#life

STEPS

 

 

The ancient philosopher Heraclitus astutely said…on the banks of a river in Babylon…”You cannot step into the same river twice…for the waters are continually flowing on.”

 

I think that also works for any step we take in life…with each step perhaps we get a little bolder…at the very least with every step…we’ve grown another step older.

 

Perhaps that’s why we love our morning walks…to see nature’s changing beauty on display…to try and find the subtle changes today…from yesterday.

 

Changes in the sky, in the trees, in us as we walk along the street 

in the clouds, in the ocean, in the animals, in the people whom we meet.

 

Every day we start out feeling like children on Christmas…anticipating a surprise…and every day we find them…with our one-day older eyes.

 

We don’t have a choice the way life moves…the way things change subtly from day to day…and as we take our walk each morning…we wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

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BEFORE HE CLOSED HIS EYES

 

 

One friend stood at another friend’s funeral and began this eulogy:

“Our friend had a simple philosophy about life.” He said. “Which he laid out for all of us to see.”

 

“How often did he tell us he lived his life in moments…from the moment he saw the sun’s first light…and how he would think about those moments when he want to bed at night.”

 

“And if he recalled more beautiful moments than bad…he would smile and he’d say…just before he closed his eyes…What a wonderful way to spend the day.”

 

“And if…when Saturday ended…he recalled more beautiful days than bad…this line he would speak…just before he closed his eyes…what a wonderful way to spend a week.”

 

“And as wonderful weeks turned into wonderful months at the end of December…from his lips you might hear…before he closed his eyes at night…what a wonderful way to spend a year.”

 

“If he was here to give his own eulogy…the fact he’s not still cuts me like a knife…I’m sure he’d look out at all of you…the ones who made his moments beautiful…and say…before closing his eyes for the last time…what a wonderful way to have spent my life.”

 

“Goodbye old friend. We will miss you…

you left us with so many beautiful moments 

before you closed your eyes….

So many beautiful memories…

What a wonderful way to say goodbye.”

 

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THE MAGIC

 

 

I love watching a magic show…I love to be surprised…I love how the magic happens…right before my eyes.

 

The secrets inherent in the magic…I don’t care to know…I prefer to be amazed…to sit back and enjoy the show.

 

When I looked at a recent photo of Deborah, me and our grandchildren…I thought…when did they grow up…when did they get so tall…I remember a time, not so long ago, when we could pick them up…when all of them were small.

 

A time when we’d read them Fairy Tales…I can still hear their voices…their joy…their laughter…a time when we’d watch them sleep and hope their dreams were filled with happily ever after.

 

But now, as I gaze upon this photograph, I can’t help but be surprised…it seems, like magic, our four grandchildren…have grown up before our eyes.

 

And I wonder if they still believe in bears that talk…and trees that dance…and wizards who can fly…how a kiss can turn a frog into a prince… and that there are castles in the sky.

 

How life can be a Fairy Tale…and how happy endings do come true…as I hold this photo in my hand…I sure hope they do.

 

And I hope when they look at this photograph…and realize how…right before their eyes…they all grew…they are as amazed as we are…and that they believe in magic too.

 

And for Deborah and me…the best part of this magic show was not only being there to watch them grow…it was how every now and then…(the proof is in this photo)…we got to be part of the show.

 

 

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WHO AM I

 

 

I ran across an old photograph of my brothers and me when…I think…I was only three…immediately I asked my self…”Is that three-year-old in the photo really me?”

 

Certainly it was me on the day that photo was taken…but to say that IS me…well…I think I’d be mistaken.

 

Even though I’m not sure when that photo was shot…not sure exactly when…I think Alice in Wonderland would agree…I’ve changed a million times since then.

 

Yes, that was me in the photo…with ears only a parent could adore…but that was me at 3…I imagine I changed a lot by the time I had turned 4.

 

And 5…and 6…and through my teens and all my other years combined…until I reached the who I am today…my who…at 69.

