Dreams Don’t Always Come True

 

Disney and Nike have propagated such a lie to this generation. I’m all for encouraging kids, even adults, to pursue their dreams. I pursued mine and got my degree at 39. But, I hate the way kids are pumped up and I wonder what happens when they are let down? How do they deal with the broken promises?

 

Whosoever

 

They were told all their lives

If you dream it you can do it

Just do it

Now walk past the guy with his plastic bag

filled with all his worldly belongings

Tell him

Just do it

 

Every other nine year old boy says

I want to be in the NBA

Or NFL

I got a trophy

I got a shelf of trophies

I wonder where that grown boy

Under the overpass

Keeps his trophies

 

She was told

You can be whatever you want to be

Left college to marry her sweetheart

Who didn’t turn out so sweet

Now she lives in the shelter with her three kids

Ask her

Is this what you wanted to be?

Just do it

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Rome and the USA

St Augustine caravaggio

Caravaggio 1600 “Saint Augustine”

 

I am so ignorant of history, but in reading The City of God by St. Augustine, the comparison of the Untied States to Rome sometimes just jumps out at me. For instance:

“At that time, it was their (Rome) greatest ambition to die bravely or live free; but when liberty was obtained, so great a desire of glory took possession of them, that liberty alone was not enough unless domination also should be sought”

and this:

“I do not think that is was by arms that our ancestors made the republic (Rome) great from being small…But it was other things than those that made them great, and we have none of them: industry at home, just government without, a mind free in deliberation, addicted neither to crime nor lust. Instead of these, we have luxury and avarice, …; we laud riches, we follow laziness; there is no difference made between the good and the bad. And no wonder, when every individual consults only for his own good, when you are the slaves of pleasure at home, and in public affairs, of money and favor, no wonder that an onslaught is made upon the unprotected republic.” Cato, as quoted by St. Augustine

more from Cato:

“… the only time at which there existed a just and modern administration was after the banishment of the kings…afterwards the fathers oppressed the people as slaves, flogged them as the kings had done, drove them from their land…”

Kinda puts a different spin on “Make America Great Again” doesn’t it?

That’s Love

clipart panda

by clipart-panda

That’s Love

Laughing at her son’s jokes
when they aren’t really funny
and listening to his long, detailed telling
of an episode of Justice League
That’s love

Driving thirty minutes out of his way
to deliver
his wife’s forgotten cell phone
so she wouldn’t worry
That’s love

Running to the kitchen for ice
when your big brother gets hit by a ball
even though he just pinched you
an hour ago
That’s love

Buying a portable wheelchair for his wife
as a surprise
so they could visit the zoo and stroll the mall
even though he’s not a mall person
That’s love

4-25-17

You can read a companion poem, What Is Love? HERE.

Life and Death

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“We all come into existence as a single cell, smaller than a speck of dust. Much smaller. Divide. Multiply. Add and subtract. Matter changes hands, atoms flow in and out, molecules pivot, proteins stitch together, mitochondria send out their oxidative dictates; we begin as  microscopic swarm, the lungs the brain the heart. Forty weeks later, six trillion cells get crushed in the vise of our mother’s birth canal and we howl. Then the world starts in on us.”  -from All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

 

I love this description of the beginning of life. Job knew all about life and death. Oh to be like Job; to learn how to accept when the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Here’s what he had to say: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” – Job 1:21

I realize that I sometimes take the easy way out by quoting others, but sometimes someone else’s words are just a perfect fit for my needs.  Even when it’s a fictional character speaking, it was written by a person who more than likely had a similar experience.

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“We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like “if.”

But we are always optimists when it comes to time: we think there will be time to do things with other people. And time to say things to them.

We fear it (death), yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.” – from A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

 
For the past few years I watched as my Mom lost several lifelong friends, which is bound to happen when you hit 80. But, it still doesn’t make it easier. In fact, it probably makes you think about death a little too much. Even though I saw this happening, I didn’t see it coming with Mom. And now, like Ove, I thought there would be more time. There were so many stories I didn’t hear, so many questions I didn’t ask, so much I didn’t say.

Soapbox #1

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Pic via Mark Tinson Music

 

Definition:

soap·box
ˈsōpˌbäks/
noun
noun: soap-box
  • a box or crate used as a makeshift stand by a public speaker
  • a thing that provides an opportunity for someone to air their views publicly.

I suppose, in a way, my whole blog is my soapbox. Today I will address  a racism that still seems to be overlooked by most, and that is the treatment of the Naive Americans in our country. I was taken aback when I read this about L. Frank Baum, the author made famous for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

 

Frank Baum called for total extermination of the Indians.

