Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

C: In the Ear of the Beholder

ears deceiveI heard a great sermon Sunday.  It was about the story of the rich, young ruler.  The point of the story, my pastor said, was not just about “rich” folks—it applies to us all.  We all have things we prioritize over God…even our “good works,” as the rich, young ruler had always meticulously obeyed the law.

Pastor ramped up, driving home the point that we cannot tell where we stand solely by our actions—that good actions can often mask impure motivations.  It is not the “outward,” he says, that is telling.  It is the “inward.”

And this, folks, is where I was jolted upright because what I heard is: “What is important is the “N” word!  Do you have an ‘N-word’ problem?”

And, through the rest of the sermon about our “inward struggles,” I heard repeatedly: “N word,” although I knew well what he meant.   It was my ears.

My consciences is clear:  I have no “N-word problem,” although it is probably evident that my “inward” regions could use some cleaning up.

Thank goodness there was no “giggle partner” sitting next to me, MIL not being the giggle-in-church type.  It could have been a disaster and it reminds me of another time.

I was sitting next to my BIL years ago, listening to a sermon from Zechariah 5:1, which says:

Then I lifted up my eyes again and looked, and behold, there was a flying scroll.  And he said to me, "What do you see?" And I answered, "I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits…”

What I heard was “…behold, there was a flying squirrel…”  On top of that, it was a BIG flying squirrel (a cubit being estimated at 18 inches).  What a sight that must have been—even more impressive thflying squirrelan the flying scroll, which I knew was what Pastor referenced.

I glanced at BIL who, having heard as I did, silently mouthed, “…flying squirrel???”

Oh, it was bad…he and I dissolved, simultaneously bending forward to stifle our laughter.  Again, I say, it was bad—almost uncontrollable; tear-jerkilaughterng, nearly-pants-wetting laughter all while trying to be quiet and inconspicuous.  Our spouses were not pleased.

So funny how our ears can deceive, and what it does to our perception. 

Reminds me of another time.  In our household, there was a tendency for my son and me to sing Christmas carols at any time of the year.  You might hear us in a chorus of “Good King Wenceslas” in July. 

One day, Son made a sing-along request.  “Let’s sing the Christmas carol about the airplanes, Mom.”

For the life of me, I could not imagine what he was talking about.

You know, we sing it all the time.”  No, I did not know.  I requested that he start us out, which he did:

Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the planes (er, plains).

Made me consider what my little child had been picturing inangel his head all those times we sang that song. 

On reflection, I decided that we do, indeed, want angels singing over airplanes…


Saturday, January 11, 2014

C: Truth in the AT&T Store

What is it about me that makes random folks just want to tell me their troubles?  Probably I ask for it.  attI am very interested in people.

You’d think, being a divorce lawyer for over thirty years, that I would become bored and jaded by human drama—not so!  I remain interested.  I hope it makes me good at my job.

Anyway, my paralegal/sister and I were in the ATT store today doing some phone switcharooing.  The man helping us was a nice, late fortyish man who noticed my business name on the account.  He asked, “what kind of law?”  I told him.

He had a story.

This guy has an 18-year-old and a 15-year-old from his former marriage and of whom he has custody. 

Then, there is the just-turned-six-year-old by his baby-mama.  He has a concern about the situation she is living in with her mother (he should be concerned,  from his description).  We talked about it just a few minutes.

As he walked us to the door, he quipped, “I really messed up.  I was 44, and she was 20.  I never planned on another baby. I just don’t know what happened.

Before I knew it, out of my mouth came:  “You know you never had any say in that, don’t you?  She planned on a baby, and that’s all that counts.  Once she planned it, the die was cast.” 

He stood looking at me quietly.

I continued.  “Oh, sure, you COULD have practiced protected sex, so I’m not letting you off the hook completely, but she was driving that car.  Men are so stupid when it crazycomes to this.”

He took it like a champ and said, “You speak the truth.  I never had a chance.  She played me.  Yes, we are stupid where sex is concerned.”

There you have it.  An admission.  It is the truth.

Robin Williams:

God gave man a brain and a p****s…and only enough blood supply to run one at a time.

It’s just that the kid reaps the consequences.

too old


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

C: Nomenclature ~ What’s a “Cabin?”

cabinI love words.  As a part of that interest, I love to consider regional differences in language.  In my next life, I think I’ll be a linguist.  This morning brought a discussion/disagreement on this very topic.  Although I doubt it is a “regional” question in this particular usage, I find it interesting.  (Yes, I am easily amused)

Son and I were riding in the car together.  We passed a lovely, two-story, square-log home that is on our regular route.  (V will know immediately the place I am talking about).   He commentedlog house on it, calling it a “log cabin.”  This is NOT an actual picture of the place, but is here for illustrative purposes (such as the size of the structure!)

This is reminiscent of his father, who also made this mistake of nomenclature.    The house in question must be over 3,000 square feet—a “cabin” it’ ain’t.   The second picture on the page ain’t a “cabin,” either.

cabin2I remarked on this, saying I did not think a “cabin” could actually be over two rooms.  He argued.

