Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August Info

Hateful Midnight
                It’s almost midnight and I’m sitting in a hospital room with the dim light from the bathroom silhouetting my wife as she lies on her bed struggling to find some peaceful sleep. The sounds of her struggled breathing and her impatient restlessness as she attempts to get comfortable with her body that decided to throw her a curve ball yesterday morning brings as much pain to me as the frustration it brings her. This sound keeps me alert.
                In the past thirty-six hours I have been struggling to maintain my sanity, patience and temper as I deal with the unknown. It’s like… like… ya know, this is going to sound a bit odd, but it’s like the first time you ride a new rollercoaster. You know, after you’ve gotten into the car and the lap-bar or shoulder harness collapse down on you, locking you into an experience you can’t really say you wanted to experience but you know you should come out a better person for it. The worry you feel as the train moves out of the station is similar to build up of rushing to the hospital after you’ve received a phone call that no ever wants to receive. The slow ascent up the first and usually highest hill of the roller coaster is like waiting game in the emergency room where information is gleaned by you from passing nurses, EMT’s and doctors as they chit-chat about the cases they are working on. The chit-chat, clikety-clack of their words as foreign to you as Mandarin Chinese is to a forty-five year old Polak from Wisconsin .
                My hands grip the bars and my knuckles turn white in fear and the anticipation of the impending downward plunge. The plunge of authentic, tangible, proven results whose layman terminology rhymes with words like choke, scenic, realization and mud-rot.  Words which once enter my mind get lost in the ether of numbness, fear and uncertainty. These clikety-clack voices, you soon realize are coming from visitors… friends of my wife, friends of mine, pastors and family from her side and my side. All passengers on this train ride have no clue where the apex of this hill is. We all assume the best, the worst, and the in-between. I try to mask my internal emotions and listen to what is being said on this ride by the screamers, the laughers, the non-verbose and the nay-sayers. Words, platitudes and age old comforting quotes fill the air like the squeak of the wheels on the car you are in and I try hard to accept them with all the earnestness they are delivered. I’m not always successful.
                As the train approaches the point of no return, I stare down into the void of what is, what could be and what will be. I put on my brave face and look down into that abyss; I know I’m not alone… I have with me people who have nothing but the best intentions in their mind and love in their hearts.
                I know there is another rise at the bottom of the trough I’m about to plunge into, but when will the descent turn into an ascent? I don’t know. I wish I did. But right now… Only One does and I’m trying to wait on him. (And not be angry… again.) 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Break(through)

                I’m getting old. This should come as no surprise to anyone. Last month I celebrated my 45th birthday, 15 years or so past my self imposed expiration date, but, unlike milk which spoils quickly after its dot matrix stamped “Drink By” date, I seem to be getting mellower with age. I know, I know, you’re thinking… “Where is this going, Skip? Just where the fuck is all this going?”
                Well, I’ll tell you…
                You see, today in my time… the past in your time, I was insulted by a subordinate. Now, this was not just any insult, this was an insult that cut to my core… right down to a part of me where I hold my personal and private identity sacred. (Yes, there are some things I hold sacred… this I know is a shock to most of you.) This person, made their insult in what I hope was jest, but in all reality, to me at least, it was cruel and unwarranted. Especially since I did not initiate the conversation with this person. What the person said is irrelevant now, but when they said it, I stopped in my tracks and turned around and faced them.
                I faced them in such a way that my body language should have told them I was ready to not just verbally but physically pulverize them into a greasy pool of DNA waiting to be picked up by the local crime scene cleaner.  My legs were spread shoulder wide, my arms hung down in an arc, hands half clenched in anger, my head was tilted down slightly and through gritted teeth and a controlled grin I looked at my insulter and tried to gauge if this were worth my time and effort. This brief moment of introspection stopped me from acting rashly. I didn’t move towards them, I didn’t say what was on my mind and I damn sure didn’t give this person the satisfaction of making me lose my temper. But… but… I did respond, in a very controlled manner.
                The gist of what I said can be boiled down to this… “I am not going to respond to you, and you of all people have no idea what I do. If you did, then you would know what you just said is false. If you again try to talk to me like this you will not like the result.” Wow, that sounds so much better than what I probably said, but like most people in the heat of an argument, I really don’t know what I said, but I know that it was not a threat nor was it taken as such. My insulter turned back to their locker and kept talking to me. I turned and walked away.
                I walked away.
                Five years ago I would have verbally destroyed this person at an extremely high decibal. Ten years ago I would have physically intimidated them and verbally destroyed them. Fifteen years ago I would have just decked them with a roundhouse punch. But today, looking back at birthday, I walked away without so much as raising my voice above conversational tones. Is this growth? Fatigue? Senility? Maybe a bit of all three? I don’t know. I don’t care.
                What I do know is that my life at forty-five is almost if not already half over. I’ve made enemies of friends and friends of enemies in my life. I’ve come to ignore the daily drama of people steeped in pop –culture and I have tried to make my family my purpose. I’ve buried to many people I consider friends and close acquaintances and I’ve lost friends through misunderstandings because my focus was not on what was important. What is important? Really, I’m asking you, dear reader; What is important?
                I know what I feel is important to me and I try to keep that carrot of knowledge in my frontal lobes focused at all time. I fail occasionally, as we all do, but I try. I think today’s test, yes, this was a test, was a success. It showed to me that I have grown. Am I a better man? A better person? Nah, I’m still messed up beyond any shrinks ability to fix but I think I am on the road to becoming a better person with a thicker skin.

                Have a good week.