 

“Why not annihilation? Their glory has fled, their spirit broken, their manhood effaced; better that they die than live the miserable wretches that they are.” – Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, December 20, 1890

I first read this in Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser. Then I fired up my google skills to double check the information. 

In another editorial he said,

 

“The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extirmination [sic] of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth. In this lies safety for our settlers and the soldiers who are under incompetent commands. Otherwise, we may expect future years to be as full of trouble with the redskins as those have been in the past.

An eastern contemporary, with a grain of wisdom in its wit, says that “when the whites win a fight, it is a victory, and when the Indians win it, it is a massacre.”  – Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, January 3, 1891

In reading further, I found that in 2006, two descendants of Baum apologized to the Sioux nation for any hurt that their ancestor had caused. Well, that was a start.

The mistreatment of minorities in our country is a reproach to the American name.  To my shame I know so little of our history in relation to the Indians. But, I’m learning.

 

Grief

momdadweddingwedding

Sometimes when you are grieving it helps to talk to someone. But, sometimes it helps to just lose yourself in a book (or TV show) and relate to a fictional character or situation. And cry.

“When you lose someone suddenly and unexpectedly it hurts differently…it’s like a lightning bolt you can’t even see reaching inside of you and tearing out your guts…” – Randall, This is Us

That was exactly how I felt when I got the call about my mom- like my guts were torn out. And then I had to go full steam for a while.

“And then I thought about my friend Bluford Jackson, the one who got lockjaw after firecrackers burned his hand last Christmas. He had died soon after New Year’s Day and now nearly six months later I was just finally seeing that Blue was gone for good.”  – Will, in Cold Sassy Tree by  Olive Ann Burns

I can relate to Will’s feelings. It’s been three and a half months since Mom died, and it hits me in unexpected moments more and more. Grief is sometimes elusive, sometimes a pressing weight.

“Grief is different from unhappiness. In unhappiness one is stuck in time. In grief, time is totally askew.” – Sold Into Eqypt by Madeleine L’Engle 

“When people die, they are not wiped out of our lives as though they had never been, they are still and always part of our history. ” – Sold Into Eqypt by Madeleine L’Engle  

Today would have been my dad’s 86th birthday, but he died at 63. After 23 years, he is still a part of so many stories we tell, so many memories we cherish. He is in the height of my older son and the curls of my younger daughter; he is in the work ethic of my brothers. I read his words of love in the letters I found after Mom died, and although he had a hard time expressing those words aloud sometimes, I knew it was there.

 

 

 

Monday Music #10/Wonder #5

1965 001

1st Christmas in Jacksonville – 1965

This is a 2-for-1 combo of Monday Music and Wonder (Years).

The Wonder Years is one of those shows I could watch over and over. In Season Two/Episode Six, Harper’s Woods, the childhood hangout of Kevin, Winnie, and Paul, is set for destruction. A shopping mall was on the horizon.

“ Every kid needs a place to go to be a kid” – the Wonder Years

Growing up, we had a Harper’s Woods of our own, though it didn’t have a name. We just called it The Woods. It was across the road from our little neighborhood, a street of about 45 homes, built in the mid-sixties. I’m not a good judge of size, but I’d guestimate it was 9-10 acres. Within those boundaries were trails walked, and for the fortunate few, ridden by mini-bikes; forts built by trial and error;  games played; and tons of imagination swirling around.

I never saw a parent enter our little territory. If someone was late coming home or needed by mom, a sibling was sent in to fetch the required kid.

“There’s something in those woods you can’t see with your eyes. You have to look with your heart. It’s my childhood.” – The Wonder Years

Our other natural playground was the large drainage ditch than ran behind the houses. There my brothers shot moccasins and brought them home to be skinned. I waded in, catching minnows and little crawdads, always on alert for snakes, though. At the end of our street, the ditch emptied in a little creek. Across that creek was a magical zone I discovered when I was just on the brink of being a teenager. In it was a patch of bamboo and a huge fallen tree that went across the creek.  I crossed the tree, albeit on hands and knees, and wondered at the beauty of it all that I had no words for. Years later, when I read Bridge to Terabithia, it all came back to me. It was exactly what I pictured when I read about Leslie and Jesse.

three

Christmas, circa 1987

By the time I was a teenager, our woods were gone, replaced by more houses that expanded our neighborhood. I babysat a lot of kids in my neighborhood, and now I see that in just a few short years, the freedom to roam that I enjoyed was cut short for those kids who came after me.

And now this – I discovered this song by Twenty One Pilots a few years ago and it fits right in here I think. Makes me think of my grandkids and wish they had a place to play like I did.