our gift

 Do you ever wonder what you’re fighting for?

Why the rat race? Why the stress? Why the anger? Why the pain? We’re all going to die in the end, anyway.

A little over a month ago, my favorite professor breathed his last. He was 73, recently retired; a pillar of wisdom, lover of truth. I still can’t believe I’ll never see his name in my inbox again: Dr. H.

A little over a week ago, a shining star expired in a car accident. She was young, and young at heart, and was married to a wonderful man. He had two college-age kids; his first wife was taken by cancer. His new bride was bubbly, vibrant, fun-loving, sweet. She was full of life, and full of love. She was a blessing to everyone she met.

As I’ve been, again, reading news articles (a silly thing to do, I know), and reflecting on the above stories, I’ve been again saddened by the world in which we live. I know I shouldn’t focus on the negative, and I don’t, but it’s hard to ignore all the headlines, especially when they fall close to you. And it makes you wonder, “Why?” and “What’s the point?” and “How much longer do I have?”

In March 2013 I wrote a post I called “Superyou.” In it, I envisioned a world where everyone worked in a field they loved — where your passion was your paycheck, where what you were good at was your mode de vie. Today, I’d like to tack onto that. Can you imagine a world where everyone was doing something they loved, and which somehow benefited someone else?

Dr. H dedicated his entire life to teaching. He was known as a strict teacher, but fair. I knew him as kind and concerned about his students. He was there to help, and that didn’t always mean being his students’ friend. Amy was loving, bubbly, and kind. God and her family were her focus. She was adventurous and loved to travel. She was always worried she wasn’t doing enough when, as the outpouring after her death has shown, she was always doing so much.

We never know when our time will come. The only thing we know is what we do with today. And we also know that it is better to give than to receive. What are you giving? How will you be remembered?

How will I?

dead man’s lament

cemetery 3From darkness I came,
to darkness I went,
and wondered, inane,
how my days were spent.
As there in my grave,
in coffin so cool,
regret was a wave:
“Had I been a fool?”

My days had been good,
my days had been bad,
The life that I led,
was all that I had.
But what had I thought?
How far did I think?
Had I seen it not —
this critical kink?

See, money was mine,
and power and fame.
And all was a sign,
I’d much to acclaim!
And if I lacked love,
I wasn’t to blame.
That came from above,
was God’s little game! Continue reading

grandparents aren’t supposed to die

My Nana died tonight. I didn’t cry. I have, and I will. But I didn’t when I heard the news. Some things take a while to settle in.

grampa2

Grandparents are the best!

It occurred to me recently that, in the span of six months, I have gone from having three living grandparents to, now, only one. It is something that was never supposed to happen, really. Grandparents aren’t supposed to die. They’re the ones who tickle you and tell you stories and sneak you treats when Mom and Dad aren’t looking. They’re the ones with gray hair and wrinkles and sparkly eyes and easy smiles. They’re the ones who age but don’t get old, who tire but are never too tired for you.

They are, and always have been, for eternity.

Until tonight. Continue reading

let there be light

boston-bombinged

“You will be remembered. Stay strong Boston.”

It’s been nearly two weeks since the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Nearly two weeks since two alleged terrorists killed three people and injured 264 others at one of the world’s oldest and most beloved annual events. Nearly two weeks since chaos erupted and an entire city was shut down to find the imposters. Nearly two weeks, and I have yet to say a word.

I haven’t mentioned Boston.

Why?

Is it because I am heartless? Am I too busy writing articles to concern myself with the plight of marathoners far, far away? Too busy talking to birds and making up poems about the night sky to worry about things like death and destruction? Too busy pondering life to take stock of what’s happening in it?

Or is it . . . something else? Continue reading

how to not die: the i.c.u.

Ten years ago today (January 25, 2003), I fell 80 feet (24 meters) while rock climbing at T-Wall, a popular climbing site in Tennessee. The doctors said I might not live; when I did, they said I’d never be the same again. Today, not only am I “normal,” most people don’t even know this incident ever happened. This is part three of my story. (To read parts one and two, click here and here.)

THE I.C.U.

4 a.m.

A scream. More of a growl, actually. Arrrr! Arrrr! Arrrrrrrr! The pirate a few rooms down was hallucinating again.

Footsteps echoed off the laminate floor.

Then, silence.

I could hear machines humming. My machines. Whirrrr. Whirrrr. Their green lights glowed in the dark. I pretended they were aliens. Continue reading