Hell of a Guy
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it - Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Men Crying…

04/18/2012

At the end of The Masters I watched Bubba Watson break into tears as it sunk in he had just won one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments.  Just this past week he was on the Today Show and someone asked him about his new son.  Bubba choked up and could barely get the words out as he said, “He’s awesome!”  He admitted to be a crier and it was obvious he was not the least bit ashamed of it.  I must admit I, too, am a crier, and very frankly it doesn’t take but almost any poignant moment to move me to the verge of tears.

Last week while mowing grass (which here on The Farm can take up to five hours) I had the earphones of my iPod on so I could drown out some of the noise of the mower’s engine.  I was listening to “Romance for Violin” (Michael Hoppe – Solace), which I think is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard, and just listening to it – for probably the 100th time – I got a little glassy eyed.  It happens a lot when I hear beautiful music, that is to say what I find to be beautiful music.  I find it transports me to a happy place.

Just a month ago The Nancy and I attended the very beautiful and moving wedding of the daughter of one of my favorite people in Indiana.  Weddings, for some reason, always bring me to the brink, and have for as long as I can remember.  And then there are funerals.  Let’s not even get into funerals. 

Sunday The Nancy and I got to attend the Confirmation of a 13-year old nephew in Alexandria, Virginia.  Part of the service was devoted to the Baptism of two really beautiful babies.  I really have to hold it together when I get around babies, and these gorgeous ones really tugged at my emotions.  Several times during this part of the service I had to battle back the moisture.

But, I have to admit nothing tugs at my emotions more than The Nancy.  There are times when our eyes connect and I am overcome with her natural beauty and the realization of just what a lucky guy I am to have her as part of my life, and with that I always have reach for the handkerchief to dab my eyes.

I used to ask myself what the hell is wrong with me that I am unable to control my emotions, then I realized there is nothing wrong, it is just who I truly am, and that is more than okay.

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday the 13th…

04/13/2012

Wikipedia explains the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition as: “Records of the superstition are rarely found before the 20th century, when it became extremely common.  The connection between the Friday the 13th superstition and the Knights Templar was popularized in the 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code. On Friday, 13 October 1307, hundreds of the Knights Templar were arrested in France, an action apparently motivated financially and undertaken by the efficient royal bureaucracy to increase the prestige of the crown. [ The Templars were tortured and eventually put to death by various means]  Phillip IV was the force behind this ruthless move, but it has also tarnished the historical reputation of Clement V. From the very day of Clement V’s coronation, the king falsely charged the Templars with heresy, immorality and abuses, and the scruples of the Pope were compromised by a growing sense that the burgeoning French State might not wait for the Church, but would proceed independently.”  It’s kind of funny, as in strange, how these kinds of superstitions get started, but nonetheless there are a lot of old superstitions, many of which arose out of religious beliefs.  One Friday the 13th is very memorable for me.  Some might say “oh my” as I tell the story.

Picture this, it’s the morning of Friday the 13th, 1973.  At that time I was an area sales manager for Crown Petroleum covering Crown’s gas stations in Virginia.  In those days prior to the proliferation of cellular phones meant that in order to communicate during the day when I was out of the office I had to use phone booths or office phones at whatever station I was visiting.  The office I worked out of knew where I would be during the day, they had my itinerary.  Early that morning whilst I was dutifully fulfilling my obligations to the company my boss, Joe Gilboy, called me at the gas station I was visiting with an invitation to meet him at an Arby’s for lunch.  He and I hooked up about noon.  We had a nice lunch (each of us having purchased our own), talked a lot of business and about families.  Just as we were about to leave the booth we were sitting in, he fired me.  Needless to say, I was in shock.  The reason given was that I had taken the test for and received a real estate sales license, though I had not used it, but it was a breach of company policy and I knew it.  Whatever!

