Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Really Good ...

Alecia phoned to bring me up to date with current happenings in her world. I must say that hearing from her is one of my life’s richest highlights. In the course of our brief conversation (she was calling on a quick break between classes) she spoke of one of her students. It seems that this particular young man is challenged by his pencil sharpener. You know the sort. That tiny plastic holder of a metal blade that one introduces the pencil into and turns the pencil until the little ribbon of removed wood reveals a freshly pointed lead. Well, this particular maneuver is beyond the abilities of the young man in question. He continually finds himself with a lead that is broken off inside the sharpener. Thus, he cannot accomplish the sharpening task.

I should point out here the fact that Alecia is certified as a Teacher of students who are identified as being in need of the program that addresses the individual requirements of ‘Exceptional Students.’ That is, students who life has presented with all manner of physical, emotional, and mental challenges. And this young man (age 11 or so) has had his particular challenges manifested in the tangible form of a repeatedly-broken pencil lead.

Having addressed this difficulty every day for an entire week, Alecia had the student confront her with a declaration, “You are really good at this! You should do it for a living.” … then a grateful smile. She thanked him and thought, to herself, “I am doing this for a living!” as she enjoyed the humor in that recognition. “With all of my education, specialized training, and accumulated experience, I am un-jamming broken pencil leads in cheap plastic pencil-sharpeners 'for a living'." And she just had to share the humor of this reality with her Dad (me.)

We had a good laugh, and I suggested that she might want to embellish her resume with this newly developed ‘professional skill.’ Then she was off to her next awaiting requirement at the school. It was then … in the ‘after-glow’ of reflection … that I allowed my many years of working with my son, Matthew, and those who comprised his world (those Individuals struggling with just the sort of hurdles that Alecia addresses every day) to inform me.

Imagine,if you will, the position of someone who sees everyone around him accomplishing the mundane and ordinary task of sharpening a pencil … and not being able to achieve success in your own effort to do the same. Place yourself in the stead of that One who is compelled to ask for assistance … yet again, and again, for an entire week … with this elementary chore.

Which brings me to a contemplative moment of consideration … as I ask … what opportunity to un-jam Someone’s ‘pencil-sharpener’ are we addressing in our individual life-path today? Are we edifying that Other as we pause with their moment of need? Or do we consider all of our Station, Position, experience, Role, expertise, or Importance of too great a significance, or value, to dally with such small and bothersome matters as we are being asked, by Life, to contemplate.

I would hope, for all of us, that, as the scriptures so beautifully entreat, we would ... “in whatever you do in word, or deed ... act with your intentions directed toward all that is eternal and the most pure ... giving thanks for the gift, of each opportunity, to do … and to be … what benefits others
.” (The book of Colossians chapter 3 verse 17 [John-Michael’s version])

I pray that it be said, of each of us, by every Life that we are privileged to touch, “You are really good at this!”

Lovingly …

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Wonder of You

When I awakened this morning, this was 'playing' inside me. No! I haven't even the remotest clue why. I haven't heard either the song or the music for a very long time.

Nonetheless, I do love all that it speaks of ... and hope that it sparks some pleasure in you, Dear Friend, as well.

The Wonder of You

When no-one else can understand me
When everything I do is wrong
You give me hope and consolation
You give me strength to carry on

And you're always there to lend a hand
In everything I do
That's the wonder
The wonder of you

And when you smile the world is brighter
You touch my hand and I'm a king
Your kiss to me is worth a fortune
Your love for me is everything

I guess I'll never know the reason why
You love me like you do
That's the wonder
The wonder of you

The Wonder of You
Artist(Band):Elvis Presley
(words & music by Baker Knight)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One Word

It may be that I am vastly different from others. I really do not know how the putting away of feelings and impressions is accomplished by those around me. But I do know that I have a need to place the stuff of my life in order, with something akin to the systems that we employed in my 5th and 6th grade classroom. Our class was housed in the school library.
Each day was begun by the checking in and shelving of the library books returned by the school’s student body.

Hence, we had to know the classification and sequencing system of each book in order to shelve it properly. So it is with my thoughts and feelings. I must identify, with an appropriate ‘label,’ each experienced emotional happening, in order to ‘file it away’ comfortably. So, you can see why those ‘labels’ are important to me.

Thus it is that I have been vexed for a number of years by my inability to affix a word to a couple of significant happenings in my life. I have long-known that the process of thought ... the management of impression, emotion, ideas, and the like ... is made possible by the ‘tools’ of thinking. Namely, words. Without those words … those tools … no processing of ideas, feelings, or emotions, is possible.

This awareness is what motivated me to devote every possible moment to the enriching of my son’s linguistic abilities. I would converse with him about totally inane subjects … matters of meaning and import … concepts of vague or abstract impression … specific linkages and/or sequencing of elements of life ...anything that would enable him to better engage in, his own private and personal, experiences of thinking, and sorting out, his mind and spirit’s workings.

I am pleased that I can rest in my knowledge that his abilities, in those areas, developed far beyond the most optimistic of projections, offered by specialists, in disciplines devoted to the treatment, and development, of persons with disabilities. He excelled over any projections presented in estimations of the long-range effects of his cerebral palsy. So, you see, I have a keen understanding of the import of those critical tools of language.

So a word … just the right word … is vitally important to me. And I never relent in my quest for that particular word … as I seek to define, and better understand, and respond to, my life experiences. That one word … that will enable me to place that experience in its proper place on the shelves of my experiential library.