In fact, Merriam-Webster online defines “cabin” as “a small, simple house made of wood” (disregarding the part about airplanes and ships).  Therefore, I rest my case!

He’s not convinced, however, feeling that the logs are the defining element of a “cabin.” 

Wrong, wrong, wrong again.  Youlumber cabin can have a lumber-sided cabin—but not a brick one (in my mind).

Okay, weigh in—what constitutes a “cabin” for you?  --C

Monday, January 6, 2014

C: True Love (Get a Hankie)

true loveI am a cynic about “true love,” doubting that it exists—at least in the sappy-movie sense.   The only “true love,” I sometimes say, is that of the Creator for His Creation. We humans are too fickle and self-serving to carry it off.

And, yet, something has happened in our neighborhood that makes me re-think whether true love can be found here on this earth.

There is a couple down the road from me (we’re in a rural area).   They are in the latter-half of their eighties and have lived out here all their lives.  We will call them “Mama” and “Daddy,” for that has been their main identity the vast majority of their lives.

These are kind, warm people.  When my mother lived out here, they reached out to her in a kindness that she will never forget.

Their Son was born with severe disabilities over sixty years ago and has never seen nor heard so far as can be told.  He has lived his life in a completely helpless state with no sign of recognition and few, infant-like, responses.  His food must be specially-prepared; baby food, if you like.  His care is total—he must be turned and washed and diapered.

Mama and Daddy were told those decades ago that their baby would never pull out of this state and that he should be institutionalized for the duration of his life.  That lifecaring would not be long, the doctors said. 

Mama and Daddy refused.  This was their child; God had sent him to their charge.  They would care for him.  And care for him they did—for sixty three years now.  His care at home has been impeccable.

Mama’s and Daddy’s “plight” as we outside of their circle see it, is unthinkable to most of us.  I have heard whispers that their chosen path was a “waste,” that their confinement with this man-child was to no avail.  I confess I have had some of these thoughts—hence, I refer you to my opening statements about the dearth of “true love.”

It appears that over the years Mama and Daddy have carved out a routine for themselves.  Daddy worked until retirement twenty years ago, so the daily care of Son fell to Mama.  Daddy was willing help while he was at home; and after his retirement he was able to help her more.  They managed their lives by rarely going anywhere together.  They rotated church attendance, for example.  One would be at church while the other was on duty at home; the next week the roles would reverse.

There are neighbors who would sometimes “sit” with Son while both parents took a brief respite; but this was not often, and Mama would not hear of a “stranger” coming in to watch over her child.

The other night I was invited to some friends’ house for a convivial evening.  During that time I learned some things about this family.  For one thing, I was told that Son was in the process of dying and that a hospice worker was in attendance in the home. 

I confess that across my mind flashed the thought that if Son passed, parents would at last have some time for themselves.  I especially thought of Mama homebound all those years without a real social life.

My friend continued with even more distressing news, however.  Daddy, it seems, had slid considerably into caregive familydementia.  He had become forgetful and anxious, adding to Mama’s workload.  They were coping fairly well within the confinement of their routine, but the hospice worker had warned that if Son passed away, the shock of this to their well-ordered world would most-probably cause Daddy to slip away mentally altogether.

There goes Mama’s chance for a “normal” life.  There is no way she will give his care over to another.  Care-giving is all she has ever known.

As we talked, my friend told me something else I did not know.  Another neighbor—someone in his 50’s who had seemed hale and hearty to me just this past summer—had been hospitalized several weeks, diagnosed with a fatal condition.  He would be leaving this earth within a  month or two.hospital

Then she told me this:  For over ten years now (she is unsure how many years), each Christmas morning Mama and Daddy would find a HUGE, beautifully-wrapped basket left on their front porch.  It was filled with all kinds of gifts that Mama and Daddy could enjoy at gift baskethome: some luxury food items, some gadgets they might like—all kinds of things, especially selected for them.

Each year the basket bore the same message, “Merry Christmas, Mama and Daddy.  Thank you for loving me and taking such good care of me all these years  Love, Son.”

No one knew who had been leaving the baskets…until now.

Hospitalized neighbor was helpless in his hospital bed before Christmas.  Because he had to enlist the assistance of others in the annual task, it became known that he was the basket-leaver all these years.  Even his family did not know.

God had sent this man to serve Son in expressing the gratitude that he could not speak for himself…amazing.

I am a stoic by nature and, yet, I cannot speak or write about this without tears.

Son died later on the night of my learning all of this. 

For me this story has spoken volumes.  It is about the unconditional love of parents for their child.  It is about true love that recognizes a need and fills it with a basket which is the message of love and gratitude—with never a thought for recognition. 

And now Son is gone, with no further need of his messenger of love…and the messenger is leaving earth as well, just as the last basket is delivered and there is no longer that need.

Again, I say: Amazing.  I am humbled.  --C

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