Water’s Rising

“Ground water” came to our basement, over the last couple of weeks from the rain. Clear Creek County Sheriff’s office called with recording, warning about flood waters.  They had two locations, for sandbags.  Blessings come with challenges, often … eh?   Example, our wet-vac.  Used it every day, sometimes three times within a day.   Clear Creek’s normal flow is 200 cubic feet per second. On Saturday, the ninth, it was up to 700 cubic feet per second.

photo (1)
Just down the road. The picnic table getting flooded!

Driving up the mountain, heading for the house, I felt compelled to pull over and get a picture of Clear Creek getting out of hand.  That picnic table is usually up on some dry ground.

Many stories, out there, would top mine about Nature’s power … clobbering us humans.  A couple of nights after our discovery that ground water was coming up through the basement floor, we were all doing our thing.  My wife and I were watching a movie and … CLICK … the power went out.  No lights, no electrical juice, no power to run the wet-vac.  So,  launching up one of those quick-prayers seemed like the only logical thing to do, for the power to be back in the morning.  

And, wow … the power was back on.  Then I turned on the old wet-vac, and continued my battle against the rising waters.  Couple of days after that the Honda Pilot we just bought was starting up and turning off and starting up and turning off without any assistance.  We never figured it out.  

About the same time, I received a voice mail that I am sure was a scam: …a recording saying that ” … if you don’t take care of this matter … then it will be reported to the authorities.”  Now, what “the matter” was, that needed to be resolved, was never communicated. Pretty wild.  

When the waters come, a choice is made about what we are going to do: sand bags? wet-vac?  sump pump? dig a trench?.  If the waters rise, then I will rise.  … I will rise to the challenge.   When melancholy comes,  I have the opportunity to push back. Sometimes I accept the melancholy as an old friend.  And, the melancholy does not define me.

So, there you have it.

 

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Piano Guys For You: 7 Cellos

Good Morning.  Piano Guys, again.  7 cellos.

7 guys, 7 different cellos, working in conjunction, producing something so beautiful.  Is this a metaphor, a reminder, of what community could look like? 

People taking time to connect, and hear each other, and speak words of life into the hearts and lives of each other, and to support each other, on some level.

Again, good morning.

How Did We Get Here? (Dialog Series)

How did we get here?

“We”?

depression, man sitting on floor thinking with copy space - stock photo
http://www.shutterstock.com/s/depression/search.html

(Pause) … Well, you are here, aren’t you?

No, no.  No-no-no-no-no-no.  You are where you are at, and I am where I am at.  And believe me:  I wouldn’t want to be where you are at.

How’s the view up there?  Up above guys like me who don’t have it together like you?

(Pause) What are you were asking me?  And, I’m kind of in a hurry, okay?  So, tell me what you need, and I will try to help.

I was asking  you … how we … “I” … arrived here, at this place.

“This place”?

Our relationship?  Fading.  I have become isolated.  My addictions, like work; like books; like fast food.  And, life – – – I do not enjoy life as much.  That’s a picture of what I am talking about.

Okay.  (Pause)  I have to get going, need to be somewhere.  Take care of yourself.

You asked me about “this place” I am in, I told you, and I thought we were going to talk about it.  But, you … are just leaving, now.

(Pause) I am sorry about your confusion.  I can’t help you.  I don’t do well with others’ shame.  I don’t do well with addictions.  Your isolation is something you have chosen; your relationships evaporating  didn’t suddenly happen.  It’s been in the works for a while.   And your enjoyment of life?  Not happening?  I don’t want to have anything to do … with that.  (Pause) On top of all that, you wouldn’t even hear what I have to say.

Why would I not want to hear what you have to say?

http://www.shutterstock.com/s/depression/search.html?page=1&inline=197995073

Because you are right where you want to be.  And if you are right were you want to be, why talk about how you arrived at this place?  If you wanted to change all that, you would.  But, there is no change.  

That’s harsh.

(Pause with some hesitation) Uhhhh, maybe.  

You’ve got me all wrong.

‘Doesn’t matter.  This is your party, not mine. 

END

*

The dialog, above, is like a metaphor, representing some of the relational pain / disappointment that happens … on some level … in the human soul.  Our hearts, our minds … bring about different dynamics of expectations (realistic and / or unrealistic), an arcane blend of intimacy (healthy and / or unhealthy, whether it be physical or emotional or both).  The relationship and dialog happening up above is somewhat of a composite derived from my years working as a psychotherapist with married folks.  Lastly, the nuances / verbal clues accentuate the factors / themes we deal with in our society, and our relationships:

  • “I don’t have the time to have this conversation …”
  • “Don’t blame me for you problems …”
  • “I don’t have any compassion for you, now …”

True, this is a rather cold exchange happening between two people.  My hope is that one can see their thankfulness for being able to transcend such unhappiness, such insensitivity.  We all need help, at different times, and in different ways.  Here is a truth that is disruptive to many, and this truth applies to the “composite” dialog at the beginning of this post:

Something good can come out of this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Remember, Eh? What Valentines is Made Up Of …

That woman,  there … with the long white dress, the cross sewn into the train … she has my heart, and it will always be that way.  Those on both sides of the aisle show a glow, reflecting the beauty of  this bride, an elegant one.  Her countenance has a fragrance that reminds me of the Don Juan Rose.