 

That is the allure of old photographs…that make them both wonderful and bizarre…they capture the who we were for a moment in time…but not the who we are.

 

One who…who was essential…but a who we’ve emerged from…important because it helped create the who we have become.

 

I noticed in that old photo I was smiling…grinning ear to ear…and I’m proud that smile has been handed down from who to who and year to year.

 

I guess if I have one small bone of contention…it would be that my whos had been a little taller…or at least…knowing how’d they would one day grow…that my ears would have started out…a little smaller.

 

But let me say this to all my future whos…

as each who adjusts and rearranges….

I’m okay with my ears getting larger…

as long as that smile never changes.

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SOME MORNING MUSINGS

 

As I looked around me on my walk this morning I began to wonder about creation…was it a BIG bang…or was it small…then I began to wonder how any of this…any of us…were created after all.

 

Were we created by a supreme being…a God…in whose presence we’d be awed…and, if so, when you stop to think about it…who created God?

 

But today as house after house filled with families I found myself walking by…I started wondering less about who and how we were created…and wondering more about why.

 

Since love created most of us and the place we all began to bloom was in the warmth…the safety…the security of our mother’s womb…I wonder if that’s one tacit way our creator makes it known…that none of us is meant to walk through life alone.

 

Perhaps we’re meant to walk as we were created…in love and kindness…among family and friends…from the moment we are created…until the moment our life ends.

 

And since we share how we enter the world with every other human who upon this planet dwell…perhaps we’re meant to discover all the other things we have in common as well.

 

I wonder if, when the Gods were creating, if they made one special person who…was created just for me..and, if so, one for you?

 

And what if sex, religion, color didn’t matter to all those Gods above…what if the only thing that matters to them what that we find our one true love.

 

What if life is to be a quest…over mountains, into valleys, across rivers, lakes and shores…to find that special person whom we were created for?

 

And when you discover that person (trust me…when you find them you will know!) what if our hearts were created in such a way…we will never let them go?

 

What if, when we find them, in our heart a perpetual light turns on…a light that will keep burning…even after they are gone?

 

And what if you haven’t found that person…what if you haven’t yet been blessed…are you meant to keep on looking…to never stop your quest?

 

As I came to the end of my walk I realized these are questions whose answers, hopefully, one day I will find…until then I am more than happy to leave these musings to greater minds than mine.

 

Happy every day just to walk through life elated…not knowing who or how or why…but giving thanks for their Earth…for their nature…for their animals…for their love and for the world that they created.

 

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A FAMILY BLESSING

 

 

 

It is tradition in their family…going back centuries it is said…when a bay’s born the oldest member lays a hand upon its head…

 

Everyone in attendance bows respectfully…some may wipe away a tear…for they’re about to hear this blessing that’s been handed down throughout the years:

 

From the moment you are born…the moment when your life starts…may love and hope and kindness fill your soul and touch your heart.

 

May you be accepting of the world around you…may you treat everyone the same…may your life be filled with magic…until the owl calls out your name.

 

May you understand how everyone is family…how all lives are intertwined…may your light be so luminous and bright…it helps everyone to shine.

 

May you live in a world with no wars…where everyone is free…where people work together for peace and harmony.

 

May you live in a world where thank you is understood but need not be declared…a world where everything belongs to everyone…a world where everything is shared.

 

May you understand the importance of nature in all you say and do…for without the trees…the animals…the water…there would be no me…and there would be no you.

 

This blessing we send to you this day…as your life’s about to start…with the hope these words find their way into your soul…and dwell within your heart,.

 

And may you be blessed to turn these words into actions…so those who know you will one day happily exclaim…

you lived a kind and thoughtful and generous life 

from the time you were born…

until the owl called out your name.

 

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THE MEANING OF LIFE

 

 

If you ask any wise one…anywhere…anytime..the meaning of life…

they’ll smile…then happily exclaim:

“The meaning of life is to give meaning to life.”

