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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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“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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

Dispatch To The Guys From The Past …

Dispatch to the guys from the past …

Just yesterday morning, before 6, I watched the colors of the pre-sunset coming together.  Good colors, penetrating my busied soul.  At the present hour, we have snow flying in.  Maybe three, four, inches.  fireplace  There is a fire in the fireplace; I guess that is why they call it a fireplace; I hope the chill in my body will fade.  One of the dogs is out like a light, on the couch.  
dog-sleeping  
We recently moved.  When I consider this dispatch to the  past, I know that most of us have moved, several times.  Some of us more than others.  I always was a runner, then.  There is less running now, in my present.  The paradox is
obvious.  In this dispatch, I consider the past: memories, friends, challenges, disappointments, great blessings.  Yet none of you are there, in the past.  We’ve all moved on.  And, for the most part, we are all thankful for that.  I miss you all. One day, we will all catch up.

Brothers, Sisters, Mothers, Fathers

On the other side of the trees, it gets quiet after the kids have turned in for the night.  I’ve had time to think about family; my immediate family and my family of origin.

“I don’t believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.

Maya Angelou

“There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” 

"Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice.  It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."- William Jennings Bryan   Click here for resources to improve your Intentionality…
“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a choice.  It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be acieved.”   William Jennings Bryan

In our going, from here to there, we come out on the other side of difficult (putting it mildly?) relationships, and step into healthy relationships.  Seasons of relational isolation may still come, that wrap around us like a heavy blanket; causing me to remember.  Overshadowed by two older brothers, tolerated and managed by my parents, I was (am?) the “Black Sheep”.  Over the years, there have been attempts to recapture those elusive years.  We cannot always go back to repair the gaps that leave us with longings for significance and community.

Finding Our Fathers: How a Man's Life Is Shaped by His Relationship with His FatherSamuel Osherson’s book, “Finding Our Fathers”, provided some healing in the midst of grieving the loss of my father.  Osherson  wrote (paraphrased): “Some sons go through their lives searching for love and acceptance from their fathers … perpetually elusive.  Men hope to find it in their work, relationships, or other areas … unable to find what they are looking for.”  We must get past the losses; we must move on; embrace our significance that is within us. 

Healing happens because of safe, powerful, beautiful, relationships: new brothers, new sisters, older individuals who, for a season, pour into my weathered soul.  There is pain and betrayal; there are unsafe people.  Thus, the risks we take.  We are seasoned by both the good and the bad.  Foggy mornings and moonless, starless, nights still happen, where relational isolation howls.  We endure, with strength and faith; the fog will lift; the nights will not always be so dark.  Authentic brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, play a profound role in our voyage.  

 

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From the movie, “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”

 

 

 

 

It Is Spring, It Is Not, It Is Good

This post was to go out a couple of weeks ago.  Bummer.

I thought I would hold off before I stood up on a chair and belt out a song and a yawp of joy … Spring has been elusive, winter waiting until our guard was down, believing that Spring was bully here … and then rushing in like fierce snow birds, snow bunnies, snow squirrels.  Now, I think that the snow is over, for the year.  True, anything can happen.  Snow in June?? Not yet.  The injustice, here, is that Spring has almost flown the coop; slipped out the back, Jack; gone for the year … We may have a little  Spring left.   Those seasons, they keep changing. Such a simple statement, with profound implications.  Our seasons in our lives, they look different for all of us.   Me … I belief that I am in a season where I’m breaking through barriers of resistance.  It is one thing to decide that it is your / my season … to break through barriers; and an entirely different matter to do it.  This idea (you have already heard about)  that sometimes the places we are at in life, struggling with certain issues, difficulties, offer us something, like a “pay-off”, and because of that we choose to stay, to linger, in these places.  Those places might be in a desolate canyon with very few trees.  Or, anxiety is dominant, or we wear depression like a heavy wool topcoat.  And some might say that we struggle to move on, to move out, of those places … because we find some paradoxical comfort there.  Maybe it is “the known”, versus “the unknown”.  My final thought is this.  For us to break through the barriers of a difficult season: we need a blend of specific, trustworthy, wise, supportive, and sensitive  sojourners to walk with us; and we also need to embrace the reality that we must have some time to “sit in” a desert place of pain, to think through the process, the motives for wanting to leave what is familiar, and the implications of stepping into (again) the unknown.  Peace be with you, sojourning bloggers.  And, keep writing.