She and I both remember, and reflect on from time to time, the trip to the airport, a few days before Christmas of 1994.  I had met her in October.  We went out a few times in November.  And in December, we both needed to fly out of Denver … and somehow our flights went out on the same day (different planes, different destinations).  So I had a good friend drive us both to DIA.  We followed the creed of Christmas travelers: arrive early; thus, the pre-flight java before one of us flew south, and the other flew north.  Less than six months later, we had a wedding.

A safe place.  A commitment to live well with each other, and to love well with each other, and to look ahead, for the big things, with each other.  Life is  harsh, and we fight for each other.  And we when we don’t see eye to eye, we fight with honor, with respect.  We parent together.  We rest from the storms, and we heal from the wounds, our stories have redemption.  For my amazing wife, Happy Valentines Day, my love.  I have had a place in my heart for folks who are in marriages that aren’t working.  So difficult, as they don’t always know whether to stay or to go.  A million dollar question for some is “Can this marriage be healed?”  And in some cases, the only right answer is get out of the marriage.  All of this is so difficult.  I hope the best for all.  We all need peace; we all need hope; we all need to be safe; and we all need to be loved well.

T

“BE GOOD” … OK, With Or Without Authenticity?

“Who are you?  Who? Who?” from the band “The Who”.  By the way: who are you, and who am I?

This excellent piece, below, came from a site http://www.mileychile.com.

take me as i am quotes: Take Me As I Am Quotes ~ mileychile.com Daily Inspiration

Once I have established who I am, a question comes from within, at times:

“Am I good enough?”  If my level of “good” defines who I am, then I’m up-creek without a laptop, without coffee, and without a paddle. “Being good” can be truly ambiguous.

Am I good?  Or am I good?

Yes, No.

Houston, we have a problem

Things are not always as clear as they seem.  I can be “good” and still have some issues.  “Challenges”, “opportunities”, and mistakes can come up; and I can still be “good”.   The wheels may be falling off; the car may need a transmission; my friend may be ticked off at me … but I can still be good. 

Plenty of examples, but one of my favorites is with Apollo 13.   Image to the left is from the link http://ecrc.nl/houston-we-have-a-problem/

Jim Lovell: “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”
CAPCOM 1: “This is Houston. Say again, please.”
Jim Lovell: “Houston, we have a problem.”

Astronauts Swigert, Lovell and Haise were definitely going for it, which is what we do, right?  When “a problem” emerged, things were ugly.  But, the mission wasn’t just the responsibility of those three wild men.  Other men, in Houston, were for them. 

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-350/ch-13-1.html    A photo of the Gold Team in Mission Control     Authenticity, in the midst of our struggle to be “good”, means being willing to have mistakes.  Authenticity means having some good folks you can walk with through this jaded, conflicted, addicted world … friends who are for you. 

“Things are not as bad as they seem.  Things are far more serious than what they appear.” Anonymous

keep-calm-and-tell-houston-we-have-a-problemI believe the human mind, the human soul, the human condition, can drive one to be so preoccupied with “being good”, which connects with being accepted, that we communicate this: “Tell me what to do, and I’ll do it so I can ‘be good’ …” One issue with that approach to acceptance and identity, is that one’s inner peace may be contingent on someone else’s decision: “Are you good enough?  Are you performing the way I want you to perform?  Are you meeting MY needs?”

I actually believe that some individuals don’t care about inner peace.  For me, inner peace has great value.  If I have a problem, I will keep calm.  I will tell Houston that I have a problem.  I will deal with it.  And I can still be good in the process.


Story Series: An Extraordinary Conflict and a Profound Victory Part 1

Story Series: “An Extraordinary Conflict and a Profound Victory”

Notes: A great joy, storytelling, comes with a great privilege: to release my craft of storytelling in the midst of a fairly large group of willing listeners, two to three times each year.  After telling a fellow blogger, prior to the most recent storytelling session (12/1/13), that I would be telling one of my stories in front of a crowd,  I was fortunate to have this good man / blogger express his interest.  He suggested that I bring the story to the blog realm.  Here are some “safety tips”, if you choose to read An Extraordinary Conflict and a Profound Victory”:  

      • Time and setting: 1779; a young America is at war with England.
      • American Patriots are severely outnumbered and out-trained.
      • This story is not about the United Kingdom being “The Bad Guys”.
      • This story is about the reality that we all have battles to fight.  
      • Our battles are interlinked with our own individual, unique stories.
      • Our battles are harsh, and ugly, and we will get nicked, wounded, clobbered, dazed, knocked down, discouraged, and at times we will forget what is it we are fighting for.
      • We are not fighting alone; we need vision, hope and courage; we do not give up; we need to know we are fighting our battles for something worth fighting for; and this will help us see why we do not give up, why we  keep fighting.

