Friday, February 26, 2010

Awesome Things Volume VI

The beautiful spring like day we had last Sunday. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the temperature was warm, and the snow melted away. I turned off my furnace, opened my windows, and aired out the house. After all the cold and snowy days of late, it was a welcome change.

Scoring tickets to the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival to be held this summer in Chicago. Every few years Eric Clapton hosts an all day concert to benefit a rehab center that he founded. Most of the greatest guitar players alive participate. Besides Eric, I will be seeing the Allman Brothers Band, Steve Winwood, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, ZZ Top, and many, many more that I can't remember at the moment. It's not official yet but I think Carlos Santana has also been added to the bill. This concert sold out in 15 minutes after the tickets went on sale last Saturday. As a true blue, card carrying rock and roller, getting these tickets is HUGE for me.

Employment. Some people where I work recently lost their jobs. Many people in our society would like to have any job. I am happy to have the job I am doing right now. Yes, it's never easy to get out of bed. Yes, some days and some people occasionally make me crazy. I don't like everything I have to so. However, I have a great boss and I'm not just saying this because it's performance review time. I have great co-workers. I have a great team. Most days I actually enjoy myself and I can honestly say I never really dread coming to the office. So, I am very grateful not just to have a job but to have this job. If I have to work, and I still do, I don't know how it could be much better.

Friends. It's a great thing to have friends. My best friend and I have been friends since we were 15 years old. We met in 6th period study hall in our sophomore year of high school. That was 44 years ago. My youngest friends are in the 20's. My oldest friends are in their mid 80's. I have many kinds of friends. I have work friends, music friends, spiritual friends, lunch friends, and a few friends that defy description. Friends are a gift and good friends get us through the rough patches of life. My best friends are truly dear to me. Always keep in mind, however, than if you want a friend, you must be a friend.

Gratitude. I have learned in my life that happiness is directly related to my gratefulness. The more grateful I am for the good things I have and the bad things I don't have, the happier I am. When my now college age nieces were teen age girls, they always seemed sad. I used to call them "The Princesses of Sadness". I think young people are often sad because they haven't yet learned to be grateful. Look around the world and then count your blessings. Be grateful and you will be happy.

That moment in the evening when you finally get to sit down. You've worked all day and met all those challenges. You picked up the kids at school or the daycare. You cooked dinner and cleaned up the mess. Maybe you've thrown a load of laundry into the washing machine. You squeezed in a shower or a bath and changed your clothes. Finally, you become one with your favorite chair. Maybe you have a fresh cup of coffee or tea and the morning paper. (Who has time to read the morning paper in the morning?) You can breathe. Life did not get the best of you this day. It is time to take your well earned rest. Chairs are great for napping, too. I am a world class napper.

Sons. I have two sons. One of them, Nick, is 28 years old today. He is a seminarian at St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana. The school is run by Benedictine monks. My other son is Mike, Jr. He is married and the father of my granddaughter. I am happy because both of my sons have turned out well and seem happy with their lives. I am blessed to have a good family. We're pretty normal which means we sometimes drive one another crazy but overall we get along well and we take care of one another.

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