Walking in the Rain

There are these times when we are say, walking down a particular road going into a particular place in mind. We are determined and as we walk we may hum, sing, and even talk to ourselves just to keep the time from pressing down upon us. Our thoughts become more vivid and that which haunts us and taunts us become closer in our solitude. We have a destination and we have the desire to reach that at all cost whether it be fighting the loneliness or the thirst, or even our weakening knees and aching feet. Along our journey several challenges cross our path and those must be overcome in order to continue forward. Such challenges are to be expected and some are easily met. We can endure the heat as the sun hangs high above us and even create a makeshift shade with a newspaper found alongside the road. We can slowly avoid the rattling warning of a viper waiting for us to close in so it can strike and fill our veins with poison. Most importantly; we can keep moving so that the buzzards circling above and the scavengers lurking around do not mistake us for dead and tear bits and pieces of us as we rest.

This walk we are on we can often see the challenges and have time to ponder and prepare for the action that will help us endure. Often the distance itself gives us time to formulate a plan so that when we reach that trial we are strong enough to push through. This walk we can see in the distance a storm cloud coming toward us. We know that where the storm clouds are there too can be rain and even thunder, lightning, and hail. Just maybe that cloud will pass us by. Just maybe that cloud will dissipate and the comfort of the blue skies will prevail. We cautiously keep moving toward the darkened path because at this point what else are we to do? This storm is large and continues to head towards us, if we choose to turn around and retreat that cloud would chase us down. If we try to wait it out we will have to endure more than if we walk towards the storm. We could make another path, however; anyone who has ever walked in the woods knows the feeling as if you are walking in circles and that will only make us lost within the storm.

We choose to stay on the path knowing the risk and that it is far better to try to reach our destination than it is to allow the fear caused by this storm to change our direction. The storm cloud engulfs us and the temperature drops. Silence seems much dense and the tiny droplets begin to fall one at a time warning us of what is to come. We did not begin this journey prepared to fight off the storm, we could have picked up things along the way to help us however; we did not know then what our trials would be as we moved closer to where we want to be.

The tiny droplets of rain turn into a misting shower and soon the droplets begin to grow and expand. We try to shield ourselves from the showing rain with the newspaper we had used to shield us from the sun. This does the job and works rather well as it absorbs the showing droplets and slowly gets heavier and less shielding as it becomes saturated. This shield we formed from newspaper wasn’t designed to withstand the conditions at hand. The showering storm turns into a full-fledged rain storm and soon our shield begins to only channel the rain towards us and this which had once protected us now begins to burden us. We continue to walk as we ourselves become saturated. Knowing that we are already wet from the falling rain we try to protect ourselves less from the storm. We push forward despite the weight the storm has applied to us fore we can no longer keep from being saturated but we can try to get through this as fast as possible.

Just as our determination builds and our momentum sets a steady pace the rain drops turn into buckets and the wind begins to freeze us straight to our bones. The rain itself begins to freeze and as the hail drops the power of the wind nearly steps us back as its gust throws us around the path. The thunder roars and the lightning cracks through the darkness of the storm. We have reached the full warning of the storm and its threatening tactics to try to force us to turn and change our path. We must continue to push through and so we embrace ourselves and lean in with our shoulders as we make our way through the hail and use our fear to keep us moving rather than allowing it to petrify us in place. We are tired, we are soaking wet to the core, and we are battered and bruised but we are determined to endure. What is the point of turning back now? We will only have to face the same abuse, the same chaos, the same trials we already overcome. We must endure to the end.

The thunder echoes in the distance behind us as the lightning shatter the sky less and the hail and rain lightens as it falls to the path beyond us. The darkness of the storm fades from our forward sight as it rolls in our past. We have made it through the storm, we are saturated and worn, we are cold and our bodies are sore, but we have made it through this trial. The destination is before us and the sun will warm us and dry our clothes. We can make this and we have learned from this. We wished that we would have been prepared and maybe an umbrella would have been handy. However, a mere umbrella would have only shielded us from the lightest portion of the storm and the shaft from the umbrella itself would’ve very well directed the power of the lightning towards us. Maybe a rain suit would have helped us along the way or maybe just learning that we can push through the storm can give us the sense of strength and knowing that we did not fail or back down during those times of trials.

