Simple

RCL 4/11/21

My thoughts aren’t all together here, but we’ll give it a shot. I need to tell you briefly about Phish. Their lead guitarist, Trey, wrote a thing for his senior project (in college in think) called Gamehendge. It’s a fantastical world with several characters and story lines that are put to music. And many of the songs the band plays come from Gamehendge. One of the songs, or two of them, are Col. Forbin’s Ascent and Fly Famous Mockingbird. In between the two Trey usually offers up a narration… to the delight of all the hippies in the crowd. It’s usually pretty psychedelic.

Anyway, one I listened to the other day from 1995 in Hershey, PA really caught me. Trey starts out saying he’s gonna give a brief history of humanity. He says that way back in time in Ancient Greece, philosophy, science, and religion were all one concept. They hadn’t split up yet he says. Then he goes into saying there are Eastern ways of thinking and Western ways… Eastern is about being One and holistic etc, Western splits spirit and matter…

Now you know the crowd is like, daaannnngg… ‘he’s right mannnn…’ you know and all the other stoned hippy stereotypical utterings. In fact, you can hear the crowd cheer very loudly for the Eastern way of thinking–which is interesting to consider in its own right. So that’s the stage…. these Phish fans are about to have all their eyes opened as Trey explains to them how it all fits together. Remember now, they’re in Hershey.

He goes on to say that one of the major benefits of Eastern thought is the abundance of cows, which leads to an abundance of milk, and therefore an abundance of chocolate! Then he says it like Homer Simpson… ‘chocolate’!

I don’t know if that makes any sense to you. It’d be better for us to listen to it together and hash all the thoughts out. But it leveled me. And I think that’s a good word. Leveled. It made me reflect on Simplicity. They have a song called Simple actually. “We’ve got it simple, because we’ve got a band.”

And one time I was at their 2000 NYE concert in the Everglades and Trey had to give a message of peace and harmony to the TV Audience on ABC for a brief spell, and he said his message of peace and harmony was to stay in the right lane unless you’re passing…

I enjoy breaking things down. Mostly enjoy. Sometimes it causes me stress. But my mind works that way. I like to consider all the angles of life and human existence. I like to think about the parts of the whole. And I believe and assent to the value of those practices. We do have our own little idiosyncrasies and experiences. And breaking those things down can lead to healing in all the kinds of ways. Mental, Emotional, Physical, Spiritual. No doubt.

But sometimes it seems that in continuing to dismantle and highlight all of the component parts that it can become very noisy. Distracting. Trey is just having a good time talking about chocolate. Or Driving. Peace and Harmony or the division between science and religion are all very important aspects of existence, but we aren’t going to get a firm grasp on those things and sometimes it’s good to retreat back to the Simple.

Love God and Love Your Neighbor. My dad has said that’s all there is to it for many years. Often, I think I thought that was just a cop out. But now I understand better. If I Love God and Love My Neighbor I’m doing and being pretty much all I can. But how do you love god and who is your neighbor and what does it mean to say god and which god and why do they do it this way and they do it that way…. Noisy. Important perhaps. But noisy.

The Acts passage today is interesting. I’ve always liked the material possession aspect of it. This is how we treat money in our family. Birthday money or whatever all goes into the ‘box’. And we spend it as we need it. Learning balance between wants and needs and how both of those are ok at various times. And learning not to hold on too tightly for another saying from my Pop–it’s just money.

But maybe there’s more to possession than materiality. I know I have a tendency to think that a revelation I have is one that I had. (Emphasis on I)! That I now have. That now I should tell you about because if only you knew it too then we could all live happily ever after. I figured it out, just listen to me. It’s tricky because revelation by nature feels that way to the one whom it was revealed. So naturally we want to share it. But as the Avett boys sing, possession is the king of sin.

I have the tendency to try and own the truth–as I see it. And Instagram (and all the socials really) is loaded with folks letting you know what the truth is. Just be this way or just do this practice or just manifest this or lean into that or do this work…. I don’t mean to belittle. I just mean to say maybe it’s not so complicated after all. (Also I deleted Insta again… so many reasons)

The overall thrust of today’s readings is that of Unity. Again, I understand the complexities of it all. I get that generalizations have been used to crush other humans.

