Transfixus Sed Non Mortuus

Here I Stand, Pierced and Transfixed

Browsing Posts tagged mylife

My Bird Died

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This morning was a dark and cloud-filled morning. The wind was whistling against my apartment’s outer wall and I woke up at least once to some rain beating against the window. An ominous warning, to be sure. As I got up and got ready for the day, I uncovered my cockatiel’s cage and found her dead at the bottom. Bau Bau had been having some health issues prior, so it wasn’t a complete surprise, but I felt a lot of emotion when I realized what I was looking at.

As I rode my bike into work, I thought about all the history that we had shared. My friend Sophia gave her to me while I was attending university. At first, Bau Bau and I had a little rocky relationship while we learned to get along, but soon, she would jump right onto my hand and sit on my shoulder while I was home. She had this cute little way of turning her head one hundred and eighty degrees while looking at me out of one of her eyes. I loved to stroke her crest feathers and she always loved that too. She would nuzzle so gently up against my chin and make little soft noises while I went about my business at home.

Bau Bau used to have this habit of sneaking out of her cage. I’m still not sure how she did it, but one night, I woke up in the middle of the night to some “thing” crawling on my shoulder. I got scared and knocked that thing into the the air. Turns out, it was my lovely little bird that I had hit. For two or three weeks afterwards, she was scared of me and really seemed to act like she was mad. I remember I got her out of her cage at one point, and she flew straight to my sister’s shoulder and seemed to be saying, “ha” to me. I felt so horrible about it, but she eventually forgot or forgave me, and our relationship went back to normal. Eventually, she stopped breaking out of her cage too, which I’m very grateful for.

My roommate Adam had a cat named Layla. Layla was a little timid, but was still a cat. She would sit for a very long time watching Bau Bau play at our old apartment. Then, every once in a while, she would try to get Bau Bau. However, Bau Bau was always wary and would fly straight to me, or would turn and face Layla. Layla would either stop or run away in the face of the fierce snapping beak and giant flapping wings of Bau Bau. It was certainly an uneasy situation, but it never got out of hand.

I remember all the mornings when I lived on Dexter Ave where she would wake me up. The sunlight would stream through the east-facing window of my bedroom, and she would start to sing softly. Then, as the sun kept rising, she would get a little louder until I got up and wished her good morning. Some mornings, I would be mad at her for waking me up, but looking back on it now, those memories are showered in a golden hue.

Bau Bau taught me a lot about how to love. She required a lot of patience to train. She could be really ornery sometimes without any known reason at all. Sometimes, she would sit in her cage and scream at me if she wanted me to play with her some more. Other times, she would leave droppings on my favorite shirt. She taught me that loving one of God’s creatures can be hard, but at the same time, it can be very rewarding in those moments of joy when she would gently whistle in my ear or try to groom my hair. It’s kind of funny to me that a simple creature could teach me so much and also fill a piece of my heart in a way that no other creature has.

She was with me through a lot of life changes, including multiple moves, relationships, and job changes. She was always there wanting to play with me every day when I got home. It seems strange to think that she won’t be there when I get home tonight. I feel bad for the times I felt too busy to play with her more. I also feel like I am going to miss her for a very long time to come.

A Wedding Weekend

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My friends Emmanuel and Megan got married this weekend. It was one of those wedding ceremonies that was just absolutely beautiful. Rather, the couple looked beautiful. Yes, the church looked nice and the reception hall looked lovely, but they really shone. Emmanuel’s smile is very engaging, but to see him on the day of his wedding was a very new thing indeed. Contagious was his smile and his joy made me happy. he had the look of someone who had been on a long journey and had found his oasis when the sun had nearly burnt him to a crisp. Megan too had a sweet and joyful smile and her eyes truly sparkled with a freshness and zeal that I truly admired. I could see the face of God in their faces, and that gives me great hope and peace for the light that the two of them will bring to the world. I truly wish them all the best and my prayers are with them as they begin a new and gorgeous life together!

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!

Movin’ Movin’ Man

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This past weekend, I was a movin’ movin’ man. My wife and I have been living in a little apartment since July. We very much enjoyed the place. The appliances were up to date, any maintenance was being taken care of within a day or so, and the staff were courteous and friendly. Much better than some places I’ve stayed in the past.

However, as the summer waned, we began to get some strange smells wafting through our apartment. In the month of December, when the temperature started to dip towards the freezing point, we found that the smell became nearly unbearable. It permeated our clothes and sometimes woke us up from our sleep in the dead of night. We determined that one of our neighbors was smoking some very nasty substances.