We continue walking down this path and embrace the warmth of the sun shining above us. We can look back and see the storm and think about all the choices that we made and even the ones we chose not to take. We are dry and as we reach our destination we will always remember when we were walking in the rain. This journey that we are on, walking down this particular road; we cannot fully prepare for the trials that we will face along the way. We will most certainly be tested and pushed to point where we will want to give in but it is the desire to keep pushing forward that will keep us on that path. It is the hope that the destination we seek will provide us with joy and comfort that strengthens us and the faith we rely on helps us endure. We all will face storms and we can’t always be prepared. If you stay on the right path you too will be able to look back and remember walking in the rain.

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The Safe Side of the Fence

I may have told this story before, or maybe a version of it at one time or another. Nevertheless, when I was a kid we had lived in a dusty little “one road” town an hour and a half south east of Oklahoma City. The house my mom rented was right on main street and two houses from the school and its playground. I remember fondly of all those dangerous playground items like the teeter totters and the big metal merry go round that several of us brave fools would see how fast we could get that thing moving and as we hung on for our dear lives our bodies would be pulled away from the ride and right at the stupidest moment we would take a leap of faith and let go as we crashed into the ground and rolled into whatever and whosoever was in the way. Yep … the so many fond memories of the carefree childhood life.

As my friends and I grew older we followed the steps of the kids before us and played baseball and basketball for the school with dreams of gaining a state title and some majestic banner that would be proudly draped from the rafters in the gymnasium for all to remember that at that time we were the greatest. We started in a miniature version of the little league and many years from junior varsity. However; for a small town, this was the beginning of stardom for us boys because if we could play these games and become good enough we could earn one of those banners and forever be deemed a local hero, well at least until someone else wins that title. At that time baseball was considered a National Pastime and the dreams we all had was the major leagues. Just imagine one having our faces on one of those baseball cards!

There were many days when we would go over to the ball field and seek out baseballs that had been hit by the Varsity team. They would always hit them out of the park and often they would land in the cattle field located 20 or so feet past the center field fence. For us this was much like a treasure hunt and I’m sure it seemed as if we were looking for Easter eggs. When it came to crossing the barbed wire fence and venturing into the field we always took a moment to try to understand what the cattle would do once we were in their territory. We had been to several rodeos and we knew how mean these bulls could be especially armed with three-foot horns on each side of their head. The last thing we wanted was to be gorged by one of these bulls and flung back over the fence like a rag doll.

We would stand at that fence and the pack of cattle would often be far enough away to make the attempt to seek out these precious baseballs worth the risk. Many times, we would see the white of a ball through the green grass and most of the time it was only 15 or 20 feet away from the fence holding in the cattle. I remember looking into the eyes of one of those bulls and I would try to communicate with it and ask it what kind of mood he was in today. On this particular day, I felt a bit braver and a bit faster than the last time I made this attempt. The bull seemed to be farther away and not too interested in us. Maybe today he was too hungry to bully us and chase us out of the field. Maybe today he had far better things to do. I looked and saw the treasured baseball just within that 15 to 20-foot area that they normally hid in. This ball seemed to be sitting on top of the grass just waiting for me to snatch it up.

I stood there on the safe side of that barbed wire fence contemplating what to do. I put together all of my childhood might and imagination in hopes that I could speak telepathically to this bull that most certainly would threaten me. The ball was half way between he and I; there was a possibility that I could be faster than he. I watched this bull and the pack of cattle for quite some time and felt assured that they had no interest in chasing me. My courage was building rather quickly yet the images of these beast tossing around a full-grown cowboy began to flash through my mind. I felt I had been warned time and time again of what would happen if that bull caught me. But not today, today I think he was taking a day off from terrorizing us kids.

