Transfixus Sed Non Mortuus

Here I Stand, Pierced and Transfixed

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A Boy in the Rain

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Yesterday was a fine-soaking-rain-kind-of-day. The water seemed to lounge in the air for a long moment before it crashed to earth in disjointed splashes. I got done with work and followed Sean to the back porch. He was gazing at the rain and seemed to be taking it all in.

Then, he went to the door and looked up at me as if to say, “Let me out there! It looks interesting!” I debated it for a few moments. I thought about all the things that could happen. He could get cold, but I could wrap him up in a towel afterwards. He could get ill, but I don’t know if being out in the rain would have caused it or something else. A thousand thoughts and counter-thoughts seemed to rush through my brain, and at last, I gave in by taking off his socks and opening the screen door for him. I’m so glad I did.

He jumped outside and started dancing on the little landing that leads down to the ground. He splashed his little bare feet in the puddles and laughed deep belly laughs. He squealed as the rain bore down harder on his slowly soaking hair. I went out there too for a few seconds, but the shock of the cold air and water made me retreat back in for a little while.

Then, I overcame myself and went back out there with him. He carefully started descending the stairs (by turning around and going down facing the stairs just like we taught him!). He took a couple of steps down, and looked up at me questioningly. I gave him a nod, and followed him into our yard.

It was magical. The yard was transformed before my eyes! Here, a water droplet held the grass like a lover, but in a moment was gone. There, a stick looked like a gnarled hand reaching up from the ground. Little eddies and lakes were forming hither and yon. There was a world in the yard! Sean seemed to see it too, and we both were giggling and laughing as we explored this beautiful new world.

Then, a flash of light appeared in the horizon. Sean didn’t know what it was, but a loud crash of thunder split the sound of rushing water and falling rain. Sean turned around and ran to me. I kneeled down and he rushed into my arms and wrapped his arms around me so very tight! I said, “It’s okay, buddy. Let’s go inside.” He buried his head in my shoulder and together we walked slowly back to the house. I told him that everything is okay, but we do go inside when we hear thunder.

We got out of our wet clothes and got ready for dinner. During dinner, every time the thunder would sound, Sean would look at me and point out the window with a big smile on his face. I would say, “Yes, Sean. That’s thunder!” Then, we would proceed with eating.

Always be drunk.
That’s it!
The great imperative!
In order not to feel
time’s horrid burden
bruise your shoulders,
grinding you into the earth,
Get drunk and stay that way.
But on what?
Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish!
But get drunk.
And if you sometimes happen to wake up
on the porches of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the dismal loneliness of your own room,
your drunkenness gone or disappearing,
ask the wind, the wave,
the star, the bird,
the clock,
ask everything that flees,
everything that whines
rolls, or sings,
everything that speaks,
ask what time it is;
and the wind, the wave,
the star, the bird,
and the clock will answer you:
“Time to get drunk!
Don’t be martyred slaves of time,
Get drunk! Stay drunk!
But on what?
Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish!”
~Charles Baudelaire

This poem smacks me with a great understanding of who and what I am. I can get drunk on alcohol or any other physical thing, but I can never stay that way. I can get drunk on poetry or any other mental thing, but I can never stay that way. Those things can be beautiful, but they haven’t the lasting power of true life. I think that I could get drunk on virtue, AND that’s the one thing that lasts. It is timeless. It has merit and value to myself, my hopes, and my dreams. If I chose the former options, I’m just avoiding my own existence in my physicality or mind. Instead, I must choose the latter. I must strive to be drunk on virtue. Drunk always!

Mentally Strong

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Here’s an interesting article from lifehack:
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/13-things-mentally-strong-people-dont.html

I think I have trouble with #2, #3, and #5.

2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power

They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.

I need to work to remember that I’m in charge of how I react to situations. No matter what happens in my life, I need to remmeber that I have a choice in how I respond to everything that happens in my life.

3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change

Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.

I think that I sometimes question my adaptability. I prefer some things to stay the way they are. In order to grow, change is inevitable, and I think it would do me some good to remember that!

5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone

Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.

This is certainly something that I’ve worked on in the past. It isn’t a new thought for me, but I am still challenged by it every day. I have to let go of what my interpretation of others’ expectations of me are.

A Father’s Love

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The other day, I was riding my bike down Packard. The sun was squinting through some big puffy clouds and the weather was fairly mild for the winter. There wasn’t a spot of snow on the ground, so I was riding gently along admiring all the things I passed.

