Thursday, February 26, 2015

SHORT BIOGRAPHY FINAL PART - WRAPPING UP A SOUL

This is a story.  A story of love and life and a story of confusion and chaos.  It is story of a search for meaning and a story of coming to terms with truth and reality.  It is a story of one person that is driven and run by all others.  It is a search for freedom and a search for a hitching post in the form of a friend.  It is a story of losing and being lost, a story of surrender to forces beyond control.

He sits and looks around him.  He remembers his past and tries to look into the future but that is a difficult thing to do.  The future does not reveal itself to him as the only words his mind tells him is that this is it.  There isn't much to look forward to.  All there is to do is to carry on day to day, month to month, year after year until his own soul tires of being stuck here and departs in death.

It does not scare him, death that is.  Inside his mind he knows what will happen to his soul as death pushes it aside from the shell it now resides in.  All the changes in his life, he thinks, have been completed.  He is done with new experiences and new revelations.  His schedule, his agenda is now set for him until that time comes.

He is told by his therapist to seek out new things so he stops, sits and thinks about things that he would want to do before the finish comes.  He draws a blank in his mind.  What needs to be done has been done.  What gifts life had to offer him had already been given, taken and used up.  Now was the time to live out his life by rote.  Day after day, month after month and year after year.

Life hadn't been that bad he thinks.  He can look back and see specific times when he could hold his head up and times when he hung his head in shame.  It all seems to have balanced out he tells himself.  Maybe Sir Isaac's theories were more than just a physics excersize. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  Life was like that.  Or maybe life was like the tides rolling in and rolling out, having high points and low points. good times and sad times.  Everything equals out in the end.  The idea is to enjoy as much as you can and set aside those things that you can't enjoy.  He should be able to push those times, the low tide as it were, out of his memory.  He wasn't able to do that though.  His soul had a memory that did not let anything escape and so he was stuck with the whole package.

Just work through the responsibilities and everything else day after day, month after month, year after year until the time came when he wouldn't have to anymore.

This was it.  This was all there was.  He had survived so far, now all he had to do was continue to the finish line.  He can't see the finish line though.  He wanted to see it but for now it seemed forever distant.

And so it goes.  Day after day, month after month and long year after long year .....
Day after day, month after month and long year after long year .....
Day after day, month after month and long year after long year .....
Day after day, month after month....
Day after day, month after month....
Day after day, month after month....
Day after day....
Day after day....
Day after day...............................
Ascending and Descending - M.C. Escher

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

SHORT BIOGRAPHY PART FOUR - LOSING A SOUL

This is a story.  A story of love and life and a story of confusion and chaos.  It is story of a search for meaning and a story of coming to terms with truth and reality.  It is a story of one person that is driven and run by all others.  It is a search for freedom and a search for a hitching post in the form of a friend.  It is a story of losing and being lost, a story of surrender to forces beyond control.

It had been a long day though it was only half over.  The funeral had been a good one.  The funeral had celebrated as well as mourned his grandfather's life and death, his soul being set free from this world.  He now sat in his car along with his wife, his sister and his son as cars filled with the souls his grandfather had left behind began to leave for lunch at the church.  He started his car and sat still, staring at the wooden box on the small hill sitting over the grave in the ground.  The box was all alone as they waited for the cars to leave.  He had started his car but could not put it in gear as he was focused on the box that held the shell of his grandfather.

It didn't seem right his grandfather left all alone in that box.  Before his soul had left his grandfather had always been there for him or for anybody that needed help or advice.  He felt a tug in the heart of his own soul to get out of the car and go stand next to his grandfather until he was laid to final rest.  Someone should be there with him.  A feeling of abandoning his grandfather came over him and sadness began to fill him.  In the weeks and months to come he would have dreams of his grandfather in this place.  His dream would see him approaching the grave as his grandfather stood there waiting for him and they would talk.  He would be introduced to other souls that had been set free from this world and told their stories by his grandfather.  At the end of each dream his grandfather would take the pipe from his mouth, squint his eyes just a little bit and place his hand on his shoulder before telling him the visit was over, and he would awake to the reality that his grandfather's soul was gone and he would not see him or hear him again.

