Places Everyone

I was watching a PBS special and there was author Richard Leider speaking on “The Power of Purpose.”  In his presentation, he discussed the 4 roles he felt each person should have filled in their lives… a committed listener, a catalyst, a wise elder (at least 10 years older), and a wise younger (at least 10 years younger).

Most of us probably have at least one of the 4 roles filled and probably fill one or two roles in the lives of someone else.  The part of it that struck me was the committed listener.  Now in this media driven age, getting anyone to be a committed listener has become something of a glittered unicorn.  I myself, at times become so disconnected that I’ve taken to requesting people notify me if I should pay attention.  Not that I’m not paying attention but obviously, I’m not being a committed listener.

It’s not that what the person is saying isn’t important to me, not at all.  The content of their discussion and they themselves are important, but we (I) are often inundated with so much information that it becomes quite difficult to determine what and when to sift.  This self-inventory made me reflect on a conversation that I recently had with a friend.  As you know, I’m funny about titles – which is why I had and still have such a hard time with FB’s “friends” label – but she is a friend and I realized, she had become a committed listener for me and I didn’t have to tell her pay attention.

It’s not often that I have to request people to tell me if I need to pay attention, only when I find they’ve been talking for an extended period of time or I find myself distracted.  I believe in giving people my attention, particularly if they wish to discuss something that they have deemed important.  It is important and they are important, so as with all ships, it takes a crew to make it operate efficiently.  I met one of my wise elder’s during my undergrad years.  She worked in Financial Aid (some of us have plenty of stories to tell from that office!) and to this day, she continues to help guide me.  Initially, I didn’t particularly care for my wise younger, but now, I cannot imagine life without him.  Catalyst is a bit tricky because I’m so picky.  I tend to fill that role myself.  The Committed Listener seemed to be the most important and that role can be difficult to fill as well.  It is said that if you are the smartest person in your circle, you need to expand your circle quick.  Thing is, expansion is difficult when prospects are few.  I know of so many people that I encounter on a daily basis who employ uncommitted distractions as committed listeners.  Like any position, it is important to screen applicants carefully.  True, some people interview incredibly well and sometimes the luxury turns into a lemon.  These are the trials of life but like the melon thump test, if you listen committedly, I’m sure the right candidate will present themselves.

Try it yourself.  Do you have these roles filled in your life?  If no, do you want them filled?  If not, no need advertising if there isn’t a position available.  No need to keep applications on file, that creates clutter.  For those of you who follow my page, like my FB page, and in any other way support my efforts, I deeply thank you for being a committed listener.  As always, there is one committed listener who can and does fill all 4 roles for some of us.  During this Advent Season, I’m particularly glad and thankful for his mother, being the catalyst for my best committed listener.

What ails ya?

I wanna be, I wanna be like…

Can we talk? (Joan River’s voice). Let’s be honest, or at least, let me be honest. Nothing irritates you more than to see someone moving along doing something that you’ve been doing for years. True, jealousy and envy have no place in the Spirit but we build mansions for it in the flesh and sometimes, it’s a good thing – in moderation of course. I’m not competitive, I’ve always believed that whatever you want, the Spirit provides more than enough for everyone to have a go at it. No, what I think is wrong or off balance with me is that I’m spatially challenged. I know how to get to places but I pay no attention to street names, number of turns, none of that, I just go because I know. WHY OH WHY can’t life be that way. I absolutely know where I want to go, getting there seems so completely foreign to me, like those instructions from IKEA (love love love that store!!!)

I’m open, haven’t always been, not because I didn’t want to but because our culture, at times can be so oppressive, so dismissive that you question whether or not you really want to go where you want to go. I do this because the Spirit asks for it and I’m not even sure what that really means. My dad and godmother are prone to messages from the Spirit and yes, I covet that gift. Oh, the Spirit and I, his name is Rheman, have conversations all the time but He’s so quiet, frustratingly quiet. He gets a kick out of me and I’m happy to oblige. I’m like a 3 y/o with him; I ask lots of questions and if I were 3, you’d call me precocious. As an adult, you’ll probably call me annoying, crazy, whatever – not that I care. I’m a kid and kids have questions and I expect answers. Problem arises in that the adult, that is me, wants them now, microwave 30 sec button now. The majority of the time Rheman just nods his head and keeps it moving.