As I was coming up on one particular parking lot, I noticed a very tall thin man in a black coat and hooded sweatshirt. He was facing partly away from me and I took note of him because his back was arched over while he walked. It looked very strange to me. However, as I drew nearer to him, I realized that in his left hand was a small toddler’s hand. The toddler had on a fluffy pink coat that made her look like a little pink marshmallow. He was bent over so that this girl (who I assume was his daughter) could walk with him.

I was nearly past them when the little pink marshmallow pulled her daddy’s hand down nearly to the ground and she seemed to be concentrating on the ground in front of her. This big dude just went right along with it, and was as patient as a saint while she studied the ground with deep earnestness. I slowed my bike a bit to see what she was looking at.

She gently reached on the ground and picked up an old maple leaf. Then, she brought it close to her face as if she was taking in every detail. Very gently she motioned for her dad to take the cold wet leaf. She placed it in his hand and he brought her up to his face for a kiss. I kept riding.

That small moment in time made me think about a father’s love. The love that man had for his daughter radiated to me, a random passerby. It definitely looked like he was arching his back in a very painful way so that his daughter could walk alongside. I thought about how I might have caused my own dad pain in trying to walk upright in this life. But I also saw the love of his daughter. A leaf that might mean nothing to the rest of the world suddenly had a lot of meaning for that dad because it was a gift from his daughter. I thought about what gifts I might have given my own dad that might not have much meaning outside of his and my little world. These things kept me thinking about a father’s love in general.

A father’s love has to be malleable, durable, and strong. A father’s love has to be gentle, patient, and kind as well. I think that I don’t always know how best to show love, but a father’s love always shows the best and brightest.

Internet Trolls

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Traynor’s eye has a very good article on finding and meeting an internet troll in real life:

I was petrified.
They had my address.
I reported it to the authorities and hoped for the best.
Two days later I opened my front door and there was a bunch of dead flowers with my wife’s old Twitter username on it. Then that night I recieved a DM. ‘You’ll get home some day & ur b**ches throat will be cut & ur son will be gone.’
I got on to the authorities again but, polite and sympathetic as they were, there didn’t seem much that could be done.

You can read more about it here: http://www.traynorseye.com/2012/09/meeting-troll.html

As I read it, I was reminded how at the heart of every human being is a fundamental “humanness” that is taken all too lightly by others. We are a community made up of so many different kinds of people, and it is our duty to love and respect one another. Anything less than that is less than human.

I was in a hurry yesterday morning. I still rode my bicycle in to work, but I was very distracted. I came to an intersection where I would be making a left turn. I got into the left turn lane where there would be a “protected left” turn.

When the “protected left” light turned green, I started to go, but in my haste, my foot slipped off the pedal, and I scraped my leg from just above the ankle to the top of the shin! It hurt a lot! I regained my composure enough to complete my turn. However, just I was finishing my turn, a silver mustang came flying up (trying to make that light, I presume), and literally came within inches of hitting me.

I try really hard to not use profanity, but in my surprise and pain, I swore. I felt a lot of anger build up in me as I hobbled my bike over to the side of the road to tend to my wound. The woman in the mustang revved her engine and took off as soon as I was out of her way.

The whole incident left me very indignant at the woman, and with a lot of drivers in general. I calmed down as the blood pooled on my leg and scabbed up. I started thinking about how often I’ve done that very same thing the woman had done. I see a light about to turn red, and I gun the engine so that I don’t have to wait another few minutes, or perhaps I don’t even notice someone who’s struggling with something because I’m so impatient and my mind is elsewhere on a thousand future shocks or a hundred past dreams.

I need to show a little more compassion for those people who are struggling, and especially for the ones that upset me without giving them a chance. For all I know, the woman was hurrying to the hospital for a loved one or some other such emergency.I am not always good at letting my bubble of consciousness expand to other people. This life is hard, and there’s lots that I do to make it harder. In reality, I’m learning that I need to concentrate less on what other people are doing, and more on how I can be of help to those around me.

I am not very good at much, but I do have a heart, and I can use that heart to guide me to help, be helped, and find friendship and love along the way. I think I can do better with such things, and I really hope that I will.

