Category Archives: Humor

Dream With Me

Last night, I had a dream that was magical and fantastic. I was surrounded by my teacher friends who’d lost their jobs because the schools were no longer needed—not because society had learned all that it needed, but because the virus prevented us from returning.

We were forced to revisit our failures and improve upon those ideas that were abandoned too soon. We were asked to share spaces with doctors and lawyers. But those spaces were small and shrewd. Unlike the other professionals, we were excited for the opportunity to reinvent ourselves. Around us, we saw prototypes that were near-completion. Automobiles, electronics, furniture—all with the most interesting architecture—stretched the imagination. What could the designers have been creating? How would these products meet society’s needs? Why weren’t they completed? The educators were brought in to answer these questions. The doctors and lawyers were there to facilitate the applications of these projects.

The world as we knew it had ended. The politicians served no purpose because the government was ineffective. There weren’t tax monies to budget for because the income-earning electorate no longer had jobs. Democracy had crumbled in lieu of individual’s needs to recreate. Trust had been lost, but panic was abandoned. Individuals resurfaced from the ashes as sloths, eyes wide open but slow to recover.

Surreal approaches to rebuild had all but failed. Everything was new. New ideas, new relationships, and new approaches to build a world that should not resemble anything like the past world.

As educators, we toured the facilities hoping to identify the missing components. For it was supposed that we taught the last generation. We had the best connection with the youth. We held their hands through multiple curriculum evolutions. We taught them to think and to imagine, and we were the last ones to speak to their imaginations before they were quarantined with their families (who had previously abandoned their development). Those children never returned. Those children became an incarnation of their own dreams—incomplete drawings on scrap paper, science projects, and book reports, essays, and class notes, love letters, and prom invitations; class trips postponed and spring breaks un-refunded, graduations cancelled and college applications never sent. We were there when all this happened. We felt it. Their pain hurt us too to our core.

We would carry a torch. We would rediscover those souls through the evidence they’d left behind. As we searched through the rubble, our passions re-ignited every time we uncovered a gem. Alas, they never left. They are watching and waiting patiently to be energized as if they’d been playing a game of “freeze-tag” and knew that we were coming for them.

Hands extended, we will find them. We will find them.

Absence Makes the Heart…

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder…”

There’s varying opinions on this. Google the phrase and you’ll get this:

The proverb “absence makes the heart grow fonder” describes the feeling of greater affection between friends and lovers who are kept apart. It is a phrase that, in on one form or another, can be traced back for millennia—the Roman poet Sextus is credited with the earliest version of the phrase.

Or this:

Does absence make the heart grow fonder? Study says yes

Or even this:

Absence Doesn’t Actually Make The Heart Grow Fonder

But remove the science from it. Ignore the opinions. Draw from your personal experience. Think about the people that you’ve left behind. Focus on those individuals that have moved on from their relationship with you. Whether it was a friendship, a partnership, or family, some bonds were never intended to endure.

Once we stop asking why and begin to accept that there are reasons beyond our understanding, we can release responsibility for the decisions that were made (whether those decisions were our own or not). It’s difficult though.

Time not only heals, but provides distance between “then” and “now” and affords us the opportunity to feel less. Consider the process numbing. It’s the absence of intense feelings that allows us to respond to other things in our lives. The strongholds that once consumed us loosen their grip. The absence allows for distractions. We become more aware of other things in our lives. We stumble across alternatives and focus on other things that stimulate us. Soon we are no longer numb. We begin to feel again.

It is this kind of absence that makes our hearts fonder. Our hearts have but one purpose–to pump blood through our veins and to keep us alive. When we are consumed with others, our focus is not on our own survival, but on the well-being of others. Sometimes we love so much that we loose focus. We neglect ourselves, our responsibilities, and other things that are essential to our growth. And although a healthy relationship requires a balance, it is the absence that our heart needs to thrive.

The heart is fond of the absence. It is the mind that yearns for the presence. It is the mind that develops awkwardly when it is not stimulated. It’s a lonely mind that longs for companionship.

Until we can completely separate the heart and mind, there we aren’t likely to resolve this dilemma. And so instead of absence making the heart fonder, it is the distance that makes the mind wander.

In The Moment

I was here for it

I wish I hadn’t been.

The decisions I make

Are the moments that I live in

The regrets are the decisions

That I won’t get the chance to

Make again

For the truth is

I will make new decisions

And new mistakes

And learn over and over again

To appreciate the moment

Now

To look back less

And to look forward

To the moment that I’ll

Have new regrets

One Thing For Certain (Two Things For Sure)

Wisdom comes in many forms. We recognize the irony when we learn something in a scenario we’d least expect wisdom.

