What Do We Know?

It’s been a good-tough week.  From a weathered paperback, essays on spirituality and encouragement, I read in the back, a page I had forgotten about: a few thoughts, a few dates.  “October 3rd 1993.  Arrived in Antarctica” … 

Image result for images C-130 with skis
A cargo plane with “big skis”, like the ones our cargo jet used … https://aviation.stackexchange.com/q/26960
Image result for Images Antarctica map
https://www.amazon.com/Teacher-Created-Resources-Antarctica-Chart/dp/B00207H856

 

Image result for Images map New Zealand South Island
Map of New Zealand, South Island. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:South_island_map.png

We came on an Air Force cargo jet … equipped with massive skis. (The picture shows a cargo plane with “big skis”, like the ones our cargo jet used).   October 3rd of ’93 was the beginning of a five-month season of work for the National Science Foundation.  My residence at Willy Field on Ross Ice Shelf, the ice runway for incoming / outgoing planes, was where I cooked breakfast for scientists, US Navy personnel, and support staff (about 8,000 eggs by the time I left).   “February 22nd of 1994, last day on the ice.”   On that day, I had jumped on a Navy C-130, with those uncomfortable nylon mesh-strap seats, and left Antarctica.   Nine hours later, we touched down at a New Zealand Air Force base, Christchurch, New Zealand.  For the first time in five months I experienced rain, and nights, and seeing children, older people, dogs, green grass, restaurants, natural fragrances in the air, colors.  “March 8th 1994, left New Zealand for Denver” … reluctantly.  “March 22nd 1994, left Denver for the South, to see my parents for a bit.”  So, it just worked out that way, one month, after my last day on “the Ice” (February 22nd), I flew out of Denver March 22nd, to a small place in the South to spend a week with my parents.  October of 1994, I met my wife to be.”

A year after I got off “the Ice”, February 1995, I proposed to my future bride.  “June of 1995, Married a princess.”  After all this reflection, I am aware of my presence in the “here-and-now” … the present … today, in fact.  And I found my self thinking of two pieces in life we deal with:  1) reflection on our stories / journeys; and 2) where we are at, right now.  In my time of working with people, many of whom struggle with these two pieces, I have asked the question, “What do we know to be true?”.  I’m throwing that out to any who are visiting the Other Side of the Trees, perusing this post.  I believe the answers to “What do we know to be true?” are quite different.  Here is what I have come up with.

Image result for Images Antarctica
Adele (pronounced uh-deli) penguins. https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/Antarctica

My story is not yet finished.

My story is still being written.

My story (specific elements) needs to be told (to the right people, at the right time, in the right context).

I need to hear the stories of others.

I have the capacity to love; the choice to love well; and I face the reality that I do not always love well.

I have journeys ahead; or, shall I say … the journey continues.

I need good, encouraging, safe, relationships in my life.

I have hope … but, similar to love, I do not always hope “well”.

I have something to offer; and I have a great amount to learn.

I need vision; I need goals; I need enthusiasm; I need wisdom – – – not just intelligence.

And, lastly for today, I am here.

Image result for images I am here

Well, enough said, for now.  I always write more that I should, more than I intended.  I hope this finds you all experiencing peace, joy, and good health.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Grieving Over, Yet?

I woke up this morning, a good place to start.  In my goings, my comings, my interactions, I am asked that profound question that has been lurking close by, since the dinosaurs: “How are you doing today?”

Me: “How ‘you doin’?”

Others: “I’m doin’ good.  How you doin’?”  (Just like the commercial, with a New York accent – “How You Doin’?  I’m Doin’ Good.  How You Doin’?”)

Me: “Well, I woke up, this morning. That suggested that it was going to be a good day.”

I have a theory: most people know, that on some level, it is good to wake up.  Not everyone wakes up.  This morning, when sleep slipped away, I thought of my grieving.  Anyone who has (miraculously) read any of my posts might know that my dad finished up his race (a metaphor for his life), last year, 2016, June.  The grieving process has, seemingly,not been, successful.  Some say that this kind of loss involves a lengthy process, longer than a year and four months.  And yet, I’ve been on the other side of the forest from joy, from victory, from strength, from my dreams … Get the picture? The weariness of grief shows up in more ways than one: the darkness, the sadness, lack of motivation, the loss of dreams.  Evenings, the fatigue may hit like a freight train.  I don’t think this is as simple as I would like it to be.  Is your grieving over?  To think, that there is more life, a different life, just over the horizon.  That is a good thought.  Some of you have already reached that point.  Don’t stop: I’m right behind you.

