Tuesday, February 23, 2010

God says, "My name is I Am."
Live in the present
Observe the present
With all senses
Experience the present
With all senses
I hear tv
I am aware of lights and screen
I touch the smooth surface of keys,
Pressure of cushion beneath me
I smell nothing
I taste nothing
I cannot be in the past
I cannot continue to relive the past
I must live in the Now
But the past is a part of that
And I cannot escape.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Summer in the Sixties

I think my cousin Danny must have been driving that old beat up truck
Helen and I sat on the black, sun-faded roof of the cab
We bounced through the hayfield
While the older boys loaded bales of hay into the bed of the pickup
The sun beat down on us.
The thing I remember most about that day is how hot it was.
The surface of the truck burned our bare skin.
Dust motes sparkled in the air.
We were kids having a summer adventure on the farm that neighbored Uncle Dan's.
Decorum didn't matter; there were no rules to follow.

Later we would have a swim in the creek that ran along the back of Uncle Dan's farm
Floating in giant black inner tubes pulled from tractor tires, we went with the gentle current.
That creek is a faraway place now;
It has disappeared in the distance of the many years that have passed.
It was a time of magic;
I milked a cow,
Played in the hayloft,
Learned to make butter from fresh cow's milk.
Never thought it strange that Uncle Dan's place had a two-seater outhouse.

I loved my cousins, Danny and Helen, Diane and Barbie, and "little" Steve because he was younger than my brother "big" Steve.

It's all a comfortable memory, lost in a summer's haze.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Book Reports

I have finished two books this week. The first, for the Pastor's Book Club at church, is The Help. It is a coming to awareness look at the earliest days of the Civil Rights movement, weaving the stories of three "colored" maids, working for white families, with events in the early sixties. The march on Washington, which hasn't happened yet in the course of the story, is a reference point. Thought-provoking for me; this book gave me a perspective on times that I lived through; times that I was barely aware of, in the shelter of my little white family.

The other book, for another Book Club, was The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness. This collection of folk tales also addresses the life of Joel Ben Izzy, the author and narrator. A common theme is silence. Indeed, ben Izzy loses his voice after a bout with throat cancer, and lives in a virtual silence which is enriched by the stories he tells. I find a correlation with my own search for meaning as a newly retired person. Another book I am reading is called The Purpose Driven Life, this book discusses the impossibility of understanding for myself what my purpose is and why I was created. It instructs me, instead, to turn to God to learn what the Creator has in mind for me. I think, like Joel ben Izzy, I must accept the silences in my life and see them as living, as part of the story that is me.