A rich man whose money can not buy him what he needs most;

A blind man who can see things others can not.

The parents who warn of the foolishness that they once partook.

The cat that has only one life left.

The widow who has lost two husbands to cholesterol and one to the tramp in the next town.

The high school dropout who doesn’t believe in minimum wage or welfare.

The child who can reach the cookie jar, but can’t take out the trash.

The wisdom is not in the irony. The irony is in The wisdom…

That comes from surrender

That comes from recognition

That comes from humility

That comes from knowing that you can’t know everything.

1994 Wishlist

the things most important to me at the age of adulthood; those moments that i would fantasize or dream of things just barely within my grasp are not even things anymore. i could not know then what i would not need (or even want) in my “mature” years. the photos should speak for themselves, but i’ll defend as we peruse…the coveted swatch watch. my peers had several. i was able to save up enough money for ONE. that’s all i needed. Now i don’t even wear a watch.

my high school counselor warned me that our regional state college would more appropriately be my dream school. i applied, and gained admission.

and then a million dollar endowment and national recognition transformed it into a university that might have made my counselors prediction accurate…

go figure!

the sports car that i dreamed of was one that i thought was practical. whereas a Porsche 928 was what i really wanted, it was its cinematic association that made it an unlikely reality

this Shelby Charger would fit the bill instead. i was fortunate enough to own one for a few months. i sold it out of anger.

Too soon…

jessica…boyish fantasies remind us of how ridiculous we can be! Bugs never had it so good. Maybe it was the red hair…

Or not…i had so many cassettes, it only seemed fitting to have a way to play them consecutively. i hadn’t imagined that i’d be financially reckless enough to own countless compact discs and that the future-me would hoard all kinds of music media.

we simply didn’t know that mp3s would be a thingi figured that typing my thoughts would be more efficient than keeping a diary. I knew that i could type almost as fast as I could think the words…

i practiced my typing. i used my sears credit card to buy one of these (an open-box special). one day i’ll be a blogger. it’s 1994. What’s a blog?

by the way, i really liked the movie The Mask. i don’t know why. i didn’t care much for Jim Carey.

Red

i had TWO high school rings. i lost the first one that my parents bought me. i bought another identical ruby ring with my grocery clerk earnings before they could find out how irresponsible i’d been. then they found the one i’d lost.

for her 13th birthday, my daughter inherited the recovered ring along with the lesson of unnecessary discretions.

when i graduated university, i bought myself an imitation emerald ring. Authenticity wouldn’t matter when it was time for my grad school ring. That one will be pure onyx for sure (even though i have no dream of achieving another degree).

Hard Knox from here on…

and those things i thought i wanted aren’t important any more. they probably weren’t important then. i just didn’t know it.

Guilt-Free V-Days

Two days before Valentine’s Day, I find myself sitting at a kitchen table while my student reinvents herself through a group science project. A project that is designed for a group, yet doled out for an individual student while she’s on medical leave….

THIS is what I’m facilitating as a blog from one of my favorite bloggers catches the corner of my eye.

Beauty Beyond Bones is one of the few blogs I read–mostly because I get an email every time the author publishes. But it’s easy to proclaim a favorite when there aren’t many others for which I will sacrifice my time. For as long as I’ve been on this reflective journey as a blogger, her blog has caught my attention. I suppose it’s because her persona reminds me of someone who I once loved. I say this with no guilt, however. And that’s because I gave up guilt for lent nearly four years ago.

That’s right! I gave up guilt for Lent. Here’s why:

This person I once loved, she has a name. But for simplicity, let’s just call her Love. She had convinced me that she was the one the Lord held aside just for me. She’d been praying her whole life for what she called “my sweet king-to-be” (MSKTB) for which became the moniker for this blog thread. She waited her whole life–and I mean she WAITED.

Her unrelenting chastity was something I honored. I’d figured that she was worth the sacrifice especially since she’d already sacrificed so much. But as the years passed I began to question the validly of a “sacrifice” of something that was never experienced. I longed for the integrity of a pure relationship. After all, no relationship prior had yielding a godly outcome.

This particular relationship did not come without its conflict and confusion. This was uncharted territory for me. I’d been divorced for nearly five years. My beautiful children and much-needed experience where the fruits of that union. Alas I’d experienced a sex-free marriage. How hard could an abstinent courtship be?