Sunset Other Side of the Trees

 

 

 

“Prodito” In The House, Hope Rolls On

Prodito in the house !

Prodito (Latin):

The breaking or violation of a presumptive social contract, trust, or confidence that produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship among individuals, between organizations or between individuals and organizations.
pixabay.com/en/mountains-trees-mist-nature-1030915/

Standing up on a rock cropping in the mountains … 9 to 10 thousand feet elevation … watching a mass of evergreens  when the wind comes toward you is a beautiful image.  You can see the wind move in the distance, the trees nodding their crowns toward you, closer, closer, closer, and the force glides past you, over you, through your hair.  And then, it is gone.  Some friends are like that.  A “friend” is not always a friend.  It is one thing, someone speaks  something difficult to hear, with some measure of truth.  It is another thing to, as in “prodito” … break / violate a social contract / trust / confidence … that brings about moral / psychological conflict within a relationship.

Image result for images of friends betrayal
quotespie.com/quotes/betrayal

My family and I went out on a limb to help someone … a friend … a few months ago.  Over a period of about ninety days, we bought them meals, provided transportation with the bigger goal in mind of helping them get on their feet.  We helped them with expenses.  We were like family.  Then, things started to “go south”, gaining momentum.  I talked to the man, drew a clear boundary, with a calm voice, tactful words, and clarity.  Result?  He went berserk.  I read a number of pieces about betrayal; spent a few hours pondering the reality and concept of betrayal; processed the impact this had on me, along with my family.  I am actually curious if any of my fellow bloggers have identified some of these “categories”, themes, thoughts and emotions.

  • I wrestle with anger and sorrow.  Sorrow, redemptive, healing; anger, unreliable, reckless, selfish, leaves me in a bad place.
  • The quotes I have perused, self-pity emerges as a common theme.  Self-pity showed itself, a distraction from the better path to healing.
  • Betrayal is experienced by everyone, on some level; some experience betrayal on a far more intense, traumatic, level (than others).
  • Am surprised that this could happen to me?  Yes.  No.  Betrayal happens, coexisting with formidable pain
  • Lastly (for this post), I see a profound opportunity in compassion and forgiveness, for this man.  Could it be that a great deal of pain drives this man to “choose” this destructive style of relating?

I know there is more to all of this.  I am interested to know how others have handled betrayal, and what their experience is.  I know that I can learn from this, regardless of my own pain.  I also know that prodito was in the house for a short while.  But no more.  And in the same house, which is our home, hope rolls on.

 

 

 

 

An Image of Hope

Hope, from an image.  Not just an image, but a painting.  Not just a painting, but a Rembrandt; Rembrandt’s The Return of the Prodigal Son.

The Return of the Prodigal Son https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt

Rembrandt’s painting connects with a biblical passage, Luke 12.  Here is my “Readers Digest” version, a short paraphrase that does not do the full story justice.  So, accept my apology.  A younger brother, working with his father and older brother in the field, complained to his father about the hard work, the boredom.  He wanted to leave with all of his inheritance immediately.  The father agreed, with great consternation.  The younger brother left on his adventure, and it was not long before he blew his inheritance on drink and revelry.  Hungry because he had no food, no money.  He got a job at a pig farm, and saw that the pigs were getting fed better than he was.  The younger brother then decided to go back home, humble himself before his father (he was truly humbled, broken, devastated) and apologize; he would take a job as a hired hand.  At least he would not go hungry.

The Prodigal Son, welcomed by the father http://www.rembrandtpainting.net

 When the prodigal son came into view from where his father stood, the father ran to his son with unfathomable gratitude that his lost son was back.    He instructed his servants to put together a feast.  The (above) painting shows the younger son, the prodigal, in his ragged clothes, humbling himself before his father, expressing his sorrow for being a fool, and leaving home.  The older son’s jealousy and anger with his younger brother.  The older brother stands to the right in the painting, looking on, with jealous and angry with his younger brother.

Rembrandt painted The Return of the Prodigal Son about two years before his death, suggesting that Rembrandt identified with the Prodigal.  Rembrandt died penniless, before his fame could catch up with him.

Other paintings resonate with the theme of The Return of the Prodigal Son, such as “Merry Company” by Gerrit van Honthorst (1623), showing the Prodigal squandering his inheritance.