Our People, Our Pain

Bus station, 1990, Christmas week.  Dad is driving me to the bus station; return to Denver, after four days for Christmas in the deep South.  Me, the “Black Sheep” riding a bus for 24 hours to see Mom & Dad, brothers, their wives, their children.  The dining room table loaded with excellent food, everyone sat to eat and tell stories of reflection.   I had not fully earned the privilege of telling stories.  Yet, out of the family’s kindness, I was allowed to tell a story or two, in the spirit of being tolerated.  My stories were not told with such Southern finesse.  I often think of Bruce Hornsby’s lyrics, from “The Way It Is”:

“That’s just the way it is
Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
Ah, but don’t you believe them …”

Bruce Hornsby, “The Way It Is”

Our families, our people, not necessarily the same.  One can find betrayal and love in both, our families, our people.  One of “my people” is a guy … Stan (not his real name) I met in college; we worked non-glamorous, campus jobs.  Stan, in charge of the Custodial  crew, and I in charge of the Grounds crew.  That was 30 years ago.  We have stayed close since then; closer than a brother.  Stan was a groomsman at my wedding.  He brought me with him into the inner city of Denver to help, and to encourage, those who lived there.  There were a few times when I was in the hospital, he was there.  When our youngest was born, Stan came to the hospital.  Stan has seen me, known me, and helped me in my darkest of times.  Stan is an example of my people; not my family.  Stan has never  judged me; never excluded me; never made feel inferior.  My family?  My family has loved me, and encouraged me.  And yet, Stan is closer than a brother.  I ask myself, “Why would a post like this come around now?”  It isn’t Christmas.  This post is not about Christmas.  This post is connected to a fairly difficult winter, and not because of the winter conditions.  It has been a bleak, cold, winter in my soul.  At times, sunless.  I am so hungry for Spring.  And during this harsh winter, my friend … Stan … has been there, and here, for me and with me.  My people.

Hold On! It’s (Already) A Bumpy Ride!


http://quotesgram.com/bumpy-roads-of-life-quotes/

Many months ago, I wrote a post about a kiddo … an autistic boy, 11 at the time … charged with a felony, because he kicked a chair at school.  A police officer handcuffed Kayleb.  Two weeks later, Kayleb was told, when school let out, that he had to stay after school.  This young autistic boy became agitated, especially as the school police officer laid hands on Kayleb, and then handcuffed Kayleb (again).  This story has a good ending.  For over a year, it was a very, bumpy, ride.  I’ll come back to that ending.

https://cure.org/2013/04/update-landslide-in-kijabe-kenya/rough-road/

When was your last bumpy ride, fellow bloggers and epic adventurers? You are in the midst of one, now?  Yeah.  Me, too.  Writers write, one of the reasons is to RELEASE “it”: the ridiculousness of the chaos we are in; the frustration of being immensely frazzled; the heaviness in our hearts because we worn down, discouraged, wondering if we are going to get through this one …  And there are more battles beyond this one.

http://www.coloradoguy.com/chinaman-gulch/4wd-trail-photos.htm

Sunday, when we arrived back from the city, to the Other Side of the Trees, we had no water.  I tried all possible options for what the problem(s) were.  Nothing worked.  I found the 7 gallon blue water containers, and went to our neighbor who lives about 100 yards up the mountain.  Here it is Thursday night, and still no water.  But … we do have the “diagnosis”.  It’s not what we wanted, but, at least we know the problem.  We have to replace the well pump.  I think, the well is 75 feet deep, which is nothing compared to some folks.  Hopefully, he will be here tomorrow.  Water?  I don’t know, hopefully tomorrow, but most probably Saturday.  It’s really stressful to not have water.  The same day that Water Man came to diagnose our “up-creek-without-a-paddle-situation”, I had to go into the city to get my friend, Brake Man, to replace the brake pads.  Indeed … what a bumpy ride.

Now, back to Kayleb’s story.  Kayleb was going to be an 11-year old felon for getting agitated, and two weeks later resisting a police officer when the officer tried to restrain him.  About 150,000 people from all over the planet joined the fight, calling out for Kayleb’s justice, for all charges to be dropped.  I received an EMAIL  March 14th with the good news that Kayleb’s charges were finally dropped.  The boy is 13 now.  REALLY?  It took THAT LONG … to clear this up?  Indeed.  A very bumpy ride.