I reached down and grabbed the cold steel wire of the lower run of the barbed wire fence and slipped my scrawny body through keeping a keen eye for any movement from the cattle before me. It was strange that on the cattle side of the fence the distance between them and the baseball seemed to have been drastically reduced. I was watching them and I know they didn’t move but that ball certainly was further away from me than it was from the danger zone. I tried to be as cautious as possible as I crept closer to the ball. The beast guarding it kept eating the grass and then looking over to me as I trespassed upon them. It seemed as if they were friendly that day and they didn’t mind me being within their comfort zone. Maybe they weren’t as scary as they had seemed to be. Maybe they want me to be successful in retrieving this baseball. Just maybe they were kind and charitable and actually want to see my take that ball out of their area and find joy with it.

The fear that had been weighing on me began to dissipate and I felt a whole lot more confident in rescuing this baseball from the muck of this cattle field. It almost seemed as if I was granted permission to do so and with that I approached the ball and reached down to grab it. The cattle and their guardian bull had watched me and gave no impression of their intention. I felt the warm joy of success as I began walking back to the safety of the ball field. I was so proud that I held up the ball so my little brother could see how brave and successful I had become and the look on his face when from a cheerful smile to one that sent chills through my bones. He was no longer looking at me he was definitely looking past me and I could feel the tremors from the ground resonate through my legs.

I was deep within the danger zone and closer to the beast than I was to the safety of the fence. I could hear the grunts and snorts of the bull as the stomping of the hooves began to thunder. I turned to see all the beast coming toward me as a stampede was quickly beginning. I ran like the wind and I focused on the opening between the two rows of barb wire and tried not to think about all the western movies where the cowboy was trampled on by an out of control stampede of cattle. I was so scared that fear pushed me faster than I had ever run before or even since. As I closed on the fence I could feel the heat of the anger coming off from the beast behind me. I took one last leap and sailed through that fence as if it wasn’t there. I laid on the ground feeling like I just escaped from hell and I look back at the fence and those beasts had stopped three feet from the wire. My heart was ready to explode and I could feel the pain from my right hand and knuckles as I proudly held fast to that wonderful baseball.

My shirt was torn and I had a few cuts and scrapes but I survived and I had the prize to prove it. I looked at those bulls and they just stared at me with a calm look as if nothing happened. These beasts really do look rather harmless because they do not expose any facial feature relating to any type of intention other than grinding grass. I was quite scared and had to convince myself to make this move and I felt certain that the beast was going to allow me to do what it was that I needed to do. As it turned out they waited for me to turn away from them and then they attacked. The ending of this memory could have been much worse and all it would have taken was for me to hesitate or stumble and fall. These massive beasts would have run me down and tossed and tore my scrawny body to pieces. I misplaced my trust into a beast I know very little about. I tried to accomplish something on my own that would have been smarter to have done with the help of others. Maybe I really didn’t need that baseball after all, especially seeing how we had found two more walking back around right field.

There are so many times in our lives where we think we need something and feel that whatever it is we feel we need is worth the risk. Often, we will look at all the possible options and even rely on and trust others to make these life changing decisions. unfortunately, there are many who only have their interest in mind when they act as if they are supporting you and there are also those whom seem trustworthy and more than helpful when in reality they are only waiting to take advantage of you and the situation. There are some who act as if they want you to succeed and when the moment fits them they turn on you to force you to fail. They act as if they are helping you up when they are really just trying to hold you deeper below the water. Sometimes you can access every scenario of a situation and feel you have the perfect way to find success but you failed to count on the people you really didn’t know anything about to begin with. Not all risk will leave you laying on the safe side of terror still holding the thing you were seeking for. There is always a risk of failure and being trampled on by a force greater than you had anticipated.