Now, that’s a hell of a lot to say as a prelude to today’s happening. The light-bulb over the head moment when the perfect word presented itself to me. The word that identified, with absolute exactitude, that look that was in my daughter’s eyes when I last saw her. The word that explained all of the depth of meaning being transmitted by her words, demeanor, and spirit, as she dismissed me from her presence. The word that speaks of the volumes of understanding that was present when I was similarly dismissed from my mother’s presence as I, at age 20, left home. One word that I have not for all of these years, been able to find … that I might be able to affix an understanding that would satisfy (and bring resting comfort to my groping for closure.) At last I have been given the wonderful gift of that specific word … it is 'contempt.'

Now, at long last, I can rest in an understanding of what was being conveyed by those two individuals, in those happenings of five years ago (in the instance of my daughter’s presentation) and over forty years ago (with my mother’s indelible look.) I had not encountered that sensation outside of those two experiences … until last week. It was then that I was revisited with the flash-back recall of all of the feelings and emotions associated with a confrontation with contempt. In that instant, the clock of history was spun back … and I, again, saw that look in my mother’s eyes. I relived all that was still fresh from the archives of my recollection. I, afresh and anew, saw utter contempt in the face of my mother.

But now, unlike the previous time, I can simply, and quietly, label it for what it is … and shelve it … with determination to never check that volume out again.

Oxford English Dictionary

The feeling that someone or something is worthless or beneath consideration.

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Morning Chapel

One of my very favorite songs is the old hymn "In the Garden." Part of it goes, "I come to the Garden alone ... while the dew is still on the roses."

Though this morning's dew is found clinging to magnolia blossoms, Spanish moss, and grasses and ground cover ...

I still felt my Spirit celebrating oneness with all that is eternal and holy.

I invite you to 'worship' with me ...


Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Moods of Sunrise on Lake Platt

I invite You to take a brief Moment ...


I do, truly, hope that You allowed your Self the enjoyment of a deep breath ...
and, perhaps, even a sigh.

I thank You for sharing this Moment with me.

Lovingly ...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Her Effect

Passing loveliness ...

Fleeting chord ...

Wafting fragrance ...

Tingling air ...

Striking colors ...

All elicit response.

Now here ... then gone.

Impact ... then Memory.

Impression ... then afterglow.

Lofty peak ... then soft meadow.

Such is her effect.

The Mist that was her Presence.

The vapor that lingers.

She touched me.

4 May 2010

Monday, May 03, 2010

Be Still ...

Know thyself
Ascribed to: Plato, Pythagoras, and Socrates

The spirit is the true self
Cicero (MarcusTulliusCicero[106-43 BC])

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man
William Shakespeare(1564-1616)Hamlet(1601)

Let’s take a moment to consider our least known, but most valuable personal resource. That whisper that speaks to you in the stillness of your aloneness. But, pay heed... you have as a constant “resource” a multitude of voices that would try to convince you that all of the inclinations of your heart (the revelations of that frequently referred to, still. small inner voice) are “deceitful.” This white-bearded old man is here to tell you, in the strongest and most confidently clear voice imaginable, “value YOUR inner messenger.” This “still, small voice” is not emotion, or mood… not feelings or sentiment… but the insight and cognizance born of That which is beyond us. Do not allow outside voices to erode your confidence in the worth of either you (just exactly as you were created) or the Spirit to which you have committed the expression of yourself.

Here is a real-life story that reinforced my certainty in the worth of our inner voice. It was presented in a documentary dealing with a British anthropologist who went to the Bush to study a group of Aboriginal peoples. His specific interest became the Shaman or Medicine Man of the group. By the standard of the Westernized scientific world from which this academic came, this Shaman was as unimpressive as could possibly be imagined. He had but a few teeth remaining, a small stature, skin that made a crocodile’s look fair, but eyes that revealed the universe with a smile that compelled complete trust and confidence. The Shaman looked into the camera and said “I go to my places by the same path again and again. But sometimes my inner voice tells me ‘
today a man waits for you with a sharp spear. Take another path today.’” And the Shaman’s face folded into a smiling cacophony of wrinkles as he concluded, “I have never met a man with a sharp spear.

He always, without questioning, doubt, or hesitation, took the different path. He paid heed to the Spiritual message delivered as a quiet whisper to his consciousness. I was personally sold on the merit of this man’s inner voice when the documentarian closed his presentation with the fact that the anthropologist abandoned his previous life to become the disciple of the Shaman.

I am continually reminded, by Life’s frequent gifts to me, of the far-reaching value of “
Be still and know…” For it is only in stillness that we can really hear. In that documentary, I heard my Spirit saying “listen, pay heed, and proceed with confidence in your trust of Me.

Don’t you see? The Shaman didn’t inquire of his tribesmen, nor did he
examine the trail for forensic evidence. He went through no religious or ceremonial rites, nor did he wait for a study of the choice at hand. He simply listened to his inner voice and responded with confidence in Its distinct directive. It is so for me when I reach a point where I can tell that I have read all that I have need of reading, I have discussed all that is required to clarify my thinking, and I need only to allow that inner Resource to sift through all of the materials installed in my mental, emotional and spiritual archives to present the message for that present moment in my life… to “
Be still and know…” Herein lies the wonder of BEING. That is the being of ME. The ME that answers for and accepts the responsibility for responding to Life’s prompts. The ME that is eternal.

IMAGE through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

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