Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Leaves

There are times when it is all simply too overwhelming... and in those moments, I relish the intricate simplicity and marvelously faithful functioning of... The Leaves!

IMAGE through the gracious courtesy of Jon Sullivan,

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Forever... a Dream

I just awoke from a dream.

A dream in which I was holding, in my arms, my wife... sharing a tranquil moment of stillness. And I said to her “Put your head on my arm… as long as I am dreaming about holding you, let me feel your head resting here on my arm.” And she raised up from her dream-position, lying next to me (the back of her summer dress against my shirt) and said “You are dreaming about me… Why?” To which I replied, “I dream about you often… just as right now… I dream of the hoped for Fantasy that never lived.” Then I woke.

And as I lay there, I was aware of the image of her that had transposed itself into my dream. It was the image of her in her youth… at the time when the fantasy was borne… before it died in reality. And the image remains in my recollection just as it was in its never-matured state. Just as a child who dies in youth remains always recalled as that image. Full of promise and possibility… never to produce disappointment, frustration, or loss.

So it is with that image of her in my sub-conscious. Always that package of ripe possibilities… waiting to blossom into the life-satisfying fruits of romantic fulfillment. Yet… now… always to remain but a dream.

Perhaps, My Dear Reader, there is here, something that translates to your unresolved past. Might it be that we can accept those unfulfilled hopes, dreams, and even expectations as something borne to us, but never living to thrive, flourish, or allow us the desired satisfactions longed for? I think it altogether appropriate to mourn the loss. Then to properly memorialize the recollections. And to then, embrace the new day with its offerings and fresh opportunities.

To the end that these reflections serve to encourage and give you peace, I remain, as always, Your constant Friend and Servant,


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"There is No Death"

No need for any comment from me here... I'll just step aside and let John Luckey McCreery's words speak for themselves.

There is No Death

There is no death! The stars go down
To rise upon some other shore,
And bright in heaven’s jeweled crown
They shine for evermore.

There is no death! The dust we tread
Shall change beneath the summer showers
To golden grain or mellow fruit
Or rainbow-tinted flowers.

There is no death! The leaves may fall,
The flowers may fade and pass away…
They only wait, through wintry hours,
The coming of the May.

The bird-like voice, whose joyous tones
Made glad this scene of sin and strife,
Sings now an everlasting song
Amid the tree of life.

And ever near us, though unseen,
The dear immortal spirits tread;
For all the boundless universe
Is Life… there are no dead!


IMAGES through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Day of Rest

Inasmuch as this is Sunday and the day recognized in a large part of the world as a day of rest… I choose to divert our attentions away from all of the “stuff” of everyday consideration… and give our spirits liberty to drift into the realm of “Leisure” courtesy of William Henry Davies with accompanying images as credited. I bid you, each and all, serene respite and recreation.


What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.


IMAGES: Squirrel; Jon Sullivan,, Dancer; Institut Teknologi Bandung, Jakarta, All Remaining; Ian Britton,

Friday, September 22, 2006

"Confide in a Friend"

When you’re tired and worn at the close of day
And things just don’t seem to be going your way,
When even your patience has come to an end,
Try taking time out and confide in a friend.

Perhaps he too may have walked the same road
With a much troubled heart and burdensome load,
To find peace and comfort somewhere near the end,
When he stopped long enough to confide in a friend.

For then are most welcome a few words of cheer,
For someone who willingly lends you an ear.
No troubles exist that time cannot mend,
But to get quick relief, just confide in a friend.


IMAGES through tne gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Friendship and love are the recurrent themes of all that my life moves to. If I can give anything to my world, I would that it be an awareness and appreciation of the treasures held in these elements of life that are so readily available to us all. Better than I could ever express, Roy Croft presents a fresh and exhilarating view of what I am feebly trying to say. His words paint the picture that I would hope that my life sketches in the hearts of those whose lives I touch. If it could be so… My life will have been a success.


I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you for putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good,
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.

You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all.


