Monday, March 31, 2008


I have not been writing much lately because I’ve decided it’s a lot more enjoyable to write about humorous things. Or at the very, least, I like to write about things from a humorous point of view rather than tackling weighty and profound issues of great import. And, to be honest, I’ve been suffering from a significant lack of humor over the previous several months. I do find reasons to laugh when I’m in the moment, and it is always genuine when it happens. But when it comes to the dark art of putting lasting thoughts to paper, I feel the weight of things so deeply that there seems to be no way to unlock the bright or ironic side of life. So I don’t write.

With that said, I cannot seem to move on without at least attempting to process things in my mind eventually, and writing is the only way for me to do it without getting distracted or shutting it out with visions of a fanciful (and thus obviously fictitious) reality. So, here is where I am at:

The one colleague I have that I’ve come to consider my friend as well passed away last weekend. George was in his early 60s and not in great health, but this was sudden. I didn’t need to hear about that on the first day back from Spring break, when I was trying to buckle down and focus on the task of work. And I shouldn’t have walked into his classroom on Thursday as scheduled and tried to carry on with his little charges as though nothing had happened. (Obviously, it didn’t work) But that’s the way things are. It appears he went out doing something he enjoyed doing (tending his flower garden), and if this is not actually true, I don’t really want to know about it. I know in my heart that I did not make full use of multiple opportunities to reach out to this lonely and gentle soul, so I get to live with that and the fact that there aren’t any opportunities for a ‘do-over.’

Last night, I learned that my long time friend and one time mentor and gymnastics coach succumbed to Cancer yesterday morning. She was one of those people that if you could only use the fingers on one hand to represent the individuals who helped you to become who you are (in a positive way), she would be one of them. Not quite, but pretty close to parent status in terms of duration and overall influence across multiple aspects of life, I worked with her directly for longer than I have had contact with my own kids to date. I can say with all honesty that she made full use of the opportunity to help shape my life in a positive way, which is really saying something. Gwen is going to be missed by a lot of people, and I will not be the least of those.

Tomorrow will be April 1, the first Anniversary of when I held my Dad’s hand and watched him take his last breaths. There is a whole lot about this chapter that has yet to be written (if it ever will be), and some of the memories are hazy while others are so vivid I can still smell them. On April 1 last year, my Dad died… and we got several inches of SNOW!! The improbables continue to mount, it seems.

I am supposed to be working right now. My job is an important one, and I have come to really care about my students and how they progress. But all I can think about is taking a ride in the mountains and going really, really fast around the corners; NOT as a death wish, but rather as a celebration of life! The scenery ripping by and the smell of the wild flowers and other vegetation being ram-jetted into my nose through my helmet is the only thing I have found that seems to drain the stresses of the world out of me so that I can once again face harsh reality with courage. Out there, there is no escaping the fact that God is real and still on duty. It is as though I'm screaming, "Are you still there?!" And He answers affirmatively in ways that I don't think I can describe in words.

But my motorcycle is broken right now, so I am left only with the inescapable cumulative thoughts and memories of folks taken from me in this current life. And thus, on the inside, I am just as my office is now: Empty.

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