Skogáfoss Proves Him Right

Skogafoss, Iceland

“What if I showed you places you’ve never seen before?”

Here’s a love worth paying attention to: time proves him right.

There are many expressions of affection– grand gestures, romantic whispers, and earnest intentions. But, none compare to time and a word spoken that comes true.

So, I stand in front of Skogáfoss, and I think back when I first heard those words. I was around 20 years-old standing in a wood paneled room in the YMCA. It was at youth camp, and I was a counselor who had just heard God speak to me.

“What if I showed you places you’ve never seen before?” He asked and promised in the same breath.

So, at 28, staring at Skogáfoss waterfall for the second time of my lifetime, I pay attention.

Time proved Him right.

Skogáfoss Proves Him Right

Hope Has A Good Uppercut

Muir Woods

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs, who come short again and again.”

Teddy Roosevelt

I had just begun to hope.

That dangerous word.

Hope is such a lovely thing. It awakens so suddenly, like spring. All of a sudden, the horizon looks brighter. Anticipation grows. Daydreaming ensues. Joy reigns at the delight of something (maybe, just maybe) about to happen. I shied into the happiness of it like a timid child.

I had begun to hope. But, just like that, hope gave me a good punch to the gut.

It stings. How silly I felt! A hope is scary enough, but a disillusioned hope is humiliating. 

You know what I usually do when my hopes are dashed to the ground? I retreat. I put my head down and work. I stop looking at the beauty around me and tell myself to cowboy up. It was a silly dream in the first place, right? It was naive and unreasonable. I should have known better. I should of kept silent and not told my friends about it.

But, the credit goes to the man who is in the arena.

Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly, explains vulnerability in the context of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote. It is easy to criticize when you are not in the ring—not even hoping for anything. It is vulnerable to hope, because you might be disappointed, and disappointment is the most stinging of wounds. It is easier to live in an eternal “nothing ever happens to me” mentality.

But, the truth is— that is cowardice.

I won’t live that way anymore. All I have to do is try again. All I have to do is look up and hope again. Maybe, I’ll be disappointed. Maybe, hope will sucker-punch me. Maybe I’ll err, and come up short again and again.

So be it.

Hope Has A Good Uppercut

Dear Car Thieves

A Letter To The People Who Stole My Car

Dear Car Thieves,

I like to think you are like Liam Neeson in Taken. You were racing through the streets of my town to rescue your daughter, and you needed a car, and of course, there was mine waiting for you.

You may take my car, Liam Neeson. 

I like to think you are Ethan Hunt, and for some reason, your spy activities led you to my little town. The bad guys were on the run, and you needed transportation. There was no motorcycle, 2016 Hummer, or Jaguar available, so you lifted my 1997 Honda Accord. You had to, really, because the world was about to perish from a nuclear bomb or contagious disease being released to society.

You may take my car, Ethan Hunt. 

If you are not Ethan Hunt or Liam Neeson, however, I’m mad at you.  I would first like to sardonically congratulate you on your thievery choice. My 1997 Honda Accord was a stellar decision. It’s vintage– with 230,000 miles. I have some hopes and dreams for you, car thief, because my car is a real classic.

I hope you want to listen to some music on your way to Denver. I hope you found my auxiliary cord and plugged it into your phone. Isn’t technology amazing? Unfortunately, my auxiliary cord got stuck in the car door one too many times, and so it requires a perfect pinch to get full audio. I know the technique to get it working, but you don’t. I hope you enjoyed your tunes with just the base and eerie echoes of background vocals.

I hope it was really hot the day you stole my car. My 1997 Honda Accord is all electric; a miracle of science! As you were sweating it out in the heat of the car, I’m sure you tried to roll down the window. Please enjoy the one window that actually rolls down. Yep. That’s right. Just ask the kids who I carted around in my car the whole summer. It’s quite warm, so I hope you enjoy the sauna.

I’m sure you used the air conditioning to compensate for the windows. You will run out of that 1/4 of tank of gas in less than an hour if you do so. You’re welcome.

I hope you enjoy the menagerie of educational supplies I had in my trunk. Please notice how gosh darn organized I am. I had folders of card stock, college-ruled paper, and notes on grammar activities all carefully filed. Be sure to stop at a coffee shop and rifle through my college notebook. There’s a killer paper in there on my theory on Project-Based-Learning and my tendencies toward Behaviorism and the Social Learning Theory. It’s a good read. I hope you enjoy them.

