Just to say hey…

I had the -oscopy this past week and, Praise the One, I got good news. I also went FB live immediately afterward and once I got home Insta live… both to the dismay of Sarah, as apparently, I was saying some pretty wild junk off camera. LOL

Now, it does make you think and wonder about consciousness. How could I be that out of it, but still somehow recognize the audience I was speaking to? And the drive that wanted to let everyone that had been praying for me and considering me that I was ok… those outweighed any of the effects from the dope I was on.

The Insta live is filled with memorable phrases. Slanted sleeping. Sarah in the background saying ok that’s enough. Me saying I was as good as I was gonna be. Profound stuff, ya know? πŸ˜‰

But there’s a phrase that comes seemingly out of nowhere: I will find you. But I follow it up with a complete change in my facial expression and say it 2 more times. And then I say…

“Just to say hey… that’s all.”

And like I said earlier, consciousness is a marvel. Because of all the things I don’t remember one bit, I do remember that moment. And as I’ve watched it back many times, you can tell just a bit, that right after I say ‘just to say hey’ that I break for a second. There is a wave of emotion. That is all.

Life is short. It really is. We don’t need the reading from Job 14 from the RCL on this Holy Saturday to alert us to the fact. We all know it internally.

All those years when our kids were young and older parents would say things like ‘time goes by so fast’ or ‘they’ll be grown before you know it’ etc. And at the time, of course, we were the young parents who knew all the things. So we were gonna make sure and cherish every moment as they all go by at the same speed. And we weren’t gonna let time sneak up on us like that.

Ha.

I think we’ve done a pretty good job cherishing the moment. But time is relatively undefeated it seems. Time is short. Fleeting moments.

So we’ve got to love. We’ve got to say hey. That’s all.

I’ve been guilty of withdrawing. Circling my wagons–(is that ok to say?). Once I pulled into my friend’s yard to apologize to him, and he said that he knew we’d been rolled over, but that the way we were responding was to draw our circle tighter and tighter. He wasn’t wrong.

I don’t know about the self-care ethic. That’s not a statement of judgement. It’s a real pondering I have. I do self-care things. I know that my own mental well being is important so that I can be there for other folks. But I do wonder if the pendulum has swung too far maybe. Maybe. Do I make too many excuses about moving on from relationships that are draining or uncomfortable or whatever? Instagram says it’s ok for me to be concerned with mostly myself. Again, not judgement. Just my train of thought pre and post colonoscopy.

Here’s what I’m sure of. The texts and comments both profoundly intimate, such as ‘you’ll be fine‘ from G, or the ones that were just ‘thoughts and prayers’… they all meant so much to me. The knowing glances of gladness after hearing the good news. Those meant all the things to me.

We really are in this thing together. Life. Death. Existence. We all have questions about the mystery of it all. We all approach trying to answer those questions as best we can. And at the end of the day, I think sometimes we… or I… can make it way more complicated than it needs to be.

More and more I think we can cloud it up by seeking the mysterious spiritual remedies or solutions. And what really matters more than most anything is just showing up for each other. Just sharing in community. Communion. In the reality of being human. Shared humanity. You know…

Just saying hey… that’s all.

Friday Flashback: The Proposal

68 days until June 9… That’s when we will mark 20 years of being married up. Thought about waiting until closer to time to post this story, but then I decided to not wait. πŸ™‚ So.. I present the story of the day I proposed to Sarah:

Scene of the proposal in watercolor

We were in some classes together, Philosophy with Dr. Carscaddon for one. In that one we formed a ‘study’ group and she pretended to be wowed by my dizzying intellect. lol. So we had known each other some, but our first time ‘together’ was at Homecoming 1999 (?). After the dance thing we went to the Waffle House in Gaffney. I was relegated to the back of the Isuzu Trooper while the other crew rode up front, but I reckon she was glad I was back there.

So we did our thing for the next year. Playing spades and driving to the mountains and listening to Les Mis and going to India… you know, regular things like that. Fast forward to Homecoming 2000.

I billed it as a celebration of our anniversary. I was going to treat her to a day in the life of the last year together.

So I came to get her at Stroup, where I had grown quite skilled at throwing a piece of bark at her 3rd story window to alert her of my presence. “He’s a suitor!” GW had rules about guys going into girls’ dorms and such.

She came down and we sat in our swing in between Stroup and the music building. And I read to her. Poetry. I’m a romantic, what can I say? We did a good amount of falling in love on that swing over the past year, so it was the only place to begin.