Monday, September 18, 2006

The Second of More Than Two

Having been initiated into a world of overwhelming responsibility and fear, I found my first, and arguably most significant, matter for consideration courtesy of the Director of the Department of Pediatric Orthopedics in the hospital where my less-than one year old son had just been diagnosed as having Cerebral Palsy. “How do you do, Mister Brown, I understand that you have just learned that your son has some disabilities or handicaps. I want to make it clear that it is totally incumbent upon you, as his parent, to determine if he will be a Cripple.” (Yes… I agree with you, My Dear Reader, I wanted to slap his face. But I now, in hindsight, recognize the compassionate intent of his abrupt and seemingly indelicate methods.)

“Your son,” he continued, “being a normal human being, will, in response to his human nature, try to use his disabilities to avoid anything that he does not care to do and to do anything that he perceives that he can get away with by using the sympathies of those responsible for his development. It is my experience that, if you determine what he is capable of, early on, and require one hundred percent of that from him… ignoring his attempts to evoke a “Oh poor little handicapped you” response from you and all others… he will grow into a responsible person with some limitations just like every other person on this earth has, in some form or other. Or you can, at your option, succumb to his natural manipulations and allow him to use his disabilities to evade painful development… and he will grow into a physical and emotional cripple. The choice is entirely yours, sir. If I can be of any help or service, please let me know.” And that was my introduction to my future role as my son’s pivotal character for his future life. I can tell you that a goodly quantity of tears and a significant amount of time was spent with the aforementioned (see The First…) art prints as I considered all that I had been told was required of me.

I had my future role further defined on the night that my son was diagnosed. My wife’s mother had a clever system for maintaining her involvement in her first grandchild’s life happenings. It was her method to always invite us to her home for supper on the nights that our son had any sort of medical of therapeutic exam or procedure… thereby insuring the earliest update for her on his status. Thus, I found myself at her home on that night that the neurologist declared “Mister Brown, your wife’s suspicions that your son’s condition parallels the symptoms presented in the magazine article on cerebral palsy, are not, as you suspect, paranoia, but accurate and well founded. Your son does, in fact, have cerebral palsy.” When I suggested to my wife that she be the one to go to her mother’s house that night and deliver this bombshell of news… she insisted that I be the one to do so instead. So I found myself (through a flood of tears) saying the “CP” words to my in-laws at their dinner table that night. Their response immediately snapped me into a recognition of another reality. I would have to assume another role that I had no familiarity with. I had always been the “Sensitive One” in all situations. I was the one to show tears at movie scenes, stories of moving emotional situations, the playing of the national anthem, for crying out loud! But when I saw my in-laws go to pieces and begin a series of declarations to the effect that we must cover up my son’s condition with a bunch of inane diversionary explanations because “people just won’t understand”, I knew immediately that for the first time in my thirty years… I was to be the “rock.” And from that moment on, no one ever saw me shed a tear nor make any comment that would reflect anything other that a positive and constructive perspective on my son’s state. I was, from that instant, sentenced to several decades of loneliness in my anguish, pain, and concern. Something else to consider.

Now… what was the method that I utilized in taking on these responsibilities? I had long talks with God. Many, many of them for the first three months subsequent to assuming my new roles. I got up each day with a display of strength and confidence; took my son to his day-care person; went to my office; closed the door; and wept. I returned no phone calls. I met with no clients. I talked with no one in my office. I simply fell to my face on the carpet and under the weight of this terrifying and overwhelming responsibility. And I reviewed all of my life… every instance in which I had been presented with an opportunity to learn and develop individual responsibility… and had successfully avoided and/or manipulated the circumstance to evade the lesson-learning potential of the moment. Thirty years of steering through what my emotions defined as a mine-field of demands on my sense of inadequacies and insufficiencies. And here I was with Life demanding that I be “Super Dad”, not out of any desire to be so… but because the one person on this earth who I adored more than life itself needed a super father in order to have his best chance at life. And all he had was me! And “me” had to find out how to discover what he was capable of, so that I could encourage, challenge, inspire, require, demand, and stimulate him toward it for his best opportunity to have all that Life had in store for him. All the while, I had no clue as to who I was… what I was capable of… what my own handicaps and gifts were. These were my reflections for those first ninety days of self examination and determination. Then, each day at twenty minutes before time to go home, I would go to the men’s room; wash my face; straighten my appearance; and prepare myself to present the image of confidence and strength that the situation required.