He sat in the car lost in his thoughts and his sister encouraged him to start leaving to go to the lunch at the church.  He put the car into gear and began to drive away, leaving his grandfather alone.  He would be back though in the weeks, the months and the years to come to visit the old man and to talk to the rock that would mark his resting place along with his wife's.   He would be back.

Looking back now he thinks of all the souls he had lost over the years.  Uncles and aunts, cousins and in-laws and grandparents.  Two grandmothers and a grandfather, all three of them so special and so important in forming his own soul as he progressed through life.  He misses them.  He misses all of them.  He had only twice been able to tell a soul that he was about to lose goodbye and I love you.  They were two of his uncles.  All of the other souls he had lost when he wasn't around to tell them goodbye.  He had been so lucky to have a family of souls like he had.  Each and every one of them had made an impression on how he thought, how he talked and what he did.

Each time he lost a soul to death it seemed to leave a hole in his own soul, something missing.  Something that was once there and now was gone.  Memories was the way to keep those holes, those gaps in his own soul filled and he went to his memory a lot to do just that.  Memories aren't like having the physical there though, and he would learn to deal with this.

He had been by his uncle's side when he lost his soul from this earth.  He and his uncle had, for the better part of two years, fought everyday to keep his uncle's soul healthy and here on earth.  As always, death eventually won out and his uncle's soul had left and he had lost another very important soul.  There would be no grave for his uncle though.  the shell of his uncle would be cremated, and on the day of the cremation, he held in his hands the flowers his uncle had instructed him to have there as a symbol of love and to be cremated with him.  They brought his uncle into the room in a cardboard box and had asked him if he wanted to look at his uncle one last time.  Knowing it would be to tough on him he denied himself that opportunity.  As the doors lowered covering the box, he stood with his mother and knew that his life once again would never be the same.

He sits now and thinks.  He thinks about the souls that he has lost, that have gone before him, that have left him behind.  He knows that there will be more souls to lose in the future.  Souls that are very important to him and his life will leave him behind.  He knows that deep down he must prepare himself for the inevitable.  He doesn't want to make that mental preparation though.  There is a part of him that sincerely wants to free his own soul before losing any more souls from his life.  He knows that he can't though.  He must follow the law of God and nature and work his way through his own life and that included the losing of more souls that he doesn't want to lose.

Life is hard.  Life is lonely.  Life is sad and life can not win.  Death will always eventually win and when death does, someone, somewhere will lose a soul that they don't feel they could afford to lose. They will, however, find some way to carry on.
Day and Night - M.C. Escher

Monday, February 23, 2015

SHORT BIOGRAPHY PART THREE - BREAKING A SOUL

This is a story.  A story of love and life and a story of confusion and chaos.  It is story of a search for meaning and a story of coming to terms with truth and reality.  It is a story of one person that is driven and run by all others.  It is a search for freedom and a search for a hitching post in the form of a friend.  It is a story of losing and being lost, a story of surrender to forces beyond control.

It is a disease they told him.  It had probably been hiding within him since a young child.  A chemical imbalance that forms the personality of his soul.  He is quiet and a loner of sorts and when he is young the chemicals in his brain are kept under control and the imbalance is not discovered or even suspected of being there.  He thinks back and suspects that he had felt the effects of the imbalance over the years but he was strong enough to keep it in check.  It would take a major event in his life to allow the chemicals in his brain to over run the control he had held on it over the years.

The event did arrive one night.  It came in the form of the news that the soul of his grandfather had left with his death.  At least this was the event he came to believe that weakened his control over the imbalance.  The death of his grandfather, even though he knew it was coming, would hit him as though someone had shot him in the chest.  It knocked him over, both physically as well as mentally.

It was not an instant change in the power of the chemical imbalance over his soul.   It would take awhile.  Yes he was sad and felt the loss of the old soul.  Yes, it felt like a part of his own soul had cracked with the loss of the old soul.  His life, and his soul would never be the same again.  It took a while for the funeral for his grandfather to take place because the old soul had left in a state far away and the shell of the soul had to be transported back to Missouri.  This gave his own soul time to get use to the idea and make adjustments to make shifts in the chemical imbalances of his mind before having to face the sight of the shell without a soul.

