The first time I heard the saying, Life is in Session, was about 24 years ago in a 12-Step meeting for families and friends of alcoholics. Someone was going through a crisis and after they shared about it, they closed with, I guess life is just in session. I’ve probably heard the phrase thousands of times since then and it has never been used in reference to a pleasant or exciting event in life. It has always been associated with a difficult stretch of time, probably because families and friends of alcoholics seem to have more than their share of those. It is not so much a complaint as an acceptance that life is not always easy and that we are probably best off trying to learn something from what we are going through instead of just complaining. The notion that life is a classroom offering lessons we are intended to learn appeals to me philosophically … it even fits with what my Mom taught me about life … that it’s for growing. As somewhat of a lifelong student, it’s a notion that helps keep me going if I can see the value of the lessons I’m learning. But I’ve never done well in required course if I can’t see their purpose. (more…)
Posted tagged ‘sadness’
This is a repost of something I posted at the end of 2009, the year I started Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog. I don’t remember what was going on but obviously I was looking for guidance. This has been a difficult few months and I find myself looking again. The same thoughts apply.
Years ago, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. When she went through surgery and the subsequent radiation, my son’s cat, Mr. B, was staying with us. Mr. B was an affectionate people-loving cat to start with but when my wife came home from the hospital, he became her constant companion. He’d curl up next to her on her pillow whenever she was in bed and drape himself over her neck when she came home exhausted from radiation treatments. A genuine bond formed between them. After the twelve weeks of radiation were over, we made plans to go back east and visit our families. The morning we were leaving, Mr. B was killed by a coyote in our front yard which was devastating to both of us. I don’t remember which of us it was that suggested that he was an angel who’d been called home because his job looking after my wife was done. Interestingly, when I told my sister what had happened, she suggested the same thing. Of course, we aren’t the first to suggest that our felines might be angels … Allen and Linda Anderson’s book, Angel Cats – Divine Messengers of Comfort, is full of similar stories. (more…)
I am most often a grateful person who can look to the good things that life has given me instead of focusing on the difficulties. That is not an ability I was born with, in spite of the fact that I am the son of a woman who could do exactly that, even in her later years when the effects of diabetes were making her life harder and harder. Fortunately, pragmatic optimism and an attitude of gratitude can be learned … my particular education came in the rooms of a 12-Step program but I am sure there are other places it can be found. However, for the last few months … and in particular, the last few weeks … issues with my adult son have dragged me downward. A clash of lifestyles made it necessary for us to (finally) push him out the door and this week, after several false starts, he moved out … not, of course, without some nasty arguments with us on the way. To say life at home has been stressful is an understatement and it certainly doesn’t end with his moving. He is still our son and still on our minds. (more…)
Today I am flying home from a business trip to Huntsville, Alabama. Only Monday, I posted Nothing To Do But Write from the DFW airport, complaining about business travel, particularly by air. The business went well, in spite of missed or late flights, missing visit requests, and endless meetings. We were up early to catch a flight to Dallas today on a regional jet, meaning a plane with even smaller seats than usual. I’m tired, my back is sore, and now I’m crammed into the exit row with two other broad shouldered guys. There’s not room for the three of us to sit back, a situation in which the passenger on the aisle usually loses. That would be Older Eyes, leaning into the aisle.
(I do not usually post about politics here, which is why I haven’t posted for so long. It’s been hard to take my eyes and mind off this train-wreck of an election. Hopefully, this post will be cathartic and I can get back to being the realistic optimist that I used to be.)
In the 2002 film, Enough, Jennifer Lopez plays Slim, a working class waitress married to wealthy contractor, Mitch, played menacingly by Bill Campbell . Though the marriage starts out well, by the time their daughter, Gracie, is five years old, Mitch has become physically and emotionally abusive. Slim and Gracie go on the run, changing their names and starting a new life in Seattle. But Mitch is not only wealthy, he is well-connected with underworld types and unscrupulous lawyers. He continues to stalk his wife and daughter, until, when Slim realizes he will never stop until he get sole custody of Gracie, she learns Krav Maga, a self-defense system developed by Israeli Defense Forces. She develops an elaborate plan to confront Mitch in his own house and kill him in self-defense. In the finale, she … if you’ll pardon the expression … kicks the living shit out of him but is unable to bring herself to kill him. This gives him the opportunity to strike her and as she is lying on the floor, he tries to kick her, an eventuality her martial art trainer predicted. Using a technique he taught her, Slim counters and Mitch falls from the second floor to his death. Critics mostly hated the movie, saying it was unrealistic and trivialized the real problem of abuse but I have to admit, I have a weakness for movies in which a woman gets real revenge on an abusive husband, so I always enjoy the closing scene.
Last week, I was working in the park, as I often do when I want to especially enjoy the benefits of being self-employed. There is a picnic bench right next to the lake under the shade of a spruce tree that makes a delightful office. I was getting my laptop out of its travel bag when a card fell out of the side compartment onto the table. As soon as I noticed the two kittens climbing a Christmas tree on the front, I knew what it was … it was a Christmas card from my friend, Stan, from the winter before he passed away from pneumonia. I opened it and read: (more…)
Saturday morning, I went for my usual walk in the park and, as I often do, I put on my earbuds and set my smartphone mp3 player to shuffle all. There are nearly 4,000 songs on my SD card, so it is certain that at sometime during my walk, I’ll get to reconnect with a long lost friend … an old favorite that I haven’t listened to in a long time. The song that caught my ear Saturday was The Computer Age written and performed by Susannah McCorkle. Odds are good you’ve never heard of her and I wouldn’t have either if it weren’t for the good old days of CD listening stations at Borders. The CD I listened to way back then when was Hearts and Minds. The intimacy of Susannah’s simple, jazzy style appealed to me instantly, so I bought the CD. (more…)