Giving In To Melancholy

 

Giving In to Melancholy

Blame it on the rain, the first appearance of frost, the cold descent into winter.  No matter how I try to fight it, I can’t shake the feeling that my time is slowly slipping away.  Seasons come and go, cycle after cycle.  It seems I have no other path to travel but to wander back in my mind to summers that have come and gone.

I am trying to grasp hold of the comfortable and comforting.  The past is the place where I find memories of when the future seemed exciting and so full of hope.  But the past is not always helpful.

Certainly, I have great memories, but they are just memories, I can’t touch them even though they can touch me.  The only place I can grasp hold of hope is in the future.  That’s where I am heading this morning.

I wonder what I am hoping to find as I start this too familiar journey of introspection.  I hope for a sense that the days ahead of me are full of life.  My seventy-year-old body forces me to make exceptions and compromises.  I hope I can fully embrace that challenge.  My mind is, however, operating like that of an innocent twenty-year-old-full of hope but short of wisdom.

I hope to make new friends this time around.  I also hope to re-kindle conversation with old friends and to offer words of hope and encouragement to those who are seeking their own meaning and hope.  The trouble with retirement and with my limited mobility is that I am compelled to develop new habits, new expectations, new meaning.  I don’t know how eager I am to go through this.

I meet on Tuesdays and Wednesdays with two groups of folks who are my sounding board and my affirmation.  They challenge me in ways which they may not be aware of.  Their insights and observations touch me at a deep, personal level, all of which I do not fully share or for which I seldom offer adequate thanks to these special folks.  Each one of them holds a special place in my heart and in my private thoughts.

One thing I hope for is the courage to share my thanks with these folks.  Too often I am cavalier and selfish with my thanks.  They deserve more.  Friends, old and new, deserve better.

As I go forward, I hope for the strength to share and the compassion to give back what I have received from these friends of mine.  I miss them when I cannot be with them.  I will miss them when we move south.

Tuesday and Wednesday are coming once again.  Here’s my chance to be the kind of friend to those folks that they have been for me.  Maybe that’s where I will find warmth in the winter fast approaching.  Here is my tangible source of hope.

Robert Louis Stevenson said, “To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.”  I am grateful for all those who open up doors of understanding,  guiding me to become what I may be capable of.

I hope I can return the favor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Rant

Obfuscate – render obscure, unclear or unintelligible, bewilder. (The New Oxford American Dictionary).
Root Cause Analysis. Root cause analysis is a collective term that describes a wide range of approaches, tools, and techniques used to uncover causes of problems.
The Five Whys – Why Do I Want To Do This?

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As One Week Ends

As One Week Ends

As this week ends, I have been thinking about the following questions.  How would you answer them?  Are you OK with what you answered?

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Never Hope Alone

 

NEVER HOPE ALONE

I have been paying attention lately, listening for the pronouns folks use when they talk about hope.  By far, the pronoun I hear most often is “I”.  As a result, I have begun to wonder if hope is a solitary endeavor, something one covets for oneself.

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Hope Never Disappoints Us

 

But that’s not all!  We gladly suffer, because we know suffering helps us to endure.  And endurance builds character, which gives us a hope that will never disappoint us… (Romans 5:3-4 CEV).

 

Hope never disappoints.

This is a very bold statement.  I would guess many of you would question never having been disappointed by trusting in hope.  And who gladly suffers?  What’s the lesson to be learned from this piece of scripture?

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Eating Without Hope

Eating Without Hope

 

“To eat bread without hope is still slowly to starve to death.”  Pearl S. Buck

Dieting is eating but it isn’t what I would define as eating to live.  Having lived in New Orleans for several years, I experienced what it meant to eat and to live.  Meals were savored, not rushed.  Lingering over each bite of food while commenting on the flavors and aromas made eating so much more than just consuming food.

Eating in New Orleans was a social occasion.  Good friends seated at a table sharing food, conversation and a bit of their respective lives.  Food and drink were to be thoroughly enjoyed while you examined where you were in your relationships and where you might be going in your life as each day unfolded.

Food tasted better while eating with friends and colleagues.  Each bite added to the sum of the experience known as lunch or dinner or a late night treat.  Good friends, good food, good memories helped us to drift towards a sense of hope in our lives.

The hope we felt after sharing a meal was the hope born from being comfortable in the world, satisfied with our friendships, and literally full of nourishment.  Hope seemed like a noble purpose to pursue, a reason to thrive.  It resulted from the comfort of food, fellowship, conversation, and an awareness of living a full life, taking in all the tastes, all the flavors, all the textures and all the moments of calm relaxation.  This was eating with hope, of being alive.

Yet there are many examples in the world of people eating without a sense of hope.  And this taste of hope, while eating, is a form of starving – starving to death.

Standing in line, waiting for food, waiting to eat, waiting without a sense of hope, this is the starvation of which Pearl Buck speaks.  You and I can quickly look up the statistics for those in the world who are hungry or malnourished.  We can even go a step further and support organizations that seek to feed the hungry.  But have we found a way to share the hope that might go along with a hot meal, any meal?  Can we be present at tables where hope isn’t realized?

What about those who are alone at mealtime?  What are we doing for them to offer them hope in their aloneness?  What about the elderly, those confined to institutions and nursing homes?  Is hope their companion at dinner?  Or are they starving to death too?

“Every life should have a noble purpose.”  What could be nobler than sharing hope and a meal with someone who might otherwise be eating, yet still be starving?

 

 

 

 

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Growing A Moustache

Growing a Moustache

Some time ago, I came upon this image while surfing Google Images.  This image led me to wonder about three of my worst character flaws: lack of discipline, time management, and tendencies towards indecisiveness.

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In The End Good Wins

In the End Good Wins

What an Outstanding Guy”

It is true that at some level we all want to believe that “in the end good wins.”  I was reminded of this life lesson during one particular funeral at which I served as officiant.

Since that service was for a person who I did not know well, I asked several family members to add their comments to my more general comments.  There was some unease about which family members would participate in offering words of remembrance.

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Core Values Part Two

Core Values Part Two

Knowing our personal core values helps us define our goals in life and as I suggested in Part One, affects what we hope to pass along to the next generation.  Just as importantly, recognizing our core values can help us discern if we are living in such a way as to pursue some great vision, some noble purpose.

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Core Values Part One

 

Core Values Part One

Not long ago I asked the members of a writing group to which I belong if they would share their thoughts concerning basic values.  I asked them what value they would want to pass on to the next generation.  Here are some of the responses I received.

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