What do I wanna be? Better. Better than I was yesterday when I whined the entire time while getting my run in (you do know I dislike running right?). Better than I was last week when severe disappointment tried to squat in my head and heart. Better than I was last month when I allowed procrastination to move in and push off all the work that needed to be done. Better. Not better than you (although I may be cooler – you know the song 🙂 just better and better requires work. That work often requires assistance from others. I read a commencement speech from a Texas Alum who is a retired Navy Seal and he talked about rowing a boat and finding people who can help you row. The problem in that is that even if you provide the boat, snacks, life-jacket, everything; it’s been my experience that it is still difficult to find those like-minded people to help you row. That’s been my experience of late, so I’ve decided to dock my boat elsewhere. If you see me sailing by and don’t mind rowing, feel free to wave me ashore. I can’t promise you smooth sailing, but what I can promise you is that I will never stop rowing. If you decide to stop rowing, I will row for you for a little while but then I may throw you overboard for being lazy.

Remember the commercial: I wanna be, I wanna be like Mike (Jordan that is). I never wanted to b like Mike, well maybe the rich part, but I’ve always just wanted to be me. Now, I still want to be me, just better. Don’t you want me to be better? I certainly want you to be better, because a better you is good for me. 🙂 What ails you?

Read the label. Scan the barcode.

What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice and everything nice
That’s what little girls are made of.

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails and puppy dog tails
That’s what little boys are made of.

Do you remember that? I sure do. Well nowadays you better replace that sugar with Agave or Splenda and better check to see if it is gluten free because little girls today are made of something that smells nothing like sugar and spice. And snips and snails and puppy dog tails seem to have been replaced with shotguns and police chases. Just what are we, you made of anyways?

Me, I have no idea. I imagine blinding smiles, twinkling eyes, the “warm and fuzzies” and all the pleasantries associated with being The I AM THAT IS E. I was listening to a podcast and heard it said that we are the remnants of adversity, for it shows exactly what we are made of. Now, when you first hear/see remnants, leftovers is what comes to mind, I know it did for me. Leftovers. Hmm, I don’t eat leftovers, at least not the next day and depending on what’s leftover, not at all. Then I thought about hotdogs. Ewww! Never eat them, ever. Never have, never will. Taste like Froot Loops when you burp and I hate Froot Loops. Old pieces of fabric and carpet are synonymous with remnants.

Leftovers. Scraps. What’s left. All those nouns/adjectives come to mind when you see/hear the word remnants. But then I had a Shawshank Redemption moment. Love that movie! Old Andy Dufresne, dug a tunnel for nearly 20 years and “crawled to freedom through five-hundred yards of shit smelling foulness I can’t even imagine, or maybe I just don’t want too. Five-hundred yards… that’s the length of five football fields, just shy of half a mile.” Talk about adversity! Put that in running language – 1 mi @15:00 min/mi (this is a brisk walk for some) would put him at 7:30min pace at .5 mi. mark. Seven minutes and thirty seconds. Seven minutes and thirty seconds of crawling “through a river of shit…” Seven minutes and thirty seconds of adversity. “All they found of him was a muddy (yeah right!) set of prison clothes, a bar of soap, and an old rock hammer, damn near worn down to the nub.”, the remnants of his adversity.

What are you made of? Do you have seven minutes and thirty seconds worth of SmartWater, Cliffbar, NO Xplode, G2, Guarana, Ginseng, 5-hour or whatever $2.49 hydrating, caffeinated supplement you need to help you sustain and endure what life throws at you? Do you have seven minutes and thirty seconds worth of faith, hope, courage and trust? Ever notice how long leftovers stay in the fridge? Guess there’s something to leftovers after all.