I thought at first it was a devastating travesty that had befallen me.  Looking back over the past 39 years, I believe it was one of the best days of my entire life, for it preliminarily set the stage for me to become successful as time went on.  A few years ago I called Joe Gilboy to thank him for firing me…though, as my journey would have it this wasn’t the last time I would be fired.  It happened again a few years later (1980).  I am a slow learner afterall, and it proved to me there are no accidents and the universe was unfolding exactly as it was supposed to unfold.

For me, April the 13th has proven to be enormously lucky.  I even look forward to them.  In fact thus far, this has proven to be “The Best Day Ever,” and there is no chance of ever being fired again.

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
Thursday, April 05, 2012

Spirituality, Religion or What?

04/05/2012

Earlier this week I saw a preview of a couple of TV commercials about to be aired soon with people saying they are happy living in a home without God, there were a couple of families all saying the same kinds of things, and they caused me to reflect on my own agnosticism and atheism which I suffered from for a very long time before I found what I was looking for. 

First of all, I wholeheartedly believe (actually, I know) people claiming to be atheists are searching for something to believe in, though they will never admit it.  These folks are lost, conflicted in there lust to not believe in a higher power, to which I say just take a gander around you.  Look to the heavens and to the earth.  People, this just isn’t happenstance, so, please, stop trying to sell us on it.

In his book “A Short History of Nearly Everything” Bill Bryson notes: “To begin with, for you to be here now trillions of drifting atoms had to somehow assemble in an intricate and intriguingly obliging manner to create you.  It’s an arrangement so specialized and particular that it has never been tried before and will only exist once.  For the next many years (we hope) these tiny particles will uncomplainingly engage in all the billions of deft, cooperative efforts necessary to keep you intact and let you experience the supremely agreeable but generally unappreciated state known as existence.”
 
He goes on to say that at the level of chemistry life is curiously mundane: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, a little calcium, a dash of sulfur, a light dusting of other very ordinary elements – nothing you couldn’t find in any ordinary drug store – and that’s all you need.  The only thing special about the atoms that make you is that they make you.  This is of course the miracle of life.  He goes on to say that these atoms that so congenially come together to form living things on Earth are exactly the same atoms that decline to do it elsewhere.  The book is a great read and I highly recommend it.

The fact that life exists anywhere is truly a miracle.  This planet formed billions of years ago; scientists estimate the universe to be about 13 to 15 billion years old, and it is still expanding.  For this planet, of about 4 billion years, to support life some very exacting, complicated circumstances had to be met.  For instance, if orbit of the Earth around the sun was somewhat closer to the sun or somewhat further away, or if the core temperature of the Earth was slightly higher or slightly lower, the surface of it could not support life.  Life is not random, and it did not just occur naturally. 

Neale Donald Walsh’s book, “Conversations with God,” was a real eye opener for me.  While my personal relationship with God began anew in 2005, it really took shape after I read this book.  Did this epiphany send me in search of a church to join?  No!  I am not religious and don’t need religion for my relationship with God to flourish, but I will never attack anyone on their religiosity.    Black Elk, the Lakota medicine man, said, “Peace comes to the mind of a man when he realizes his ‘onenesses with the universe.”  And so it was for me.

I am a spiritual person.  I have found my way.  I recognize we are all connected and connected to everything.  I see there is a Universal Presence, call it God or whatever you wish: It is the All of the All, the sum of all things, it is you and it is me.  To deny it is pure folly, for it is palatable.

If you consider yourself an atheist or an agnostic, do it, but I know the truth.  You are, deep down, searching for something in which to believe, and because you have not found it you deny it.  You cannot explain the science of life or of the creation of the universe other than to say it just happened.  I know your path for I walked it for over forty-five years.
   
To those who paid to put these commercials on TV, I think you are wasting your time.  Words in the wedding ceremony come to mind, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”  Funny how these words ring true when it comes to creationism.  I am not a huge believer in the veracity of Bible stories, but I wholeheartedly adhere to the fact we are not here by chance.

And that is all I have to say about that…