The apartment manager did seem interested in our concerns, but needed proof of which neighbor it was. When we figured out which neighbor it was, they denied it. So, we were left in the same boat of having the nastiest of smells totally destroying our use of the apartment. We avoided going there if we could. Sometimes, it got so thick, we had to leave and open our windows in the wintry nights.

At last, we met with the manager face-to-face last Tuesday and she offered to have us transfer apartments. She was very agreeable to that and even promised us a larger apartment for the same rate! Even though it was a huge hassle, we signed the paperwork last Wednesday for the new place.

My brother and da stopped by on Friday and really went to town on the big stuff, while my wife’s sister helped pack. My wife’s parents, aunt, and uncle came by on Saturday and got everything that we didn’t get to on Saturday. I’m entirely happy and grateful to our families who really stepped up to the plate on such short notice.

I’m especially grateful that it’s now done and that smell isn’t thickening our nights and days (except when you sometimes get a whiff of it on coats or clothes of course).

Broken Pedal

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My poor little bike pedal snapped off! I was ridding up a hill and all of a sudden, I heard a strange crunching noise and felt a weird vibration in my left leg. Then, my pedal came loose! I was very surprised!

It looks like I can rebuild it, so that’s a very good thing, but my goodness what a surprise that was!

I think that this winter has been one of the coldest on record for the area that I live in. yet, I can’t help but see the wondrous beauty of the snow! There’s so much in that light powdery substance which makes me feel alive. I was only able to snowboard once this year and haven’t taken the time to go sledding, but just seeing that luminescent beauty after day means something special to me!

Old Thoughts Die Hard

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In my life, I’ve seen some pretty amazing things and some far less-than-perfect things. Similarly, I’ve done things that I’m not too proud of. What’s interesting to me is how my mind will bring me back to a place of negativity just when my life is going very well and things are looking up. It’s almost like my brain says, “Wait a minute…you’re life is going too well. Why don’t you think about what a horrible person you’ve been?” What’s strange about that negativity is that if I try to fight it, it seems to gain traction and get bigger. I try to ignore it and it also seems to just increase in the real estate market of my brain. The only thing I’ve found that gets it out of my head and back to the ether is to embrace what I was with the knowledge that I no longer act the way I used to. I don’t have to live the way I used to or think the way I used to.

My life is pretty darn good today. I have a lot of things looking up and it would be very silly of me to ruin all that by choosing to forget everything I am about. Yet, that’s where my mind defaults. I have to remember that old thoughts may die hard, but the greater thing is to be aware of who and what I am striving to be. That’s the only way for me to continue to grow in this life and to be a little better person than I was yesterday.

My Dog Died

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Last month, my family’s dog died. His name was Cappy.

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Yesterday, I was riding my bicycle home from work. I had only been on the road five or six minutes when a car decided to turn right in front of me. I squeezed my brake levers with all the force I could muster and my rear tire began sliding out and to the left. I could see the driver glance over at me because my extremely bright headlamp was shining in his side window. He then hit his brakes, which slowed him down and kept the vehicle right in my lane. I thought for sure that I would either hit the car or the pavement. Through some miracle, I was able to right my rear tire and then cut hard around and behind the car, which was now stopped.

“That was one heck of a close call,” I thought to myself as I continued on my way. I then had another close call within a few minutes on Eastern Michigan University’s campus. This car was pulling out of a parking lot and clearly didn’t see me till the last minute. Luckily they stopped just a few feet in my path and I was able to go around them. It wasn’t nearly as adrenaline-inducing as my previous situation had been.

A few minutes beyond that, I was riding hard uphill in a cold rain when I started hearing a “clomping” sound. I hit my brakes and got my bike off the road. I thought that maybe one of my cantilever brakes had gotten twisted or something was stuck between them, but I couldn’t find anything wrong. I spun the wheel a few times, and that’s when I saw quite a beauty of a nail wedged in the rear bicycle tire.

I picked up this nail while bicycling.  Surprisingly, it didn't break my inner tube

I picked up this nail while bicycling. Surprisingly, it didn’t break my inner tube

I was very surprised because there was still plenty of pressure in the tire itself. Carefully, I pulled the nail out of the tire. To my intense surprise, the tire did not deflate! As I started riding again, I thought back on the ride. As I thought about all the close calls, I felt like the luckiest man alive!

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.