And believe it or not, it wasn’t difficult at all. The challenge was understanding the “rules” of an abstinent relationship. Love, well she didn’t make it easy. This courtship, as she called it, forced me to recall medieval times when marriages were arranged and fathers held the key to the mystical chastity belt. Weird!

It made me wonder if there were occasions where restricted access was circumvented somehow. Or if the whole concept was more-or-less a myth. I suppose I had a front row seat to my own private show. It was an interactive one-act play where I was both the star AND the antagonist. It hinged on torture, but Love led me to believe that it was necessary to truly appreciate the sanctity of marriage.

She had a hold of me. To my circle of friends, it looked like a circus. I thought I was the lion-tamer. Nah, I was merely one of the clowns (the one without the makeup).

As our relationship entered its first Lenten season, I asked her if she’d given any thought to what sacrifice she’d make for 40 Days. I figured it would be akin to my own fast of soda or chocolate. No! Hers was much deeper!!

Intimacy!

Huh? What?

I was confused. How much more un-intimate could we be??? I pressed her for an explanation. She obliged.

She said she’d spoken to God about it, and he told her to take her sacrifice deeper.

I thought this was a joke. But Love doesn’t joke about God. I began to plead with her. And then I realized that there was no integrity to in that at all. So I encouraged her to explain further. She said “no touching!”

Yeah ok.

“No kissing…”

Huh?

“No lustful gazing…”

To which I replied, “where will you be staying?”

This is where she became confused. I continued.

“When you spoke to God, did he tell you where you’d be staying when you come to visit me?”

I realized at that moment that I was venturing into a very ugly territory from which there’d be no return. But there was no turning back.

I gestured gingerly, “Hun, I know that you come a long way to see me. I know the sacrifice that you make to be with me. You are tired when you arrive, and most weekends you want to lay down; which results in you spending the night.”

“But you’ve also got to realize the challenge that comes from you spending the nights here when my children are home–the challenge created from trying to model this righteous behavior in the face of being “chased”.

My daughter had begun to emulate pristine behavior. She asked for a purity ring of her own. She spoke of the importance of waiting…

What father wouldn’t want that? Now I was offered an opportunity to step up. I’m not taking one for the team. I’m embracing a responsibility far greater than a “man-in-waiting” (is there such a thing?); or was my search for masculinity manifesting into a fatherly responsibility?

It didn’t matter. For a moment–perhaps minutes at best, Love melted. Her eyes gazed upon me and I felt appreciated.

But that too was confusing for me. And so I did what I do best. I stuck out my chest and…

Ruined it!

She asked me lovingly, “what will you give up for Lent?”

“Guilt! I’m giving up guilt!”

Love was lost.

I defended that if God was going to have a private conversation with my love, I was going to assert my role in my relationship with God. I looked up to the ceiling and continued, “you can’t stay here, wear sexy pajamas in my kitchen, tell me I can’t look at, touch, or kiss you and stay here. It’s teasing and it’s mean.”

Well maybe I didn’t say it was mean. It was a bad memory. What do you want from me?

“I Am giving up guilt for lent!” The Lord died for my sins. The fornication, the lust, the adultery, and all the other illicit stuff that I reluctantly confess to. I don’t need to harbor any guilt.

I sorta thought that I should have consulted a priest on this one, but…

I’m not catholic.

Love left that night. She went home to her father’s house where he and her mother later praised me for raising my own daughter to be a queen. I’m not sure how I felt about that, but…

Now THAT Ash Wednesday did not fall on Valentine’s Day (like it does this year), but the sheets have been cold ever since. Well, cold on Valentine’s Day at least.

As a middle-aged man who is on the cusp of denial, I will love myself this Valentine’s Day. And once you get your mind out of the gutter, you’ll probably do the same.

In case you didn’t know, the boxes of chocolate go on sale after 6pm at most pharmacies. And the Ex-lax is a few isles over.

Happy Ash Wednesday!

her Roeck

What we want is a reflection of who we are. Why would you want someone who would give so much of themselves that they would neglect their own needs? What is it about someone who is so forgiving and so giving that they would neglect themselves? How desirable is a person who would forget their own needs? Are their gifts so great that it’s possible to overlook their own self-care?

A firefighter who goes into a burning building to save another (without putting on his protective gear) is no more likely to save the victim then he is of becoming a victim himself. Although it seems heroic, it borders on the careless. More often than not such a hero will need to be rescued as well.

Women who want a man to put her needs before his own may be overlooking the fact that he may not be able to take care of anyone’s needs for a larger period of time.

“Here’s a nickel’s worth of free advice…”
Ladies reconsider what it is that you seek. Gentleman think twice before you leap.