It’s amazing how all their answers start out the same.

 

From here their answers vary…but please…have no doubts…no misgivings…they only vary slightly…because of the varied lives they are living.

 

“I’ve lived…I’ve loved…I’ve won…I’ve lost…I’ve dreamed…I’ve laughed…I’ve cried…I’ve hated…I’ve fought…I’ve been disgraced…I’ve been filled with remorse and with pride.”

 

“I’ve trusted…I’ve hurt…I’ve been hurt…I’ve made mistakes…I imagine there are times my heart and soul agree…I have not always been the person I imagine myself to be.”

 

“Yet, through my highs and lows…my ups and downs…I have somehow found a way…to learn from every one of them…to learn a little more each day.”

 

It is here they always conclude their lesson…it seems to this theme they all keep returning…they say: “The meaning of life is to give meaning to life and to do this…you never stop learning.”

 

Yes, if you ask any wise one…anywhere…anytime…the meaning of life they’ll explain…how their stories may vary in the middle…but they start out and end up the same.

 
 
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THE THINGS THEY NEVER CARED ABOUT

 

Through the years of watching our children and grandchildren grow…they never left a doubt…as to those things that were important to them…and those things they never cared about.

 

They never cared if we were old or bald…or short or tall or fat.

They never cared about our physical flaws…(Boy, were we glad of that!)

 

They never cared if our house was small…or if the ceiling had a crack.

They never cared if the lawn was mowed…or that there was no grass in the back.

 

They never cared how much money we had…if we drove a Mercedes or Jaguar…

They never cared if there were scratches or dents…or parts missing from our car.

 

They only cared that we loved them…and that we somehow found a way

to show them that we loved them…each and every day.

 

They cared if we were honest and fair…that we were accepting, generous and kind

They cared that we nurtured their hearts, their souls…and helped to improve their minds……

 

They cared that we spent time with them…and the last time that I checked..

They cared if we treated them with tenderness…with humanity…and respect.

 

How blessed we’ve been to watch our children and grandchildren grow…

and of this we have no doubt:

They taught us more about life and how to live it…

by the things they never cared about.

 

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MY OPTIMIST AND MY PESSIMIST

An optimist lives inside me…walks beside me

his glasses are rose colored…his outlook… a little sun-kissed.

Unfortunately there’s more…for living right next door

inside me…his neighbor…the pessimist.

 

Whatever my condition…they jockey for position

one's outlook is gloomy…the other’s…is quite glorious

and I never can say…at the end of the day

which one will end up victorious…

 

The optimist, once unfurled,…sees before him a beautiful world

the pessimist has his fears, his confusion… his doubts

Take Stella for example…she’s just a sample

of exactly what I’m talking about

 

Stella’s indiscreet…she lives on the street

I use to see her every morning when I walked by…

When in the dark I would meet her…I’d try hard to greet her

but to this day she has never said HI.

 

We’ve been like two ships that pass in the night…and that’s been alright…

It’s been our relationship for many a year

My pessimist wonders what’s wrong…why she’s been homeless so long

while my optimist thinks things aren’t as bad as I fear.

 

As I come round a bend…where two buildings ascend

she’s usually sitting on a bench in between

I’m not sure why or how…but for quite some time now

when I round the bend Stella’s nowhere to be seen.

 

The pessimist in my head thinks perhaps she is dead…

now residing in a cemetery or catacomb…

The optimist in me…sees it a bit differently

thinks, perhaps, Stella has returned to her home.

 

Of course I have no way of knowing…how her life is going

as both my optimist and pessimist spar at each day’s beginning…

but by the end of the day…I am happy to say…

my optimist does most of the winning.

 

In fact…over the years…through my hopes, dreams and fears..

the pessimist in me has softened…

and though they both still reside…somewhere deep inside…

I find the optimist now visits more often. 

 

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