Over the next year or so he would keep the chemicals in check by visiting his grandmother and lend a hand in taking care of her.  During his visits she would talk about the soul that had left.  She gave him one of the old souls watches.  She would look at pictures with him and read poetry that her betrothed had written for her over the years.  It hurt him to see his grandmother in such pain.  She had lost her eldest son before losing her husband.  It was too much for her soul to handle for very long and eventually her own soul would leave to join other souls that had left before her.  These were two of the most influential souls in his life and now they were gone.  He accepted the fact though and not realizing that the strength he had in dealing with the imbalance in his mind had been weakened.  He had no idea how weak it had become.

It was an ordinary day at the office when his soul broke.  It was over the lunch hour and he was reading news off of the internet while sitting at his desk.  In the blink of an eye the chemicals that were out of balance rose up and overtook any strength or resolve he had left to keep them in balance.  He remembered not being able to breath.  He remembered his head feeling very light and his heart pounding hard and fast inside his chest.  He remembered thinking that the time had come for his soul to leave this world as he sat and tried to figure out what was happening.  When he was able to, he got up and walked slowly out to his car and drove to the clinic where his doctor kept his practice.  They rushed him straight in and ran all these strange test on him that he hadn't had before.

His doctor wasn't at the clinic that day.  Other doctors looked at his results to determine that his heart was not on the warpath trying to bring him down.  He waited in a small room for someone to come talk to him about what was going on and hi soul was afraid.  Soon an extremely understanding soul in the form of a nurse practitioner entered the room.  She talked to him calmly and soothingly and asked questions about his life and what kind of stresses he had.  He couldn't think of any.  His life was just as it always had been as far as he could tell.  She explained to him about the disease called acute depression and anxiety.  This was what had overtaken his mind on that particular day.  As she was talking he began to realize a lot of the pressures and stress that he had been fighting for many years and he felt tears start to fill his eyes.  He wasn't use to this.  He hardly ever cried.  He had not cried a t the loss of his Uncle or any of his grandparents.  Those time had seemed like a natural occurrence to him and he had held his feelings in as he had most of his life.  Now they were coming out.  The chemical imbalance had made a major strike against his mind and he would never be the same.

He slowly gave in to the depression and went quiet.  Not quiet as he had been before but really quiet.  The world seemed to be going on around him and he felt detached from his soul.  It was as if he did not really exist.  The anxiety would continue to pound at him and the depression would engulf him as they tried to find the group of medications that would help him balance out the chemicals.  They told him to find someone to talk to about what was in his mind, to find a therapist.

He had always scoffed at the idea of mental therapy.  It was something he did not believe in but the way he was being slowly sucked down into darkness he decided it was worth a try.  He called and had a referral service find him a therapist and he went.  The first time several times were awkward as he and the therapist tried to find a way through the walls that had suddenly been thickened around his soul.  She was patient though and eventually he found the courage to talk to her about things he had never talked to anyone about.  The doctor meanwhile came across a mixture of drugs that seemed to help him keep the chemicals in check somewhat.  The medications would change several times before they found a stable mixture that fit his needs.

Every once in awhile the thought would come to him to quit.  The thought of putting his own soul at rest so it could be among others that went before him sounded pleasant.  Finally he was resolved that this would be the best action to ease himself out of the depression and the anxiety and the way he was stressing his wife and others.  He told his therapist of his decision expecting her to understand.  She didn't understand though and by the end of that evening, he was in a place where shoe strings and belts were not allowed.  Where his every movement was monitored and where he was forced to talk to others in a group situation which he found very uncomfortable.  They adjusted his medication at this place and by the end of a week he seemed to have the chemical unbalance under his own control again and so they sent him home.

He still thinks of releasing his soul often.  He thinks of it and then holds on until he see's his therapist again so she can straighten out his thinking and thus strengthen his control over the chemicals that worm their way into his mind and thoughts.  He has learned to look at himself, to look inside himself with her help to stabilize his mind.