Trust is one of those things that is needed, it is earned, and it is misused. Often trust is lost and becomes difficult to offer back. When it comes to our success we need to understand that sometimes a stranger is a stranger and to trust him can be a higher risk than the attempt to grasp success at all. At such an early age, we were taught not to talk to strangers yet we do so all the time and take their words as if it were the truth. How many times have you gone to a car dealer and been talked into buying a car that certainly wasn’t as great as the salesman had praised it to be? How often have you listened to someone wanting something from you make promises they never keep? How often have you relied on the help of a stranger who claimed to want to see you succeed just to have them take everything you have left and try to push you out on the street?

I most certainly am not saying to trust no one; I am saying that honest intentions and pure charity are blurred by ones free will and worldly influence. If a man sells a car he does so with intentions far from wanting you to drive a reliable car. He wants to make as much money on that sale as possible and to sell it as quickly as he can, no matter what it takes. This same thing goes for many other things bought and sold. It gets even more crooked when this car being sold is at one of those buy here pay here type of places because that man expects you to put a down payment on it and knows that there is a high risk that you won’t be able to pay the car off so he will be able to repossess the car and sell it again.

Say you buy a house and the owner finances it. You pay 20 thousand dollars down and agree to make payments every month for a certain number of years. The seller wants to sell the house so he refrains from disclosing any negative information about the area or the house. He carefully picks a person who can come up with the down payment yet he knows it may be difficult for these people to keep up with the payments. After a while he waits for times to be rough and then he pounces threating to take everything away. He keeps pushing until you have no other option and you will have to give him the house back.

He seemed so friendly and almost too kind and loving at first; willing to do anything for you and made you feel as he was sent from heaven above. In the end, you may not end up with a few cuts and scrapes holding proudly to the prized ball you sought out for. In the end, you just may find that the intentions of you new found friend was to find someone to take advantage of and force them out so that he can find someone else to do the same thing to and then do it again and again.

Sometime our ambitions become so inflated that we forget that there are evil beast out there just waiting for us to turn our backs. Sure, there are times that you will get out still holding the ball but more often than not you may just find yourself toss around and torn apart. We need to be so careful in who we instill our trust into because there are so many people out there who are only in it for themselves and even though they say they care about you in reality they expect you to fail. We need to listen carefully to the voice within us because that will help guide you and show you what others are trying to hide.

I don’t know what ever happened to that baseball from all those years ago. Surely it has long been lost or even hit back into the field with those beasts. What I do still remember is the feeling of fear and knowing that the choice I made to trust what those beasts where showing me almost cost me more than I could possibly have paid. There are a lot of trust worthy people out there and I encourage you to surround yourself with them. Just keep this in mind if it looks like a bull, smells like a bull, and sound like a bull then you just may be running with the bulls praying that you will make it to the safe side of the fence.

I never trespassed on those fields again for I learned not to place my trust in that beast ever again. I also know that that was only one of the many stupid choices I made in life where the lesson was painful to learn. I really wished I had kept that baseball because now I feel as if I came out of that experience empty handed.

 

Tuning In

I am not certain I portrayed my thoughts exactly as I felt them in my last posting, and that certainly happens more often than not. These things we think sometimes fade in and out and become blurred with other thoughts. Sometimes they are like dreams while your awake and it is said that you should have a note book next to your bed so you can record your dreams before you are too awake to remember them. These thoughts are very similar except I think about them often and feel prompted to put them here. If I wait too long or if the thought isn’t all that strong I begin thinking about something else. Sometimes I have a story to tell and someone or something will happen that affects me emotionally or spiritually to where it changes the story completely. This frustrates me because I can sense that the original story was worthwhile yet the effects of life caused it to be erased forever. This is particularly why I try not to create stories and convince myself to share while the thinking is strong. Sharing thoughts while they’re the most vivid almost feels as if it is being channeled directly to this page. Making up a story demands too much creativity and a form of schizophrenia where the author must create a different personality for all the characters within the story he is trying to create. I am certainly not that talented nor do I have that much time to spare. What you will find here are simple and complicated thoughts and my impression on them. They are not absolutely correct nor are they wrong. It is just my perception at the time of thinking. Continue reading

