Wednesday, November 29, 2006

3 Little Words, 1 Big Effort

3 little words
change everything
3 little words
filled with grace
3 little words
offering peace
3 little words

"You were right."

Once Again, Breathing Matters

I breathed. I listened. I stopped over-thinking.

Today is MUCH better.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sad Today, Sun Tomorrow?

Disappointment sucks. I've invested some time into a relationship and have this gnawing feeling that the return on that investment isn't going to please me. What "pleasing me" would look like is a bit fuzzy but would definitely include choosing me over TV after my having been away for several days.

Some folks have suggested I tend to overthink things. I agree. But the evidence is in on this one and I'm left with . . . leftovers. While I'm a creative cook, I think I deserve gourmet.

So I'm backing off. The investment is already made. The dividends are going to mature or they're not. But I've grown too fond of the woman I now perceive myself to be to allow her to be hurt by someone's short sightedness.

This feels like a soap opera synopsis so . . . to be continued.

Quotable Quote #? (I used to keep track)

There's a helluva distance between wisecracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words.

--Dorothy Parker

Monday, November 27, 2006

Meeting Musings (perhaps not poetry but lyrics?)

Paying my dues
Gripping and grinning
Biding my time
Keeping plates spinning
My “yes” is my “yes”
As well as my “no”
I’ll do what I can
To go with the flow

Looking the part
Playing the game
Working 9 to 5
Settling for fortune not fame
I talk the talk
Use the lingo
I’ll do what I can
To go with the flow

But when the clock sets me free
I’m free indeed
Free to be, to see, to say what I need
Free for the taking
And take I will
The glass I’ve been draining
I’m ready to re-fill
Of little I’m sure but this I know
By all means, let the good times flow

Friday, November 24, 2006

Beach Walking Wake Up

The drapes were blowing through the patio doors. . . . billowing actually . . . catching my eye and my breath with the grandness. But I was troubled as well. Open doors would make sense if we were in the heat of an Alabama summer. But this was a pre-Thanksgiving walk along an almost uninhabited beach.

Still one room and then another and another were all experiencing the breeze. A suggestion of normalcy existed. Furniture awaited fulfillment of function. Patio chairs sat empty.

Then I saw the upturned armchair, the broken window. And cold reality joined the wind.

The hotel was abandoned. Concrete cubes still contained the remains of what once meant comfort to castle-building kids, sun-scorched teens, and fished out men and women. But no soul would check in to this inn again.

Hurricanes bring both destruction and great change.

I had just been considering the exhilaration that is my life -- a sunny day, health to walk the sands with smile-filled energy, friends with whom to play and contemplate everything from Scrabble strategies to church planting. Yet moments before I saw the open windows I had allowed a brief moment of reality to sit in. One slight shift and the landscape would change drastically. One loss, one false move, one disappointment and the shell might remain but day-in/day-out would seem so empty.

Sooooo . . . I turned my gaze to the sun and kept walking, leaving reality for another day.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Definitely Grateful

Since we Americans feel the need to make everything "official" in order for it to truly be real (images of the Velveteen Rabbit just flashed through my mind), we've given ourselves permission, yea, verily even dictated that folks get grateful on this Thursday.

Thanks-giving has never been too difficult for me. I need no holiday to encourage me to look around a table at the bounty of friends who surround me -- the diversity of thought, culture, experience, humor, stories, beauty, grace -- and give thanks. "Blessed" sometimes feels like a word that's been hijacked by people with whom I no longer agree and I use it reluctantly because of those conotations but I truly feel blessed to be part of the God-given families of birth and choice in my life.

I am amazed at the life I've been fortunate enough to lead. While never knowing the extended belly poverty I've seen in parts of the world, I grew up very aware of my family's lack of wealth. Still, I never went hungry and the times I went "without" were few and far between. I complained the year I got a garage sale Barbie with homemade (actually crocheted, if you can picture that) clothes but, hey, I had one of those damn dolls, didn't I? And it sufficiently warped my psyche for years.

Today I travel. I know, enjoy, cook and delight in sharing good food with others. My home has people from all over the world enter its comfort. They may not have had their own bathroom or 350 count sheets ... they may not have even enjoyed a real bed ... but they were there, gifting me with their wisdom and tales of life journeys.

Today I know adventure. Each moment for me is precious. I've seen too many people leave this earth too early. I have no intention of wasting time. Some watch and wonder and quietly suggest that perhaps I should watch that proverbial candle-burning a bit more closely. But if there's a rock to climb, I'm climbing it; a river to cross, then I'm on the other side; a mountaintop to reach, then I'm there; I'm even good with a perfectly good plane to jump out of.

Today I love, I laugh, I cry, I experience freedom, I risk, I relish, I embrace, I enjoy. Today I'm definitely grateful.

Monday, November 20, 2006

"Serious" Games

Wondering if any of you have checked the idea of "serious games" out . . . and if so what you think? Here's a link to one called Darfur Is Dying.

Halfway to Nowhere (At least not yet)

I'm not sure.

I sound sure.

I'm sure I seem sure when others ask.