This is who he had turned out to be.  This is where life has landed him.  This is the rest of his life, living with these chemicals trying to alter his thinking while his medications try to stop them from being successful.

He will forever be a broken soul until his soul is set free and put to rest with those that went before.
Hand With A Reflecting Sphere - M.C. Escher

Friday, February 20, 2015

SHORT BIOGRAPHY PART TWO - SHARING A SOUL

This is a story.  A story of love and life and a story of confusion and chaos.  It is story of a search for meaning and a story of coming to terms with truth and reality.  It is a story of one person that is driven and run by all others.  It is a search for freedom and a search for a hitching post in the form of a friend.  It is a story of losing and being lost, a story of surrender to forces beyond control.

He sits today and watches her.  He watches every move she makes looking for a sign of discomfort and trying to work out a way to end that discomfort for her.  Age has taken its toll on both of them.  It was over forty years ago when they had their first real talk, soul to soul.  She was able to play touch football back then in what the school called the annual powder puff game.   She was short but back in the mid seventies she could run, walk fast and get things done.  She was a soul that finished things and studied while he was a soul who did not care for schooling even though he read a lot on his own and was a basketball player at the time.

They were separated by thirteen months according to the calendar and two years as dictated by the school system.  She was one of the youngest in her class while he was one of the oldest in his.  It was the school system that would keep them apart for a while until they discovered each other.  The discovery took place on the night of her graduation from high school and he was finishing up his sophomore year.  His best friend was in her class and it was this friend who set up that first date that would become a lifetime.  The first date at the time did not seem like the beginning of something that would  morph into a lifetime together.  It was the party after graduation and it took place at a business that catered to pool players, ice skaters and bowlers.  It was the first time he had ever put on ice skates and while she hugged the wall around the ice rink he found the skating to be almost a natural thing.  During the forthcoming years he would only put on the skates one or two more times.

He found her easy to talk to and easy to impress.  It was almost certain that they would go out together again and going out together again turned into going out together many times until they were together so much the souls attached to each other.  When he was but nineteen and she twenty, the two souls married.  They were a bit young but old enough and close enough to make the bonding take hold.

That marriage took place almost forty years ago, such a very long time.  During that forty years he was content with letting her make decisions for both of them.  In return he continued to meet with his friends playing basketball and baseball while she developed hobbies of her own and went out with her friends.  Each day the souls would come back together again and would be as one soul not only to themselves but to the rest of the world as well.

He sits and remembers as he watches her.  He remembers all that he had learned from her in those early years.  She had taught him patience while being stubborn.  She had taught him how to talk to people and be a social soul.  He learned these things but did not put them into practice himself.  Patience did not come easy for him and socially he kept off to himself.  She taught him what to be happy looked like and he became an expert at looking happy.  When the souls were together he didn't have to look happy, he felt that he was as did she.

The two souls tried to create a third soul but chemistry and physics got in the way and they were not able to do so.  She began looking at options and decided that if they wanted to they could adopt a third soul to make what she considered a complete family.  She approached him with the idea and he agreed.  The two souls would adopt a third and it would happen pretty fast.  Soon they were a family of three and the years started slipping by quickly.

Eventually the two souls that had become one became even closer.  Soon there would be no surprises as each day became another day.  He had taught her music and baseball.  She had taught him how to have a warm heart and to care for souls that they would meet.  She never was able to bring him into a social situation and have him behave as he should.  He would forever keep off to himself and observe other souls and learn much from it.

Now he sits and watches her.  They have good conversations on a consistent basis.  They still share their minds with each other and they still teach each other and learn from each other.  But time has left each of them fragile in their own way.  His mind has become fragile and her physical body has become fragile and they try to help each other from falling apart.

He watches her, observes her and responds to her every move.  To many it would seem a job or chore to watch over that soul next to him, but to him it is a privilege.  Forty years have brought the two souls closer and closer and now it seems the only thing that will separate them is when death catches up to one and takes one soul away from the other.  As he ponders this thought, deep down he hopes that death catches his soul first.
Bond of Union - M.C. Escher

Thursday, February 19, 2015

SHORT BIOGRAPHY PART ONE - FORGING A SOUL

This is a story.  A story of love and life and a story of confusion and chaos.  It is story of a search for meaning and a story of coming to terms with truth and reality.  It is a story of one person that is driven and run by all others.  It is a search for freedom and a search for a hitching post in the form of a friend.  It is a story of losing and being lost, a story of surrender to forces beyond control.

