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Saturday, June 25, 2016

What Matters Most?



She'd left the papers on a table in the corner of the room. One of the  volunteers brought them over to me and said "We won't hear from that one again. I guess she wasn't serious about improving herself."

"That one" was 23 and had never worked  with the exception of cleaning a church for a few months.

She told me she had no friends, that she was shy and mostly slept and watched TV.

I asked her if she was depressed and she nodded.

Are you talking to anyone about your depression? 

I had to strain to hear her answer.

It's nothing to be ashamed of. 

I called over one of the folks volunteering who has health care connection and we talked for 15 minutes. She promised she'd follow up and get some help.

She smiled and thanked us and left. Her papers along with an appointment for a job interview didn't go with her



*********

I'm really tired of people who can't seem to get out of their own way, ya know?

Yeah, but we don't ever know whats going on underneath, ya know?

So we are supposed to save the world? 



*********

I have  an image in my mind that never goes away. 

I took a short cut through a school playground while I was walking to a friends house. He was sitting on the steps. His sister was bouncing a ball off the wall and singing some little kid song. 

Hey John! Hey John, I'm over here. 

 Our eyes locked for a second and I kept moving. I pretended I didn't hear him.

Hey John!!!

I started walking faster until I couldn't hear him any longer 

I used to take great pains to let people know I never participated in the teasing and the cruelty he'd endured. 

It dawned on me one night when I couldn't sleep that what I did was worse. 

I ignored him. 

I ran and made sure no one ever associated me with HIM.  Life at 14 is tough enough. 

The image of him on the school steps looking at me, almost begging me to acknowledge him, started about 6 months after he hung himself. I wondered if I'd stopped that day and talked, even if it were for a minute or two, would the ending have been different? 

*********

Her contact information is on one of those pieces of paper isn't it? Maybe if we were to call her.......

No, if she's not willing to take the time to follow up with us, I'm not gonna waste a phone call. 

Do you mind if I try?




*********

August 28, 1970

That's the day he went down to his basement, threw a rope over the rafters and hung himself. He was 17.

A few years ago I found his grave when we went home for a visit.



Have you ever just stopped and realized
that if you hadn't met a certain person 
your entire life would be different?

Every day.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

They Don't Care How Much You Know, Until They Know How Much You Care.



They usually come from out of the clear blue.

We don't expect them.

We get out of bed in the morning focused on what lies ahead.

Gotta fit a trip to the gym in there somehow, right?

Gotta look and feel your best.

They usually come out of nowhere, sorta like the pop-up thunderstorm that grabs your attention with the first clap of thunder. .

We get an email, a private message, a quick blog comment thanking you for being an anchor, for sharing an insight, revealing your own pain and indecision or picking up your pom-pom's and being a cheerleader when it was most needed.

I have never attended a webinar or seminar  that's talked about sharing part of myself with other people simply because................................

What if you weren't there?


Oh, I know, you mutter something about how someone else would step in and fill the void.

Nope, sorry, you are wrong they wouldn't - They couldn't.

"Where you are is where you should be, right now." 


Someone shared that with me over 20 years ago. When I poise my hand over the key board or look into the camera and smile I  remember...........



They don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

What if you weren't there?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Champ



Hey Champ! I yelled as I was walking through  an airport.

He stopped, looked over, waved at me and struck his Ali fight pose. You know, the one that you weren't sure if he was going to hug you or hit you with a strong left hook. Then, he smiled and as I started to walk away I saw he was engulfed by a pack of people.

I sat in a restaurant a few weeks ago with two people in their mid 20's who were wanting to start their own business. 

Towards the end of their discussion one of them asked me a question: 

You're a boomer, right? 

Yeah

Why is your generation so critical of mine? 

I thought for a few seconds

Maybe it's because you are confident and you know what you want so early in life. I can tell you most of my generation struggled at your age. 

As I was driving home I thought of him. Confident, self assured, never backing down, always ready to let you know what he thought and what he believed. 

It was 1964. 

He'd just knocked out Sonny Liston for the world heavy weight championship. 

I was a hair over 10 at the time so staying up to listen to the fight on the  wasn't going to happen. I had to wait until the next morning. 

I didn't need the newspaper or radio to tell me the outcome. 

He got lucky!!

My dads generation didn't care for him. They called him cocky and uppity. He didn't fit the profile. 

I loved him. 

Throughout his career he stuck his neck out and used his talent and brains to back up his predictions. He never backed down from what he believed and throughout  his career he was either loved or reviled. 

I have no quarrel with them Vietcong.

He was stripped of his title and called a draft dodger. My dad's generation was gleeful. They proclaimed themselves justified. 

I could write forever about the positive impact he had on my life and the lives of so many others in my generation. Mostly, I consider myself fortunate to have been witness to his life and his career. 

He taught me to stand up for what you believe in and to never back down. 

Lost in all his rhetoric was the fact that he was able to back up everything he said with hard work and perseverance. 

To so much "sizzle" in this world he was "the steak."

He has always been The Champ. 

He always will be.