George Washington Crossing the Potomac / http://www.PasteMagazine

The Story: An Extraordinary Conflict and a Profound Victory Part 1

The year is 1779.  We are at war with England.  We are patriots.  We are Americans.  We are a young country, and therefore, we are a young America.  We are thirteen colonies. And, in the eyes of England, out of the mouths of the British, we are fools and rebels.

Below: picture of King George III made possible from www.napoleon-empire.com.

Rebels?  Yes.  We are rebels. We rebel against tyranny, oppression, excessive taxation, and “The Quartering Act”.  Fancy wording, eh?  “The Quartering Act”: it means “Home Invasion”,  British soldiers living in our homes, against our will.  Rebels? Yes.  Fools?  No.  We are not fools.

Right: picture of George Washington, made possible  from sccoec.edublogs.org.

 The British Monarchy and King George III’s perspective goes something like this:
      • “I don’t care if you live in America, Russia, Jamaica, or on Mars.  It makes no difference.  The British Monarchy and I, own you … the Patriots.
      • We will tax you heavily, you will pay dearly.
      • We will take what we want, when we want.
      • You will fear us because we are so powerful, you will be thankful to be servants of the British Monarchy.
      • You will LIKE it, you will not complain.  You will be silent, say nothing.
      • This is the way it is, this is the way it will always be.”

The Patriots’ perspective is, as you might imagine, quite different from that of King George III’s.  Picture yourself sitting with King George III.  The discussion might go something like this:

  • “Your Majesty … Let me stop there and confess my confusion.  This wordmajesty” means dignity, and grandeur, supreme greatness.  And then, there is you: a “majesty“; a little man, a large amount of greed, and an addict’s desire for control and respect; but you will not give freedom, and you will not give respect.
  • Anyway, Georgie, that’s not why I came.  There has been a misunderstanding.  You and your people have expressed that we will LIKEyour oppression and tyranny and excessive taxation; that we will be thankful for our servitude to the British Monarchy; that we will not speak; that we will accept this as it is, and as it will always be.  
  • Here is the truth:  we do not like “it”, and never will.  We will not settle for this. We will not take this lying down.  George, we have made efforts to work this out with you and your people.  But it looks like you want a war.  If it is a war you want, it is a war you will get.   I’ll close with this, sir.  Read my lips, I know I do not speak very loud:

WE … ARE NOT … VICTIMS.

WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS.

In 1775, British troops marched into Lexington and Concord with two objectives:

        1. To seize the armory of the Patriots: their ammunition, artillery, and supplies;

        2. To capture two Patriot leaders, John Adams and John Hancock.

The British failed with both objectives, thanks to an American spy ring, successful in obtaining  invaluable intelligence data: the British plans to march into Lexington and Concord, and their objectives.  The Patriots moved their armory / supplies ahead of time to a safe place; and  the Patriots moved John Adams and John Hancock to locations where the British would never find them. 

Below:General. Gage, Commander of the British Army and Military Governor of Massachusetts, from www.landofthebrave.info.

File:Thomas Gage John Singleton Copley.jpegThere is a rumor . . .

that the intelligence data came from Mrs. Thomas Gage, the wife of the General Thomas Gage, Commander of the British Army and Military Governor of Massachusetts.

Mrs. Thomas Gage - John Singleton CopleyTrue, all sources indicate that this was never proven.  However, General Gage sent his wife away, back to England in 1775, shortly after the battles at Lexington and Concord.   
Mrs. Gage, wife of General Thomas Gage, from

April 19th of 1775.

British troops marched into Lexington and Concord.  A 500 man militia of Patriots were waiting, armed and very much pumped up.  The Patriots gave the British a run for their money: key word “run“.  They retreated all the way back to Boston.  These two battles, Lexington and Concord, marked the beginning of the American Revolutionary War.  It was a long, and ugly, war.  The Patriots did not win every battle.  But they did win the war.  

This is a good perspective: we will lose some battles; but we will win the war. We are called to fight with honor, for what is good.  We are called out to live with passion and vision, even when the cards are stacked against us.  We have an opportunity to leave behind us a powerful legacy.

This is the end of Part 1