Monday, June 09, 2008


Spring has fast forwarded into the kind of extremely hot, muggy days that I hate. It was still 90 degrees at 9:00 PM last night and it is already in the low 80's in the early morning. Normally these dog days do not arrive so soon and I hope they are not here for good. If they are, it will be a very long summer.

What began as a very relaxed Saturday turned into a very busy weekend. I love Saturdays. Normally I can sleep in as late as I want though I seldom sleep past 9:00 AM. I must have been really tired this week. I slept in till 11:00 AM on Saturday. My wife was out much of the afternoon with her mother so I had the house to myself. I enjoyed the solitude. Later in the day the family met at a local restaurant to celebrate my oldest son's 30th birthday. After the meal Chloe came home with my wife and me. She was very good and behaved in her usual sweet manner. She did wake me up in the middle of the night after having a dream about some psychotic Care Bears or something of the sort. She immediately fell back asleep while I stared at the clock on my ceiling. It was 3:00 AM. I found myself thinking that would be rise and shine time if I was at the monastery. Eventually I fell asleep again until about 8:00 AM when I felt Chloe crawling on top of me going "Wake up, Pa Paw"! When I opened my eyes she was looking at me upside down saying "It's time to get up Pa Paw"!. If Chloe is ready to get up, you can, at best, delay it 5-10 minutes. Of course, during all of this Granny is performing her academy award winning version of a possum. Later, after taking Chloe home, and checking on my mother, I went to visit my Dad. I found him in his room, sitting in his wheelchair, eyes closed but lips moving. Was he praying? Should I disturb him? I gently touched his shoulder and he opened his eyes. We talked for a while. He said he wasn't doing well and missed my mother. His room was very hot...he gets cold we went for a walk down a long walkway with lots of glass so one can see the outdoors. We sat for a while and admired the rose garden. Dad was always a big gardener. After a while I wheeled him back to his room and hugged him good bye. I dread the thought of ever being in his place. It is no way to live. By the end of the day, and after a weekend of dealing with elderly parents, a four year old very energetic princess, and the chaos of a family dinner in a crowded and busy restaurant, I was ready for a quiet Sunday evening before another busy work week.

One of my friends, who shares my love of music, once told me a story. She was sharing her enthusiasm for music with another friend. When she finished sharing her story, the friend said, "I didn't know there were still people like you"! At first she wasn't sure it was a compliment. Later when she shared this story with me I told I would have considered it a compliment. Why? I think her friend recognized her passion. Perhaps the friend didn't understand her passion but he could hear it in her voice. It's a great thing to have passion for something. I sometimes recognize it in myself when I am teaching or discussing spirituality and I also share my friends passion for music. There's so much in life that many of us simply trudge our way through. When we have passion for something it is exciting. When I feel passionate about something I feel more alive. I like it that I can still get excited about something. Whether it's beautiful sunrise, a blazing guitar solo, or a quiet, contemplative moment, I can still be impressed. I love to be in awe and I love to be with others who share my awe. How do you know others share your feelings? You know because you don't have to explain the moment or the feeling to them. I have shared many quiet moments with friends when we all knew no words needed to be spoken. It was enough to share the silence. There have also been many joyful moments in musical settings when I have looked at a friend and the look in our eyes told one another that we were mutually lost in the music and experiencing something like a Vulcan mind meld with the musicians. I used to have a bumper sticker on my car that had a Grateful Dead logo with the words, "If I have to explain you wouldn't understand". Any Deadhead knew what I was talking about. I admit that I struggle with cynicism about much in life. This is much in life that disappoints. However, I am grateful that I can still be in awe, can still be impressed, can still get lost in the moment, can still feel joy, and can still be passionate. I still have fire in my belly and I am grateful for that. When I feel the burn I know I am still alive.

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