This is where I began a pilgrimage… borne of loving necessity… in self-discovery and full-life realization. It is my sincere hope that the exposure of my still-painful story will be of some benefit to you, Dear Friend. It is in this hope and trusting that Life has a supreme purpose in my openness to you, that I offer myself complete with limitations and lessons learned for your use and edification… as I remain, Your Friend and Servant,


Saturday, September 16, 2006

"The Human Touch"

In this day of applied Programs, Plans, Initiatives, and Systems, there is a void that is all too often left wanting. That want is addressed by this work of Spencer Michael Free. He (from his perspective as a practicing physician) spoke to an elementary requirement of the Human Spirit. I ask that we consider the power and potential that awaits each of us… if we will but offer our own personal provision of “The Human Touch.”

The Human Touch

'Tis the human touch in this world that counts,

The touch of your hand and mine,

Which means far more to the fainting heart

Than shelter and bread and wine;

For shelter is gone when the night is o’er,

And bread lasts only for a day,

But the touch of the hand and the sound of the voice

Sing on in the soul alway.

Spencer Michael Free (1856-1938)
Free graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Johns Hopkins University in 1880, and practiced medicine and surgery for some fifty years thereafter. In addition to some one hundred medical papers, he wrote many poems.

IMAGE: Maria Brandstetter, BBC

Friday, September 15, 2006

"Walking Through"

Today I am sharing an article from DailyOM. This message is communicated so beautifully that I could not hesitate to pass it along. Therefore, it is with credit to DailyOM and my thanks to S.A. for sharing it with me, that I offer,for your consideration, the truths contained herein.

When a door opens, walk through it. Trust that the door has opened for a reason and you have been guided to it. Sometimes we have a tendency to overanalyze or agonize over the decision, but it is quicker to simply go through the door and discover what's there as that's the only way to know. Even if it doesn't seem right at first, opening this door may lead to another door that will take us where we need to go.

Doors open when the time is right for us to enter a new space, metaphorically speaking, and we can have faith that walking through is the right thing to do. Sometimes we linger in the threshold because we are afraid of leaving our old life for a life we know nothing about. We may have voices inside of our heads that try to hold us back or people in our lives saying discouraging things. These voices, internal and external, are known as threshold spirits, and they express all the fears and doubts that arise at the beginning of a new life. Nevertheless, none of these voices can hold us back, and they will fall silent as soon as we cross the threshold.

There are many doors that open in the course of our lives, leading us into new relationships, jobs, friendships, and creative inspirations. Our lives up to this point are the result of all the doors we have walked through, and our continued growth depends on our willingness to keep moving into new spaces. Every time we walk through an open door, we create a sense memory that encourages us to move into the new fearlessly. When we enter the new space, we almost always feel a thrill and a new feeling of confidence, in ourselves and in the universe. We have stepped across the threshold into a new life.

Remember, My Dear Reader, the message of the 5th and 6th verses of the 3rd chapter of the book of Proverbs...(I paraphrase) "Trust in the Almighty without reservation, and do not depend on your own abilities to understand. In all of your ways, acknowledge the supremacy of The One who created you, and your paths will be directed... your doors opened." As you so often hear me say... "Listen to and trust that still, small, quiet inner voice that carries Life's messages to your awareness." I bid you a day of welcoming thresholds.

IMAGES through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Give Love

In this interim between "The First..." and the coming "The Second...", I simply had to share this magnificent thought received from Carole this morning. Please pay heed.

Giving someone all of your love is never an assurance that they will love you back! Don't expect love in return; just wait for it to grow in their heart… but if it doesn't, be content with its growth in yours.