Second Language Second Nature

I have always had a desire to learn a second language, I don’t really care what; I just want to be able to understand what sounds foreign to me. I never had the opportunity to take French or Spanish in high school, I feel it was more due to my behavior and lack of control than any academic reasoning. I thought it was cool when characters on the television or in movies would suddenly switch from one language to another, especially when they would start speaking some harsh Italian in what seemed to be hyper speed when they were angry. It wasn’t long ago that I attempted to learn Portuguese on my own through self-help CDs. I really thought I had it, at least right up to the point when I tried to have a conversation with a Brazilian. I was so discouraged to learn that after all those hours spent listening to those CDs and practicing over and over again that I really didn’t know anything that was being said.

I was born here in America and so were both of my parents, and their parents. The English language was introduced to me before I was even born and that is what I was taught to understand and at one point I felt that everyone in the world understood the English language. Every single thing I have learned has been taught to me in English and it is that English language that makes it so confusing to learn to speak any other language. It amazes me to see how fluent people from other countries are in their language and how they can’t understand what I am trying to say. There is certainly a language barrier that separates us and makes it seem that because we speak different words that we are a completely different species or alien of some sorts.   Continue reading

Semordnilap

Have you ever heard of  semordnilap? I hadn’t until today and I don’t really know why I needed to know but it is kind of interesting what these scholars of the literary world have done on their free time. This term was found in the book Oddities and Curiosities of Words and Literature and it refers to words that if spelled backwards would create a word with a different meaning. Now there are words that can be spelled backwards and mean the same such as wow and mom or even dad; these are called palindromes. However; what this semordnilap, which is palindromes spelled backwards, what this semordnilap does is takes a word and spells it backwards to make a different word with a different meaning. It’s like trying to read a word through the reflection of the mirror except the letters in the mirror would be backwards, but your mind would at first try to read the backwards letters in the layout with the letters being arranged from the last letter first. We have to consciously rearrange them in our mind to read the word correctly.

That was a little fun tidbit sort of your word for the day. Let me ask something else, have you noticed that sometimes you will find yourself in a heated discussion and you feel as if the other person doesn’t understand what you are trying to say even though your point is rather simple and concise? Sure you have, who hasn’t? One could find young children arguing in the sandbox over which superhero is the greatest. Each has a valid argument and each believes strongly in their position. Sometimes, however; it seems as if when you write your position on the wall they are reading it backwards and are seeing a completely different word than what you had written. This frustrates you because you wrote a simple word to describe your feeling and they blow it out of proportion. Continue reading

Lost?

Are you really lost? Do you really not know where you are going? If so stop wandering in the direction that you are heading in. What’s the point of feeling lost or without direction and continuing down that same path. If you cannot see what is ahead of you and feel too ashamed to look behind you then maybe you need to think about a different road. Just maybe if you are not able to see where you are it is because you are being blinded by that which imprisons you there. Sometimes when you feel as if you are walking in circles you just need to try harder to walk straight when the forces around you are trying to make you turn in the same direction as before. You need to break out of that circle and break away from the delusion that fills you with deception and gives birth to this feeling of being lost and without direction. Continue reading

’til we meet again

We all have friends, or at least a friend. Maybe we have more friends than we know. Some of those friends are just friends at school, or maybe just friends from work. Some are friends from church or those from the neighborhood. Some of them will be there whenever you need them and others seem to need you more than you need them. There are those friends that leave never to return and those who leave and always come back acting as if they never left. We have friends that will be there only for a minute and friends that will stand with us for a lifetime, we even have friends that will be there beyond that. Continue reading