Indomitable Spirits

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There have been many times in my life where I’ve come across stories of people whose spirit is unyieldingly loving. One such example is this grandmother who takes her granchild over the mountain to school every day on her back.


www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0G0kDjJS1U

When I see people like that it makes me feel small and proud at the same time. I feel small because I see how little I have been tried in the fires of life’s experience. Yet, I also feel proud to be a member of the human race, and I feel proud that my brothers and sisters are doing such amazing things.

If I Won the Lottery

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There is a very large sum of money up for grabs in the lottery. I think it’s always fun to think about what I would do if I won the lottery, even if I never play.

If I won the lottery, I think I would take it all in one lump sum. I would hire a lawyer to figure out how much I would owe in taxes that year and to help me start a nonprofit. I would donate what’s left after taxes and lawyer/accountant fees to a new nonprofit fund. That fund would then pay out all but 20% of its earnings in interest each year to help other people. Of the 20% of the interest that I’m keeping, I would want no more than half (10% of interest earnings) to go to administrative overhead and expenses. The remaining 10% of the interest would go back into the fund to ensure that the principal keeps growing. I think it would be fun to manage something like that. I would try to find nonprofits that I really believe in, but are struggling. I would love to help infuse some cash into their operations. Perhaps I could also pool a group of people together to help solve a lot of nonprofits’ issues, including management, technology, and other administrative costs and help them run more efficiently.

I would want to keep my main job for as long as possible to not be a drain on the fund. However, if it got so large that it would be unwieldy to try to run it and keep my job, I would rather take it over full time myself versus hiring someone else to run it.

That was actually kind of fun to think about. I have a bit of a smile right now while I sit thinking about all the fun I would have if I won the lottery!

I had one of those situations today that I find incredibly difficult to deal with. I find that people are quite unreasonable sometimes, especially in work situations. A customer and I just couldn’t see eye to eye, no matter how I explained the situation to him. I felt that he was being very unreasonable, but he is still the customer. However, I felt a lot of frustration building in me, and it was very hard for me to keep calm. I came to realize something about myself, and that is that I’m not very good at dealing with certain types of frustrations.

I have a very unrealistic expectation that a situation will resolve itself if it is talked out, or that if I just listen long enough, I will at least understand the other person’s point of view. However, the more I talked in this situation and the more the customer talked in this situation, the further we got from each other. I tried my best to be professional, especially when I felt that the customer was not. That was really difficult because I just couldn’t understand what the REAL issue was. When I don’t understand what is going on, I feel a lot of mistrust and it’s hard for me to react normally and sanely. Yet in situations like these, that is the only thing I can do.

I am learning that reacting poorly to my own frustrations doesn’t help me or the person I’m acting on, yet I find that if I don’t at least deal with my frustrations, I will very easily descend into saying things that I will later regret. I honestly don’t really know how to deal with these little things any more than I know how to deal with the big ones. Who knows? Maybe someday I will be able to understand these crazy emotions and how to deal with them.

The Opposite of Love

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This isn’t a well-thought out musing, so caveat emptor (“buyer[reader] beware”)! In fact, I think I just need to type it out to get some ideas out. So, here goes:

Someone told me the other day that “the opposite of love is not hate. It is fear.”

This really struck a chord with me even though I’m not sure if I completely agree with it. I think of hate as anti-love because it lacks all the things that make love what it is. It’s visceral, dangerous, and volatile, while love is warm, honest, and humble.

Most of the time, I view fear as a selfish emotion that is caused by desiring something that I want but don’t have or thinking something I do “have” will be lost. Yet, there is a grain of truth in the light of my own experience. When I am afraid, I can act very unloving towards the people or things that “caused” my fear. I see that when I am filled with so much joy that I don’t have fear, I can act lovingly to those who would do me harm. While that kind of compassion is certainly radical, it is not that unknown throughout history. In addition, I am starting to see that those types of actions are where love really exists.

I’ve heard the term “looking for love in all the wrong places” parlayed back and forth, but when you put it in the context of fear, I think it can take on a deeper meaning. When I am afraid, I can very easily look in the wrong “place” to allay my fear. Fear can hurt a lot and it’s easy to try to alleviate the hurt as quickly as possible, but not really get rid of the fear. It isn’t until I look in the deeper parts of myself and face my fears that I can fully alleviate that fear. As I alleviate my fears, then I can find room for love, and love fills the parts that were being eaten away by fear.

So, perhaps fear is the opposite of love, or maybe fear is AN opposite of love. I still don’t know a lot about these things, but I am really grateful for the chance to find out more about them. Thanks for reading!