Wednesday, January 12, 2011

wind in the Willow

Pressing “submit” on my blog page the other night in a stupor of creativity mixed with influenza, I collapsed into bed, a deep, deep sleep, and awoke clear-headed for the first time in days. As if the return to scribbled words somehow clarified my dilemma, I wandered the back-roads of my job with barely a cough and my soul fully content.

Of course, I know my problems and concerns were not miraculously cured. My bank account is not magically replenished. Still, my spirit could better cope with the challenges lying before me as if I had drunk a concoction that could alleviate my circumstances as easily as my physical symptoms.

The belief that physical ailments, even disease, are not an act of bad luck but a manifestation of inner turmoil makes no sniffle light and easy. I knew my energy was bad this week because of my discouragement over the long, slow process of cleaning up the messes in my past. Some days, it feels like the mistakes made in the last twenty years was my one, best effort and the whole is just too deep to climb out of in this short lifetime.

Next one I will do better, no matter how much I want to do better now.

Words scribbled, a song sung and thoughts polished provide a new perspective on the world. Balance, for the moment, is reached and after ten days of suffering, my symptoms recede.

Unfortunately, the day was not constructive in a measurable way. I slogged the many miles for only two appointments and the due diligence of knocking on the doors of those who had never answered my phone calls was an effort of turns, missed turns and reversals just to leave a card on the door to prove I was there.

The first man had five years left before he could retire from the National Guard. Twice, he has served in Afghanistan and will return next year. His first-hand experience was a rare glimpse beyond the news reports we glance over in the middle of our busy lives. He could provide real insight on the challenges our country has agreed to accept.

It is a confusing tale, according to him, a clash of cultures with entirely different perspectives and motivations. He actually met villagers who were surprised to meet an American, thinking the Soviets were still in control of the main road in the valleys. In a half hour, I learned a great deal before we ever said a word about insurance.

The second man has turned into a friend. Now and then, the energy between two people clicks so naturally, no matter their different backgrounds, and the banter can be immediately as relaxed and open as if they have known each other forever.

This was our third visit and only the first was about insurance and the deal I had for him, a conversation that lasted nearly three hours as we kept getting side-tracked by his stories or mine. The second was taking a look at my Redster which had nearly suffocated me on the way with a serious exhaust problem. This time, he had to unexpectedly meet up with his wife, but we still talked forty-five minutes about the car repair, the economy and the love in each other’s lives, more time than it would have taken to actually seal the deal.

One has to step back on a day like this and ignore the lack of dollars not adding up to the hours spent in pursuit. Clearly, more was going on. Along those back roads, my mind wandered over these many years and looked forward to the different scenarios that could be yet to come.

There was gas in my car, food in my belly. The scenery was outstanding and the snow white brilliant. "The sky was yellow and the sun was blue..."

My children are all healthy and wise at least, if not wealthy. Even if I am living modestly off the support of my father, I am not idle, but working hard to shift the mantle onto my own square shoulders so that I can care and give in the ways that I want.

On my travels, I step into homes so much draftier and more humble than my own. As I contemplate my surgery impending, I meet people who will never heal from wounds or whose lives will be tragically cut short by disease. An incorrigible optimist, I can never hold long to feeling sorrier for myself than for others I see around me who cheerfully suffer their own worse misfortunes and are still sympathetic to mine.

There are lessons in life that seem too tough to bear, yet bear them we must, holding our heads high and extending our reach to others we think are half as lucky as we. I witness stories far worse than mine which I now quietly stuff back down in my throat like so much dirty laundry that no one needs to hear. Some of us have so much, but still so many more work very hard to maintain life with so much less.

I am impressed by the spirit of people who do not have much, but recognize they do have each other and are grateful for it. Too often, we grow weary with our lives and, seeing the fortune of others, wish we could be on their path. Instead of disappointment with lack, how much better we feel when we pause to appreciate just how much we really have.

Over all those many miles yesterday, my mind floated among these droplets of thought and finally at home, the endless episodes of “24” and other escapist dramas that I have been watching lately seemed just so much a waste of time. In the silence, unable to sit still, I took pen in hand and scribbled these many words. For better or worse, I put ink to my thoughts and feel accomplished now, successful in a way money cannot buy.

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1 comment:

Donna Jacobs said...

Kip, after reading your posts, I have been thinking of my own dilemnas ongoing in my life. And although they are quite different, we all struggle with some source of insecurity and yet we seem to pull up enough strength to get through. As far as someone loving you and accepting you in the situation you are in now......well all I have to say is that never settle less than unconditional love. And believe me it does exist, just hard to find. I myself search for the freedom to share love with another man. But I must be content with what I know is true and what is before me.

There is something inside of me waiting........I am traveling somewhere where the music is catching up to myheartbeat. Pounding in my ears, pounding out the existing sounds around me. I have been dreaming, but not remembering my dreams. Perhaps it is not time to know yet what is in store for me. And perhaps for you as well? Always remember what a wonderful person you are, and what you have given to others. Whether it be your music, or your own soul. By the way, I also feel like crap, since I am not able to get a flu shot......Still got it! Take the time to heal, and if you would ever just want to "hang out" and talk. Grab a coffee or whatever, would be great. Don't be too shy, I don't bite anymore! LOL Donna