You can put a Maserati emblem on a Ford, but you're still stuck with a Ford.
Facing a terrible, seemingly insurmountable ordeal? This too can be a great blessing.
I’m always on the look out for writing topics. That’s why the parenthetical title of this blog is, All Who Wander Are Not Lost. In my “wandering” I’m always looking for things of this world and connections to the internal or spiritual. Often those revelations serendipitously appear like an ice cube down the back on a hot August day - very startling yet amazingly refreshing. Most of the time, they’re subtle and shy, slow to develop and emerge. I had two ideas brewing for this week’s post. One was on Sabbath and the other focused on my dog, Winston. However, what I’m about to share is the proverbial ice cube on the spine.
I'm part of a speaking cluster meeting every month since January. At gatherings, a guest presents techniques to improve our public pitches. Then, after lunch - today we were allocated a mere 13 minutes - we circle up listening to just a few in the group for 5-minute rotations. Today started off with a curve ball. Instead of 5 minutes and prep time, we’d have a minute-and-a-half to tell a story from our life, extemporaneously.
A good friend went first and did wonderfully relaying a story about his wife and kids. Next, Andrew went and spoke about The Boston Red somebodies or other. It was good, but not New York Yankee good. Somewhere in the pit of my soul, I knew I was next and, sure enough, Dave the Moderator, came through. And of all the things I could’ve talked about, I chose a rather heavy topic.
About two years ago, actually it was August 4, 2015, my wife and I walked, hand-in-hand, out of the hospital towards our car, in complete silence. I don’t remember much other than beelining to the vehicle. I opened her door - in silence. Inserting the key into the ignition, I started the engine and we drove out of the parking lot - in silence. We weren’t too far down the road when I spoke to Kris with a raspy voice. “Well, I guess if, ‘we can be pregnant,' then ‘we can have cancer.’” Silence...
What if we've been conditioned, even encouraged, to handle big problems with more emotion and intensity than we should? What if, we approached them with the same matter-of-factness as we do when the toothpaste runs out?
I just received a new shipment from my favorite caffeine dealer, Birch Coffee in NYC. I wanted to try their Brazilian roast, so breaking out my Chemex, scale, and kettle, I brewed a batch. I’d gotten up early this morning, so I had extra time to take time. With the warm weather, I strolled out to our patio with coffee in hand, sipping carefully the delightful flavor I’ve come to expect from Birch Coffee. Savoring both the cloudless sky and a delightful breeze rustling the edges of the plants surrounding the patio, it was a perfect morning to enjoy café fresca! But, as in most situations when you’re vacationing in your mind but living in reality, it was time to shuffle off to work.
I’ve been making my way through an insightful book called, Creativity Inc. It’s the story of Pixar by one of its founders, Ed Catmull, full of anecdotal lessons on life and leadership. Being both a fan of Pixar and healthy leading, it’s been a great read. The other night I finished the chapter on change where Ed drills down into the depths of our fears surrounding change. One thing catching my attention was his differentiation on handling small and large problems; he says there isn’t any! Running out of toothpaste isn’t confronted any differently than a crashed computer hard drive storing years of work - but we’ve been conditioned to think there is and so for one we are calm and the other we fuss...
Do we leave positive imprints on others that will live on after us? For thoughtful contemplation. Are we serving as powerful examples? Or, do we just use up resources for our pleasure?
There’s a learned art of sympathy and compassion that must be utilized for moments when people flip between emotional turmoil and horrific cognition.
Life is trying. At times disastrous. When we walk close to God, He promises that He will restore what the locusts have eaten. The promise is fulfilled in unique and sometimes intangible ways, but God keeps His promise - if we're open to it.
America has gone wild, it’s out of control! It’s shameful! Disgusting! Have you had enough yet?
For a time, you must endure this hardship. Fight the good fight. Win this race! For there is life yet to come to the valley of your dry bones!
I don't venture into the political or controversial realms in my writings. I intentionally chose a different tack several years ago and I've stuck to it. But I feel something deep and very personal in this.
I would’ve done anything for her; I would’ve traded my life for hers. I valued her beyond anyone else apart from my wife. But I was utterly helpless. There was absolutely zero I could do to change her condition.