The story begins with faded memories that lived in his mind like ghosts quietly looking on while inhabiting an old house that needs repairs in every corner.  The memories are of  following others and their instructions.  He vaguely remembered dutifully doing what he was told and while watching his siblings carry on with what seemed no instruction at all felt like he was picked out to be the laborer and to take on all responsibility for things that needed done being done.  Indeed, if things were not completed satisfactorily he would feel the pain that was the cost of things not being done.

The system that he was forced to exist in made him search for a peace that he could only find by being by himself and so he became a hermit in his own home and no one noticed.  Retired to his room after the days work was complete, he would lock himself in and the world out with books or music and most times both.  In the books he found a wealth of  knowledge whether they be fiction or non-fiction.  In the music he found the soul of the artist and at the same time discovering parts of his own soul from theirs.  It was the arts that he decided to claim for himself.  Books, music, drawing and painting and sculpture all brought with them the soul of those who created and it seemed that there was always a tiny bit of those old souls that seemed to fill in a piece of the puzzle of his own soul.  He began to discover who he was.

With the newly discovered parts of his own soul he began creating art that brought out parts of of it.  He learned the piano and how the notes, the different keys worked together to create music and music would define feelings, moods, wants and desires.  He began to write and learned how words mean things no matter how small the word.  A set of words put together could cut like a knife or soothe like a warm spring.  Words could bring forth ideas, both old and new, and could explain the thinking process he would learn to be philosophy.  Words, he would learn, are the most powerful weapon or tool devised by the civilization of man.  He tried to draw only to learn that the art of expression through shapes and colors, the cool blues and the hot reds would not emanate from his newly discovered soul.  He felt betrayed by the art of pencil or brush on paper or canvas.  His soul would not reveal itself in this way and so he went to search for a way in which it could and found it in what would become his profession.  He discovered the delicate art of  drafting and designing with a board, a straight edge and a triangle.  With these three tools he would be able to create things that his father would bring to life from the drawings that came from his soul onto paper.  He now has about forty years of these artful drawings stored away in various places, in company files that people he does not know and never will meet will look at and appreciate what his mind and soul created.

He finally felt for the first time in his life that at least a part of him was complete.  He had discovered his soul and was able to impart it among others.  Once discovered though, very few saw the parts of his soul he had discovered and had molded.  He held them within, selfishly for himself for he knew in his heart the depictions that he created would not be appreciated and he was correct in his thinking on this point for the most part.
Drawing Hands - M.C. Escher

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

TRUST

Trust.  It is a big word for having so few letters in it.  Trust has got to be one of the toughest things to earn.  Once you have earned someone's trust, it is even harder to keep that trust that you have earned.  Yes, trust has to be earned.  It is not one of those things that are easily given.  You have to continually prove that you have earned that trust over and over and over and sometimes, you slip and you lose that trust that you worked so hard to get.  All it takes is one time, one little slip and that trust can be gone forever as you start to try to earn that trust over again.  Sometimes that will be an impossible task to achieve.

Trust is not only difficult to earn, it is just as difficult to give.  Seldom is the trust given a full trust, a trust that is unquestionable.  A trust that if the person you trust so completely says something, there never comes a doubt in your mind that it is completely true.  A trust like that doesn't come along very often and when it does, it is sometimes the easiest trust to be broken.  It is extremely fragile and must be handled with care.  I think that most people give that kind of trust to one, possibly two people if you are lucky.

Most times that kind of trust is never realized whether it has been an earned trust or a given trust.  The majority of us go through life never having that kind of relationship with another person where there is no question as to the motive of the other person.  We are humans.  It is built into us to question everything.  It is also built into us to break that trust once in a while, either accidentally or because we think the outcome will be better than saying what is really on our minds.