IMAGE through the gracious courtesy of Jon Sullivan,

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The First of More than One

When my son was diagnosed as having Cerebral Palsy, I had a lot to consider. All that I was... all that I understood... all that life represented to me was, in that moment, irrevocably and eternally obliterated. There was no person to whom I could go to discuss the ramifications of this life-altering circumstance. No mentor, guide, counselor, nor advisor was present. I could not share my confusion; my dismay; my grief; my fear; nor my ignorance with anyone. I was completely alone in my situation.

The setting that I found for my deliberations and considerations of what I must do; who I must be; how I must proceed was a small art shop wherin I allowed my soul to find its refuge and solice through hours spent in the solitary exercise of losing myself in racks of art prints.

In those prints I escaped the pressures of immediate life demands.

I soared to heights of distant perspectives

I found a refuge from the cacophony of immediate necessities.

Those images provided lanes and paths of possibilities that I would not have known within the confines of my natural world.

The time spent with those renderings of places, people, environs, and worlds free of the pressing torments of my responsibilities... gave my spirit license to contemplate perspectives beyond my own experience.

And, to carry those moments with me into my natural world, I purchased and had framed several of those works that surround me, in my little cottage, at this very moment of recollection... and still afford me the gift of moments of quiet consideration.

So... for the last, approximately, one and one-half minutes, My Dear Reader, I have shared that therapy of refreshment with you. I have structured, for your benefit, all that you have seen and read thus far, to provide a sample of just such a moment of consideration for you in the hope that you will recognize the calmness and serenity that lies at your doorstep... if you will but permit yourself the renewal of being in a place of apartness from all that demands your attention. And, in segments to follow, I will explore, with and for you, further, this matter of "moments of consideration."

But, for now, I respectfully invite you to "Be still and know" what your own "still small, inner voice" has been trying to whisper to you in this moment. As I remain your faithfully loving Friend and Servant,


ALL IMAGES through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Monday, September 11, 2006

Gifts from Sharon and Ian

Some of you (My Dear Readers) have inquired into the reason for my absence for the past few weeks. Not to worry! I have been fully absorbed into concern and care for Mom during her recent surgery, rehabilitation, and re-acclimation into life at home. Consequently, I have had need to visit the works of friends whose efforts lift my spirits. And today, I share the combined works of Sharon and Ian with you. I know that their expressions will bless you as they have me. Enjoy!


Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there, to serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson, or to help you figure out who you are or who you want to become.

You never know who these people may be - a roommate, a neighbor, a professor, a friend, a lover, or even a complete stranger - but when you lock eyes with them, you know at that very moment they will affect your life in some profound way.

Sometimes things happen to you that may seem horrible, painful, and unfair at first, but in reflection you find that without overcoming those obstacles you would have never realized your potential, strength, willpower, or heart.

Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness, and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul. Without these small tests, whatever they may be, life would be like a smoothly paved straight flat road to nowhere. It would be safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless.

The people you meet who affect your life, and the success and downfalls you experience, help to create who you are and who you become. Even the bad experiences can be learned from. In fact, they are sometimes the most important ones.

If someone loves you, give love back to them in whatever way you can, not only because they love you, but because in a way, they are teaching you to love and how to open your heart and eyes to things.

If someone hurts you, betrays you, or breaks your heart, forgive them, for they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious to whom you open your heart.

Make every day count. Appreciate every moment and take from those moments everything that you possibly can for you may never be able to experience it again. Talk to people that you have never talked to before, and listen to what they have to say.

Let yourself fall in love, break free, and set your sights high. Hold your head up because you have every right to. Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself, for if you don't believe in yourself, it will be hard for others to believe in you.

You can make anything you wish of your life. Create your own life and then go out and live it with absolutely no regrets.

And if you love someone tell them, for you never know what tomorrow may have in store.

Learn a lesson in life each day that you live! Today is the tomorrow you were worried about yesterday. Was it worth it?

author unknown

IMAGES through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,
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Unless expressly stated, all original material, of whatever nature, created by J. Michael Brown (John-Michael) and included in this weblog and any related pages, including the weblog's archives is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.