Following my wooing on the swing, we drove up to pick up the Livermush, egg, and cheese sandwiches I had on order to go from the Snack Shop. We took those foil wrapped delicacies with us down the Greenway where we had a morning breakfast by the river.

Then we came back up to watch and follow the homecoming parade down Main St. and Stadium Drive on our way to watch the football game. We stayed til halftime or so before we went back to my apartment on campus.

I had the rooms decorated. One was set up like this place in Boone we used to go to. We had found this cave type situation with our friends Jeremy and Joy and we spent a good amount of time hiking up that way. On our way to and from Macadoo’s of course. So I had one room set up like ‘the hole’ from Boone.

The other room was set up like we were in India. Sarah lived in India for a year after she graduated high school. She worked at an orphanage with a man named Samuel Thomas (see oldest son’s name). During our year together I had the chance to go on a trip to the orphanage and surrounding areas. It was wonderful and awful. I’ll have to write about that another time–and I would also love to have Sarah write about her experiences there for some Thursday entries here at Co6…

But I was glad to be able to experience the place that had formed her so much, so I had a room set up with Chai and I had borrowed a punjabi suit from my friend and I rocked it while we sat together and had our tea.

By then it was time to head down to the Cracker Barrel. I like a good schedule. We went down and ordered our usual–split the 6 veggies and all the biscuits and apple butter you can handle. Cheap and delicious. It was great until we met some friends down there, and they got to talking, and were dangerously close to putting a kink in my schedule. Whew. Don’t worry guys… it all worked out πŸ˜‰

After supper we landed at the Dover Theater to see our friends perform in Midsummer Night’s Dream. By this point, I’m getting very nervous–you see I’ve had this ring floating around with me all day in various places. Or at least the thought of the ring was floating around.

So at the play, I was fidgety to say the least, and Sarah began to worry that I was feeling sick. Nope just my natural reaction to the stress of proposing to live my life with you girl… I said to myself of course. Then probably gave her the “smoulder“.

Those who get vaccinated together stay together

On we went then to the homecoming dance, where it all started a year before. We did the tootsie roll probably, and assuredly the electric slide, ate all the meatballs and pigs in a blanket, and then we wandered on out to Lake Hollifield by the bell tower.

I took her down to the gazebo, opened up the Jansport, lit up a dozen or so tea candles around on the rails, pulled out the boom box (you know the kind that takes 47 D batteries, placed Wynton Marsalis Midnight Blues in the CD player, and we danced in the moonlight. And I said smooth things I’m sure. I love you girl… you make me who I am girl…. this has been the best year… who was I before you… you know smooth…

After that we walked back up to the bell tower. This was before the Tucker Center was built and my fancy Stella blue escort was parked up by the tower. Sarah, thinking this was the end of a lovely anniversary, was surprised when I suggested that instead of going to the car we keep on walking down to the legendary boiling spring.

We walked down that way and I had her sit down on a bench beside the leaning tree (which was just recently removed), and I whipped out the ring, dropped down to both knees…. listen y’all I was way to nervous and unsteady to balance on one knee. I said some more romantic things and then asked her to marry me…

And she said…

“Nuh uh!!!!!”

And I was like…

But, of course, it was a totally shocked and surprised and elated “nuh uh”… which was quickly followed by a yes and probably some solid making out.

I had taken the risk of informing many of our friends, and when we walked back to my apartment they were all waiting for us to celebrate–with sparkling grape juice of course–because Gardner Webb.

It was a good day.

The Stone DMB: I will come find you…

I’ve been thinking about what it means that we’re all in this together. I’ve been thinking about our current ethic of self and how that should fit. This will be a topic I will explore more in the coming days. For today’s Thursday Thoughts though, I’ll let Dave’s words from the song The Stone carry the load.

“I was just wondering if you’d come along
To hold up my head when my head won’t hold on
I’ll do the same if the same’s what you want
If not I’ll go…”

Philippians 3:1-11

Such a rich, loaded passage. I would normally want to break this down into smaller chunks, but what is normal. πŸ˜‰ Instead I mostly want to let the focus fall on the last few verses.

I know he uses the terms loss and rubbish, and I’ve read in a couple places where the word used here is very strong–even to the point of calling it the good word for poop.

I don’t think the point, though, is so much to discount the badges that he has. The successes he’s had in the flesh aren’t useless or pointless. It’s not so much that they have no value… I don’t think.

