There’s a realization that hit me like a ton of feathers after my dad retired from sales last year: his watches from the 80′s are back in style! The thin-banded, small-faced moon watches are fashionable once again. Taking a shot in the dark, I asked if I could borrow one, and he willingly said, “Here, take care of all of them, but let me get them repaired for you first.”
It felt like I was in one of those corny Hollywood scenes where the dad passes down a watch or an heirloom to his son while imparting some type of responsibility or life lesson at the same time.
But I guess that’s what all sons and fathers desire: time with one another or something valued and shared within the relationship that can be passed down and cherished. We don’t want quarreling or bickering. No one asks for that. We want time that’s worth remembering.
The cake says it all, and the the justification is that I didn’t invent anything nor did I stop world hunger. It is my birthday so let’s just have cake.
We can eat it too. I’ve been learning to indulge just a little more thanks to my soon-to-be wife, Kristal. She likes to spoil me despite the fact that I don’t always know how to respond to acts of kindness. Kristal will go out of her way to invite all of my closest friends to come celebrate…me. It sounds bizarre. I don’t know why she does it, but here’s how I’m learning to respond to her catering:
Give a definite “yes” or “no,” and don’t just shrug with indifference.
Be specific when asked for my preferences and likings
Go with the flow.
If it were up to me, I’d spend my birthday alone with my thoughts while lying on my bed staring at the ceiling. However, I am starting to realize that if she feels that I deserve this treatment then I better start going with it. There’s no point in fighting.
And I must say, it’s starting to feel pretty good.
After an inspiring conversation with a co-worker about the excitement of fiction novels, I decided to stop by my local library. Every time I walk into a library, I’m immediately taken back to my school days as a child and high-school student. The smell of old books and worn-out wooden bookshelves and tables recall images of learning how to use a card catalog as we did not have computer databases to search for our book of choice. I remember not wanting to walk to the deep ends of the library in fear that the opening scene of Ghostbusters just might happen. I also remember how my mother raised me to habitually be in a learning environment like the library.
I wonder if parents still encourage such behavior. I wonder if the library is still relevant to our society. Mostly, I wonder what would happen if the library actually ceased to exist in my hometown.
Today, my local library has cut its hours of availability and operation due to lack of funding. It seems that almost every year, there is a proposition or local legislation act to either shut the library down or keep it alive.
I walked out of the library thinking of Ray Bradbury’s novel Farenheit 451. Ok…Maybe we’ll never see our world to be as post-literature as what Bradbury wrote in his novel, but I have to ask questions like:
With all of the digital technology, will we eventually become a society that makes books obsolete? What would become of the books in all the the libraries that do close down? Do they burn these at 451 degrees Fahrenheit along with all of the knowledge in them?
But we have digital books and e-readers now! Right?!
Hmm..Sometimes the words “digital” and “virtual” cause me to forget about what is tangible and actual. For example, how often do people print their pictures from a digital camera. It’s normally just uploaded onto a computer, never to actually be printed and held.
I could have easily found the book on the internet, but I wanted the experience of going into the library and searching with my own eyes and hands. It could have been for nostalgic reasons or even to save money, but I look forward to the experience of searching, finding, and actually touching. It renews a sense of reality. A sense of accomplishment.
All to say, I hope the library stays open so that adults can remember their experiences, and that their kids can grow in the same learning environment.
Fact has it that there is a not-so-secret society among us, a society that is not exclusive, and everyone wants in. Within this group, people have a sense of greatness along with their peers across the globe whom they have never met. I’m not referring to the whispered conspiracies of the free masons or illuminati. The members of this not-so-secret society are both poor and wealthy, and they have resources for each other that can pull each other through tight binds, criticism, and adversity; resources like hope, encouragement, empathy, laughter, tears, and heck…money too. What is the main component that ties these people together? Appreciation…for life, each other, and even God. This appreciation drives joy (and not just happiness) through the roads of their lives. It also fuels the hope for each day they start and finish.
Another featured trait among these people is their attention to effort and detail, the little enhancements that can make life grand. As depicted above, adding a little extra zest to some stock sparkling cider turns a table of “commoners” into a banquet of kings and queens. Does that imply looking down upon others? By no means. While I can try to articulate it in my own words, I believe Coldplay does it so much better with theirs:
People moving all the time inside a perfect straight line
Don’t you wanna curve away?
It’s such it’s such a perfect day, it’s such a perfect day
Whether you’re escaping, conquering, laughing, or crying, there are others right there along with you. Together we push forward, putting in the effort to survive these harsh winters and dry seasons. Globally, we’re non-exclusive, and we differentiate ourselves for the better by being present and encouraging each other. We don’t need all of the money and power in the world to be at the top. We’re on top of the world because of God and each other. We are blessed, “strawberry swingin’” with world-class status.
What’s true about my life? “I have a lot.” I have too much. If you’re reading this right now, you have a computer or at least have access to one. You’re pretty rich…err…lucky…err…blessed compared to not only the majority of the world but even to inner-city demographics.
A group of my friends just came back from the streets of Guadalajara, Mexico. While there, they invested personally in impoverished children using skits, puppets, dances, etc. My friends shared in a giving, a loving way, and their eyes were opened to a real world outside of their comfort zones. The consensus of the group was this:
We have a lot. Others have little.
We were designed to give as much as we were designed to receive. I myself have been to Guadalajara and its surrounding cities, and I can agree that we have a lot. Others have nothing. Even when these people have little (and I mean little), they give what they have.
Not Giving: Pay close attention starting at the 1:37 mark and on to the end of the time/progression bar.
When I saw this episode from BBC Earth’s Life about primates, I was hit by the words: “These youngsters, born into the right family, don’t know how lucky they are.”
At first I thought about overpaid celebrities, athletes, and CEOs, and how their children grow up spoiled. Then I thought about people I know who would never walk into a soup kitchen or sacrifice anything for the poor. Then I thought about myself and how I spend way too much on clothes, food, and entertainment.
The truth is: We can all give more.
Giving includes tangibles and intangibles: food, love, clothes, a listening ear, money, invested time, hope, and the list goes on.
We can be appreciative of what we have, while still being able to give, not just leftovers but our best. Am I saying you have to be the next Mother Theresa? Well that would be commendable, but no, you don’t have to be her. Be you, and give in ways you were designed to give. Give how you genuinely like to receive.
You can travel out of your country to realize this, travel to any metropolitan urban city, or just watch the news to see that the life we live should be appreciated and also selfless.