Monday, April 14, 2008

A Busy Weekend/Salt Of The Earth

My friends are like spring flowers. They are everywhere. I met one of them for lunch on Friday. It was pouring down rain as I walked down Market Street. There were puddles and little rivers of water everywhere. I was in good spirits. I felt like Gene Kelly in the old movie "Singing in the Rain". It was Friday and it felt good to escape the confines of the office. Earlier in the morning I thought the office was crashing down on me. In my current drone pod....I mean cubicle....I sit directly beneath a glass atrium. When it is raining hard it sounds like a tin roof in a hailstorm. At the time I was listening to some rock and roll with headphones and the rain beating on the roof overwhelmed the music. My co-workers found it amusing when I took off my headphones and looked upwards in amazement. Later in the day I nearly jumped out of my chair again when a fighter jet, in town for the Thunder over Louisville air show, flew over my building. The sonic boom rattled my bones. I thought the building had exploded. I miss my little quiet corner in the other building.

I woke up on Sunday morning in predawn darkness. I had a small angel sleeping beside me. Outside it was cold and raining. I did not want to leave Chloe or my bed but I had promises to keep and miles to drive. I got out of bed as quietly as I could and got ready in semi-darkness hoping I wouldn't wake anyone. I later found out that Chloe was very upset to wake up and find me gone. "Where's Pa Paw"???? Someday I will take her to the monastery with me. It rained the whole way there and the whole way back home. The spring colors were still discernible, especially the purple blossoms of the red bud trees. I stopped off at the home of my friend, Fr Dennis, for some coffee and conversation. When I got to the monastery is was a smaller group than usual but we had some very interesting conversation about the experience of God and what's really important on the spiritual journey of life. What I consider important is based on a teaching of Buddha. Buddha says, "Believe what you have experienced". We also heard some interesting stories about a friend's recent trip to Israel and the Holy Land. I skipped out of the monastery visit earlier than usual because I was hoping my granddaughter would still be at my house and I also wanted to visit my father in the nursing home. When I got there he was asleep. We only spoke a few minutes before he drifted back into sleep. I stayed a little longer and then blessed him when I left. After taking my mother in law out to dinner on Saturday, keeping Chloe for the night, and visiting my father yesterday, I felt that much of my weekend centered around car seats, walkers, and wheelchairs. I did squeeze in the Rolling Stones concert film on Friday night. The audience was full of aging and grey haired...or boomers. It was a great way to spend a Friday night and I felt really wild being out after dark. I did discover the following quote over the weekend. It is very true for lovers of music.

Music is not an escape from reality; it is an adventure in the reality of the world of spirit.
-John Blacking

It is the time of year when people in my company are getting their annual performance reviews. Here is something I wrote a while back that is fitting for this time of year.

I read in a recent business article that today's young people require a lot of praise from their bosses. Why? The article states that they need it because their mothers and fathers have been telling them their entire lives how special they are and they believe it. They need the affirmation of their parents to be continued by their bosses. Certainly we can all hope that we are special in someone's eyes. However, in the eyes of the world, most of us are average and ordinary. In spite of the fact that 90% of all people think they are in the top 10%, it is not only mathematically impossible, it's just not true. This exaggerated sense of ourselves is brought home to me even more at this time of year when many people in my company are getting their annual performance reviews. Based on most of the self evaluations that I have seen in recent years, few people think they are average. What is so bad about being average and ordinary? There's a term for such people. They are called the "salt of the earth". One should be proud to be such a person. Someone who is considered salt of the earth is solid and dependable. You know exactly what to expect from such people and you will always get it. I like to consider myself such a person. I have never been a superstar and that has made my life much less stressful. I don't have to live up to any image. Like most people I am just an ordinary man who does his part to help keep the world running. If life could be compared to a sport like baseball, most of us do not hit home runs everyday. However, we usually get on base or knock in an RBI. We rarely strike out. We aren't in the headlines like the home run kings but everyday we show up for the game. If you are a true superstar and you hit a lot of home runs in your life, that is not a bad thing, but be humble about it. Your homer may have won the game but only because the rest of us were on base.

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