But despite all of our differences and identifiers and categories and labels… seems to me there is much more that we have in common than we have in uncommon. The less I have to wade through to see you are just like me, makes it that much easier to have the dew of the beard of Herman or whatever…. hahaha. It makes Unity that much more attainable I think.

So. I’m going to set my intention to Loving God and Loving My Neighbor. And I know what that means. Not easy by a long shot. Sometimes the intention of others isn’t focused on loving me. Sometimes I do tricks with my mind to think that I know the intentions of others, and then I get all out of sorts.

But my intention. I know what things I can do to love others. I know ways that I can love God. Ima try and practice doing those things. And when I don’t. Starting again the next day trying again. To be continued…

Simplify.

Friday flashback: football days

Since there’s a big ol ballgame tonight as the Chargers cross the creek and head up to KM, I thought I’d flashback to my days on the gridiron.

In elementary ball I was the QB. Mostly I would toss right or left to BK or Antron or Sonny. One time though I hit that bootleg. Faked the pitch, tucked the ball up under my wrist and went running around the corner the other way. Almost everyone was fooled, and I was off to the races.

The field was only 80 yards long and I had about a 45 yard cushion. I still almost got caught and tackled 😂. But I didn’t, and I scored a touchdown. Let’s say it was a 95 yard run (even though the field was 80 😉)

In middle school I moved to receiver. The over the middle kind, for as coach Melton told me I ran like I had a piano on my back.

That’s half my face on the left.

One time I executed the receiver reverse to perfection. I think. I only think because as soon as I took the handoff and flipped it to the guy coming around on the reverse I got laid out. Smacked. Shew. Kapow.

I did catch a TD pass on a slant. “Hit me on a slant!” BK tossed a perfect spiral to me and I hauled it in just like Jerry Rice. Can’t you see it? And I didn’t even need those sticky gloves.

But after that reverse collision against Lincolnton, getting crushed over the middle by the likes of Dellinger and Harris in practice, and those dreaded Oklahoma drills…

Yeah… I decided full contact sports weren’t my cup of tea. I did enjoy boiling those old mouthpieces and then biting down on them so they would mold to my mouth. Is that still a thing?

Though I did rack up a championship medal in the flag football event at CDH in an epic battle for glory.

These days, my football life is fulfilled by getting to be the announcer for the Chargers on Thursday and Friday nights. Hoping for a win tonight against the Time Traveler’s Mountaineers so we can get another game or two at the Sid!

Philippians 3:12-16

Today my oldest boy had to exchange and return stuff that had been acquired from a relationship ended. He wasn’t looking forward to it.

Today I played my youngest boy in tennis for the first time. Sucker took me to the limit, but I beat him 7-5. He was getting pretty frustrated at the end, and having a hard time letting go of the last point and focusing on the next point.

Losing is tough.

In both cases, I told the boys to feel what you feel. The sadness and gut knots and frustration and disappointment and all those things are ok. Feel them. They don’t need to be blocked or denied or ignored.

But after you feel them, for however long, then let go and move on.

I may run for mayor and even if I don’t, as town council person, or really as a human person, I have to follow that wisdom as well. I have real personal displeasure and anger at the college in town for how they treated my dad.

But life is too short to hold grudges. Too precious. So I’m working on letting go.

And I don’t mean to say it’s easy to let go—it really isn’t. And I don’t mean to excuse or affirm any ill behavior. But letting go and moving on is the Way. Paul says so. Forgetting what is behind and pressing on… taking hold.

There’s hope and goodness awaiting. Abounding. And thank God, even though I think it’s helpful when I am able to take hold of that Hope, thank God it isn’t dependent on my grasp. It’s already taken hold of me. In Christ. It is. Hope is. Life and Love is.

Not that I have it figured out. By no means. In fact for those who think they have it figured out… well I would say knowing you don’t have a full grasp of it all is probably the right direction.

Press on dear friends. And thank you for carrying me along when I didn’t think I could.

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? 😉

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.

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…”

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 😉

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.

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.