Third Life

Walking back from my sacred rock at the river, across the wooden bridge and then past the sandy beach area where I sat while the dead dog decayed for a month or so last summer… sorry for that image and smell, but it’s really what happened… like I said, walking back just past that sandy beach, there’s a half tree, and almost every single time, when it passes into my left peripheral vision I glance quickly over as though it’s a person or something. Then I laugh. At myself. I laugh at myself because I know it’s coming. It’s happened dozens of times. And it still gets me almost every single time.

My First Life I categorized as the 2 decades before Sarah, and the Second Life the 2 decades we have now spent together, so it follows that the Third Life will consist of the 2 decades on deck.

I really hope that when I’m 53 and 63 that I’ll still be flinching at that dang half tree and immediately laughing out loud at myself.

Or when my hair is turned all mostly white, I hope I am still up in the press box with a broken down air conditioner and a CD Player (I mean we have one in 2021 might as well keep the CDs going until 2041–they’ll be classic by then and poised for a comeback like the vinyl of today)…

But I hope I’m up there with Alan and Pat eating the same pregame meals (baseball and superstition belong together), and solving all the world’s problems both large and small, and my favorite thing of all, I hope that in the Third Life after a bang bang play that me and Al and Pat do a quick discussion of whether it was a hit or an error so that I can post it up on the scoreboard. I don’t know a lot, but I do know those instant calls and sometimes quick discussions are my favorite. And then if we get into talking about our own glory years, or trying to put together an all time Crest team. Yessir! And football is only a few months away and then I’ll get to be up there with Donnie and Dr. Litton and Flounder and Andy… I’ve gotta calm down.

So, yeah the Third Life. Obviously so much of looking ahead to the next 20 years is presumptive. And if we had forgotten what happens when we assume, then the last year and a half surely reminded us! So the format for this one is a bit different, and honestly has been tough to wrap my mind around which is why I was later in posting.

I mean the kids you know! Wow. The Third Life, if all goes as imagined, will see my oldest boy graduate next year followed by his sister and brither in a few short years. It will bring college visits and perhaps spouses and kids and careers. Or maybe not. But I am so excited and proud and filled up and running over to see them continue to live life. They’re good kids! And I won’t keep qualifying, but in the realest sense all of the Third Life is based on the often used phrase “Lord willin'”.

I hope in my Third Life to continue to improve my craft as a teacher. I am so grateful for the caring leadership that Holly offered during this unprecedented time for us. I told her how much it meant to me personally since combined with the pandemic I was also dealing with my dad’s health and the crap with GWU and my own health and trying to shepherd my own kids through the murky waters… and yeah Holly was a source of compassionate stability for me.

And I’m so excited for the next phase at Crest as Mr. Shields, my lifelong friend, takes the helm. His record speaks for itself, he is one of the smartest people I’ve known and he leads by example with hard work and excellence. He kept saying “what we do is too important…” at our first meeting and that has inspired and reenergized me for the coming year. And no doubt his presence will be an extra motivator for me because he knows me, and we’ve had a friendly competition, or maybe not so much competition, but collaboration through my First and Second Lives. Its wild that I only have a decade left before I can retire, but I want to be the best teacher I can be. Excellent and consistent and inspiring. And I hope to find other avenues to provide support and education for folks in addition to teaching at Crest.

And Sarah as the director of TRIO is impacting so many lives! She’s so good at what she does. She cares so deeply for people and is so intelligent and excellent and creative. I’m excited to see how her career evolves as well in the realm of education. We’re teachers. Always have been.

I’m going to try and become more of a handyman. That’s scary for Sarah and the kids because I’m kinda like Cliff Huxtable when it comes to home repair. I tend to go full sledgehammer out of the gate. LoL. But I want to learn how to be more patient and detail oriented when it comes to things like this.

I know we will experience loss and death and new life and issues with our bodies and minds that we haven’t before. Getting older is a real thing I reckon. I’ve worked hard to get into the best shape I’ve been in since early in my Second Life, but the reality is I’m 43 no matter how much I sometimes still wish I was 23.

And in that regard, I want to learn to be. To let it be. To rest in the goodness of God. To rest in the notion that Good wins. That Good has already won. Already and ongoing. But the not yet of this world, if that makes sense… the darkness and brokenness and sadness and such of this current age… it can really weigh me down. Lord I believe, “help me in my unbelief.” I hear you man from Mark 9. I hear you!

I have a blessing in that I can think a few steps ahead. It’s a blessing in that it allows me to foresee problems and issues and work towards solving them. I’m good at planning ahead and seeing a variety of possible scenarios. And it’s really fun to anticipate fun trips and events. But it’s also a burden as that same ability also, too often, leads me to playing out negative outcomes. Imagined, but in my mind all too real. Then I get into my own head and nervous system… ahhh “anxiety, why do you always get the best of me.” Not always, but those are good lyrics from Isbell. I’m rambling, but I’ll finish this paragraph with a thought I heard from the 400 meter race I watched at the college nationals. The announcer said you just gotta run and let the finish line come to you, instead of trying to get yourself to the line. You just keep running and it will come. That’s what I wanna do. Just keep running. You know… believe. and BeLive.

Maybe I’ll be mayor. If the town will have me. That would be something.

So yeah, I don’t know what’s next… I hope to continue to develop a community of folks with whom I get to live this life. Covid and the changes we’ve experienced have led us to expend most of our energy towards our own 5 plus one or two more. Church of 6. And, I’m a whole lot like my dad, who, if you know him, loves to be at the house. And I like it even more now that the mosquito folks come and spray and we don’t get bitten anymore. I think I’ve Pavlov’d myself into staying at home even more than normal. haha.

I think a lot about a lot. I love to discuss all the things. I don’t have much time for facebook comment style, canned responses that don’t consider even for a second the layers and many facets of an idea or issue, but for those, like the guys in the press box at the baseball game, who have their opinions but are willing and able to consider a different view even if they disagree with it, yeah I’m here for that. And I hope that early in my Third Life we can see a move towards respect and debate and a move away from enmity and derision. A move toward encouragement and spurring one another on towards love and good deeds. A move towards grace and humility. Grateful and Humble are two words that I cling to these days.

For now I’m just going to sit here and debate about whether I should go ahead and trim the Rose of Sharon bush or let it do its thing and get wild for a bit and then deal with the trim after the beautiful purple flowers bloom. There’s a sermon or two in there for sure.

Thanks for reading y’all. And thanks for the encouragement. It means a great deal to me. Sorry for the rambling nature of this one, but it proved difficult to try and imagine another 2 decades.

Grace and Peace.

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