before getting her own apartment, finding an honest means of living and a man who loves her.  A once-homeless man, whom some of you may remember from my posts of 2014-15, now has a steady income and reason to get up every morning and smile.

I believe in the Law of Attraction, and its eleven related laws, as surely as I believe that the Arizona sun will dispel any clouds, no matter how thick they may seem.

 

The Road to 65, Mile 301: I Hear the Rolling Thunder

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September 24, 2015, Phoenix- I drove a friend down here, this quiet and subdued evening, that she could pay homage to a woman for whom she cared, in the last throes of the lady’s battle with Alzheimer’s.  I did not, of course, know the woman, yet seeing the story of her life, on video, and listening to my friend’s account of her interactions, I was as moved to tears as I would have been, had I known her.

We all have our differences of opinion, and for some, that is the be all and end all of relationships.  Sitting in the chapel, though, and listening to the words of the immortal hymn, “How Great Thou Art”, as sung by Carrie Underwood, I can honestly say there was a total unity, that I have only rarely felt, when in a group of people previously unknown to me.

There are those who anticipate a cataclysmic occurrence, this very weekend, or not long afterward.  I am a skeptic, along those lines.  I believe that something such will happen, but on God’s timetable, not on Man’s.  The truth is, each of us experiences our own personal calamity, from time to time.  The Alzheimer’s and its aftermath were catastrophic to the departed woman and to her family and friends.  Penny’s illness , of nearly eight years, was heart-wrenching to me, to our son and to our families-and how much worse it must have been to her, a woman of high intelligence, drive and achievement.  Every day, people endure natural and man-devised crises and acts of destruction, such as few onlookers can appreciate.

Our strength, as a species, lies in our resilience.  I am entering a phase, in my own recovery, that I could not have anticipated, even three months ago.  This is how it has been, for the last four years and eight months:  One step after another, relying mostly on faith, doing things that are humdrum and ordinary for  many, but for which a person like me, come only with struggle.

I will surely thrive, even through the worst of whatever may lie ahead- so my spirit guide tells me, and I believe her.