I don't even trust myself.  I don't trust myself with my words or my feelings.  I don't trust myself with my actions and as we all know actions speak even louder than words.  So often I do not realize that the actions I am taking are the kind that can hurt someone who had given you all that trust in their soul.  Most times, they won't tell you about it and just let it go, but while letting your actions go, they also let a little of that trust that they had in you slip away.

I want to be trusted.  Everyone wants to be trusted.  Fact is though, in our flawed human nature, we are all, at least a little bit, untrustworthy.  I don't like that feeling.  I don't like the fact that I can look at people around me and know that even though they say they trust you, there is at least that little bit of thinking that causes a little mistrust to be placed upon you.  On the other side, everyone wants to know there is that one person that we can totally trust while in reality, even though we go through the actions of trusting someone and trying to really put all that trust into them, chances are they will slip up and cause you to question that trust.

I am fifty eight years old now.  I was brought up to tell the truth even though I did not many times during that growing up period.  As each year goes by I find fewer and fewer people to trust, and less people that I can look at and know that they trust me.  It is just mathematics at this point.  The more opportunities you have to be totally honest and tell the complete truth, the more likely you are to hedge on that truth, thereby losing trust from people who used to give it to you unquestionably.

When you are young, it is easy to trust without question.  It is especially easy to trust without question those who you know you should trust.  When my nephew Damian was extremely young, we would babysit him once in a while or he would just come over to spend the night.  Now, I love Damian as much as an uncle can.  He was a great kid and has grown to be a very good man.  When he would be over at the house he use to want to play "Go Fish" with Uncle Bill.  The thing was though, that Damian's hands were much to small to hold the cards dealt him.  We would be sitting on the living room floor across the coffee table from each other and Damian would spread his cards on the floor under the table so he could see all that he had in his hand.  Here's the thing though.  When Damian would look down at his cards under the table, it was extremely easy for Uncle Bill take a peak under the table at the same time.  It would come my turn and I would say to Damian, "you got ummmm... let's see ... got any threes?"  Damian would sigh and say"yeeessss..." and hand them over to me.  You see, Damian trusted his Uncle Bill totally yet he could not beat Uncle Bill in a game of Go Fish.  I had a fabulous winning streak going for a few years over Damian.

Now I know that it wasn't a very nice thing to do, or even the right thing to do, but I also know that it was so much fun in a strange sort of way.  Does that make me an evil uncle?  Possibly.  But over the years as Damian grew up I came to earn a certain amount of trust from him.  I doubt if he trusts me totally today because he is human but I feel like he trusts me enough to keep a good relationship going with him and his family.  For the record, Damian was not the only niece or nephew that got the Uncle Bill treatment when they were little.  All of them did and a lot of them still do, but the thing now is that when I joke with them or prank them, they understand it is out of love that I make their lives miserable for a few minutes, not out of any motive that would hurt them intentionally.

Intentionally.  As I saw that word pop up on my screen, it came to me that how intentional the motive behind breaking someone's trust could be the key to what I am trying to get at.  This goes way beyond the kind of trust in families and spreads out to the kind of trust that friends may have in you or you in them.  There are time when, like me and nieces and nephews, it is a harmless sort of thing that may temporarily break that trust but is easily repaired because of the realization that it was not done with a motive that would cause harm or hurt that would stick with a person for a very long time.

I am guilty.  I am guilty of breaking trust that has been given me or I once earned and have watched that trust fade away.  I have also been the victim of such actions that have hurt me and harmed me and I have swore I would never trust that person again because of their motive in causing me that harm.

I want to be trusted.  I want to have people in my life I can trust.  I realize that all of us need to keep our guard up and not be foolish with our trust, but there are so many times that after someone has broken that trust they will try harder to prove themselves worthy of it once again and should be given another chance.  And when I do things that harm and hurt, I would like to think that I would be given another chance to prove myself worthy of trust that I had lost.

Trust is tricky.  Trust takes a lot of work.  Trust can also be a wonderful thing to have because total trust is so rare.

My apologies to anyone who I have broken their trust of me and to anyone I have caused harm or hurt to.  I am just a human, just like you.