But overall

I'm not sure . . . and I hate that halfway feeling.

Undeveloped Thoughts

I'm sure I thought this scribble on an envelope might make a good post once it was further developed. I haven't developed it so maybe it should just be what it is and nothing more:

Makeshift meaning . . . patching in importance where it was never intended.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wow! Has It Been That Long?

I'm tired today. I'm too weary to synthesize or summarize or theorize about all that's transpired in the two weeks since I last posted. I will, however, give you a sampling of the ingredients and if you choose to cook up an interesting story to go along with it -- true or only rooted in truth -- I'd be delighted to hear it.

airport runs . . . accents that amused me and put smiles on the faces of almost every Texan that heard them . . . friends coming to my rescue so that sweet kisses weren't entirely off my agenda . . . cultural divides and bridge builders . . . back rubs that found THE spot and made it momentarily better . . . networks and node runners . . . markers and flip charts and mindmaps . . . questions, questions, questions . . . pain revealed and pain hidden . . . a job interview that turned into an offer to volunteer and a recommitment to who I am and what I'm doing in this moment in time . . . King Ranch Chicken the way it's supposed to be made . . . young adults challenging older adults to live what they teach . . . laughter -- God, I love laughter! . . . hesitancy and surety . . . appreciation of the wisdom that comes with experience . . . honoring enthusiasm (and sometimes not) . . . Texas Two Stepping with my favorite 70 year old rodeo cowboy . . . watching the Brit's feet while line dancing and realizing he was soooo much better than me . . . the power of breathing brought on by occasional but much needed walks . . . the joy of seeing someone geniunely smile . . . fearing illness, finding I'm only human and tears happen . . . bad calls . . . grace . . . circular tables do make for good conversation around the dinner table . . . realizing once again my job is not to fix anything . . . or anybody . . . risking and failing, risking and succeeding . . . pioneers in space and time . . . saying goodbye . . . making people feel . . . making people comfortable . . . art . . . good food . . . a glass of wine at just the right time . . . heartfelt enthusiasm . . . stars overcoming the blackness on a rural farm then the turn toward day as the sun rises and I don't have to think . . . a much needed nap . . . a group of coworkers I respect . . . hard work, head work . . . massaging egos when I what I want to do is kick asses (and that remark has nothing to do with anyone with a foreign-to-Texas accent) . . . wanting to make the hurts better and realizing I'm helpless . . . wondering what God is up to or if God is even paying attention . . . deleting 600 spam ads not detected by my security measures . . . today, breathing once again and looking forward to more time with friends.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Depression is depressing ...

A friend of mine lives in China. She’s not Chinese by birth but she has a Chinese heart. She fell in love with the land and the people more than a decade ago and has even made a few sacrifices in order to live there. She uses an email newsletter to share some of her experiences and occasionally make observations regarding the people around her.

The tables turned on her recently when someone heard a story on U.S. radio about a Chinese situation and asked her about it. Seems NPR featured the tale of a man who saved people who were attempting to commit suicide by jumping off the Nanjing bridge into the Yangzi River. Chen is about 38 years old, a manager in a company, and he spends his weekends patrolling the bridge and talking people out of jumping, and sometimes manhandling them to keep them from going over.

She writes, “He started this mission (he isn't religious, but this is clearly a mission) during 2003 and has saved 102 persons. He seems to have a gift for knowing who is a candidate for jumping. . . . He has learned how to detect the clues of depression -- lack of purposeful direction, a vacant expression. He strikes up a conversation and tries to get people to connect with him emotionally; this often results in tearful confessions of depression, lack of money, illness, no job, marriage problems, and so forth. Sometimes he takes the people home with him until they are stable. His wife isn't too keen on this, but apparently she puts up with it and, when the person is female, takes care of her.”

After hearing the story and investigating, my friend connected yet another friend who teaches psychology to Chen. As a result, he’s getting some help with his ongoing bridge surveys.

My friend said that she’s learned nearly 250,000 people commit suicide in China every year, one every two minutes. Another 2 million attempt suicide each year. One shocking statistic she found is that 37 percent of those who attempt suicide consider it for less than five minutes, and 60 percent consider it for less than two hours. Suicide has become the main cause of death in persons aged 15-34.

Last week I heard that authorities had found the body of a pastor acquaintance of mine. He lived in another city. I’d done a consulting gig with this man. He’d shared his hopes for his congregation as well as his struggles with depression and alcoholism. I thought his vision was a good one and told him so. I doubted he was the leader who could accomplish it. I didn’t tell him that. He didn’t ask. My hope was that his hope for the future tilted the scales toward the positive in his life. Guess I was wrong.

Depression to the point of suicide is unfathomable to me. But then again, I’m not depressed. I’ve known this disease from afar and close enough to feel its hot breath on the back of my neck. I never see fun runs for it or Labor Day telethons but its victims are legion – those that leave and the hundreds they leave behind.

I don’t blame my pastor friend or my high school best friend (who we also lost to sucide)or all the folks I’ve known who have suffered the day to day life drain that depression brings. I am angry however. But I just don’t know where the anger goes. So for now, it goes here.