Me. What am I made of? Well, that depends on the season. Fall/Winter and early Spring (still cold out)? Well I’m no Andy Dufresne but I can best .5 mi @ 7:30 pace. As for late Spring and Summer; Jeff Dunham and Bubba J were talking. Jeff to Bubba J: Do you know what AA is? Bubba J: That’s for quitters.

Sugar melts and spice blows away
Saving my leftovers for a cold winter’s day
Spring, summer adversity?
No where near 7:30
I’m flopping on the ropes
Swaying in the breeze
Battling MotherNature’s
Pollen, heat, grass and trees
Too hot, too messy
For digging down and deep
I’ll watch from indoors
From the elements, myself to keep
Watching from the window, I start to cry
No sadness crazy, allergies, itchy eye
Steroids, nose spray, allergy Rx and rest
I’m neither discouraged nor worried
For power is perfected in the midst of weakness

and that, boys and girls is what I’m made of. What’s on your label?

40 days IN the world

Good Evening Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea. Well it’s been a long time and while I meant to leave you, I did put up my BRB sign. Our definitions of RB may have been varied just a bit. Anywhoo. Me and my wonderful pen are back and we want to tell you of our time IN the world. The Lenten Season came to an end on Holy Saturday – that’s March 30 for you non-Cadbury claiming folk and with it the start of the Easter Season. Technically it was 46 days but the Sabbath (Sunday) isn’t counted but my Sabbath is Saturday but I’m flexible. During my 40 days IN the world, fasting and abstinence were adjectives, verbs and acquaintances that weren’t really in my vocabulary or on my Christmas list. Being the writer I am, had to do a little research and so began my days IN the world. Fasting and abstaining, two completely different INGings and despite that old folklore, doing something for 21 days does not necessarily equal a habit. For me, it was like hurdling and I’ve never done that a day in my life. Stumble, fall and stagger did I, but I pressed forward. Some may get all my inferences, some won’t, but as always, my goal is for you to GETMENDED.

I learned/witnessed/interpreted/thought and read a lot during my time IN the world. I learned…

That those who profess not to believe but engage in the celebration of such days (Christmas, Easter) regardless of how commercial we’ve made it, aren’t non-believers at all, they are believers who may be ashamed to believe out loud

That technology (email, text, FB, Twitter, etc.) can turn you into a coward

That imposing your beliefs on others (Pro – whatever, Anti-whoever, definition, schmefinition) is waterboarding and you and you alone must answer to any charges against you, regardless to who you stand before in judgment, and no, you do NOT have the write to remain silent

That if you don’t want to play Russian Roulette, don’t ask loaded questions

That when people feel you have been less than kind to them (maybe you were, maybe you weren’t) they say “God bless you” or “You have a blessed day” as if that is supposed to wound you

That when you remove unnecessary distractions and detractors, even for a little while, life and everything in it goes that much smoother

That when you deny the flesh (and it ain’t all about sex) the mind gets clear and the flesh REfreshed

That the more you know, try to know, want to know; the more tolerant you become

That in the winter, nearly every woman (if she’s smart and doesn’t want to put a wool hat on) resembles a Muslim woman

That change is just something you weren’t expecting that you have to get used to but we expect it every 4 to 8 years

That mothers, in most cases, get more PROPS than fathers, but the most important mother is rarely given her just due

That people want to tell you what to do, when to do it, how to do it, where to get it and how much to pay for it, ask your opinion and repeat the cycle

That when you talk about death, particularly your own, people tend to think you have Suicidal Ideations but I don’t recall hearing that term in It’s a Wonderful Life
That I don’t know of 1 person who would take a beating (The Passion) for anyone else – save a small child, let alone for someone who doesn’t like you

I could go on and on about my 40 days IN the world, but I think you get the picture. Now, 50 days of Feasting (the Easter Season) is here. Don’t think I’ll be indulging in anything I gave up during the 40, but I did have a Sonic milkshake today and almost went into a sugar coma. Not sure, what if anything you did during the Lenten Season but I did a whole lot of something doing little to nothing. Shalom.

Plop,plop, fizz, fizz. Oh what a relief it is!

