֎ I remember as a young man only buying shirts with two pockets on them. The reason was that in one I had a pocket protector with several pens stuck in it and the other was used for notes, or whatever else I accumulated during a normal day at the office. I think you can tell how complex a person’s life is by how many shirt pockets he has. Mostly, my shirts are minus any pockets. Occasionally, when I have to dress-up, my shirt will have a pocket on it, but most of the time there is not a shirt pocket to be seen. I have seen men wearing pants without any hip pockets on them, but I haven’t gotten to that point yet. I guess I could do that because most of the time I carry one credit card, my driver’s license and a $20 bill in the case that I use for my cellphone. I doubt most women could do that, my wife could overhaul a car engine with the stuff she carries around in her handbag. Heck, my daughter has to rent a forklift to carry the bag she carries around. She has a keyring with about 50 keys on it and she can identify the purpose of only 5 of them. But, then again, I’m guessing most of us have keys in our possession that we have no idea of what they open. If shirt pockets are indicative of a complex man, then it stands to reason that a shirt with no pockets belong to a guy without a worry in the world. In other words, a simple guy, with a simple, uncomplicated life. I wanna be that guy! I have made up my mind! From now on I only want shirts with no pockets! Katherine Gerould said, “The real drawback to the simple life is that it is not simple. If you are living it, you positively can do nothing else.” Isn’t that Just great? Now I have to come up with another plan.
֎ "The summit of happiness is reached when a person is ready to be what he is."
- Desiderius Erasmus
I am certainly inclined to agree with that quote. We have all heard that, “happiness is the journey, not the destination”, and I also feel that is true. But, I kinda like the first quote best. I was 48 years old and, as a supervisor, felt I was qualified to be the next manager of our department. Instead, someone else was brought in to be the manager and I was distraught. After several weeks of worrying about my situation, a miraculous thing happened! Without me being aware of it, the ambition that sweltered deep inside of me disappeared. I didn’t immediately realize what had happened, but I felt a sense of calm spread within me, and I knew that something had changed. Eventually, it became apparent to me that the inner peace was a result of me accepting that I would never become the manager. Careers seldom turn out the way we plan and that’s when you have to accept your fate and be at peace with who you are and what you have accomplished. Maybe, you didn’t achieve all you wanted but, perhaps, you got a lot of it done, enough that you can be happy. That’s what happened with me, I was ready to be the person that I was. John Cowper said, “Ambition is the grand enemy of all peace”. Hmmm, wish I had said that.
֎ "A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
Up until a few years ago, I considered myself a conservative. But as I have grown older, I became aware that I should help those less fortunate than I. What brought that about, I think, is observing those around me, giving and helping without expectations of those efforts being responded to in-kind. I believe that selfishness may be the one part of our DNA that we can change. To make that change does not require surgery, drugs, or a sit-down with the Dalai Lama. Empathy is easily acquired if you realize your life is great because you have been blessed with great opportunities that others have not been exposed to.
I think that as a conservative I believed everyone had the same opportunities and only some accepted the challenge and made a good effort to put them to full use. In other words, the beggar was homeless & jobless because he was shiftless and lazy. All the while acknowledging that laziness is the hardest darn human affliction to overcome. Have I become a Liberal? I think not. I believe that I’m somewhere between the two ideologies: wanting others to work for what they have, and realizing that bad things happen to good people and that I should help when possible. I want to tell old Franklin that, yes, I still think I am a conservative, and I constantly strive to put one foot in front of the other 😊.
֎ A couple of weeks ago, we were warned by many weather forecasters that hurricane Florence was headed across the Atlantic Ocean, making a beeline straight for the east coast of the USA. Needless to say, we watched it closely as it approached our shore and, at some point, the 140-mile-wide cone they drew of its path included us. We were inside the cone by a very small margin. Finally, it was predicted to come ashore within 4 days and many areas were warned to evacuate. I prayed many times for the Lord to spare us, but in the meantime, we started bringing everything inside that could be blown, or floated away (we are 12 feet above sea level). A Category 5 storm would bring devastation. I called and made motel reservations for four nights at an inland area city about 2½ hours away. As we retired for the night I told my wife that the radar showed the storm had shifted a little south (away from us) and we were now slightly outside the cone. That gave us a small amount of relief. The next morning we arose early, and I dashed (sort of) down the hall, booted up my PC and went directly to the weather radar and the graphic showing the storm’s projected path. It told us that the storm had shifted a little farther to the south, so we were a little more removed from the cone. I waited until noon, watching carefully, and then called the motel and cancelled the reservations. Sure enough, the storm came ashore in North Carolina as predicted (away from us) and has ruined many, many lives and destroyed so much property. We have close friends in some of the areas that were almost annihilated and it didn’t take long for me to realize that by asking The Lord to spare us, I had unconsciously asked him to shift the storm away from us onto someone else. Needless to say, I have walked around for many days feeling guilty for making such a request. I guess that I have to believe God made the decision on his own, without regard to my pleas, and that he thinks I place too much credit to my imploringness.
Alex Carrel said, “Each individual thinks himself the center of the world. Nothing seems more important to us than our own existence.” Sadly, I believe that sometimes it is true. I just have to remember the next time I make a request to include the caveat that if that would shift misfortune to others that he denies my plea.