Bait and Hook –
This morning I was zipping through emails before heading to the office for a training. I had three from our IT department and opened each of them giving a cursory read. One was an update to a system, another was reminding me of a piece of equipment I needed to pick up and the third was dealing with switching to a new email system. Each one looked legit and I told myself to get set up on the new email system next time I was near my computer. I finished, went to work and as I sat in my chair waiting for the training to start I received a new email another one from IT. The email stated firmly “do not click on the link to the new email system! This is a phishing and spam scam!” “Whew!’ I thought to myself, ‘that was close!'” I was going to click on the link, would have clicked on it if I had the time this morning. I’m usually good at spotting bad emails but because this one was in a collection of legitimate emails I assumed it was fine.
In life, as in IT, we have to be careful not to let everything come together as one big pile of things we need to do. If we do we run the risk of missing something important, doing something harmful, and allowing life to be the sum of its parts instead of each moment being an eternity in itself. Life is hard and there’s so many things we think we need to do. Wisdom teaches us to let go a lot of the minutiae, the things which aren’t really important, and to focus on what counts. When we are able to take life a breath at a time we find love, kindness, presence more easily and things which are harmful to us and those we love more visible and avoidable.
My friend, role-model, and father passed away early this morning a little after midnight. His fight was over and he was ready. He sat up one last time as if to say, “It’s my time. I’m coming home.”
The house seemed empty today when we returned from all the breathless running around one does after a loved one takes their final breath. Even though he hasn’t been home in a few weeks it seemed he had just left the house. Keys, hats, computers, movies, his chair all still in their proper place. It seems this is still his house, his home. But…it’s not. Sure, there are memories and experiences. A lifetime of highs and lows to relive for the rest of our time on this shadow side of eternity but he has moved and left a forwarding address.
I sit in the quietude with his presence still lingering. I think about all of the rough days he’s had over the last 8 months, the noises of the machines which were keeping him alive. After we received the phone call we drove over to the hospice house to say our; “Goodbyes.” The room was so still. No beeping, whirring, pumping, dripping, nurses checking in. It was motionless and the silence was deafening. My mother began to fill the atmosphere with soft cries, and soft words to her best friend and lover of the last 40 years. My brother and I standing in the background, witnesses to a heart affair which is rare in this world. Finally, after a few more kisses from her on his hands and cheek, we left all thankful we’d never see that room again and that he had moved on to his permanent address.
And now, we are left to carry on. To occupy a house which isn’t home without him. To learn to adjust to a new normal we didn’t choose. To loosen our grip on this world, this place, because we know home is waiting for us on the other side.
Yesterday, an elderly woman from Pennsylvania, a beautiful, giving and grace filled soul, passed from this world to the next. This makes 8 individuals from a group of people whom my wife and I love dearly who have died in the last 3 years.
Her name was Alma and the 5 years I knew her she had to be connected to an oxygen tank to help with her breathing. She lived in a tiny apartment in a complex for those who need assistance. She still found the love and strength to bake goodies, spend time with family and friends, go to church and pray for her family and others. She had a wonderful laugh and never complained about her health. Her concern was other people.
Now, she’s gone and the world is poorer not having her in it.
Death isn’t scary, it’s inevitable. What we should be afraid of is living selfishly. A life lived well is one that knows death is closer than we realize and each moment solidifies our place in the hearts of others for eternity.
This afternoon, before the person remodeling our bathroom left for the weekend he rigged a shower and a working toilet for us to use. I took my first real shower in almost a week about an hour ago and it was wonderful! Standing there as the water flowed I was reminded of those around the world who have no water due to poverty, homelessness or lack of clean water in the areas they live.
Blessings are in abundance for so many of us and yet we miss the wonders. They are bountiful and flow into our lives like a giant waterfall. Unfortunately, we have become so used to them we take them for granted and dismiss their importance and rarity.
Today is Good Friday, the day the Master died. Because of his death, we in the Christian faith are showered with grace, love, kindness and mercy from our Father who is in Heaven. We’ve grown up with the story. It is so familiar that we miss the importance and the rarity of the God-man who came to our world, clothed in our skin, and made a way for us to bathe in the presence of the Father for all eternity.
For Good Friday, Eternal Acceptance, and showers we thank Thee, O’Lord.
One of the most important teachings of wisdom is the “space between.” It is the distance between what happens to us and our reaction to it. The greater the space; usually the wiser choice and better consequence. The shorter the response time; the more chance of the decision/action being poor.
Wisdom teaches us that a word unsaid is usually not regretted. This also extends to actions. Once something is said or done there is no reverse and we must accept the consequence, good or bad. “When a person picks up one end of the stick, they always pick up the other.” Wisdom also teaches us the concept of eternity existing in every moment. It is a harder lesson to learn and grasp but powerful in its impact upon how we think about life and relationships.
Take the time, exist in the moment, breathe, be still, reflect and then decide. The difference in a quick reaction and a wise one can be the difference between life and death.
I’m confused. Is it Christmas or Thanksgiving? Fall or winter? Wasn’t Halloween less than a month ago?
Two weekends ago I passed on one street three different houses, one with Halloween, another; Thanksgiving and the last; Christmas decorations. Why does the end of the year fly by? Why are so many ready for December? Can’t we give November it’s proper send off before welcoming it’s replacement? Sigh. This year has passed quickly, too quickly. I can’t believe we’re almost to 2016! I’ll be 45 years old soon and firmly ensconced in middle age.
Time makes fools of us all. For those living in anticipation and those trying to catch their breath. Some can’t wait, others are not ready and yet time…goes…on.
We are truly grass that springs up and wilts in the noon day sun, a blink of eternity’s eye, a fading light in an ever changing, growing, glowing universe. We are and then we are not.
Music is amazing. It’s power to transport, transfer, transition our minds, emotions and moods is unparalleled.
The last few days have been overcast and gloomy. My disposition has been effected and reflected in the drops of rain falling and the clouds hanging overhead.
In my workshop yesterday I listened to a storm and tried to cross a few items off the “need to do” list. I plugged a speaker into my phone and selected a slow playlist of current and classic songs. As the tunes played I thought of long time friends, different seasons of life. Music has the ability to allow us to be in multiple places at a single time.
I wonder if our lives can harmonize with the music of kindness, grace and love? Is it possible that we can impact others in such a way that it lasts for a lifetime? Perhaps even echo into eternity?
The migraine that ate Tokyo came crashing into my life on Monday. It started in the morning and by the afternoon it had brought me to my knees. It was my fault. I had over extended myself this past weekend and the anxiety, fatigue and over stuffed schedule made me vulnerable to its attack. After taking plenty of meds and recovering Tuesday I ventured out today. Migraines affect different people in various ways and one of mine is tired and extremely sensitive eyes. During a migraine my eyes feel like they have ice picks stabbing them from the inside and even after it subsides subtle light can be blinding. For the record; the sun is blazing brilliantly today and as a result I’m struggling to adjust.
A year ago today my friend Mary passed away. I miss her greatly. She was one of those people whom the world is worse off because she’s no longer in it. June 17th of 2014 I wrote about her passing and another post the day before. I still remember watching the sun rise the morning I received word of her death. It was beautiful. I wondered and still do; “What is she seeing? Does the sun in all it’s glory pale in comparison to the light that now surrounds and penetrates her?”
I don’t know much about heaven and eternity. I’m wary of anyone who says they do. I believe in life after death and being united with loved ones who have crossed over to the other side. As I’ve wrestled with the light today I’ve also reflected upon whether or not my friend Mary has adjusted to her new eyes, a new light, a new way of seeing.