Don’t know if you remember but in the movie Lean on Me, Morgan Freeman portrayed Joe Clark, a hard nosed, no nonsense principal trying to turn around a high school. In an early scene, Sams, a student who was kicked out goes back to tell Mr. Clark he made a mistake and the kid he (Clark) is referring to isn’t him (Sams). Clark takes him to the roof. Sams smokes crack and Clark is telling him that he’s killing himself by smoking crack, he’s just doing it slowly. In Clark’s opinion “if you want to kill yourself, don’t f*** around with it, do it expeditiously. Jump!” Hee hee, oh the emphatic truth that rests within that harsh, unfeeling, unnerving yet necessary statement.

With reference to the statement, I’m not referring to suicide, I’m referring to…whatever. I’ll give you 2 scenarios.
#1. It’s hard being a cheerleader, especially for someone who seems to have lost all hope, desire and will to live. You all know someone who, at one time or another, has gone through or is going through something and they see no joy around them. Everyday is a Pep Rally for you, in that you are charged with the task of keeping their spirits up, helping them see the bright side of things, willing them to keep pushing, being the life that they seem to have lost inside. After a while, it gets old. You’re like, damn, can you breathe for yourself or must I do that for you too? The harsh reality of it is, and I know because God and I have had these types of conversations, you do want to say… look, if you want to give, go ahead and give up but be quick about it because I’m going to need all the time I can get to get over this and move on with my life, so if your going, get the f’ on. My aunt is a prime example. I don’t talk to her as much because quite frankly and sadly, she is without joy. She has nothing and I mean nothing positive to say about anything. I pray for her everyday. I pray that she will see the grace that has been bestowed upon her by having a daughter who loves and cares for her 25/8. She got upset with me one day because I wouldn’t leave my house to bring her some lettuce and tomatoes (mind you, she lives with my cousin/her daughter) and made a crazy statement, something like, she was just going to starve to death because nobody gave a damn about her. I said ok, I’ll be sure to bring them (the lettuce and tomatoes) to your funeral and hung up. I used to feed into her, but not anymore. I play crazy right along with her and life, at least for me, is no longer a Groundhog Day Pep Rally. Yes; I appreciate you, I love you and all that goes along with it but hell if I’m going to 2,4,6,8 all day everyday, you can miss me with that.

#2. Someone I know, notice I didn’t say friend, is constantly and no, I’m not exaggerating, talking about what they are going to do. Getting ready to… quit, make a move, get organized, start a business, run, jump, yada, yada, yada. It gets particularly lengthy when they are going through something and they are professing to the world that they are going to “give it to God”. We know that last part never happens because a day or 2 later, they are STILL talking about whatever it was they were going to give God. I want to say soo bad, would you PUH-LEEEZE STFU about getting ready. If you were waiting on a ride or something, you’re a** would be left because you always getting ready. What are you going to do on Judgment Day when it’s time for you stand and give an exact account of your time here on Earth, tell St. Michael hold on, you getting ready?

Point is, whatever it is, do it with purpose. Living, dying, working, quitting, whatever INGing it is, DO IT and DO IT with purpose. That clip of Lean on Me is both humorous and frighteningly sad.
Moliere said “we die only once and for such a long time”
I pondered this as I sat in my meantime of death

The sum of pills meant to induce death over a few hours
Civilized, slow, clean, quiet and peaceful

The sum of bullets meant for loading into the gun, inducing death instantly
Messy, quick, powerful, loud

The sum of the noose, meant to induce death by choking, breaking the neck
Clean, slow, painful, quiet

If I had the use of my body, I would throw it out the window
for it has not performed to my level of satisfaction.
Operator error and there is no warranty.
I came with no instructions, I did the best I could
The bible confused me, people rejected me
Why must the process take so long?

Who knew doing something once, would be the sum of my life. (10/4/10)
Now I must go do penance for my language. Despite those who say people who use foul language have a limited vocabulary, sometimes it takes an expletive to drive a point home.

GetMended Ya’ll. 🙂