January 15, 2012
Between the news I heard last week and the question I was asked this morning, I’ve spent much of today taking a far closer look than normal at myself.
Following my morning coffee, weeding through emails, and a few good morning kisses from the pups, I headed out the door for Sunday worship. Recently I’ve missed more sermons than heard and today I wanted to change that trend. It is after all a new year. For me, the best messages aren’t those that are simply well prepared and delivered from a pulpit, but instead the ones that suggest deeper thought and self-evaluation. Today was one of those kinds of sermons. The takeaway as I made my walk to the car was quite simple, “what defines me?”
Ironically I’d already begun asking myself this very question on Friday afternoon upon hearing that a friend had passed away. I was shocked by the news and to my surprise, she hadn’t passed recently, Friday marked the fourth anniversary and I never knew. Naturally, I spent the balance of Friday in memory mode. It was a healthy mental time and two days after receiving the news, it continues.
The older I become, I find myself holding onto my past more than I once did. I certainly don’t make it a point to live for the past, but I have great respect for it being responsible for much of the very thing my pastor discussed this morning. In all of it’s greatest, worsts, and more than it’s share of mediocre days, my past defines the very man that I am today.
Reflection is a way I continue moving forward. That evaluation of knowing where I’ve been propels me. My father guided and taught me more than his share from the time I was a child through my adulthood. His far too early death nineteen years ago however didn’t erase those life lessons. I still use them… many of them daily.
Although we hadn’t seen one another in several years, the news of Donna’s passing still saddens me. To say that she died too young is such a cliché, but it’s the best I can come up with and the fact is, she did. I’m incredibly grateful however for all of the life and laughter that she brought to mine. Each of them are now blessings.
The passing of time continues to move quicker than it once did, all the while defining me and defining us. Hold onto it.
January 8, 2012
Yesterday marked the end of the first week of 2012. The weather and the day were nearly identical to the week before. Almost to the minute from a week earlier, I passed a cemetery yesterday that I’d driven by on the afternoon of New Years Eve. On a date generally known for celebrating great hopes and new beginnings, a funeral was taking place. Beneath the largest blue sky was a green canopy providing shade for family, friends, and loved ones who instead were spending this final day of 2011 by saying farewell. There was no champagne, no confetti, and no loud countdown to a brilliant display of lights. There was only sunshine, silence, and goodbyes.
I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking quite a bit about those things that I control; and more importantly, those that I don’t. I’m not generally one that’s big on making annual resolutions. A good idea is a good idea. Whether you begin it on January 1 or May 5th is really unimportant. The importance comes from making a healthy decision, committing to the right people, and being honest with yourself.
I’ve happily committed to a number of those in recent years. On December 30, I celebrated my second year of sobriety. It certainly would have been far easier for me to wait until January 1. Then I could have bookmarked it as one of those happy, new beginning, resolution kind of things. It couldn’t wait though and neither could I.
I owe it to myself to be surrounded by the right people; to learn how to forgive; to wake in the morning and live the entire day until I lay my head on my pillow at nighttime for a few hours sleep; to smile because I truly mean it; and to move with a forward momentum. I’d like to dance everyday to the music in my head and sing the lyrics …whether I know all the words or not. I need to leave any random aches from my past where they are and move with one step in front of the other.
I’m responsible for me, so if a large blue sky plans to shine on my day, I refuse to be invisible.
December 22, 2011
It may not be what he uses to make his runs on the 24th of December, but occasionally you know he’s opting for some Skynyrd, cruise control, and horsepower over reindeer power.
Cruise on big man.
December 21, 2011
I made my annual trek to the service station this morning for the Commonwealth’s approval to drive my truck on their roads. At nearly 16 years old, she passed the state inspection with flying colors again. I never had any doubts, though it does call for celebration. It means we’ll share more road stories, more journeys to nowhere destinations, more driving music with numerous mixes from all sorts of artists and musical genres, more get my head straight me time, more field trips for the pups and I with all the windows down, and more hours of sun filled days pampering and polishing.
As we both grow older, we tend to share quite a bit in common, at times almost mirroring the other. Our paint is bit duller than it use to be. There are even noticeable signs of chipping in certain areas. We stand a little wider, older, and not as trendy or hip as we once were. I wouldn’t necessarily call any of these flaws. I think of them more as beauty marks and savored life experiences.
Whatever the case, I relate more today to Roger Taylor’s lyrics to I’m in Love With My Car than when I first bought the rock elite A Night at the Opera album in 1975. Ironically, that same year I began taking driver’s education classes. Seems only appropriate that I add the entire album to my next road trip.
November 28, 2011
After more than twenty-five years, I finally fell to the advertising pressure. I had a McRib for lunch today and enjoyed it more than I can find words for. Afterwards I spent the afternoon doing some Santa stuff and then treated my MINI to a detailed supreme carwash. With December only two days away, I took full advantage of the 73 degree day with the windows down, the roof open, and the music loud.
As the sun faded, I watched it set over homemade tacos for dinner. Damn, with all of the day’s goodness and graces, I feel like I cheated the world. Guiltlessly.