Image result for rembrandt paintings the prodigal son
“Merry Company” Gerrit van Honthorst 1623

 

I refer to hope, in this post, connected to Rembrandt’s painting, simply because the Prodigal found love, acceptance, and a place to belong.

Lastly, I cherish The Return of the Prodigal Son because I am a prodigal.  The difference is that I never really returned home.  I just made visits.  Yet, my father always loved me; always accepted me; always welcomed me.

All of this comes with strange timing.  Father’s day is coming up, and I consider that I could have been a better father for my son; as my father was to me.  My father is 93, and he recently experienced a fairly serious turn for the worst in the last 48 hours.  My brothers and I are hoping for the best.  Hope is what we have.  Hope emerges from different places, different people, different stories.

 

Awaken, O Sleeper

quotesgram.com

Summer is coming.  There will be camping this year.  Last year … too much happening … couldn’t pull the pieces of a plan together.  This year, we’re going to make it happen.   The kids take these little white things, stick them on thin sapling-like-sticks, and hold these little white things over the campfire. Ideally, they won’t catch fire, but instead take on a golden brown color.  The kids either eat them as is, or  put them on a graham cracker, add a square piece of chocolate, and top it off with another graham cracker.  Thus, a sandwich-like creation.

Tumbler.com

However, Spring has to come first.  Winter snow has been slowly diminishing.  I’m seeing more and more of the brown earth; less and less of the snow that has covered the ground; and the Spring runoff, both powerful and beautiful, is probably already happening.  I just haven’t made it up high enough to see it. I am being sprung by the Spring, as these processes are happening: the process of writing; and the process of my emergence from winter sluggishness.  My passions, dulled by the winter.  I am in desperate need of  the Spring, water flowing, color, warmth, and the pull of the wilderness.  I want to recapture my vision and my passion.  And I hope for the same for everyone.  Awaken, O Sleeper.

 

The Soul Is Restless

http://quotesgram.com/restless-quotes/

Image result for Images quotes restless

Nights, sometimes endless …Inside, a burning fever, a fever of fearing the future, but longing for more … a fever summoning me from the slumber I cherish. I feel like there is something wrong.    This is not where I am supposed to be.  This is not the way life is supposed to be, a paradox, accentuated by that quote: “The hardest place to be, is right where you’re at.”

It takes an effort to go into the place, metaphorically a small storage shed, where some thoughts might need to be tweaked or discarded; where emotions need to be checked; where self-pity needs to be conquered, left on the battlefield for the wild animals to feast on …    And a question that resurrects me from my restless soul: “What do I know to be true?”  I know that I am a good man, that I do have what it takes.  I know that I do have hope, passion … That they are not gone.  They just to be tapped  and released.  There is a process.  And it is part of my calling to be faithful to the process, and there is some mystery in the process.  That’s okay.  And a restless soul is not always a bad thing.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/291256300875681301/

We Are Moving, Hold On To Your Hats

http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/golf/lefty-doffs-his-cap-to-rory-mcilroy-s-recent-run-1.1902812
http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/golf/lefty-doffs-his-cap-to-rory-mcilroy-s-recent-run-1.1902812

My understanding is that … everyone … crossed over the turbulent, rapid-ridden river, into the new wilderness, 2016.  So, no no one needs to be left behind, although at there are times when we may feel that way.  Once again, that familiar piece of wisdom comes up, “You cannot always trust your feelings.”  So, let’s move.  And hold on to your hats.

http://www.workflowmax.com/blog/hold-on-to-your-hats-the-new-workflowmax-practice-manager-ui-will-be-arriving-mid-june-2014
http://www.workflowmax.com/blog/hold-on-to-your-hats-the-new-workflowmax-practice-manager-ui-will-be-arriving-mid-june-2014

The pain of countless tragedies, in 2015, is is a given … we shall not debate that truth.  Nor, shall we camp on those countless tragedies.  A big difference, between remembering, redemptively remembering … and giving over our power to the losses.  In one sense, we can say,”We have no choice.  We must move forward into the hope.”  In another sense, it is good to acknowledge  reality, especially in order for us to move on with intentionality: “Some may choose not to move forward.”  The choice is the reality.  Move? Or stay?

http://www.tvguide.com/news/indiana-jones-movie-sequel-confirmed/
http://www.tvguide.com/news/indiana-jones-movie-sequel-confirmed/

Walk with me, and I will walk with you, as we move forward … into the hope and the expectation that there are good things ahead, into the knowledge that we do have what it takes, into the light.  Winston said something like this: “This could be our finest hour.”  And, do something else with me: hold on to your hat.