And maybe I’ll end up saying the same thing, but I think the point here is in contrast with the knowledge of Christ that these things, which in and of themselves are good as far as they go, they pale in comparison. In fact, there is no comparison.

I find my identity in a lot of things that are valuable. I am a good teacher. It defines a lot of my identity. I’m a fairly good husband and a pretty good dad. I identify with those things. I do a decent job representing the voters of Boiling Springs on town council. I try to be vulnerable and honest on FB and Insta in hopes of casting a bit of light on others who may experience similar trials. I love my kids. Yeah I know I already said that I was a good dad. But seriously, I love them so much. And Sarah. Yeah.

Those things are rubbish. Ha. Compared to the knowledge of Christ. To the sharing of his sufferings. Think on that for a lifetime! Becoming like him in his death and attaining the resurrection. Wow.

Again, I think being husband and daddy and teacher and friend are phenomenal. But the Christ. The life and work of Jesus and the path that is opened up for me, for us, due to the Humility and Grace created by him. That’s the value.

Lord let me identify in you and the identity I find in other things flow from that first. The Love and Life and Hope and Peace found in you surpasses all other things. All else will seem to fade. My health, my identities mentioned above. But the Lord reigns forever. He remains. Praise the One.

Finally, my brothers and sisters,[a] rejoice[b] in the Lord.

To write the same things to you is not troublesome to me, and for you it is a safeguard.

Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh![c] For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God[d] and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the fleshβ€” even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.

If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ,[e] the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 I want to know Christ[f] and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Memory Project Notes

Off the top of my head… things I remember about my folks growing up:

We used to sit around the table and cook steak in the fondue pot. I would always want the orange tipped skewers.

My dad made this wooden case that accompanied a baseball game where you had to keep scorecards with old school players…

We would sit around playing Intellivision (before Nintendo)… we would play a football game, and B-17 bomber… Then when Nintendo happened it was a lot of Zelda and Metroid.

My mom would be at all the sports games doing her special hex on the opponent among other antics. Seemed to work though–she still puts the hex on tennis opponents to this day πŸ˜‰

Pop out in the shop making whatever was next, like a wrestling ring for my figures, and blaring Kingsmen, or Oak Ridge Boys, or Jesus Christ Superstar, or the Gaithers…

Playing wiffle ball in the backyard at Campus House… used an old wooded basketball backboard that had the strike zone painted on it. Home run derby was the usual game.

Me and Jodi using a tape recorder to record conversations and our stunning renditions of whatever the popular songs were: likely some Tiffany and Bangles involved. And we would hit those runs!

Mom and Dad both playing all the church softball. They were good too! I spent many days growing up at the old Lattimore softball field–I was the king of cup ball in that sand pit. And ate a thousand air heads.

One time Daddy (Pop) tore his achilles trying to stretch out a triple. He was in a full length leg cast for several weeks.

We walked to the GW swimming pool through about 8-10 inches of snow one year for my bday party.

My dad worked 3rd shift most of the time growing up. He would sleep while we were at school, but then would always be at practice. Every single one.

We would go down to Gaffney most every week to see Herman and Billie, granddaddy and granny–my dad’s folks. And we’d spend many Sundays at Mawmaw’s house in Lattimore–making sugar butter biscuits with Aunt Jewel… and likely catching up on the week’s drama from Young and the Restless.

So much time playing Little League baseball, basketball, and football.

I’m sure I could continue with a pretty long list… and I will add to these memories as I go along in an attempt to compile some type of coherent narrative as a part of my memory project. Of course, the overall support and constant advocacy from my folks is what stands out. I can name individual memories, but the No Matter What kind of love that they have always demonstrated and given to us is such an integral part of who I am.

Thanks mom and dad.

Jesus Christ Superstar

This was the first broadway musical type record that I listened to. Growing up my dad would play it often. He had the 33rpm record album. We would also watch the movie version once in a while.

I love Phantom as well, but I’d have to agree with N.T. Wright that this is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best work.

The Rock Opera gives interesting perspectives on Judas and Pilate and especially Herod and Mary Magdalene… and of course Jesus.

The music is phenomenal and the lyrics penetrating and evocative. The song Gethsemane is especially poignant to me, as it makes you feel the emotional and physical torment Jesus experienced during those hours of his life.

I’ve been able to see it once live, and Sam and I were supposed to see it in 2020, but… well… you know.

It’s a solid choice to spin during Holy Week.