I hope you favored the endless shaking my car produced when you reach 65 miles per hour on the interstate. Apparently, it has something to do with the poor condition of my tires. Word on the mechanical street is that my tires are SO BAD they might even pop if driven on in speeds above 30 miles per hour, but I hope you won’t mind.

I hope you like poetry, because if you don’t there’s about fifteen books in my trunk that will give you a good start of all the famous poets. If you’ve already dabbled in the field of literature, I’d start with Tennyson (he’s my favorite), but if you are a greenhorn, start with Emily Dickinson. She’s the easiest to grasp. If you end this venture with a love of poetry, I won’t even be mad you stole my car.

I hope you sold my driver’s license to some 16 year old girl. And when she used my ID to get into some trendy Denver club, I hope they played a lot of Miley Cyrus, and she rued the day she bought my ID from you.

In conclusion, Car Thieves, I mean, come on! Why my car? I can’t understand why you thought it was even worth the effort! But whatever. You had your reasons for thievery.

Maybe you got a tip about those poetry books, and just HAD TO get your hands on them. 

Yeah. That’s it. Darn poetry books.

Dear Car Thieves

Kid, You’ve Got It Easy

Remember when you tried out everything when you were a kid? I do. I painted, played short-stop on the baseball fields, tumbled into the foam pit in gymnastics, and practiced “My Heart Will Go On” on the piano fifteen minutes a day. I did so many hobbies, but let’s face it– I was no good at any of them.

Remember when you tried out everything when you were a kid? I do. I painted, played short-stop on the baseball fields, tumbled into the foam pit in gymnastics, and practiced “My Heart Will Go On” on the piano fifteen minutes a day. I did so many hobbies, but let’s face it– I was no good at any of them.

Fortuitously, it didn’t matter. I remember being glad that I didn’t move up to the next level in swim team, because I liked being in the “not so good team.” All my friends were in the “not so good team” and really, we had more fun. It took me at least a full year to finish my latch-hook rug, but I STILL FINISHED that darn work of art. Failing was as easy as breathing, because as a kid, you are meant to fail. There is mercy for not-so-good projects and not- so- good piano pieces, because you’re just a kid, after all.

Then, you grow up. Suddenly, the hobbies you do mean something, and failing is a bit harder. Right?I’m attempting to write poems. I am reading a Scholastic How to Write Poetry book. See, I’m no good. Don’t believe me? See below. I started out real serious:

MAGIC

RAIN AND DRIVING ‘ROUND THE LAKE

AT LAST, I’M FINALLY AWAKE.

 

It took me at least thirty minutes to rhyme “lake” with “awake,” and fifteen minutes more to make the first line seven syllables and the second line eight. No worries. I kept going with less profoundness.

COMPLEX

HOW I FEEL WHEN I WRITE A POEM

IMBECILIC WITHIN MY DOME.

 

KHAN (WRATH OF)

HE’S A MEGALOMANIAC.

HE DON’T LIKE IT WHEN YOU TALK BACK.

 

The incompetency of these poems gives me joy. Aren’t the awkward moments of our lives the best bits, after all?  They’re the about to be somethings. They’re kids.

P.S. I chose this photo, because of the ridiculousness of my stance. There’s nothing like making a cool photo unfortunately un-cool.

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Kid, You’ve Got It Easy

Manifesto

It feels like holding one’s breath. I’ll inhale, see it all, feel it all, and wait for something beautiful to happen, or wake up enough to see that the beauty is already happening.

“You wake up, and you trust me. You go to sleep, and you trust me.”

I asked him—that inconsolable secret— what my vision was for the year. I didn’t intend to perish, and I needed to know. That is all he said.

Wake up and trust.

Go to sleep and trust. 

What a lame manifesto. There is no action and reaction, no problem and solution, no input and output. It’s so happenstance.

It feels like holding one’s breath. I’ll inhale, see it all, feel it all, and wait for something beautiful to happen, or wake up enough to see that the beauty is already happening.

All I can think about is Brene Brown’s words from Daring Greatly,

“To let ourselves sink into the joyful moments of our lives even though we know that they are fleeting, even though the world tells us not to be too happy lest we invite disaster—that’s an intense form of vulnerability.”

To let things happen to me, to sink into the joyful moments, to analyze less, and drift off to sleep in trust…what a dangerous, dangerous thing.

So, I hold my breath and hold on tight.

Manifesto