Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hey Brother, can you spare 41 cents?

If you guessed this post is going to be about change, then I suppose you can give yourself credit for being a quick thinker - or at least as obscure a thinker as I am. So there are a few reasons I'm writing about change today. The most immediate is that when I woke up this morning, got my coffee, and settled into my morning, I opened up Facebook and saw that the layout of my page had changed. Okay, no big deal. I've dealt with far worse to start my day.

But it got me thinking. In fact, lately my days have pretty even keel. I so much as told this to an acquaintance of mine (okay, a close acquaintance) who seems to be struggling right now with things. Yesterday we were having a conversation (mostly a monologue on her part I admit I didn't have the energy to listen to) and in reply to her remark that she needs to talk herself down and not do anything rash I mentioned how lately I've had no desire to stir things up in my life. I'm okay with where I'm at and I've no reason to make any changes.

 She replied by saying change is inevitable.

 Of course it is I replied. Change happens whether you like it or not. And there certainly are times when it's appropriate to force a change in your life. If you're in an abusive relationship, or your habitual behavior is causing you to suffer you should definitely look into doing something about it. But in your quest for enlightenment don't you think that if you reach a plateau you should jump on the opportunity to take a breather? Should I feel guilty that I'm not trying to force myself to grow as a person right now? I'm just not interested. I mean don't I do that naturally anyway?

 One never knows when life has been setting you up with fastballs and is about to send a split-fingered slider your way. You're not looking for it, nor should you. It's too exhausting. But it doesn't hurt to keep the possibility in the back of your mind either. Then when it happens you'll at least have a shot at laying some wood into it. (Okay, I'm done with the baseball analogies. If I've lost you please understand it's summer and baseball is a symbol of the season. You have to at least appreciate that. Now keep reading and let's be adult about this.)

 Change hits you when you least expect it. Thirteen years ago I knew change was coming. I had a son on the way. I would soon have two children. Our family dynamic would never be the same. So I prepared myself for it. Did all the things expectant parents do, some of which I didn't do the first time around. One week after my son was born we found ourselves in Boston Children's hospital listening to doctors explain over and over what was wrong with our son's heart with me half-listening and understanding even less. It still tears at me to think of it. All I knew was that they were going to cut my infant son's chest open like a melon and rubber band something together. This would fix things for a while but as he grew they made it perfectly clear that we'd be back for more. This is the kind of change you can never prepare yourself for. Like the day I came home from work to learn my dad had massive heart attack and died on the way to the hospital. Nope. Didn't see that one coming either. You will never, never, never be able to avoid change, nor will you be able to anticipate it. OF COURSE I KNOW THAT.

So here's what I've learned in my 57 years of life. If it ain't broken...yeah, you know the rest and that sounds pretty trite. But it's true.

So about the title of today's post. The other day I was walking down the street and one of the growing number of homeless people stopped me and asked for exactly 41 cents.

I gave him fifty.
Hee Haw

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Seedy Underbelly

I have seen it. The seedy underbelly of rural America. And you know what? It's not as frightening as I thought. The thing of it is, I've come to realize that keeping an open mind about people, places, and things that normally would be outside your comfort zone is actually beneficial to your personal growth. In case you were wondering, I am unabashedly non-conformist. My hair is a bit on the long side. I don't wear suits. I'm most comfortable wearing thrift shop clothing. And I don't eat fast food. And while I don't talk politics or try to argue my views, I suspect I would baffle a lot of people when it comes to how my convictions are formed. Same thing with religion. My views come from within, are not altogether on one side or the other, and are not swayed by the opinions of those around me. Now about the company I keep, here's where my spiritual beliefs come into play. My associations astound me. Through no design of my own, I find myself collaborating on a close and personal basis with people I typically wouldn't give two shakes about. I chalk this up to finally allowing myself to be open to anything and everything in the vast world that surrounds me. I am not a redneck. I am not a religious fanatic. Hell, I'm not even a Hoosier. Yet here I am playing in a redneck band at night, and a praise band on Sunday mornings. All in the great state of Indiana. No way I could ever force these collaborations. Therefore I must chalk it up to intelligent design. What I do serves a purpose, even though I might not understand all of what that purpose entails or even how that purpose affects the grand scheme of things. We are by nature visual people. When most people think about God, they try to form some sort of picture in their head of what this God might look like. Over the course of history there must be thousands upon thousands of paintings, drawings, and sculptures of what man (or woman) believes to be a depiction of the almighty deity. Where does this vision come from? Well, in my belief system, all creativity comes from a higher power. Given that, maybe these depictions are accurate. Yet they are all so different. So in my view, the Almighty, creator of the universe, can take any form depending on the needs of the recipient. If you're comfortable envisioning God as an old man in a robe with white flowing hair and a long beard sitting on a cloud, then that's what he is. If you're vision is that of a young woman colorfully dressed with eight arms then...well, you get the picture. So back to my original point. I've spent much of my life being closed minded. Too much. Looking down your nose at people, places, and things has cut down on the number of experiences I might have had even though I determined early on in life that experience is really the pinnacle of our purpose. It's why I write. To take my experiences, regurgitate them into something entertaining, and send the results out into the cosmos. So in order to do that to the best of my ability, I need to be open and positive about allowing myself to fall into situations I previously might have backed out of. And lastly, although I'm no longer a youngster, I need to be mindful that I still have much to learn. And for that concept, I'm thankful I figured it out. Now if I could only figure out how to make the perfect mac n cheese. Hee Haw