Or you may be able to dial up the NBC? special with John Legend and Sara Bareilles. Unexpectedly I actually thoroughly enjoyed that presentation of JC Superstar.

Google Search History Analysis 2

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It is what it is: I was curious about the etymology. It’s a circular kind of thing, but can’t say it isn’t what it is I guess. This is part of me trying to reckon with possibilities and cope.

Avetts Red Rocks 2021: We have tickets for the Sunday show. It times up perfectly with our western trip we have planned for July. BUT… covid looks likely to continue to wreak havoc on the ability of Red Rocks to open fully. 2022… here we come?

Crest High School Football: had to check on the squad. Announcing a game today at noon–that’s right Saturday at noon. Another covid thing. It’ll be after my second dose, so hopefully I won’t say anything too crazy on the mic if the effects start to hit.

Revised Common Lectionary: Staple on the search list. First thing I click each morning. Daily Readings have been good for me.

The Doors of Stone: have to check once in a while to see if Rothfuss is any closer to releasing the third book of KingKiller Chronicles. It’s only been a decade since the last release. *eye roll*

The Leftovers: This show y’all. Phenomenal. I was searching this to see about the book that it’s based on. I ordered it. We’ll see if it is as good as the show.

March Madness 2021: Had to get my streaming capabilities set up. Glad there are tourney games back on today. Sad for Ohio St. and my guy, but the tourney has been fun to watch.

Paul Jackson: bassist for the Headhunters and with Herbie Hancock on many albums. He moved on to the next life a week or so ago. Worth a listen this weekend if you’re not familiar.

Sleep Number Bed: Always looking for the best mattress ever.

The Voice: it hasn’t been coming on on Tuesdays so we had to find out what was up. Sydney loves this show the most. She follows along and builds her own team with the app. I enjoy the blind auditions and the banter with Blake and the other judges. And I like watching it with Sydney.

Moderna Second Dose: coming up in about 2 hours. checking on those side effects and getting my mind right for what to expect. Grateful for the medicine, but I’d be ok with just a sore arm if you please.

Days til July 4: Counting down to when we head towards Bozeman!!!

Spiral dynamics: I was curious. Didn’t get too far down this hole though.

Set your mind on things above: working on it. Relying on scripture and prayer and the prayers of others to get me through this season of trial. If I showed current google searches it would have a lot to do with what to expect from a colonoscopy. I’m trying to remain positive. I’ll be ok. One way or the other. Sometimes I am able to rest in the positive, and other times not so much. But it’s ok. Things above.

grace and peace to ya on this Saturday morning.

Friday Flashback: Shining Light Series–Ansel Harmon

He worked at Timken. It was my understanding that whatever he did with ball bearings, he was one of a very few people who could do it. I know he worked so hard, and that all that shaved metal etc took a toll on him. I know he worked, but when… because it seemed like he had all of the time for us.

Hours and hours and hours… he would take us over to the cages at GWU and throw us hundreds of pitches. We would stand out in front of his welding shop at home and hit pea gravel with a broom handle for hours or forever.

One of the things that made a huge impact on me, on all of us, was the way he calculated batting averages in Little League. He was our coach of course! But the way he averaged us out was based on contact. If we put the ball in play it went down as a hit in the book. He encouraged us to take our swings and make contact! So I think I “hit” like .950 or so my 6th grade year.

Don’t misunderstand, this wasn’t just a tactic to make us feel good about ourselves. We were dang good. Maybe we rigged the draft a few years, but hey, what are you gonna do? But we kicked tail. Like 42-2 kind of stuff in Little League. We only lost a few games in my last couple of years with the mighty RED SOX. Champs!

Ansel, coaching 3rd and giving us the delay steal sign almost every time we got on. Aggressive. And he’d wave us around 3rd to score, windmilling that arm of his, with that eager and ecstatic look on his face, side stepping all the way down the line with us on many occasions. Hand over his mouth πŸ™‚

He was an encourager! He was my first second dad. I’ve had many second dads along the way, but he was the first as we grew up neighbors. He was our advocate!

Ansel Harmon. A shining Light for sure. Not a perfect man, but damn, we gotta get off of this trend thinking that those humans exist. But even after his passing from this age, the ripples that he created in my life, and the lives of many of my teammates and others, are still fanning out through our own journeys and being shared with our kids. Ripples created by pea gravel hit with broom handles.

Thank you for all you meant to me Ansel. Rest easy my friend and mentor! And I’ll see you waving me around 3rd into glory one of these days.